Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just in case you were wondering...

I'll be updating this blog soon about the end of my mission like I promised so stayed tuned!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stay updated!

Just because my mission is over, doesn't mean my life is over! Continue to follow my experiences at my new personal blog!
The mission never ends.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

End of the dress rehearsal.

Dear Mom,
I can't believe I'll be seeing you guys later on tonight! You probably won't be seeing this email before you see me haha but that's alright. My last week has been amazing.

Last Tuesday the zone asked me to give the last workshop for the transfer at our last district/zone meeting. It went really well. I taught them the cup game and then explained about how it is important for every person to help themselves first in order to contribute to the whole. They really enjoyed it. Then after, courtesy of one of my former companions, Elder Tropia, the zone was given a few minutes to have a question and answer with me as the oldest missionary about to go home haha. It was a lot of fun. I got the generic, "What's the first thing you're going to do when you get home?" to "Who are you going to miss the most?" and of course the classic "What's the best advice you can give us?" It was a lot of fun and at the same time pretty sad. It wasn't goodbye just yet though.

Our Pakistani sisters - Sister Saleem and Sister Ajiz.
Elder Reyes.

She's crazy! Haha this is Sister Pakingking.

My first follow-trainee, Elder Tropia.

I love Sister Garcia!

The San Jose del Monte Zone

The Dadula Family
Afterwards it was just work, but not much left. We had some great days. Later on that day, the Dadula Family had us over for their daughter's birthday. This meant a lot to us because they usually don't have people over because they aren't the most well off family. They had us though, and treated us like kings. I'm going to miss them so much. They had so much food it was unbelievable, I can't remember the last time I was that full.

That next Wednesday I had my last round of exchanges with Elder Jones which was really nice. Elder Jones is a very good missionary and very sincere as well. He struggles a lot with the language but I did the best to help him as much as I could. He helped me a lot too, just through his good example. He and Andrew thought it would be funny to leave me talking in the dark on the way home that night which I didn't find too funny haha. Unfortunately, my allergies kicked in that night so I was died pretty much. We ended the day well though and I also taught him how to make a good Filipino dessert called "Biko" which is rice, coconut milk, and brown sugar with a little bit of butter. I'm going to miss Elder Jones.

Thursday was "ERC" or Employment Research Center training, where they took all the missionaries who were going home and basically taught all of us how to get jobs. Beneficial to say the least. Sister Washburn was way cool. She was like one of your friend's young cool moms but really helpful. We also had some fun getting to know each other's first names.

All I really wanted to do for the rest of the week was teach. Later on that night we caught Gilbert who we hadn't seen in awhile, and I told him that I would be there everyday to teach him until I went home. Gilbert is solid and golden. He was one of the people that found us and is willing to commit to show his love towards the Savior. Here's a picture of a very humble dinner they put together for us that night, which was just perfect because we hadn't eaten yet that day anyway. Dinners like this break your heart.

And then Saturday, my companion and I decided to go on an adventure and go hiking early near what we called "the tree of life" haha. It was just this random tree in the middle of our area that we saw everyday but never really got to go explore. Gilbert, one of the members, came with us too. We headed there at 4:00am, or at least tried haha, and well, took pictures and left haha. Funny story, when we were getting closer to the tree, my companion was so excited that he went running and shouting at the top of his lungs and then slipped into a puddle and got all wet! It was the funniest thing ever - movie perfect.

And then afterwards, we headed to my last service project - the same old weeding and cleaning thing we always do haha. It was a lot of fun though and we got to play some games while there. I talked to Sister Garcia a lot about life and how it's going to be going home. It's unreal. I'm going to miss this all so much.

Sister Ajiz took all of my action shots haha.

My last Sunday was great too. (Just a week of great stuff right?) We got rained out! They asked me to give a short testimony in sacrament meeting, but it wasn't too sad because I knew I'd see them all that Friday at my going away party that the Branch was throwing for me. The next few days were bittersweet. We taught a lot and at the same time got fed a lot. Everyone wanted to feed me and wish me luck in life. It's something I'll miss about the Philippines. Missionaries here are so important to everyone and they treat you like their own sons. You just can't beat the love that the people have for the missionaries here.

Last FHE President Gonzales had for me.

And the Pulgado family had us over right after!

The next day, they had us over for lunch and taught me how to make fresh lumpia!

Finished product!
And my last day was sad. Andrew worked with us as we made it to a handful of appointments. And then the Floyds took my companion and me out for dinner at a really nice restaurant along with Arjay and Andrew. I'm going to miss all of them so much. Afterwards we rushed to Gilbert's to teach one last lesson, and then that was it.

The Navarro brothers.

Dinner with the Floyds.

Last lesson with Gilbert.

And now it's just the waiting game until I get picked up and head over to the mission home for the rest of the day. The anticipation is killing and I just can't believe that I'll be seeing you all tonight.

As my mission comes to a close. Wanting to be sad and not let go and move on is something that seems like it can't be helped. Life is just full of inevitable changes that can't be stopped. Crying won't bring the days back. And fighting the time won't do anything but make it hurt even more. I've found the best way to let go, is to not let go at all.

As I leave the Philippines and the wonderful experiences I've had these past two years, I'm not saying goodbye to my mission and all the things and I've learned and experiences I've had.  I'm not letting go of my mission. I'm not leaving the Philippines. The two years I've served is not something that I'll just check off a list and turn around and forget about. It's become a spring board for the rest of my life.

I'll keep my mission alive in my heart by living it still everyday. By applying. By remembering. By letting it continue to shape my life. When Elder Nelson spoke to us this past transfer, he said that this was the dress rehearsal for the rest of our lives, and it's true. We make habits for the two years that we serve that do nothing but benefit us. If any returned missionary comes home unchanged, they went through the mission, but the mission didn't go through them.

Being a part of this work has been hands down the best thing that's every happened to me. Seeing how the Gospel changes lives and brings happiness to those who don't have much is the greatest joy that any living person could ever take part in. And I'm not going to close and say goodbye here because it doesn't end here. Life continues and my mission will continue. Right now, it's just the end of the dress rehearsal. See you soon!

Elder Corpuz

Elder Jolley picking me up from my apartment and taking me to the mission home.