Monday, August 30, 2010

Another awesome week.

Kumusta na pamilya ko!
Naku! Hindi puwede akong maniwala na mayroon akong dalwang linggo lang dito sa United States! Loco loco naman! Maraming maraming salamat po para sa inyong mga sulat - parang regalo ng pasko yong mga sulat sa palagay ko. Talagang sobrang sobrang pinaka-napaka-excite-excited (yeah I know that's not right) naman ako para magsalita sa inyong lahat! Tatawag ako sa martes sa bati ni (ta)tay. Maghanda kayo para diyan!

Well this week has been AWESOME! It started out kind of sad though. We lost another district - or well not lost best let them go to the Philippines. It was really hard to watch them go because we were with them for so long but, like when the other district left, I'm just so excited for them that it doesn't matter. Although there were lots of tears from everyone, it was definitely a bittersweet experience. I can't believe that two weeks from tomorrow that's going to be me! I'm so excited!

The past few weeks it's been awesome to see some of my closest friends come in from BYU. Yeah, Matt Phillips came in a couple weeks back, and last week Addison came in. It's way awesome to have Addison here. We were bascially like brothers at BYU - we were literally with each other for every meal, between every class, hungout everynight, and never got tired of it. I got to have dinner with him when he came in on Wednesday and found out that he's actually staying in my building here at the MTC so I get to see him every night. I'm so glad he's here; it's almost like having a piece of home with me. He's been doing great and is picking up the Spanish fast. I'm really excited for him to be out there - he's going to be awesome. Also, today I had a great surprise when I was walking back from the temple I ran into Chandler! My old roommate from Spring semester! He got a job at the MTC so I'll be able to see him every now in then. Having Chandler and Adds here is the best thing ever. Chandler was seriously the best roommate I could ever ask for and was such a good example to me. To this day I still have yet to meet anyone that is as genuinely kind as that kid and hope he does well this next year at BYU. And for another great addition, Zach will be getting here on my birthday on Wednesday, so that will be awesome too!

For our TRC this past week, our mock lesson was teaching a Muslim which was really interesting. He asked us a bunch of questions and spoke really fast Tagalog. It was a great experience though and my teacher said my Tagalog was like night and day from last week. He told me that within a month in the field, if I keep progressing like I have been, I'll be fluent without a problem. Crazy right?

For next weeks TRC, the first part we have to give directions to the church and we've learned this funny song to the tune of "Do your ears hang low?" of the directions. Maybe you can teach Jason! Here's what it is:

Sa taas,
Sa ilalim,
Sa ibabaw ng,
Sa harap,
Sa likod,
Sa tabi ng,
Sa loob,
Sa labas,
Sa kabila na,
Huminto na!

That will be interesting.

Tagalog itself has been a trip. This week we made a pact to speak absolutely zero English from here on out and it is SO hard! But we're making progress quickly. We get our flight plans on Friday which is crazy so I'll fill you in on that next week! I'm basically becoming super Filipino here, isn't that weird? The most Tagalog I've ever spoken in my life is to a bunch of white kids! It's kind of funny too, we have a leftover line here with just leftovers and rice, and most days I just go get rice and eat it with a main meal like pasta or something... what is happening to me!

This past week we had a great opportunity to hear from an apostle in the church for devotional - his name is Jeffrey R. Holland. It's a really big honor and was really awesome to be able to hear him speak. He talked about obedience and not wasting our time, but cherishing it all. Also, yesterday before church, my companion and I got to watch "Music in the Spoken Word" which is a live performance from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from Salt Lake. I hadn't heard good music like that in a really long time. It was amazing. They sang a song from "Fiddler on the Roof" called "Sunrise, Sunset" which was absolutely beautiful. It talks about a growing up of a child; I think you would've loved it mom. It made me think of a lot of things growing up but in particular my first day of middle school. Do you remember that mom? I was so scared that I made you walk inside with me and when you left I started crying. Gosh I was a baby, but it's crazy to see how much of grown since then. Being out in the world without you is really hard mom, but you taught me well. I'll make you proud I promise.

Well, it's time to get back to business. I hope to hear from you all soon. Jason - don't let band suck you in too much, I want to hear from you soon!



Kamusta na pamilya!
Maraming maraming salamat po para yong mga magandang korbata. Talagang nagpapasalamat po ako para sa inyong lahat. Nagsulat ako sa inyo sa viernes kaya tatangap kayo ng salut ko. Nag-attach ako ng memory card para sa inyo, sana ako na gusto po ninyo yan! Kamusta sa bahay nating? 'Naku nag-miss-na-miss ako sa inyong lahat! Nagkakaron ako tatlong linggo lang dito sa MTC! Excited naman ako! At Nay, bakit hindi naiinisip mo na makapagusap ako sa tagalog? Tunay talaga iyan! Kaya ko yan ngayon! Pero, hindi ko alam kung tamang itong grammer haha.

Well, it's been an experience this past week. I've been getting pretty good at beach volleyball here during gym time; it's so much fun! Although the sand never seems to be the right temperature; it's either way too hot or way too cold! This past week we went TWO whole days without speaking English! Grabe naman ito eh? It's hard but somehow we do it. What stunk though is we watched a Tagalog movie and we couldn't understand anything because they talk SO fast! It's alright though, we'll catch on soon.

I also heard you got the chance to talk to Brother Doria mom and I got your big hug from him! Thanks! He's an awesome teacher. Friday was his birthday and as a district we skipped lunch and put together a card and some gag gifts for him. Feel free if you have any questions to ask him about the Philippines or the MTC. I talked a little about that in the letter I just sent too.

Thanks again for the ties, can't have enough of those. I laughed when they were all black; listen, I know I'm dark okay? I actually ended up giving one of them to my friend Elder Johnson. He's from Oklahoma and he was telling me the other day how he could only afford to have a really small amount of ties. So I gave him one because I thought he could use it more than I could and he leaves to the Philippines today, I hope that's okay. Thank you though, it was nice to see dad's handwriting again.

So here's our funny Tagalog story of the week. We're not allowed to speak English at all in class pero okay lang sa "Tag-lish" - emphasis on the LISH. So they were discussing the "pop the top" rule for the letter "o" and on of the elders had a question about it. Basically, when you conjugate a verb and there's an "o" in the last syllable, it "pops it's top" and becomes a "u." Halimbawa - tulong becomes tulUngan. So one of the elders (who isn't really picking up the language) was like, "May tanong po ako: kailan nag-pop ang top kami dahil no ko know kapag to do yan." I thought it was funny haha maybe you had to be there though. Also, I never thought I'd see the day where "'Naku!" or "Grabe!" or "Sayang!" would come out of my mouth instead of "Oh my gosh!" or "Shoot!" I feel like grandma or something.

Speaking of Grandma Angela, could you tell her that all the missionaries are jealous of the quilt she made me? See, it's really, really cold in the rooms at night here and no one brings a blanket and we can't control the A/C. All they give us is this thing, cheap blanket but since I have grandma's quilt, I stay warm. Even the big Poly's get cold at night.

Also, yesterday, I was talking to Sister Vaipulu from New Zealand at the temple and she was telling me how she knew Elder Matt Stucki! Small world right? She's going to Bacolod, PI. She's a lot of fun and we have a good time in volleyball. Let Mrs. Stucki know if you see her!

Alright family, well it's time for me to get going. Time's running up here in the US and it will be weird not to hear any of your voices next Wednesday on my birthday but it's okay. Hope you're all doing well - be safe! Ingat po kayo!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Bawal Ingles.

Hey family!
Talagang jealous ako na pumunta kayo sa Six Flags. We never did that while I was there in band! Pero okay lang, napakaligaya akong nakapunta kayo.

Sa noong linggo, talagang mahirap kami dito sa MTC dahil hindi puwede kaming mag-ingles ngayon! Bago sa "linggo na bawal ingles" talagang "talkative" sa district ko pero kung hindi puwede silang mag-ingles, pinaka-silent sila. Nag-tatry ako pero mas mahirap naman kasi walang taong gusto nilang magsalita sa Tagalog.

Alright, that was bad and my head hurts now so I'm going to finish in English haha. Well I'm glad you all had fun there! That's so awesome that you were able to go and thank you for taking them. I'm sure they really appreciated and I'm proud to have such willing parents. I know you probably had a lot to do and it definitely meant a lot to Cara to have the help. Thank you for supporting them.

I'm so glad that you saw Matt last week! Thanks for telling me about that, I really miss that kid. I came in with Ryan on the same day here and I see him a lot. I'm glad that he saved you guys some money because I know I haven't been really helping. There's a lot of Tagalog things I've been needing here so I apologize for that. Also, food supply is a bit low and they only give us six dollars a week for the vending machines, and as you all know: I love to eat.

Well, I was released as district leader yesterday of district 3C. I was kind of sad but I know its what the Lord wants. They switch at the halfway point here at the MTC to give someone else a turn. Its kind of funny because they called Elder Kinikini who is a huge Tongan that plays football for the Univerisity of Hawaii; so they went from calling the smallest kid to the biggest in the district - and of course, we're the only two who aren't white with brown hair. I'm excited for Elder Kilikkilik though, he's really nice with a big heart. I'll send you a picture of us together that we took yesterday; you'll laugh really hard. I was also released as senior companion too so I'm just a regular missionary now with now other responsibilities other than myself for now. It's weird, but I'm adjusting well.

This past week was really tough because our class went to zero English. Our teacher marks on the board every time we talk in English as the number of "kasalanans" of our class and if we get over three we don't have story-time in English about the Philippines at the end of class. I've been doing really well but everyone else is dying. Wednesday we decided as a district that we weren't going to speak English at all, even outside of class so that was crazy. It really helped us a lot though and forced us to learn. This week we decided not to speak English at breakfast and lunch because our language evaluation scenario on Thursday is a meal setting. We're also starting to learn how to teach the first lesson in Tagalog too. We'll also be evaluated on that on Thursday as well. It's funny because now speaking English has become a treat to us and as we all discussed, whenever we speak English now, we feel like we're doing something we shouldn't be doing. It's actually becoming hard to speak in just English believe it or not. It's really hard for any of us to go a sentence or two without speaking Tagalog. The Lord is truly blessing us with learning the language at the MTC.

Well we have about four weeks from tomorrow until we leave until the Philippines and I'm getting really excited. I'm getting kind of tired of this place and anxious to go but I know it will come soon enough. Hope all is well for you all this week and I look forward to hearing from you soon! Mahal ko kayo!


Monday, August 9, 2010

First Goodbyes.

Hey Family!
Talagang mabalis ang noong lingo! Mayroong akong limang mga lingo lang dito sa MTC. Mabalis ng horas dito talaga!

Well, that may not all have been right but I don't have all day to figure out grammer to email with so I'll finish the rest of the email in English. Anyway, it's been a really, really, really fast week. We were so busy this past week. Thank you for your letters, time flew out of my hands before I could even think to write back. By the time I would've sent ya'll anything (everyone says ya'll here, it's starting to stick with me again) it would've been too late!

Anyway, this past week was really hard. We sent our oldest district in the zone to the Philippines and it was really hard to let them go. They were like our big brothers and sisters even though they were only here six weeks before I was. I really learned a lot from each of them; I especially got close to the zone leaders from being the district leader. They left for a nice long 20 hour trip at the beginning of last week; the Laoag missionaries left on Monday, and the Quezon City ones on Tuesday. There were lots of tears but we're really happy for them. I'm so glad they were here to set the example for us to follow and I can't wait to hear from them and see the Quezon City elders soon.

We got two new districts in our zone this past week and it's been really weird to have new people here. It's just not the same, but I guess that's how the mission is - ever changing and never the same. Elder Frost and I got two new people in our room who are pretty cool for the most part. I did have to set them straight on the temperature though because one of the elders insisted on cranking the AC down to 55 degrees and I was not having that - thanks to the big mouth mom gave me, I made sure to voice my opinion. Joke lang, I was mature about it but still, isn't 55 degrees a bit ridiculous? One of the elders is from Sanger California and he's pretty cool. I guess its been good to have new faces but its still been rough to see them replace the rooms of the old district. Regardless, it doesn't matter how much I complain, cry, kick, or scream, the past isn't coming back and I know I have to focus on the reason on why I'm out here and focus on the future.

Well Mom, I appreciated your letter in the mail and it was really cool to get that letter from the mission president, thanks for sending it ASAP and don't worry about opening it; feel free to open anything you'd like. So district leader? I'll try to explain that to you a bit better.

Each mission, whether in the MTC or out on the field, is typically comprised of about 8-11 zones and within those zones about 4-5 districts. Here at the MTC we have two zones of Tagalog speaking elders and 8 districts total. There is a companionship (two missionaries) called as zone leaders who are in charge of each zone and assist the district leaders with their duties. Mat is a zone leader in Alaska right now. As a district leader I am over about ten missionaries and here are the responsibilities as described to the MTC guidelines:

Lift, encourage, inspire and bless the members of the district.
Set an example of gospel living and devoted, selfless service.
Encourage the missionaires in the district to live a high standard of obedience. Remind them to keep the classroom and their residence rooms clean and orderly.
Promote speaking your language.
Receive an accounting during the last class on Friday from each senior companion.
Collect missionary weekly reports and submit them to the zone leader.
Report to the Branch president on the progress and concerns of missionaries in your district.
Attend and participate in weekly branch council meeting.
Plan and conduct district meetings (three times a day, six days a week).
Assign temporary companion exhchanges as needed.
Read weekly bulletin and keep missionaires in the district informed.
Pick up and distribute mail.

Basically, I'm the district's mom and the zone leaders are my mom. I'll actually get released this week though since it's halfway through our stay here and they will call a new district leader on Sunday. I'm relieved a little but I'll miss it. It's been a great experience.

Jason, good luck on band camp! I expect a full report, pictures, and stories! Don't forget, you're always a drum major to them and to me. Take care of that car and those kids k?

Dad, keeping being yourself. I miss ya.

Anyway, I think that's all I got for this week. I look forward to receiving your dearelders every week, they keep me goin'. And yeah mom, my companion is coming to Quezon with me; guy's a character, you'd love him. Oh and Preston got here this week too! Anyway, my time is about to run out, can't wait to hear from you guys soon. Don't worry about me here I'm doing fine. There's one thing I'd like to ask though, if you could look in my green hymnbook and learn and sing "Families Can Be Together Forever" every Sunday for me, that'd be awesome. It's a really powerful song that we sing here sometimes and I think you will like it. Well take care, I'll talk to you soon! Oh one last thing, I'm scheduled to leave here the 13th of September so plan on getting a call that night!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Movin'.

Mom, Dad, & Jason!

Magandang umaga sa inyong lahat! Kumusta po ang lingo ninyo?! Mabuti naman para s'akin. Huwag kang magalala, naguusap ako sa tagalog marami heto sa MTC.

Anyway, time's been a-movin' here at the MTC. I realize I told you guys it was just the same old thing last week but I guess you don't really know what that is huh? I'll try to map out a week for you real quick.

The week starts on Friday because that's when we do all our weekly planning. As district leader, I lead the district in setting goals, evaluating last week, and evaluating our progress in all areas. It's a long grueling process that usually takes about two hours. We then set goals within a companionship and then for ourselves. Our teachers guide and moniter those goals every week. The goals are usually set to our weekly teaching appointment scenario that's evaluated on every Thursday night. This past Thursday night our TA went really well. The appointment was that we were supposed to get to know the person for seven minutes in only Tagalog and then we taught the first lesson in English. Next week the TA is that we are picking an "investigator" up for church, riding the jeepney to church, and then teaching the second lesson in English. Everything else is in Tagalog.

Saturdays are pretty much like any other day: eight hours of class, three hours of studying, one hour of "missionary directed time," three meals, and an hour for gym.

Sundays are pretty busy believe it or not. We have to be in the classroom for instruction by seven like any other regular day and then as a district leader we havea "branch meeting" (a branch is like a ward just smaller) that has all the leaders in the zone and the branch presidency: the three district leaders over each district in the zone, the two zone leaders over the zone, and the one coordinating sister. We talk about and evaluate problem areas in the district and see what we can do to make things better. Then we have priesthood meeting, and sacrament meeting like my farewell. Between the end of sacrament and dinner we all go for a temple walk which is where you'll see most of my pictures. Then we head back and shower because it's hot outside, and then go to dinner. After dinner we have what's called a "fireside" which is where a speaker comes and talks to all the missionaries in the MTC and then we go watch a church movie after. As always, everyday ends with planning and then we go to the residence hall and unravel.

Monday is our"preparation day" or better known as "p-day." We usually go to the temple really early, get our laundry done, email, study, write letters, and then go for a run. It ends around five and I have another zone coordinating meeting with the zone coordinator this time. Then we have class and well, that's Monday.

Tuesday's we have gym first so no one showers and we just have breakfast and then go play soccer usually. We usually play against the Spanish speaking elders which is funny because we strategize in Tagalog and they strategize in Spanish so we can't understand what the other team is doing. If we feel lazy during gym time we'll play frisbess, croquet, or ladder golf aka old people sports. We only have four hours of class on Tuesday because we have a "devotional" which is like a fireside just during the week. After the devotional we have a district devotinal review that I coordinate under a presiding authority.

Wednesdays start with service so we don't go to the cafeteria and just grab a sack breakfast instead. Our service is cleaning one of the residence halls so it kind of stinks (literally) but its a good way to start off the day. We usually spend the rest of the day preparing for the TA.

Thursday - no different, just no service.

And well, that's it!

Last week I got a haircut dad... and well, I don't really have any hair left. I told her to take just a little off the top and she just kept on cutting! Oh well, it's cooler that way I guess.

The Tagalog is coming really fast. Since we're not really allowed to speak in English its becoming embedded in my head. I have to make a conscience effort to say small things in English like "yes" or "no" or even "how are you?" or "really?" because by default now everything is "oo," "hindi," "kumusta?" or "talaga?" It's pretty funny. Most times I find myself talking in Tagalog without even meaning too. In a little over a month I'll be able to call you in the airport and you can hear it!

Speaking of which, the transfer for me to go early didn't really work out. There weren't enough missionaries coming back to replace so I'll be hear until the second Tuesday in September. It's all good, I know I'm supposed to be where I need to be.

Some of the kids in our zone this week (missionaries I should say, not kids) are leaving to Quezon this week. It's crazy. I'm really excited for them but I'm going to miss them a lot. That's the essence of a mission though, you sacrifice leaving people you love to find more people to love.

Anyway, that's all I have for this week. Thanks for your dearelders! They went through and I appreciate it! I wanted to send letters back but by the time you would've gotten them it would've been Monday already so sorry about that Jase but send me one this week and I'll get back to ya soon! Well, hope everything is good, by the way I'm jealous of that car! Good choice though! You'll have to send me a picture! Be careful kiddo, don't make stupid mistakes like me. Red lights are there for a reason and left turns are dangerous. Alright well take care and write me soon! Tell Auntie Liz to email or dearelder me too! I miss them! Ingat po kayo!


PS - Did get the package! Thanks!