Monday, October 18, 2010

Being the Example.

Dear family,
Well it's been awhile since I've heard how you're doing so I hope all is well. This week has flown by and has definitely been testing my character.

This past week we worked pretty hard but got a whole lot of no where. Out of the many, many, many appointments that we had, nearly every single one fell through and the people we've been teaching are slowly starting to not want to be taught anymore. Trying to find people has been rough too. We didn't have any good experiences last week and just got every door slammed in our face.

I could be negative - but that's too easy.

I've learned so much this past week about not letting my environment and my situation dictate who I am or how I'm going to act. People change, situations change, and circumstances change. There was a great quote I read from this past May's General Conference though that says that we never have to let our environment control who we are or the attitude that we have. The secret to life and getting through problems: be positive.

I also learned how much being an example really does affect people's opinions and choices. Last week I was fed up with living in a dump, so I decided, that even if I had to single-handedly clean or whole apartment, I was going to do it, and we were going to live in a clean environment. To my surprise, when everyone else woke up and saw me cleaning, they started cleaning too without saying a word, and together we cleaned, rearranged, and made our house a spotless place where we can feel the Spirit and carry on as missionaries in a good environment.

I got to go on splits with the zone leaders again for the last time on Wednesday and I learned a lot from Elder Castro. My Tagalog hasn't been getting much of anywhere because my companion never talks to me in Tagalog. When I was with Elder Castro though, he really pushed me and taught me about just having confidence and the difference that it makes. He taught me that God will help me if I'm confident and not dwelling in self-pity and he was right. I spoke the best Tagalog ever that day all because I just simple believed in myself.

He also brought up something that I thought was really funny about the Filipino table setting. In the Philippines the dad sits at the table with his wife directly to the left or right of him. The "bunso" or youngest kid always sits next to the mother and the "panganay" or eldest sits by themself. Sound familiar how we used to sit in Oklahoma?

Well, I also had my first experience with getting my wallet stolen here, but before you start to panic, read this whole paragraph first and you'll be happy mom.
So when we were walking home on Thursday night I looked at my companion and was like... my wallet isn't in my pocket any more elder. So we back tracked nearly our whole day since our last jeepney ride and concluded it was stolen. Here's the good news though. Since I've gotten here I've been doing pretty amazing (if I do say so myself) budgeting money. We get a total of 4,000 pesos each two weeks (43 pesos = 1 dollar). For that two weeks, I split it into two and use the following to budget my spending:

P1,000 on food
P245 on jeepney rides
P250 on taxi rides
P300 for squeeze emergency room
P200 set aside in an emergency fund

My wallet was stolen on Thursday night - it only had the left over money from that week in it and my mission card (unfortunately about P600). I carry my US ID and credit card in a different wallet locked at home so really, it was the best situation for that to happen and the week was about to start over on Friday anyway. I also follow mom's example, take receipts, and record my spending at the end of the day everyday. See mom, I did learn something about budgeting from you.

Today we had the great opportunity to go to the temple which was amazing. We're one of only two missions that has the temple in their mission and the opportunity to go to it regularly. The temple is gorgeous and it was awesome to be able to see it full of Filipinos.

I also attached some pictures for you to kind of see what life is like here. I recorded videos too but I'll have to trim them because they're too big! Most of them are of my district, our house, and the temple. I also made turon too! My companion and I made ten with three bananas so I stole grandma's trick. Also thanks for adding Sister Jen. She and bishop are like our family here. They are awesome and provide dinner for us and a home when we need one. They also feed us practically all day on Sundays out of their on free will and I'm so thankful for them here. Anyway times just about up. Hope you all are well and I'll talk to you soon!

Elder Corpuz