Tuesday, November 16, 2010

So Come What May.

Magandang hapon sa inyo pamilya!
It's a gorgeous, raining, humid day here in the Philippines. Got so much to share and so little time!
A few funny things I wrote down to share about the Philippines first.

Sunday was Pacquio fever, the whole nation was literally inside watching. It was a sweet victory for the Philippines!
Funerals are weird here, before the funeral they leave the casket open in front of the house until they're tired of seeing it; I was really creeped out by that.
Have I told you about toilet paper? Yep, don't have that here. Natives use their hands. Elder Corpuz uses baby wipes. The richer people have this hose thing, kind of like the ones you sometimes see at the sink to wash dishes to... I don't even know, use your imagination.
Mom, I learned the rice trick! How to measure water when you cook rice, Sister Jen taught me so I finally can do it with a pot that doesn't have lines.

The culture here is kind of weird. It's like what dad always says: you want what you can't have. In America, everyone wants to be skinny, tan, and have straight hair. Since people are naturally like that here, everyone wants to be fat, white, and with curly hair - seriously. Think about that image. I don't understand it, I like who I am - people just need to be what they're not I guess? It's actually a compliment to call someone fat here and an insult to call someone skinny or dark. Weird right?

Well, This week has been full of tests. We started out the week by going on exchanges with missionaries about to go out into the field from the Missionary Training Center here in the Philippines. I was terrifed. I was going to be alone, without my trainer, with two natives, navigating my area that I still don't know, and have them depend on me to know what to do.

I felt like this was kind of God's way of saying, "Well kid, show me what you've learned."

I really suprised myself.

Of course, we were blessed with rain and trials but we had a great day and I was surprised how much Tagalog I could understand and speak. I prayed hard for the Lord to help me before we got there and found comfort in a church hymn. If you remember, at my farewell, we sang a hymn called "I Believe in Christ" that Taylor Bryan picked out. There is one part of the hymn that says, "I believe in Christ; so come what may..." As I remembered this throughout the day, I got the strength I needed to speak Tagalog, find my way around (after at first getting lost) and teaching the missionaries about to head to Bagio and Caugayan. It was a great day and it really showed me what's possible if you just have a little faith.

Today was our temple day again and we had a great suprise seeing Bishop Angoluan and Sister Jen there with the kids. I was so happy to see them and it made our session really special. They've become our home here and we're having family home evening with them tonight so I'm really excited about that. The temple is really cool here, in the states you wear a shirt and tie inside but here you wear a traditional, cultural "Barong Tagalog" which is very formal. I thought that was just a cool sidenote.

We also have had many great spiritual experiences here with the Book of Mormon changing people, helping them, and giving them strength. Of course, we have Cecelia who is now to this day just beaming - always happy and smiling with a great attitude. Read the book and was about to quit smoking and have strength in all her trials. And now we have a kid about 18 years old named Angelo; he read the first two chapters and told us right away he wanted to be baptized. He says he's seen the change in him and loves coming to church. He's a great kid and owns a gym out here so maybe we'll get to work out with him. Last but not least, the Aoalin family. I don't know if I've talked to much about them already but they're very special to me. My very first lesson out in the field was at their house. They are also from Ilocos Norte and we share a lot in common. They are very poor and are a squatter family. Their house is very, very small and recently they haven't had much money. In fact, if four people stand up in the house, you can't move, that's how small it is. Anyway, that was kind of random, but this past week, Sister Josephine has been having a really rough time trying to feed her kids and find a way to pay the electric bill so they can run the electric fan at night because it's so hot. She said she started to read her scriptures again and has seen so many blessings. People have been stopping by giving them food, they've found work to pay for electricity, and everything just seems to be working out. It's so awesome for me to sit by and watch these things happen.

It's such a blessing to be out here but I'm sad I won't be home for the holidays. It kind of stinks listening to Christmas music, but you know I'd be there if I could. I promise I will be there every year from now on when I get home. My thoughts have really been with you this weekend thinking of Jason and his last band comp, I actually started crying for him (don't know if he did) and I'm glad to hear they did so well! Can't wait to see the show! I'm so proud of him and all he does. I was sitting in church that day thinking... "Yup they're performing now" and praying for you guys to do the best.

Anyway, that's my tidbit for this week, hope all is well in happy Summerlin. Miss you guys lots and look forward to hearing from you next week!

Mahal ko kayo,
Elder Corpuz