Monday, December 27, 2010

The Older You Get.

Maligayang Pasko at Bagong Taon!
The season is truly a bit different here in the Philippines. First, of course, it's hot and well... just different.

On Christmas eve we had a pleasant surprise with a Christmas Conference put on by our mission president for the mission. It was a great meeting and it really helped us all to remember the true meaning and sacrifices of Christmas. They also set up a really nice, catered lunch and we had a gift exchange as well. It was great to be able to see other missionaries and have a little of a break to celebrate.

Christmas here was a humbling experience. We have little kids come to our house singing carols every day for money. We try our best to feed them though and give them crackers and fruit. It breaks my heart to see them, the same kids that dig through our trash everyday for food. It helps me to recognize that there is so much that I have to be thankful for.

Christmas day was great to be able to talk to you. Elder Sewell made my companion, myself, and his companion a great breakfast for lunch and made banana pancakes and bacon; Elder Tengelsen and I in exchange made turon for everyone. Than after we were done working that night, we all got together, listened to some Christmas songs from Sister Squires, and had a really interesting dinner from things people gave us - popcorn, pickles, arroz caldo, and peach sparkling cider. It was the best and I was so lucky to be able to have great elders to celebrate with.

Christmas truly not only takes a different meaning I think in a third world country, but just being a little older as well. It seems that the older you get, the less you receive, the more you give, but the more you are happy. From going to innocent children excited to see presents under the tree, to excited adults wanting to give all - Christmas truly changes, I feel, as we change. I know that I, of little sacrifice, have realized how much I have to be thankful for and am proud to have a good family that has helped me to realize that.

I love you all so much, and hope your days are still merry and bright. As for the new year, the fireworks are already started and I know I'm going to have many stories to tell you about that!

Elder Corpuz

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Best Gift.

Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat!
'Di ko makapaniwala na Christmas time ngayon! It really doesn't seem like I've been away from home for almost six months.

Anyway, this past week hasn't been very eventful and I forgot my camera so I won't be able to send pictures either. I've been pretty sick so we've been spending a lot of time in the house together studying, cleaning, and well... playing games (what else can you do?). It's been good though. I think the only person that takes care of me better than Elder Tengelsen is mom. He is seriously probably going to end up being my favorite companion.

Last week we went to the palengke for the first time which was crazy! It's an open fish market and I've walked past them but never been through one. The fish are literally still alive... as in still jumping and flipping around on the table. It's so much fun. You go in and barter for all your groceries and get such good deals than in the super market. I recorded a video for you to see too!

Elder Tengelsen, as I mentioned before, is from Montana and is currently in his very last transfer of his mission. He's pretty much a typical person who you would expect from a state like that. What I like the most about Elder Tengelsen is his capability to love people. He loves everyone and finds the best in every situation. Every time he talks about someone it's how much he loves them. He never speaks ill of anybody. He's really, really energetic. When 6:30am hits, he shoots out of bed and screams good morning to everyone! You'll get to see him this week so I'm pretty excited for you to meet him. He also is one of the most sincere people I've ever met in my life. He's really good at Tagalog and is really smart. I've been learning more from him about how to be a good missionary than I have from any other companion. He's truly an amazing, amazing person.

This past week we got to sing for both of our wards for a special Christmas musical number. Elder Tengelsen was in choir and has a great voice and we do a really good job blending.Whenever we sing together he always smiles really big and puts his arm around my shoulder. So many people made a comment about that small act. The members said how much of a difference it makes when they see that we love and care one another and how much it makes them want to do the same. Sister Carroll, our Sunday school teacher said she was really touched so see our love for one another. She said just seeing us and imagining how much people will love one another in heaven gave her so much comfort and hope. It's really true, love is the greatest gift anyone can give.

As for now, I'm finally better so we'll get out to do a little work this week. Christmas will be different but I'm really excited to see how they celebrate here. Lots of kareoke I presume. Anyway, hope all is well back home. Miss you all and love you lots! Merry Christmas!

Elder Corpuz

Monday, December 13, 2010


Hey mom!
I only have three minutes so I'll have to make this really fast.

I'm still here in Bago Bantay and Quezon City for this next transfer and I'm really happy. I've really grown to love this area and the people. My new companion is the best companion ever! Can't even explain. We've been having the best time. Most importantly, he's extremely obedient and I've been able to see the changes I've wanted to see in the work here because of his obedience. He's truly helped me to see the mission in a different light and I've had the best days so far with him. His name is Elder Tengelsen, and this is unfortunately his last transfer. He's from Montana and attends BYU. He loves people so easy and is a great example to me. I'm sure I'll have lots of more stories to tell you in the future.

Well the only really amazing thing that's happened aside of the work completely turning around now with Elder Tengelsen was the ward Christmas party this past week. It was so much fun. I love the wards here. The Filipino culture is just so much closer than the American culture. You address everyone as mom, dad, brother, or sister. The party was seriously just like a family reunion of games and fun. We have a few people we were teaching there and they really enjoyed it and made good friends. Sister Jen almost made me cry because she peeled me shrimp to eat because I told her that I don't know how to peel shrimp because you always used to peel it for me and Jason mom. She's taking care of us so no worries!

Anyway, I'll have more to write this next week, promise! Hope all is well back home. Gotta run!

Ingat kayo,
Elder Corpuz

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not Dependent on Outcomes.

Dear Mom,
This week has been crazy! It's felt like forever since I was able to write even though it's only been an extra two days. Anyway, not time to waste on fluff, let's get to it!

Had some funny experiences this past week. One of the people we're teaching's kid threw up on me after a lesson which was not very pleasant. All I could do was laugh and rush home and change. Luckily we have a person that comes to wash our clothes so I won't have to deal with that and she does a really good job. I also had some people come up to me while tracting the other day and ask for my autograph because they thought I was some Filipino superstar named "Jericho Rosales." Funny right?

Anyway, my week was well, long. It started with a slightly depressing note being at church. This past Sunday was pretty rough not seeing any of the people we are teaching come to church. I felt like somehow I was doing my best but still failing. It's not exactly like school where you put all you get and you get the satisfaction of having a good grade. It's hard, and all I could think of was all what I was doing wrong that I could fix.

In those times, I've found it's good to just remember the blessings. We had some great things happen this week too. On Monday we had the Pation family put together a family home evening to show the Aoalin family how to hold one. They put together great games and a great lesson. Somehow I seemed to lose at all the games though and ended up having to sing for everyone which was pretty embarassing. Maria's baptism was also this past Saturday which was a great blessing to see. To see all she's gone through and finally get to the finish was such a beautiful thing especially to see her father be able to baptize her. She's special to me because their family is also from Ilocos and she was the first lesson I ever taught here. Her mom made me karioka that night in thanks because she knows it's my favorite. It was really good and I couldn't have been more happier.

We also had an experience with a drunk, high, tattoo'd guy the other day. Here we are trying so hard to find people and this guy found us. We were walking and he saw us while he was on the trike and got off because he knew we could help him. He said he wanted to turn his life around so we couldn't complain. We'll be meeting with him and I'm excited to watch the gospel change his life and have him come back to where he needs to be. It reminded me of an experience Brother Doria in the MTC had teaching a drunk guy and then having him end up be one of his strongest converts.

One of the things that I just had to remember was something we learned at zone conference this past week. Sister Jafek gave a great lesson about conversion. She said as she was looking at our shoes outside the mission home, all she could think of was all the doors we've stood in front of and miles we've walked only to convert no one. We don't convert anyone, the Spirit does. We don't force anyone, the people have the choice and they choose. We just help and do the best we can.

I realized that all I can do is have faith. I heard a great story about a family who lost a loved one but said, "Our faith is in Jesus Christ, and is not dependent on outcomes." I knew that's what I had to realize and do. And when a member saw that we helped a couple new people come to church this past week, he put his arm around me and said quietly into my ear, "Good work Elder."

The worth of every soul is great in His eyes. This is truly a dream job.

Elder Corpuz