Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Hills.

Dear mom,
Well, it hasn't been that long since I last emailed you, but my life has changed so drastically in the past few days its crazy. I feel like my last email was just a tribute to Elder Tengelsen, so I'll try to go over the past week and everything that happened in a nutshell.

Monday was Elder Tengelsen's last day. The previous day in church, he let everyone know he was leaving and a few church members wanted to treat us out for lunch. So one member took us out to this really fancy Chinese restaurant called "Wan Chai" which isn't that expensive in the dollar conversion, but for the four of us, they spent a chunk for the economy here. I stuffed myself with the good food to the point where I couldn't eat anymore. It was so nice of them to treat us out. Afterwards, we went to these two old ladies, one at the age of 94, and the other in her seventies. When they found out the day before, Sister Garcia, the 94-year-old told Elder Tengelsen the same thing apparently. I didn't know. So we went on our way to that meal as well and although Elder Tengelsen had room, I had absolutely none. Her "house" was awesome. It was the top of this building and it was a "bahay kubo" our a house made out of bamboo. She said she had been praying the whole morning what to feed us and she came up with siopao and rotiserrie chicken - love both of those. Unfortunately, I didn't have any room. So Elder Tengelsen ate everything while I nibled and distracted Sister Garcia, and then when she wasn't looking, he ate my food too. Thank goodness, I love my companion. Afterwards, she asked us for a blessing of comfort because she was having a rough time. She was such a faith builder to me. Ninety-four years old and still so strong. Walking up stairs, sharp memory - everything. When she asked us how life was, she said hard... but nothing she couldn't handle because of the strong faith she had. She told us how hard it was without the church in the Philippines growing up and how shes so thankful for the strong missionaries now. She really touched my heart and made my day, she reminded me of nanang a lot because she's Ilocano too. It was hard to say bye, but with a few tears, we were off.

We spent the rest of the day working and then ended up at the Angoluan's because they put together this slideshow for Elder Tengelsen on his last night. It was a great night, and I hope Elder Tengelsen was able to have a good last day, even though it definitely wasn't as we planned.

Tuesday was long and very hard. I think I went over it last time, but we were up late the night before, and up early that morning packing. Saying goodbye of course was hard, but well, necessary. I'm pretty sure I went over everything else in the last email.

Wednesday - that night was really rough. After finally getting over Elder Tengelsen leaving, I had the night to go and say goodbye to all the members and people I taught. It was so, so hard. I love the people here so much. I'll miss the families so much. I was able to hold back tears until I got to the Aoalin family who you may remember. They're from Ilocos as well and we really worked hard to help them with their struggling life and to make it back to church. When I told Sister Aoalin I was leaving, she was really, really sad and made us all cry. She said that it was like they'll be something missing from her heart, but I guess we all know how that feels. Afterwards we headed to the Angoluan house. This was the hardest out of all the goodbyes.
They became my family here and it just didn't feel real that I was leaving them. Of course, Sister Jen put together this huge night for me and invited over Sister Kharrol, and Sister Cecelia, my convert if you remember, as well as their families. They made us dinner for the last time, and then we had a huge family home evening. We played this game, which was really, not a game. I was in the hot seat and the object of the game was to make me cry, and if I cry, I get baby powdered smacked on my face to become white (because that's what you want here), and if anyone else cries, they get likewise. So everyone went, one by one, and told me just really amazing things and said their goodbyes. Of course, I cried for about every person, Sister Cecelia, Sister Kharrol, and of course Sister Jen especially. The Angoluan family also made this huge sign for me that said "God Be W/You Elder Corpuz" and all had a present for me - missionary things of course: socks, bandannas (to wipe the sweat off my face), and ties. I'll never forget that night or any of those people. I sang them them, in return, the song I sang at the MTC and shared with them a few last thoughts to each person, and then well, it was off. Each of them said, hopefully you won't forget us.
I know, I'll never forget them.

Transfer day - full of surprises. My new companion is Elder Christensen. Elder Christensen was my zone leader in the MTC and is only one transfer ahead of me. We were really close friends in the MTC so it was such a relief to know that he was my new companion. He is exactly obedient and it makes the work so much better. My new area is in a place called "Kalookan City" very close to Quezon City. It's not far from my old area at all so it's quite a relief. It's city - not province, but the people are amazing. I love them already. We spent the day getting finger printed for visas and I was pretty happy to see all my batch from the MTC - Elder Frost, my companion finally came off of the province of Mindoro, and then Elder Kinikini, Elder Butler, and Elder Miller. I also caught up with Elder Hales, the missionary that Elder Tengelsen trained and we talked about Elder Tengelsen for a really long time.

My new ward that I'm covering is called "University Hills" and is a lot smaller than my last area and a lot less busy (thank goodness). We're having a lot of fun together so it's been good. The rest of the day I just spent meeting people and getting settled in.

Friday...was a good day out. Pretty funny story. After weekly planning we headed out and while teaching a lesson, we noticed it started to rain... hard. I always have an umbrella with me... always - except for that one time. So we stood outside of the house and just kind of looked at each other as the water started to rise in the small, polluted river in front of us. It was epic. We decided to just man it up and go straight through the pouring rain and make it home because it wasn't going to stop anytime soon. It was so much fun, minus the fact that we had to walk through this black, dirty water. On the way home, being hungry, we decided to see if they would let us in Jollibee to eat. They said yes, so we bought our food, drenched, and they assigned this guy to follow us around with a mop. It was awesome and so much fun.

I guess the rest of the week was pretty normal (running short on time). Saturday we had temple tour again and had a really great experience there as always. And then Sunday I got to attend the ward for the first time. My new ward is great as well as my new zone. Did I mention there's another Elder Corpuz in my zone now? Awesome right? Never thought I'd meet one of those! We're far and few between.

As for now, there's lots of work to be done here. On our text messages, Elder Christensen put "The Hills" as our signature. It is perfect though - real people, real drama. I love it.

And the new story begins.

Elder Corpuz