Monday, February 21, 2011

The End of Quezon City

[This email had to be withheld until it was officially annouced in church news.]

Dear Mom,
Well, I thought I went through a lot of change at the beginning of this transfer. If you can only imagine, my life is about to change even more. We just received really unexpected news in our emails from President DeLaMare today.

The highest baptizing mission in the Philippines and top five in the world, as well as the smallest mission in the world at 50 sq. mi., is being split.

On July 1, 2011 we will see the beginning of two new missions where the Philippines Quezon City Mission once was.

Breaking into two missions, the work will be nearly tripled with more than 200 additional missionaries added to the area we are currently covering. Double the mission presidents, double the missionaries, double everything. The mission will be split from east to west into the Philippines Quezon City North Mission and Philippines Quezon City mission. Missionaries will be spread out in all areas and then we will acquire about 16 missionaries from the Manila mission, and within the months after, 200+ to the two missions now. As of now, we will not know where we go until that day. There is a possibility that I will leave this mission, the leaders, and go into the brand new mission. If I stay in Kalookan, I will be in the brand new mission.

This will currently put the Philippines at 17 missions in exactly 50 years.

It will be hard, but it's what the Lord wants. Here in the Metro Manila area, the ratio is about one LDS member to 400 others whereas in the province it is one to 100. The work will go forward, people will be brought to Christ and at unbelievable rate, and lives will change for eternity. The next five months will be a huge anticipation but excitement. We'll see what the Lord has in store.

This past week, aside from all that excitement, has been exciting as it is. I've had a few more of those funny experiences to start off with.

Babies don't wear diapers here; in fact, they don't wear anything. They just walk around naked. And when they use the bathroom, its just like an animal: sit down and let it be. Well, while we were teaching a lesson this past week, this little boy at about three, butt-naked, straight up urinated on mine and Elder Christensen's shoes. Just a little gross, but it's all about the experience right!

We also had a fun experience to be able to see these monkeys at this Buddhist temple this past week and snakes as well. I was pretty obsessed with getting pictures of the monkeys so I got pretty close to the cage. Of course the whole time, the Spirit was telling me it was a bad idea. In punishment, while I was taking pictures, this other monkey snuck up on me and grabbed me tie through the cage. I, of course, screamed at the top of my lungs and had a tug-o-war with this strong monkey and my tie. Elder Christensen just died of laughter during the crises. You can't really see in the picture but the tie was really muddy. It was really funny though.

Otherwise, we had a great week. It didn't really go as planned though. We got punted and stood-up a lot, but the Lord really guided us to where he needed us. We were able to visit lots of families and this week, church attendance was a record high. The chapel was packed to the brim and we couldn't have been happier. Working together with the ward and visiting the people the Lord wanted us to visit we were able to bring these people back to church and all of them were so happy to be there.

One of the less-active families we visited was a sad story. Brother Pahunan was a pretty active member in the church until about November when he had a stroke. No one really knew about it though because they stopped coming. When we visited him he couldn't speak or talk but just stood in the chair. Everyone was unaware and we were pretty shocked to find out that happened to him. They hadn't been coming to church because his poor wife can't push him in a wheel chair that far but he was able to communicate that he wanted to go back. So we helped him get help to push him all the way to church the next morning. People were in tears to see him there.

We also had a really great experience with Sister Galoso who, I mentioned before, only has 6 toes and is really hard at walking. She felt really inspired and wanting to help the people we were teaching so we agreed in taking her to a person who we are teaching who was just admitted in the hospital for high blood. Although she could barely walk, she had such a strong faith and want to help. She was a great example to both of us.

For now, we'll just keep living although great changes are coming. We're doing our best here and having a great time. We were able to go through the temple today which as always, is a great way to lift us up. Sister Jen sent me some food today through Elders at the temple and a short letter and I couldn't have been more happy. (My English is getting really bad). I miss them tons and it's been hard without them but we do have people feeding us here.

Although our week and this mission haven't exactly gone as we expected, just another lesson learned: life knows nothing else except change.

Elder Corpuz