Monday, March 28, 2011

A Beautiful Baptism


Dear Mom,
Well, I'm still here in the Philippines and believe it or not, the weather hasn't been too bad. Usually, summer starts here around March and goes until June - the rest of the year is "rainy season" or the "winter" of the Philippines. We've been pretty lucky though. This year is supposed to be "La Nina" which means summer will only be one month long. The school year also has just ended since summer is beginning. Kind of weird to think of right? We think of summer as June until August. It's still been cloudy and pretty cool (as in you don't have to wipe the sweat out of your eyes but you still do sweat) but progressively getting warmer so I'm cherishing this time. It's crazy to think of people like Mat who are freezing their butts off right now. I'd give anything to be cold and use blankets when I sleep and not be sleeping in a pool of sweat.

I usually write down all the stuff that I want to tell you in my planner but... I forgot my planner at home. So hopefully I won't forget too much stuff!

This week has been short and good. We had a great baptism last Saturday, and well, to tell you the truth, despite some other crazy bad things that happened, that weighed out everything else. Baptisms are a little different here in the Philippines than they are in the states. People just wear jeans, shorts, flip flops, and just everyday clothes and everyone shows up really late. Needless to say, they are really underlooked. The mission has been going in a new direction to change that, so we did our best to make this baptism special.

One of the things that really touched my heart were the few members that wanted to give Nenita and Atalia skirts and nice shirts to use for the baptism since they couldn't afford nice clothes. All the clothes they're wearing in these pictures were donated by the members.

The whole week we spent inviting people to the baptism to make sure that it was packed and made arrangements for musical numbers and other things with the ward (like food of course) to make it all that much better. On the Saturday of, it's pretty typical to not do any set up and just set up some chairs for the baptism. We decided we weren't going to do that and spent the whole day setting up. I sent some pretty cool pictures; we were really proud of it. We got there and the room was just empty, but we had an idea of what we wanted it to look like. It took a long time because we had to carry everything else from the main building to that building. When we were finally finished, we were really proud of it. We even found a voice to use that sounded like an organ for the piano so it was just like being in the temple. The members were very impressed and said they felt the Spirit the first thing they walked in.

The service itself was very special. Although the water was green... everything else was flawless. If you can remember, Nenita was the old woman we were able to visit in the hospital when she had a heart attack; her and her daughter were the candidates for baptism. Rodora Lamoste, the bishop's daughter gave the first talk about family prayer and Regine David, a recent convert, gave a talk about chastity. They did a really great job.

I was pretty lucky to perform the ordinance and people really underestimated how extremely buff and ripped I am. Yeah. Why are you laughing? Everyone was like... "Will you be able to baptize Nenita?" and being the humble person I am, I just responded "Oo, siempre!" or in English, "Yeah, of course!" It, as always, is an overwhelming feeling being able to perform the ordinance. I always end up doing it in tears, usually because the candidate is always crying too. Afterwards they watched the movie "The Restoration," the story of Joseph Smith, while we were changing. Then finally, we ended by giving a special musical number that Elder Daly and I prepared, and welcoming remarks from the bishop.

The place itself was packed, and we were really happy about that. The sisters brought about ten of the people they are teaching, and they also had a great experience. I believe they are getting baptized on the 16th of April with three of our candidates as well.

After the baptism, we do what we do best here in the Philippines... eat! The relief society, or the kababaehan, put together a huge dinner with, of course, adobo, rice, fish (bangus fried and stuffed with onions and tomatoes), mango, and much more. I'll definitely miss that part in the states. All in all, it was a great experience.

Yesterday was back to work. We had a great time working with Sister Lamoste, the bishop's daughter who served in Baguio. She taught us a lot and is so funny. She commented about how on Sunday nights in the Philippines, there are three types of people: drunk people, people smoking, and people gossipping. She also commented how I'm a walking facebook which I thought was hilarious.

We were walking to a less active who is a recent convert to the church which is really sad. They have been having marriage problems as a younger couple. They were busy so we weren't able to share with them, so walking away from the house, I just said, "Come to church and your marriage problem will be solved!" And Sister Lamoste replied that I have a comment for everything and that I must have loved facebook at home. So for the rest of the night we pretended like we were facebooking. Everything I would say, Elder Daly would "like" and Sister Lamoste would "comment." It probably sounds pretty stupid but it was really funny.

I also stepped in a dog poo last night. It's good luck I heard. It's difficult here because dogs aren't impounded so theres dog poo like every three feet. Gotta love the city!

Anyway, I think that's all I got for now. I'll email whatever I forgot next week. Next week is the last week of the transfer! Can you believe it? I can't. The just keep going by faster and faster!

Elder Corpuz

P.S. - Way sick, I sent some pictures of me and my companion of these banana popsicles that they have here that you peel like bananas! Awesome right?