Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Finally Summer

Dear Mom,
My gulay, what a week. I have never worked this hard in my life. I've slept like a rock and worked myself to death more than ever. It's been AWESOME. The best part, is that summer has finally started! Fortunately it's only supposed to last for a month. I have no idea how you and dad survived here during summer. I can't remember the last time I was not sweating. I was sweating going to sleep, waking up, showering, eating, sitting in church (the air/con in church conveniently broke yesterday)... yeah. Even though there are electric fans on you, it just blows hot air. You sweat so much it's like your crying. Gotta love it.

Since I still owe you my email from last week, just a quick recap!

We watched conference which was awesome. Pretty much every talk just made me either want to get married or join the church's women's organization, the "Relief Society." It was the anniversary of the institution of the Welfare Program of the church... or something like that, so the majority of talks talked about service, which is pretty much what the Relief Society is all about. Pretty much after the weekend I was ready to forfeit the priesthood and be ordained as the first male to the Relief Society. Unfortunately, President DeLaMare has different opinions than I do haha. It was great though. This Saturday is the church's national service day here in the Philippines, so we'll be going around with all the members in the church in the Philippines and cleaning up and providing service. It's going to be epic.

Funny story real quick - or at least I thought it was funny. So I haven't taken too many pictures because I got a really hanous haircut. I meant to say cut a little but they interpreted it as cut off everything I guess. So the other night when our labendera, or lady who washes our clothes, came over to take our clothes; her youngest daughter came with her - she is a riot. She's about 4'8" and 16 years old I think. She is way funny and really sarcastic. When she saw me this is what she said:

"Elder, sino yung nagpagupit sa 'yo?"
"Papatayin natin sila."

I feel like it sounds so much funnier in Tagalog but in English its:

"Elder, who cut your hair?"
"We are going to kill them."

I think that was one of those, you-had-to-be-there kind of things.

I also had the chance last week to work with a boy named John Rex Yap, a Chinese kid raised here in the Philippines and is a recent convert to the church. He has a really sad story and it really opened my eyes. His parents died in a car accident when he was young on his birthday and was raised pretty much by himself. While we were teaching this family, he talked to one of the hard-headed kids and told him he needed to respect his mom, because he would give anything to know how it feels to have the love of a mother in his life. Every time his birthday passes, he is more sad than happy because he just remembers their death. But he is strong. He handles his trials with faith. He likes to share his knowledge about trials in every lesson we have. He always says how there must always be a trial in your life. Always. If there is no trial, life is not worth it. I have respect and love for him. He is now filling out his application to serve a mission. He was supposed to leave last year, but when a flood hit, he lost all the things he had been saving and has had to start from the ground up again. He now has enough money and things. His birthday was this past Saturday.

Anyway, on to this week. Another transfer gone and over and I'm just about one transfer short of my year mark when the mission split will take place. My new companion is Elder Iglupas. Funny story actually. Elder Iglupas and I were housemates when I was companions with Elder Tengelsen back in Quezon City. That morning before transfer meeting, he kept on coming up to me saying that he really, really wanted to be companions. I just responded that he did not want to have that burden haha. And then the announcement came and well, here we are! He is from Iligan in Mindanao - the dangerous part. He's pretty matapang though so he's good. He is also a triathlete! He is way more fit than I am and we exercise like crazy everyday. We try to get up early and run about three miles every morning and he really holds me too it. He's fast in and I'm fast going out so it works out well. He's also really diligent. We had 25 lessons with a member present this week which was a number I thought I'd never see my whole mission. The standard is 18. He is very efficient in his working so it makes things easy to achieve things like that. Also a cool story, my new housemate is Elder Simbala who was my zone leader in Quezon City as well for two transfers, and then my first district leader, Elder Ablog, was also transfered into Caloocan. It's like Quezon all over again! In our house, we're all Ilocano except for Elder Iglupas. The zone went from nearly all Americans to only me and Elder Peterson... and guess what? Twelve out of 14 elders in the zone are also Ilocano! Too bad I don't know how to speak.

At transfer meeting, President also talked about the growth the mission will be seeing in the next four months alone. In this mission along with the new mission that will be created, the net gain of elders in the next four months is 80 elders! Can you believe that? Our mission is at about 180 right now, so in four months, where this mission once was there will be 260 missionaries! It will be a site to see!

This week is "Semana Santa" or "Holy Week" here in the Philippines. It's really different here. The Catholic religion is different here. I've seen people beating their selves with glass shards and crucifying themselves along with processions. It's kind of dangerous for us so we won't be out to much because there is also, ironically, a lot of drinking among them. I'll have to tell you about that next week.

And how could I almost forget, Vince's baptism was this past Saturday. It was great and pretty much run by the youth. His cousin Anthony was also supposed to be baptized, but at the literal very last minute, his parents said no. It is a really hard trial for him and us, but we are not here to break families, so respecting their decision is the best we can do. The baptism was great. We'll be looking at about six baptisms in the next couple of weeks so I'm really excited. It's so great to see the change in these people's lives. Vince's mom said although she is not LDS, she really respects him and all he's done because the change in him has been so tremendous. Stories like that are what we live for.

Although it's hot, it's still definitely worth every minute. Have a good Easter!

Elder Corpuz