Monday, June 27, 2011

My Mini-Me

Dear Mom,
What a week, I don't even know where to begin.

Before then, sounds like Jason has having a blast at BYU! Sister Squires says he's known as the "piano man" from what Dan tells her. That's for sure my little brother. I wish I could have been there to see his graduation, but just like you said mom, I'm just as proud of him as you are. He will someday change the world with his music.

I guess we can start with the weather, since that's been our main battling factor. We had two typhoons come through this week. Actually a really funny story. So the first one, "Egay," came in and left, and then a second one came in, drew the other one back, and they combined to make a super typhoon! Our areas were at some spots, knee high in water. It rained straight, no stopping, from Tuesday until Saturday morning. It was a pretty crazy experience, and people were afraid that it was going to be "Ondoy" again, a huge disaster that flooded all of Metro Manila, taking many lives, nearly two years ago. And to only think it is the beginning of rainy season. For days we went through floods and mud and mud and mud to make it to people to only find empty houses or people diligently cleaning destroyed houses. It's been great to leave prayers and help them. In some areas, missionaries were evacuated to higher ground because of possible flooding. Fortunately, everyone is okay.

Well, we saw the return of the Davocol Family to church this past week. I included some pictures at the family home evening we had with them, just like the one Jason attended the other night. It's just a night where the family gets together and we have a short lesson and play games! Hope you like the pictures!

This game is called "Penoy Henoy"... I think.  You have a partner and in front of your partners head is a word. They are given a category and try to guess the word and all you can say is oo (yes), hindi (no), or puwede (lit. you can).

This is Elder Tengelsen's favorite game. What you do is you point to someone and they make an animal noise and then you have to try to guess who it is. 

Poor Enrique never seems to do well when we play games haha.

Brother Davocol was the funniest... he's not pointing at anyone right now... just a wall haha.
Wednesday we had interviews with President DeLaMare for the very last time. It was really sad, but exciting. My companion and I were extremely blessed when President decided that he wanted to work with us for the day. The lesson we got to teach with them was a lesson I will never forget. Not many missionaries can say that their mission president asked if it was okay to come with them to a lesson. How lucky were we.

President and Sister DeLaMare with us and the Marilag Family
I guess for this week, I just want to talk a little more about one of the youth in the Ampid area. His name is Enrique - my mini-me. I am not sure where I can start with this kid. I have had a lot of time to spend with this 16 year-old boy this past week, and all I can say, is that I found me. Enrique is the oldest in his family; a very broken family. His dad passed away while he was young and his other siblings all have different fathers. He is the only active member in the church, and in reality, the only one really striving to do good. He walks about three miles nearly everyday, rain or heat to make it to the church at least four or five times a week with activities. This past week he also set aside a lot of time to work with us.

In the time I got to spend with him, I have found the sixteen year old kid that I was when I found the missionaries. Definitely not the most perfect, a tad disobedient, but just wanting to be loved and belong. He works very hard in church, although he isn't very smart, and for some reason, I've just felt like he is someone that I really need to help. Friday night he ran to our apartment in the middle of the storm, even through floods for a few miles just to talk, and it turned out all he really wanted was a hug. He's told me that he's never been as close as we are with anyone in his family, and told me that he prays everyday that I'll spend my last year in this area. I can't even begin to say what effect he has had on me as a missionary or person.

Today, my companion and I took him and one of the other young men, Mak-Mak, to get Enrique a pair of shoes. He has one pair that he uses for church and school that are really beat up, and doesn't have anything else to use. His feet are pretty beat up from not having a decent pair to use. We searched for a really long time, and tried on lots of pairs, but finally found the right pair. I couldn't explain to you how happy and thankful he was at the end of the day when I handed him the shoes to take home and he gave me the biggest hug I've gotten my whole mission, smiling and teary-eyed. I can remember feeling that much love for my missionaries when I was sixteen. Going through such a hard time in life, they helped me clean up and find true happiness in eternal things, rather than temporal, worldly things. I can remember their phone calls every night, just making sure I was okay. Elder Russell, always treated me like his little brother. Every time he would call me he would open the call with "Hey Buddy," and end it with, "Love you buddy, keep your nose clean." I remember telling them, Elder Russell and Elder Bullock, that someday I would serve a mission and find a troubled, little sixteen-year-old like me to help. Now, I tell Enrique the same thing - "Love you buddy, keep your nose clean."

It's odd to be important to someone, but to see him confide in me as an older brother has really given me a chance to feel just a little bit of God's love for His children. I'm not sure where I will go from here, but I'm going to do everything in my power to help him have a good life. I know that there is no greater joy in life than just that.

Elder Corpuz

P.S. - We put on a sweet teaching for our ward missionaries last week. It was awesome and went well! Remember when I told you my ward was in the Ensign? Look for some of these girls there!

Monday, June 20, 2011

This is my army.

Dear Mom,
Jason is in college! That is sweet! I'm sure he will love BYU and hope that he'll make the best of friends just like I made. The first few weeks even for me were hard with the adjustment, but I know that everything will work out. My prayers as well as my friends prayers here in the mission and at home are with him. Also a congrats to Jase on graduation this coming week!

Before I start, Happy Father's Day Dad! Man, I was really thinking about you the other day; about how you've been there with me through thick or thin. I especially thought about you this past week. We were able to do service for a lady and I thought about how hard you would have worked if you were there. I told myself that I had to work hard and make it good, just like my dad would. We did a couple jobs. One is repainted the inside of this house that was actually built by missionaries about ten years ago for this family. Now, they are having us repaint it and build a house for a friend they have. She has a sad story, her husband started beating her and without laws in this country, there isn't much to do. So she's found refuge here and we're building her a place to stay where she doesn't have to worry about rent. I knew that if you were here dad, you would be right by my side doing the work with me, but since you're not, I told myself I'd work twice as hard for you.

I also thought about this story that I read in a church magazine called the "Liahona" the other day about a father and son who went four-wheeling. The story goes that the father and son left, but the son went off track into a dangerous area but his dad didn't notice. After they had been separated for about two miles I think, the dad said that he heard his son scream, "Dad I need you!" So he went back and found his son. Something without a doubt was with divine assistance. I thought about a story that you might not remember. Do you remember when we used to go for bike rides in Oklahoma? Or when you used to run and Jason and I road our bikes? I must have been maybe six or seven, but do you remember that one bridge with the really steep hill with the bush on the other side that I rollerbladed into onetime? Yeah, that one. I was thinking about the time when I was riding my bike up that hill, but being really, really tired. I remember almost getting to the top and giving it my all, but just not being able to do it. So finally, I just let go of the peddles, knowing I'd just go straight back and probably get really hurt. And then, all I can remember, is falling for a split second, then feeling a hand on my back pushing me to the top. It was my dad - just in time. I know you must have seen me and rushed to my rescue and know that you will always be there for me dad. Thanks for everything. You're the best dad in the world, I wouldn't have anyone else.

Well, this has been a short, ordinary week. It's still great nonetheless though. And yeah, I can open a can with just a knife now!

I gave a member my camera so hopefully they will be able to upload the pictures with the captions I sent. This week, I really just want to talk all about my ward missionaries in these wards - the youth. This is my army.

I'm serving currently in two wards here in San Mateo, Rizal - the San Mateo Ward and Ampid Ward. Each has the most youth I've seen my whole mission and they all are really solid. I've had a chance to work with most of these youth who are preparing for missions and all I can say is that I am really learning from these 16-18 year olds.

Each of these kids has a story, every single one of them. Out of the pictures from the temple last week and the one we took after our missionary coordination meeting yesterday, I think only one or two of them has a full active family in church. All the others come to church by themselves. Most come from either inactive families or are converts. Some walk miles in the rain to come to church and sacrifice days to come work with us and find people to bring to the gospel. All of their families seem really rough, but they are all so strong. I wish I could tell you about all of them but one of them, Enrique, is one of only two active teenagers in his family. His family has about six kids with different fathers and things just are not regular for him. When I apologized, he just smiled and said that it was okay because he was used to it. These kids find refuge in the church and the ward takes care of them. I know that life has dealt them some tough cards right now, but I know it's because they are strong. One day, they will all go out and change the lives of so many people. They are my heroes.

As for now, we're getting ready for the mission split rapidly coming up. We'll be having interviews and seeing President and Sister DeLaMare for the final time on Wednesday and welcoming in the new mission within the next couple weeks. It's going to be a crazy site to see. Hope all is well back home, I'll talk to you soon!

Elder Corpuz


San Mateo, Rizal

I'm getting way good at cooking mom!

Elder Haws, Elder Calder, and Elder Smith messing around with my camera.

Gonna miss eating chicken feet with this kid.

The best senior couple ever! The Christensens!

This is Enrique - my mini-me.

I don't know why I would ever make that face.

Our future missionaries.
I did that!

I was really proud of this.