Monday, July 18, 2011

With our hands.

Dear Mom,
Well seeing as how I emailed you about four days ago... there's really not much to say! I'll try to fish out some stuff to say though, since I won't be able to email until next Wednesday.

So we're in the last week of our transfer, which is hard to believe. This past nine weeks has flown by faster than I could have ever asked for. I would do it all over again in a heart beat. I love this area so much, and wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Well this past Thursday we did this service project for one of the people we are teaching; her name is Mary Jane. She's in a pretty rough situation raising a few kids by herself. We actually built her "house" next to the house we painted a few weeks back. It's about 8' x 8' with a light.... that's it. It does her well though because she doesn't pay rent so all she has to worry about is taking care of her kids. The members she lives with are doing their best to help her out the best they can. 

So what did we do? Well, we weeded/mowed... with our hands. That's how we do everything here... with our hands. We weeded this house that had weeds and grass that was just about as tall as me. I got so dark. It was hard work and I got to use a machete so it was pretty legit. And then, we built a bathroom (I built the door!) and than I fetched water! Man, that is hard work. The pump is like a dip machine. The one they have is way hard. I had to jump and use my weight to get it down the first time. Then when you get it going, the water comes out so slow, so its a really huge work out. Thats not it though, you have to carry the two full buckets to the house! I got to do that for a good three hours and really realized how nice it is to have running water. 

Afterwards they made all my favorites for my one year mark and also their daughters 18th birthday! Her "debut" (which is like a "Quiencenera" or however you spell that) was later on that night. Thy made us lumpiang shanghai, paridosdos, buko pandan, turon, and pancit! I also finally learned how to make pancit with Mary Jane! It's not too hard! Also learned how to make buko pandan, so I know you're excited for that mom!

Making the gelatin for Buko Pandan!

Mary Jane didn't want to take a picture the first time, but I got her to look on this one!
This is how we cook in the Philippines!
Friday we got up early and jogged over to Enrique's house. He lives kind of far away at the top of this hill to Timberland which you might be able to google and see. We could classify them as a fairly low class in the Philippines. In one house there is electricity, but no running water. I saw Enrique after his seminary class at church on Thursday and he looked like me in high school senior year - huge bags under his eyes and really tired. I asked him why he was so tired and he just replied that he wasn't. Come to find out that he has been spending so much time working with us that he hasn't had time to rest and do house things, so he spent that whole day fetching water, cleaning, and what not so he was really beat. So the next day, me and Elder Tropia ran over to his house and offered to help with the house chores so that Enrique could just come home and rest that day. We did what you would call "farming" I guess in the states. We dug up ground and planted... something. I forgot what it was. The things we used were rather differnt. They weren't shovels, they were huge poles with a flat end, kind of like a HUGE screw driver. The poles were rather heavy too, I wish I would've taken pictures. It was fun, and I'm glad we could help. We did our best to meet all of Enrique's family which was great, and kind of sad. His younger brother has been getting along with the wrong crowd and has stopped coming to church. He's about 14, so you know what that means. Enrique's mom and grandparents talked to us for awhile and they are all really nice people. We hopefully will be able to bring all of them back to church. I figured that's the best present I can give Enrique as a missionary.

We also got together and planned a surprise birthday party for him on Friday. They weren't planning on doing anything, but after talking, we agreed to have a small party. I told them our family would take care of the cake. So we're going to just go over and wait for him at his house when he comes home from school that day. The Squires were so great and sent him a set of scriptures for his birthday that I know he will love. He says his birthday has never been special, so hopefully this one will be. On Sunday, he said that he just wanted to work with us so that we could be together on his birthday. The kid seriously knocks on my heart everyday.

Today for pday, he of course is here hanging out with us right now, as always. Today I got some Tagalog books and got him a cheap book to learn English. He has never had anyone push him in schooling before until now, so I'm doing my best to help with what I can. Today I helped him go over some really simple English and we're going to work through the assignments in the book while I'm still here. He's really behind, so I have a lot of work to do. At sixteen, he still doesn't understand the use of a period in a sentence, so hopefully I'll be able to help him get at least a good basic start.  Right now he's right next to me doing research, what a good kid.

Earlier, when I showed him the book I got him, he broke down and I wasn't sure why. He couldn't believe that he was stretching out his hand to want to learn English. He told me how before, he didn't care about school. He would cut class, never take notes, and just go when he was forced. Enrique actually hasn't been to school in a couple years, but we really pushed him to get back this year. He said he was confused when he was crying. He just kept saying how he couldn't believe the change he's gone through in the past two months, and how yesterday at church that's all anyone could talk about - how much he's changed. He says he doesn't feel like he has, he still looks at the bad things he's done, but it's really true - he has changed so, so much and I am so proud of him. One day he will do great things for his family because of the decisions he is doing now.

Yesterday at church, he made it his project to help one of the other young men, Carlo, stay at church for all three hours instead of leaving after the first. He did his best to follow him around, and even encouraged him to turn off his phone. I was so proud of him. Later on that day, he said he wouldn't be able to work because he wanted to go around and do is home teaching assignment and visit the families in the ward. I wanted to be mad, but at the same time I was so, so proud. The bishopric also told him to help Carlo to dress better and groom in accordance to church standards. So Enrique made the decision that he would help him by setting the example first, by fixing his dress and getting a church appropriate haircut. What a kid.

We also had our last workshop with our ward missionaries yesterday which was amazingly great. So many of them shared how the past workshops have not only helped them with work, but helped them with life. They have all grown up so much and are all planning on serving missions. It's such an honor to be able to be one of their missionaries.

Well, pala, I had a lot to talk about, not evening mentioning how great our temple tour was. I'm so excited to see pictures of the wedding this week! Hope all is well back home!

Elder Corpuz

P.S. Did I mention I'm teaching a kid named Kiel Corpuz?