Wednesday, September 7, 2011

He knew.

Dear Mom,
Let me be the first to greet you MERRY CHRISTMAS! Yep, Christmas season officially began here on my birthday, good ol' September first! Decorations are up and the Christmas spirit is in the air! The Philippines celebrates Christmas longer than any other nation on the planet. But lets be real, any American knows that the Christmas season doesn't begin until you take out a grandma with a shopping cart at 4:00am on black Friday.

Anyway, mom, this week as been great! I don't even know where to begin. The beginning. Yeah that sounds good.

Well, we beat you on moving mom. We finally moved into our new mansion - probably one of the nicest apartments in the mission. Equipped with air conditioning and a water heater! It's just like home, except we don't use either because they are way too expensive.  It's a little too big for just two though. You'll see some pictures in it in a bit. It was finally nice to be out of the little dink apartment we were in. Now we have so much space we don't know what to do with it.

Anyway, after we moved out of the Elders apartment in Gen. T. Deleon, things got pretty lonely and quiet... just in time for my birthday on Thursday. Although we had a mini celebration early that Monday, it's still not the same to not celebrate your 21st birthday, of all birthdays, on your actual birthday. I woke up that day pretty sad. Got up at 5:00am to start hand-washing my clothes so I could be done by 8:00am for personal study. The morning was really quiet, and really lonely. After I got done studying, I just pulled out pictures of me and you mom and wished I was at home. It was depressing, and a bit painful. Ignorance for me was not bliss at this time.

My companion dragged me out of the house around noon and insisted we go... grocery shopping. I was pretty irritated. Then when we bought two chickens, and a cake at Goldilocks, I nearly lost it. He was just saying that me and him were going to party at the house alone, and I just insisted that it was unnecessary and I wasn't that hungry. So we made our way home after a couple hours in the pouring rain and I got soaking wet. Needless to say, I wasn't a happy fellow.

Anyway we finally made it home, and when I walked in the house to find my slippers, I noticed they were missing and noticed a line of about 14 pairs of shoes, I turned around, and my whole zone was in our apartment and had put together a surprise party for me! They decorated our apartment, cooked, and made a huge poster just for me. I was so surprised. I felt like Enrique on his birthday - absolutely speechless. It didn't take long for me to not be able to hold back the tears, and lost it while they creamed my face with icing while I said a blessing on the food. They are seriously the best. It turns out they had been planning this for awhile, and knew that I was planning to just have a lonely, sad birthday - my only birthday in the Philippines. They didn't forget. Man they didn't forget. On my card, they all wrote messages to me in their native dialects which was way awesome... except I don't understand any of them haha. I was so happy. It was the best birthday I had had in a really long time and the first surprise party every thrown for me for sure. The best part was the President Sperry was in on it too. He trusted my zone enough to let the sisters into our apartment to celebrate, which really meant a lot to me. They sang happy birthday to me, we ate, and then played some really fun games that I'll have to teach you when I get home. One involving getting marked up with lipstick haha. I hadn't laughed that much in a long time. I have the best zone ever and am so thankful that Heavenly Father assigned me here with them. It's too bad my camera got stolen, but the sisters emailed me some pictures so that I could at least show you what they did for me.  Everyone also burned cds of the pictures they had on their cameras so I'll post those next week when I get them.

I will never forget my birthday in the Philippines.

I also found out that all the youth in my last area, in Ampid, had made a huge card for me and all signed it. I'll probably be getting it tomorrow on mail run and I'm really excited. Not even my last area forgot about me!

The next day was Sister Lubrido's birthday! So we got to put on a little, mini-version of a celebration for her as well at their church. We didn't have too much time so we were only able to eat.... or at least me. While we were eating, icing started flying all over the place, but I didn't let it disrupt my  eating so I just kept on keeping on until I finished my food. You can also see my sorry attempt at trying to make a heart for Sister Lubrido out of balloons here. Just even more fun!

Just started eating.

Still eating.

Still eating.

Still eating.

On Saturday we had a baptism that I'll have to make sure I get pictures from from Elder Aquilena. This family is so special, the Feliciano family. They are actually in the Gen. T. area, but I got to meet them at temple tour and I also was able to work in their area and teach them. They made a special request for me to sing at their baptism, so I sang the Tagalog version of "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus" or "Tularan ko si Jesus" I think. It was such a special day for them, even just more smiles.

And well, not much more has happened since then. Transfer announcement? I'll be staying in Valenzuela and Elder Oliva will be transferring. There aren't many leaving from our zone so I'm really happy. Elder Aquilena will also be leaving, but he's had a good seven months here so he's pretty due. All in all, this week has been great. I would have never expected my birthday, or this transfer to turn out as great as it did.

I think what I have learned the most out of this transfer, is something I've constantly been learning my whole mission - God has a plan for us, and regardless of what our plans may be, His plans are always best. I'm so thankful I was assigned here in Marulas, where the work is starting to really pick up and the members are really warming up to us. Not to mention the great zone that pretty much saved me from myself. He knew that I would be loved here. He knew everything I needed was here. He knew that I would be happy here. Let's see what the next transfer has in store. And guess what? I'll be hitting my year mark in the Philippines.

All is well mom.

Elder Corpuz

P.S. Somehow even the Corpuz family in our ward found out was my birthday and made sure to greet me that day too!