Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Missionary-Personal-Trainer.

 Dear Mom,
Yeah, how about them pictures? That service project definitely built a lot of character that day. I just about died when I read this quote from your email though:

"Nice pictures you sent. Elders in true labor. Just make sure you put on some bug spray."

Yup, that's my mom. And mom you'll be proud to know that Elder Corpuz was the only one wearing that monster 99% DEET bug spray you bought me. Yup, they call me "maarte" here, but I just like to think of it as taking care of myself the way that my mom would have me take care of myself. Tama ba mom?

The trend has held through this week. Just good times here. Lots and lots of good times.

On Thursday, I got to go on exchanges with Elder Vea in the district. I wish I would have taken a picture of both of us together - he's about four times my size and made me look a lot more smaller than I actually am. He's a big polynesian, but has an even bigger heart, and despite his size, he is probably one of the most humble, and teachable missionaries I have ever met.

On Saturday, we were supposed to do more service, but ended up not having much more to do, so I ended up just helping a member a little in preparing for taking the ACT in hopes to attend BYU in Fall of 2013 while my companion helped his father make a chair I believe. Service truly comes in more ways than one.

And as a small aside, Sunday Elder Shumway and I made oreo-cookie-oatmeal-pancakes. They were the most delicious pancakes I have ever had in my life hands down. I also learned how to flip things in pans - I'm still trying to master the 360 though haha. I attached some pictures of Elder Shumways mistake though - same mistake I make in burning (yeah I burnt my toast again this morning) toast and rice. I was slowly opening the egg carton, but had a little trouble, so he opened it really fast and the last egg at the end of the carton hopped out and thud-ed on the floor. Patient is always the step that everyone regrets they didn't take.

"Take it again, I look high."
"Take it again, I look like a monkey."

A recurring lesson that I've learned here on the mission is about how God takes care of us as His children by guiding His children to help one another. It's amazing the effects that one person can make in another person's life. Each of us different and incomparable. And the variety of friends that the world has to offer us is a variety of lessons that we can potentially learn.

In this area, I've been blessed with my own missionary-personal-trainer if you will, a brother and returned missionary in the ward named Marcelino - or Marcie for short. From the same province us our family mom and dad, Ilocos!

Marcie served in the Laoag mission and went home the exact same day and transfer that Elder Tengelsen did. He knew a lot of my batch from the MTC as well as other missionaries I know that are serving in Laoag. He served in many of the highest positions in the mission and was undoubtedly, one of the best missionaries that Laoag had to offer. It's been a blessing to be able to serve in his area.

As a missionary, he's taught me a lot, especially in teaching. He works with us as much as time will permit with his busy schedule and does his best to always make sure that our lessons are evaluated and that I learn and grow as a missionary. It's really intimidating working with him, but it's helped me learn new things, and kept me on my toes. I get the opportunity to train so many missionaries, and now I've gotten a little special attention here in Mapayapa because Marcie is in turn, training me.

Seeing Marcie's example has been a great boost in motivation for the last six months of my mission. I've looked through his scriptures and manuals and seen how diligently he's studied and worked and it's overwhelmed me a bit, but made me want to strive to do more. He's a great role model in obedience, but must of all, a great friend. I've found my twin in the mission, a big sister, and another younger mother, and now, I've found a big brother, who stands firm in the Gospel. It made me smile last week when he found out I was a little sick and not taking care of myself and he made sure to let me know that I needed to quit being hard-headed and take a step back to take care of myself. While I'm here, I've personally made it my goal to help him by helping strengthening his family who has strayed away somewhat from the church. Hopefully by a little faith, I can at leave a change in them to pay back for the many things I've learned from Marcie.

Considering all these things, I thought about the nature of God this past week. Walking past all the people I walk past everyday, I tried to process how he could possibly know all of us - each and every single one of us personally. And somehow He does; a fact that a human mind cannot process. He knows who we are. He knows what we need. He knows who we need.

I saw this magnet on the fridge this morning and thought it was perfect. I know that God does touch us and take care of us through the people He sends us. This week He sent me three: Elder Vea taught me to be more humble, Elder Taulelei taught me to be more patient, and Marcie taught me how to be the best me.

The work is going great and we saw 25 less-active members return to church this week. Things simply could not just be any better. As Mat simply put it many months ago, a working missionary is a happy missionary.

Elder Corpuz

P.S. Jason, I'm going to live out your advice in your email and report on that next week. Count on it, because you indeed are black.

P.P.S. Stole some pictures from Elder Shumway's camera and attached them. Enjoy! 

This is our toilet paper alternative.
This was one of our district meetings.
Someday ask them what the purpose of this was haha.

Absolutely nothing!

Burnt rice yeah!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Just don't worry.

Dear Mom,
Your and dad's emails get better and better every week. I was a little disappointed when I saw that your email was a little short, but then I saw the reason and it was all okay - "Sorry, this will be a very short e-mail.  I have a football playoff to watch real quick before going to sleep.  Yup, nothing new." I was laughing so hard, because that's definitely my mom. Knows more about football than her own son. And yes dad, we have to retire that "ancient" laptop of yours haha. I'll make sure to buy you a new print server on Black Friday dad.

I got news this week on Daniel's mission call! Frankfurt, Germany! I know Daniel will love it - I feel like if Daniel could speak any other language, it would probably be German. Thank you mom for making it a priority to attend his farewell in May. I know that it will mean a lot to them, and it also means a lot to me. I couldn't be more excited for Daniel. Being a missionary is simply irreplaceable.

This was the slowest - fastest week ever. It felt like a month, but looking back, it actually went by pretty fast.

 On Tuesday, we got together with President Solancho and discussed what we as missionaries must do to cooperate with the Philippine Area goals in Fairview Stake. What it really boiled down to, was an excuse for him and Sister Solancho to feed us haha. It was a lot of fun though. I was so hungry digging into my food, I broke my fork and got rice everywhere. Guess it's just because the Squires' are rubbing off on me and my muscles are getting too huge.

 On Thursday, we had a leadership training with the Sperrys. It was a good way to get my cup filled back up. I failed to document this event.

On Saturday, we had a service project that really built our character. We (the other elders haha) chopped down a tree and laid it down as a bridge. It was really, really heavy. We also filled up some bags of sand (that were really, really heavy too) and placed them around the bridge for stability. It's not exactly the safest bridge, but it gets the job done. We were all so sore afterwards and really, really dirty. I was finding dirt in places that... well we won't go into detail on that. The bottom line is, Elder Corpuz got his hands dirty that day. Please believe it.

Please notice how much effort I've put in.

That bag, is a lot heavier than it looks!

On Sunday we got a surprise text and were crowned as speakers that Sunday with only two hours to prepare. My talk started in Tagalog, but halfway turned into English... and then I had trouble getting back to Tagalog haha. I think it went well though. My companion and I, of course, talked about missionary work. It was definitely inspired though. A sister after came up to us crying after. Her story being that she has been waiting for her mission call, but has really been struggling this month. Then, when she didn't make it to church that morning, she decided to just attend at Mapayapa ward's meetings. She said she heard just what she needed to help her through. There's nothing like being a part of an answer to someone's prayers.

It was Aleli's last Sunday before she leaves to Cavite. We probably get the most support from the  YSA (Young Single Adults) in the ward than anyone else.

Oriel is another one of the best. He just returned from serving a mission in Butuan. He plays the guitar nearly better than any other Filipino I've met! Nearly.
This is Mitch. Mitch is really special to us because we've worked really hard to help him come back to church, and now he's back, active, and doing everything he can possibly do to help us.
Yesterday I taught the elders a little bit of karate at our district's weekly meeting. We talked about magnifying our callings by remembering that we defend Christ. I wish I could have taken pictures for you.

All in all, I cannot remember the last time I have been this happy.

In life, I know that I get caught up a lot in what people think of me. For some reason, I just need to be loved by everyone, and when things aren't perfect in relationships I have, it really hurts me. I'm concerned about my image and how people portray me, and being judged for something I'm really not scares me. I am just always consistently concerned.

This week, I've learned a little on how to step away from that.

My new companion, Elder Taulelei, just may be the most humble, and kind companion I've ever had. Whenever I feel like I do things wrong and apologize or things don't go how we plan, he just pats me on the back, smiles, and in his deep, soft Samoan voice, he says, "Elder, just don't worry. It's okay."

I received a really heartfelt letter today from a mother I've never met, but that was very close to my friend Addison back home. She gave me some great advice, without even knowing that I struggled with this problem - talk about personal revelation. She talked about just basically doing your best, but doing your best with love, and how we as people cannot get caught up in worrying all the time about what others have to say. You please some, but you can't please all, and at the same time, that doesn't mean that you can't try. But as long as we are doing everything we can, with love, things will work out.

I can honestly say that I could finish my mission in this area with this companion. Life is great. We live day to day serving with all we've got, because we can. We have a great ward, with great support, and great leaders to help us. New and old families are coming back to church, and we could not be any happier. Life is too short to spend it away worrying about other people and what the future will make of us. I believe that if we just understand the Gospel, live it, and do our best with love, God will do the rest.

I need to get a haircut now.

Alofa atu,
Elder Corpuz

P.S. Please keep the Posadas family in your prayers at this time.