Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Burnt rice. Burnt toast.

Dear Mom,
I've become really good at burning food this transfer. In fact, the elders call me "burnt rice" sometimes as a nickname because I always burn the rice when I cook it. You name it, I can burn it. Elder Stoker specifically noted yesterday how I have ruined most of our pans from burning so many foods haha. And then today, we got a brand-new non-stick pan... but I still managed to burn my toast. I was really surprised. Elder Stoker again commented that non-stick does not mean non-burn, and just because something is stick-proof, doesn't mean it's not idiot-proof haha.

The moral of the story, is patience - what has seemed to be the theme of this transfer.

The final week of the transfer laid out really nicely. The country has calmed down a bit, and we were able to have a nice, somewhat-normal last few days together. There are still fireworks that go off every now and then though.

 Saturday, Elder Betita and I were called as tour guides of temple tour at the second station. Elder Posadas took pictures, so I'll have to steal some from him at some point. Our station was specifically about the restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith. We had a lot of fun, but it was really tiring. It was really nice to see some familiar faces, especially Sister Lubrido, Sister Mila, and Elder Posadas.
Sister Lubrido and Sister Mila have become my big sisters in the mission. That's what I love about Filipino culture - you are all family. Sometimes they even call me "bunso" which means, "younger sibling." Sister Lubrido particularly touched my heart, because she protected, referred to, and treated me like her little brother the whole day. I've never had a figure like that in my life. After we were all done, we all had lunch together, and she made sure she saved enough for me to eat. I sat down next to her, and she got everything ready for me and said, "I made sure to save food for you, because you are my little brother" and after serving me my food, made sure to ask if it was enough, because she was willing to give me the rest of hers. It really made me feel loved and good inside. One of the funnier things, was when Elder Posadas was giving me a hug to say bye, she told him, "Watch it, that's my little brother, [hurt him and die]" haha, gotta love it - no protection like a big sister. I was really touched by the rembrance page she made me, when she told me that I was the reason why Valenzuela became so great, because my birthday was the start of the unity in that zone, because the zone unified for one purpose for the first time that day, and that was to make me happy. They'll be going home this transfer, and I'm going to miss them a lot. Sister Lubrido's younger brother who is my same age, has just been called to the Melbourne, Austrialia Mission.
Elder Posadas and I and our matching ties that we got him for Christmas.
Elder Posadas, Sister Lubrido, Elder Corpuz, and Sister Mila.
This was a great surprise, this is the former Sister Bernardo who I served with in Quezon City a year ago. She was one of my closest friends in the zone when I served there with Elder Tengelsen. She called me "niyong" which means cocunut, because I'm brown on the outside and white on the inside. She came to our temple tour to see us all and it was great to see her again.
Elder Hernando from Manila Mission.
 The rest of temple tour went great. I actually met the Assistants to the President of the Manila Mission who are both just like me, Filipino-Americans. I was able to trade information with some of them and look forward to catching up after the mission.
Anyway, the rest of the week went well. Sunday we got the breaking news that Elder Betita would be training. He deserves it after the huge changes his made this transfer and I'm really proud of him.

Having breakfast at Macdo.

And then the funniest and probably best part of the week, and best way to end the transfer. On Monday night when we got home, I got the news that Elder Posadas and I would be together as companions for Tuesday morning while our companions attended trainers' training. I nearly died when I heard that - I just couldn't believe it. What were the odds? Of all the missionaries and possibilities in the mission. It was great though, and it was so comforting and heartwarming to be able to spend time with him just like we used to. It was nice to know nothing had changed between us, despite differences in area, small-stupid fights, and differences in callings, our friendship hadn't changed. It was such a blessing to be able to be with him, and if we had just left a little earlier that day, we would have had the chance to at least teach one lesson together which we were both really looking forward to, but the future had different plans, and we rand into the other elders on the way and it didn't go through. It was amazing either way though, and it was almost like Heavenly Father just letting me know that He hadn't forgotten about me, and neither had Elder Posadas. There's nothign much more comforting than that.
Transfers? The verdict is, that I will stay in Mapayapa for at least one more transfer, which I couldn't be much more happier about. I was scared we would really get affected with the changes that the mission is seeing. We are receiving a net gain of 20 misisonaries this transfer which is huge, and it will just keep on growing each transfer after. I prayed really hard that I would stay though and am really excited to be able to continue the work here.

Never thought I'd see the day.

Elder Posadas' happy face biscuits.
On Monday morning, Elder Betita and I talked about what we learned this transfer, and we talked mostly about patience. It seems like life is just full of trials and sometimes they like to come one right after the other. Sometimes they last a lot longer than we expect them to last. Sometimes we hurt a lot longer than we expect to hurt. Sometimes we expect blessings to come a lot sooner than we expect them to come. As humans I feel like it's natural for us to set our expectations short and for some reason, put them at unreasonably soon times in the future. This transfer I've seen that things are often best when slow-cooked. Cared for, and not forced. The result comes best, and not burnt, when we follow the directions, and wait. If we force things to cook too fast and forget about the consequence, then we'll end up with flavor that is almost always undesireable. Being patient can sometimes be painful, but if we endure it well, I know that there is no trial, sorrow, or anxiety that heaven won't heal.

The anxiety for transfers never changes and it will be nice to have a new fresh start with fresh faces tomorrow.
This transfer, I'm not going to burn the rice.

Elder Corpuz

 P.S. Congratulations to Jake Tengelsen.

Here are some pictures from out last district meeting mom, I think you'll really like them!