Monday, March 5, 2012

Anger: never the answer.

Dear Mom,
It's good to hear that Jason made it okay to Australia. I'm sure he's having the time of his life. And yeah dad, haha how cool it must be to be able to say that both of your children are in foreign countries right now. We'll be home soon.

We just finished week one of this transfer, and lots of cool things usually happen in week one.

On Tuesday, we played a game called "Bulag na Kabayo" or "Blind Horse" at our first zone meeting, which turned out to have absolutely no relevance to the lesson haha. We were blindfolded and were told give directions to our companions to make it all the way back around and were each timed to see who could do it the fastest. My companion and I got last haha, because Elder Azuela doesn't seem to know right from left. My previous companion, Elder Taulelei, being the big, friendly giant he is, nearly destroyed him, his companion, and the course in the process haha. It was a great icebreaker game. The zone is looking good this transfer here in the mission's heart - Fairview.

Elder Taulelei plowing through the course.

He ran straight into the door.

On Wednesday I conducted exchanges with Elder Hicken, a brand new elder from no where else but the missionary factory of Utah. He reminded me a lot of dad - didn't say much, but put his heart into everything he did. Maybe he didn't say much because he didn't really understand any Tagalog or couldn't speak much haha, but what was important is that he tried, and everything he said, although very slow, was correct. I was a bit shocked because he told me he knew who I was before because he had been following my blog. Apparently if you google the mission's name, my blog is one of the first things to come up. It's crazy to know that anyone could be reading my emails!

Friday we had a leadership training and I got to give a portion of it for the first time. It was pretty nervewrecking having to give it in front of the other leaders and President and Sister Sperry. I honestly didn't feel that it went well, but president did his best to reassure me - now I don't know if that was because it was actually good or if he just felt bad for me because it went so bad haha. You'll have to check out these pictures of me washing the dishes in the mission home. The rice pots and cooking utensils are HUGE! Getting to spend a pretty good chunk of time in the mission home being a leader is a pretty good incentive I'd say.

On Saturday we did some service for the Lagro barangay, headed by Brother Botor. Brother Botor is an amazing church member. He is in the High Council in the Fairview Stake and is over, in short, community service. He's done his best to work with the Barangay in serving Lagro and the Lagro Ward. (Lagro actually comes from the word "milagro" which means "miracle" just in case you were wondering haha.) While we were waiting, Brother Botor quizzed us on a bunch of church history and most of us were completely stumped the whole time. His knowledge of the church just amazed me. He also told us a story about how the national hero, Jose Rizal, commented in his journal that the most beautiful place he saw while in America was in Utah. For service, we cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. These are the brooms we use called "walis tin-tin" which look just like Harry Potter brooms. Elder Hand and I got some time to fly them for a bit. Only in the Philippines.

Brother Botor annihilating us at church history.

Getting ready for Quidditch practice.

This morning while I was washing my clothes, I tried to think of what on earth I was going to email home about this week. Every week seems to have a theme, but I just couldn't figure out what this week's theme was.

Then while I was scrubbing my clothes and filling up the other tub I was going to rinse them out in, I started to hear what sounded like screaming. The water was pretty strong so I couldn't hear very well, so I turned it down in curiosity to see what it actually was. It was a sad realization.

I hung my head down and started to feel tears run down my face as I listened to the unfortunate reality.

I would say the worst thing about Filipino culture is that Filipinos are very easily brought to, motivated by, and act on anger. The noise I heard was a very, very angry mother, screaming so loud that you could hear it through her house verbally abusing her child, lots of banging and crashing, and one crying kid. It's something that is generally accepted here in the Philippines and is something we see and hear on a fairly regular basis. It took every ounce of me to just sit there and wash my clothes and not go next door and help the poor kid. In tears, I said a prayer in my heart hoping that the child would be okay.

This week, I realized that my lesson was on anger.

Anger is an emotion provoked by nothing and no one else but the devil. It is what the devil uses to stir the hearts of men. It's effect is inevitably broken relationships and broken families left with depression and loneliness.

Everyone is prone to anger, because it is a part of the appetite of the natural man. It is of the flesh, and is not of God. It's a physical want, like lust or addiction, that cannot be satisfied. Sometimes we feel like letting ourselves be controlled by our anger is the solution to problems. I know that it is our decision about how we will react when we are moved by this emotion.

Anger is controllable. Something I've thought about is how some people say they "lost it" with someone or someone "made them angry." I feel like this is a poor excuse. How many times do people "lose it" with supervisors of jobs or other important political figures in their lives? But when it comes down to people we love, especially family members, people seem to "lose it" very quickly.

Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting at church, and the theme seemed to be, with every random speaker, about how the Gospel blesses families. Old couples came up and talked about how they gospel has helped them stay together over the years. Other wives talked about how they were raised in broken families, but were able to raise a good family when establishing it on the Gospel. Others talked about how the ward had become their family. It was all about family.

In thinking about that poor kid, and the many poor kids I've seen subject to verbal and physical abuse, it's made me see how hard Satan is trying to attack and break apart families, especially here in the Philippines. I believe that it would be accurate to say that the majority of broken families here and around the world are from people not being able to learn how to control their anger. Anger which has tempted them to say things they usually wouldn't say and do things that they usually wouldn't do.

I'm happy to know that the Gospel, when lived, corrects this in families and blesses families. That I will have a wife that will never treat any of my children like how I've seen. There are, in life, essentially God's way to deal with problems, and some other way. Correcting children, or anyone out of anger has never and will never be effective. It always leaves both empty and broken. I've seen this in my relationships with my companions and experiences as a leader in and outside of the church. Correction should always end with an out-pour of love which is something that is unfamiliar to anger. Love and anger are like milk and oil or light and dark - they are polar opposite and neither can exist or mix with one another.

This week, I've done my best to control my own anger and not let it control me, and I've promised myself that that is something I will never take from this culture. I've found that taking a deep breath when I'm angry, taking some time, and praying, always helps me to let go of that flaw of mankind and embrace the love of the Savior. Love is really the only way to go. Anger is never the answer.

Elder Corpuz