Monday, June 4, 2012

Working on me.

Dear Mom,
Good news. This is going to be a short email haha. I loved your story about how when you were talking to Mat about the end of his mission, he said his emails got shorter and mine are getting longer. I remember Bishop Dixon saying that my emails would get shorter, so I've tried to keep that in mind and lengthen them! Haha.

This week went by really fast. Not many eventful things out of the ordinary happened last week. We were rained on and weeded more. That's pretty much it.

This is the third time in my mission that I've had to the chance to "open an area" as we call it, or start from the beginning of a white-washed area and just build it from the ground up. It is an amazing experience that is very difficult, but very, very rewarding.

The first few weeks are difficult because you look at an empty area book and wonder where on earth to start. Your literal only source of help is from heaven. You learn to pray a lot and depend on answers to prayers. There are days (we had a few this week) that you just want to shoot yourself in the foot, especially since door-to-door tracting has been banned in the Philippines for now. It's an amazing experience though, if you do it right.

Last week, we had a great coordination meeting with the branch, it's leaders, and branch mission leader. Everyone has pretty much dived in and is willing to help which has been such a blessing. From there, we set blind-appointments with families we've never met nor knew where they lived. It's not as simple as you think. Even if you have an address here, houses are extremely hard to find. Numbers aren't consecutive like in the states and there is no GPS or mapquest system here that you can rely on.

We had lots of great experiences last week but this was my favorite. Last Wednesday, we had a schedule full of families that the branch had suggested that we visit, but no addresses, or even first names, just last names. That's it. We knew the vicinity of where they lived though, and having been to that area once, I had a rough idea. The Blackman family, the Brother in that family, actually being from England, had volunteered to work with us that day to show us where things were. But after we left the house, we had trouble getting directions from them. So we decided to just text them later and try to find our first appointment.

All we knew about our first appointment was their last name "Laroga". So we walked and walked around the vicinity of where I thought they lived. Then I remembered they lived really close to the place I had taken a picture with the gate that had "Corpuz Family" on it. I luckily had talked to a man near there and got his address (Who actually we are now teaching and also came to church!). So we pulled out the address and tried to find it, but didn't have much luck. So we walked and walked anyway. It was just a series of let's-turn-heres and somehow, we ended up at that gate! Not much longer after a few more let's-turn-heres, a kid was outside and saw us and went running in the house shouting, "Mom, the elders! The elders!" Lone behold, somehow, we had found the Blackmans house not having any idea where they lived, and found out that the Larogas lived right next door. What a blessing! Brother Blackman was so surprised, but definitely not as surprised as us.

I've had lots of great experiences like that in building areas. It really just takes a little faith and confidence. You learn to trust, and It's amazing because you literally see God guiding you in the work to the people He wants you to find and see. People have literally been coming out of nowhere and asking to be taught by us and we are slowly finding families to bring back to the church. I'm sad I won't be able to see the progress of all the great people we are finding, but I'm glad to at least still have been a part of it.

Building. Lots of building going on here. In the mission, as hard as doing things like opening areas are and although you still get lots of doors slammed in your face and people who go out of there way to display hate towards you. As much as the disappointments seem endless, there are good times too, and they always seem to erase the bad. In building the area and throughout the mission, I've found that this mission is as much for building me as it is for anyone else. President Sperry counseled me the other day that if anyone needs to come back as a convert with strong faith, it needs to be me and that's what I've been focusing on. Building me.

Elder Corpuz

P.S. I attached some pictures from our adventure to Ecopark today in Fairview. We had a great time playing Filipino games and eating Pakistan food from Sister Ajiz!

Elder Reyes makes me really happy. He is the smallest out of all of us and is like our little brother, even if he is our zone leader. He's extremely humble and kind though. He volunteered to carry the special Pakistan food Sister Ajiz made for the day since no one else wanted to carry it.

We didn't go there.

I'm not quite sure why this tree was so amazing.

Good 'ol lice picking just like in the province. 

This is called Patintero.


This is called Luksong Tinik.

Wasn't expecting to make that one!

Didn't make the next one haha.

Lamesa Reservoir.