KAMUSTA PO NAY,
i'm excited to write this letter and share some things with you guys. its been a week.
so i'll start with more of a somber experience. so Elder Briones and i went with our branch president (Prez. Picar) and the other branch president of Dupax Del Norte (prez. Trigo) to visit a very poor and less active family, the Seangoi's. they live a very far distance from the Sentro, way up in the mountains and its quite the journey to get there. especially on our like $50 bikes. you cross multiple streams and some very fun terrain. we made it there, got the family of 9 together in their small dirt floor house just before sunset and were excited to have a fun FHE with games and snacks brought by President trigo. when we got there, president asked the classic filipino question, "what was your ulam (thing you eat with your rice, usually meat or vegetable stew like thing) earlier?" they simply said "wala pa" or "nothing yet." the whole family hadn't eaten yet and when we asked why the mom said "we don't have food in the house" but the husband was done "finding" some. i knew this family was poor but i had no idea this poor. we began the lesson anyway with the idea to be quick and end early so the branch presidents can go and buy this family food. we started with a hymn as usual and the mom just started crying. as i looked around at all 7 of these cute, very well behaved kids i couldn't help but get some tears in my eyes as well. this affected me for a couple days. to actually see this kind of poverty is extremely different then just hearing about it. yet for the past month they haven't missed a day of church. we always pay for there tricy fare but more often they all walk the 3 kms up then down a big hill. that's FAITH!
Last night we recevied a phone call from president Hiatt telling us about this upcoming transfer. both Elder Briones and I are receiving new callings. Elder Briones is going to be transferred and will become a Zone Leader. i will be a District Leader. both briones and i had a tough time falling asleep last night as our minds were buzzing with the huge responsibilities now on our shoulders. i will now be the leader of the Aritao and Del Norte Elders. both of which are more than 10 months ahead of me in the mission. idk how i'm going to lead missionaries with way more experience than me. why they didn't get the calling is beside me. oh man i'm nervous. excited, but nervous.
with that call it confirms that i will be getting a new companion and Elder Briones will be moving on to bigger and better things. we've spent close to 130 days together in Del Sur. man do i love him. i couldn't have asked for a better Tatay (dad). we've had lots of ups, laughs and sunny days. and some darker days full of powerful, constructive feedback (to me) and priceless learning experiences. hard to kind of explain how much your trainer means to you and i can't explain how much my tatay means to me. i've been blessed. the members are slowly finding out he's leaving and many are going to miss him. Elder Briones is very mature, responsible and smart and i hope i can step up to the plate. he's been in this area for 7 and a half months now and it wont be the same with out him. #RIP
a while back Briones and i were climbing a steep hill with our bikes and on the other side was an amazing, huge and windy downhill. super fun. we created the following saying: "short term mahirap, long term masarap". mahirap meaning difficult or challenging and my favorite tagalog word masarap. its definition is simply delicious. but they use that word for everything. e.g your sleep, a breeze, a smell, a fun moment, food etc. can all be masarap. good quote to explain life tho.
earlier this week i had the opportunity to work in aritao. since i got here i understood that Elder Garcia (danny, my brothers, mission companion back in 2010 in guam) and his family live in Aritao. so i tried extra hard this time to track them down. success!!! what an amazing experince and highlight of my mission thus far! after telling them the situaution we all were finding it hard to believe and then i asked if they had photos from Elder Garcias mission. luckily they did. and low and behold there were photos of danny. randomly in the middle of some rice fields were some photos of my brother. we taught the family later and i honestly fell in love with them. it was hard to say goodbye but hopefully that family will stay in my memories forever.
DAN: the mom and some of the kids look IDENTICAL to Elder Garcia. insane friendly, talkative and excitable. the one brother is preparing to serve a mission and spends alot of time with the aritao elders. there house is small and made of cinder blocks. you would love them.
yeah thats about it
oh, a chicken pooped on my bed the other day
oh, a chicken pooped on my bed the other day
so yeah, ill skype on the 17th! that saturday will work out. ill double check with prez tho. hopefully around like noon my time. i could maybe do earlier tho.
mom, thanks for being you tho. its going to be weird being away from you this christmas. i hope you survive it!! it will be fun here because as they always say "everythings funner in the Philippines"
14 And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in.....
15 And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made yea, the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease, and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.