Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 22 in the Philippines Laoag Mission: Baptisms, Dengue Fever, a Typhoon & Avacados

August 1, 2016

So this has been a fun week of movies, 10 baptisms, new scriptures, dengue running rampant in the streets, starving missionaries, typhoons, and aggressive avocados. So first with what you are probably most concerned about. The avocados here have mutated so they now have a circulatory, nervous and digestive system. They have as many teeth as three sharks "That's over forty eight hundred teeth!" (Name that movie) But if you keep some chips handy you can scare them off when they swarm.  I'm kidding, its just getting to that time of the season when you've got to both watch the skies and watch your step, but this time for avocados and not mangoes.

    So lets start from the beginning, and I swear we will get around to the starvation, dengue and typhoon bit later. Last Monday we got to participate in the farewell party of our Branch Presidant's wife who is going to Norway for 3 months to visit family after the death of her mother. We taught about how God is aware of all His children no mater where we go. Eventually the conversation turned to Jonah and how he tried to run away from God. I was trying to say "Sobrang pasaway si Jonah." Which translates to 'Jonah was very disobedient.' but I swapped out ;'pasaway' with 'masipag' which means hard working. Needless to say the family was slightly confused until my companion translated what she thought I was trying to say. So language mishaps! they still happen, they just take me three days to realize that I said the wrong thing!! That was fun. I also got some new scriptures- I might have mentioned them last week- and i've finally finished making the cases for them. Its ridiculous how excited I am for these mini scriptures....

    This Wednesday I got to work in Laoag with our STL (Sister Training Leader) in her proceliting area. It was a little confusing as I don't know who are the members and who are investigators and who we have never talked to before but it was fun. Some of the memebrs had some fun teasing the newbie. But several of the memebrs and a few investigators as weel were very sick with the mosquito sickness dengue so we had a lot of fun calling elders and ward memebers to give blessings. The power of the priesthood is real, and it can be simply words of comfort from your loving God in heaven but it can also be powerful healing.  So no im not sick and no I did not get bit by mosquitoes the whole time I was around those with dengue.

    This Friday we had a branch movie night, which was super fun but also super rushed. We have been talking about it for a few weeks and I wanted to talk to Barangy captains about announcing the movie night and putting up posters around town and handing out flyers but as our branch president wanted to to it this Friday we settled for passing out flyers. Mostly members came, but it was a good turn out and I want to try having another movie night son, the only thing is the only church movie with Tagalog subtitles is the Restoration which is only 20 minutes long... not much of a movie night... So we are working and talking about other branch activities we can put together.

    Saturday! This Saturday we had a Stake Baptism. That means all the baptisms that were going to go down in the stake were all baptized together. It was super fun. There are wards or branches (depending upon their size, wards are bigger than branches) which are grouped together in Stakes so this was a baptism for nearly every ward in the stake, 10 total! Our Branch got the baptism of Don Don, who was taught by the Elders in our area. Don Don is 'missionary famous' meaning all the missionaries in the stake know about him. He has been investigating the church for 18 weeks (three transfer cycles) and is quite hysterical. When asked about tithing he would very enthusiastically put up both hands and wiggle his 10 fingers to signify 10%. He isn't very talkative but he is, as I said, hysterical. When he got in the water he immediately leaned back to go under before Elder Motley had a chance to say the necessary words! It was quite funny and then for his actual baptism he had to be submerged 4 times as he kept sticking his feet up in the air! (In our church we believe in complete submersion to symbolized the burring of past life and the renewal of life, the resurrection, so its necessary for the entire body and clothes of those being baptized to be completely submerged) It was quite fun and once they finally got it right he was ready to go again! haha Then he hugged Elder Motley and was all gungho to get out of the water. We, Sister Hermosa and I, were able to take some Less actives and some Investigators to the baptism and they very much enjoyed it. They were just excited in general to go to Laoag and see all the other members. One of our investigators hadn't quite realized that it was a world wide church, and told me that it now made sense that I was a foreigner.

    So about the starving missionaries and typhoon. The Elders have not found out how to limit how much they eat so by the end of the weak they mostly just have potatoes and, if they are lucky, rice. They also have some problems with their water system so every now and then the water does not work at their house and have to borrow their neighbor's pump as they don't have one. So we have gotten into a habit of gathering extra canned goods for them as they not only have larger apeties but further areas so more of their money goes towards travel expenses. Typhoons. Typhoons are basically just like any other storm. Ours is a level 2 typhoon so its about the strength of a tropical storm and will last from yesterday (Sunday) to this Wednesday. The largest and worse part of the storm was yesterday. The wind was so powerful it would push water through the window edges and was really fun to watch from our second story windows. I personally am loving the storm so far as it makes the weather so cool. I was actually cold yesterday! who would have thought I would look forward to goosebumps?

    We have a new cat! While I may sound like a crazy cat lady I am seriously hoarding all the wild cats I can. While I don't touch them (they wouldn't let me anyways- they are wild.) I do like seeing them around the house as the more cats the less rats, right? The older cats by name are: Grumpy Gills ( a cat with coloration on his face to make him look like he has angry gird eyebrows) Scare D. Pants (a cat with really wide eyes that always looks surprised) and Baby Cakes, (a grey cat that is small, yet an adult) The new cat is Salem, he is all black and has pale green eyes. He sounds like a cow when he meows but the poor thing is scared of storms and is a very good ratter so he is my favorite. During the typhoon I opened some windows and he came into the laundry room and just cried. If you've ever heard a cat cry its the strangest thing. If you haven't then take the nearest cat to you and dump it in a bucket of water, it'll probably cry. (I DO NOT suggest that as it is rude to the poor cat) But Salem was hiding in the laundry room -an annex to the house so technically its still outside- so I purred until he stopped crying. (if you roll your R's over and over it sounds like a cat purring, that is what I did.) Its dumb but it made me feel like I was helping God by caring for all of his creations, even when its cats that sound like cows.

    Coming up in the future is... The baptism for Tatay Roman!!! He is progressing beautifully and will be ready for baptism by the 9th. (Happy Birthday Tesha!) And he will be baptized along with the primary president's daughter as that is her 8th birthday. The 10th will be the wedding of Franklee and Rica, but as Franklee has not come to church in over a month we have decided to postpone his actual baptism as we want to make sure he understands just how vital coming to church is. Coming to church is just about counting heads and being considered 'active' a bag of sand could be put in church every day and attend all the necessary classes but obviously it wound contribute or learn anything. So don't be a bag of sand. Church, and all the classes that go with it, are for a reason. Its so we have opportunity to help one another through bearing testimony, shared experiences and have unity with our faith. Trees don't grow one in the middle of the field. They grow best in forests, where they have the support and nutrients of those around them ans the previous generations of trees before them. Don't think that you have to 'get through' church. If you keep up that attitude you are no better than that bag of sand. Then after, once church is out, its still Sunday! Sunday is meant to be a delight so what do you do on Sunday? What do you do that is special and sacred for just Sundays? Sing songs, pray, make meals together, do something as a family.If you are living away from family then make one! That doesn't mean get married, that means find a group of friends and spend time uplifting one another. Play games and spend time with one another, away from electronic distractions and you will find joy. The steps are
1) a choice. Once you decide upon how you want to live and keep the Sabbath will begin you on your journey.
2) eventually the choice will become a habit
3) the habit will become a tradition
4) and the tradition will become a culture.

From the sister who is doing her best to keep her feet dry,
Sister Eldredge

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