Making memories one day at a time.......and then I write about it.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Elder Rubow, Week 6 in the Philippines!

(Mom note:  When names are used, for privacy I have replaced them with: ------  also, as I read these letters from my son, I am once again amazed that this is a barely 19 year old boy!  It is amazing the growth and learning that takes place during these missions!  Yeah, I'm kinda proud of this kid!!)

Nasty disgusting thing called,  Balut. Filipino's actually eat this!!!
 Well!  Here we are again!  It has been a very tiring week for us.  I really do not even know where to begin!  Last monday was pretty slow going.  We went to the big SM mall which is always pretty crazy.  Here in Iloilo, malls are the biggest things.  Everyone goes to the mall to buy their things.  Its pretty crazy.  I bought my food for the next two weeks.  Without the members I would be absolutely starving haha!  Its so great here!  I have no idea what I would do without the loving members here.  I have lost all my muscle though.  It makes me cry a bit but I am working on getting it back.  One of the Elders in our apartment is leaving today so he gave me a lot of the stuff he wont be taking back.  

One of those things is weights!  Super nice to get back into that!  And with P90X3 Ill be back in shape soon if the members will quit feeding me so much. ;)  That and walking around all day sure does help a ton.  Running in the city though is still a pain.  I live in a 3 story apartment so I usually just jog the stairs and I feel a lot better doing that.

Seriously though, the Philippines are so loving!  And they love to here my awesome accent.  Apparently its really funny. Through the Spirit, I can understand pretty well what most people are saying.  Now for me its speaking.  My vocabulary is quite lacking but you would never guess how many things you can say with the same five words. But I have no fear that I will be able to speak as I work hard and do my best, and the Lord will do the rest.

Our area is splitting pretty soon here.  The Lapuz Elders were moved out of our apartment and sent to another one in their area so that we can fit another two Elders in our building.  They do not come till Thursday though so it is just me and my companion.  Makes for a lot of room!  It is super quiet now though unless my companion is singing.

We also had a baptism this week!  Whoo!  It is always awesome seeing people take that first step to follow the example of the Savior and to begin a new clean life.  It was a awesome baptism!  Elder -------, the one leaving, baptized him but he forgot the words and was very embarrassed.  He is a way awesome guy!  We also had 11 investigators at church which is a record for La Paz!  It was the best!  I am so excited to see the great changes in their lives. :)

We found 21 new investigators this week!  It is so awesome to see the people who have been prepared by the Lord for us to teach.  It has been a wonderful experience to see the change in them as well.  The gospel changes lives and it always does it for the better if we allow it to do so.  There is a very large difference in those people who truly accept the gospel and follow its precepts then those who do not.  And my Mission President says, "It takes the slum out of the people, and the people out of the slums."  In Preach My Gospel (I forget where) it teaches us the best way we can help others as missionaries is to preach the gospel and to invite all to come unto Christ.  I testify that this is true.  We truly need to Gospel of Jesus Christ so we can learn, grow, and succeed in this life, and in the life to come.  Through the great Plan of Salvation, we can return to God.  And even more then that, we can become Gods!!  How amazing is His glory!  He, the Father of us all, loves us so much He created a plan so we can be saved and partake of the same fullness of joy that He has.  And that way is through His Son, the Only Begotten Son, even Jesus Christ.  I testify that as we obey Him and strive to keep the Commandments of God and Endure to the End, we shall have Eternal Life.

This is a walkway that Elder Rubow said he loves and is peaceful.
The next thing I have been blessed to use is the Priesthood.  It is fever season here in the Philippines and many people have been getting sick.  Almost everyday we have given blessings to members and investigators and their families.  It has been a very joyous time.  Through the power and authority of the priesthood, we have been able to bless many lives.  I also testify of the power of the priesthood is the power of God and to do His will on the Earth.  It is a real power and through faith in Jesus Christ and obedience we can see miracles.  It has been a very humbling and wonderful experience to be worthy of such power and to feel the Spirit work through me.

Thursday night was a very humbling experience as well!  We went to Sister ------- balay (home) but she was a bit busy at the moment.  We couldnt really do much to help her at the moment so I went and played with the kids.  I love the kids here so much!  I can never understand them but we always have a blast.  The kids at the time were coloring with crayons so of course I had to join.  So much fun!  They are super crazy!  I love them all!  After a good 10 minutes of the most fun ever Sister ------- finished and we taught a pretty good lesson on prayer and how through prayer and asking God with real intent we can know the truthfulness of our message and the Book of Mormon by the power of the Holy Spirit.  I then gave my testimony of how I recieved my witness of the Book of Mormon and how God answers prayers.  After the lesson we recieved a call from one of the members to come to the ICU.  It was 9:00 pm at the time so we needed to ask for permission which of course we did.  We rushed over and found out that Brother ----- best friend had just gotten into a bad motorcycle accident and had his skull crushed.  He was barely alive and the doctors did not know how he was still alive.  Brother -------- asked us to give him a blessing.  After a long time of trying to get past the security and doctors, they finally let us in.  Their whole family was outside all with tears in their eyes.  But they also looked at us with hope.  They had never met us before or known about our church but they still saw us as representatives of Jesus Christ.  When I saw Brother ----- friend, -------.....it was bad.  From head to toe he was scrapped and bleeding.  He did not wear a helmet so his head....was bad.  I was pretty glad I was going to be the one anointing and my companion would be giving the blessing.  I took out my oil and my companion looked at me and told me I would be the one blessing.  I didnt know what to say.  My companion anointed ------ and then waited for me to perform the blessing.  I have never felt so weak and worthless in my life.  I placed my hand on his head (there was room for only one) and I prayed in my heart.  I realized I could not do it.  Not alone.  With the family with tears watching me in this drastic scene I turned myself unto the Lord.  The blessing I gave was not from me.  It was from the Spirit.  In the blessing the spirit told ----- that he would heal.  We thanked the family for calling us and returned back to our apartment  at about 11:00pm and both of us exhausted went to bed.

I have never truly realized really how weak we are.  How we cannot do anything without Him.  The second we are born into the world we are lost.  But because of the love of God and His wisdom, He send His Son to take upon our sins.  Everyone's sins!  We can seriously do nothing without Him.  We have so much to thank Him for and we are so indebted to Him.  I can never thank Him enough for the blessings He has given me.  

To end, I give my testimony, that God loves you so very much!  He wants you to follow His Son so we can have joy and be free.  I testify the Jesus Christ lives!  That He is our Savior and Redeemer.  That only through Him can we return to our Father in Heaven.  I pray that we do follow Him and partake of His Atoning Sacrifice so we can repent and Endure to the End.  And I say this in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.

Elder Rubow
A Representative of Jesus Christ

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Letter From The Philippines! Elder Rubow

Half way done with my training!!  It was so fast!  And everyone keeps telling me it gets faster and faster.  Its going to be a awesome roller coaster from here on out!  Its been a very interesting week and most of it I cannot even remember.  A typhoon came through this week but Ilo-ilo was just out of its path so it was not even that bad.  I love it when it rains because it cools down tremendously. 

I was given the opportunity to bless a lot of people this week.  It was such a cool experience! I cast a fever out of a child, offered many blessings of comfort and helped with a few others. 


We started off with a zone meeting where all the districts got together and shared our progress with everyone else.  We shared goals, messages and some special experiences we had the past month.  It was pretty fun being with the group!  We went out to eat at a local Taiwan restaurant where I had  a seafood soup.  It was alright and the squid balls were my favorite part!  After that we split and I went with Elder------.  I actually never did take any pictures that day....whoops.  Anyway, he basically let me take charge.  Elder ------ is from SL city utah and is just about to leave to go home.  He is a pretty funny guy!  We went to our first two appointments and I was given the opportunity to start off the lessons.  Sister ------ was our first.  We met her a few weeks back and she has been one of the best investigators we have had in a long time here in Lapaz.  She truly was prepared!  We taught the final half of the Plan of Salvation and the Celestial kingdom.  Near the end of the lesson, ----- (the husbad) came in and heard the last part of the Celestial kingdom and he wanted to learn more and be a part of our church with the rest of his family.  It was amazing!!  We are actually going to teach him tonight.  He is usually too busy for us to teach but today he has work off.  After the lesson I got us lost in the jungle and we had to back track.  Twas super fun!  Thats the picture with me on a bridge.  Super fun bridge I must say.  We ended teaching two less active members (Mom note:  deleting names for privacy)  ------- and -----.  ----- is 14 and ----- is 11.  Their family gives them very little support and so we are trying to encourage them to come to church even if they have to walk alone.  Super cute kids and I love them to death!  We then headed home and I made tacos for the both of us.  Yay!

 On Friday we attended the baptism of one of the members sons.  He is a stud!  Super cute little boy!  He was so excited after coming out of the water he started swimming in the font!  So funny!  Afterward we went to his birthday party......oh my it was delicious!  The Constintino family are a very wealthy family so of course they went all out as do all Filipinos.  I had Lechon for the first time! (Roasted Pig)  The skin is pretty tough but so good!  I was feeling super fat by the end of that one!  I have decided Filipino parties are the best!  It felt more like a wedding then a birthday party!  I loved it!


Sunday was amazing!  We had 8 of our investigators come to the Stake Conference and they seemed to all like it!  Stake Conference here is a pretty big thing!  It was good to see a entire stake center full of members.  Stake Conference is so important because members who have not come since the last stake conference will show up.  So nice!  We had a few good talks too!  I could only understand the middle ones though.  The first and the last both spoke in Tagalog.  I need to get that one down...

Later that night we had a interesting conversation with one of our investigators.  Its really going to be a hard next few weeks for her.  She has a pretty scary story.  In the end, it was a very good lesson.  She has so much guilt and past sins, but through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all of those can be completely taken away!  I cannot wait to see her in the baptismal font ready to become a new person again.  Its going to be great!

Elder Rubow doing his laundry!!  Yup!  By hand in a bucket!  

Well, That is about it!  I love it here and its is an amazing experience to be here doing the work of the Lord.  We also finally got Book of Mormons!!!  We have been handing them out like crazy! And!!.....We only have like two left again...hahaha that book has so much power! For all those who have never read, read a bit, read the whole thing, I invite you to read it! Daily!  I promise you that it will help you and bless you in your life in ways that only God knows.  I love you all dearly and cannot wait to see you all again.  Until then, may God be with you till we meet again. 

Elder Rubow

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rain in The Summer













"Rain In Summer"

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!
How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs!

How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the over-flowing spout!
Across the window pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and side,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 4 Letter from the Philippines!

This has been the craziest week ever!  I love it so much here!  The people are so loving here!  We are absolutely full of appointments everyday.  We have about 5 to 6 lessons everyday.  I have been giving them more and more now as well.  Its pretty fun with such a limited vocabulary!  But the people will listen to me anyway even if they don't really understand me.  I have some more goals to apply this week that should help me with the language.

I guess Ill start with day one!  It being a P-Day (preparation day, the day the missionaries write home, grocery shop, do their laundry, etc.) we only taught two lessons and did our much needed laundry.  One nice thing here is appearance is not critical here. (Mom note:  I asked him what he meant.  Meaning, his appearance wasn't critical or the Filipino's appearances weren't critical.  He assured me that he's keeping clean and well groomed.  His appearance is critical, the Filipino people in general don't put a lot of emphasis on appearance. )

Tuesday we had our normal zone meeting and we went over the goals of the stake and how our areas are doing.  My daily breakfast and lunch did change though!  Usually I have oatmeal and a small sandwich for food but this week..wait for it.....pancit noodles!! (pretty much the Filipino Ramon Noodles..)  But I am going to be trying some new things this week.

Wednesday was a pretty good day!  That is the beginning of the baptisms this week.  We asked about 10 people to be baptized within the next month and they have all agreed!  We hope they continue to strive and padayon (endure)  It will be interesting to see what happens in the next two weeks.

Thursday was a pretty normal day for us.  We found another family and they seem very interested in our message.  I can see the mother being baptized soon as well.

We did have a very awesome experience though!  We had just been punted by a few people and our appointments fell through and were at a loss on where we should go when we heard a 'Hey Elder!'  This is very common here so we turned and saw a tattoo covered man sitting in the doorway of his house. (Yes, some people do indeed have doors.)  He welcomed us into his house and offered us chairs (which is also very common)  He then sat himself down and we were about to begin as we normally do when he looked me in the eye and said he wanted to be baptized.  We were shocked!  He smiled at us and told us he has met with the missionaries twice before in two different places (this was in English) but had to keep moving and was praying that he would find the elders here and so we did!  God loves all his children and truly does answer our prayers!  Brother (name edited for privacy), the man we found, was actually born here but moved to America and served in the Navy and is now back here.  He is planning on going back to America.  He has some more crazy stories but has asked that I not share them at this time.  His faith was so strong and his full desire was to be baptized and then go to the temple. It was such a blessing to find him there. :)

Friday I really don't remember much but Saturday was the big day!
Saturday I went on splits (when companion ships split) with Elder (name edit for privacy).  He has been here for 10 weeks and I for 4.  Our senior companions (companions that are training and teaching the newer missionaries) went together and left us to defend for ourselves.  We went to his area in Lapuz.  My area is Lapaz.  It went alright!  Our lessons were pretty short though because we have so little to say but all in all I am glad we did it!  Tomorrow I am going to lead in my area.  should be fun! 

So yes I love it here!  The growth this ward has had in the past year has been tremendous and we hope to keep it going!  The bishop here is super cool!  Anyway, Ill keep you all in our prayers and thank for everything!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Taste of the Valley






This is food from just two vendors!!  TWO!!







Taste of the Valley.  That's what we did this past Saturday.  We've never done this before.  Apparently, this has been going on in our town for 20 years!  We had no idea!  This was our first year and let me tell you, had we known, we'd have been doing this for the past 20 years.  Guess what? Guess what will become a new tradition??  Taste of the Valley.  Yup!

So, what is, "Taste of the Valley"?  I'll tell you from our perspective.  We show up at the appointed time when this shindig starts and are given a cardboard box/tray to put our food in.  We are also given a red piece of card stock with all of the vendors who are participating in said, Taste of the Valley. We had no idea what we were doing so we just picked a red tent and got in line.  I'll be honest.  When I first heard about this, I had visions of Cost-Co samples at Christmas time on steroids.  Seriously.  I don't love crowds.  I had visions of all of these vendors handing out samples and people pushing their way to the front of the line to get their sample ignoring those who are trying to be polite that have been standing there for ages dying to taste their frozen re-heated pretzel/bagel bites.  Only thing missing.  Grocery carts used as bumper cars to shove people out of the way or to block said people from getting samples.

Dear Cost-Co,

Please send a representative from your company to the next, Taste of the Valley to see how sample tasting can and should be done.  Thank you and Amen.

Sincerely,
Marge

We get in line and wait our turn chatting with people in line in front of us and behind us.  It's quite social.  As we get to where the samples are, volunteers take our red card stock from us and mark off the restaurant we are sampling from.  Umm, and can I just say that these are Paul Bunyan size samples??  Learned real quick, but not quick enough just how much of each sample to eat.  I'm getting ahead of myself.......

We get our first sample and move to the next line in front of the next restaurant.  Now, mind you, these are restaurants that are competing for our votes.  Our votes that give them the bragging rites to say they are THEE best tasting restaurant in the valley.  They are bringing their A game!  We are tasting the best of the best!  We stand in line at the next vendor snarfing away the samples from the last, moaning and groaning and wondering how in the world we're going to choose which is the best. Get more samples and with our cardboard trays laden with food we move onto the next!  This goes on and on.

Finally, I am miserable.  My buttons are popping and I suggest that we sit down in some shade and could we please allow some of this amazing delectableness to head a bit south before we plunge more into our traps!  I'm sitting there, looking at my red card stock and I am counting how many vendors we still have yet to go to.  Yes, HAVE to go to because we're voting here!!  I am taking this seriously, man!  How can I in good faith vote for the best tasting restaurant in the valley if I've not tasted every morsel????  Can't be done I tell ya!  I believe in being honest so with that thought in mind, I hauled my big caboose up off my chair and off we went getting in line for more deliciousness.

I am proud to say, we tasted them all.  When we voted at the end, we could honestly say, we'd tasted the best in the valley.  It was a fun event.  For four hours!!! we walked from vendor to vendor stuffing our faces!  At the end, while we waited to hear the final results as to who had won, Levi bounced himself silly in the bounce houses.  Mr. M joined him with Mr. J.  How they could bounce after all that food and not have it show up again is beyond me!  The SM had to literally roll me to our truck and I think we broke the weight limit when we crossed over the bridge.

This being our first year, we didn't have a game plan.  Next year!!  We've got a game plan.  We've got it all figured out how we're going to attack this sucker!  What?  What did you say?  What's our game plan?!  Pffft!  That, my friend, is a secret.  I'll give you a hint though!  It involves a wheel barrow and a trough!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hangin' Around












The last several days, A week now I think?  I've been down in bed again.  It's been a tough summer in that regard.  Me.  Bed.  Grr.  Yesterday I finally turned a corner and was able to spend some time up vertical doing things.

I love this time of year.  I love the soft yellow colors that come in through my windows.  Everything starts to turn soft and golden.  The temperatures cooling off.  Quilts and blankets are brought out more as we snuggle on couches getting reacquainted with  books we've set aside for a few months.

The Natives are off to school which leaves Zoe and me.  Me in my favorite recliner, my legs tucked up next to me, and Zoe keeping them warm as she snuggles on the recliner with me.  The only chair/couch she's allowed on.  Not that she doesn't try to get on other couches with us.  I can't say as I blame her.

As the evenings get cooler, thoughts of warm piggies wrapped up in hand knit socks becomes a delicious thought again so the yarn stash is delved into trying to find the perfect colors to make happy toasty feet.  Needles click happily as the body sits back and takes in the beauty all around.  The sewing table that shares creativity in color and texture.  On one end, the makings of a warm quilt, on the other, the makings of a vast imagination that can build and take apart and build something else.

Hot cocoa.  I was introduced to a local store that makes chocolate.  Oh be still my heart.  Love.  I bought a few  several bars of chocolate and they make thee very best cups of hot cocoa.  I might have did buy some books from Amazon that were strictly different recipes for hot cocoa.  One should always have something interesting on their coffee tables for when company comes over.  That's why I did it.  For those awkward moments when conversation lulls.  Happens to me all of the time.

The SM brought me back a fish from Korea.  Fish never close their eyes.  Even in death. They are the perfect creatures to have hanging around to watch over a family.  Somebody or something needs to keep an eye on The Natives when I'm not!  Don't tell them it is the fish though.  I still have them convinced that I've got eyes in the back of my head.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Levi. Gone Camping!


Earlier this year, Levi's local Boy Scout Troop went to a week long camp.  Levi wasn't able to go because we were out of town at a family reunion.  The SM wanted Levi to be able to have this experience so he figured out where another Boy Scout week long camp was being held and asked if he and Levi could join them.  Permission was granted, so The SM signed Levi up.

Yes, that is Zoe.  I know.  She looks freaky.  Have you ever taken a dog with baby fine hair camping???  It's not pretty.  At our family reunion, she got grass seeds stuck all over in her hair and so, we had to shave her which turned out to be a hideous, but good thing.  We didn't realize that several of those grass seeds had embedded themselves in her skin until we shaved her and saw.  Poor puppy.  Anyway!!!  Zoe went to Scout Camp too!


There was a competition one day.  A fishing competition where prizes were to be had for the scout who caught the first fish, the biggest fish, and.........  ummm......  something else.  Oh yeah.  The most fish.  Levi won all three.  He tied for, the most fish so kindly let the other scout have the prize for that one since he already had two other prizes.

The SM said that all of the other boys were so kind to Levi.  They were always including him and when the week was over and Levi was loading up into his car, as other cars would pass, the other boys would call and yell out saying goodbye to Levi.


Wood Carving Merit Badge.  AKA:  Have a heart attack watching your son with a sharp object in his hand merit badge.  The SM said this one was hard to let Levi do.  He said that Levi was very careful though and took his time.


Most of the time was spent in usual typical Levi fashion.  Dumping water.


Here.......


and there.................


and................


notice the wet bottoms of his pants........


and back to get some more water from the spigot.


Lots of hiking and exploring.



Curious looking honey bee is it not?



Almost looks as if it's sat in paint/pollen!


And shooting rifles.  Only, not at the target.  That isn't as fun.  It doesn't make poofs like shooting the dirt does.  Much funner to aim low and watch the dirt, "POOF"!


At the end of the week, there was a campfire program.  Levi was given a walking stick that all of the other troops through out the week had been adding stuff to.  They wanted Levi to have it.  They were so impressed that he would come up on his own and go camping.

I'm so impressed that these 12 and 13 year old boys were so thoughtful, caring, and giving.  All week long.  There is much good in this here world of ours!!