|There's my boy! Elder Trevor Rubow is in front on the left in his suit holding the corner of the Welcome sign. |
He looks so happy!!!!
After 5 painful days of being in the Manila MTC we flew once again to Iloilo!! I said goodbye to most of my friends who left to another mission and my Birthday experience had begun. It was a pretty crazy day. All of the office missionaries (Assistants to the President) and President Aquino and his wife picked us up from the little airport. That was also the last real time I have both heard/spoken true English. We then dodged cars and made it safely to city of Iloilo. Once there we went through basic training and received resources for our missions. I then proceeded to go teach my first family of whom I cannot remember their names...Ill find out later. Elder (editing name for privacy) was my companion for that day and he was awesome!! Very few people speak english here though so it was pretty hard to communicate effectivly. The next day we finally split and I met my senior companion, Elder (name edit). He has been incredibly helpful! He is a Filipino from another island. Pretty chill dude he is. His laugh is so funny! We get along fairly well, I just wish I could talk to him... Haha, its awesome!
Before coming on my mission I was told I would learn both Illongo (Hiligaynon) and Tagalog. I was not told I would be learning three more languages other then those two! They are all different so I do wish for your prayers in this aspect. Iloilo has 5 languages spoken here which is the most of any other mission. I've mostly just been sharing my testimony because it is so hard to listen and follow the languages here. Thankfully I am in a Illongo area so I can get by. Um...yeah, its challenging but so worth it. The people here are so positive! In all the languages it is such a positive dialect. There isn't a way to say I hate or dislike. Its just a up beat positive language.
Now for the people, I can now see how everyone has different challenges in life. The people here are so stinking humble you cannot help but love them! I seriously love being here even though it is so different. You can talk to anyone here and have a good discussion (if you can understand them). The hard part is keeping their interest. The people here are sadly very lazy and are very short sighted. I have yet to see a strong minded person. Its super easy to get someone to come to church but to keep them in church is near impossible. To put this in perspective: Lapaz city has about 400 members of the church. Strong right? Sadly not, about 330 are less active and no longer come to church. It is the same everywhere here. Its so hard for them to think about the future and to see how the gospel blesses their lives. Yes they will try but once the missionaries stop visiting they vanish. There are very very few leaders here in the Philippines. And finding them is even harder. Before leaving on the Manila MTC I was charged to 'find the Amuleks' or people willing to lead the church here. The next hardest thing is not offending people here. They can have such a strong testimony here but if they are offended by some stupid reason they will leave. And they feel quite reasonable in doing so. Our Elder's Quorem leader left recently because the bishop 'offended' him. Its pretty sad. So, it is our job to "Rescue" the Philippines. To go out and find the people who have left and bring them back. It's a challenge I am willing to take.
As many of you probably know, the Philippines are not known for being clean, thats for sure. Its a dung heap here and it smells pretty bad. All over the sides of the roads you can see burning trash piles. Its really sad.
So good news!! On my second day I was able invite Sister (edit name) to be baptized and she said yes!! It was such a good feeling to be able to do something like that already. Apparently it happens a lot actually, the hardest part is retention.was supposed to be two baptisms but sady after 3 weeks of going to church, Sister (name edit) and Brother (name edit) did not come to church. So hopefully they will come next week and will be baptized on Aught 30. We will be having 3 baptisms on that day.
So now I am in the area of Lapaz, Iloilo. It is the city center of the island and is also the hardest of all the missions here. Its awesome to be here doing the work of the Lord. The blessings I see every day are just so amazing! Its incredible to be a part of this work. As in 2 Nephi 10, we are bringing in the lost tribes on the isles of the sea. Thank you so much for the prayers in my behalf. God truly does answer them, the Philippines truly are proof of that. I cannot wait to go home and tell you all the adventures I have been having but at the same time I do not want to leave. Thank you and may God be with you till we meet again!
So how is everyone doing at home? I can see it has changed a lot!! Sorry about leaving the big mess!! I had a work to do! :) I knew there was a few things I was missing...
Thank you so much for the happy birthday wishes and such! It was a fantastic day. :)Thank you for the pictures! they were pretty great! Levi looks just like a Levi should. :) Henny Penny's room though! Thats a big change. Keep me posted on everything!
And no I have not received any letters yet but I hope they are coming soon!
I love you nanay (mom)!