Monday, August 26, 2013

7th week in the Philippines already??

It is hard to believe that Elder Head is beginning his 7th week in the Philippines! They say time flies when you're having least these last couple of weeks he has been having fun :)  Ryan emailed us last night at 11:58....and when I asked why they get to the Internet cafe so late he told us that he has to do all of his laundry by hand and it takes 3 hours!! Good times :)  It appears that 14 months into your mission your emails get even shorter :)
Maybe when he get back to India and uses washing machines again we'll get more info from him. The batch of missionaries that left before Ryan for visa renewal returned to India last week.....we hope this means Ryan and his batch mates will follow, shortly thereafter :)
He's his brief update:

Hello everyone! 
Well, things here in the Philippines are good.. I just really miss my mission. I really want to go back to India. 
We had stake conference this week and that was good. It was all about missionary work and how important that it is that the members and missionaries work together to reach the Lord's goal and expectations. 
The interesting part of this week was that a typhoon hit the Philippines and everything got super flooded! Our area was soaked and so Tuesday we had to stay inside because of the flood and Wednesday and Thursday we were out helping those members and investigators that were affected by the flood. That was pretty cool!
Sorry that this week's letter is short. But things are good here. I still don't know Tagalog. Haha. 
Elder Head

Monday, August 19, 2013

Happier in the Philippines!!

Hello everyone!! 
Well.. The Philippines ain't so bad after all!!! Haha! 
    My companion is Elder Olbes from Duvao!  He speaks English so we have nothing to worry about! Haha he has been out for about 11 months and will hit his year mark next month. He just finished training an American Elder so it isn't too weird for him to have to speak English a lot and do a lot of translating, which is good for me. He is a super awesome companion. He is really quiet, but he is very obedient. And that makes me more happy than anything. I love that he just wants to work. 
    This week was a way good week! I was a little bit nervous that it would be a disastrous first week for the transfer because I didn't know the area at all, but it turns out that I knew more than I gave myself credit for because I got us around the area just fine! We talked about it and we decided that the best way for us to go forward is to work through the ward council and the members. Tracting isn't a good thing for us because my companion is super shy and I don't know Tagalog so working through the members is super important.. Does anyone have some good ideas as to an effective way to get referrals? I think the best way to learn how to get referrals is to ask some members, so if any one can help that would be awesome! 
    My companion and I were able to go to Ward Council Meeting and talk with the ward council about the missionary work that is going on and we took about twenty minutes giving a detailed report from our side about what was going on in the ward. One of the ward missionaries turned to me after we sat down and said that the ward is excited that they have missionaries that are taking things serious. The past missionaries had good relationships with the ward, but weren't doing anything serious for about a year now. So we gained their trust and we hope to run with it! 
    It's amazing the turn-around that has happened for me. I was so miserable last week, but now I think that I might actually miss serving here in the Philippines! Our new chapel for my ward opens this week and that makes us very excited because before it took about an hour to get to church, so it was hard for our less-actives and investigators to come to church, but now it will only take about twenty minutes to get to, so we are really hoping to get some serious work going on up in here! 
    Well, that's all for my weekly report this week. Love you! 
Elder Head

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Week 5 Philippines -Part 2 - He's still alive :) Monday 11:18 pm!!

Hello everyone! 
This was one of the longest and hardest weeks of my mission. 
My companion was going home and so him and my district leader were just being totally trunky. It was really hard and I wouldn't have cared if it didn't have anything to do with me. But it did and so I had to do something to make it right. I was doing my best to be obedient, but those kind of situations just kind of drag you into the middle of it so I found myself stuck in the mire. 
After thinking about it and praying about it I decided that the best thing that I could do for myself, and for the other two, would be to tell the mission president. So that's what I did last Monday. And I felt better and consigned myself to endless woe again for the next week until my companion left on Tuesday. Well that all changed when the mission president assigned the Zone Leader's to investigate if what I was saying was true...
On Saturday morning, my companion and the District Leader got up at 7:00 and went to the internet cafe. At 8:15, the Zone Leader's showed up asking where everyone was... Haha it was super awkward and they just sat with me while the other two were gone and the District Leader's companion was still sleeping. When they all came back, they were shocked. And as you can imagine, very upset with me. They said that I stabbed them in the back and didn't even give them a warning. The funny thing is is that I have spoken with BOTH of them multiple times about the things that were going on and nothing changed. What else was I do to? 
Well, needless to say, they didn't want to speak with me. So I just went about my business as usual. My companion called and spoke to the mission president and then went to his room for an hour or so and then came down and forgave me. He was really cool. The District Leader wasn't so good about it though. He still isn't talking to me. It's okay though. He is getting transferred tomorrow so I only have to endure another day. The sad thing is is that I have to stay in this area and only Filipinos are coming and I heard that they don't speak too much English.. We'll see how things go.. 
We did have a baptism this week which was exciting. The service was good and we had a fun activity after. The thing that I learned this week is that we must always be on guard. If we are being obedient and doing what is right, we have nothing to fear. There is no threat of getting "stabbed in the back." I am grateful for the way that I was raised. I have never been a rule-breaker and I have always been pretty cautious and I can see those blessings now on my mission. Thanks Mom and Dad! 
Love you all!
Elder Head

Thank goodness for technology and smartphones :)  Last night about 11:30pm I get an email saying, Hello?? Aww....what a relief! Ryan was still alive :) We asked if he'd been transferred and he said no but his companion had gone home. He laughed (well... as good as you can laugh through typing) and said "I'm the senior companion, but I don't know the area very well or the language...."
They are hoping to get back to India by the first week in September but we'll see. The batch of Americans that came before Ryan's batch was supposed to be back in India the first week in August but are not....  Ryan's new comp is Filipino and he said he heard he doesn't speak English really.....He said, "if he doesn't speak English I don't know what I will do. I literally might go insane. I even thought of trying to learn the language like John Groberg did in the movie,The Other Side of Heaven. Just reading and cross-referencing the Book of Mormon in Tagalog and English.....haha!!  It was so great to email with him back and forth! As always, Jeff was able to give him great advice and was a great sounding board as he too had some similar missionary experiences. We are grateful to be able to email back and forth with him as it gives us all that extra boost needed to push through a difficult situation. We love you Elder Head!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 4 -Philippines

Hello everyone! 
    This week was a pretty boring week! My companion and I got into a few spats this week and so he decided that he can't go out if he doesn't have the Spirit, so needless to say we spent a lot of time in the apartment this week. I am just so excited for him to finish his mission. He finishes next week and Monday will be our last day together. I like him as a person, but he is just too much for me. 
Haha I'm sorry that this week is going to be a boring letter... Just not too much went on! 
    We were able to go to the temple this past week and I am super happy because I didn't realize how much I missed it! You guys at home are super lucky and I'm jealous of you! In the session, the three missionaries that I was sitting next to just slept and it made me so angry! The people in India would give anything to have a temple and here they have one, but the missionaries don't even appreciate what they have. It was super frustrating and made me realize how blessed we are in the U.S. 
    It's been a little bit of a roller coaster time here in the Philippines and I can't wait to get back to India and work! 
Love you! 
Elder Head