Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Some photos from Ryan's mission

December 17 and 24 2013

So I fell a week behind with Christmas so sorry....

December 17, 2013 from Ryan to everyone...

On the 11th of December (last Wednesday) we had our mission Christmas party, it was so cool, we went to Lilo-an chapel and got to watch the Christmas devotional from the week before. after that there was a GIANT talent show. we did a version of the 12 days of Christmas, and entitled it the 12 weeks of training. 
week1-a trainer from osamiz city
week2-2 brown outs
week3-3 sick days
week4-super typhoon
week5-5 golden GEOZ
week6-6 dear john letters
week7-7.2 earthquake
week8-8tuko's talking
week9-9hours tracting
week10-10 csps(community service projects)
week11-11 kwans a kwaning(kwan in cebuano is a whatcha-ma call it word it is just for if you don't know the word)
week12-12 trunky letters
after we were finished with it everyone was laughing because it was funny!!!
This last week my companion and i went up to Bogo to rebuild houses from the typhoon. We were up there for 3 nights and 2 days. We had to take a bus ride up there, it was a 4 hour bus ride, and for the first 2 hours on a bus that was basically flying, the buses here are the fastest moving vehicles. like it is scary fast for those of you that haven't been to the Philippines or on wicked at lagoon. When we got up to Bogo it was 12:30 A.M. we had to walk with all of our stuff for about 30 minutes to the Senior Couples house, we then had to find somewhere to sleep, there was only 5 beds available but there were 14 elders that were going to stay the night there... so that was really hard.
The next morning we still had to be awake by 6:30, and if you got up any later you didn't get to use a shower for a LONG time, (2 showers for 14 elders) i was one of the first awake so i was able to shower really quick. When we were all showered we went to the church which was about 5 km from the house(it is so weird using KM instead of MILES)! after that we got assigned our area to go and build the house. there were 10 houses that we needed to work on and there were 26 elders to work on them. we got assigned to 2 different houses. 1 we needed to completely rebuild, and the other we needed to add a roof and a couple of walls. so an interesting statistic... of all the houses and buildings in Bogo, 99% of the houses were missing their roof, the 1% was the CHURCH!!! crazy right. ok so we went to the first house(without the roof) and the owner is about 50, so here he is still pretty young right??? he climbs up on top of the roof (2nd floor, so around 30 feet) and starts taking off the tarp... i asked him what i could do to help, (VERY rough Cebuano) and he says something crazy! i don't know what he said really but my companion and the other elders said that he told us that we needed to rest... he didn't really let us do much the first day, so we went to the other house, but the next day we basically just told him that he was going to just tell us what to do and he was going to rest. he didn't really like that idea, because a large American on his roof trying to fix it wasn't his idea of good, especially because he thought i didn't know what i was doing, but once i got started he slowly let me continue to work and then gave me full control. 

for the other house we had to start from scratch!!! we had to dig out the foundation and then pour cement!!! it was so hard because we had little Filipino shovels and they are no where near the quality as American tools!
So for the building i was the man in charge, i was the group leader, i had all power to do what i wanted(to a certain extent of course). i was the youngest elder up there(in bogo), had the most experience, and am the youngest in the mission...
on Monday i went on splits with the Zone Leaders to their area! it was really cool, other than the being punted 8 times in a day, we went to one house and they literally said that they didn't want to be happy like us, they didn't want the message that we had and they didn't want anything to do with the church anymore!!! it was terrible!!!!!!!!!!
On Monday i tried balut again, it was TERRIBLE that time, the first time it was pretty good, but Monday it was horrible!!! I videoed it so i could watch it later and send it home...

December 18, 2013 to family..

He still the the people are amazing! They don't really feed them that much over there because they think they have a lot of money. He loved doing the building in Bogo, it was hard but a ton of fun. He still has not received any of the letters we have written and sent through snail mail (sent the first one November 12, 2013 and 1 a week since) maybe one day.

That is all for that week.....

December 24, 2013 from Ryan to everyone...

well it is Christmas day!!! Time to write about my week right???
i will start off with Sunday, so it is my 4th Sunday in the Philippines last Sunday right??? well lets just say they don't care about how well i know the language, i was asked about 5 minutes before the start of sacrament to give a 10 minute talk, no preparation, or warning. i didn't realize how broken my Visayan was until then when i had to stand up in front of everyone and give a talk!!!
So this last week (the 18th) we went to the public market on P-day! we were looking for sundangs! which are swords. the crazy part is that they are REALLY cheep here. i bought three of them!!! i only spent about 700 pesos which is about $5 each!!! it is so crazy what you can get!! This week i finally got my carry on bag back from the airport!!! i was so wonderful, so i just took them the list of everything that i was missing, and when they saw the total price that i was missing their jaws dropped and said that it would be here the following morning. The next morning it was here at 4 A.M. they found it at 2 and it was on the first flight here!!! it is amazing what you can accomplish here if they know how much they owe if they cant find it!!!
On Saturday we had a basketball game with some of our investigators!!! it was so awesome except for the time we had to wake up. we had to be there at 5:00, and we couldn't go to bed early!!! it was so hard to not sleep and then play basketball and be productive the next day!!!  So the last names of the investigators we played basketball with is Labadlabad, and Dugho. Labadlabad means headache headache in Cebuano. Between the two house holds there are about 20 kids under the age of 18!!! it is so crazy!!! there are so many little kids here it is unreal!!
so here the Christmas carolers walk around with their hands open, it is expected that you pay them. and with my companion and i being Americans they automatically assume that we are RICH, so they almost demand and hit us if we don't!!!
Yesterday 12/24/13 we had a baptismal interview, and because i am companions with the district leader we had to go and do that. we had to take a jeepny there and when we got to the area we wanted the driver wouldn't stop, so we had to walk to the back and jump out. when i got to the back and was going to jump out i got tripped by someone in the back and caught myself just enough as to not face plant on the ground from about 9 feet up, but i did fall out and did end up sprawled across the hood of the taxi right behind us that was tailgating us!!! it is so weird, there are no laws or traffic lights here, you just have to be a SUPER AGGRESSIVE driver!!!
Well i think that is all, and that is about all i have time for!!! i hope everyone is doing amazing, and i will email you all next week for NEW YEARS (MALIPAYONG BAGONG TUIG) <HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!>

December 24, 2013 to the family...

Ryan finally got week 1 and week 2 letters from us. Yay!!!!  He said he would start handwriting a bit more but we do understand with time issues and postage. 
We then got to Skype with him..
Ryan and Janel did most of the talking while Harvey, Ashlee, Tyler and Grandma Larson sat and listened. Janel updated him on all her family going on's.
Ryan told us about the 14 investigators they have and how Sunday 4 of them were at church, they may have like 12 baptisms next month (hopefully). He did say it was really hard to teach there because a lot of the words we use to teach the gospel in English do not translate to Cebuano. So they do not really understand the words faith, Jesus, The Savior, etc. that seemed strange to us but language barriers are very different and confusing. He did tell us that there are 168 missionaries in his area.
Ryan was at an Internet cafe using the computer and it was really fun seeing the native people walking around behind him, he said they go in there to play video games. 
So, we asked him about the difference between Christmas here and there, he said Christmas there is more like the 4th of July here, 1 because it is so hot and 2 at about 9pm on Christmas Eve they do fireworks. I think that would be fun to see.
Anyway all in all he is doing great, looked happy, looked healthy (has gained 30 pounds in pure muscle from all the walking and service). What a great experience seeing him, talking to him (voices) and getting a bit of email in too.

Until next time.......

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12, 2013

Ryan's update to everyone...

So last week during Pday there was 2 brown outs during email time! The heat here is so crazy!!! totally not expected especially coming from UTAH!!! Because of the area i am in it feels like 110 degrees because of the pollution!!!
The last week my companion and i led the entire zone in stats!! we had 16 lessons, 35 GEOZ and with 137 FTE's, the rest of the zones average was 13 lessons, 12 GEOZ, and 40 FTE's! we had over half the GEOZ for the zone!
This week we got punted A LOT of times, we ended up going tracting, anywhere we go there are DAGHAN MGA BATA(a lot/many kids) because my companion and i are both 6' and we are both WHITE, so we went to a house and they invited us in, we taught them the lesson about the restoration, then after the lesson they offered us food, and we weren't sure what it was, but after about 10 minutes they told us what it was, (guess what it was), lets just say that DOG is not the best food to eat.... My stomach has been a little sick after that... This week we also had some blood pudding thing, not my favorite, but the Filipinos respect those who are willing to eat whatever is given to them(for the most part anyways).
There is nothing like walking down the road, or the trail and hearing some Filipinos yell "HEY JOE,"(a Joe is a rich American/foreigner that comes to the Philippines and dates younger Filippa's because they have money...) but my companion and i have decided that we will start making teaching opportunities of them!
This week we had a day that we were planning on teaching but those teaching appointments we got punted from, so we went tracting all over places, it was so awesome. we were able to explore more of our area.
We had a FHE(family home evening) this week, it was about a 15 minute motorcycle ride up into the bukid, and then we had to walk down about 200 stairs to their house once we got there there was a brown out!!! and then we had to power for the lesson so it was kinda hard for the lesson, but it needed to continue.
On Sunday night there was a HUGE rain storm. there was so much rain that there were rivers running through the road, it rained about 8 inches in about 3 hours, UNREAL!!! We were about 30 minutes walking away from our house, and it was even longer because of the rain.
Sorry ran out of time this week!!! Hope this helps you!!!
Oh yeah, this week we are going to Bogo Zone to help build houses after the Typhoon, we will be up there for about 3 days. i cant wait!!! i will take tons of pictures and hopefully email them next p day!!!


-Elder Larson
Gihigugma ta 



PS. this week we got to go to the temple again, but halfway through the session there was a brown out, and about 10 minutes later everything stopped. the temple has a giant generator because the power is very unstable here. but there was a gas leak and they had to shut it off... so we made it through half a session, and then they had to cancel the rest of the day because of the brown out!!! pastilan!!! oh well, we take what we can get!PS. this week we got to go to the temple again, but halfway through the session there was a brown out, and about 10 minutes later everything stopped. the temple has a giant generator because the power is very unstable here. but there was a gas leak and they had to shut it off... so we made it through half a session, and then they had to cancel the rest of the day because of the brown out!!! pastilan!!! oh well, we take what we can get!

Now what he talked with us about...

He was at a home for dinner and they fed him dog. He said his stomach was upset after eating and it didn't taste very well. He has also eaten pig skin, balut and blood pudding. YUCK!!!!
We talked about Christmas and that he will get to skype we just need to get more info and figure it all out.
We told him Justin Bieber was there helping out and laughed because when Ryan was in Australia he was there too. 
He is really enjoying himself and the people he is meeting. The language is coming along well and he likes learning more. 
He is really excite for the service he gets to do this week as well.
He is watching out for the sisters with all those big spiders there. He hit one with a leaf and when it died a pouch of babies came running out so he had to kill all of them too. He really is an inspiration to us all that no matter where you are or what you are doing being kind and thoughtful to those around you are what is very best.

Until next time....

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

This first part is what Ryan wrote in an email to share with everyone:
My area is called Consolation, (lation for short). it was just barely split from the Lilo-an zone probably about 3 months or 2 transfers ago. There are 6ish wards, 2 stakes. baring my testimony in Cebuano the first Sunday was kinda stressful, i said probably 5 words, and was like AMEN!!! This last week i have had to bare my testimony in Cebuano about 20000 times. it is great, they also always call on me to say the prayers.
There are still after shocks from the earthquake, the day i got here there was a 5.0 aftershock at 5 AM, i was on the 7th floor of a hotel during it. i woke up and decided i was too tired to really care. we got to the hotel at 12:00 AM, so we had didn't go to sleep until about 1, and i had slept about 3 hours on the plane rides. so  The weirdest sounds came from the street below. a lot of popping rumbling.
Our main form of transportation is Hoble-hoble's, they are motorcycles that are used for "shorter" distance traveling because they are so expensive. for longer distance traveling we use jeepney's, which are "dilapidated old buses"-L. Tom Perry. The culture is crazy and is taking a while to get used to, but it is amazing.
Right now in our area, we are working on bringing back less actives, we have probably 30 less active members and maybe 8 investigators that we are currently working with. the work is slow and very hard, but it is so worth it when they come to church!!!
We have had 1 service project, where we packed rice into 4.5 kg bags to send to Bogo for the typhoon relief. the rice was originally in 50 kg bags. in 3 hours we as a zone of 17 Elders and sisters did 150 50 kg bags of rice into the 4.5 kg bags, it was so hard and long. but i know that it will help and bless so many people's life's in Bogo.
Last P-day (Wednesday) i got to go to the Cebu Temple. My companion had one of his previous less actives going to be sealed in the temple. We got there at 7 AM and finally left at i believe 7:30 PM. It was awesome, i was one of the witnesses for the sealing, it was in Cebuano, and i didn't understand a word of it!!!!!!!!! but that is okay because they understood it all. While i was at the temple i got to go through a session as well. that was pretty cool!
The water and Power here is not very reliable, some days we have no water, so that means we cant shower, and we shower by bucket and scoop. and then we also have no power because of the after shocks from the earthquake.
So at the temple the Angle Moroni on top of the temple is now a wind vain. whenever the wind blows too hard it turns, during the earthquake he was shaken from where he was originally put and the bottom is broken. While i was there he was pointed north. but about 2 weeks ago he was pointed south... crazy right>???
Yesterday (DEC. 1, 2013) we had a lesson, i have been here for about 12 days right? my companion told me right before that i had this one, and turns out i was able to teach the entire lesson about the restoration in CEBUANO, i didn't think my Cebuano was that good but i guess i just haven't had to rely on myself that much.
This language is so crazy, i don't feel like i am doing very well, but i have been told since day 1 how i am "bistak" which is the best compliment you can get! i don't feel i am doing as well as i should, but maybe that is because i expect myself to be perfect in everything.
I think that this will probably be the last email i send that will actually make sense to everyone, i have noticed my writing and talking in English is starting to suffer a ton!!!
I just wanted to let everyone know that i am doing amazing, that i am loving this country so much and i miss everyone and hope you all are doing good!!!

Nasyud ko nga tinuod ang basahon ni mormon. Nasyud ko nga pinaagi sa pagdawat ni Joseph Smith ug ang basahon ni mormon gihubad pinaagi niya. Nasayud ko nga and Dios mga gugma iyang mga anak. Kahibalo ko nga pinaagi magbasa ang basahon ni mormon, tanan inyong mga pangutana sa tubag. Ganahan ko paambit sa kasulatan. Naa siya sa biblia, sa Philippians kapitulo qwatro bersikulo trise. nagsulti siya, "I can do all things through Christ which strenghteneth me."
Nasayud ko nga kita dili pwede makabuhat sa tanan, perro kita sa makabuhat pinaagi sa gugma sa Dios ug ni Kristo.
Let me know if you figured it out, or email me if you need help, it is not the most perfect Cebuano, but i tried, and it makes sense.


-Elder Larson

Here is some of the stuff he shared with just us:

He is doing great. The heat is terrible but not to much to handle yet. He has lost 10 pounds which means he is still up 15 pounds from when he went into the MTC. He eats a lot of rice. He misses the Utah weather, it is always hot and humid there and at night they burn their garbage so the air quality is terrible always smoggy. It hasn't been to bad on his asthma so that is a good thing. He says there are a lot of dogs, cats, chickens and frogs that just roam the streets. He has cockroaches living with him as well. YUCKY!!! His companion is from Highland, Utah and I actually have talked to his mom on face book. We are both in a group on face book for moms with missionaries in the Cebu East Philippines mission. We are also on a missionary moms website that is very nice and supportive.
He still has not received his bag that they lost but he is praying and not losing hope as it has all of his stuff from the MTC and other things he really needs and wants, lots of memories.
Well that is all for now. Until next time.......