Tuesday, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014

sigi.. so this week was pretty good, we have been being a lot more kugihan(diligent) we had been struggling with a lot of work and what not... but this week we were starting to be more prompt with our time. it is super hard though... i have been taking the lead in basically everything now. i am starting to surpass my trainer with just talking with people! it is pretty awesome. 

so we have a tatay, (old man/grandpa) in our area, is 83 years old, and can barely stand, he has had scoliosis for the last 30 years, he has a pretty hunched back. the crazy thing is that he still works full time, he works from about 6:30-6 every day except for Sunday, and then on Sunday he walks about 2 miles to church alone. He was baptized in 2001, and this last Sunday he received the Melchizedek Priesthood! Every time we go over to teach him, he spends  the first while telling us how much he loves us, because we are americans, he tells us stories about WW2 and how the Americans came in and saved him... i dont understand much that he is saying but i do understand some of it like when he says "kalayo hinagiban" but the only reason i understand that is because he pretends like he has a gun... a gun that shoots fire.... it is way crazy! On Sunday during Priesthood, i sat next to him and he held my hand and talked with me for about an hour! it was so awesome..
on friday we went on splits with the ZL's but they just split and one of them came to our area, and the other one went to the other district and we were working on tracting/finding, which is SUPER hard to do i Cebuano for me, i am getting better at the language and i rarely need to think about how to say something before i can say it. but when tracting it is harder to just start a random conversation with them, and then relate it to the gospel...
saturday when we were going to lunch with the zl's and other district DL. we were walking to Mang Inasal, (awesome food place, {fine dining}) and i saw a giant or i guess it was fairly large dark spot on the middle of the road, when i looked a little closer i could see some fur... and then even closer i could see the shape of a cat, but it wasn't alive anymore, it looked about as flat as a piece of paper, haha it was so crazy.... {not because a dead cat} but because no one did anything about it and it was just super flat!!! I also saw a rat the size of a house cat running in the street, it was so crazy big, and then it ran into the sewer!
So on Monday we found a little trail up to the Bukid(mountains) and up there we found a giant house, when we went in there was a tatay, and a younger man but still about 40. but they were super awesome to talk to, we got a lesson and then after it they said to come back and they would bring their families! it was such an awesome lesson!!!
apparently there was a typhoon that hit Mindanao this week, we hiked up to the top of a cliff and looked out over the area, and the wind started to blow super hard, but no rain. Later in the evening we were talking with some people and they said that there was a typhoon that day.
So since the 7.2 earthquake in Bohol there have been upwards of 300 aftershocks, and then the typhoon that hit Tacloban was the second typhoon to flood super bad, and then just this last one that hit Mindanao flooded there too. so that means the last 2 were some of the worst typhoons. Everyone here is doing amazing!!!

This week we got our Zone Jersey, it is a custom jersey and shorts, it was about 600 pesos, or about 17 dollars for a custom jersey and gym shorts!!! you can barely buy dirt for that in America!!! yeah!!!!!!!!

this week is the first time that we have actually had IBD's, they are not until February but there are 3 that we have scheduled, now we just need them to come to church and keep the commitments that we give them!!!

-Elder Gwapo-Larson

Sorry I am not posting anything other than what he is sending my computer is being a pain in my rear right now!! Until next time......

January 14, 2014

Wednesday(Miyerkules)-We had no stats for the day, we had P-day all day, and then we went to an FHE about 20 minutes away, so we didnt really get to do much that day. but we were on time to pretty much everywhere... we have been working on being more prompt and more bold with our time, and not being late.
Thursday(Huwebes)-We got punted a lot, we only had 2 lessons, one of them is with a Grandma, her name is Diana Dayrit, we call her Nanay Dayrit, because it is a sign of respect, she is a Recent Convert, we have been teaching the new member lessons, she asked a really hard question... her question was "why is 8 the age of accountability?" the issue is that age of accountability is super hard to explain and no one knows what it is. (panuigon sapagka-may tulubagon).
Friday(Biyernes)-So today we kept getting mixed news from the people we were talking to. people kept telling us that there was a typhoon of 3 or worse on the way, and then later people would just say that it was a small low pressure system just passing over, but by this time there had been constant clouds for the previous 3 days or since Tuesday.
Saturday(Sabado)-we were going to go play basketball with our investigators at 5:30, but when we woke up it was raining, so we just went back to sleep. we had so many lessons planned today, but from all of them but 2 we got punted from. we taught an awesome lesson to Nanay Flores, she is about 73 years old, and her husband passed away, she is trying to go to the temple to be sealed, over here it is a lot harder to be sealed, or go to the temple, because there is one temple for basically all of the southern Philippines, and then it is super expensive to travel there! Utah has like 9 within 30 minutes of my house!
Sunday(Domingo)-we havent had sun for 5 days, and this morning i measure the amount of rain, and we were up to about 5 1/2 inches of rain. we went out to teach in the morning because our church starts at 1:00-4:00 and then we have meetings after so it is hard to do work. We went to a really cool family, they are 7th day adventist's, they are super elect, and amazingly educated, we were able to teach them in english and cebuano, which was super good for me! i am not the best at cebuano, so this really helped me teach them. we had a super amazing lesson and then made a return appointment!

-Elder Larson

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 8, 2014

Ryan sent 2 emails this week to share with everyone so I am only going to share those this week:

Email 1:

Here is a story I came in contact with earlier on in the mission.  Very inspirational.  Please give it a read it is well worth it.

Dear Elders and Sisters, One of the things we need to know is that our decision to serve where we are called is not by accident. When the Lord chooses a missionary he just doesn't say, well Philippines Cebu East Mission needs missionaries, Long Beach California, or Omaha Nebraska Mission needs Missionaries, He matches our personality and our gifts to certain people that reside in our mission. This is so that there lives can be touched and that we also can receive a testimony that we were specifically called here for a specific reason and for specific people. Do you ever get that feeling that you have known that person before or you just instantly click with a person or a companion. This is not a coincidence, it is part of the divine plan. It is so important to go and do what the lord asks us to do in His time and not ours.

A young man named Bill Carpenter had studied 3 and half years in a Catholic seminary to become a Jesuit priest. Just before he was to take his final vows he came in contact with the LDS church and through the efforts of several people, including his family and through the promptings of the Holy Ghost he joined the church on December 4, 1982. He served a mission from February 1984 to 1986. 

This is the conversion story of a Brother he baptized named Hamlet.

I was serving in Iowa when my companion and I knocked on a door of a house. No one answered so we knocked again and still no one answered. As we started to walk away we heard the voice of a man say, "No boys don't go" we turned around and standing in the door frame was an elderly man probably in his late 70's. He asked us to come back and invited us in and introduced himself as Hamlet. 

Hamlet was very lonely and he desperately wanted someone to talk to-just someone to listen to his words. I had learned early in my mission that to teach people the gospel many times you have to answer their physical or spiritual needs before you can prepare them to receive the gospel. So for about an hour we just listened to him as he talked, sharing memories of his life and of his dead wife. When he finished he sighed heavily and said, " Okay, so you have something to share with me?" We taught him the first discussion, placed a Book of Mormon with him and gave him a reading assignment. We didn't make a return appointment. 

About two weeks passed and I felt really impressed one day that we should go back and see him. We did and encountered the same story as last time. For the first hour he just talked and we didn't say anything. When she finished he said, "Okay I am ready to listen". 

I asked, "Hamlet did you get a chance to read  The Book Of Mormon like we asked you to?' He replied, yes I did read some. What did you think? I asked. He said, "Well I understand boys, the Sermon on the Mount better in 3 Nephi than I did in the bible." "That's great Hamlet," I exclaimed. "That's what The Book Of Mormon does, it helps confirm the bible. Anything else?"

He said, "Well I did read about a people I'm not sure I understand. They were called the Jaredites. Now were they the people that were scattered at the Tower of Babel?" My companion and I smiled at each other. We knew that the Jaredites were not in 3 Nephi and that's where the reading assignment was, so we explained to her that they indeed are. 

I asked again  " Anything else Hamlet?" "Well no, I don't-then again, I read about two boys. Now their dad's a prophet, their brother's a righteous man, God even sends an angel to them. Then she threw her arms up and said, Oh you can't teach some kids anything." We laughed. Those boys were Laman and Lemuel and they weren't in 3 Nephi either. So I said, Hamlet how much did you read? The sweetest memory of my mission is of that elderly man picking up The Book of Mormon from off the table holding it to his chest saying, I read it. I read all of it and I loved it.It was a beautiful experience for us. We challenged him to be baptized and he accepted.

We taught Hamlet the remaining missionary discussions. Teaching Hamlet was so much fun. He was like a child in a candy store. He wanted everything, all the knowledge he could absorb and he wanted it now. He had a friend who worked at the bank and he had her write this little contract that we were adopted grandchildren. 

January 1986. His baptism was a lovely experience. At 83 years old and 100 pounds, (45kg) Hamlet was frail. The day after his baptism my companion said Hamlet you will want to get a patriarchal blessing. What's that he asked, he explained that it is a blessing like a blue print for your spiritual life.Oh I want one of those blue prints. So an appointment was made and he received his blessing. 

Two weeks later Hamlet received his patriarchal blessing in the mail. He contacted us and said, Are you coming over boys? We said we will come over about 2pm like we usually do. She said, Oh no. That won't do. What won't do. That won't do because it came. What came. The blueprint came. The blueprint, I asked totally confused. The blessing. I want you to come over this morning.

When we arrived Hamlet handed me his blessing and said, I would like you to read that for me. I said, "No Hamlet, that's personal, I think you should be the first to read it." He asked me again to read it and I declined saying, "I think its between you and the Lord and you ought to read it first." His eyes got big and for the first time ever since we began teaching him, he called us elders. Now elders you don't understand do you? I said, "I don't understand what Hamlet." My eyes haven't seen the words on a written page for 15 years but when you gave me that book, I know it was true because I saw the words and the Lord granted me that power until I finished its last page. Well I don't have that power anymore. My eyes are dim once again. Would you please read my blessing to me. For a long time we just sat there. 

Finally I started to read Hamlet his blessing. It talked about the wondrous elect man that he was and all that God had planned for him. I got about three quarters of the way through it and I read a line that changed my mission and changed my life. It said that Hamlet would have joined the church 25 years earlier if the elder that had accepted his call would have gone. But he did not. But now two other missionaries, had been prepared to teach him. And they have proven themselves worthy of that blessing because of some sacrifice and trials on their part. This was the last month of my mission. I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I'd never met Hamlet. Hamlet passed away that night, having completed all that God wanted him to do.

We have been called to this sacred work, in this mission to teach those whom the Lord has prepared. The lord will perform miracles and if somebodies eyes need to be opened He will open them even if they are blind. May we always remember that everything happens for a reason. We need to be in the right place doing the right thing at the right time so we find the right person or the right family that the Lord has called us to save.

So this story has been change slightly... This last Saturday we had a lesson exactly like this, the man is named Hamlet. he is a little grandpa, he has been blind for the last 5 years because of a construction accident. But about 3 days (when we first met him) before the lesson he had begun to see shapes and slight images. We taught him the first lesson, and then challenged him to read the introduction to the Book of Mormon, and we were prompted to give him a blessing in a quite room, the only issue is there are NO quiet rooms in the Philippines other than the temple.

Elder Ewell opened to a random scripture and by random, and a miracle he opened to 2 Nephi 27:29, it was so amazing. after that we 
gave him
 copy of the Book of Mormon and then walked him to his house.

Email 2:

Hello everyone, So i guess this week i will start off the email with what we did last Wednesday(the 1st) and then progress. So last Pday we did a lot of cleaning!!! we used quite a bit of Muratic Acid... which here you can just buy like it is candy, i don't know how it is in America. but we spent probably 3 hours cleaning, it was so tiresome, and i had to shower after because i smelt like muratic acid, bleach, and other chemicals...

So on Thursday we had a bunch of appointments that fell through, so we did a bunch of tracting, which is super hard to do in Visayan/Cebuano... I thought it was hard to do in English, but i had no idea. We tracted 9 houses and got 1 lesson out of it. But that lesson was pretty cool. i started it, and then they said come in, they spoke English to us, and then we taught it Cebuano, so i finally understood everything that they were talking about so i could answer it properly.

On Friday is our weekly planning, it was so long this week!!! we started at 9:30 and then finally finished at 2:30!!! it was unreal!!! I was so tired after that, but the day had to go on... we had a lesson with Matthew, he has been taught by the missionaries for the last 2 years. he knows all the lessons and he just doesn't want to get baptized. but today we had a really awesome lesson, and then we invited him to the baptism the next day. he said he would go. it was so amazing. an awesome lesson closed with that. one other reason he isn't baptized yet is because he isn't married to his 'girlfriend' yet. they have 2 kids and have been together for 5 years... so we are just waiting for them to be officially married!

Saturday there was a baptism in the stake, Consolacion 3B, Sister Warner and Sister Yap, it was pretty awesome, except for the water, it took 3 hours to fill up and it wasn't even completely full, and then the water was a yellow and looked way nasty!!! We had an awesome lesson today... it is in another email...

Sunday! fast Sunday... we had committed 20 people to attend church, so we went to go pick them up, but when we got there each of them said that they were busy... it was so sad... the promised they would go and then they were "too busy." there were about 5 cats fighting on the roof just behind our house at 4:30 this morning... they were so loud, and we couldn't sleep.

Monday we had district meeting, the lesson was on fore ordination. and why we need to go on our missions when we are assigned...

Tuesday i started teaching myself how to play the piano... it is kinda difficult but if i know how the song goes i can usually play it. it is kinda like my broken Cebuano.

So a cool way to think of my mission was told to me by sister Warner.. Because i will be 20 when i get home i will have served for 2 years which is about 1/10 of my life. talk about extreme tithing and living the law of consecration!!!!!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

January 1, 2014

Elder Ryan Larson wrote this to everyone:

So this last week has been way SHORT, it feels like i just skyped my parents yesterday!!! But seeing that it is 11:00 on New Years Day, i know that it was not just yesterday! So on Saturday the 28th at 7:52 A.M. there was another aftershock! that one was fairly loud, not very big. it is so weird being in a country where they just had so much destruction come through!

Right after the aftershock there was a GIANT bee that flew into our apartment! i hit it with the blade of my sundang (sword) and killed it! It was so crazy!!!!

Later that night (the 28th) we had our ward Christmas Party, it was pretty cool... except for the whole we couldn't invite our investigators to it... the reasons behind this was because we didn't have enough money to support and feed them... but when we got there (on time) we spent the next almost 2 hours sitting waiting for people to show up. so the reason that they didn't have money or food for them is because they got LECHON, which is the most expensive food here. it is whole pig roasted on an open fire and very delicious!! So we couldn't invite our investigators to it because they needed to have food in their bellies more than anything else... argh so irritating!!!

So i finally figured out an amazing comparison, what the Philippines is like... it is exactly how i would picture Jurassic Park, there are fences and gates everywhere, there are chickens, goats, dogs, cats, tuko, tiki, and cows running everywhere. All the plants look exactly the same, there is always crazy noises going on, that as you are here longer you learn to love and recognize each individual sound and its small importance!

Oh yeah so on the 25th we had a Zone Activity at a place called Discovery Hills, which was defined to me by an elder, he said and i quote, "it is a Catholics playground," needless to say he was right! there were so many random statues and random things there. It is IMPOSSIBLE to describe everything without showing you it in person!!

This week we also lost 6 of our IBD(Investigator with Baptismal Date) they were on a roll of coming to church, but then they missed a week and now we have to give them a different date..... ummm... i think that is about everything!

Happy New Year All, make sure you set some amazing goals, and strive to achieve them every day!!!

Oh yeah, and i got to watch like 5 movies this week! The R.M., The Best Two Years, Monsters University, The Greatest Turkey Movie Ever, and Legacy!!! it was so much fun!!!

-Elder Larson
Gihigugma ta ka

Elder Ryan Larson update to just us:

He basically sent me a saying in Cebuano : karon hapit sa Bagong tuig, perro karon sugod sa lain tuig, lisod siya, walay pamilya. kahibalo ko sa ginoo sa tabangi akong pamilya.

translated to English:

well now it is almost the new year, but now start another year. it is hard without my family around but I know that The Lord is helping them.

Keep him in your prayers as he is a little homesick right now. He is strong on all accounts and will be great. Thank you for all your support.

Until next time......