Thursday, October 20, 2016

First Typhoon

Answers first...
Typhoon; if no one told me, I wouldn't have known. It was just a bigger than normal storm, almost as windy as Cedar City during storms. We got all worried and bought 72 hour kits, but nothing really happened. Supposedly it's still going on, so maybe there will be more. A Typhoon is just a Hurricane with water.
Yes, we have a mission phone, that we both share. Elder Sudweeks typically has it, because 1. I can't really read/speak Tagalog yet, and 2. The Tagalog texts (texting is really common here) are really abbreviated. They all use ltl wrds like dis, bcuz its ezyr thn typing all the big long Tagalog words out.
Yes I am drinking more water, and trying to remember to take those pills every morning.
I did eat dog this week... Just a little tiny piece, but I did. They had it really flavored like soy sauce, but the texture is like steak, really chewy. Whatever I had for lunch at the members 'Tindahan' today was really good, some pork and potato mix over rice.
I've seen lots of karebou this week, but couldn't take any pictures. I don't know what might be 'cool' now... It's kinda starting to be normal now.
Transfers are this next coming week, so we will find out then!
Zone conference was good, it's always fun to see different white people ;) I learned a lot!
I like President Dahle a lot. He seems to care a lot about the missionaries, and is very good at teaching and telling his stories He will leave about right halfway through my mission.
Our week was good, we couldn't work during the storm, we never know when a flash flood or something might come. And clothes are impossible to dry here. But all our investigators are doing good! We might have to push back the one family, they had a coffee problem that we didn't know about (they need to be completely clean for at least one month) but that's it. We are supposed to baptize two investigators in two weeks!
I talked to Chad, he could only write a short email this first week. I know he would love to hear from you too, in either an email or a DearElder while he can get them. 
That's a hard thing to learn, Christlike Attributes. There is a whole chapter of Preach My Gospel dedicated to just them. I've started trying to improve my attributes too, so that I can be a better example to people around me. It's hard to be an example when every one around you is so relaxed, but I know that following those attributes is important, and really the best thing we can do.
This week, during the rain, we were walking when a group of kids leaving the school suddenly swarmed towards us and started walking underneath our umbrellas with us. I was shocked, and startled at how close and how many of them there were in so short and time. Before I could really get used to them, they had already ran off to their different streets or roofs to wait out the rain. It made me think about how sometimes we will come running to other people for help, but before they can really help us, we turn to a different source. I know that we all know that daily reading, prayer, and simple things like that can help our lives so much, but if we don't see the immediate results we get angry and try something different. I hope that we can stay focused on and be diligent in doing what we know works. I know that by doing what we should, by choosing the right, we will be blessed. Just maybe not as quickly or in the way we want.
Thanks for the email, love you and miss you. I pray for you all, and I know we all will be blessed because of our service. 
Elder Potter. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Yes, the block building is the little 'tindahan' where we usually go to 'eat out' in Taugtog. I'm good, just always tired and a little stressed out.
Me and Elder Sudweeks get along great, lots of work and laughs!

The work here...
It's hard, because the 2nd Councilor in the Branch Presidency has quit coming to church, the Branch Clerk is less active, there is no Ward Mission Leader, and the other organizations are all messed up too. We don't have enough people to be a ward, and our area is not yet a stake. So we are the only missionaries here in the entire branch. Yikes...
It's also good, we have started to fill up our calendar with baptism dates. Every Saturday starting with October 29 till November 26 ( i think ) has at least one of our 11 investigators who have baptism goal dates. That is really good, and I'm excited for them, and hope they can continue keeping their commitments.
The language... Ugh... I feel so worthless, so hopeless, so pointless. I can understand maybe 70% of what other people say, but it's super hard to be able to speak back to them. I have such a hard time every day, because I just follow Elder Sudweeks, listen to him talk, try and testify, he repeats my testimony, and repeat. But they tell me I am getting better, I am growing. Elder Sudweeks says the best way to learn the language is Time. But I can't help but feel that I am not doing good enough.

Conference was amazing, I felt like every other talk was meant just for me. We had to download it onto our SD cards, and then work those into the TV, because there is no BYUTV here, and the TV was to new to connect to the old Computer. The priesthood session was just us two, and so was the Saturday morning session. The Saturday afternoon session had 5 people, including us. Sunday morning was 47 people I think, and afternoon was about 15. My favorite talk was in the Saturday Morning session, from Brother Cornish; "Am I Good Enough? Will I Make It?" He spoke more about making it to the Celestial Kingdom, but it applied a lot to my life as a missionary.
This General Conference, I think one of the main themes, for me at least, was that we take too much for granted. We have been given the most correct book in the entire world, and we leave it sitting on the shelf. We have a living prophet in our days, but people don't want to watch because it's "boring". We have the same priesthood that Jesus the Christ did, and sometimes we don't want to use it bless others through the Sacrament. We have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, a member of the God head, and we don't listen to his promptings, and maybe even drive him away with sin. We have repentance, and forgiveness that's just a prayer away, but we are 'to tired' to kneel down for two minutes. I think that it is important for us to realize that we have a great thing here for us, and we need to be more grateful and happy to serve in the church, serve others, attend meetings, do everything that we have been asked, because we have been given everything!
One day, we were walking back home from one of our farthest houses. My feet hurt, I was wet, it was dark, my knee was hurting, I was hungry and thirsty, and embarrassed about the testimony I had just stumbled through. Elder Sudweeks was a head of me, talking to the member who was with us. I offered then, a little prayer, a tiny, complaint to God in my heart that I didn't think I could do this every day. I was suddenly flooded with a warm feeling, from head too two. My pain, and feelings of wetness disappeared. But my feelings of depression did not leave. I could practically hear the Holy Ghost saying to me; "How about now, will you still give up? Do you still not want this?" And for a second, I still didn't. I still didn't want to go and embarrass myself again, and get wet again, and have that pain again. But I knew, that if God could listen to an angry, complaining prayer, from my heart, He could do anything. He has called me to stumble through a weak testimony so that He can bring the spirit. I don't know why He wanted me here, now, to do this. But I do know that everything happens for a reason. Every single thing in life is supposed to happen the way that it is. I don't think we can ever know the whole truth, the entire purpose. I just hope that I can quickly learn, so that my purpose will not be to be embarassed, but instead to be able to teach and share.
I love you, and miss you. It's still hard. But this is where I need to be. I gave Sydni and Logan some challenges for the family, I hope that we can start to do them together.
Elder Potter

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Tougtog area week 3

I will try and drink more water and eat more. It's just that we typically don't carry water with us because it's so heavy. As for the food, I will buy myself some more this week to add to the 'house food' we all get. 

I'm pretty sure that the bites are just from mosquitoes. They are everywhere here, and there is only so much we can do. Everyone has them, natives and foreigners. But I might try ironing the mattress latter today. 

General Conference is a week later here, because they translate everything into Tagalog first, for those who don't understand English. We will watch in English though, this Sunday at the Stake Center, with all the missionaries, I think.

For Christmas, maybe a flash drive. We have a DVD player at the residence, where we can listen to church songs and watch church movies, if we can somehow get them. The WiFi here is really slow, but I think I could download some stuff to watch on P-days and listen to in the mornings. As for cookie mix, we do not have an oven. Or any cookie sheets. I think our Nanay (like mother in Tagalog) has an oven, but I don't know about cookie sheets or anything like that. 

In our house, we have 4 missionaries yes. Us two in Taugtog, and the other two bike to San Quan every day, about 20 minutes. They are both Filipino. Elder Humagdou has like two months left in his mission, and has really good English. He is the district leader, and sometimes asks for help learning English. Elder Detera is new, technically me and him will go home at the same time (my 6 weeks in the MTC put me up there with him). His English is not as good, but he can understand most everything I say. They both love to help me learn Tagalog, even though we don't see each other very often, just right before bed and in the mornings. 

We don't have a house keeper or cook. We have asked a member to wash our clothes, Nanay Baluyot, and Nanay Kastro feeds us dinner most every night. 

The language is slowly, slowly coming. Our biggest problem here is having a male presence in the house so that we can teach. The fathers and sons who are old enough to count for us, are at work or school all day. So it's very important for us to have a member working with us at all times. Without them, we probably wont be able to teach. These members, usually Brother Zuess (a super short Return Missionary I think) and Brother Sam (a young man, 18 or 17), are always fun to (try and) talk to. We have 6 BGD right now. BGD means Baptism Goal Date. They are; Jasmine and Maryann, Nanay Bagobi, and the Onate Family. Jasmine and Maryann are 9 and 10 years old. Jasmine is from a super less-active family, and Maryann is her best friend. They have both been to church a few times, but Maryann couldn't this week because she was sick. Nanay Bagobi is a super new convert, and she and her daughter went to church for the first time yesterday! Nanay Kastro said she participated in Relief Society meeting, but she went to Olongapo to visit family before we could talk to her. The Onate Family, the two parents and a daughter, where referrals. They were actually taught 4 years ago, but where dropped for some odd reason. They are very receptive, and excited to learn. Their daughter, Jowena, came to church by herself this week, because the Tatay and Nanay were gone to Iba. 

This week for our CSP (community service project), we cleaned out Sister Baluyot's new house. It was actually kind of scary, a dark concrete block full of spider webs and garbage. She said there might actually be a snake in the roof. But as we cleaned anyways, under the light of the little flash light I brought. As I was cleaning the CR, with a broom that's really just a bunch of sticks, I thought about how much cleaner this place would have been if someone would have just continued to clean it. But because they let it go for so long, without any supervision, it became dirty and disgusting, and if there really was a snake, unsafe. I realized later, how that kind of applies to life. We need to continually clean our own lives, to make sure that we can stay clean. I was reading in Alma, when Helaman and Moroni are fighting with the Lamanites, and there are rebellions inside the Nephites government. Alma says that we first need to clean our inner chambers, before we can try and clean the out ones. We have to prepare ourselves, and make sure we are clean, before we can expect anyone else to be clean or ready to hear the gospel. 

I love you so much, and miss everyone. Take care, and know that I pray for you.
Elder Potter