Tuesday, December 29, 2015

at the baptism..."I just got my calves wet"

Manila Philippines Temple

So so so so so sorry for not e-mailing yesterday!!! In Tagalog I would say "Pasensya po!" Today is our zone temple day so P-day was swapped over to today as well. I didn't know about it until a couple days ago so there was no way to inform you. But you can rest assured that I wasn't killed, or worse; expelled... from the mission. :)

I loved talking to you on Christmas too! It was fun to see all your blurry faces on the small I-phone screen I was using and hearing your scratchy cut-out voices and trying to understand what you are saying. I did pretty good I think. That's 'cause that's all I do here almost is try to understand what people are talking to me about. I've had a lot of practice these past few months! It's good to know it's all paying off! :) I'm so glad everyone had a wonderful Christmas. I wish I could have been there, but I was sobrang busy giving my own gifts of Eternal Life to the people over here. I guess you have to make sacrifices in life sometimes. It's fine though, because we both had white Christmases! Mine was just a lot warmer than yours!

After I was done talking to you we went out and shared the gospel with a bunch of people. We had 60 OYMs in a single day. How crazy is that? Super crazy in case you don't know quite how to gauge that kind of scale. One of those was a little boy, probably about 12, who spoke super good English. I asked him how he learned it so good and he said it was from youtube. He just watches all these Minecraft, and 5 Nights at Freddy's videos and they taught him English. haha Tell that to Jason and he'll appreciate it because that's all Jared does. hahaha We also talked to some kids playing a weird game. They had these little cardboard circles and were throwing them on the ground on other circles trying to get them to flip over. These Filipino children are so easily entertained, and super good at that game too. It's kinda fun to watch. Maybe I'll invest in some so we can play together in a couple years. :)

The baptism was awesome! Everything worked out perfectly. She didn't drown, and neither of us got pneumonia from the ice water they poured into the font.  It wasn't actually ice water, but it definitely wasn't as warm as I remember the St. George temple baptismal font being. I have more respect for those pioneers who helped everyone cross the sweet water river. I can sort of sympathize with them now. :)  I feel more bad for Sister Rachel. She's the one who had to go all the way under. I just got my calves wet. haha (but really. I was pleasantly surprised when my garments weren't wet.) I guess our turtles can most sympathize with cold water though; especially by the looks of the back yard. Have you had to break up the ice on the pond yet? Poor guys. I don't know how they do it. I even snapped a few photos of the baptism, but I'm e-mailing just after my temple trip and wasn't expecting so be so rushed for time, so I will send photos next week. haha I said that last week, and the week before, but this time is for real!!!

 Not on so much of a Christmassy note, but I had some mayonnaise the other day, and it was sobrang masarap!!! (super tasty!!!) It was just a sandwich with bread and mayonnaise that a member had given me. I asked Elder Lindaya what it was, because it was so tasty and I had to know. I realized how much I missed home when it was just mayonnaise. hahaha

About my temple trip today: we got there way early so we could have companion study there and while practice teaching I was speaking almost flawless Tagalog. It was amazing!!! Probably the gift of tongues works better at the temple. It's fun just jabbering away in a foreign language though. It still feels funky for my mouth to form some of the sounds, so when I talk fast "it's making me all confuzed!" Heidi, What's that from???

So yeah. Great Christmas week, and I'm ready for a great new year. We have to be home by 7:00 on New Years Eve because it's too dangerous here to be out any later. haha

Anywho, "I'm going now, and I wish you all a very fond farewell."

Mahal ko kayo!

Elder Fawson

Sunday, December 20, 2015

I'm baptizing someone on Saturday! How neat is that?

If every 1/12 of my mission is this great, It'll be awesome, but everyone tells me it gets better after the first year, so I guess I'm just gonna be the happiest guy on earth. 

Life is definitely different here than at home. For example, at home I rarely saw people in front of there house in only there underwear, but now I think I'll feel awkward when I get home and everyone is fully clothed. I never do that of course, but maybe if I didn't have my garments it would be worth a shot. haha!

Another example: Never until the last couple weeks have I been offered drugs, but I was walking down the street one day, and out of nowhere I hear this man say, "Hey Joe (that's what they call white people, Joe). Want some weed?" I don't even know this guy, and he's so kind as to offer his weed to me. The people here are so nice. I kindly declined and gave him a card with a link to a Christmas message and our cell number on it. Hopefully he calls so we can teach him about the word of wisdom. hahaha

[I told Robert that I thought of him and his big feet during the Messiah when they sang the part that says..."How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things. (Isaiah 52:7)]

I think when Isaiah prophesied about beautiful feet he was seeing a vision of me. I keep my feet so fine. Walang (without) ingrown toenails, walang athletes foot, and my toenails are clipped and so fine. hahaha I'v been humming the Messiah music ever since last week to be in the spirit of things. :)

Washing clothes is a challenge! I think I can see my hands getting buffer though. I guess blessings really do come after the trial of your faith. Muscles don't get huge before you work out. Look at Dad for example. He wasn't just born with herculean physique. He had to work really hard for that! 

Talking about working out, while buying breakfast at the place across from out apartment we saw an old man that we see while running sometimes and got talking to him. He started out by saying how much he admires us for being missionaries. Then he started preaching to us about how thieves will go to hell and that he hates bullies. He said, "I hate bullies. if I see someone getting bullied I will go up to the bully and POW!  HAH! BAM!" as he punches the air and swings his wrinkly old bony elbow in the air. Then he said, "I won't stop until he's on the ground." haha How cool is that. He was like 80 years old. haha

I was starting to think heavy rain here was a myth, then this week happened. It wasn't Typhoon status, but it was really wet! That typhoon must have been elsewhere, but we maybe got a little rain from it. I dunno. 

I don't know if I told you already about our plans for a white christmas, but it's a go. Not white with snow, but white with baptism clothes. That's right. We are having a baptism on Saturday. Her name is Rachel Somera Delacruz. She asked me to do the honors, so it's a good thing I brought my white pants. :) How neat is that? I'm baptizing someone! haha 

Life is going pretty great! I was notified that I got a package so after my e-mailing session we are going to the mission office to pick it up. :) So excited!!!!!

Mahal kita!!!!!

Elder Fawson
Originating from the Spanish word farol, the Filipino parol is a star-shaped Christmas lantern. As Christmas nears, parol shops start lining the streets.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Typhoon Melor/Nona Emergency Preparedness Plans :)

Robert's mission president is so awesome about including the families of his missionaries in his letters as well calming any fears that we may have about our child's safety. I thought some of you might appreciate hearing about their organization and safety plans. Naturally Rob's letter last night didn't mention a thing about the Typhoon.

Dear Family and Friends of Our Missionaries,

As you may have seen on the international newswires, a large typhoon has made landfall in the Philippines. The storm is currently not forecast to send anything more than a strong rainstorm to the Manila area and should miss Palawan all together. We are, however, praying for our brothers and sisters who are in the path of the storm.

Storms can change course at any time. For this reason, our missionaries are always very well prepared for an emergency. They review their individual emergency plan at the beginning of each weekly district meeting. They each have a special backpack with 72 hours of food, water and other supplies. They also have an emergency supply of cash, a fully charged cell phone, an evacuation plan and emergency contact numbers. They have been trained to avoid floodwaters and downed power lines. In the event of a big typhoon or other natural disaster we have set up a regular communication plan to locate and care for all of our missionaries. Tonight I sent out a text reminder to the missionaries reminding them to be wise and follow their training.

We love your missionary and will always care for them as if they were our own son or daughter.

May the Lord bless you for sending your precious child to serve the Lord. You would be so proud of who they are becoming and the great work they are doing.

Warmest regards,

President Creg Ostler

Philippines Manila Mission

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Doing my own laundry is really hard and gets my hands tired

Magandang Hapon, lahat tao! That means Good afternoon everybody!

Mom, I think your letters are just great!!! I like hearing about the little things like Lily singing about how she hates everyone, and the christmas tree garland. It's fun!!!

Everything is still pretty great here. I'm glad to hear all is well at home! Congratulations on putting up the Christmas tree! Are the lights up on the house yet? Did Dad make Heidi help this week, or have a field trip with his class and have them work as slaves to do it for him? 

When you talked about opposable thumbs, it reminded me of this guy we talked to a few days ago who was missing his thumb. He wasn't really missing it though. It just wasn't on his hand. He had it in his kitchen inside a jar of alcohol or something. How crazy is that? It felt unnatural shaking his hand, so I did it 3 times just to relive the experience. Cool, eh? Fun fact: I bet you thought just Canadians say "eh", but it's actually almost everyone except Americans. Australians, Fijians, Samoans, etc.

To answer a few of your questions, we have 2 companionships in our apartment, which is on the second floor.

Usually we eat at a cheap place across the street. Don't worry though, it's all safe. Sometimes we cook at home though. I made 1 eyed Egyptians for dinner last night, so thanks Dad for making me learn how that one time. I owe you big time!

We do a lot of walking around. Sometimes we ride the tricycle things though. Once when in one there was a sign that said Nosmoking, and I said to myself, "What's nos moking?" turning on my Tagalog brain, but nothing was coming. After a few minutes I realized it actually said "no smoking." haha. I thought it was funny! :)

 "The tricycle is the most popular means of transport in small towns and cities, especially in the rural areas."

We exercise every morning, and thrice a week we jog. Elder Lindaya isn't in as good of shape as me, probably because he never went to the gym with Dad and I. Thanks dad for helping me get big muscles! I owe you 2 now. 

We haven't ever had a dinner appointment with anyone yet, but hopefully that practice changes, and it happens more. That would be nice. The members are sobrang nice though. We had a ward Christmas party on Saturday, and everyone dressed up like it was Halloween or something, so that was fun. 
[Heidi, There were 2 of the Akatsuki there. I could tell by the red cloud pattern on their cloaks. I just stayed away from them and didn't look suspicious. I think they were onto me though, because I got a bloody nose, and got my shirt all bloody. haha! I suspect one of them used the forbidden blood thinning jutsu. Those sly dogs!]

I found a new scripture to add to one of my favorites! 2 Chronicles 5:12. It's talking about the dedication of the temple of Solomon, and you're not gonna believe this, but He-man was there. How crazy is that. Look it up!

My Tagalog is coming along quite nicely if I do say so myself, which I do. I can often say what I want to if it's not too complex. Now I just have to learn how to understand what other people are saying. They talk so fast!!! I feel like I can actually contribute to the lessons now, whereas before I was just there to say some stuff at the end that the investigator probably couldn't understand. It feels good to be understood when you say things! 

I do my own laundry, and they don't have machines to do it for me, so I'm literally doing my own laundry. It’s really hard, and gets my hands tired. Now I know what farmers feel like when they milk cows, cause it gets your hands so exhausted. Don't be surprised when I have buff hands and become the world thumb wrestling champion when I get back. It's a definite possibility!

I sleep great, and the bed is almost too small, but not quite so if I sleep diagonal, it works out just fine.

I haven't seen many spiders here so you can just worry about Sam having that problem. Maybe if I'm sent to Palawan you can worry about me. haha :) 

How did the Messiah go? It couldn't have been as good as last year without me there, but was it okay at least? hahaha

That sums up my life right now. I'm just having an awesome time here and all.

I love you all!!! Try to enjoy yourselves without seeing my happy face everyday. haha Good luck. :)

Elder Fawson

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Everywhere I go children flock around shouting Matangkad

 I'm in the field now and am doing pretty great!!! Life is kinda different here than in the MTC. I had my first cold shower the other day and it was just as horrific as I had imagined. Hahaha I'm getting used to it now though. When I get home I'll probably take the longest warm shower ever and just bask in the life-giving water. 

I really enjoyed the MTC pero it was getting a bit old after 40 days and 40 nights of the same old routine day after day after day after day X10. Now I know how Noah felt being trapped on the ark with the aardvarks. Aardvark rhymes with ark. I'm sure they didn't annoy him at first, but after a while, the little things started getting on his nerves a little bit, like their funny noses and weird sounds they make. Not that my companions had funny noses or anything, but I think you get the idea.

I am learning quite a lot more Tagalog now than I was in the MTC. I think it's because I have to. Sometimes in the middle of lessons, Elder Lindaya will stop and look at me, and I will have to say something. In my mind I'm freakin' out, but I think I play it off pretty well. Yesterday was fast Sunday and I bore my testimony sa Tagalog, and I am quite pleased with myself. Fasting is real! I fasted for the kaloob ng mga wika (gift of tongues) and I can feel a difference in my learning! 

Guess what!!! They have Hot Dogs in the Philippines too! I've eaten probably like 5 of them already in just the last 3 days. Maybe it's not so different from America after all. Just Kidding!!!!! it's way different. Driving is wacky here. Most people don't care about the lines on the road. if your car can fit in a gap, it will go for it. Motorcycles are weaving in and out of everyone like crazy!!! It's kinda fun, but I don't think I want a mission car, that's for sure!

Elder Lindaya is super great! He speaks pretty good english, and is really patient with my lack of Tagalog. I'm his first anak (child), or trainee, and he's doing a great job. He calls me his anak, and I call him tatay (dad). I met my lolo (grandpa) Elder Lindaya's trainer, at church yesterday. He's pretty cool. Probably I will start leading in OYMing (open your mouth) and talking to random strangers we see. That's a wee bit intimidating, but what ever. :) I think it helps that I'm twice as tall as a lot of people. Everywhere I go, children flock around us shouting Matangkad (tall)!!! It's kinda fun!

satay (dad) and  anak (child) with President and Sister Ostler

I have a quick question for Heidi. What is the name of the fairy on Fairly odd Parents who is in love with Wanda? that's been bothering me for 44 days. haha

I'm glad that Sam is able to go live his dream of being homeless in Hawaii. Maybe I will join him in a couple years and give him some tips from what I observe while I'm here. 

Anywho, life is grand over here for me, and all is well!!! Mahal kita! I love you all!!!

Elder Fawson