Monday, April 25, 2016

I haven't had a hot shower in almost 5 months!

Robert walking in the Aborlan sunset

Hello! HAPPY EARTH DAY!!! I don't know if you knew, but it was earth day on April 22. Fun stuff. I may be miles and miles away from home, but we can celebrate the Earth together. I wonder if April 22 was the day that the earth was completed, so God declared it Earth day. Who knows? It doesn't say anywhere in the whole quad! haha

Life is going really great! I had several crazy things happen this week. 

1. There was a gigantic lizard in our house for a long time, and he was really sneaky and fast. Every time we tried to catch him he would flee behind a big cabinet and escape, but I did manage to get a good picture of him. We eventually out smarted him and got him out of our house. He is called a tuco lizard and he makes a really wacky sound like no lizard I've ever seen. It's like this: tuuuuuukooooooo! He does it about 8 times each time getting progressively quieter. He looks really cool!

Tuko Lizard or Tokay Gecko!

2. My Tagalog is getting a lot better. The other day I was in a lesson teaching about Lesson 3, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and I was able to say lots of stuff so smoothly that only last week would have been so difficult to put together in my head. I found a system where I don't try to form my sentence before I say it, I just start speaking and usually the right thing pops out. If the right thing doesn't come, then I just kind of get stuck on a word or something, and so I say that word in english, and then start spitting out more Tagalog. After the lesson we had a dinner appointment with some members and I was able to understand the conversation (which is really new for me), and even contribute my own words. It was really fun to not have to pretend like I know what's going on. hahaha

3. This Wednesday is interviews with President Ostler, so Tuesday night we are staying in a hotel because the place of interview is several hours away, and guess what! The hotel has hot water daw!!! I haven't had a hot shower in almost 5 months! "Happy? You bet I am!" -A trainer you battle in Pokemon

Check it out! I took this photo myself. You don't see cows like these on the mainland everyday :)

So yeah. Maraming matamis na bagay ay nangyari, at marami pa ay mangyayari! (Lots of sweet things have happened and lots more will happen!) 

That's so neat that Michaela is going to Montana. You didn't mention that before. As she is shiverin' next to all the Glaciers, I'll be sweatin' next to all the palm trees. haha 

That's super neat that Jon is in the bishopric. I use his Filipino heritage a lot to get some conversation goin'. "Oh. My brother in Law is half Filipino. He is super cool!!!" 

I've been here in the Philippines for over 6 months now. How crazy is that? Time is just flying on by faster than a Syther using Quick Attack, and that's pretty fast!!! :)

Here is a peek at my apartment. I was pleasantly surprised with the green walls when I arrived :)
 This is me and Elder Clark.

I will tell you this, about the chickens. There is no way it could be harder than killing a pig. I haven't done it, but I hear the squeals of pain and horror every morning at about 3:00 am. We live right next to the slaughter house. I have yet to sleep through the entire night without being awoken by the shrieks of terror. Now I know what it means in the scriptures when it says, "...weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth." That's what it will be like in Outer Darkness. I assume that the Celestial kingdom is far enough away that you can't hear all the cries of agony and self pity, but I'm not so sure about the Terrestial, and Telestial kingdoms. I bet the people there will still be able to hear their wails in the distance. That reason alone is enough motivation for me to become Celestialized. haha

Elder Ordesta is from Cebu, and he has pretty excellent English. I've been blessed with good Enlish-speaking companions my whole mission, so I'm super grateful for that!!! He is really cool. We work well together and have lots of fun too! 

I love you all!!! Mahal na mahal na mahal na mahal ko kayo!!!!!

Elder Fawson

Monday, April 18, 2016

Miracles exist, don't forget it!

RE: missing the Bach festival... I'm glad the ensemble isn't entirely crippled without me! I'm afraid I'm gonna be so out of practice when I get back that I won't even be able to play my twinkles. hahaha I'm glad that there is still Heidi and Anna there to hold every one together. 

Hello!!! Prepare your minds, 'cause I'm going right to the greatest thing of the week right now. You may want to sit down before proceeding to read.

It was yesterday. After church we had a meeting about missionary stuff, and after that meeting we went home to our bahay to finish up out studies for the day, 'cause we have 9:00 church and didn't have time to do them all in the morning. We finished our companion study and started doin' some Language Study. During our language study it started to rain. After our study we were praying right before our going out to teach the gospel to all the creatures in Aborlan. Elder Ordesta was praying and he said,"Heavenly father, we are grateful for this rain, bless us during out proselyting that we can have the spirit with us." Then it started to rain really hard. "We are thankful for this powerful rain." Then he remembered that I didn't have an umbrella because I forgot it in my last area due to the surpriseness and speed of my departure. "Please let this rain stop before we go out. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." Miraculously, only 30ish seconds later the rain had completely stopped, and in a matter of minutes the sky was clear and there were only clouds in the distance. It was raining really hard only just a few minutes earlier. It was literally cartoon status "That's the power of the home depot." Not! It was the power of prayer, and praying out of charity for those around you. So yeah. Prayer is real. True story! Also we were able to share this wonderful experience later that day as we taught about prayer to some investigators. Miracles do exist even today. Don't you forget it!

The Tagbanwa, one of the oldest ethnic groups in the Philippines can be mainly found in the central and northern Palawan.

We are doing really well with our area. President Ostler wants us to focus on the people really close to the chapel, because our area is really big, but the people who live really far away usually don't come to church, or if they do get baptized, they don't keep comin' because of the inconvenience. We have been taking that advice to heart, and almost half of our investigators are within 200 feet of our house (which is pretty close to the church too)

Sorry I don't have much time this week. I just really wanted to share about that prayer miracle. My area is going great. Lots of good things happening, and lots of things could be going better, but those things are getting less and less, so that's good.

"Life is good. Eternal life is great!"

Elder Fawson

P.S. Sorry for not saying more. I know you are just dying to know more about my goings. :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

It helps to be the most peculiar thing in town to start up conversation!

Hello family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, "...and everyone else not sitting on a cushion!"

Life is super awesome over here in the Aborlan district. It's definitely different than Makati. Das fo sho! "The air is clean, the water's clean (though I still wouldn't trust it without my filter), even the dirt is clean!" Don't ask me about bowling averages or mini-golf scores though. I don't know about them. hahaha

It really is pretty awesome though. We live in a small house, that's actually way bigger than my previous apartment, with 2 other people. So there are 4 of us total. It's also cool, because we live in our area. One of the first days we were here, we just tracted all the houses near by, and found a couple people to teach just across the street from us. :) It helps to be the most peculiar thing in town to start up conversation.

My hands are really clean right now, 'cause I just finished washing my clothes. No washing machine, so I'm back to doin' it old school. :) But hey! Clean hands and a contrite spirit? I've got the first down for sure. haha

Sorry I don't have any photos yet. The internet is really slow, and I'm sort of in a hurry with E-mail today, so probably next week you'll get to see my new home and surroundings. :) It actually looks a lot like Utah, but more palm trees. :) haha

Our area does extend to the beach, but it's quite a ways away, 'cause our area's huge, and President Ostler advised us to teach people closer to the chapel because other wise they tend to go less-active really quick because of the inconvenience of traveling to and from church. There are lots of dusty trails we walk down. Good thing I got my shoe-shining kit! Every once in a while we pass a little house made out of bamboo and stuff. The whole house is made out of bamboo. It's really quite amazing!!!

People don't speak much English here so my Tagalog is getting a lot more practice than before. Mostly it's just really hard for me still to understand what others are saying to me. I can usually get my point across. It's really hard, but I'm getting the hang of things. :)

Still no problems with Elder Ordesta and I. We are getting along pretty well. He's been giving me lots of tips of little things I can do to be better, which has been a big help. I know as I implement his advice I will really improve my missionary skills. Who better to get help from than someone who's been doing it for a year and a half? :)

General Conference was really awesome, and I even understood almost every word that was said. How cool is that! It would have been a lot cooler if it were in Tagalog, but English is good too. :) I really liked all the talks. Sometimes I used to feel like some people would talk a bit too long, but this time I was surprised when the sessions ended so soon. haha I guess that's what I get for being a missionary. When you feast on the words of Christ, you just can't ever get enough. :) I got a bunch of notes which are really helpful! I got a lot of ideas of how to explain certain principles more simply that I can apply to my teaching. I'm so grateful for our church leaders!!!

I am really lovin' it here! Oh!!! Look at the time. I've got a funeral to attend! Got to go. :) bye!

Elder Fawson

Monday, April 4, 2016

Emergency transfer to a tropical island - Poor Rob haha

Hooray! It's April over here too! This week has been just your average week in Makati. Nothing strange, or unusual has happened that is worth typing about, so yeah... bye.

APRIL FOOLS!!!!! Man; I got you guys good, didn't I. :) This week has actually been one of the craziest weeks of my mission so far. It actually was quite average up until Thursday afternoon. Lots of teaching appointments, and OYMs. All was going well, when all of a sudden, at about 3:00 pm, the phone bleeps the text sound. Elder Delacruz had the phone that day, and he said, What?!?! Your getting transferred to Palawan! I thought he was joking, but lo and behold, it was a text from Pres. Ostler. Sinabi niya [he said], "Elder Fawson, you are being emergency transferred to Aborlan Palawan tomorrow. The previous missionaries have lost the trust of the members. You are to go and rebuild that trust. Your new companion will be Elder Ordesta. Work hard, and be exactly obedient. Meet at the Buendia chapel at 9:00 am tomorrow morning. I love you! -President Ostler" 

So right now I am sitting in a little computer shop in Aborlan telling you about how I'm in Aborlan Palawan. hahaha I really like it here. It is super different here than in the city! There are so many stars here, it reminds me of what the sky used to look like :) There is so much dirt and trees and stuff. My shoes are getting so dusty here too. It is a good thing I have shoe shining supplies, or they would be filthy! It actually smells a lot like Fish Lake, or Havasupi, so you can sort of imagine that. haha

We are fresh starting the area, which means that neither of us were here previous to the transfer. It's been really hard, because the previous missionaries haven't kept the area book up to date at all, so we have almost no idea about who the investigators are, where they live, or anything. Yesterday was really good though. We bore our testimonies for fast Sunday and got to know the members at church, and afterward, a few of them worked with us and showed us around a bit. We mostly visited members and befriended them, because that is our special assignment here. Everything is going well so far though. 

Elder Ordesta is super awesome. He is a really experienced missionary, and has actually spent 10 months total on Palawan already. This is his 3rd time being transferred here. He will go home in August, so he's just got a few months left. I'm gonna learn a lot from him. :) 

It was really exhausting coming here. I forgot what it was like to be cramped onto a plane. It brought back painful memories of my flight from LA to Tokyo (over 12 hours) on my way over to the Philippines so many months ago. hahaha This flight was only 1 hour though, so it wasn't too bad. :) 

Fun coincidence! One of my kabahay (house mates) is Elder Clark. You may think "woopdy doo!", but Elder Clark is who I was with on my MTC exchange when there was a crazy fire and we saved a bunch of stuff for a member. How neat is that? He's my district leader now. 

Yup. Lots of changes this week. Feel free to check out Aborlan Palawan on google and find out any fun facts about it. :) I gots to go now. Bye!!!

Elder Fawson