Monday, May 29, 2017

Piliin Ang Tama

Helo mundo! [Hello world!]

I'm glad you all had such a fun week celebrating birthday parties, weddings, and lots of other stuff! My week was pretty nice too! We went to Taytay last Tuesday for exchanges and it was nice. We took a shuttle which is usually a really squishy and uncomfortable 2 hour experience, but this time we were the only 2 passengers almost the entire way. It was sweet! Our exchange was fun too. I worked with Elders Petersen and Del Pilar. They are really awesome missionaries and we had several really nice lessons and a few new investigators to go along with it. Our travel home was made even better when the Wolcotts made a surprise visit before heading back to Puerto and offered to drive Elder Tanner and I back to Roxas. It was even comfier than the shuttle the day before, much better company because the Wolcotts are so nice! and walang pamasahe! [no fare]!!! Woot woot!!!

Thursday was our only full day of work in our area last week, but it was a grand day! We were sort of punted in the morning for all our appointments so decided to do some finding and we certainly did find. We taught a family that is really nice. There is like 8 of them total. Then right after that we went to the house of a previous investigator the missionaries taught a couple years ago. It turns out the people that used to live there have moved, but the new people were happy to listen to us, so we taught them too. It was super awesome! I'm excited to go back to these people and see how they progress. Finding new families is the best!

Friday was sweet because we had a baptism. Sister Jocelyn is now an official member of the church, so you can all let out a long held sigh of relief. Not only her either. 4 people were baptized that day. Every companionship had at least 1 baptism. I think it's the best way to get started on the path of ward-hood. They were all confirmed yesterday too! It was a really organized baptism. The font was filled hours before the program started, and the programs were already made up on the computer. We just had to print them out. It was grand! I think the members are trying harder now that they are a ward. I'm likin' it!

Friday evening was not so fun for Elder Tanner because he started feeling sick, then Saturday he was really sick and we just stayed home all day. He slept a lot and I read a lot of Bible. I finished Jeremiah and Lamentations. :) Reading the Bible is fun. Sometimes it's boring, but if you can endure, there are some really cool stories that pop up. I would invite anyone who hasn't read the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, to do so. It'll be a super good experience.I haven't finished yet, but I will. 

Sunday was really hard for Elder Tanner too. We went to church, gave some on-the-spot talks in sacrament in which I declared to everyone the glad tidings of my sisters birthday (by the way, Happy birthday Claire!!!), and got our newly baptized people confirmed. When we got home Elder Tanner was still sick, but feeling okay enough to teach a couple lessons. It was a nice day! For me at least. He's still not feeling really great, but he does feel better than before, so we think his sickness is going away.

I got a cool piece of jewelry the other day. Elder Tanner had a PAT ring in his bag that he gave me. You may be wondering, "What's a PAT ring?" It's a cool ring with a green shield on it and says PAT on it. It looks like a CTR ring, but here we don't say "Choose the right." We say "Piliin ang tama". Hence, PAT. Every time I look at it though the first thing that pops into my head isn't "Piliin ang tama," but Mr. Fran from dad's school. hahahaha I think I'll get one for him when I come home. :)

So yeah. good stuff is goin' on in Roxas! I hope you all have a nice week this week! I know I will. It'll be another busy one 'cause we're going to Manila on Wednesday for MLC. Anywho, mahal ko kayong lahat!!!

Elder Fawson

Monday, May 22, 2017

"You raise me up!!!"... that one is a staple in a Filipino funeral...

Hello world!

This week was faster than..... something that's really slow! I couldn't think of anything off the top of my head, but it was a really awesome week!

On Tuesday we had a funeral and burial service we attended and it took almost the entire morning. It's so inconvenient when people die! I had a nice reminder of how different funerals are in the Philippines. We met at the church and had a bunch of speakers that talked about the plan of salvation, so that part was pretty much the same, but after that they put the coffin in the hearse and we all had a funeral parade from the the church on the way to the cemetery where everyone walks really slow in the middle of the road behind the car and holds up traffic like crazy. The Hearse always plays really loud music like, "You raise me up!!!!!" that one is a staple in a Filipino funeral, but I had my own music going through my mind. "The worms crawl in and the worms crawl out..." hahahaha When we got to the cemetery they took the coffin out of the hearse and carried it to the man's final resting place. You need to know that here they don't bury their dead. They just build a cement/brick box around the coffin. It's actually good in a way. Instead of being buried next to your loved ones, you can be put on top of them. This man's wife had already died so they build on top of her cement box another box, and put this guys casket on top. Some people go up to 3 or 4 stories. It's pretty creative, but sort of more creepy too! So that was an exciting thing that happened. 

Also we went to Puerto twice last week. The first was on Thursday for our Puerto District Coordination meeting. The very last one ever! Because next month it'll be Puerto Stake Coordination. That leads me into the reason for the second trip to Puerto. It was on Saturday and Sunday for the first ever Stake conference on Palawan! Way awesome! I now am in Roxas ward, not branch. I'm so happy to be able to witness this historical moment! Elder Bowen was the member of the 70 that presided and he gave a talk at the end that was the coolest. He talked about how inside of the stake that was just created there is another stake that could be made out of all the less-active and prospective elders. He really emphasized the importance of member missionary work. The spirit was so strong. Elder Bowen gave a talk in General Conference about 5 years ago that was super cool too. You should find it and watch it, because he is so amazing! After Stake conference, Roxas zone had interviews with Pres. Ostler which went until about 6:00, so we didn't get home until almost bed time. We basically got home, changed into our Pajam-jams, ate some peanut butter-jelly sandwiches and went to sleep. It was a long day, but a great day none-the-less!

Between my trips to Puerto on Friday we had our investigator, Jocelyn, interviewed for her baptism, so that'll be happening this weekend. Our ward has 4 baptisms this Saturday, so we are way happy for that. I can think of no better way to celebrate our new-found ward-hood than a few saving ordinances!!! So yeah. All is well in Roxas! Roxas prospereth! All is well!

Mahal ko po kayong lahat!

Elder Fawson

Thursday, May 18, 2017 first beach baptism...we found a starfish while walking out into the deeper water.

Hello everybody!

I don't have a lot to say since we just spoke a few hours ago, but I do want to share a miracle that happened since we last spoke. About a half hour after our skype ended we were in our apartment about to start our personal study and then the power went out. You may be thinking, "What kind of miracle is that?" the miracle comes from the fact that it didn't go out during our Skype. Do you want to know why? Syempre you do [of course you do]. Because as we were leaving the house going to the church before the Skype I prayed that there wouldn't be a burn-out during our skype so Heavenly Father postponed the burnout 'til we were done. Cool, huh. I already told you pretty much everything about this week about the baptism, and how I touched a Kalabau, so I'll just send you a part of my letter to Pres. Ostler that covers most of what I said earlier. That way you have something to put on my blog and all my fans won't be mega-disappointed. :) Your welcome, fans!!!

"President Ostler,

This week was awesome!!! We were really busy and had lots of surprise things happen, but they all turned out really great. Also we had a baptism, so you can't really beat that! 

On Wednesday we went to Puerto with Jomar, one of our investigators, to meet with Pres. Caduada. I was so happy when Jomar passed the interview. 4 hours of sitting in an uncomfortable shuttle was all worth it! :) His baptism was just last Saturday. It was really stressful as first. The baptism was supposed to be at 5:00 but when we got to the church at 4:00 the font was empty and we couldn't figure out how to turn on the water because there was a burn-out earlier that morning and that always messes with the water. finally we got the water going but it was going to take like 3 hours to fill up the font so we decided to start the baptismal service at the church and then go to the ocean for the actual ordinance. It was my first beach baptism so that was really cool. Also we found a starfish while walking out into the deeper water. Jomar's dad was the one to baptize him which was great too because he had just been baptized last month so he had an opportunity to use his priesthood. When Jomar came up out of the water he was smiling so big and we were all just so happy! I love baptisms! The only thing that could have made it better is if he had been confirmed yesterday. Now he'll have to wait 2 more weeks because next week is the District Conference. It was a way nice baptism though!

Thursday was supposed to be a normal day, but had a plot twist and the branch said that there was this Roxas festival happening and all the religions in Roxas were invited to say an opening prayer to start the festivities and bless Roxas. Of coarse the branch chose a missionary to say this prayer and the lots fell on Elder Tanner. It was really cool though. There were probably 10 different religions that prayed. Some were really intense, shouting with all energy of heart, most were written down and had obviously been practiced many times. It was nice when Elder Tanner prayed though. it was just really simple and sincere. 

On Sunday we had a good experience with one of our progressing investigators. She is amazing! her name is sister Jocelyn. We had her start doing the highlighter method and it is working wonders. We asked her how her reading is and she just started quoting the Book of Mormon. She was like, "I really like what Lehi said to his son how he should be like unto this river, continually flowing into the fountain of righteousness." Then she bore testimony of how she knows the Book of Mormon is true. I was so amazed at her. She is going to be baptized in just 2 weeks on May 27th. I'm so excited for that!"

So yeah. That's about all that's up with me. "Life is grand in the magic land of [Roxas]." Ingat kayo! Mahal ko kayong lahat!

Elder Fawson

Monday, May 8, 2017

Someone is really watching out for me...Heavenly Father...He's the best!

Hello everybody!!!!

This week was super busy and full of lots of traveling. On Tuesday morning we got the news that Elder Cortez was transferring. We spent a few hours that day saying farewell to people, then around 5:00 pm, hopped into the Wolcott's car (they're the senior couple here on Palawan) and headed to Puerto where we would spend the night. 

Wednesday morning we woke up around 5:00 am, got ready, and headed to the airport. It was a fun flight because I got an emergency seat. Someone is really watching out for me because every single flight I've been on I've gotten an isle seat, or one with lots of leg room. I said thanks to Sister Jacobsen (who schedules the flights) for it but she said she wasn't allowed to choose seats and forwarded the credit to a loving Heavenly Father. He's the best! At the mission office I said my farewell to Elder Cortez and met my new companion, Elder Tanner. You may all be thinking, "what kind of Filipino name is Tanner?" Let me tell you, it's not. I officially have my first American companion! He's super cool and whiter than me. 

I slept in Manila that night and then went to MLC on Thursday morning. We learned a lot about how to use our Family Booklets for finding and it was really awesome! It's a good thing my booklet is all filled out and has lots of fun pictures in it. I actually use it a lot to show people my family and they like it a lot! 

We went straight to the airport after MLC to we wouldn't miss our flight, but it was fine. The plane was supposed to leave around 5:30, but didn't really leave until after 8:00. I guess even the airports here run on Filipino time. :) It's a good thing I'm already accustomed to Fawson time or I might have been really annoyed. hahaha We got back to Puerto just in time to run to Jollibee before heading home. 

It's been fun working with Elder Tanner. We get lots of people making fun of us because we're both white and can speak Tagalog. We found a nice new family last night and we are going back to them mamaya. We also have a baptism coming up this Saturday which will be awesome too!! It's been a lot of stuff this week and I don't have enough time to say all of it right now.

I'm really having a great time over here and I like eating smarties every morning to make me smarter during my lessons and stuff. :) Mahal ko po kayo!!!

Elder Fawson

P.S. I've decided to Skype on Monday morning instead, then it will be Sunday night for you and still mothers day. That will be fun and better for me because Saturday will be crazy busy with the baptism and some other meetings and stuff. I can't wait to see y'all!!! :) Sorry it's sort of a shorter letter this week! :) I love you again. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

...Her native language is ilongo - I am starting to figure that language out.

Howdy y'all. That's not Tagalog, but it's still fun to say.

This week was super sweet! I was able to go on exchanges last Wednesday and it was really fun. His name is Elder Evans. That's right! He's an Amerikano. He's the 6th Amerikano I've worked with my whole mission. I haven't had much experience with it because all my companions have been Filipino. He's only about 6 months in the mission so his Tagalog wasn't the greatest. He is pretty good though. Mostly he just needs to work on his accent. We had a pretty awesome day though. One of our new-ish investigators, Jocelyn accepted a baptismal date for May 27th so were really excited for that. She also came to church yesterday so she's progressing really well. It was a little hard teaching her with Elder Evans though, because her native language isn't Tagalog. It's Ilongo so sometimes we had no idea what she was saying. it was fine though. I am starting to figure that language out. I can ask, "what is your name?" It's like this, "Sino imo ngalan?" That's about all I know. hahaha It was a really great exchange!

Something really cool happened on Thursday! After the Rublez family got baptized a month ago we haven't really had lots of people to teach, so we started praying that we could find people to teach that would progress and get baptized, especially families. Then last Thursday we taught a  lady named Sister Rom. She is a good friend of sister Marissa who just got baptized and she seems so prepared! She has like 4 kids living at home with her and her husband. It was a huge answer to our prayers. Also the kids of some members just moved here to Roxas and started coming to church a couple weeks ago so we are teaching them now too. One of them is the one I mentioned earlier that's getting baptized on the 27th. So basically, prayer is real. True story!

I got to use my umbrella a few days ago, so that was sort of fun. I went like 2 months without an umbrella and got really wet because of it more than a few times, so when I got here in Roxas I bought an umbrella. The only thing is that once I bought it, it doesn't rain anymore. What's up with that? I've had it more 3 months now and only used it for like 15 minutes total. It was only light rain the times I did, but I figured I should get my money's worth out of it. My 175 pesos are super sayang! It's got a fun pattern though with blue and green polka-dots. 

We saw a turtle at the church the other day, so that was fun. He was just walking around in the grass. That's one of the cool things about being on Palawan. You don't just find turtles walking around in Manila. Roxas rules!

Something really awesome is happening on the 21st of this month. Puerto Princessa is having stake conference. Not district conference. STAKE conference. The very first stake conference Palawan has ever seen! And I'm going to be there to see it! That means that Roxas will be a ward. So yeah. It's a pretty big deal and the people here are pretty psyched!

It's too bad to hear that Heidi can't fry doughnuts for a living. I haven't had a doughnut in quite some time. Maybe she can fulfill her dream of becoming a snowboard instructor with her huskies in Alaska. I'm thinking about going into the mail delivery business when I get home. Hopefully the post-office doesn't hold any lasting resentment towards me for almost destroying one of their vans. :) hahaha

That's fun about the Fawson family reunion. I wish I could join you all for Lake Powell and stuff! Maybe when I get home in October it still won't be crazy cold and we can take the boat out on quail for some water skiing and stuff. I can pretend it's lake Powell. I was actually just wearing my Lake Powell T-shirt kanina [a little while ago], so that was fun! :)

I must say I'm more than a little jealous about the brats. Not only are they a crowd-pleaser, but a tummy-pleaser too! I had some hot-silog for breakfast yesterday. And lunch. I think that brat-silog would be pretty awesome though too! Let me tell you how to do it. cook up some brats, fry up some eggs, magsain some rice and put it all on a plate. Tapos na! That's what I call Filipino cuisine! hahahaha

I'm so excited for claire's baby to come! When is it expected to pop out? Buntis [pregnant] people here in the Philippines get lots of cool special treatment. It's pretty much a V.I.P. pass to the front of any line and cheaper jeepney rides. Cool huh? So maybe next time she gets pregnant she could just come to the Philippines. :)

I had forgotten your mission was only 18 months. That's kind of weird to think that if  I had served 30 years ago I would be headed home now. WaCkY! Don't worry though. I'm going to work hard to the end. That's what I learned from cross country. I'm sort of like at the final sprint. It's going to be a successful last sprint too! We've got a baptism lined up for May 13th, so you can all look forward to that! :)

That's sweet Nathan got a new Camaro! That must make Isaiah pretty happy!!! There's a recent convert here in the branch whose last name is Camano. That's almost like Camaro. :) Speaking of Isaiah, I haven't heard from him in far too long. What's his e-mail address so I can chastise him. :) 

Anyways, that's about all I've got to say today. Actually there is one more thing. You probably are well aware that Mothers Day is coming up. You know what that means! You get some free chocolate after sacrament meeting! As Napoleon Dynamite would say, "Lucky!" Oh yeah, also we get to Skype. :) Elder Cortez and I are planning on using the computer at the church to do it. We are allowed to Skype on Saturday, Sunday or Monday. The best time for me would be Saturday morning around 10:00 a.m. That'd make it about 8:00 Friday night for you. Does that seem okay? It'll be fun on Saturday because I'll have a baptism later that afternoon. Hopefully that all works out for you, but if not, we can message more about it next week. :) I love you and can't wait to actually talk to you. E-mailing is fine, but sometimes it's difficult when the shift button doesn't like to be pushed. :) 

Anywho, I love you and I hope you enjoy the last few weeks of school! Mahal kita!!!

Elder Rob