Monday, July 31, 2017

I was supposed to sing a solo for General Conference...

Hello my friends! (remember that one movie we watched for ward youth conference like 5 years ago? I think it was called "Unitards." That's what I was trying to quote) :)

I'm glad dad had such a fun time with the Mila and Eevee and that all was well for you this week too. My week was super great!  We had a half-day mission with the ward last Saturday and we worked with this lolo [grandfather] named Tatay Sornito. He is so awesome! we got like 7 new investigators in only 3 hours. That's the power of member workers! :) One of them was named Nedi and at the very start she was asking about modern day prophets. We were like, "That is exactly what we wanted to share with you today. Let me tell you about this guy named Joseph Smith..." It was an awesome lesson and at the end she said she would come to church the next day. The only bummer is that she didn't come to church. But that's 'cause her son got super sick. The good part is that we saw her about 15 minutes ago on the daan [way] coming here to the computer shop and she apologized and said she would come "next week na lang." Tatay Sornito [Daddy Sornito] is a champion! One time when we went to his house we heard from above us, "elders!" Then he climbs down this tree he'd been in collecting fruit. He's like 60 years old and still climbing trees like a modern Filipino Mowgli. He's our most dependable member worker by far!

I had a dream the other night that I think might interest you. I was in a super huge family history library doing some family history work. It was interesting. Every generation back I went, I had to go another level down stairs. I slowly made my way down to dungeon level 2 to 3 until finally I made it all the way down to level 7. While working on my great-great-great-great-great grandparents (that's 5 greats) I was stuck and didn't know what to do. I said a prayer that I could figure out my problem and when I opened my eyes, a glorious vision opened up before me. If you want to read Joseph Smith's account of when Moroni appeared to him in his bedroom, that's what it was like. A super white bright portal opened up above me and an angel slowly descended down from the portal. When he was completely visible the portal closed and he spoke to me. He said, "My name is Merlin. I'v been sent to help you with your family history. From that point on he answered my questions and helped me fill in all the information that was lacking. I was almost ready to go down to the next level, dungeon level 8, when suddenly the alarm went off and I woke up. It was an awesome dream and I can still visualize it really well if I think about it. It was awesome!!!!

I had another dream that was pretty good too. I was supposed to sing a solo for general conference, but my accompanist couldn't find his music and was looking for it for minutes and then I guess Elder Holland got sick of waiting, so he went up to the organ and played a crazy organ solo instead. That was a nice dream too. I think it's interesting that the things you do every day affect what you even dream about. I don't think I ever would have dreamed of me performing in general conference, but now that I'm a missionary stuff like that happens. It's pretty fun. Being a missionary is fun! If you haven't done it before I highly recommend it. :)

These guys cracking up at Robert during his general conference dream... hahaha
This week is MLC so that means I'm going to Manila. That means I won't have any work in my area for almost all week. We leave Roxas on Tuesday and won't be back 'til Friday. Rough stuff! MLC is fun though. They always have these super tasty treats afterwards. :) So yeah. Weeks like this always go by so fast. When I go to Manila time is supposed to pause here, but it doesn't, so when I get home it feels like Wednesday, but it's actually Friday and time to do weekly planning... again! Weekly planning always comes around so fast! Time is weird! 

Anyways, Mahal ko po kayo!!! [I love you all!!!]

Elder Fawson

P.S. I wanted to send some photos, but the computers here are super ayaw [do not] to my flashdrive. Next week na lang! [That’s all!] The anticipation must be killing you. Especially to see the monkey photos (yup, that's a plural noun) that I took for Heidi. :)

[Cute excerpt from a separate letter]
I was just looking at my family history...seeing if Merlin was in the 7th generation back and I noticed a green temple on the name of Cyrus Bates. He's from your side. Open up the arrow above James O Gamble, then the arrow above Appollos Lambson. It's just sitting there waiting for some savior on mount zion to help him out. :) Maybe you could do it. It's not reserved or anything.

There are a few blank spaces in my 7th generation back. When I get home I'll find out who they are and probably one of them is named Merlin. I'm super excited about this!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Life is good! Paradise, here I stay!!

Hello everybody!

I hope you all had a grand time playing and doing all the fun things you do. I did! It was a pretty average week with lots of time to work with our people. the only thing going on was stake coordination on Thursday. We left that afternoon after lunch, spent two hours in one of those masikit [cheerful] torture shuttles, went to the mall to buy some light bulbs, headed to the church, did our reporting, two more hours on a torture shuttle, and got home before 10:00. That's a new record. One time it was past mid-night when we got home from stake coordination. All went well though, and we now have our new light bulbs working so our bahay [house] is way brighter now! 

The craziest thing happened. Two Sundays ago Elder Tanner was asked to give a talk for sacrament meeting, but he used his vain flattering words to weasel his way out of it, but at the same time weaseling me into it. He was like, "Next week is transfer week, and Elder Fawson has been here for like 6 months now so this will be his last Sunday in the ward. He should do the talk." Bishop was like, "Yeah. Your right. It should be Elder Fawson!" So I gave my talk (which was most superb by the way!!!) and now the entire ward is ready to see me off, but then when I logged onto my E-mail today the transfer announcement was there and I'm not even leaving. I'm going to be here for at least 7 months. I'm so happy! but Elder Tanner so should have given that talk! Oh well. I'm so happy to be with him still. It's so sweet. This'll be my 5th transfer here! Life is good! Paradise, Here I stay!!

I got some fun photos of a monkey in our area, so that'll make Heidi pretty jealous! :) 

I don't have a lot more to say. I'm just happy I'm not leaving! We've got some baptisms coming up this next month that I almost was going to miss. Hindi na! Nandito ako pa rin! Ang saya-saya ko! Ito ang pinakamagandang balita na narinig ko sa buong araw!! [No longer! I'm still here! I'm very happy! This is the best news I've heard all day !!] Sorry if you can't understand that. My joy caused a wild tagalog outburst. It happens minsan [sometimes] (there it goes again! haha)

Yup. All is well.

Elder Fawson

Monday, July 17, 2017

20 new investigators are proof of this week's hardworkingness

Robert's Zone in Roxas

With his new mission president and his wife President and Sister Fermanis from New Zealand.

Helo po!

This week is super awesome! We had almost nothing to do to distract us from working in our own area. This is the most full week of work I've had in the past 2 transfers, so that was cool. Our 20 new investigators we found are proof of our kasipagan (hardworkingness). :) 4 of those investigators are a new family we found. It all started last Thursday. We had been punted for a few hours (which I wish happened a bit less often) and were on our way to a birthday party of a member  we had been invited to, the Orio family, when we decided to stop by this house just a few houses away from our destination. We said "Tao po!" and this lady walked out and started talking to us. I could see inside this bald guy sitting facing away from us and he didn't have a shirt on. Usually shirtless bald guys have this impression in my mind as super stern grumpy people, but as he heard us talking he started putting a shirt on and told us to com inside. Turns out he's not grumpy at all, but super friendly and nice. We had a nice first lesson with them and taught them about temples because he used to live in Quezon city right close to the Manila temple and had some questions about that. It was great, and the next lesson we taught them about Joseph Smith and they were super cool about that too. Brother had to work yesterday kaya hindi sila nakapagsimba [so they an not go to church], but I feel they are super prepared and ready for the gospel. I like it when stuff like that happens. 

That's not the only thing that happened that was crazy cool this week. Just yesterday evening we were teaching this girl and she has had some bad experiences with some other churches she's been to (I won't go way into it) and she started saying to us "I wish I had a Mormon bible so I could see what it has that could help me." Then we were like, "well sister, we have a Book of Mormon with us that we could give to you if you want." Then she was all like "Wey! (that's the Filipino equivalent for "your joshin' with me!") Talaga? (for reals?)" Then we were like "Syempre! (Of course)" and gave it to her. Then she was like 20 seconds straight of "Salamat! salamat! salamat! salamat! salamat!" It was so cool. Then she gave the closing prayer and actually started crying. I've never had someone so excited about receiving a Book of Mormon before. It was awesome! What makes it even cooler is that during the whole lesson Satan was blasting Babylonian music super loud, but it was to no effect. The still small voice of the Spirit conquered the blasting speakers of evil and I felt like Satan took a spiritual round-house-kick to the face.

Those were the highlights of my week. We also made good use of our oven and baked like 30 cookies for us to eat all by ourselves. Maybe sometime we'll give some to the members as bribes for more referrals. hahahaha We just have so much brownie and cookie mix that we found at a mall in Puerto a few weeks ago and feel a need to ubos it before I get transferred. It's rough stuff! It really is. :)
inspecting a lightbulb in his apartment

at the church for a meeting with the president

President Fermanis came to visit Roxas last week to see what it's like up here so we had the whole zone meet in the Roxas chapel and had a little zone meeting when he got here. It was way cool. Before he got here I was thinking to myself, "I hope he likes it here!" Then I remembered a nice movie quote and tweaked it a bit for my situation that brought peace to my soul. "I think President Fermanis will be most pleased with the world of Roxas. I know I am!" (If anyone lacks wisdom of what movie that derives from, let him ask of Heidi)
Map of their area in their house

picture of Robert's kabahay

I must say, things are going pretty good. I wish I could just stay in Roxas for the rest of my mission, but I find the odds not in my favor. Whatever happens though, it'll be fine. That's called faith! 

Anywho, I'm glad you were able to have fun at the baby blessing of my new niece who I haven't seen yet and I hope you continue to have fun for the rest of your stay here on Earth until the time comes to check out of this hotel of mortality. I know I will. :)

Elder Fawson

I think this is the gate in front of Robert's house in Roxas

Elder Fawson bakes cookies in his oven for guests!

Elder Fawson and Elder Tanner next to their dusty shoes

Robert on the 4th of July eating a hot dog
no ladder required for changing light bulbs is handy
yummy shark meat

shark slices ready to cook up for dinner.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

hot dogs and fries on the 4th of July was most excellent!

Hello world!

This week was so crazy. I did so many fun things that you all probably do anyways, but are fun and no longer common in my life and may not seem to interesting, and also a couple things that many of you have never done and may not believe I did them. Let me assure you; I did!

It was a super busy week. We had hardly any time to work here in Roxas because Tuesday afternoon we went to Puerto, and didn't get back until Friday night. Tuesday as many of you all know was the 4th of July. WOOT WOOT! Our opening hymn for district meeting was the Star Spangled Banner. We all put our hands on our heart and looked at the super astig american flag drawn in my planner. That's not all we did to celebrate the occasion though. When we went to Puerto that evening we stayed at some other elders apartment and they had prepared like 50 hot dogs and some fries we could munch on pretending there were some fireworks going on. It was most excellent!

Wednesday we flew to Manila for MLC and it turns out at the airport there is a Wendys. Syempre I ate my first Baconator in like 20 months. "Happy? You bet I am! (someone from my Pokemon game that I haven't played in like 20 months either. I think that's a record!)" 

I met President Fermanis last Thursday. He's super awesome and way funny!!! He is so knowledgeable about the gospel too. Any time someone would ask him a question he was just like, "well lets all open up to D&C section ...." It was crazy. Someday I'll know the scriptures like that too. I've learned a lot on my mission so far, but I've got a long ways to go to abot [reach] his level. I think he looks a lot like Papa (from what I remember Papa looking like) which makes me naturally like him that much more. 

One of the things many of you probably haven't done, but should do, that I did this week is finish the entire Old Testament from Genesis 1-Malachi 4. I read it all. In my Pokemon game I caught 'em all. Now in my bible, I've read it all. All I have to do now is finish the New Testament again and I'll have read the whole bible from "In the beginning" to "the end." Cool stuff. You should try it some time. It's pretty fun!

(Rob probably was not thinking about sharks being endangered or about getting Mercury poisoning :0) 

Another thing that's pretty fun is sharks. Not only are they fun to look at, but to eat too. I did that this week too. We did it Wednesday morning before going to the airport. They bought it in the palengke [marketplace]. Only 85 pesos for almost 3 kilos. It takes forever to prepare, and it smells super gross, but it was fun to eat! We chopped it up into little bits then deep fried him. The finished product looked a lot like chicken nuggets (but it was Shark nuggets) and tasted a lot like fish sticks. :) I'll send some photos for you.

(Hopefully he didn't eat 3 kilos of shark nuggets alone!)

That's about all I've got for you this week. We found a new family though in the konti time we did have to proselyte. they're the Balba family. They are pretty cool! We'll see if they are going to progress or not this week. Lets keep our fingers crossed! :)

Now that's all I've got for you this week. Life goes on. The tide is supposed to be way low later today before 6:00, so hopefully Elder Tanner and I are going to go out and hunt for cool stuff before heading out tonight. Mahal ko po kayo!!!

Elder Fawson

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

It was as if a loving Heavenly Father fixed the brownies...

Hello world outside of Roxas. It's been a while, like an entire week!

Life has been pretty fun. So you can try to fathom just how fun, look at the picture below. :) 

Sometime in the next 2 hours-ish my president will be President Fermanis. Kind of weird to think about, but it's going to be awesome! This Thursday is MLC so we'll be going to Manila and will be one of the first ones to meet him. I'm way excited!!!!

Last weeks adventure!
I've been having a good time too. We found a bunch of new investigators this week. Most of them are magasawa [couples] too which is always fun. teaching families is so much more fun than individuals. Hopefully they all work out! That sneaky serpent has been trying to sabotage our current investigators. One family decided to go and live in El Nido for a long time. They didn't even tell us. We found out from their not super polite uncle. The other family we have, the Tulbo family is the one with all the chickens. He already had 2,500 and then one of the people in charge of the other chicken farm across town quit so now he has 5,000 chickens. He never is home anymore for us to teach them and they didn't make it to church yesterday either. :( I have faith though that the wisdom of God is far greater than the cunning ways of the devil.

the dead snake found on the beach last week... I don't think Rob knows this but it is a venomous Banded Sea Krait!
I'm excited for the 4th of July. I like how America makes such a huge deal about independence day. The Philippines independence day is super boring. they don't do anything to celebrate. We are going to have hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner. Too bad fireworks are bawal for missionaries. Maybe some fun ceiling decor will have to suffice. :) I also made that page in my planner into an American flag. It's pretty patriotic if I do say so myself. If you can remember my St. Patrick’s day planner, you can picture that 4th of July style. :)

I stubbed my toe this week, so that really hurt!

Yesteeday was way fun. It was Elder Tanner's birthday and the whole ward found out somehow. Our opening hymn for coordination meeting was Happy Birthday, so that was a first. Later we were called into bishops office and the whole PEC was there consulting the important matter of how much spaghetti to make for an FHE/birthday party for him. We have a fun ward! :) Last night we had our own spaghetti dinner with some brownies supplied by my wonderful family (stay tuned for the cool brownie miracle), and some ice cream. It was just us two, but it was fun none-the-less. 

About the Brownies, a miracle occurred similar to when Jesus turned water into wine. I was mixing up the mix, and it wanted 3 tablespoons of water and 1/2 c. of oil, but I accidentally added 1/2 c. of water so we decided to do just 3 tablespoons of oil. "It's all just liquid anyways." we justified. "It probably won't make much difference." Then we put it in the oven to bake while we did personal study. During my opening prayer for personal study I prayed for the brownies that they would turn out normal and when we took them out of the oven they were perfect! then they didn't even stick to the pan when cutting and scooping them out. It was like a loving Heavenly Father fixed the brownies, then added some sort of celestial PAM to the pan so it would be real nice to cut and stuff. If any of you wanted to be positive, let me tell you. God does hear our prayers, and he does care about our problems. Even if it is just something so seemingly insignificant as some brownies. It was definitely a testimony builder for me! Hopefully this story helped someone! :)

Man. Compared to that, nothing else seems very significant to talk about. i'll send some photos of the week though for you. You may be interested to see a dead tuko on the back wall of our house. :)

 Anyways, mahal ko po kayo!!!

Elder Fawson

Exchanges in Taytay

This was our last zone conference with President Ostler. 

The middle Filipino is Elder Corpuz, my dating companion. ("dating" is tagalog for "past". I promise we didn't go on any dates while we were together! haha)

You thought the Fibonacci sequence thing only showed up in cool rocks and stuff in nature. You thought wrong! It works great in pancakes too! hahaha MATHMAGIC!