Sorry for the crappy emails lately. Things have been busy and I'm really not good at this email thing, but don't worry I've been keeping a journal and I'll tell all my stories when I come home. I'm a way better story teller anyway.
Things here in Bangued have been doing really well. I've been going to the gym everyday in the mornings and I feel strong. My body has changed so much on the mission. I don't know if you'll be able to recognize me when I come back haha. Elder D is my companion and I knew him in the MTC. I'm learning a lot from him and we're having a lot of success here. The zone is doing well and I'm not trying to brag or be prideful but I'm pretty well known here in my mission. I feel this pressure to perform well. Whenever I walk into zone trainings or surprise check apartments, missionaries stand up and give me respect. It's almost like a fear, which is something I don't want. But mostly I think it's because they respect me. I work hard and try to love every one. I fear no man, only God. I'm bold but not overbearing. When it comes to my missionaries I serve them and give my best and expect the same from them. Looking back I was a good leader on the wrestling team or youth conference but I've learned a little here of how to be a Christ-like leader.And if you lead like Christ, then you'll see success. I strive to be exactly obedient but there are some things that I don't follow. Don't freak out mom. I think one of reasons why my zones have seen success is because I try to be different and follow the Spirit. Our zone training's have set schedules of what we're supposed to do but I don't always follow it...sometimes the training's here is like this," missionaries take like 1 hour bus rides to the chapel and everyone sits down and the zone leaders give a 3 hour training/workshops. There's no fire. No application. Just a lot of talking. It's the same thing every week, same everywhere in the mission. So I try to mix it up a little bit. I do rotations, I invite members from the local branches to come to our trainings and act as investigators, I always bring food, sometimes we do team building games. But it's different every week. I try my best to adjust to the needs of the zone and the Lord has blessed us with success."
Don't worry I've talked with my Mission President and he approves of what I've been doing. This calling really has pushed me and I'm truly grateful. I have no regrets. I love it here so much.
Other then that I'm doing good. I speak the language well and I feel like I can finally connect with people. I dream in Tagalog. I love the people here.
So for your simplify question. Yes, I have seen a lot of poverty here. People living in houses that, I'm not joking, are as big as my closet back home. People washing their clothes in the river and little kids selling candy on the streets. Sometimes it's hard for me to look. I've given half of my white shirts to members and I only have one belt and one pair of shoes. The more I give away the more I feel that I'm putting off the natural man. I wash my clothes by hand and before I say my night prayers, I have to dust off the rat poop that's on my bed. We go in homes and people always try to feed us even if they have nothing. Moments when I'm sitting on a dirt floor and a family of 5 gives me a bowl of rice and when I look inside the bowl and there are ants and maggots, but when I look at there faces and they say that they're sorry because it's not enough. I just smile and with tears in my eyes eat it humbly. Things like that change your life. One thing you'll see in everyone's house is pictures of their families. Dirt floors and family pictures. Another thing you'll always see in most people's homes is a picture of Jesus Christ. Isn't that powerful? So if that's not simplifying your life, I don't know what else is. All you need is your family and the Savior of the world, and "all these things shall be added unto to you."
I hope that helps, I'm really sorry I'm bad at this email thing. Mom I just want to thank you for your emails and prayers. Please don't worry about me. I'm working hard and I'm trying to lose myself in the work. I know if I work harder I will get a hot wife and my family will receive more blessings. Are you feeling those blessings? If not, I got to get off this computer and go work haha. I love you mom. I'm really trying to make you proud. You can't see all that I'm doing here but when I hug you in the airport you'll feel that I really did my very best for the Lord. I will always be your stripling warrior and I will not fear or doubt because my mother knew it. Mahal ko kayo!
Message para kay Sydnie,
Hey you got baptized! I wish I was there. You look so big in your pictures. Sydnie I love how you're inviting your friends to your baptism! You're a missionary too, like me! Sid, I want you to know that I love you so much. Do you know that? And your Heavenly Father loves you even MORE. We don't even understand His love for us. And we are both so "masaya" (happy) that you decided to be abptized and follow His Son Jesus Christ. Now baptism is the only the first step, you've got a long ways ahead but don't worry, you're not alone. You're never alone. Keep being a good example and always love everyone. I miss you and love you. I'll be home soon.