Hello from Elder Thurber--who serves in the Philippines Manila Mission

Hello from Elder Thurber--who serves in the Philippines Manila Mission

Friday, November 15, 2013

Journal 2.0, Typhoon, and my 20th Birthday

Monday, Nov. 11, 2013
Aborlan, Palawan

Dear People Across the World,

I have come to a point that I accept that nothing in my mission will ever be normal. It's beautiful chaos 24/7. It's 20 times more interesting than regular life. 

First off, I'm still in Aborlan with Elder Hart, with Elders Saclot and Balonsong. Everybody is still here except for Elder Stephens, who was shipped back to Manila, and is still a zone leader. This is a picture of me and Elder Stephens.  He's served here quite a while! We got a new ZL, Elder Henie, who I'll be meeting tomorrow. 

I reached a milestone on Tuesday night, the day before my birthday. I knew every word that was spoken in a lesson. :D But it's still tough sometimes though.

I also got a birthday cake on Tuesday from Sister Gwilliam.  It was the perfect time to have a birthday, because my other batchmates, Elder Webb and Proudfit came down to see us, too! They're both staying in Palawan, but their trainers are heading out. Elder Webb is training immediately. They got some cake. Plus I get to see them all tomorrow because of Zone mtg!

My birthday was mabuti! I'm going to write about it just so you know the people here are really taking great care of me. BTW It's pronounced "mah-booty", and means good!  For breakfast I had some Frosted Flakes, which tasted like heaven. Do not take for granted cereal my friends! You never know what you have until it's gone. 

Something I noticed on my birthday is that Filipinos are really good at birthdays! Every Filipino wished me a Happy Birthday that I knew! They don't need Facebook to remind them of birthdays.  Me and Elder Hart and Decila Corpuz, Jorald Josol, and Glen Favella got 2 chickens, spaghetti, 2 things of soda, rice, 2 cartons of ice cream, and some bananas. When we came home, the other elders were waiting to surprise me. They even turned off the power and had candles to light to sing Happy Birthday. Notice our Thurber family picture sitting on the table.  Filipinos go ALL out in birthdays! They bought a 3500 peso cake! That's like 40 bucks in American money. They basically spent a quarter of their support on this chocolate cake, and they also bought kasava cake and a bunch of other food, so we've sure been feasting for the past few days on the leftovers.

It just so happens that I finished my first journal the day before my birthday, so I started my bigger journal right on my birthday. It should last me throughout my mission, so it's the new and improved journal 2.0! :D

I taught Roger and Trixa on Thursday. It was wonderful because all of the kids were asleep, and they could both fully give their attention to us. It was mabuti! We taught about the Word of Wisdom, and it made sense to them, and they said they would follow it. I am really starting to admire Trixa, because all of her comments about what she read are as correct if not more so than most Mormons would give-- and she hasn't even gone to church! It seems to me that Roger thinks that he should go to church first and be baptized, and then the rest of his family will follow. 

He was able to go to church on Sunday, but we had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing him walk to church with a cigarette in his mouth. Not mabuti! I guess we need to focus on him just a little bit more than what we have been. 

Apart from his cigarette, church was wonderful because Brother and Sister Gwilliam spoke in English! They gave great talks, and I wish you all could have heard them. Their speech was simple and pure so that people could understand them, but the message was powerful. 

We didn't get to work on Friday, because of the Typhoon that was coming through. Honestly, there wasn't too much to report other than I learned a bunch of new card games and a card trick I can bring back to America. 

On Saturday we got a text saying that we needed to email, but the power was cut off. We tried to work and taught 3 lessons, but had to head back home because of the zone leaders. 

Like I said at the beginning, there isn't a dull moment here in my mission. The work is really picking up here. We've taught more lessons and met more of our key indicators than we ever have as a companionship. While we go in usually intending to teach something we've taught before, it never is close to the same because of the people we teach. Each person has their own individual needs. It's cool to see them react to the gospel and then to try to add on to what they have and bring them to Christ. I may just be naive, but it never gets old!

Elder Thurber

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