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

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

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

April 27th, 20th, 13th, and 6th Blog Entries: Forinoy; Thorbear, Salve, and Marietta; Araw-araw, Araw-araw, Araw-araw; and Budgeting

Mon 4/27/2015


Dear Everybody, and Hunter, David, and Jared,

Last week was a record-high week for total lessons taught! President has moved most of the administrative things off our plate and given us the opportunity to have a model area. We've been able to leave the office tiles behind and hit the pavement! We had two great exchanges where I went with an Australian and then a Californian elder. We saw plans fall through--and miracles come in. The Australian's name was Elder Pickford, and I just love him. We went into his densely populated area on a rainy Tuesday and had plans fall through one by one. It was around 8, and we still hadn't taught a lesson that day. We'd talked to many people, but with little luck. We were using the ward directory, and found people that'd left. Eventually we made our way to the Wong family. Brother Wong had come home just for vacation--and for us! He's the only member in the family, and the whole family is open to be baptized! That small miracle made up for everything that didn't go right. 

We taught Noah at a member's house on Thursday and set up the baptismal interview for Saturday. He didn't show up at the office like he said, so we headed directly to his house, where, thankfully, he agreed to be interviewed! He passed, and now his baptism is happening this Saturday. 

Another cool note: there's a popular show in the Philippines called Forinoy, which is a word coming from "foreign" and "pinoy" (i.e. Filipino).  In this show I think non-filipino people come and they speak in the languages here in the Philippines and do a little bit of dancing, but I'm not sure. In one of the pictures I attached, you see a man named Dwayne Bulley, who served his mission here, and knows Tagalog, Wari-Wari, and Cebuano. He's a contestant and is up to the next round of the show!

Last thing. We had a service project last Saturday, and swept a bunch of streets in our area with the ward, and talked to a ton of people. It took an hour, and then took another hour to eat. 

Take care!

Elder Thurber - Philippines Manila Mission

Mon 4/20/2015

Thorbear, Salve, and Marietta


I wouldn't give myself a good rating on comletely describing my missionary experience in my blog entries. They've been mostly about the most interesting parts of my mission, but not necessarily about my average day-to-day walk.  So my blog entries seem to be about things that are relatively unrealistic, albeit exciting, at least to me. Maybe I'm writing this blog entry so you don't get the complete wrong idea about what a mission here is like. We experience very mundane and repetitive things as missionaries, like following-up with investigators on reading the scriptures, attending church, etc. But most of the glamour comes because there's grit—

Like this week: It was hot, and we were out of the office, preaching the gospel in our area, Palanan. We had a few copes of The Book of Mormon returned to us from people no longer interested. Some people said there wasn't any difference between our religion and theirs, so they said we were wasting their time. A few decided to just simply hide. Yes, Filipinos are very nice people, but it's something about the gospel that they don't get yet. 

So why bother? Those experiences are so common in every missionary's life. I've found comfort in PMG. It says "when you have done your very best, you may still experience disappointments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself." Being out on a mission for a while has brought me to the point that I treasure any opportunity to share the gospel because it strengthens my own testimony—and—maybe they'll just accept it.

It's people like these that are on the road to conversion that make me smile:
  •          Last Sunday a Danish man in his 20's came to church named Thorbear. He only came for "moral support" for his Filipina member girlfriend, but he loved what he saw in church, and will be coming back every week with her. We had a good conversation about the origin of his name and my own. I remember him asking, "So you have many people from different countries?" To which I responded, "Yeah, he's from Brazil and doesn't speak English. That family's from Japan. I think they're Korean. He's from Ghana.  There are a few families from Utah, and there is a couple that just moved in from New Zealand." 
  •          Salve is Jerome's mom. She came to church for the first time last Sunday to support him. Jerome passed his interview on Saturday, but his mom was a little concerned he wasn't ready. Before church started, Bishop Espi told us he wouldn't let Jerome get baptized. After sacrament, he talked to Salve, then brought us in. He said he would allow Jerome be baptized on the 16th of May if she would come to church every Sunday. 
  •          Saturday, we looked for members we hadn't met. We were looking for a family at a particular address when we met a different lady named Marietta, who's an endowed member who always bears her testimony to people. We hadn’t seen her at church because she just arrived. She used to live in Virginia Beach, and now has a new non-member husband, who we will be teaching. 
This is a written commitment we gave to Alexander, who hadn't been attending church.
He came to church this Sunday.

Alexander is on the left, along with some of his family, who are members.
This is another reason I love being a missionary:  
Family Home Evening at member's houses.
That's all I'd like to share today. I am thankful I can be part of this work, where people really change.

Elder Thurber

Mon 4/13/2015 2:41 AM

Araw-araw, Araw-araw, Araw-araw

Dear Everybody,

I'm currently surrounded by a bunch of missionaries from the Mandaluyong during interviews. I'm the hall monitor while classes go on! Thus is my life. 

Jerome's baptism is coming up on the 25th! He cracks me up! This week we've actually had enough time to teach him some of the lessons. He's going to be turning twelve two days before his actual baptism. The problem is he loves Primary too much and wants to stay there!
We're striving to teach his mom, Salve, who has been taught before. The problem is Jerome’s sister Sheila planned to bear hear testimony on the 5th (which wasn't GC for us) and didn't want her mom to hear her testimony, so she told her mom not to go, even though we tried our best to commit her to come to church. She’ll hopefully at least come to Jerome's baptism on the 25th. 

The title of this entry is entitled as such because of the talk by the seventy Elder Pearson, who said to read the scriptures "every day, every day, every day." Well, Araw-araw, araw-araw, araw-araw is the Tagalog of daily 3x. As an assistant, my schedule varies, and I have to fit in personal study whenever possible during the day no matter what, according to President Ostler. Other missionaries almost always get it in at 8 AM every morning, but it takes effort on my part. And now I can testify the importance of what Elder Pearson said. I add to the end of his words: no excuses, no excuses, no excuses. I've found on my mission, from everybody I've met that WE ALL HAVE TIME TO READ THE SCRIPTURES! I won't say I've been perfect at it in my life, and may have rationalized my lack of reading, but I will try my best for the rest of my life. And I encourage you to do the same. People are happier, more peaceful, and loving when they read the scriptures. 

That's all I have this week! 

Mon 4/6/2015 12:43 AM


Dear Everybody,

Due to Sister Hiatt's sickness, the Hiatts have been staying here in Manila, and will leave on the 15th. President Hiatt is the 2nd counselor in the mission presidency, and they have been in Palawan for a while now. We're in interview season yet again (there's 2 this week), and so they're teaching the classes, not us. We're just the hall monitors. 

During the interviews, and also during MLC, we discussed in depth the importance of budgeting. Many people really struggle with budgeting! So now we're accounting for how much money each missionary has and their emergency fund (which should be 3000 pesos). Missionaries now receive 8000 pesos of support each month. At the end of March, many missionaries were eating out of their 72 hr kits because they used all their support and emergency fund. Sad, right? Well, some missionaries are already down to 3000 pesos in support for this month of April. In comparison, other missionaries have budgeted wisely, and get to enjoy a life free of financial stress! Self-discipline really pays off. 

Here are some other random cool parts of the week:

Some cool views from Makati.
We're looking down on the Buendia office from a neighboring building.

Paul Groome and his family.
We finally got to teach Paul Groome! We went 30 minutes north of Buendia Chapel and taught his family. 
Three boys came to church yesterday in the fourth ward. There was one from Taiwan, but has been here for 10 years and speaks Tagalog. They were making a report on the differences between Mormonism and Catholicism. They asked questions about the degrees of glory, purgatory, the cross, etc. I think they were blown away with how different it was. 

Our wonderful district at the Northrup's apartment
where we watched Big Hero 6.
The Jensens, a Canadian family in the 4th ward, fed us a Jewish-inspired Easter dinner, which consisted of lamb and unleavened bread, among other things I haven't eaten in forever. 
Before our Easter dinner, we realized we needed more companionship pictures.

Elder Thurber - Philippines Manila Mission

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