Friday, May 12, 2017

Week 10 May 8th, 2016

So time is just flying by here!

Miracle this week! So after district meeting on Wednesday we ate lunch at Jollibee in Cabuyao. When we returned home Elder Bagtas realized that he left his folder, that had a lot of important papers, at Jollibee. We had had to Calamba that night so that Elder Bagtas and Elder Macasil could leave together to go to District Leader Training. On the way, we checked at Jollibee, and it wasn't there! They even checked the cameras, and it wasn't there! As we walked out of the mall, we saw it by the door! Elder Bagtas was so happy his prayer was answered!

So we spent Wednesday night in Calamba. I stayed behind with Elder Pagdilao, while they were at training. Elder Pagdilao is pretty short, so everyone in their area kept pointing it out. It was pretty funny. While I was with Elder Pagdilao, one of their investigators asked me to give their sick, crying (screaming) baby a blessing. As soon as the blessing was over, the baby was completely calm. It was amazing! Another week of miracles in the service of God!

Nagpapasalamat ako na puwede akong mabuhay kasama ang mag-anak ko walang hanggan dahil sa pag-aalay ni Jesucristo.

Elder Justin Farish
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 9 May 2nd, 2016

I did it. I ate belut. It was actually alright. We were at a ward member's house and he had it all ready when we got there. Apparently there are actually a few kinds of belut. Brother De Juan said that a lot of Filipinos are mean to Americans and give them the "freshest" kind -- as in one, maybe two days before they hatch, so there's bones and feathers. He said he actually doesn't even like that kind. We had belut that probably still had 5-6 days to hatch -- no bones or feathers. It actually tasted pretty decent. The whole family actually explained how to eat it. You crack one side and peel that part of the shell off, then you suck/pour the juice out, then you peel the rest of the shell, and then you eat it. I don't really know how to explain it, but the closest (but still not completely accurate)  description is a texture kind of between scrambled eggs and just normal boiled chicken. The taste is kind of similar to the white part of a fried egg, and chicken. I would probably get it again if we went back to their house.

We had  lot of good lessons this week. Brother John (ward mission leader) and Brother Gregg (2nd counselor in bishopric)  each came with us a  couple of times. Brother John actually just got back from his mission in Cagayan de Oro about 6 months ago, so he speaks Tagalog, English, AND Cebuano. He says that he's the ward mission leader now because he probably wasn't the most obedient on his mission and the Lord needs him to do more. He really does work hard with us, and he's pretty funny.

We had a few investigators agree to be baptized this week!

Edwin - lives across the street from Bishop)
Fabian - lives aroun the corner from Bother Rodemark who is a ward missionary, and a friend of Fabian
Mark - lives across the street from Brother John

Most people here actually speak English. People always say to me "What's up man?" "Hey! Bro!" "Hey there, Joe!" I'm a  celebrity here. They love Americans here. Church is actually 50-50 English/Tagalog. Half of the people have scriptures and Sunday School books in each, and the hymns are in English. The Church encourages english for them because it's much easier to get a job if you speak english. In elders quorum and sunday school, they usually write on the board in enlgish, and speak tagalog. It's pretty crazy.

Elder Bagtas is awesome! He still always helps me with tagalog, and always compliments my skills. He's just fantastic.

For P-day today, we got to have a district P-day, so we had a boodle fight (I don't why it's called that.) Basically you put a bunch of food on a banana tree leaf, and you eat all of it. Then we played a bunch of games, and took a bunch of pictures. Elder Retig thinks that he is a model and that he should be on billboards and commercials for food. He's pretty funny. He also made some "sunglasses" out of some spoons because he felt left out.

Nagkaroon kaming isa pang mabuting linggo sa paglilingkod sa ating Panginoon!

Elder Justin Farish

Philippines San Pablo Mission

                                           Boodle Fight

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Week 7 & 8

So we  didn't really get a P-day in the Manila MTC, which was not cool, but P-day is here now!

So we actually took the train from Provo to get to the airport. Then we flew to LAX where we all got to call home, which was awesome! Then we flew to Hong Kong! It was so boring. All the lights were off, but for some reason, I could not sleep. Oh yeah, I remember, Sister Boobu kept singing this Indian song called Chicken-Kuk Doo Koo that she found on the in-flight entertainment! I listened to classical and Josh Groban and finally fell asleep for a couple of hours, but not for too long. Our flight got to Hong King an hour and a half late, late, so we had to RUN to the next gate. We made it as the last ones on the flight. I Manila, the MTC President met us, and we took a van to get to the MTC. It took like 2 hours, because Manila traffic is INSANE! So we literally took planes, trains, and automobiles to get to our missions, which is super awesome. 

We mostly just reviewed stuff in the MTC here. One day we went on splits to do proselyting with missionaries in the Quezon City North Mission. I was with Elder Foster from Layton, UT. It was SUPER hot. One day we went to get our fingerprints one for our visas, an they didn't know what to do with me. It was pretty funny. Elder Fifita was dying of laughter for the rest of the day. On Tuesday, we got to go to the temple, right across the street from the MTC. As we were walking out, we also saw the whole Philippines Area Presidency, which includes Elder Ardern -- a General Authority Seventy that spoke in the Provo MTC a few weeks ago. Apparently they go every Tuesday together. They were all so nice.

Then came Wednesdy! We had to get up at 4:30 so we could catch a van, n then a bus to Aliminos where the mission home is. Whe we got there we just did some training, were interviewed by President Mangum, and did some proselyting in nearby San Pablo with the assistants to the President.

On Thursday we got to meet our trainers. I'm assigned to the Santa Rosa 2nd ward in the Cabuyao Stake! My companion is Elder Bagtas! He is from Bataan in the Olongapo mission. He had his one- year mark yesterday. He's so humble and nice. He also became the district leader on Thursday! He's worried about it, but I think he will do well because he sincerely wants to help.

It's city, but it's not too poor like a bunch of areas in Manila that we saw. We actually live in a gate community in a 2 story house! It's just a kitchen and a bathroom downstairs, and then two rooms upstairs, but we have  gate porch and a balcony.

So it's ALWAYS hot here. There's so many people to talk to. We've picked up 6 new investigators in the 4 days that I've been here. Our subdivision is actually a "center of strength" b ecause there are a lot of people, and a lot of members that can come to investigator lessons with us. We take a tricycle, a jeep, and another trike in order to get to the other "center of strength."

The funniest experience this week was when an investigators  dad was drunk. Elder Bagtas asked him, in Taglog, to kill the TV before the prayer. The old man said in his drunken Tagalog, basically: "Okay, where's the sword?!"

I bore my testimony yesterday in church in Tagalog, and everyone said I did a great job, and were impressed. I can understand what's going on during lessons, and actually contribute which is cool, but I just need to learn more conversational Tagalog because it's hard for me to get to know people. The members here are so nice about my Tagalog, and never laugh, which is awesome.

 Makakabalik tayo sa piling ng Diyos dahil kay Jesucristo!

We made it! Apr 15th, 2016

We are in the Philippines safe and sound. Our flight to Hong Kong was over an hour late, so we had to run through the Hong Kong airport, but we (and all of our bags) made it.

I didn't get to sleep much on the plane, so I've had about 1.5 hours of sleep in the past 38 hours. 

The humidity and the traffic are awful but I was actually prepared for it, so it's been really fun. Elder Solis has never been east of Colorado before, and the humidity is killing him. It's been pretty hilarious. The traffic is crazy! They have lanes marked,but no one follows them and people just cut everyone off. It's very exciting and entertaining.

The food at this MTC is better than the food in Provo was. Tomorrow we will go on splits to go tracting with missionaries in some of the different Manila missions. That should be pretty exciting, because there are literally just people everywhere all the time.

Week 6 Apr 13th, 2016


So last Thursday night, we Skyped with another member who lives in the Philippines. He is actually a call-center employee, and speaks English for 8 hours every day. We spoke to him in Tagalog and he was super nice. His wife was also Skyping with some other missionaries that we know who are speaking Cebuano. 

On Friday we had In-Field Orientation, which was basically an all-day event where we talked a lot about how it will be in the field, and how to work with members. It was alright. The people running it told some pretty funny stories about their missions.

On Saturday we practiced teaching in class with each other, and our teacher told us to first do it in English, and then Tagalog. It was actually really weird to teach in English. I didn't like it. I'm much more comfortable teaching in Tagalog now than English, which is cool. Then we did something that I wish we could've done more often. Brother Spencer just sat down and told us a funny story from his mission when he got dehydrated and was really sore. He spoke really fast and added in a Filipino accent, and after he was done, we had to summarize as much of it as we could.

For district meeting on Sunday, President and Sister Howard told us how to survive in the Philippines. They showed us a bunch of pictures of all our missions and San Pablo looks beautiful. For the devotional we got to hear Richard Heaton, the administrative director of the MTC, speak about the Holy Ghost. After that we watched a movie about John Tanner, a pioneer of the early Church, and then Music and the Spoken Word. I also read all of Matthew on Sunday

On Monday, we taught each of our "investigators" for the last time. Our lesson with "Francisco" went pretty well. Our lesson with "Delony" just had such a strong spirit. Afterward, Sister Brock came up to us and said that our lesson was beautiful and we didn't just teach "Delony," but we actually helped the real Sister Brock come closer to Christ. She told Elder Solis and I that we are definitely ready for the field. That was so awesome to hear. We also had Chik-fil-a for dinner. It was amazing, as usual.

On Tuesday, we cleaned bathrooms for service again. We then got haircuts, and printed off talks for the plane. Brother Spencer helped us with a bunch of little language things for our last class, and we also watched the "Because of Him" video. That video is awesome for me every time. We sang a good arrangement of "I Feel My Savior's Love" for choir. The speaker for the devotional was W. Christopher Waddell of the presiding bishopric. He had us read Matthew 25 before the devotional so we would be ready for his talk. He related every single one of the parables (the ten virgins, the talents, and the sheep and the goats) to missionary work. It was pretty incredible. I was excited because I loved his talk from General Conference.

Right now we're doing laundry, and then we get to go to the Philippines today!

Nagpapasalamat ako para kay Jesucristo at sa pagbabayad-sala Niya para sa atin. Mamumuhay tayo na muli dahil sa Kanya.

Elder Justin Farish
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 5 Apr 7th, 2016

Last Thursday night we got to go to TRC (lessons with actual members.) Normally we met with volunteer members from Utah Valley that speak Tagalog, but last week and tonight it's over Skype with members who live in the Philippines. The member we taught last week lives in Manila, and is actually an institute/seminary teacher, and a work-from-home video-editor. Since he teaches institute, we were able to talk about a lot of verses. It was so much fun.

On Friday we got our travel plans. We will fly to LAX, then to Hong Kong, and then to Manila! When we fly to Hong Kong, we will literally lose all of April 14th because of the 15-hour time difference, and the fact that it's a 15-hour flight.

General Conference was awesome. I was able to get so much out of it for missionary work. It was a great experience to watch it as a missionary. My favorite talks were Elder Dale G. Renlund's, President Uchtdorf's talk from the Priesthood session, and Elder Holland's talk that closed out the conference. My favorite story of the whole weekend was from Elder Renlund's talk: 

A friend of ours in South Africa shared how she came to this realization. When Diane was a new convert, she attended a branch outside of Johannesburg. One Sunday, as she sat in the congregation, the layout of the chapel made it so that the deacon did not see her as the sacrament was passed. Diane was disappointed but said nothing. Another member noted the omission and mentioned it to the branch president after the meeting. As Sunday School began, Diane was invited to an empty classroom.A priesthood holder came in. He knelt down, blessed some bread, and handed her a piece. She ate it. He knelt down again and blessed some water and handed her a small cup. She drank it. Thereafter, Diane had two thoughts in rapid succession:First, “Oh, he [the priesthood holder] did this just for me.” And then, “Oh, He [the Savior] did this just for me.” Diane felt Heavenly Father’s love.Her realization that the Savior’s sacrifice was just for her helped her feel close to Him and fueled an overwhelming desire to keep that feeling in her heart, not just on Sunday but every day. She realized that although she sat in a congregation to partake of the sacrament, the covenants she made anew each Sunday were individually hers. The sacrament helped—and continues to help—Diane feel the power of godly love, recognize the Lord’s hand in her life, and draw closer to the Savior.

On Sunday night, the devotional was done by BYU Vocal Point. It was great. They would sing a song, and then a couple of them would each share a lesson that they learned on their missions. they sounded amazing, were really funny, and had a lot of great lessons about the Spirit.

On Monday, we taught both of our "investigators" and both lessons went really well. We've been so much more prepared, and just focused exactly on their needs. That has made such a huge difference, and the Spirit has been there so much more. We always get told that our lessons are sobrang maganda. 

On Tuesday we did service in our building by cleaning the bathrooms. while cleaning on one of the floors, I actually met Elder Caldwell, who is actually from Stafford! He said that he filled out his mission papers with President Kitchens! In class that day, we read in Alma 7 which people usually associate with the Atonement, but it is actually very much about the doctrine of Christ. 

The Tuesday Devotional was by Ian S. Ardern of the Seventy, who is actually the current Area President for the Philippines. He shared ten lessons that he learned on his mission in France. There was actually a bat flying around inside the building during the devotional. Elder Ardern actually turned it into an additional lesson about investigators getting distracted during lessons. He was really funny.

On Wednesday we read 3 Nephi 8-9 in class with Sister Brock and related it to ourselves. My favorite was the last verse of chapter 9 because we can't let the Atonement to have happened in vain: 

 22 Therefore, whoso repenteth and cometh unto me as a little child, him will receive, for of such is the kingdom of God. Behold, for such have laid down my life, and have takeit up again; therefore repent, and come unto me ye ends of the earth, and be saved.

Both of our lessons also went very well yesterday. Elder Solis and are having so much fun teaching and preparing for lessons.

So they're building a new building here, and apparently it is tradition for people to sign the last beam of a building before it is set. So we all got to sign it yesterday. That was pretty awesome as well.

The Kiribati missionaries also had a lot of fun teaching us silly words. They always tell us how to say stuff like "You're childish" "You stink" "Shut up" and "You have a big forehead." they are always so funny.

We're all so excited to go on Wednesday!

Maganda ang plano ng Diyos para sa atin na makakabalik sa langit upang mabuhay sa piling Niya!

Week 4 Mar 31st, 2016

So the new missionaries are all pretty great. The Kiribati missionaries are definitely experiencing some crazy culture shock but they are all just hilarious. They are always making jokes and just constantly laughing.

Brother Cobb and Sister Iler don't have a class this cycle, so they are just resource teachers for our class. They are each really awesome.

On Friday, Elder Solis and I taught each of our "investigators" and both went really well. We are really starting to love teaching, and our Tagalog is getting better every day. Friday night, Elder Collins was walking around in his Star Wars shirt, his Transformer pajama bottoms, a pea coat, and running shoes because he got called down to the front office around 9:45pm after we had all changed for bed. It was quite impressive.

On Saturday we actually got two new elders! Elder Edgely, from Kayesville, Utah, showed up around lunch time. He was here in November, but he tore his ACL playing volleyball, and had to have surgery. So he's back, and will leave with us. He's going to Urdaneta, where Elders Hicks and Knowles are. Around dinner, Elder Palacio showed up. He was driving here from Miami, but got stuck in a blizzard in Denver. He actually got set apart here, by Elder Zwick, of the Seventy, because his family knows him.

For Easter, I got asked to speak in sacrament meeting. Everyone said I did a really great job. then we had an Easter Devotional that was broadcast to all of the MTCs all over the world. We sang "Jesus, Once of Humble Birth" for it, and Maddy Burt said that she could see us on the camera in the Madrid MTC. The speaker was Elder M. Russell Ballard, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He spoke 45 minutes about Jesus Christ. It was incredible. He told us a special, more detailed version of the story of his grandfather -- Elder Melvin J. Ballard, a former Apostle -- meeting the Savior. The whole meeting was just fantastic. His testimony of the Savior was just so powerful.

Sunday night, we also did Peep Wars with Peeps and little swords. There's a microwave in the basement of our residence hall, so we had a big crowd. I had yellow Peeps, and Elder Edgely's family sent him red Peeps, so we did red vs. yellow for awhile. Elder Lowry was absolutely loving it.

We watched the story of John Rowe Moyle, the Stonecutter for the Salt Lake Temple, on Sunday night as well. I've heard it before, but it still amazes me every time.  Basically, he walked 22 miles on Monday morning and Friday afternoon in order to work on the Temple. He did it for over 20 years, including when he lost his right leg from the knee down. He made his own peg leg and harness, and continued to make the journey from Alpine to Salt Lake.

On Tuesday, after service, and before gym time, it was actually snowing here. The Kiribati missionaries were so excited. They were completely entranced by it. It was so cool to see them see snow for the first time in their lives.

For the devotional, we sang "Praise to the Man" arr. Mack Wilberg of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It's the same version that the MTC Choir sang in conference a few years ago. It sounds incredible. The speaker was Elder Terrance M. Vinson of the Seventy. He's from Australia, so he had an awesome accent. He talked about our faith in Christ leading to action. It was really good. He had a lot of really great stories about faith causing people to act in crazy situations.

On Tuesday, Elder Collins had to bne at the Travel Office at 3:30AM to go to Edmonton. He woke up at 3:35, because he's Elder Collins. So after he left our room, a security guard came to see what was going on, because he was late. So he opened the door, and said something, but I didn't understand him. I said "Paki-ulit" which means "please repeat," but obviously he didn't understand me and said "What?" I said it again, and then realized, so I said "Pasensya [Sorry] er, I mean, sorry, can you say that again?" I told my teachers and they were pretty happy. It's cool to know that Tagalog is entering my sub-conscious.

On Wednesday, we hosted again. I hosted three elders. One was from Toronto, going to Argentina, and he was really cool. He actually lives on the floor below us.One was from Prescott, AZ, going to Twin Falls, ID, and he was nice, but a little strange. The last one was from American Fork, UT and is going to Russia! He was really cool, too. As he was being dropped off, his brother asked me where I was going, so I told him, and then he told me that he when to Legazpi -- also in the Philippines -- so we spoke Tagalog for a little bit while the elder said goodbye to the rest of his family.

We also taught "Delony" again yesterday. Our lesson just went so well. We definitely made it easy for the Spirit to confirm to her that what we were saying was true. Elder Solis and I were so pumped. It was the best feeling in the world. We can't wait to teach her again tonight.