Making memories one day at a time.......and then I write about it.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Weekly Philippines Letter

As Christmas fast approaches, I can't help but look at this photo, at those who have so little, and not be appreciative of how blessed my little family is.  We have so much!

Elder Rubow on left and Elder Hopkins on right.
This last week has been mostly a lot of preparation.  Preparing for Christmas, and preparing for typhoon Ruby.  Though some members call it typhoon Rubow.  Go figure.  Anyway, ill start with the first.  One thing I did not expect here was Christmas Lights.  They are everywhere lighting up the roads at night and it looks really cool.  Every house right now has some tree, tinsel, lights, signs, and so forth.  I really love the Christmas spirit here.  They have been preparing for Christmas since September.  Its coming really fast.

The typhoon was supposed to hit on Sunday so we only worked for a few hours on Saturday and Sunday.  Then we waited....and waited...and waited and it never came.  Ended up not hitting our area so we are all good here.  Sacrament meeting was canceled as well.

This week was mostly spent finding.  We have very few people to teach right now so we went searching for Less Active and new investigators.  And we have found a few of them.  We don't know if any of them will progress at this point but we certainly hope so.  With Christmas coming up so soon very few people have been had time to listen to us.  Everyone is busy busy busy apparently.  I am expecting more things to happen after Christmas.  We have one baptism this month and we are planning for 5 more next month.  

One of the biggest highlights of the week though was teaching Less Active families.  The Assistant to the President worked with me two weeks back and one thing he told me to do was to start finding Less Active Families.  So this last week that was our focus.  While teaching a few of these lessons, I really focused on the Holy Ghost.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the most basic principles that is also essential for not only our salvation, but our daily growth.  

I've come to see the five steps of the Gospel 1.Faith 2. Repentance 3. Baptism 4. The Holy Ghost 5. Endure to the End) not as steps but as a cycle.  We focus a lot on Baptism and Endure to the End I feel.  It might just be me though.  One of my favorite scriptures on the Holy Ghost is in John 14.  Jesus Christ teaches about the Comforter which is the Holy Ghost.  With Christmas coming up, we are all focusing on gifts.  Gifts we want and gifts to give.  One gift that we can receive is the Holy Ghost.  After baptism by proper authority we can all receive this wonderful gift from God.  In Doctrine and Covenants, we learn that Eternal Life is the greatest of all the Gifts of God.  But to be able to receive that gift we need the Holy Ghost in our lives always.  But we also need to qualify for that gift.  We must be worthy of His presence, which is why we first need to have Faith, then Repent, then be Baptized or the renewal of, and then we can have His presence so we can Endure.  So as this Christmas lets remember this wonderful gift the Lord has given us.  Thanks again for all the many prayers in my behalf and I pray for you as well.  Have a good week!

Elder Rubow

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Two Letters From the Philippines!

I'm behind with posting Elder Rubow's letters!  So, you get two today.  One from a week ago, and one from this past Sunday. It's a lot of reading but if you can make it all the way through to the end you will see why I love my boy so much.  He had a difficult experience and then what he does with it, this kid cracks me up!!!   Reminds me that he is still just 19 years old.  Both a man and a boy still.  Here is his letter from November 23rd 2014: 

If there is one big thing that I am learning from this mission, it is patience.  A lot of patience, humbleness and love.  My companion has really been having a hard time this past week.  I don't blame him really.  One very interesting thing I have been learning this past week though is how important it is to be positive and desire to be successful.  Just saying 'I Can Do It' has a lot of power.  If you don't think you can do something, you are right.  On the other hand, if you think you cant then you won't.  A positive outlook even when things are looking impossible can push you through things you did not think possible. Especially when you have the Lord with you.  Nothing is impossible with Him.  Yes, sometimes we have to do hard things but when we overcome hardships we will become truly successful and so much more prepared in the future.  Which brings me to my next thing. Preparation. 

A very big thing we do as missionaries is set goals and make plans.  Constantly we are planning to achieve our goals.  When we prepare correctly and make plans we can usually achieve such plans.  One thing I realize is I was incredibly good at setting goals before my mission.  But I was downright horrible at planning so I never reached many of the goals I had set.  Like the Prophet Joseph Smith said,

"When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the gospel..."

Thats pretty well true with life!  There is now way we can reach our goals or wishes in life without setting a plan to accomplish that goal.  

We did have some sad things happen this week though.  Many of our investigators dropped us this week and did not want anything to do with us anymore.  Its always a sad day when that happens.  We have a lot of finding we are doing now.  We have found a few new investigators that we will be teaching this week.

Last Saturday we had splits with the Assistant to the President.  I must say that was the best day I have had teaching.  I never realized how important it is to have a good companion where we can both testify and teach in unity.  He taught me a lot of things in the short time we had and how I can improve which is always awesome!  I hope to be able to really focus on teaching the members, part member families, and less actives for the next two months.  We have a lot of work to do with Less actives.

Thats been my week in a nutshell.  I hope your are doing amazing as well and things are going great!  Remember to always be living the gospel to your best, and God will take care of the rest.  Seek ye first the kingdom of God and everything will be added unto you.  God knows you and loves you so very much and wants you to be happy.  He also knows what will make you happier and stronger.  Every trial we go through is essential for our eternal salvation.  Keep you face toward Zion and turn not astray.  I know Jesus is the Christ and that He lives.  That through His Atonement, all mankind may be saved.  All.  I love declaring His Word and serving others.  Thank you for your prayers in behalf of this work and I am praying for you as well.  Stay positive and look for good.  Those who search will find.  Whether it be good or bad, so search for good!  I leave these things in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Elder Rubow
A representative of Jesus Christ.

Elder Rubow's Thanksgiving dinner that he and his fellow American missionaries made.  
 Letter from November 30, 2014:

I cannot believe how fast November went and now it is December already.  Christmas is already on the horizon and will be here very quickly.  To start off, we have been spending a lot of our time trying to find new investigators to teach and to preach to.  We have actually found a fair number and this next week we will be following up on them.  We did have Thanksgiving!  There is three Americans here in Lapaz so of course we whipped up the patatoes, got the gravy,  got the chicken (turkey is expensive), got the chips and all sat around the table and gave thanks and all that good stuff.  My companion (mommy note:  his companion is Filipino) was a little confused for that part but he seemed to enjoy it.  Made us very happy and thankful indeed for chicken!  Haha, we tried pie but nobody could figure out what we were looking for.  Americans and their pies...

So last Sunday I had a really cool experiance.  Lately our bishop has had some health problems and he texted me to give him a blessing.  So after church we hurried over there and Elder ---------- helped in giving his first blessing.  He annointed and I sealed.  The blessing was so simple but so powerful and afterward Bishop looked twice as better. I love being a missionary!

We also had another two baptisms! So awesome and happy!  Baptism day is the most stressfull and relaxing day.  Stressful before and awesome after!  One boy and one girl.  The boy is 17 and the girl is 15!  Elder ------- and Elder ------- baptized them.  They are two other elders in our area.  It was way awesome.

The big story of the week happend yesterday actually.  I went to jail!!  Whoo! So...long story short due to drinking and arguing.  (Mommy note:  Not Elder Rubow!  Mr. T was not drinking.  The less active members of the church were.  Just thought I'd clarify as drinking alcohol is against our religion).  One of our less active members killed their land owner and they called me and so forth so I was there for a while.  So now we wait to see what happens to her and the family and so forth.  But good news!  While at the jail I talked to a few of the people in jail and we ended up getting 6 more investigators whoo!  

Sorry gid.  I have little time today so it will have to be short.  One big thing I have learned though from all this is simply following the commandments.  We all sometimes see the rules and just that rules.  But what we dont see is why they are there till afterward.  God knows all things and loves us all so much!  Instead of saying we can't do these things lets say we won't do those things because if we know that following the commandments always brings better blessings. Thanks again and I miss ya tons!  Till next week!

Elder Rubow  

(Mommy note:  I told Elder Rubow that when the Savior was on the earth, He spent His time in the prisons and slums and that is where He would be today if He were here on the earth.  Trevor is doing that which he is representing!  As a representative of our Savior, teaching those in prison about the light and goodness of the gospel and the joy that it can bring to them, he is doing exactly that.  So proud of this kid!!!)
Another baptism!!
Elder Rubow is standing to the left of the missionary in all white pointing his finger at the girl being baptized.  (He's standing between the two men dressed in all white).  He looks so good to me!!!  I'm laughing at the basketball in this photo.  What?  They had a baptism and then played basketball?  That would be very typical of my son.  All work and no play makes life very dull indeed.  Mr. T has always been good at bringing in the 'play' while we work.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Knit Pickin'

I had to post this photo of these socks for Miss Wabi.  She'd posted some on her blog (click here to see them.  Her photo is way better as it is featuring little gnome feet.) so yeah..... this is for you Wabi!

This is supposed to be a sleeve.  If all goes well.............. 
 Anyway!  It is that time of year.  That time crunch time when the holidays are fast approaching and all the time in the world that you thought you had to make home made gifts is running out and...

Front and back of what is hopefully going to be the sweater that the above sleeve will be attached to when I finish both sleeves.  That is the plan...........  me and plans........ we don't always go together accordingly.  I'll keep you posted.
 You wonder what in tarnation you were thinking because you do this ever. single. year!

I find it impossible to knit something without writing all over the pattern.  Can you??  If you can, how do you keep it all together?  I can't keep anything together!

Proof!!  I went to download photos of my knitting and found THIS!  Youngest native so excited about the tower he'd built apparently took my camera and documented it!  Only, his tower is blurry and my disgusting bathroom is in full focus.

This, my friends, is my life in a nutshell!  The once, your house is so clean you can eat off of your kitchen floor!!!!......... is now reduced to, (I'm yelling from another place in the house so this is why all caps) DON'T FORGET TO CHECK THE SEAT BEFORE YOU SIT DOWN AND THERE ARE CLOROX WIPES ON THE BACK OF THE TOILET IF THERE IS A MESS FOR WHICH  I AM SORRY!  WELCOME TO MY WORLD!!!  Oh, and while you're at it Cloroxing my toilet for me, can you just Clorox the entire bathroom?  Thanks for visiting me!  Come again soon!  GO CUBS!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Weekly Letter From the Philippines!

Elder Rubow and his two 'brothers' he's grown to love over in the Philippines.  
 Transfers week!!  And it is going to be the hardest two transfers of my mission.  I am a trainer!  or here in the mission tatay.  My companion just arrived to the mission on thursday and it has been a roller coaster ever since.  My companion is elder -----------.  He is a Filipino and guess what, he cannot speak english or the mission language so President told me to teach him english.  whooo!  Im pretty stoked for that.  This last week went by very fast.  We are mostly focusing those investigators that are preparing for baptism.  We have two for this week and it should be awesome!  They are both very awesome and very close friends.  We have one more for the 29th of this month and we are hoping for up to 3-4 more for next month.  So yes things are going well.  I am so glad that I have this opportunity to be able to train this missionary.  Yes it will be challenging but we can do it.  so short letter for today.  Thanks for all you do!  you are a child of God. Yes we all do have trials but those are the true testing points so we can prove ourselves.  I love ya and  I hope to hear from you next week!

Elder Rubow

Elder Rubow and his new companion.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Depression and Suicide

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10  nkjv)

Not a very exciting topic, is it?  Depression.  Suicide.....

I read a book recently called, "Life, In Spite of Me:  Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice" by Kristen Jane Anderson, Tricia Goyer   It's a very eye opening read.  A book full of hope.  There has been one thing that has stuck out to me the most and I can't seem to forget even though I read this book awhile ago, and that is this:

The author is a teenage girl who while struggling with depression, decides to end her life by laying down on the tracks of an oncoming train.  She thankfully, isn't successful but does end up losing her legs.  As she comes to in the hospital, she is surrounded by family and loved ones.  They all tell her how much they love her, how grateful they are that she is still with them, that God loves her........  and she wonders to herself, "Where were you when I needed to hear this before?  When I needed to hear these things before, why didn't you tell me these things?"

Where were you??  This has resonated in my mind.  Where am I?  Where am I when my loved one's and friends need to hear that they are loved and cared about?  Do I tell those around me that I love them?  That I appreciate them?  Do I tell them to their face?  Do I reach out my arms and hug enough?

I know that I can do better......

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Brag Post.

I have been sharing emails with you from my son Mr. T (second eldest son) who is serving a mission for our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and bragging about how proud I am of my son.

Mr. B, is my eldest son and it is his turn for me to brag about him.   Mr. B is fighting a battle.  A battle for his life.  Literally.  He has started a blog and is writing about this fight.  I've not talked about Mr. B and the struggles he's had over the years because of privacy but since he has chosen to write about what he is going through and has gone through, I can now stand here in as a proud parent and tell you how much I love this boy who has struggled for so long with an addiction to pornography.  Yes, my son has a sexual addiction.  Yes, my son has struggled with depression.  Yes, my son has struggled with thoughts and attempts of suicide.  This has been a long battle that started when he was about 8 or 9.  He is now 21 in December and still fighting.

Mr. B has started his blog knowing that he will be judged.  He will be shunned by those who pretended to be his friend.  He might even be harassed/bullied.  He knows this.  But, despite knowing this, he is picking himself up, standing up, looking the world in the face, and saying, "I have an addiction.  I've let it beat me for years.  It stops now".

There have been many battles in this war Mr. B is fighting.  It is wearying.  It is exhausting.  As his mother, I have watched him, cried with him, held him, worried over him, lost sleep over him, prayed over him, and never stopped loving him.  I am proud of my son.  Yes, my son has an addiction.  It's a difficult addiction, but this addiction does not define my son.

My son, Mr. B is kind, sensitive, caring, hard working, and an example to all of being a fighter and not giving up.

Have I mentioned how proud I am of my son?!  I am.  I am SO proud of Mr. B!  He brings me and The SM and our family such joy.

His blog if you'd like to read/follow and encourage him in his fight:

Just a warning.  It is honest and brutal.  Mr. B doesn't hold back.  It may come across offensive to some.  And that's okay.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

This Week's Letter From the Philippines

So....I was planning on catching you...but the world had other plans!  We had a service project for one of our investigators which lasted till about 12 here.  We are repairing his porch which was destroyed a good month ago.  Twas pretty fun!  Working with bamboo was a new experience  for sure!  I am so thankful now for the nails in america.  You think those bend easily?  Try it here haha!

So Halloween looked pretty fun!  I hope everyone had fun!  Ours was just another work day.  So I am not ever going to promise that I will be there but I really hope next week I will.  (Mommy note: On the Internet to chat with me which not gonna lie, is the highlight of my week!)  So by next week I will have a new companion and I may very well be training him.  It will be a very interesting week!  Ill find outThursday.  So here is the weekly fun and I love you and everyone and I hope to catch you next week!  Love ya!!

So big hurray!  I am done with training!  Its been a good 12 weeks and now its time to move on.  My trainer will be leaving this coming Thursday which means that I will be getting a new companion.  And from what I have heard I have a very big chance of training..I am super excited actually!  I have a long way to go and I really hope that this will increase my language a ton in the next two transfers. But then again, we will not know until Thursday!  

Well, to start of the week last Monday was a very fun!  It was a mutli zone 'olympics'  Every district represented a country and we all competed in certain events.  It was way fun!  We had ping-pong, basketball, races and so forth.  At the end we had an award ceremony for everyone.  After that we got ready for the week such as food.  Tuesday was also very fun!  We had our regular district meeting and right after we were all invited to a wedding that was about to start.  And of course weddings mean food so how could we decline?  I must say, the food was very good!    Oh, and of course it was nice seeing two people getting married.  Jokes lang!!  It was very interesting wedding and everyone was happy and laughing.  I have had the excellent opportunity to be friends with a lot of the people at the wedding.  Im very glad we had the opportunity to be there.

Wednesday and Thursday was a blur!  I hardly remember what happened.  We have been really focusing on a few of our investigators that are getting ready for baptism this coming month.  Brother -------- and Sister ------- WILL be baptized on Nov. 15.  They were very clear on the will.  Then Brother --------- will follow on the 29th.  We are hoping for a lot more for December so we can have a 'white Christmas'  We have 5 investigators that we are aiming to be baptized on the 25th.  I am aiming to double or even triple that number within the next 3 weeks.  Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Friday was Halloween!  But since we dont have Halloween here I got some candy.  We had some good success with a few of our investigators but a lot of them are hitting the trials point and are dropping.  Its always the saddest part of serving a mission when a investigator either one, calls and says they are done, or 2, just stops progressing.  We have a lot more finding and searching to do now.  We are hoping that the ward will produce more referrals for us.  Thats always the best!  They usually already have a head start and do very well in the church.  

Saturday was the real holiday.  Its called 'All Saints/Souls Day'  Everyone goes to the cemetery to remember their ancestors or close friends who have passed away.  Then they go home and make deep Filipino food called 'suman'  Basically sticky rice with sugar.  Its pretty good stuff actually!  Aroz ala valenciana is another one that was very good!  I cant really describe it though.  Its mostly just meat and rice.  I need to figure out how to make it because it is really good!  Then at night they put candles out as an invitation for their ancestors to come in and they have a plate of food left out for them as well.  The ants eat very well on this day I must say.  :)  Since everyone was gone we had very little success this day.  

Sunday was very good as well!  We had an awesome broadcast by Elder Dallin H. Oaks for the Philippines.  It was very strong and full of love!  I love how clear he is when speaking.  He spoke mostly on the culture of the Philippines and how we can make it more in harmony of the gospel culture of Jesus Christ.  Twas very well done.  

And that ends the week!  I am so thankful again for this opportunity to serve the people here in the Philippines!  It is so much fun and I learn so much from these people.  I love being a missionary!  

Elder Rubow