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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Letter From The Philippines! Elder Rubow

Half way done with my training!!  It was so fast!  And everyone keeps telling me it gets faster and faster.  Its going to be a awesome roller coaster from here on out!  Its been a very interesting week and most of it I cannot even remember.  A typhoon came through this week but Ilo-ilo was just out of its path so it was not even that bad.  I love it when it rains because it cools down tremendously. 

I was given the opportunity to bless a lot of people this week.  It was such a cool experience! I cast a fever out of a child, offered many blessings of comfort and helped with a few others. 


We started off with a zone meeting where all the districts got together and shared our progress with everyone else.  We shared goals, messages and some special experiences we had the past month.  It was pretty fun being with the group!  We went out to eat at a local Taiwan restaurant where I had  a seafood soup.  It was alright and the squid balls were my favorite part!  After that we split and I went with Elder------.  I actually never did take any pictures that day....whoops.  Anyway, he basically let me take charge.  Elder ------ is from SL city utah and is just about to leave to go home.  He is a pretty funny guy!  We went to our first two appointments and I was given the opportunity to start off the lessons.  Sister ------ was our first.  We met her a few weeks back and she has been one of the best investigators we have had in a long time here in Lapaz.  She truly was prepared!  We taught the final half of the Plan of Salvation and the Celestial kingdom.  Near the end of the lesson, ----- (the husbad) came in and heard the last part of the Celestial kingdom and he wanted to learn more and be a part of our church with the rest of his family.  It was amazing!!  We are actually going to teach him tonight.  He is usually too busy for us to teach but today he has work off.  After the lesson I got us lost in the jungle and we had to back track.  Twas super fun!  Thats the picture with me on a bridge.  Super fun bridge I must say.  We ended teaching two less active members (Mom note:  deleting names for privacy)  ------- and -----.  ----- is 14 and ----- is 11.  Their family gives them very little support and so we are trying to encourage them to come to church even if they have to walk alone.  Super cute kids and I love them to death!  We then headed home and I made tacos for the both of us.  Yay!

 On Friday we attended the baptism of one of the members sons.  He is a stud!  Super cute little boy!  He was so excited after coming out of the water he started swimming in the font!  So funny!  Afterward we went to his birthday party......oh my it was delicious!  The Constintino family are a very wealthy family so of course they went all out as do all Filipinos.  I had Lechon for the first time! (Roasted Pig)  The skin is pretty tough but so good!  I was feeling super fat by the end of that one!  I have decided Filipino parties are the best!  It felt more like a wedding then a birthday party!  I loved it!


Sunday was amazing!  We had 8 of our investigators come to the Stake Conference and they seemed to all like it!  Stake Conference here is a pretty big thing!  It was good to see a entire stake center full of members.  Stake Conference is so important because members who have not come since the last stake conference will show up.  So nice!  We had a few good talks too!  I could only understand the middle ones though.  The first and the last both spoke in Tagalog.  I need to get that one down...

Later that night we had a interesting conversation with one of our investigators.  Its really going to be a hard next few weeks for her.  She has a pretty scary story.  In the end, it was a very good lesson.  She has so much guilt and past sins, but through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all of those can be completely taken away!  I cannot wait to see her in the baptismal font ready to become a new person again.  Its going to be great!

Elder Rubow doing his laundry!!  Yup!  By hand in a bucket!  

Well, That is about it!  I love it here and its is an amazing experience to be here doing the work of the Lord.  We also finally got Book of Mormons!!!  We have been handing them out like crazy! And!!.....We only have like two left again...hahaha that book has so much power! For all those who have never read, read a bit, read the whole thing, I invite you to read it! Daily!  I promise you that it will help you and bless you in your life in ways that only God knows.  I love you all dearly and cannot wait to see you all again.  Until then, may God be with you till we meet again. 

Elder Rubow

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Rain in The Summer













"Rain In Summer"

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
How beautiful is the rain!
After the dust and heat,
In the broad and fiery street,
In the narrow lane,
How beautiful is the rain!
How it clatters along the roofs,
Like the tramp of hoofs!

How it gushes and struggles out
From the throat of the over-flowing spout!
Across the window pane
It pours and pours;
And swift and side,
With a muddy tide,
Like a river down the gutter roars
The rain, the welcome rain!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 4 Letter from the Philippines!

This has been the craziest week ever!  I love it so much here!  The people are so loving here!  We are absolutely full of appointments everyday.  We have about 5 to 6 lessons everyday.  I have been giving them more and more now as well.  Its pretty fun with such a limited vocabulary!  But the people will listen to me anyway even if they don't really understand me.  I have some more goals to apply this week that should help me with the language.

I guess Ill start with day one!  It being a P-Day (preparation day, the day the missionaries write home, grocery shop, do their laundry, etc.) we only taught two lessons and did our much needed laundry.  One nice thing here is appearance is not critical here. (Mom note:  I asked him what he meant.  Meaning, his appearance wasn't critical or the Filipino's appearances weren't critical.  He assured me that he's keeping clean and well groomed.  His appearance is critical, the Filipino people in general don't put a lot of emphasis on appearance. )

Tuesday we had our normal zone meeting and we went over the goals of the stake and how our areas are doing.  My daily breakfast and lunch did change though!  Usually I have oatmeal and a small sandwich for food but this week..wait for it.....pancit noodles!! (pretty much the Filipino Ramon Noodles..)  But I am going to be trying some new things this week.

Wednesday was a pretty good day!  That is the beginning of the baptisms this week.  We asked about 10 people to be baptized within the next month and they have all agreed!  We hope they continue to strive and padayon (endure)  It will be interesting to see what happens in the next two weeks.

Thursday was a pretty normal day for us.  We found another family and they seem very interested in our message.  I can see the mother being baptized soon as well.

We did have a very awesome experience though!  We had just been punted by a few people and our appointments fell through and were at a loss on where we should go when we heard a 'Hey Elder!'  This is very common here so we turned and saw a tattoo covered man sitting in the doorway of his house. (Yes, some people do indeed have doors.)  He welcomed us into his house and offered us chairs (which is also very common)  He then sat himself down and we were about to begin as we normally do when he looked me in the eye and said he wanted to be baptized.  We were shocked!  He smiled at us and told us he has met with the missionaries twice before in two different places (this was in English) but had to keep moving and was praying that he would find the elders here and so we did!  God loves all his children and truly does answer our prayers!  Brother (name edited for privacy), the man we found, was actually born here but moved to America and served in the Navy and is now back here.  He is planning on going back to America.  He has some more crazy stories but has asked that I not share them at this time.  His faith was so strong and his full desire was to be baptized and then go to the temple. It was such a blessing to find him there. :)

Friday I really don't remember much but Saturday was the big day!
Saturday I went on splits (when companion ships split) with Elder (name edit for privacy).  He has been here for 10 weeks and I for 4.  Our senior companions (companions that are training and teaching the newer missionaries) went together and left us to defend for ourselves.  We went to his area in Lapuz.  My area is Lapaz.  It went alright!  Our lessons were pretty short though because we have so little to say but all in all I am glad we did it!  Tomorrow I am going to lead in my area.  should be fun! 

So yes I love it here!  The growth this ward has had in the past year has been tremendous and we hope to keep it going!  The bishop here is super cool!  Anyway, Ill keep you all in our prayers and thank for everything!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Taste of the Valley






This is food from just two vendors!!  TWO!!







Taste of the Valley.  That's what we did this past Saturday.  We've never done this before.  Apparently, this has been going on in our town for 20 years!  We had no idea!  This was our first year and let me tell you, had we known, we'd have been doing this for the past 20 years.  Guess what? Guess what will become a new tradition??  Taste of the Valley.  Yup!

So, what is, "Taste of the Valley"?  I'll tell you from our perspective.  We show up at the appointed time when this shindig starts and are given a cardboard box/tray to put our food in.  We are also given a red piece of card stock with all of the vendors who are participating in said, Taste of the Valley. We had no idea what we were doing so we just picked a red tent and got in line.  I'll be honest.  When I first heard about this, I had visions of Cost-Co samples at Christmas time on steroids.  Seriously.  I don't love crowds.  I had visions of all of these vendors handing out samples and people pushing their way to the front of the line to get their sample ignoring those who are trying to be polite that have been standing there for ages dying to taste their frozen re-heated pretzel/bagel bites.  Only thing missing.  Grocery carts used as bumper cars to shove people out of the way or to block said people from getting samples.

Dear Cost-Co,

Please send a representative from your company to the next, Taste of the Valley to see how sample tasting can and should be done.  Thank you and Amen.

Sincerely,
Marge

We get in line and wait our turn chatting with people in line in front of us and behind us.  It's quite social.  As we get to where the samples are, volunteers take our red card stock from us and mark off the restaurant we are sampling from.  Umm, and can I just say that these are Paul Bunyan size samples??  Learned real quick, but not quick enough just how much of each sample to eat.  I'm getting ahead of myself.......

We get our first sample and move to the next line in front of the next restaurant.  Now, mind you, these are restaurants that are competing for our votes.  Our votes that give them the bragging rites to say they are THEE best tasting restaurant in the valley.  They are bringing their A game!  We are tasting the best of the best!  We stand in line at the next vendor snarfing away the samples from the last, moaning and groaning and wondering how in the world we're going to choose which is the best. Get more samples and with our cardboard trays laden with food we move onto the next!  This goes on and on.

Finally, I am miserable.  My buttons are popping and I suggest that we sit down in some shade and could we please allow some of this amazing delectableness to head a bit south before we plunge more into our traps!  I'm sitting there, looking at my red card stock and I am counting how many vendors we still have yet to go to.  Yes, HAVE to go to because we're voting here!!  I am taking this seriously, man!  How can I in good faith vote for the best tasting restaurant in the valley if I've not tasted every morsel????  Can't be done I tell ya!  I believe in being honest so with that thought in mind, I hauled my big caboose up off my chair and off we went getting in line for more deliciousness.

I am proud to say, we tasted them all.  When we voted at the end, we could honestly say, we'd tasted the best in the valley.  It was a fun event.  For four hours!!! we walked from vendor to vendor stuffing our faces!  At the end, while we waited to hear the final results as to who had won, Levi bounced himself silly in the bounce houses.  Mr. M joined him with Mr. J.  How they could bounce after all that food and not have it show up again is beyond me!  The SM had to literally roll me to our truck and I think we broke the weight limit when we crossed over the bridge.

This being our first year, we didn't have a game plan.  Next year!!  We've got a game plan.  We've got it all figured out how we're going to attack this sucker!  What?  What did you say?  What's our game plan?!  Pffft!  That, my friend, is a secret.  I'll give you a hint though!  It involves a wheel barrow and a trough!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hangin' Around












The last several days, A week now I think?  I've been down in bed again.  It's been a tough summer in that regard.  Me.  Bed.  Grr.  Yesterday I finally turned a corner and was able to spend some time up vertical doing things.

I love this time of year.  I love the soft yellow colors that come in through my windows.  Everything starts to turn soft and golden.  The temperatures cooling off.  Quilts and blankets are brought out more as we snuggle on couches getting reacquainted with  books we've set aside for a few months.

The Natives are off to school which leaves Zoe and me.  Me in my favorite recliner, my legs tucked up next to me, and Zoe keeping them warm as she snuggles on the recliner with me.  The only chair/couch she's allowed on.  Not that she doesn't try to get on other couches with us.  I can't say as I blame her.

As the evenings get cooler, thoughts of warm piggies wrapped up in hand knit socks becomes a delicious thought again so the yarn stash is delved into trying to find the perfect colors to make happy toasty feet.  Needles click happily as the body sits back and takes in the beauty all around.  The sewing table that shares creativity in color and texture.  On one end, the makings of a warm quilt, on the other, the makings of a vast imagination that can build and take apart and build something else.

Hot cocoa.  I was introduced to a local store that makes chocolate.  Oh be still my heart.  Love.  I bought a few  several bars of chocolate and they make thee very best cups of hot cocoa.  I might have did buy some books from Amazon that were strictly different recipes for hot cocoa.  One should always have something interesting on their coffee tables for when company comes over.  That's why I did it.  For those awkward moments when conversation lulls.  Happens to me all of the time.

The SM brought me back a fish from Korea.  Fish never close their eyes.  Even in death. They are the perfect creatures to have hanging around to watch over a family.  Somebody or something needs to keep an eye on The Natives when I'm not!  Don't tell them it is the fish though.  I still have them convinced that I've got eyes in the back of my head.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Levi. Gone Camping!


Earlier this year, Levi's local Boy Scout Troop went to a week long camp.  Levi wasn't able to go because we were out of town at a family reunion.  The SM wanted Levi to be able to have this experience so he figured out where another Boy Scout week long camp was being held and asked if he and Levi could join them.  Permission was granted, so The SM signed Levi up.

Yes, that is Zoe.  I know.  She looks freaky.  Have you ever taken a dog with baby fine hair camping???  It's not pretty.  At our family reunion, she got grass seeds stuck all over in her hair and so, we had to shave her which turned out to be a hideous, but good thing.  We didn't realize that several of those grass seeds had embedded themselves in her skin until we shaved her and saw.  Poor puppy.  Anyway!!!  Zoe went to Scout Camp too!


There was a competition one day.  A fishing competition where prizes were to be had for the scout who caught the first fish, the biggest fish, and.........  ummm......  something else.  Oh yeah.  The most fish.  Levi won all three.  He tied for, the most fish so kindly let the other scout have the prize for that one since he already had two other prizes.

The SM said that all of the other boys were so kind to Levi.  They were always including him and when the week was over and Levi was loading up into his car, as other cars would pass, the other boys would call and yell out saying goodbye to Levi.


Wood Carving Merit Badge.  AKA:  Have a heart attack watching your son with a sharp object in his hand merit badge.  The SM said this one was hard to let Levi do.  He said that Levi was very careful though and took his time.


Most of the time was spent in usual typical Levi fashion.  Dumping water.


Here.......


and there.................


and................


notice the wet bottoms of his pants........


and back to get some more water from the spigot.


Lots of hiking and exploring.



Curious looking honey bee is it not?



Almost looks as if it's sat in paint/pollen!


And shooting rifles.  Only, not at the target.  That isn't as fun.  It doesn't make poofs like shooting the dirt does.  Much funner to aim low and watch the dirt, "POOF"!


At the end of the week, there was a campfire program.  Levi was given a walking stick that all of the other troops through out the week had been adding stuff to.  They wanted Levi to have it.  They were so impressed that he would come up on his own and go camping.

I'm so impressed that these 12 and 13 year old boys were so thoughtful, caring, and giving.  All week long.  There is much good in this here world of ours!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Another Letter and Photos From Elder Rubow!!

One last photo of the Provo, Utah LDS Temple and our beautiful flag before leaving the country.

He's arrived!  Elder Rubow is officially in the Philippines!

Edler Rubow and Elder Clarke were the first to get through customs.  

The Manila, Philippines LDS Temple

Happy Birthday Elder Rubow.  The Filipino on the left took Elder Rubow for the day and got him a coconut for his birthday.  He looks so happy!!  First birthday away from home.  19 years old.

Always the thoughtful son.  He knows I am petrified/terrified of snakes.  He took this just for me.  

Hard at work.  Still a boy.

This is how Elder Rubow gets around.  Love the local transportation.  I told The Scout Master to never complain about me packing too much stuff for trips ever again!

Elder Rubow's first baptism! 

The Elder standing next to Trevor Rubow is his companion.  Elder Rubow has written and told me how much he loves this young man and how patient this young man is with him as he learns the language.  
Here is the fun stuff happening in the Philippines!  I cannot believe another week has already passed by!  Its been so crazy these last few days and time just flew away!  And I have been told it will only go by faster and faster.  One of the missionaries in my apartment complex is leaving in 20 days.  He is starting to panic and he tells me all the time he cant go back.  He is a pretty funny guy.

To start off, its been very interesting these last few days but so awesome!  So many miracles have been in work here!  Our numbers are increasing bit by bit and the ward (read here about what a 'ward' is) is really focused on helping us with the work.  It has been such a blessing to us!  We hope that the next few months will bring the ward in more unity.  Right now it is pretty separated sadly.  We have a new bishopric now and a ward mission leader now as well which is helping a ton! Our biggest problem with members/investigators is church attendance.  It is hard here for Filipino people to go to church because to them Sunday is another day to live and survive to the next day.

One of our biggest blessings is a woman we met recently just doing basic tracting and she has followed every single commitment we have given her!  We want to give her a Book of Mormon but sadly we have none.  In fact, we haven't had any Book of Mormons since I got here...It has really hurt our work here in Iloilo.  The whole mission is suffering and we still don't have any!  The Book of Mormon is such a strong witness of the truth and not having it has damaged the work.  I have really grown to love the Book of Mormon here.  Especially reading it in another language.  Its super difficult but so much fun!

We had a baptism on Saturday!!  I was given the opportunity to baptize him as well!  It was such a good experience!

 The rain here!  Oh my goodness!  When they say it floods, it floods!  Its so crazy sometimes!  Last Monday I was soaked!  Then we taught an old lady that kept slapping me and telling me to pray always.  Crazy people here sometimes.

Well, the work is moving forward here and I still love it!  Time is going by so fast and we still have so much to do!  Its very exciting to be part of this work!  

We are so blessed.  We are so indebted to our Savior and for the Atonement and there is nothing we can do to pay it back.  But that is how it works!  All we have to do is 'Come, and Follow Him.'  I am so grateful for His sacrifice for each one of us so that we all have the opportunity to go back to His presence.