Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Week 7  4/29/13

Pamplona district where I used to be is now a zone and Where I live now is a district.  My companion is now the district leader here in Spicot so our job is basically to hold the fort down.  It's just us and 2 other Elders.  So if something happens help is like 1 hour away.  so I have bought some black market guns to protect us, just in case there is a revolt and they come after the 1 american missionary here, don't worry I'll be safe. Ha ha! I have been practicing the piano when ever we go to the church, it gives me something to focus on.  On a cool note, the other companionship in my district just got a new Elder, Elder Jacobson, he is from the Bay area, he sounds like Arnold Swartzenagers "John Conner", he reminds me of myself when I first got here. Last night we played a joke on him, he went to bed early and we made dinner and to wake him up we started making scary sounds, it was so funny he was just sleeping and woke up startled.  We could see him but her couldn't see us sooo funny, he still doesn't know it was us, we just said look out for the "aswong", that means monster in Tagalog!

So I feel much better about the language, I have adjusted my ear to their language, it takes a month or so that and so the next part for me is just continuing to memorize words and to keep talking to people. Before it was super hard to talk, not so much now.

I forgot my journal today so its hard to remember everything.  We participated in Mormon helping hands this week, that was cool! It seems like every time we teach someone, we get a new investigator from them.  We got like 5 new investigators this week.  so the teaching is good.  We have a young man that wants to serve a mission, he really reminds me of myself.  He wanted to go into the Filipino military but he basically supports himself and his family.  His mom doesn't want him to go on a mission (not like me) and he has asked us for help.  We have yet to teach the whole family but our plan is to teach a lesson on sacrifice and the first thing that came to mind was the John Tanner story.  There was a man back in the 1800's that was really wealthy and he had an infection in his leg and wanted to do all the good he could do.  His intent was to expose all the Mormons as imposter's.  so one night he attended one of the lessons that they were teaching and that night he met with them and became intrigued and started to take more lessons.  then one night he said he believed in everything that they were teaching him.  They asked him to be baptized but he couldn't because of the infection in his leg.  Then a miracle happened they blessed him saying if you have faith you will be healed then they told him to stand and the infection was gone.  They baptized him that same night and he walked away using the leg he hadn't been able to use for 6 months.  The church at first had alot of finacial problems and he decided to pay all the debts and just had a not written for Joseph Smith to pay him back when he could.  his may was broke because he gave all his money to the church, even his family turned against him. This man choose to go on a mission and right before he left on his mission he talked with Joseph Smith and gave him back the IOU.  Joseph Smith replied and said that he is eternally grateful for the sacrifice that John Tanner has made for the church and that he is in his debt and then asked what he should do with the note, if he wanted to give it to the sherriff or a police officer.  What John Tanner did next had pierced my heart, he took the note and tore it up and said, "the only debt is the debt of gratitude and that is mine." He gave everything to the church and he died 6 years later, still strong in the faith.  They estimated that he gave almost 300 million.  We need to have that sense of sacrafice every day to the ones we love and to God and if we do I know that God will be eternally grateful.  We need to give our all each and everyday. This is the lesson that we are going to share to our friends mother and I know that because of the sacrifice, our families will be blessed.  I am eternally grateful for my family and for the friends that have always been there for me. Thank you for the birthday package, it made my day.  It made me miss home and all of your faces.  I love reading your cards and e-mails, it keeps me motivated.

All is well here, I have a great week coming up, I get to go to Pampolna and have another sleep over while attending a zone conference.

Brian Sutherland you are the man!! The heads are the best thing I have ever seen in my life and I am going to find some bamboo for them.  Trevor I did meet up with Manny Paciquo and beat him to a pulp along with some terrorists I am basically Superman! I think of myself as the man of steel. I'll leave you with that mental image...

Mamahal ko lahat kayo...

Elder Llorens

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Week 6 4/23/13


This week has been pretty legit.  Last week I was on early because we were seeing if we were going to have money that day we ended up not getting money, haha. I texted my mission president and asked him if we could get permission to go to Naga on Tuesday so thats what we ended up doing that day.  Got money and Food!!! Bought some totilla chips really expensive, dip and some frosted flakes and fake milk yum!! Then on Wednesday I had exchanges with my district leader, elder Bangal which was awesome.  He's from Quezon city but now lives in the San Pablo mission.Anyway that day went good but our appointments didn't really work out, but we got 3 that day not to bad.  It was the first time I was away from my Tatay (trainer-companion) which was really weird.  The next day we got ready for the district meeting right before we left there was a brown out great....then we took th 1 hr and 30 minute bus ride to Pamplona and guess what?? there was a brown out.  Me and Elder Parohinog were the ones giving the workshop, that went good even though I was sweating like a pig.  That would be the last time we would be together as a district because next week is transfers.  I can't believe its already been 6 weeks since I have been here.  We took pictures and messed around on last time. Then we got home, guess what?..yo're correct...brown out!  That night we got some lessons in and we ate dinner at Nanay Benabetes and had some pig head soup and  intestines ahhh  not to bad. The next day we got to work again and got a lot of referrals from a family.  We visited Nanay Magcayon she has something wrong with her, so we asked if she needed help with something, she said she could use some help on the farm.  so we did service for her, cut some grass and weeds with an itak/machete, got a blister and it popped on me hurt like a mother.  Then after I poured some alcohol on it so it wouldn't get infected that sucked.  After we ate there with her and her children.  We are going back next Monday.  Saturday was legit, we had a district/ward activity we went to a resort and they rented the pool out for the families so that was cool relaxing by the pool in my tie.  We saw a cool river/creek and followed it up to Tatay Cordes our baptismal invitation investigator and went exploring, we followed the river up and found a water hole and it was super pretty, a bunch of little kids were diving and stuff it goes pretty deep.  Water was just coming out of the mountain must have been a fresh water spring somewhere in the mountain.  I started playing with the kids/anak and the next thing I see is them bringing me a crab!!!!  What the heck a fresh water crab it was super Astig/cool.  So then we pretty much chilled there for like an hour.  Probably the most awesome/beautiful place I have ever been in my life.  So more missionaries are going to be in our little/big district.  But they might split our district and have a Sipocot district, that's where I am and they are going to put another pair of missionaries with us and they are going to make my companion the district leader...who knows we'll fine out soon.  But unfortunately that night we went to Nanay Benabetes and ate there.  She got really sick and we took her to the hospital.
the next day we went to Ragay about 2 hours our and had our church service there in a hut with 11 people.  I blessd the sacrament and gave a talk.  I can really tell that I'm starting to understand the Tagalog and I'm starting to get it so that's really awesome. Had some raw fish there and we had a later appoinment in a really pretty area as wella dn that went good it was with 3 investigators and their daughter who is a member. I messed up totally on my tagalog but the daughter saved my bacon by bareing a powerful testimony that the church is true and that made a great impact on the family. Before that I had a pretty good lunch some chicken, some brown sauce and some noodle and rice and veggies.  They later told me that the brown stuff is pig blood and that the soft noodles were its intestines, I started to just eat rice after that, it was good but I wasn' down for eating blood.  then on the way home we took the jeepney and then Bam! we almost died, this truck driver tried passing us on a 1 way highway and he almost killed us but I was like, hey not today! and used the force and luckily I focused in on the bus's pedal and stepped on its break.  so I saved us whew!

When we finally got home we talked with the President about the district, visited Nanay B, then did family home evening at the Cordes's and found out about the Boston Marathon.  I jsut remember that my heart was broken, it was hard explaining to everyone that its difficult for Americans to see their country attaked like that.  You forget how far away from home you are when you see something like that. Hope everyone is good in Boston, thought about you Curtis hope everything is good there and I hope you were one of the people that boo'ed the patrol car with the loser in the back seat like a typical Bostonian.  so yeah justice will be served, "Merica!" then yeah today woke up at 5 am headed over to Nanay Magcayons got dirty sweaty and tan and did some farm chores.  Got some more blisters and worked hard with my companion, michael the district clerk and Darryl who's been called to serve in the Mindanao mission. got done and all 4 of us crashed at our apartment and now I'm here in the computer shop, nothing really new just improving alot in the language. I am not really in culture shock any more.  Everyone calls me "Joe" because I am American. I feel like now I'm really good friends with the members from this district and with the investigators and less actives. Got to see some beautiful land and eat some weird stuff this week and got like 6 referrals and 4 potential investigators.  so that's really good!  So I'm doing good, I hope everyone is doing good back home, I really miss you.  I appreciate the e-mails alot.  I'll talk to you all soon.

Love, Elder Llorens

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Week 5 4/15/13

GOOD Morning America.

Its 9:00am here Monday morning. This is week was kind of short and not too exciting. Monday morning last week some members of the church wanted to play basketball with them so I said okay this was Sunday night at the time. At 5 in the morning we hear knocking at our apartment and I was like "what the";  it was the Pinoys they were already to play basketball and I was like no comeback at 7am; went back to bed.

Knocking again 6am "okay I’m up lets play". I can tell I’m already getting in good shape, I’m down to 185 pounds right now and when playing basketball I was just on fire as far as cardio goes. They were surprised that a "big guy" like me can move so good, I simply said I’m American they just started laughing hahah. Played with some other Pinoy's (Pinoy=Filipino) that weren't members that was fun gained some respect from them so that was good. Hand washed some laundry, killed a rat and that was Monday.

The next day we had to find another apartments for the new sisters missionaries and found one and secured it pretty nice 2 story apartment with 4 rooms so its pretty sweet. Then did some missionary work so good easy day had some rice. The next day however was awesome! Got to go down to Legaspi and see my whole district that was in the MTC with me;  this would be the last time to do this because they are going to split my mission into an entirely different mission due to the growing number of missionaries in the world.

So that was a great time, got to hang around and mess with the Polynesian elders and yeah just plain goof. Afterward we got to take picture of MT. Mayon the volcano in the Legaspi mission sooo sick. Then we got fresh MILK form Pili the city right next to Naga city it was sooooo good! i got Mango flavored milk it was just like a shake almost. it was fresh, creamy, cold and so Masarap! That was good then after we tried to get a bus from the terminal but there were no left so we got food from Mang Inasal, you get a huge slab of grilled chicken and you get all you can eat rice, i got 6 scoops of rice, i was hungry! Then the APs or the assistants to the president drove us to our apartment along with the missionaries that are in Daet Zone. Did that and went to bed full of food.

The next day we had district meeting got to hang out with the missionaries in our district mostly Me. e. Yangyang, E. Ha'o , and E. Siilata that’s was a good time. Took us like an hour to flag down a bus and then an hour to get back home. Makatapos! (Did it!) We just tried to find people to teach lessons to but none fell through.

Next day we got some work in and that was good; one of the young men taught his family who was less active and yeah that was good. Taught Tatay Cordes but this lesson went a little south on us basically he asked a lot of questions and he couldn't answer them right on the spot so we just said well answer them the next time. That night we did a special fast (no food) so we can help Tatay Cordes to get answers to his questions. The next morning we woke up early to watch General Conference;  we got to watch the Prophet and 12 Apostles address the members throughout the world, and they had a lot of really good talks really great inspiring stuff. Pakgatapos (After) we went to the branch president’s house he fed us some pig intestines and soup; it was really good. We went back finished the second part of the Saturday session of General Conference and then slept over in Pampolona because it costs too much and it wastes time going back and forth form Sipocot to Pampolona. Messed around the Pinoys and  didn’t go to bed til like 2am and I slept on concrete so I slept pretty good! Sunday we watched all the session again of General Conference. Then got back took a little rest then taught Tatay Cordes brought some back up; ough Pascual is a funny dude he’s also really a great missionary so we 4 missionaries taught Tatay and answered all of his questions. Tatay is a really educated and smart man but we were able to explain and help him so that lesson was really good. (the fasting helped a lot) and last night we celebrated by having fried rice, eggs and tomatoes.

Killed another giant spider and saw a huge flying cockroach so yeah a good week and woke up early

So yeah hope next week goes good the language is going good improving little by little. I appreciate all the letters and mail from everyone, thank you. Ill talk to you all soon.

Love Elder "Pinoy" Llorens :0

Shout out: Happy Birthday Katie!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Week 4 04/08/13

So the highlight of my week was my very first baptism!  We baptized Sister Rexy on Saturday and I got to do the honors, wearing all white like a boss, haha! On Sunday she was confirmed and the spirit was super strong! Estig..

So heres how my week went:

So monday was P-day and got to go to Naga, yes. takes forever to get there it should take like 30 minutess but every 5 mins. the bus pulls over to either drop someone off or to pick someone up, really bugs me and yeah motion sickness is the worst on those things! So we saw our Whole district there Elder Yangyang and Elder  Hao E. Bangal and Elder Saliata funny poly, super chill and cool.We had some of the same MTC teachers and some of them were in  the batch before us that left before us for naga so we knew some of the same people that went to the manila mission so we got to catch up with everyone.   Saw Elder Powell who is about to leave and his companion. We all pitched in money to get a shakeys pizza card, so we can get a buy one get one free deal  always watching the pesos hahaha. Then after we finished eating my whole district all eight of us rode on the same tricey (that was fun),  to the internet shop. I got to ride on the top of it and show off to everyone that I was an Elder so fun, good times. Then we got to the mission office to pick up my Easter package which was awesome! Chevron wanted me to open it there but if I did I knew I wouldn't get anything back home.  Got home and did laundry(hand washed) totally sucks. Went shopping for  food for the whole week then went out searching for an apartment for the new sister missionaries that are going to be assigned to Sipocot next transfer. Found one and its brand new and super nice took some pictures so we can send them to the President to see if he likes them, so we went to the internet shop to email them but it took like 3 hours to just send 8 pictures  ridiculousness but thats the Philippines for you, I'm use to having an iphone and could send a picture in like a second.... what ever I'll survive.

Our investigators: Sister Angelica's cousin is taking lessons with Sister Angelica who has already been baptized. The Cuyog family which was really good they have been inactive for a while. We met with them and got them interested in the church again. The Calayo  family are on and off but we met with sister Calayos brother which was really cool he pretty much opened up to us that we wants to change his life and wants to learn more.We also  taught the Cantiliana family. We met with a lady who was like 65 years old then we met her mother who is 90 years old which is really cool. She can still move around and bend and basically run really good. haha. But we had to hike up a hill to just get there  its not like a hill its more like a small mountain, insane. They feed us fish and the 90 year old lady kept touching me and and like massaging me it was really weird I think its because she finally found out her that I'm form California,  people touch you here if they find out your a foreigner especially from America. She felt my back muscles,LOL. We are also helping to prepare Daryll for his mission. We had family home evening at Sister Benabentes cousin house who is getting ready to go on a mission, its in Tara about 20 mins away then after found out that she lives in the boonies so we had to hike like 3 miles in the jungle at night with no light, rolled my ankle like 5 times because we had to go over rice paddies and if you took your foot off the pathway you would fall in the water. got there drenched in sweat smelling great played games and had some good dinner. Had some "buko" shakes and headed home this time I held the flash light. Then after we finally got a tricey that would take 10 of us back we had to stop like 3 times to get over the hills me and  Elder Finley jumped off and started pushing the tricey from the back to get it up those hills. Manny Paqiao would be proud of my training in the jungle! Then found out that we need to look keep looking for an apartment, I'm going to kill the finance elders,(not really).

A new experience for me, got to ride on the "skates" basically its a transportation system on the old rail road tracks that are here and they are like a wagon but on the railroad tracks pretty cool, they can start to haul so fast of there any decline.

Went back to NAGA for zone trainging, super awesome we showed up late though becuase the stupid bus. Got to see Pickford form my batch Sister Horst and super cool got to make more friends even better. Then after got NAg Inasal got a big thing of free chicken and then yup all you can eat rice, the Poly Elders took advantage of the free rice Hao the hawaiian had like 12 scoops of the free rice . Man he can eat!

Sunday was fast Sunday we had one of our members who is less active who has severe arthritis come and bare his testimony, that was legit. After we taught Sister Reyes with brother Mark who is a Returned Missionary.  We got to play with her children that was fun, they like my pens and flashlight haha.my tagalog was really good that lesson , Then stopped by the Benabentes and taught Tatay who isn't a member the whole family are members but him, the spirit was strong there and once again my tagalog was good and    
 then we taught Tatay Kalaw and I saw a kid climb a buko tree and get coconuts like a champ, pretty sick.  We went back on the "skates: to give brother Michael the ward clerk a blessing ,he's sick. Then later taught tatay Cordes about Baptism and the lesson was goin really good and me and Elder Parohinog  got the impression to Commit him to baptism . estig, he said yes and we commited him to be baptized on may 19 so we are going to try and prepare him for that date. Sobrung estig Lesson! 

So my funny/not so funny moment:

We started taking pictures outside the chapel before the baptism,  but all of a sudden i felt itching and pain in my foot  I look down and I see fire ants all over my feet,  got welts on my feet now. hahaha.. So then when we started getting into the baptismal font theres like a dead lizard in there so I got that out of there, that was really funny. good memories were made that day with me and my companion.

Most relaxing moment this week taking a nap on Nanays Benabente hammock ahhh felt soo good..

Looking forward to another awesome week!

Shout out to Rebecca Happy Birthday!
Shout out to all my friends Hope you enjoyed Spring Break!

Till next week..Elder Llorens

Monday, April 1, 2013

Week 3 done- 04/01/13

kumusta!!!! Week 3 is done -going to be week 4 here pretty soon and I can't believe that I've  been here for about a month time has just been flying. Its probably because we wake up at like 6:30 and don't go to bed til like 11 at night work hard, party harder hahaha (joke). But this week was kind of slow not to many lessons which is totally fine. We have our first baptism this Saturday so I'm totally stoked for that. Its for sister Rexy she's totally awesome we committed her to be baptized for May 4 but we just straight out asked her if she believes in what she's learning and she said she's prayed about it and got an answer to what we are saying is true.  Ayos!!!!  Here are some numbers that the Mission President gave us.  We have 271 Investigators with baptismal dates.  We have 401 progressing investigators and 150 new investigators.  These are for the whole mission but they are amazing.

So a little bit about my area:
 My area is the city or town of Sipocot. It's about a 2 hour bus ride north from Naga city in the Camerines Sur area. So basically they don't have any streets they have one big highway that leads from Manila to Naga all the way down to Legaspi which is the bottom of the Luzon island. So back to my area we have a centro which is down town basically and its  busy 24/7; cars, "tricey" a motor cycyle with a side cart those are fun when you ride on top hahaha. A lot of jeepneys for transportation and buses to Naga. Everyone walks everywhere. There are no Americans you'll get lucky if you see one but they are usually "dom" dirty old men who want a filipino wife.... yuck. And its currently summer so its pretty hot Im lucky that I got to endure hell week in full pads in 110 degree weather because this is pretty close to that just really humid. You Lose about 2 pounds a day from loss of sweat; no joke. Talking about weight loss I lost about 10 Pounds since being here. Its from "LBM" loose bowel movement  mmmmhm... fun stuff basically its because of  the unfiltered water and unclean and crazy food I eat. 

The food consists of yup rice for every meal, fish, chicken, dried fish, and I've had corn beef in a can which is so far my favorite. And yes I tried the Balut the fermented duck egg, and yeah that was insane. Basically it looks nasty its black white and yellow. you slurp all the juice form the egg first then you eat the yoke??? It's just pure protein and only for the champs... Chuck Noris has nothing on me, it was okay its just a hard boiled egg but an old hard boiled egg with little cute feathers and yeah what ever else is in it. fun stuff you should try it! But those are my meals and delicious fruit; the shakes that are to die for... ahh the best and they have  this thing called Halo Halo its a shake with gellitin , fruit, vegetables, beans oats and what ever is in it its amazing. 

So the people are cool; most of them, some don't like us but thats okay we just say "whats up" to them. The worst though is when they whistle at you like a dog, dude I'm seriously gonna lose it! But the members of the church are awesome they feed us, play with us and yeah "sobrung estig". So fun giving the kids "ophere" which are high fives we are basically rock stars to them. The apartment is okay-"lan" its got a roof, a stove and a "CR" a bathroom its actually pretty nice compared to our surrounding area. But 2 nights theres a thing called a brown out which is a power outage and we were baking in that apartment at like 2 o'clock in the morning, Elder Finley and Elder Pascual came to our apartment  because their apartment is so much hotter and we had a sleep over.. hahaha. But you gotta be careful with thieves about 4 days ago at night we caught some one trying to break in our back door but we scared them away, got my filipino fighting knife and was ready to do some work, it was a special remembrance from Elder Makahele.   Gotta be careful here, they found out that I'm from America and Mexican so they call Americans 'joe' because of the GI joes that were stationed here back when, but they like to call me Hermano hahaha so that my nick name here. But I feel bad for the panoys  because they live in so much poverty. They live in bamboo shacks with barely any running water, electricity is limited and they work so hard for there food you"ll have kids at night ask for food. and when we got to Brcy we see them at the dump looking for food,super sad. So I feel like crap when we don't get water in the morning to shower but you just gotta look for the positive. This week was crazy for Holy week they do some crazy festivals for Easter they sometimes whip themselves, crucify themselves and other crazy stuff. They just don't understand there are other ways to show your love to God and Jesus instead of that.crazy but not too much of that stuff here just a lot of traditions and prayers. I got to give a fireside about missionary work which was really fun. We practice teaching with the members and thats was cool. But thats all I can think of right now its not completely boring you find some fun. Everyday day is different but you just gotta remember that its good to always have a smile on your face and have a good attitude and you'll be okay. The language is coming along not great, but at least I can contribute during the lessons. I'm so looking forward to this week should be good got a baptism and zone training and next week we get trainees  training down in Lagao Legaspi! so fyi if you get called to the Naga mission the best area is Legaspi so your super lucky if you get called there its beautiful and its got everything ahh so jealous.  But the mission is splitting in July so know one knows where we will be.

Well this wraps up another awesome week here in the Philippines. I miss you California so much and I appreciate everyones emails! It's really the only way to chat back and forth with me because mail is expensive and sloow Love you ALL and be Praying for you ,take it easy and stay classy California or wherever. "engot po"

Shout out to "Nana" love you
Abby..."Easters" haha funny
pops "lead from the front"
moms "love you and thanks for the candy hehehe"

My funny/not so funny moment this week:

 So were chilling out with some firemen at a fire station just talking and playing with kids and watching the river and having a good time. We start talking to them to find out they knew some missionaries from Naga city and they were former investigators of the church so we started talking to them a little more about the church. Half way through the conversation  I felt it coming LBM (loose bowel movement), so i told my companion we need to go. he said hold on because he was getting the info from the firemen i told him CR NGYON!!!!!  which basically mean now.  Needless to say I ran all the way back to our apartment, good thing we were close so I made it.

 To add to the festivities they're shooting some fireworks off right now so Im gonna go watch Love you ALL talk to you soon. BYE

fireworks reminded me of Disneyland  ahhh