Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Baptism Day!! (again)

This time I am starting out with the letter from Elder Booth, as it explains what the pictures are of. Here it is:

Date: March 15, 2009 9:22:27 PM PDT
Subject: What up

Well I guess I will start out with the good news. Saturday was a very good day for me. Well, it was actually a very good day for our ward. We had seven baptisms in all. The other two elders had four and we had three. There were four investigators and three children of record. I got to dunk all three. Sorry - that kind of sounds bad, but that is the easiest way to say it. It was really exciting. It was really cool. This time I felt like they really wanted me to be doing it. We asked them who they wanted to dunk them and they both pointed to me. That made me really excited. Their names are Aubrey and Arline. I don't know if I told you the names in my last letter. They are really fun and their testimony after the baptism was absolutely amazing. I just had a huge grin on my face while they were giving it. It was very successful.

The child of record was a little weird. I had only met her twice and when we asked her if she wanted me to baptize her she said she would rather have her dad. I don't blame her, but I guess her dad had to work and the mother said he was probably not worthy to do it. So I kind of felt really bad for her. I never really though about how blessed I am to have a worthy father to do that stuff for me. Thanks dad.

Actually the rest of the night was different. Right after the baptism we had a big ward activity. We ended up playing this weird game with police and stuff. I really don't know. It was kind of fun. Either way, I lost and had to pay a price. Oh, when you lose games here you have to do a talent. So i had to dance in front of the entire ward. They all thought it was really funny. I guess you just have to do whatever it takes to brt (build relationships of trust). That's kind of a big deal in this mission. Then when I got home I went outside to wash. Then a fight broke out just outside of our gate. Elder Hamblin's Companion, Elder Lising, came outside and told me to come in so I would not either get hit by a rock or shot. As fun as it was watching, I decided to go inside for a while. The cops finally came and broke it up. I don't know, but I kind of thought it was funny to watch. Then later that night after me and Elder Hamblin got done washing we came back in and were surprised to find a cat in our apartment. We spent a good twenty minutes trying to get that stupid thing out. I think it was looking for a place to have its kids because I have never seen a cat so pregnant. That was quite the night.

The rest of the week was good. We gave another baptismal date and one of our investigators actually came to church. I was very happy to see him when he walked in. I got to go on splits again with one of my batch mates. That is getting a lot easier now that I am not so handicapped when in comes to talking to people. He came a month behind me because of an injury so he is not all that great at talking. He is learning fast though, and that is all that matters, I guess.

The only thing that is really bad is the family that I baptized. They are really making me sad. They are now inactive. I think they are just blaming everything on the church. I'm afraid the brother might be falling back into some old habits when it comes to the word of wisdom. Going to their house just makes me sad. I really hope they realize that the lord really loves them and what they should really be doing. I guess everybody needs to realize that. Other than that and some people not coming to church, it is good. I can't really think of any other crazy things that have happened.

I still have not eaten dog. I promise I will find a way before I come home, though. That is on top of the list when it comes to my goals. Oh, and I actually am learning how to cook a little bit. I will have to buy a rice cooker when I get home though if I want to make anything here. Oh well, that is doable.

Well, I love you all a ton. Stay happy back home and I will stay happy here.

P.S. I know I really should not be thinking about this on my mission. I feel kind of bad but I just have to know. Somebody here told me that Megan Fox is a man. That kind of blew my mind a little bit. I was just wondering if that was true.

Here are the pictures of the March 14th baptisms:

The first one is all of the kids being baptized, but four of them are from another area in Elder Booth's ward.

This next picture is of the three girls Elder Booth baptized himself.
Left to right: Hanna Sonyo, Aubrey and Arline Estebath (hopefully these aren't too off).

This next one is Hannah and her family:

This is still Hannah and her family, but with Brother Makilan, the ward mission leader also:

Here is Aubrey and Arline by themselves:

Next is a picture of the three girls getting baptized with Elder Booth
and his companion, Elder Lucas:

Here's a picture of all of the people getting baptized (all 7) and their
families and the ward mission leader:

These next pictures are of a HUGE beetle named Engre (I think that's what it is). The kids love playing with him. I'm not sure if he is a pet, or if they just picked him up:

Wow! That is one Huge Beetle!!

Odds and Ends

This batch of pictures is a mix of places and nature in the Philippines. The "odds and ends" pictures where starting to add up, so I combined them in this post, along with Elder Booth's March 8th letter. I will use some of Elder Booth's own words and some of my own explanations. Here goes.

The first pictures are of some (or it could have been one - not sure) beautiful flowers Elder Booth saw. It was on the day that he met with his batch (2/24/09). Here they are:

The next one, in Elder Booth's words: "is a church that is literally out in the middle of nowhere. I thought it was kind of cool. My companion got mad when I took it." (Probably because it is a church). Here it is (taken on February 26th):

These next two, according to Elder Booth, "are the front of a huge cock fighting stadium. That place gets loud during fights." You can see from the picture on the front right of the stadium that he's right (taken March 4th):

These next four are "some monkeys in my area. I had some bananas, so I decided to feed them." They were taken on March 7th:

This last picture is Elder Hamblin and Elder Booth in their respective "team's jersey." Is Elder Booth predicting the winner of the NBA season?? No, probably not. I wonder if he even knows that they won this year. If so, I bet he doesn't care very much...

Here's a letter from Elder Booth:

Date: March 8, 2009 8:46:19 PM PDT
Subject: Hi

Well, hello everybody. This was a good week for us here in Paglaum. Our numbers have been improving from week to week, which is a good thing. I was actually surprised they did, since we spent a lot of time doing interviews with the President and stuff. That seems to take us longer every time I do it. Plus I got to experience being told that I would be going on splits at the office. So I was not prepared at all. Luckily they let me come back and get my stuff. I just had to carry it around the entire time we were proselyting. It was with the zone leaders again. It was pretty fun. The Zone Leader is from Idaho or something. He is kind of a hard guy to get used to. It was funny though. We were a little late for curfew, which just got moved up to nine. We ended up running down the highway for a couple of kilometers. That was really fun with all my stuff. I hope I get to do it again someday. No joke - it was actually cool. All of these people were giving us really funny looks.

All of my investigators are still doing really good. The baptism for this weekend is going on as scheduled. We actually moved it up a day so we could do it with some other elders in our ward that have one that day too. They said they wanted me to do it so I am really really excited for Saturday to come. I cant remember how much I told you about them last time, but they are really cool. One's name is Aubry and the other Arline. They have been coming to church for a while, but I think I already said that last time. I will let you know next week how it went. We are still having some problems getting some people to church. We talked to one about what is stopping her and she said that she does not come because her mom is in the choir of the church next door so she just wants to go to that one. She won't come to our church alone, either so now we have put our focus on the mom. It was actually kind of interesting when we were teaching her. There was no guy in the house so we were teaching outside and her pastor actually walked by. Talk about awkward. I think he was just mad because he knows we are the true church so she might be converted and then he will lose a member of his choir. Ya, that was probably it. The other kids that we are teaching are doing good too. One of them went to church in the other ward. It was the ward of the elders who live with us, so they were able to tell us that he was there. I guess that's ok, as long as he is going. I think he actually goes there because his older brother, who is a member, actually wants a job from the bishop there. So it might be hard to get them to come to the right ward. Well, that is about it for them. There is just a lot of stuff happening that I hope turns out for the best.

I really don't have too many funny stories. I did have to teach the gospel doctrines class all by myself. That might have been funny for you to watch. My companion was not even there as he was outside making phone calls for the baptism on Saturday. I was pretty stressed. I just hope that they got something from the lesson. The language is still just alright. It is hard to learn sometimes just because there is still a lot of English spoken here. Actually, most people can understand it. They learn it in their schools.

I still have not eaten dog. People will joke around about giving me some, but I don't think they realize that I actually do want to try it just to say I did. Oh, and I almost got bit by a dog. I was going to punt, it but my comp would not let me. My goal is to do that before I leave because the dogs here are really annoying. They bark at everything.

Well, I love you all. Everything sounds good at home. I hope you enjoy the pictures and videos that I sent. I have already started some new good ones. Thanks again.

Elder Booth

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Awesome Zone Conference!!

At the first of March, Elder Booth and his Zone were able to have an awesome activity at a resort in the Philippines. The name of the resort is: Mambukal. It is a beautiful place, and as Elder Booth mentioned in his letter below, he would love to go back. Here is a picture of the entrance:

Here is Elder Booth in front of some amazing scenery. It's so green there!

Here is a collage of all of the scenery. You can see lots of green, of course, and a really cool tree.

This is some of what Elder Booth had to say about the resort: "My favorite was the bats. They were huge. It felt like Indiana Jones and Temple of Doom." Here's a glimpse of some of the bats he saw (Creepy!):

Here's what Elder Booth said after talking about the bats: "Next were the waterfalls at the resort. There are seven in all, but I only went to the first five." Here's a collage of some of them:

Here are some people hiking down to one of them:

Elder Booth and Elder Hamblin posing in front of a waterfall:

Elder Booth and his companion in front of the same waterfall:

There were also some fallen trees that made some neat bridges. Here's Elder Booth with Elder Hamblin again:

There were also some nice rivers. In this collage of the river(s), it looks like Elder Booth was pretty close to being right in the middle of the river...

All in all, it looks like the elders had a fabulous time hiking and sight seeing. Hopefully they get to go back at some point!

Here's a letter from Elder Booth right after the Zone activity:

Date: March 2, 2009 1:01:46 AM PST

Hey everbody. I didn't really get any letters this week or anything, so I don't really have much too write about for home. From what mom said, it sounds like everybody is still keeping busy.
So things here are still good. The work in Paglaum is actually doing really well. We had a really good week in the numbers. We actually got a referral for some kids whose parents are members that work for the church in Manilla and are active. The kids just have not been baptized yet. So we tried our luck and were very surprised in a good way. We found out they actually went to church every single week. We just have not noticed them. Ya, that was kind of a slap in the face, but oh well. We'll press on anyway. They had actually learned a lot from just going to church and primary so they are very easy to teach. Since they are golden, we went back a second time and gave them a date for March fifteenth. That is the last day of our transfers, so if it goes through I will still get a baptism this transfer. I am really excited about that. They are really fun Girls. One is twelve I think and the other is nine. They have a pretty big family and lots of friends too, so it is fun to teach them because it is a big group of kids in the house.

The rest of our investigators are still doing pretty good. We are just having a problem with them going to church. The only one we can get to church every week is the pregnant one that can't get married because her boyfriend does not want to right now. That is a little frustrating, to say the least. We bring it up every time we go to visit though, so I hope some day he will realize that he really needs to just do it.

We are still working very hard to get new investigators outside of the main part of town because we seem to have bad luck there. We are setting aside days to go to areas farther out and work. Hopefully we can find many people that are prepared. We are going to need to if we want to meet the new goal of four every month. Fasting every week should help. That is actually pretty hard to do in the summer here. I get pretty thirsty, plus my companion is kind of big so he runs out of energy really fast. He has to take a lot of rests on fast days. I guess many faithful hardships will come with many blessings.

This week has been pretty busy in doing mission stuff also. We had Zone Conference on Tuesday. That pretty much took up the entire day. It was a little hard to get to all of our appointments that we scheduled at the end of the day. It was fun though. I really like them. They actually brought in real investigators this time for us to practice the new stuff that we learned. I didn't get to do it, but it was still cool to watch. Oh, and I got to go on splits with somebody in my batch again. This time though it was with Elder Headman, who stayed in the MTC for an extra three weeks for an injury so he was a little behind. Because of this, I had to lead all of the lessons. We were in his area so he at least told me where to go. It was fun though. I am not very good at the language but I can at least get around now. I don't feel as worthless as I did when I got here.

Another Mission activity we had was our zone activity. It was at Mambukal resort. That place is amazing. That is one place I really would like to go to after the mission so I can do all of the stuff there. I took some good pictures so you can see them on the next sd card. I just sent the other one today so you should be getting it in a week or two. I would have sent it last week but the post office was closed before I could get there (sorry).

Let's see. I don't remember a whole lot of funny experiences. I don't really remember if I told you about the crying lady. She was really funny. We went back for a FHE and found the husband drinking and she was asleep so she did not start cyring and shaking her hand at us this time. We wanted to take them special sacrament, but I doubt that will happen since we found him drinking. We did have this one investigator that was drunk though. He kept asking calling me very nice and kissing me on the hand during the lesson. He was a old man that is having problems with his family. So yea, other than seeing some more kids poop everywhere, I have not seen too much. Ya, they pretty much do it anywhere. Oh and here they will wash the diapers and hang them to dry. It is kind of tricky sometimes when you have to duck under some diapers on the clothes line.

Well that is about it. I love you all and thanks for the support. The church is still true, I promise.

Elder Booth