Hello my wonderful family, who I love more than anything!!! Before I get into the email I will try to answer all of your questions. We baptize in a font at the church (though sadly our baptism was rescheduled for next saturday) As far as things I brought or wish I had, I've never been one to get caught up in stuff like that. I am always pretty busy and pretty much everything I would want is stuff like books (which I can't have) or something that I could use to relax in the mornings. But those things are wisely not allowed, so there is nothing I really want. I only use my shoes here. In palawan someday I may choose to wear sandals or crocks, but here i wouldn't dare try. The streets are filled with trash and I wouldnt feel comfortable being barefoot.
That and because there are so many rats here, when it floods there is a disease spread around to unprotected feet. So for now, shoes are doing just fine. Temple trips are every 3 months. We go in january I believe. I am very excited about that. We typically go to the mission office about 2 or 3 times a month. We go for zone conferences, interviews, and sometimes firesides. I love it when we can go. Talking and hearing from our mission president is a special treat and I really enjoy it. I have not yet received mom's email so I will answer any of her questions at the end of the email.
I agree with you dad. Time is such a strange thing. It is absolutely so weird. The first transfer felt like it would last forever, and then all of the sudden it was over. Looking back, it went so unbelievably fast. When I think about the rest of the mission, I'm blown away by how fast time is already going. When I think about 2 years it seems like a long time, but then i realize that each month passes by in seconds. and there are only 24 in the mission. I try not to think of time too much though.
Even thinking of it in a positive way tends to unfocus me. Better to just enjoy and not worry about time. just like i woke up one day and the first transfer was over, someday I will wake up and have to say goodbye to a country and people that I love. Better to just give it my all, that way I can look back on my mission with 100% satisfaction.
So I am still in San Juan with my trainer!! We are having such a great time and I am enjoying this second transfer 100x more. Its so much better. I feel like getting the first transfer under your belt relieves so much of the stress and emotions. Its like reaching the first milestone. Now i can look back on my first transfer and smile about all the memories I made then. That and the week went so much faster. I am having such a good time. One thing Ive adapted in this transfer is a peace of the work.
Work is hot and hard, but I feel the joy of it rather than the stress. That has been paired with a desire to constantly share. Ive developed a hatred of waiting around hahah! I find that as we share at all times, the day goes so fast and feels wonderful to know that i dedicated every moment to the Lord. It doesnt matter how many baptisms I get, or that the work i do has imperfections. as long as I am trying my hardest and giving my heart to the Lord, I know that he is pleased with my efforts.
One thing that my companion and I tried to do this week was the mission president's 10 pg challenge. he wants us to read at least 10 pgs of the book of mormon while we are out and about. Personal study doesnt count in that. he recommended finding a copy of the book of mormon and ripping out 10 pgs every day. That way we can fold then up and put them in our pockets. Onj jeeps we can pull them out and start reading, without having to pull out a big book. That and when we are done with them, we can give away pages to peaople we see. We tried that this week and I absolutely loved it. Its so nice to have the scriptures so close and accessible. That and it is fun to give away pages. its so funny because I find that people are actually reading and keeping the pages we give them. With a book, i find that they dont actually read, but with a single page i notice them reading. On a jeepney, I give away pages and then notice them reading it as soon as we leave. Its so great!! man, reading the book of mormon fills me with so much peace. it doesnt matter what page. The lord comforts through his scripture and its been a blessing turning to them more and more. One of the things Ive tried to do on my mission is use the savior as my only relief. to answer mom's question about music ( i just got her email) I never sing non-church music. For me, I want to show my savior that I was willing to give up everything to follow him. For me, my biggest relief and joy is music. listening to music is the easiest way for me to unwind and refresh myself. I want to show my lord that I was willing to give that all up because i love him. I try to always keep a hymn in my heart. Babylonian music, as president fermanis calls it, will be there when I get back. Now is the time to focus 100% on my redeemer. He is the only source of real relief anyways, so why would I choose to distract myself from that :)
I used to worry about heaven. I used to be concerned if it would have pop music or sports. to be completely honest I don't care anymore. The peace and overwhelming joy of Christ is so much better. As long as it has my family, I couldnt care less about anything else.
Alright now details on the work this week.
We started working in a new part of our area this week. We had never been there much because it takes so long to get there. Our area is one of the biggest in manila. It is bigger than all the other areas in our district combined. Our area used to be 3 areas actually, so it is very hard to balance time between the areas. Anyways, so we started working in an area called west crame. I absolutely love it over there. Like a lot. For whatever reason, the people are super super willing to listen to you.
Every door we knocked on would let us in and share a message. usually people would say, "not right now, but you can come back" but over there people would let us share 20-30 min lessons. It was awesome. Starting the day we went to crame, I made a personal goal to always talk to people. At all times. I noticed immediate blessings over there. We were walking along when I decided to stop to talk to a group of men. I felt a desire to talk to them, and Im so glad I did. We all began to talk about the church and the book of mormon. I felt the words flowing out my mouth in a way that I never taught before. I described the love of god for all his children, how he had called prophets to show his love, and asked one of the men, "do you believe that God loves us
as much as he did back then" he replied that he did. I then asked, "He gave people prophets before to show his love, do you think he would give us a prophet now to show us his love?" At this moment, his eyes filled with understanding and he replied that God would. We gave him a copy of the book of mormon and he was really excited to have it. It was a little dirty, and so I apologized to him. He replied "elder Dyches dont worry about the outside being dirty, because I know the inside is pure" wow that experience was so cool!! Im so glad that the spirit prompted us to stop and talk to them. What made it even better was that another man overheard us talking. After starting to walk away, the man approached us and said, "please come visit me, please help me to change!! I want to hear your message." We told him that we would return. He practically forced us to write down his number and address. Before leaving, he made us promise to come back. he literally begged us to come back. We came back two days later, and he was absolutely thrilled to see us. he said, "I was so worried that you wouldnt come back!!" we taught him a lesson on Jesus Christ and his atonement. he accepted baptism and is going to move his work schedule so that he can start coming to church with us next week!! wow the ways of the lord are so marvelous!! he knows who is ready! he knows the hearts that need touching. on my mission, I have one job. Give him my heart and work. That's it. He prompts our daily actions, and converts the people we teach. Oh missionary work is so wonderful!! I am having so much fun!! A sad part of the work is dropping the unready people. We still love them, but we have to move on from people who aren't keeping commitments. That part breaks my heart. We had to drop the villanueva family for now. That one hurt. I was so excited for them. They will get another chance. We will continue to pray for them. Oh how much i wish they could just feel the joy of the gospel. If they would only try it. Its hard to have this beautiful peace. To have this wonderful joy and to have people choose not to follow it. Such wonderful good people. Its heartbreaking to know the blessings they could have. To see all their potential. To see them as an eternal family, but to have them choose not to run into christs arms. Oh if they would just try it! if they would just pray and feel of his love!! oh that everyone could feel this wonderful peace! oh that they could know their divine potential and how much god loves them! its important to remember that God has a plan for them all! he is mindful of them, and will try his hardest to give them chances to receive his light. Its okay that it might not be through us. That doesnt matter to me at all. I just want them to feel the joy of the gospel. Oh how blessed I am to have my savior and this wonderful joy!
I pray that all my loved ones will get the chance to partake of this sweet joy!
We have been working with a recent convert named jasper. he is preparing to serve his mission, and works with us every day. His testimony is so strong and he LOVES the scriptures. It is so fun to work with him and to see the fruits of another missionary's efforts. He is truly going to change lives. He is converted to the lord. i love that guy. he has a funny conversion story though. The missionaries taught him the first lesson and asked him to say the closing prayer. he, in the closing prayer said "dear
heavenly father, I hate the missionaries, I hate the book of mormon, and I hate their church" The missionaries left, but left him a book of mormon. Curiosity caused him to start reading the book of mormon. an hour after the missionaries left, he texted them "missionaries, would you come back tomorrow? I have a lot of questions about the book of mormon" He was converted to the word of God and now is such a solid missionary!! man its so much fun working with him! he is going to be such a wonderful missionary!!
One thing that we've been trying to work better on is being more bold with commitments. The culture here is to be very noncommittal. We decided that we were not going to allow that to happen anymore. The end of last week, we started being firm about leaving specific commitments and are noticing the blessings. i believe that we will see much better progression through that. The key to being bold is through love. you can be as bold as you want, as long as you are just as loving. In missions it is important to "fear no man" (ricciardi letter ) dont feel scared to target their concerns. Dont feel scared to promise blessings. Dont be afraid to rely on the lord. Fear is a thing of the devil. Trust is the sntidote. As long as you open your mouth, God will fill
it. Thats such an amazing promise and its so real!! I find most times, I start the message unsure and stuttery, but within 10 seconds the spirit takes over and The words flow smoothly and in accord with the spirit.
My language is progressing very fast, due to the spirit and the grace of my God. Now, all of the people we are teaching are starting to ask how many years I have been here, and members are starting to ask when i go home. I heard that at least a dozen times this week. "oh elder, youve been out what? a year?" jenny was shocked to hear that I was on week 7 hahah! Jasper and elder armadillo constantly compliment my tagalog and say "elder why are you fluent already!" man those guys are too nice. I love them both so much!
I missed one week of the peanut butter project sadly, but did it again yesterday! It is so much fun! it is so humbling and fills my heart with gratitude and sorrow for all the suffering here. yesterday we fed a grandmother and her 2 year old granddaughter who were homeless. The 2 year old looks sick and it absolutely broke my heart. We shared a message and gave them a few sandwhiches. Oh, how i wish they could have the same blessings that we have. It isnt fair that we are blessed s much, and they are on the brink of despair and sickness. It absolutely hurts to see all the suffering. I know they will be blessed on high, and receive such wonderful celestial blessings someday. Their suffering is so miserable, but its temporary. president hinckley once said that his heart was broken for the philippines people. That he didnt know how to help them. but that the only thing we can really do to help them is to teach them of chrst. I know that is true. The words of christ is the only thing we can do to help them.
We stopped to ask a worker yesterday where we could find homeless people. he told us and then said, "thank you both. They need your help. Most of all, they need your message. They need your words. " Oh how wonderful to bear the message of christ. he is the only way to be happy. I am so blessed to be his missionary. Feeding the poor with food and words of christ is one of my favorite parts of the week. we also found three 10 year old boys sleeping under and umbrella on peaces of cardboard. I approached them, and knelt down beside them. One opened his eyes as i set down the remainder of the sandwiches we had. i will never forget his eyes. I will never forget the hope we get to bring to the hopeless. oh my heart is broken for them. I am so grateful that
the spirit prompted the peanut butter project and will enjoy every single one.
I love you all so much my family! i am so proud of you and miss you all like crazy. to my momma. I've thought a lot about moments like that. I've thought about singing with you and dancing around the kitchen. Those moments are what i look forward to most about coming home. We will have many many more wonderful memories as a family. i love you all so much! Time flies. Ill be home before you all know it! Dad, I loved the phineas and ferb reference. That show is such a classic. you all are wonderful!!
i pray for you all and miss you all so so so so much! endure and enjoy the time we are apart. these will be the fastest years you have had so far. They have been for me so far. Sometimes I stop and think. What the heck, at the end of this month i will have been out for 4 months. time flies. Don't get caught up in missing me. Our relationships will never ever change. I will always love you with the same love we have now. We are going to be the family that all lives close together and whose kids hang out with their cousins all the time. Being out here, I realize that that is what I want more than anything.
Until next week! your boy loves you more than you could ever imagine. I'm so proud of your growth and your fun experiences. I LOVE YOU!!!!
elder dyches <3