Hahah double digit weeks. So weird. Time is going by so unbelievably fast. my training is almost up. wow. To answer a few of your questions, transfers are on dec 12. Armadillo has been out for 21 months and only has 2 transfers left. Ive started to think about time in terms of transfers. Transfers go by so fast, and its a lot easier to think in terms of them. I also disregard the mtc time. When I think of my time out here I think of the 2 transfers not the 4 months total. The mtc was an absolute blast but life here in the field is so much faster. Harder but faster. Im excited to talk to you all during christmas too!! it was super weird not being over there for thanksgiving. Only one more holiday season here though...man thats weird. Im excited to here about the family traveling plans!! when I think back on the memories of my childhood, the family trips are the absolute highlight. I LOVED the church history trip especially. I miss you all, but am finding it easier to cope with each week.
I am happier and happier.
Alright onto the fun of this week! We had interviews with president fermanis earlier this week. Its always so fun to talk with him. WE talked a lot about missions and life/ It was great. He is really stressing obedience to the new missionaries which I absolutely love. I know now more than ever that missions are imperfect, but i will sure try my hardest to give my heavenly father my all. He asked a lot about my tagalog and how it was progressing. He and I agreed that it was a definite blessing that I am with elder armadillo. It has definitely helped me to progress my tagalog. Love that guy! President asked me to start helping elder Armadillo learn english. We now speak english in the mornings and tagalog in the afternoons. I feel so blessed to have progressed enough to take a step back and help my comp learn english. its really hard though. I am so used to speaking straight tagalog with him. In the mornings I accidentally slip into tagalog. whenever i do, elder armadillo says, "what? I don't understand." and laughs histerically. Its so great. Oh man, it is really hard not to speak tagalog. The other day at district meeting I tried to say a prayer in english and noticed that by the end it was pure tagalog...whoops!
We did a bunch of service as a district which was really fun! There is a school in crame that we have been working at. We paint for them, and then get to talk to all the kids. OH MY WORD they are adorable! They crowd around and talk with us while we paint. I love their english so much! its seriously adorable! I hear so much, "hey bro wassup!" and just little phrases in english. Its so cute from a bunch of tagalog kids. I seriously love it. They all love high fives, helping me paint, and following
me around. Its my absolute favorite. Its fun because now whenever we go to crame, all the kids get super excited and come running to us. Love them so much. We are probably gonna go back this week again!! can't wait! it was also so much fun getting to hang out as a district. There is so much stress in regular missionary life and it's so wonderful to just let go of it for a little while and serve. That and we had a little paint fight afterward which was fun. I was wounded pretty badly in our paint war. Im
still a bit yellow from the encounter. Oh man it was so fun! Afterward we were fed a bunch and went on our merry way. It was a blast.
One thing that has been relieving is that I am acting myself here in the philippines. A stressful part about being in a new culture and environment is worrying about not being able to express your personality. That, paired with stress from the work, made me worry that I wasnt always being myself. It was very comforting to here from the members this week that I am being myself. We were eating at a members house and talking about foods and things here. I was raving about the juice and food here, when sister michelle started laughing. She said, "elder dyches. You say you absolutely LOVE this and absolutely LOVE that. is there anything you dont LOVE?" she further continued to say, "elder dyches, you are always so happy. I dont think Ive ever seen you without a smile on your face." you have no idea how comforting that was to me. I left that appointment absolutely happy. I was so relieved that my passion for life hadn't left me. That I am still the same person. At one appointment elder armadillo started playing guitar and the tinituruan asked me to sing for them. I started singing and the tinituruan loved it. Afterward, she laughed and said, "wow, elder is really feeling it." my comp explained that I got very passionate while singing. what can i say?
Im a passionate kind of guy hahah! These little tender mercies helped me realize that Ive gotten comfortable here and am starting to show my personality in the work. That is a serious relief to me. What i have learned in the mission is that you are called to be the best YOU that you can be. Its been relieving to use my strengths in the work. I dont have a lot of the gifts that other missionaries have, but it has been relieving to use the gifts that GOd has given me. One thing that I do need to work on though is calming down the joy in lessons. Elder armadillo and I were doing companionship study when I asked him what was good about my teaching and what I could work on. he told me " elder, what I love about your teaching is that you feel everything you teach very deeply". He said that my joy and love of my savior is very evident always in my teaching. He told me that what I need to work on is being bold and forceful at times. He told me that when people don't keep their commitments, that my natural reaction is to forgive them quickly and keep the smile on my face. He told me that in these times that I need to show visibly my disappointment and tell them that the only way they can receive the blessings is through following the commitments. Oh man he is so right!!
Thats always been a struggle for me in life haha! This week Im going to try to be more bold. with love of course. but bold nonetheless. what a great trainer. I love that he cares enough for me to help me with my teaching and loves our tinituruan enough to show his disappointment. Not in a discouraging way, but in a way that prompts them to change. He is such a wise guy!! Im so grateful for him!
We slept over again last night! it was elder mulipola's birthday and we all ate a giant cake. We watched a couple mormon messages and then woke up early to go play bball at the church. its one of the highlights to go stay over. Its seriously so much fun! we make jokes and just talk about mission stories all night. We all tease elder bickmore because he has been in the mission 15 months without going to palawan. We exchange jokes and teasing all night. especially nba trashtalk. Mulipola is a warriors fan, bickmore is a lebron fan, and i support unceasingly my dear celtics. its seriously so much fun. We get in debates over best players of all time, current players, and bashing on each others teams. sometimes when bickmore bashes my celtics i respond, "oh its okay, our 17 rings will keep us warm at night" HAHAH he thinks he can out-nba me. GOOD LUCK! many a good men have tried hahah! Its seriously so much fun. I also love playing bball with them. bickmore plays in his crocs always (which we call the bicks) and is so much fun to play with. Elder mulipola is really good. I love playing against elder armadillo because he wants to play against the best version of you. earlier today I was playing super lazy and not shooting very well. Elder armadillo started
purposely playing tight defense and talking trash. THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I NEEDED TO IGNITE MY FIRE. I caught fire and started knocking down shot after shot. oh man it was so much fun! we are going back to the appartment (bickmore's) after this to watch meet
the mormons. THey have a tv which is so nice! i wish we did so bad. maybe ill transfer there someday. Haha i hope not! i love it here! All of our members are buying us presents for chrsitmas which is awesome. They love us here. I love our ward so much.
We have a baptism this weekend. We are baptizing jm fransisco. We got his parents approval. Im so excited. I will tell you his full stroy after his baptism!! Our other tinituruan are olivia blanquisco, tammy cabael, arnulfo cepada, mj marcelino, rose ann, and cesar borja. We are going to focus 100% on part members and referrals now. out of the 4 that we will hopefully have at the end of this transfer, all are either part member or referrals. The thing about the work is that we are the gatherers of the
harvest. Part members and referrals are wonderful because they have received the planting from their loved ones. It is so much easier for them to accept the gospel because of their support system. One thing that I absolutely require of you back home is to be immersed in the scriptures EVERY DAY. testimony is not enough to last the storms of life. I am seeing it in members and in tinituruan. The ones who read every day are the ones who are blessed. The ones who read are the ones that are converted. WE have experienced many people who know our message is true, but fall away because they dont hold to the rod. Hold on with all your might. It brings so much joy. Let scripture study become a relief to you. It seriuously is such a relief to me. At the end
of our hour, I just want to continue reading. The scriptures contain the words of peace. When peace doesnt abide in your life, turn to the scriptures. You will always be strengthened. The problems may not go away, but you will have the strenght to get through them.
this week's culture stuff:
filipino time: they are unbelievably late here. for everything. If you though "mormon time" (previously called) was bad, you should come here. Everything is at least 30 mins late. That becomes dangerous for dinner appointments. Because you want to always have appointments after but you also can never know when they will be ready. we either leave and come back or try to do something productive while waiting. haha its all good.
magic/logic: they LOVE magic. elder armadillo has little hand magic things that he does to entertain the kids. Im definitely gonna steal all of them when he leaves haha! but seriously the kids love it. They come up to us and ask, "do you know any magic?" and are blown away by the little tricks. ah they are so cute. That and they love what they call "logic" which is like the filipino equivalent of riddles. They absolutely love them. even if they are really obvious. I take that back. ESPECIALLY if they
are really obvious. For example, elder armadillo always asks "why do people open the window in the mornings?" they then respond with a bunch of guesses. Elder then answers "because it was closed of course!" this is followed by histerical laughter. They are adorable when they laugh. Ah man I love them. These people are absolutely wonderful.
The name of our church:
Its been such a privelage to take such a huge part of the name correction of our church. As missionaries, we get to correct people every day and really notice the blessings of it. We always tell them. "we are known as mormons, but we want you to know that mormon is not the name of our church, but a prophet. Our message and church are centered on christ." I can see the lord's hand in the spreading of this correction and the blessings of recognizing our savior at all times. THe more we focus on our savior, the more the spirit is there. This is his church. Isnt it great to say that?? This isnt mormon's church or joseph smith's. This is the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints. Oh i am so blessed to be a missionary. Life out here is so much fun! a super
spiritual, tasty adventure indeed. I am blessed to be here specifically in the philippines. The people here have crept their way into my heart and I already know its going to be hard to leave here.
I love you all so much! you mean so much to me. I am SUPER EXCITED to talk to you all soon! keep holding on. Keep being happy. I love you all! Talk to you next week.
your filipino son (haha one of my favorite things that my comp or ward members say is "filipino na!", saying that im a filipino now. Its so much fun)