I'm so glad to hear that you are all doing well!! I'm happy to hear about school and work and such. I am even more happy to hear about family scripture study!! That's so great!!! I'm so proud of you all!! I'm so
happy that everything is going well and you are all happy. I love you all so much!!
Alright, I thought a lot about what to share with you this week and I decided to start sharing bits of the mission lifestyle. Everyone knows about the knocking doors and the lessons, but there is a whole lot of stuff that Isn't covered in the typical view of a mission. And for everyone back home preparing to serve their own missions (especially the vermont mission, just sayin--Nicole ;) ) I thought it proper, to share the ins and outs of the family business. So here we go!!
Working with members and less actives: So a large part of mission life is working with members. Especially here in the Philippines. It is so much more effective than going from door to door knocking. President Fermanis straight up said that he didn't want us knocking doors, that it is a waste of time. So this week, my comp and I started focusing on obtaining referrals and visiting less actives. There is a saying that, "scattered Israel hangs around gathered Israel" and I can definitely see that its true. Part member families, and friends of members are much more likely to receive the gospel because of the seeds planted by their friends. They see the happiness that the gospel brings their friends, have an instant friend in the church, and someone to fellowship them. So last Sunday, I approached the ward clerk and asked for a ward directory so that we could visit a few members a day. Once more, we've started visiting less actives. There is another saying that goes, "if you bring back a less active, they bring back 7 friends with them." I don't know why on earth that is true, but it definitely is. We visited a less active named Angela and her family. We shared a scripture and a little message. Something seemed to brighten her smile, and she started talking about all her friends that we could teach. A few days later we received a call, inviting us over there for dinner. We went over and she sat there with 2 new people. We shared the first lesson with them and have an appointment to go back this week!! What is even better is that when we saw her at stake conference yesterday, she had a third friend that she introduced us to! 3 referrals just like that!! That and the opportunity to bring one of God's precious lambs back into the field. So wonderful!! At each of our other member visits we share a brief message, get to know the family, and then are given people to teach. 20 mins = 1 guaranteed referral. I love it. All the members are super great here and they all LOVE the missionaries. They pile up our plates, give us friends to teach, and all invite us to stop by anytime. They say, "oh elders if you ever are in the area and want a snack, stop by anytime!!" man they are so great!! The comment I hear most at any members house is the same every. single. time. I hear, " Elder! kain pa!" (elder! eat more!) Man are the people here special. I am so grateful to be called here. I love all of our investigators so much and the members too! I never want to leave this area. The people are amazing. So for all of you back home preparing for missions, working with members and less actives is VERY important and so much fun!
Out here, lessons are so refreshing. When you feel down and the work is hard, as soon as you get the opportunity to open your mouth, the spirit chases away your fatigue and your pain. Oh my word, I've learned to love lessons. Whether it be members, less actives, or our friends that we are teaching, lessons are the best time to feel the spirit and peace. Man do I love lessons. The first couple of weeks, lessons were great but it was harder to feel the spirit in a foreign language. Now, it is my absolute
favorite to go out and share the gospel. Man, missions are so cool. I love life out here.
So last week, the Poot family committed to go to church, but didn't come. After that, it seemed that they were coming up with excuses not to see us. We would show up and they would "be feeling unwell" or "need to leave" . It was hard and confusing. We wondered what had happened to that wonderful family. Saturday morning, on our way home from running with Virgel (which I will talk about later) I turned to my comp and said, "elder, do you think we should visit the Poot family?" he said, "elder you have the spirit. What do you want to do?" I said a little prayer and decided that we needed to. As we walked to their alley, Elder armadillo hung back a ways. He gave me a look that said, "elder this is something you need to do for yourself. " I knocked on the door. Sister Poot answered and said once again that she was feeling sick. I asked her if we could return that afternoon and give her a blessing. I explained that through the priesthood that we bear, we could bless her. She agreed and we returned later that day. I began to bless her in tagalog. As I started to bless her, the words seemed to flow out of my mouth easily, as they did that beautiful morning where I blessed each of my family members before I left for my mission. I blessed her with health, and a remembrance of god's love her, that she was a daughter of God. After closing the blessing, she began to weep and open up about her life. She said that her family was struggling financially, and that she had a kidney stone for the last 3 years, with no money for medical relief. She explained that she had hid in the bathroom when we came to pick her up, crying that she couldn't attend church, but couldn't because of a lack of money to travel. Elder armadillo immediately began calling church leaders for
a way to help her attend church. She continued to open up that her whole family believed our message and wanted so badly to go to church. Her husband loved our message too and said that he had promised God a long time ago that he would never drink, smoke, or do drugs. They are so ready!! The next day, we were able to take sister Poot and her daughter to church (her husband had work) . It was really cool because they were able to be fellow shipped by sister Michelle and her family really well!! They enjoyed stake conference and are going to come to our ward next week! I know that Heavenly Father prompted every step of that series of events. Ammon (from the Book of Mormon) is the greatest example of serving to gain the hearts of our friends. It is such a blessing to hold the priesthood of God. I've been more grateful for my priesthood in the past 3 months than ever before in life. I am so blessed to have it. The words from the Tyler Haws video echo in my mind, "to be a priesthood man is more important than anything else...we're so happy that he gets to serve" I'm so happy and lucky to be here!! I'm making lifelong friends and memories. I'm growing and learning more than ever before. Missions are the best way for God to prepare us to be fathers and priesthood leaders. The blessings of a mission last for a lifetime and I'm already feeling them. I hope you all are too!
We had zone interviews with president Fermanis which was amazing!! I love that guy. He is so happy, and jokey, and just awesome! We talked all about the joys of missionary service and he said, "wow Elder Dyches it sounds like you and Armadillo are having
so much fun! You both rave about each other in your emails!" How could I not?? My trainer is the best!! it was awesome to ask questions to him too. One thing I asked was how to help my tinituruan attend church? He began to explain how to better teach the sabbath day, when he stopped and said- "elder, for you to effectively teach the sabbath day, you must do something to make it special for you." He further explained that on a mission it was harder to separate the sabbath day because we do the same things as any other day. He promised me that if I made the sabbath day special for me, that I would feel the blessings from heaven.
I thought about that again and again. I needed blessings really bad. The work was hard, remnants of homesickness, and fatigue felt constantly very tiring. I decided to act on his insight. I came up with my Sunday plan. Every Sunday from now on, I will spend studying the saviors life for personal study, and in the afternoon I've started The peanut Butter Project. The peanut butter project, for me, is my way of living the sabbath to its fullest and feeling the joy of the Savior. I've decided that every Sunday I will make sandwiches and take them to the poor around the city. So this Sunday we took them, juice, and a picture of Jesus with the words "you are not alone" to all of the poor around the city. It was so wonderful to sit and talk with them. It uplifted me so
much and helped me feel more Christlike love for all of the people here. Jesus, every day spent his time with the poor, uplifting the broken hearted. It was such a wonderful opportunity to do the same. God loves each of those children just as much as us. Their souls are precious, and they are dealing with trials that we can't even imagine. It was so wonderful and I'm excited for next Sunday!!!!
The blessings were definitely there. Every day last week, I greatly desired to be in the church building, where Satan couldn't hurt me or effect my thoughts. After my sabbath day activities, I felt that peace everywhere. The lord has been so merciful and I feel happier and at home here in the PI. That and on our way to a dinner appointment last night, we met a jeepney driver who beckoned us over and said, "I'm a member, but my siblings are not!" we went to meet the siblings. We asked them if they were
members of the church to which they responded, "not yet!" they asked us to visit them again so now we have a return appointment!!! I'm so excited! I can feel the blessings of making the sabbath day special and am so grateful for it!! I cant wait for many more wonderful Sundays!!
Alright now the weekly dose of filipino culture:
jeepneys. I havent spent enough time talking about them. The way they work is that there are 2 benches facing each other, that passengers hop in and out of. Then, once in, a person must pay 9 pesos and say "bayad po!" (payment) and "para po!" when they want to stop. So the whole experience is a ton of people getting on and off constantly, passing money back and forth, and all being really squished. The jeepney driver is the epitome of what we don't want our drivers to do. His job is to drive and exchange the change that everyone is constantly paying him. So all day he is navigating crazy manila traffic, while acting as a cashier, drinking water, playing on a phone, or whatever else he seems to be doing! I definitely believe in multi tasking after riding
a jeepney. I cant believe that there aren't more accidents with these drivers!! they are all distracted with the 15 things they have going at once. How they do it? I have no clue. Some people are gifted I guess.
Another thing is music. People here love music here. Especially american music. I hear a ton of ed sheeran and bruno mars in restaurants or jeeps. They are super popular. What they love even more is karaoke. They LOVE that. At every birthday party, that is the crowning event. Walking down the streets, you almost always here someone singing karaoke (usually very off key) Its such a blast here!! I'm loving it here and having so much fun!!
Stop to enjoy the small moments. Go on more walks, play more games, turn off the TV. One of the small miracles here is night time, when it is so peaceful and cool. I love that time of day. So wonderful. Take more time to enjoy the little things.
And dad, have a family home evening where you share mission stories and pictures. Missions are exciting and the kids would love that. I love you all so much and am starting to lose myself here!!
My health is good, but I might talk to the nurse because I still wake up at 5 every morning with tummy troubles. Don't worry about me too much, the lord is watching over me.
Family I love you so much!! you are the best things in my life. Be happy, be kind to each other. Families are forever. Enjoy the journey together. I love you all and will talk to you more next week!!
your big brother