Jordan is officially in the field. There is no letter today because he was doing transfers. Please write to him and tell him how you are doing in your goal to read the entire Book of Mormon this year. He needs the encouragement.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
So, one thing that I used to think, but have since been proved wrong, is that I would be fluent in Tagalog when I could speak using the same mannerisms and bringing the same feelings and emotions with my words whilst speaking it. You have all heard me speak and I felt, up until recently, that it would be a long long time before I would be able to speak Tagalog like I do in English. We had a workshop the other day when we sat down and shared a personal experience. We started in mostly English. Then, trying to tell it as best we can, putting more of it in Tagalog as we shared it with multiple people. I learned that as I talked and as I translated my words – and really thought about the experience I was sharing – that I was able to do it. Not only with the same determination, but I spoke in the same manner that I do in English. I was speaking a language that I didn't know a little over a month ago. It was a very strange experience.
I just want to say tho that I think that Tagalog is the simplest language ever concocted. That doesn't mean it is easy, but it is really really simple. It feels like a project in College where a group of Guys had to create a language that had real grammar rules and real words and they had around 2 years to do it. But then they procrastinated and made up all the grammar rules and tenses in the last like 4 days and drank waayyy too much red bull whilst pushing out verb forms.
It doesn't feel like Christmas. Time here is going very quickly. It is hot outside, so it very much does not seem like Christmas is in 4 days. In my mind I know that it is, but at the same time I have been preoccupied with a few other things lately. I need to sit down and focus on Christmas for a bit or I think I’m going to miss it.
I have a challenge for all of you. That challenge is: if you would not normally read the Book of Mormon, read the entirety of it in the year 2017. Never read it without a question written down in front of you. You could easily do it if you read simply around a page and a half every day – something that takes less than 10 minutes. God will truly bless you if you do this. If you would have read it anyways without my challenge: do something more. Encourage others to read it, or try to once a week share something that you read with someone that you could help. Simply put, I have this promise: Reading this book every day WILL improve the quality of your life. I do not care if you believe that, but it is true. As Alma said, I would ask not to believe but that you would simply desire a better life and then experiment on my words. That is all. Now continue in Faith
I have less than a week here in the MTC and it went by very quickly. I actually don’t know where all that time went; but now it is gone.
My sister Lisa has come up with an appropriate name for the things in Tagalog that I share every week: TAGALESSONS. The Tagalesson for this week is on two words that we don't have in English: "Po" and "Bayanihan". Po is a word that is like the salt of the Tagalog language. If you want your food to taste good, then use it. It is a word that has no concrete meaning but you use it to add respect to a sentence. For example: "Magandang Umaga" is “good morning”. But if you say "Magandang Umaga po", it is like saying it with a little bit more respect. Sometimes you just kinda add it in wherever. The other word "Bayanihan" has a concrete meaning that stems from the fact that Filipinos sometimes help each other move houses. Like they all stand around the house and they lift it up and move it somewhere else. Kind of like that talk by Elder Uchtdorf or that episode from Spongebob. But it means a large group of people working together to accomplish one purpose. Think about it like unity but stronger, and fueled by a love of other people. It is a great word.
The Title of this email is “Akong Bahala”, which means "I got this". It can be used both in the regular meaning of the words and sarcastically just like in English. I'll let you decide which it is when I say that I enter the field in one week and I say “Akong Bahala” to you all...
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
So the day after my last email was the first time that I ever went out proselyting. We taught two lessons and I was able to lead the second one. I felt more ready than I expected, but also way more aware of the amount that I have to learn still. I don't think that I truly anticipated how hard this would be; but at the same time I will learn to love it and adjust to the workload of the field – probably a few weeks into it. Here at the MTC I am surrounded by many good influences and tons of really nice, good people that build me up every day; and I will be sad to lose that in the field. One thing here that is obviously shocking is the circumstances in which people live; I got to see some of that when we went proselyting, and it is crazy to see how humble these people are in their circumstances.
We have learned a lot about teaching people and relating to them this week; you need to really understand where people are at in their lives temporally, spiritually, and emotionally before you can teach them effectively. The problem is tho, it is really hard to create that relationship with them if you can’t speak the language conversationally. That is what I will be struggling with for a long while tho. I think I will figure it out and try not to worry about it.
I feel like a ton happened this week and I have little to say about it. Our batch is now the senior batch and new missionaries have come in. We are no longer the newest missionaries in the Philippines. My companion and I are Zone leaders. We have stewardship over all of the language training missionaries that spend their whole missionary training experience in Manila. It is really nice to be able to impart advice to them and tell them what they should and shouldn't worry about – something that I feel our senior batch didn't really do for us.
Around Christmas time I urge all to remember Christ and what he did for us all. We owe everything to him and I am realizing that a little more each day. I try every day to stop thinking about myself and focus on the work ahead and the reasons I'm doing it. It can be hard to forget ourselves. So, every day try to do one thing that you can completely say you did for someone else other than yourself. Jesus watches those acts as you serve your brothers and sisters and he appreciates them much more than you even know. I get to talk to some family back home this Christmas and I am very much appreciative of that opportunity; but, as I am sure it will happen every time, I will wish that I will have more time.
Today, the Tagalog lesson that I will impart to you all is about Focus. I won’t delve into it too much because it is useless to try to understand within a few weeks – let alone a few minutes. But it is in teaching that I learn better, so suffer me this. Basically focus is something that exists in Tagalog and it is all about what you want to emphasize in a sentence. In Tagalog, there are only three tenses: the Past, Present, and Future. The problem is, you have different types of conjugations for different verbs and they dictate what you focus on in the sentence. So in English you may say "We read the book to him" but the problem is, in Tagalog that word for "Read" could be conjugated three different ways based on if you wanted to emphasize: WHO was reading, WHAT they were reading, or TO WHOM was being read. Basically it is really dumb and it makes sentences really hard to form without thinking a lot about what you want to say.
Anyways thanks for listening to my rambling about everything. I think I may start prewriting my emails throughout the week so that I can respond to people individually more and not run over time. Also, I got a camera so I may try to get pictures up next week.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Rice is the main thing we eat here. We have a word for things that go on rice; that word is Ulam. It doesn’t really matter what it is that goes on the rice, it could be soy sauce, vegetables, or meat – or any combination of anything. That is Ulam.
This week has been a pretty strong learning experience for me. I have realized the power in teaching with Unity. Some of the lessons that my comp and I have taught this week have been the best lessons we have taught ever; and it is all because we both open our mouths and work off what the other says.
We went to the temple today, as is standard of P-days, and it was a wonderful learning experience as well – you learn a lot there.
Today all of the RTMs, or “Regular Training Missionaries”, left; along with the Senior Batch (those that were here when I arrived and were learning the language). That means that for the next week the two language training missionary (LTMs) districts are the senior batch. It is a humbling feeling knowing in three weeks I will be out teaching for real.
Then again, I go proselyting tomorrow for the first time. I will be out with a senior companion for about 4 hours. I am excited, humbled, and crazy nervous all at the same time. We get a new batch of LTMs this Friday and I will do my best to impart all of my wisdom to them – not that I have much to give.
This week I have learned how to teach and bring the spirit into a lesson quickly. In order to truly open the doors of someone's heart, to understand why this message is important, first you have to love them and then identify their needs. The message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ applies to all, and He calls us to follow Him. It is my job to show people why it applies to them and be a catalyst for feeling the Holy Spirit in their lives.
There are only about 14 people learning at the MTC until Friday when everyone else comes in. I am one of them... I also, just the other day, got called as a Zone Leader. I am no longer a district leader. I was called to a calling that involves me and my companion. Together, we will be the zone leaders over all of the Language Training Missionaries in the Philippines MTC. We will be there to assist them in all their problems and establish order when there is little to be found. Let me just say I have no clue if I am ready for such a thing; but I welcome the challenge and the opportunity for God to qualify me for such a calling.
I think possibly the best thing I did this week was starting "Best Part Worst Part" with my district. Every day, we say the best and the worst parts of our day. Everyone has to listen to everyone else’s sharing. I think it has been a huge blessing to be able to open up to the people we spend so much time with.
I am learning an insane amount here, not even including the language. I realize that the more I focus on feeling the spirit and obeying the schedule and the rules, the more my language study is blessed.
The Tagalog lesson of the day is about verbs, because in my free time I write down verb conjugations. Turns out that my French teacher in High school was right about that one, some day I would do that for fun (and out of necessity), but just not in French.
Anyways, this is how you conjugate regular MAG- verbs in Tagalog (MAG- means that the infinitive form starts with MAG):
1. Take the verb base (we will use "basa" which means "read")
2 Add MAG to form the infinitive we now have "Magbabasa" which means "To read"
3. Past tense: Change that M to an N you now have "Nagbasa" which means "read" (past tense)
4. Present Tense: double the first syllable of the base you now have "Nagbabasa" which means "reading"
5 Future Tense: Change that N right back to an M you now have "Magbababsa" which means "Will read"
Now you know, whenever you don’t know the actual Tagalog base just add MAG or NAG to the beginning of the English word. For example: Magexplain. The weird thing is Filipino people actually do that with that exact example above when they can’t think of the Tagalog word fast enough. They do it all the time and it is ridiculous to try to keep up.
Anyways, I am very much out of time. I love you all.