Monday, January 30, 2017

Long Roads, and Big Rewards

This week has been kind of difficult. I am not really sure why, as it seemed mostly like another week in the field. I can’t say for certain why but it was harder than the other weeks. We had high expectations, and for the most part our goals went unfulfilled. I think if I have learned a lesson here, it is:

Don't do a lot of work without being smart about it. Don't walk a long road for a small reward. Always have a goal in mind every second of every day.

I have learned a lot recently about respect of parents. I think the trick is that children shouldn't be punks and parents in general won't be hard to get along with. I wish I had learned that one a little sooner. The same basic principle works with spiritual things. God is our Dad. He wants good things for us. He wants us to live with him forever. He gave his Son for us. He gives everything so, if we listen for Him, we will have the ability to be comforted – to have a family with us forever, to become perfect. So the trick here is "Don't be a punk kid." He expects certain things from you. He needs certain things from you in order for you to receive: "A state of eternal happiness." This is why I believe that obedience and respect to parents is a celestial law. It cannot be overlooked. If we cannot respect our parents on earth in easy things, how can we respect our Heavenly Father. Okay rant pretty much over (also that was pretty much mostly for myself but if someone learns something from it was worth it.)
Alright, so like I said this week was kind of hard, but there were two things that made it worth it. One we had a baptism! Brother Mark Ais was baptized this Saturday, and I got to see his life change. He is more firm in his understanding and knowledge now; he has changed completely when talking about spiritual matters; and he has learned a lot. Mark was always fun to teach, but also really hard because he doesn’t always understand right away. My words are usually very slow to be understood, so it was always hard to know if he got what I was saying. The other thing that made it all worth it is where the title of this email comes from.

Brother Kamarlon (our star investigator) recently got fired from his job. We always taught him at work, so we were really worried because we didn't know where he lived. All we knew about where he lived was the name of the barangay (which is a Tagalog word that kind of means neighborhood but it is a little different.) Barangays are often around 1000 houses, sometimes more, and this one was no different. So one day we went off in search of Brother Kamarlon’s home – with nothing more than questions to people around us and the spirit to guide us. We walked around for a good long while and made it to the end of one of the major streets. We decided to turn around and try another time. As we turned and made our way back down the street, we heard the question "Anong pangalan mo?" Which means "What is your name?" A question I get around 50 times a day from children. But this time we stopped, turned around, and looked at the person inquiring. We found brother Kamarlon there with several of his friends and some of his family members (if you remember he has 8 brothers and sisters.) We sat down right there and taught them most of the first lesson. They all seemed interested and now we have 5 families to teach – if all of them will let us in again. We had walked a long road (something we had been doing all week), but the difference is we had a big goal in mind. We weren't walking just for walking, we had a destination in mind.
You are blessed for walking long hard roads in life. But you open yourselves to those blessings when you walk those roads with determination and a goal in mind.
Sorry that was a really long story.
I have had a couple requests to talk about Filipino culture from family. I don’t know how many of you are aware that I shower out of a bucket now. Also, I eat some pretty weird foods. Other than those things life here isn’t that much different. I will, however, try to include things about the culture every week. This week is on dialects. The thing about the Philippines, depending on who you ask, is they have around 2000 dialects (I didn’t put an extra zero). They have Tagalog as a base, but sometimes it isn’t effective if the person doesn’t speak it very well. Language is a big part of their culture and people love to be able to speak their native language. Each one is distinct and has its own cool background. 

Tagalesson: Deep Tagalog. You know how in English we have "Old English" or words that are more cryptic, or words we just don't use anymore? Certain words in Tagalog aren't used as much and they refer to those as "Deep Tagalog". When you really look at this language, it can be really deep. Tagalog uses the same alphabet we use in English (minus a couple letters like C and Q) [Insert by Jordan’s sister: Letters that are redundant in the English Language and could be done away with here too] but that wasn't always the case. The fact that some words aren't used anymore, and the fact that many languages exist here, means you have to be careful with how you speak. Sometimes the people you are talking with do not know certain words. For example: the word Takipsilim is the Tagalog word for both "Sunset" and "Eve". Depending on who you ask, they might not even know that that word exists. I find it really interesting that depending on who you talk to, the language can change drastically.

Sorry, this email got kind of rambly. Remember that when you are walking a long road that you should be looking for a big reward. Don't let yourself settle for small rewards. Also remember that only the long roads in life have the worthwhile rewards.

Also I saw another huge spider. This one was very venomous and I didn't touch it. Also, it was my companion’s birthday this week. The picture of the family is a recent convert family. Their baptisms were a few weeks before I got there.


Elder Faulkner

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