Thursday, December 24, 2015

Magapit/Cagayan Week 70

Dear Francis Family - Merry Christmas,

I am doing great and been enjoying the Christmas season and the Christmas activities we have been having.  I loved watching the little kids dance and  the skits they did.  Then us missionaries did some dancing too which was fun and made everyone laugh. This week was really slow and really long, but we had a lot of parties to go to.

On Saturday I really got sick like I was really hot with body aches and it was hard for me to breathe and  I had bad headaches.  So I went to the doctor Saturday night and she said I had a high fever and gave me a lot of medicine to take about 1,300 pesos worth, so really expensive. The members really were worried about me and they all prayed for me and God answered their prayers.  On Sunday me and Elder Lobaton were late going to Church because I was still pretty hot and really weak in the body, but when I got there everybody seemed happy to see me and asked if I was okay. The branch is really great and all super friendly and really fun to be around. 

For Christmas we will be spending it in Magapit and I will be skyping you on Christmas day here in the Philippines.  So Friday morning for me.   I cant wait to talk to you guys and see you too. Thank you for everything and I love you all and miss you all too. I am only e-mailing short because I will be talking to you guys on Friday but I need the password for skype and the username too. Thank you po. Take care always and love you. 

Elder Francis

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Magapit/Cagayan Week 69


Maligayang pasko (tagalog)
Naimbag a Pascua (Ilocano)
Nga Pascua (ybanag)
Merry Christmas (English)

That is Merry Christmas in four different languages that they speak here in Cagayan. So Merry Christmas Francis Family.  Everything is going great here in Cagayan and Magapit because we just had two baptisms this last week and they were both children ages 8 and 10. I baptized E. E. Macapulay.  She is a sweet 8 year old girl that has the sweetest voice and she is super cute and very friendly.  She was so excited to get baptized and she was super happy for me to be the one to baptize her.  Then I confirmed her the next day and gave her the Holy Ghost.  This was my first time in my mission doing it, I was a little scared but really happy and the spirit guided me what to say and everything went well. Then Elder Lobaton baptized V. Molero, a boy aged 10.  He is super funny and really kind and he was excited to get baptized too.  They both said after their baptism, the water was so cold.  They got to bear their testimonies with a little help from some of the members but they did a great job and I was so excited to see them make this decision to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized.   I can see how much the gospel will help them throughout their lives.

Also this week I got to go on exchanges with Elder Peck, the one from my high school class.  I worked in his area and at night time he took me to an area of his and he said okay Elder Francis we need to cross a river to get to our investigators and I was like what, how are we going to cross the river, the water is clear up to our stomach and we will get wet. But when we got there, there was a boat that we took to cross the river and it was so cool to cross a river on a boat -  to cross from one side to the other to reach our investigators.  That was my first time in my mission ever crossing a river and especially by boat. So that was a great experience for me and I took a video of us in the boat crossing the river.  We had a great time and found a lot of people to teach.

Also this last week we found a lot of people to teach like students - but all girls, because the girls like to listen to us.  We found one girl that is really good named Maica Pelotin age 21,  and she really likes listening to our message and the second time we shared with her, she started to cry and I could tell the spirit was testifying to her of our message and she said when we left to always come back and never to forget her, she really wants the gospel in her life and wants to change her life. So we will see what happens and hopefully get more baptisms to come.

Elder Lobaton is doing great as a trainee and a good teacher and example to me and others.  Us four in the apartment are great and we mess around with each other and play jokes and have a good time. The members here in Magapit are great and I love them all and love to work with the us.   Bro. Bhong is a great fellowshiper and loves to take pictures with missionaries.   He has over 15,000 pictures of missionaries and loves it. So all the pictures are on my Facebook.  That is one problem -  I can't send pictures to you anymore because there are so many viruses her in Cagayan and it will delete my pictures. So I would just get the pictures from him on facebook and put them on my blog. Or give me my password to Facebook and I can get the pictures to you. Yes at the end of this week on Saturday we have our branch Christmas party and I am super excited.  After the party we will travel to Laoag and on Sunday I might be going to Piddig for church with Elder Lobaton, so that will be exciting and the Christmas party for the mission is next week on Monday and Tuesday.  I am super excited and can't wait to see what we are going to do for it.

Christmas is coming so fast and i am super excited for it.   I was wondering if you could send more CTR rings for the children here like a lot - at least 50 to 75 for gifts and then chocolate and lolli pops and candy or cute gifts for children and my companions from America. Thank you and I wish you guys a great week and I will be skyping you next week on Thursday or Friday so I am super excited for that. 

I love you all and miss you all so much, take care Francis Family. 

Ay-Ayaten ka o mahal kita.
Elder Francis

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Magapit/Cagayan Week 68

Maligayang Pasko Francis Family,
Well I made it to Cagayan safely after a five hour bus ride.  The roads are crazy but the drive was the most beautiful thing ever - being on the coast of the Philippines and seeing the ocean and the Bangui Windmills and the  beautiful landscape of the Philippines - especially in Cagayan for it being so green. Arriving to the bus station in Laoag we were a little late so I had to take the second bus with a sister, just me and her with no other missionaries, her name was sister Tere from New Zeeland.  She is super tall, but very friendly and very kind too, so we two traveled to magapit together for five hours and met the other missionaries waiting for us in Magapit. So that was fun and the drive was just beautiful surrounding and I loved seeing outside the bus and seeing the ocean and the beautiful view of the Philippines. 
I love being here in Cagayan.  It is super different than Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, like there is really nothing here.  Appari  is the city where we come to do shopping and e-mailing. Then the triceys are different which I like because I can sit on top of the jeepeny or tricey which is scary but the Filipino culture. Also I am in a apartment with three Filipinos and I am the only American which is okay with me, they are all funny and kind elders and the area is amazing. 
My first day here on Tuesday night the members welcomed me to the branch and took me around to meet all the members.  Then we went out to eat and I really felt their love for me and just happy to meet me. Like yesterday, my first Sunday here in Magapit, they loved me and especially the children - they climbed up on me and they liked to hug me and hold my hands and they liked my blond hair. Then they wouldn't stop bugging me and it was funny, because these little kids kept looking at my eyes and saying maganda ang  mata ni elder (Elder has beautiful eyes), so the kids like me and the branch is great. Also here in Magapit we have the Magapit bridge which is beautiful and under a huge river. It is a beautiful view. Also on December 19th we will be having three baptisms in the river and they are all kids, 1. Angelica M. aged 10. 2. Vendesel M. aged 10. 3. Esmeralda M aged 8. So that is really exciting and especially baptizing them in a river. But I am really enjoying everything and enjoying the Cagayan culture.  Here is the Cagayan motto for missionaries.
Cagayan Motto:
A-gent of the
L-ord who
L-oves their mission
O-ur very best to find
O- pportunities to
D- o good and serve others
That is the Cagayan Motto: "All Good",
It really is a different culture up here in Cagayan the people are really nice and opened hearted and willing to listen to us.  They are really poor people also. This week from Thursday to Sunday I only had 80 pesos - that was all the money I had for four days. I survived on bread and snacks for four days. So I really felt what the people feel like here and how little they have, but how grateful they are for what they do have and that is family and shelter and a little food. That's good enough especially for this Christmas season.  The Filipino people love the Christmas season and they love being with the family during the season. 
So Christmas is coming up soon and I am excited for the activities we have in the branch and mission and just waiting for the New years. But I am doing great and enjoying Magapit and Elder Lobaton is great and really masipag (hard working).  He is really friendly and very kind and we get along very well.  He is from Ilo-Ilo and speaks Ilongo which is way different from Tagalog. But that is really all that happened to me - riding on top of jeepneys or triceys and just the branch being great.  I'm super excited to see this area progress with three baptisms next week and then it two or three weeks one more. So it will be a great month. I wish you guys a Merry Merry Christmas and I love you all and miss you a ton too. Take care always and be safe.
Ay-Ayaten ka
Mahal kita
Elder Francis