Monday, January 28, 2013

Wrapping up my first month! A True Filipino I'm becoming to be. . .

Whew!  So just wrapping up my first month here in the PI and I learn everyday!  I never though I'd say this. . .but, I'm becoming more FILIPINO!  HA!HA!HA!  It's in my roots after all. . .I love the Pilipino people and the people I serve...

I realized as I was washing dishes one day that I can't teach the people if I'm not a part of them... I was told I didn't have to and also discourage that learning Ilocano at the same time of learning Tagalog will confuse me. . .but, I feel so inspired to learn.  I feel that it'll help the people trust me when I share my thoughts and testimony with them as I try to help them.  My companion and I continue to learn and it takes so much courage to talk to people that I can't hardly understand.  But, whenever I open my mouth, I trust that I'll be filled with words to say. 

Time seems to be going muuuch faster since I decided to change my attitude and focus more about the mission.  Things are more clear, I can see ahead, and I know how to help people better!  I'm excited for the coming month!  There's a baptism on the 9th and 2 more on the 16th.  With the help of my Savior and the Holy Ghost, I've invited this beautiful couple and young sister to change their lives and enter into a covenant with our Heavenly Father.  There's a few more that have been invited but, my companion and I are steadily preparing 'em.  It's a lot of work!  Faith in Jesus Christ isn't as easy as I thought. . .true conversation is one's decision.  I've never experienced that until right before my mission.  Until then, I cling on so desperately to the strength that others had in the gospel.  I pray so hard every day and night for our investigators to receive the message.  It works some days, and harder on next. . .but the work is going great.  I hope to see a huge spurt in the growth of my branch here as my companion and I do our best to work!

FOOD?  It's weird, my companion (who is amerikano) would cook rice and a filipino dish like sinigang, adobo, and other stuff like that. . .and the days I cook comes out burgers and fries. . .ganun. lol

So far, I'm good and I'm learning how to be frugal.  Missionaries have an abundance of support compare to the local people. . .it humbles me and I do my best to live providently.  I don't need the extras. . .I just need the basic.

Anyways, I love you all!  My companion and I are schedule to go the city next week, so I'll develop some pictures and send them home.

Thank you for keeping your commitments!  As you continue to keep the commandments of daily prayer and scripture study by yourself and as a family, you will reap the blessings from heaven and God will open doors of inspiration, strength and wisdom to you all if you continue to do it everyday!

Ingat lahat kayo. 

Love Always,
Elder Sablan

Family & Friends

Family and Friends
About the PI- It's been pretty switchy with the weather around hear. Some days it rains, some days it shines. Either eay, I thought it'd be worse! Lol! I love my area though. The Branch is small, with about 60 to 80 active members a week. My comp and I are looking for more ways to progress the work hear, because we both know, and especially me, that this area has a very very special spirit about it. God loves the Sta. Teresita Branch! I just know it. My tagalog is... mmm... well... kind of tagalog. Lol! I wasn't too surprised, but a lot of people here understand english. I'm not sure why, but they just do. Even with that, I try to use as much tagalog as I possibly can, pero, hindi masyado pa... Lol. I've amped up my goals this week to try and improve my skills faster, we'll see where that takes me. Really random, but, me and my comp killed a rat this morning... it was about 5:30am when my comp woke me up. There was a brown out in our area, and he said he heard something in the bucket that woke him, so we went to go see, and it was a rat! It kept trying to jump out of the bucket, (and let me just say... rats got michael jordan kind of hops...) so we doused him in this poison thing all missionaries are issued to killed bugs, left him outside in the bucket, then fell asleep for about an hour. Lol... yeah... it died... I felt bad, but, we both didn't want it in the house! So yeah. The end. There's a lot of things that would make me come back here and visit. I wish I could've packed you all in my carry on so you could really get of a feel of the things I see everyday. With that, I will bear my testimony in Tagalog to close.

Kaibigan at pamilya ko, maraming salamat para sa panalangin at suporta ninyo. Nagpapasalamat ko po para sa lahat ninyo, at and mga biyaya araw araw galing sa panalangin ninyo. Alam ko po na, nagbebless ng dios sa akin dahil maraming mga reason. Alam ko po, Ang simbahan ni jesucristo ng mga banal sa mga huling araw ay totoo. Nagdasal ako tungkol ito, at nagtanggap ko ang sagot mula sa dios. Nagdarasal pa rin ako para sa lahat kayo, at humingi ako para sa dios pagpalain lahat kayo. Alam ko po and aklat ni mormon ay salita ng dios at si jesucristo, at ang aklat ni mormon ay naglalaman ng kabuuan ng ebanghelyo. Tunay ang dios at si jesucristo, and buhay pa rin. Mahal na mahal tayo ng dios, talagang, talaga. May pananampalataya ako sa dios, at ibinibigay siya sa akin ang akin kalakasan. Mahal na mahal kita ko lahat kayo. Suwerte na suwerte rin!

Sabi ko ang mga bagay na ito, sa pangalan ng anak ng dios, ni jesucristo, ang tagapagligktas natin,

Elder Sablan

A very heartfelt letter from my son. . .I just had to share

Mom, Let me tell you first how blessed I am to have you in my life. I don't think I've ever thanked you enough... ever! And I don't know when I ever wil completely be able to. I've been trying to deny myself and remain strong, but the simple truth is, I'm so homesick. I figured the first thing I needed to do to get over it is admit it. I've been really good at keeping up with my journal lately ever since the MTC, and my experiences are very valued so far. Last night, I finally got sick of myself. I told myself that I decided to do this. I decided to leave my family and to serve the Lord. I knew that I would get homesick (although I hadn't fathomed how much I'd actually miss you all...) and I knew that adjusting myself wasn't going to be easy. I realized that meant giving myself to God. All of me, inside and out, my thoughts, desires, and will power, are His for these next 2 years. I knew that. I also wrote how much I wish to turn back time and be a better son. Study hard, get good grades, make better friends, date good girls, participate more in church. But I also value the hardships for what they are teaching me now. I was way too lacks, and way too far off the deep end at times. Momma, and to you also Pop, I thank you both so much, with all my heart and soul, for devoting your life to me. For not giving up when you could have just as easily done away with me. For enduring to your end so I can fulfill mine. I realize that your love is Godly in every sense. It's an unspeakable love. It's pretty close to sacred. And I hope you both know that I hold that so close to my heart now while I'm so far from home... I think about you all before I sleep, and I keep having dreams with you all in them, and they feel so real, I wake up from them, and I ache inside to have you all just stop by for a hug... but last night, I knew God was telling me to shake it off. Shake the homesickness, and serve Him, because this is what you want. Not for me to honor the family, not to improve myself, and although yes, they do happen, the overall desire of your hearts it for my to honor my Father in Heaven. Thank you for your prayers and support. My strength is kindled through your prayers and faith. :)

Pop, you still da man! :) Way to lay it down for the stake! :) I feel the blessings rubbing off on me already! I really do. As people open up there homes to me and my comp. Ahh... Skyway Ward... how I miss it! I even miss the cold surprisingly! HA!

OH MAH GASH! Ate Carmen! :D You're getting called to the PI too, to serve in the Laoag PI mish! Hahaha! Good for you sis. :) You're super astig, talaga! Oh! You should listen to this song I randomly heard while tracting with my comp. It's called Patuloy and Pangarap by Angeline Quinto. I remember how much you used to like Filipino songs, so I figured you'd best enjoy it? Hmm... let me know though!

Nia! Keep pushing! The feild is white and already to harvest, and GOD NEEDS YOU! Whever you're going... I feel like you might be state side. Hmm... we'll see! ;)

01/06/2013 - 1st Week in the Philippines

Nandito na ako!  (I am here!)  Sobrang masaya ako, kahit medyo pangit pa akong magtagalog. LOL  I am so happy although my tagalog is not yet great.

We had a day to spent in Manila and My travelling companion Elder Challis went to the Manila Temple.  The temple wa really pretty kahit na maliit (it was small) but, the spirit in there was strong.

Manila Traffic is crazy!  But somehow, I felt safer there than US Highway Traffic. Ha! Trips from Manila to Laoag are by plane now which was awesome. Way faster, and I didn't get sick.   
My mission President Julius Jonah Flores Barrientos and wife Maria Lourdes Barrientos
Just a picture to show you a general idea of the Laoag Mission.  I am in a small branch called Santa Teresita Branch.  Maraming (Many) less active members and surely there is a lot of work to be done.  Okay lang sabi nga nila the harder I work, the prettier my wife will be, oh di ba? ha!ha!ha!  joke lang ^_*  

Laoag Mission Home - when I arrived all the new bees (missionaries)went to the mission home.  We placed copies of the Book of Mormon in Laoag City.  Grabee! napagod ako!  Turns out I don't have to learn Ilocano, but it'd be nice to . . . we were assigned our companions, took picture then left for our areas.  Mahabang bus ride. . .blegh!  5 hours!  We ate. . .I ate Adobo and Rice and it was really good but, not as good as Momma's cooking :D, we planned, we slept, and went out to teach the next day in a little farming town called Areduan.

Bahay Kubo - Nipa Hut
Astig na kalabaw! - Water Buffalo
 My companion (Elder Moffat) - astig sya and he seems to know what he is doing.   We are the farthest from the mission home, almost all the way on the north eastern part here.   The homes are close to what we call nipa huts which are mostly made out bamboos, ply wood or concrete with tin roofs.  No CR's ang banyo o kubeta sa labas nang bahay. (outside toilet)  They have water pumps outside the house, most of the house have no plumbing inside.  The mission do take care of its missionaries. . .we live in a pretty big house. . .all alone by ourselves.  It's orange. . .which stands out like a huge pumpkin. . .ha!ha!ha!  joke lang!  But, I hear it is the nicest one in the Laoag Mission.  It's kind of creepy at night though, I'm so used to having curtains over ALL the windows.  The cr is maliit.  No tub, you just stand up and shower.  Thanks for the chinelas (slippers) btw they really help!  I know why pinoys wear them all the time now. lol 

Sobrang sobra maganda dito dahil tahimik ang lugar (it is beautiful and peaceful place) Maraming Bukid (Mostly Farms) They are mostly farmers and they work all day in the bukid.  People are nice and friendly and very humble.  I am always ask to pray since I was new, even up til now. . .which is fine because I need to practice my tagalog anyways.  I LOVE MY FIRST AREA!  O sige!  Tapos na.  Hanggang sa susunod ^_^  That is all. . .until next time.

Bukid - Farm

Surprise!!! Elder Sablan meets Elder Sablan in Narita Airport

 So, I actually didn't expect to see Dylan at the airport in Narita.  Way cool!  I had just gotten out of the "CR" or "Toilet" as they refer to it in Japan. . .lol which btw, I tried using. . .Heh! it sprays your "bottom" puwet pala! (Japanese Bidet (pronounce also a bu-dei) Toilet)ha!ha!

Anyways, Elder Challis was waiting for me outside because I took a few extra minutes to brush my teeth and wash my face as well (no not in the bu-dei ^_* lol)

As I walked out of the CR. . .he (Dylan) was standing right next to my travelling companion Elder Challis!  I was shocked to see him and my first thought was "Dylan your kalbo" (bald hair) alright who gave you that hair cut? ha!ha!ha!  Anyways, I think he misses me giving him a haircut maybe he tried to do it to himself or what. . .but, anyways, I'm going to give him a lesson 101 on giving himself a haircut or he will just have to see a Barber in the Philippines. . . ha! ^_* We greated each other pretty warmly and we had time to catch up and he told me all about his experiences in Alabama.  We only had an hour lay over in Narita but, we boarded the same plane to Philippines and got to stay at the same hotel. . .although we had different rooms. . .We had breakfast together. It was a short but, nice bonding time.  He left the next day with other missionaries destined to go to Bacolod.  My companion and I stayed another day in Manila and we had a chance to go to the Manila Temple.   

Goodbye MTC - Memories & Pictures

Just though I'd sit down and take a few minutes to express my love and gratitude to my Pop!   You've raised me as I am. . .to be Strong, to be Loving, to do what I can to develop the skills of a Great Leader one day. . .I am who I am now because you raised me to be this way.  When I first got here in Provo, all I can remember was your voice saying "A good man should be Physically Strong, Mentally Strong, and Spiritually Strong"  those words echo in my head and are etched in my heart.  I never told you these things as much as I should have. . .But, know that I am forever going to get better through your example.  You were my best friend, my leader, and my Dad.  I'll always be your Boboy.  I love you so much Pop.  And I pray to Heavenly Father to part the heavens and thin the veil for you.  I'm off doing God's work and he's shaping me each day.  (1st Nephi 1:1) 
Temple Walks are the best!

with Elder Chase Campbell

 This book is to keep me organize the next 2 years!  I hope to meet many people, record their names in these book deliver and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
D&C 4:4 "For behold the field is white already to harvest; and lo, the that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul"

Elder Proctor Lotulelei

Elder Ramos

Elder Clark "love his Aussie accent"


Mga Pinoy at Isang Pinay
District 15 B and Guro Bro. Day (aka Bro. Araw ^_* lol)

District 15 B and Guro Sister Osborne

December Pictures - Got to have some FUN!

Fireplace, Hung up stockings, and laid out some presents from home :) my stocking is the black ankle sock with the tape on it. . .it made everyone laugh!  :O ha!ha!ha!

 Elder Howard (Santa hat) had his Momma send us some sparkling cider so we can party hardy! >;D
 Bottoms up! 
 Oh yeah! 
Super Sneaky Santa Elder Howard and I (Zone leader) decided to play some trick on the sleeping Elders. . .lol
Wondering why I'm sending you pics of keys and ID's?  Super Sneaky Santa all the Elders in our Zone in the middle of the night and drop gifts off for them.  And...I just so happened to be the mastermind behind the heisting of the keys!  MWUAHAHAHAHAH!  Shhhhh. . . .lol

 The Aftermath. . . ha!ha!ha!

12/25/2012 DJ & Soana "Surprise! The Big Package

Excerpt from DJ's email: 12/25/12
"Goooood news. I met Soana as soon as she arrived! Story: My Disctrict had a hosting assignment that cold and icy day. (I was pretty down being that I was having a hard time with language and was being challenged with my investigators here in the MTC.) I asked my companion if we could leave early so we can head back to residence because I had a headache and wasn't feeling well as well.... also, I can't explain or it's hard to describe but, it felt like I knew something was coming but, didn't know what... So, I began walking outside and I was halfway to my assigned hosting spot when I looked up and noticed a very particular figure walking up my way. Soana? SOANA!!! I ran up to her and gave her the biggest hug ever (meanwhile freaking out all the other missionaries because it's totally BAWAL (Forbidden) to touch a Sister!) and here I was hugging her "Sister Lauaki Sablan" Ha!ha! Gee! i have some explaining to do! As I was not expecting her... no one knew not even my companion that my sister was to be at the MTC a week before I was leaving. I am so glad for the opportunity to be with my siblings at the MTC.. (Dylan & Soana) Soana and I have the same lunch so We sit by each other at meal times all the time, and bump into each other frequently. She gave me all the gifts from home (Thank you thank you thank you)!"
"What a great and pleasant surprise ~ I feel so very blessed! ~ The Lord truly knows how to answer prayers! She was all I needed to feel the love of you all as I was pretty much feeling very homesick during this first Christmas away from home ~"

****Elder Sablan is now traveling to Laoag Philippines as we speak and during his transit and lay over in NY the family had a chance to talk to him and he further stated:
"Mom! When you told me I was getting a Big package for Christmas! I was thinking to myself how big can it be? And what can it be? since I pretty much have all that I need for my mission. I had no idea it was my sister Soana you were talking about. Ha! ^_*

12/18/2012 The Story of the Candy Bomber and Spirit of Christmas

I find it a blessing to be here in Utah during the winter.  The air is crisp and chilly, just like Seattle would be right now.  Everytime I walk outside, Itake a deep breathe and look up at the sky and ask Heavenly Father to send my love back home for me.  The overcast never lasts though without being interupted by sunlight.  I'm not sure if anyone has a chance to watch the BYU broadcasts of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I think they sing once a week because they always have a showing here in the MTC every Sunday.  This last Sunday they showed a really cook concert they held at the Sale Lake Conference Center.  I only had the chance to catch only the last 8 minutes of it or so. . .but it was still awesome!  They had the entire choir and orchestra, dancing, and just performed flawless and beautifully!  They told a story of a man who they called "The Candy Bomber" and how he flew over poverty stricken area in Germany during World War II and dropped candy over their towns.  They they showed him now. . .92 years old, and wearing a flight suit.  Super cool!  They closed with the song "Angels We Have Heard on High" in a different version.  I was so overwhelmed and full of Christmas Spirit, I couldn't help but cry throughout the whole 8 minutes.  My heart ached so hard in regret for not being more involved and appreciative of my family these past few years.  I ached at the thought of holding you all and offering each one a genuine "Merry Christmas" to you all, and saying how much I love you.  Especially Mom & Pop!

*Sigh!* The Things I would do to hug you all and just spend 30 minutes to sing, bear testimony of my knowledge of our great and all powerful Lord and Saviors Birth.  I love HIM, I know HIM, and I would die for HIM as HE has for me.  Blessed is HIS name!  My soul is full and my heart is softened because HE has healed me with HIS love.  Words cannot express how I feel, so I serve with the Exactness HE would have me serve with.  I am born of God, as Alma the Younger, I am humbled because I have been broken and HE redeemed me!  I fear nothing now because HE leads and guides me.  I am His and am in debt to HIS mercy and atonement. 

Christmas...blessed is the day, for our God gave us HIs only and begotten!  The world is safe and we are all able to receive life!  I understand the meaning of Christmas now.  And although I wish to receive the blessing of this very important day of worship with you all, I am prepared to receive the spirit of redeeming love in my heart this winter.  So just know I'm doing well even though I practically fall to pieces when I think of my family.  HAVE A MERRY DAY IN COMMEMORANCE OF JESUS THE CHRIST'S BIRTH!  Maligayang Pasko!  Mahal na Mahal ko kayo! 

With Prayers Always. . . .
Elder Sablan

12/11/2012 Who's excited for Christmas?

Who's excited for Christmas?!  I sure am!  I'm amping for the Christmas devotional here, I can't wait. . .there are plenty of rumors of who's going to visit the MTC for Christmas, pero hindi ko alam (I don't know).  All I know its going to be a member of the Twelve or possibly and maybe Pres. Uchtdorf, Eyring or the Prophet himself Pres. Thomas S. Monson!  Pero, Masigla ako kahit sino sa kanila ang dumating para bumati o bumisita.  (But, I am happy who ever comes to visit us missionaries here at the MTC).

I don't have much news this week.  Other than the fact that I really can't wait to be out in the field.  1. because I feel like I'd progress out there a lot quicker with the language, but also because?? FOOD!!! I miss having rice for breakfast! Lol

Here is a message for those who are preparing to go on their mission!  Namely, Soso, Carmen, Nia, Casey or should I just say everyone!  HA!
Well, GET READY FOR A BAND-AID PEELING FEST!  It starts with getting peeled from home! from your family! from your facebook and instagram! from your best friends!  Then you come out here and you fall in love with your District and your Zone, then they all go to the field!  and you are left here until its your turn to be peeled away!  I can just imagine as I have yet to be peeled away from investigators and members who I know I'm going to love.  So I say. . .get use to it!  I now see why they said that you have to rely on the Lord.  It's heart breaking.  To be honest though, with that realization and understanding I don't feel the blankness inside me.  The District that just left, I only cried during the sacrament meeting when they sang "Nearer My God To Thee" in Tagalog because I felt the spirit.  It was so beautiful, and I was so happy for them to accomplish what they came out here to do.  To leave the MTC nest and spread their wings and just fly.  AH!  I wished I was leaving with them.  Those were my best friends out here.

Christmas Spirit.  It's so hard to feel now a days because it seem,s a little redundant.  Shopping! Cooking! Cleaning! Worrying!  It's chaptic!  I watched the December Devotional where the General Authorities made their addresses, and I can't say I know how to make Christmas as pure as they surely know how.  But, I do know that its all about the heart. Buong Puso! (Whole Heart) As said here in the MTC.  But, it's true!  No one should have to feel stressed or worried on Christmas.  If you feel stressed, then don't do it.  Do everything out of love.  Sing, Dance and Laugh! In the end, remember to observe the purpose of Christmas.  This isn't news though, so I know that Christmas will be great.  Don't worry, be happy! :)

Alam ko po na, totoong tagapagligtas si Jesucristo.  Alam ko na nais po ni Jesucristo na masaya ang lahat sa Christmas.  Ibig ko po Pasko sobrang masigla.  Nais ko po na masigla at maganda ang Pasko nyong lahat mga pamilya at kaiibigan.  At sana po ma feel nyo and share sa lahat ang spirit nang Christmas.

"I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  I know that Jesus Christ wants everyone to be happy on Christmas.  I want Christmas to be a happy time.  I wish for everyone family and friends to have a happy and beautiful Christmas and I hope that you will feel the spirit and share it as well."

You're in my prayers
Elder Sablan