Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Week 3 in the Philippines

To preface Tyler's email, here is an excerpt from the email our family sent to him on Sunday:  

"Yesterday, Mom and Todd had a special experience in the temple.  They were there for youth baptisms.  Elder Paul B. Pieper of the quorum of the Seventy, was there also.  President Moody introduced Mom to him in the foyer, and added, “Sister Bowers has a missionary son who is serving in the Philippines.”  Elder Pieper replied, “I will be in the Philippines on Tuesday!  I will look for Elder Bowers.”  He spoke to the youth of our ward and bore his testimony.  The spirit was very strong.  Then he shook each person’s hand and asked their names.  I (Mom) knew exactly who he was when I saw him because I remember being so impressed by his Conference address last spring, titled “To Hold Sacred.”  I came home and listened to his talk again on http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/04/to-hold-sacred?lang=eng&query=b+(name%3a%22Paul+B.+Pieper%22). 

We are hoping that Tyler will have the opportunity to meet Elder Pieper this week! :)   

From the following email, it sounds like our missionary is very busy teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are so happy to hear that there are 6 people on date for baptism. 

Lori and David


Sounds like you guys have been pretty busy! That's exciting.  That's fun that you'll go to G&G Bowers for Thanksgiving.  It will be weird to not be there. 

We live in a town.  It's not really like any town in the US though so it's hard to describe.  It's all just neighborhoods crammed together in between farmland.  For p day we go to Carmen/Rosales, where there's a big mall. That's where I am right now.

This week we taught 29 lessons, in addition to meeting a lot of people.  We have 6 investigators with a baptism date, 3 on Dec 8 and 3 on Dec 29.  That's pretty cool.  As far as support from the members, the EQP comes with us often to lessons, about every other day.  It's totally different than from the US though because I don't think he's endowed, plus he was inactive a 15 months ago. haha.  But it's good to have him come because a lot of the time the people in our area only speak Ilocano, which we don't know, so he can translate if it's needed.  I think he's about 55 yrs old.  Our ward missionaries are all the YSA's that have just graduated high school. There are 6 of them.

That's really cool about the temple!  Also it's cool that Elder Pieper will be here this week! haha general authorities have crazy schedules.

Don't worry about sending a razor head, I should be able to find one.

Anyways, i'm out of time already because the internet is slow so I'll talk to you later!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Week 2 in the Philippines

Hi family!

I will attempt to answer all of the questions.  We have district meetings on Tuesday. There are 8 missionaries in my district, and I'm the only American. Ha.  For the ward, there are about 475 members and 115-123 come every week. Haha.  Since we opened the area, we walk around all the time looking for the less actives. It's pretty tiring, not because I'm out of shape or because of the heat, but it's just.... monotonous? 
My companion, Elder Discaya, is good.  He's from southern Philippines, Eastern Samar (I think that's the spelling).  Somewhat unfortunately he's  really good at english and wants to practice, so it's difficult to continue learning tagalog as quickly as I thought i would. We have about 10 investigators now.  Last night we taught a lesson to a husband/wife and the wife's mom.  I think it went really well. We taught about the restoration.  They asked some good questions and they seemed really happy about our answers.  So we'll go back there on wednesday.  On Friday night we taught the restoration to a less-active (hasn't been to church since she was 14 and she's 27), and her parents who aren't members.  I thought they liked it, and then they offered to give us a ride home! That was cool.

I forgot to bring my camera today so... no pictures, sorry.

The food is.... okay... haha.  It will take some getting-used-to.  Oh cool story: the other day we saw people killing a cow with a flamethrower.  As it's dying they're cooking it, so the meat tastes fresh or something.  The next night I ate the meat and it was the worst beef I've ever had haha.

On Thursday the power went out from 6am to 8:45pm. Apparently it's a common thing.  So with no electric fans it got really hot.

I have this weird cough thing.  It only happens at night and it's the worst.  Hopefully it goes away soon.

That's all for now I think.


Elder Bowers

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tyler's first email from the Philippines


The first week went pretty well. Better than expected!  We got to manila on the 31st at about 11:30am.  We then rode a bus for 7 hours to Urdaneta.  The first thing I bought using tagalog was 2 water bottles, haha. they were 25p each.  My first impressions of the philippines were that everyone just does what they want on the roads.  It's a lot crazier in Manila than everywhere else though.  The temperature isn't tooo bad.  It's obviously hot but it doesn't bother me.
On like the 2nd or third day, Elder Comer (from my MTC district) and I played basketball with a bunch of kids. it was a lot of fun.  That day I also had my interview with president monahan. I like him a lot.  It was a good interview, and it was good to get to know him those first couple of days.  He's very smart.
On Nov 2, I got assigned to my first area.  My native companion is named Elder Discaya.  I had no idea what was going on the first day in the area.  It was great.  We have gotten along well so far.  He has a good attitude too and he works hard.  We are assigned to Santa Maria B in Rosales Zone.  We are opening up a new area. Woohoo!  So, we have no teaching base and we don't have an updated area book, and on top of that the area is huge, so there's a ton of walking.  Elder Discaya wrote down all the names of the members grouped by Barunguy (neighborhood, basically), so we walk around, find where they all live, try to get more people to come to church, and teach/give pamphlets to all the people we meet in between houses.  The reason it's difficult to find where the members live is because there are no actual addresses.  Their "address" in the ward directory is only the name of their barungay, so to find the members we just ask "where does soandso live?" and the person will say "doon." which means "there," and they'll point in the general direction. so we just keep doing that until it is the right house, and then if they're home, we teach. Then repeat! We have something like 107 more families to find that way :) we've done 10 so far in 3 days :) haha. But it's good.  On saturday afternoon the EQ pres drove us around in his tryke for a few hours to invite less active's to church.
Church was one of the best meetings i've been to.  The stake president taught the 3rd hour lesson, he used Elder Holland's GC "do you love me" talk, and it was great.  It was focused on enduring to the end.  The Sta. Maria ward has had 115-123 members coming to sacrament through 2012.  For the last couple of months in '12, we need 130+ people coming in order to requalify as a ward and not a branch for 2013.  We really want that to happen.
It sense even more here than in the US the urgency of enduring to the end/harvesting in missionary work/etc.  When Elder Bednar came to the MTC he talked a lot about urgency. Here the leaders talk about it a lot too. So... sign of the times.
Last night I finished the Book of Mormon! I started it when I went into the MTC.  What a great book!  I learned a lot from it.
Today we are at SM, which is a big mall in Carmen, about an hour jeepney ride from our apartment.  I'm looking forward to eating american food in a little bit!
That reminds me to tell you about transportation.  usually in our area we take trykes if we have to go far (our area is so huge). A tryke is a motorcycle with a side car and everyone has 1+. There are also a billion motorcycles. They're usually 155cc with really skinny tires.  I was surprised at how many new cars there are here, also.  Still not a ton, but more than expected.  Also all the cars are different models than the ones in america.
I've only ridden 3 jeepneys because they just aren't as fast as trykes.  There are buses too.
Everyone has pay-as-you-go cell phones, usually the little old nokia kind.  Everyone texts in abbreviated Tagalog and it's hard to read haha.
I'll see if I can attach pictures to another email.

Love you bye

ps sorry I was mostly too lazy to capitalize.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Phone call from Tyler!

On Monday evening, October 29th, Tyler called home from the L.A. airport, as he was waiting for his direct flight to Hong Kong, and from there to Manilla, where he would go by bus (jeepney) to the mission home in Urdaneta, Philippines.

It was GREAT to talk to him. . . a very wonderful 45 minutes!  He sounded happy and ready to enter the mission field.  He shared with us his newly-acquired Tagalog language skills, and of course, we were proud and amazed.  He told us, among other things, that he is "a missionary from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" and also what his purpose is as a missionary: "to preach the gospel and to invite others to come unto Christ."  He said he felt confident about teaching the gospel in Tagalog, but also a bit nervous about communicating simple needs, such as directions, and other everyday language/carrying on conversations with his companion, who will most likely be a native of the Philippines.

We are anxiously awaiting correspondence from Tyler telling us about his arrival in the mission field and his experiences so far in the Philippines!