Archive for December, 2013

Weekly email 12-23-2013: Tawag Na!

Dear Family,

 

First news im not transferred. You might say that im very jolly to be here for Christmas it would just be hard to adjust to a new area like 5 days before Christmas. Plus we have a really good teaching pool that I don’t want to leave. Second news the baptism continued despite them being super nervous and almost backing out. The one sister told me that she had completely decided to cancel the baptism and had told her whole family and then before she texted us she prayed and couldn’t do it and then after a night of no sleep she prayed again and just kept praying until the baptism and then after she was baptized she cried some more. It was really awesome though seeing that she went through with it. As you can see from the pictures we still have a lot more work to get all those other people in white because the two sisters are the first members of their family. After the baptism we had a church Christmas party that started at 4 and ended at 9. They take their parties serious here haha. But it was actually really fun and we had a lot of investigators come to that also.

 

As for transfers this week it went well and our zone got shuffled around too. The mission is still growing and the put more missionaries in some of the areas so now there are 4 extra missionaries in our zone and we are over 30. Every ward in the zone except for ours and the mission home now has 4 missionaries in it so the works really progressing. Its also nice meeting other missionaries from the mission. Whats crazy is Elder Viloria my very first companion that trained me is now in my zone and his companion is Elder Langi who is an elder that Elder Hansen trained. In mission language my father in the mission is with my companions kid. Maybe the RM’s will get that sentence.

 

In the last few week we havent been able to help but see that god plays an active role in preparing investigators to receive revelation. One of our newest investigators brother boy is the neighbor of our newest member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. After a tragic jeepney accident where he was driving the person sitting next to him in front had to get his leg cut off and all other 16 passengers were hospitalized for after effects of his jeepney rolling over. Brother Boy the driver was the only one to come out unscathed and hes really shaken up about it. He approached us saying he wants to develop his relationship with god.

 

Another one of our investigators Tatay Gener is a very sad and depressed man living on his own down the street from our apartment. Right now his whole family is mad and giving him the cold shoulder for some sins he committed destroying his relationship with them. They all live in Italy and he says he just begs for forgiveness at night in his prayers. He is especially sad this christmas because so far not one of his kids have called him. Last week we tried super hard to commit him to come to church but he just gave us the cliche answer that he cant promise. When sunday rolled around we walked by his house and his tricycle was gone so we continued to church. In our next lesson the following day he was shocked to tell us that last sunday as he was out driving he picked up a passenger going to church at the Mormons. When he dropped off the passenger he looked at the building saying so this is the LDS church but he didn’t attend because he said he was shy only wearing sandals. Well its a sad ending that despite god putting his hand in his path and literally brang him to the church he rejected the sign. But its a testimony builder to me that gods doing his part also.

 

Elder Polatis

 

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Weekly email 12-15-2013: Lakad Matanda

Dear Fam,

 

Its goin swell in Sandy Pablo. Theres not really a whole lot of sand but who knows it is transfer week I might me sitting on a beach in my new area next P-day. Im really hoping not though because we have two baptisms this week and they already asked me to baptism I told them i cant promise because I might not even been in this area anymore. Really though to be ideal I have gone six months in two areas now so if I get to stay one more the makes 3 areas with six months a piece.

 

This week we didnt have a whole lot just meetings and zone things and workshops and then we visited a lot of members this week we are really looking for referrals right now. Especially with christmas coming up and the church preparing a big christmas party. We were thinking if a each member just brang a friend or their neighbor its bound to reap fruits of REFERRALS. Sometimes it seems like were begging missionaries just beg for referrals I even remember back home when we fed the missionaries they would always ask if we had any friends or someone interested in listening to the message. Now I know what they were thinking. Its really “The Lords Way” president Hinkley said it also.

 

We finally got to watch the Christmas devotional last night which was super good we even got a few of our investigators to show up. It was really nice to see a few really christmas trees and things. The people here do try to put some lights on a little house plant sometimes though but its nothing like a white christmas. Its actually going to be really fun to spend the holidays here in service people get more excited and happy. This all reminds me of something that happened this previous week. We were sitting in our apartment at 9:30 at night and we had just gotten done planning when all of a sudden theres a bunch of carolers outside of our apartment. Let me now give you a culture note. Carolers in the Philippines are not a bunch of jolly spirited people they are obnoxious kids with bad voices. At this point we just ignored it and let them sing cause we didnt want to give them money. I got changed into some shorts and things and they were still going at it so we said lets turn off the lights and look out the window to see who this is. As we preceded to spy on these persistant carolers we peeked out the window to see a bunch of well dressed youth waving at us. We humbled ourselves and came out of our apartment with a few pesos but when I reached out to give them the the money they reached out to shake our hands. Long story short they were members from another ward who saw the picture of Jesus on our door and knew it was missionaries. We laughed at ourselves and realized we need to be quick to observe because they were singing church hymns actually.

 

Merry Christmas,.

Elder Polatis

 

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Weekly Letter 12-8-2013: Lagot na tayo

Kumusta,

This week…………where to start. Well Im sure you saw the biggest news with our baptism. Ronald is a neighbor of one of our really good members and he has been taught by the missionaries off and on for a few years now hes a super good guy and sometimes a little to funny. For example when we were preparing him for the receive the priesthood he asked us what size the box is and if its gift wrapped and then after priesthood meeting he walked up to the young women and said I finally got the priesthood while proceeding to pull something out of his pocket. Hes a joker sometimes but can also be serious after his baptism he bore his testimony and made everyone in the whole room cry including our investigators who were like balling. There baptisms are next week by the way.

We had another missionary leadership council this week. Its really nice because we live like 15 min from the main stake center and most other zone leaders have the ride a crazy bus for six hours or take a boat ride from the island. Then again i do want to be assigned out on the island someday. Elder Hansen was out on the Mindoro island before this and he loves it and talks about it all the time and they baptize people in the ocean out there.

I also went on exchanges this week with one of the other San Pablo City wards that goes to the same church building as us so I already knew their Elders Quorum president. I told the Elders Quorum president I was going to work in their area so he came around to work with us. He is loaded with money he has a three story house with Air Conditioning and a few maids he owns some restaurants in town and also has a bakery. So he fed us a bunch of food and then for the first time in my mission we used a car to go to work he drove me and the other elder assigned in that area around to meet some of the less active members of the ward where we asked for referrals. It was a real good day meeting new people and seeing new scenery.

One thing Im really excited for is watching the christmas devotional and finding out what the 1st presidency wants this christmas to be for us. Its been a really good start to christmas and im glad we have a few baptisms to celebrate. One thing that we really probably dont understand is that none of the things we do on the earth even really matter if we didnt have a prophet that holds the keys he has delegated for every sacred ordinance that happens in our life’s all the way to a little sacrament for an island in the Philippines.

Love,

Elder Polatis

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Ronald the 20year old is our baptism and the little boy is just an 8 year old child of record baptism

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DSC01623This is lola zony shes 88 years old and lives in one of the areas we are at often. Whenever she sees us she gets all jolly and says elders. All she can ever talk about is her senior citizen group and how she loves ball room dancing she takes my hand and starts doing spins and bouncing on the toes of her feet and she kissed my companions hand. Normally I would be freaked out if it wasnt for many previous grandma experiences.

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Weekly Letter 12-1-2013: Lapanstangan ka naman!

Dear Family,

 

This last week we had Mission Tour. Elder Nielsen of the quorum of the seventy came and we had a whole day full of meetings. As zone leaders he had 2 special meetings before and after. Elder Nielsen is from Twin Falls Idaho and when I told him im from Blackfoot he asked what Stake I told him West Stake and he said so your with President Anderson! It was kinda cool to see that leaders of the church really know whats going on all around the world. He told us some really cool stories and we learned a lot as a mission.

 

We are finally getting Ronald baptized this week. The other day we went over to his house to teach him before his interview only to get punted. Punted is the missionary term for getting stood up at your appointment. Only to find in the end that he had forgotten our appointment and gone with one of the members to institute at the stake center. He loved institute so much that the next night he went back for mission prep. He is also the same investigator that was in the choir last week. Hes not even a leitimate member yet but hes more active than most of them. We also have 2 more baptisms coming up this month for two sisters that we tracted out. They could really be baptized already but we have been delaying it a little bit so that their husbands can straighten out their lives a little and go also. But so far we havent had a lot of luck with them. Its tough because when you look at our ward on Sundays 80 percent of it is probably relief society.

 

Im really hoping that I get to stay here in San Pablo one more transfer. We have a lot of harvesting left to do here and I dont want to miss out. Plus transfer day is the 19th and I dont want to be in a brand new area for christmas but just saying that reminds of some things Elder Nielsen was teaching us. We shouldnt worry about things out of our control because really my agency has no effect on wether im transferred or not. But anyway if I do happen to be here I will get to go to all of our favorite members and eat lots of RICE!

 

Love you all,

Elder Polatis

So we have the nicest members in this area. She is actually a single mother that works at a call center for Capital One. So she gets paid an american salary plus she has family in Nevada so she gets all american holidays off and she took us to pizza hut for thanksgiving no turkey or potatos but the pizza is stuffed crust. Then me and Elder Hansen supplied the ice cream.

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Weekly Letter 11.24.2013: Hiwa

Dear Family,

As I look back on our week it seems like it was the blink of an eye and at the same time it was so jam packed that it seems like the interview we did last monday was really last month. We had a lot of really good experiences this week and were not giving up on those investigators I keep telling you about. Its ridiculous how in Brittany’s mission they can meet a kid and baptize him 5 days later. We have to get them to church 4 consecutive times before we can even put a drop of water in the font. So we actually have these investigators who have completely shared their conversion experiences with us but we just have to wait out the month so they can get baptized.

Yesterday we had stake conference and it was all about the June broadcast “Hastening the Work of Salvation.” Guess who the speaker was…lucky me. I have never had to talk to that many people at once. Me and than another RM who actually works at the MTC in Manila spoke and then President Peterson and his wife followed us. It was funny because the RM spoke in broken Taglish that was half understandable for the mission president but I was the only person who spoke pure Tagalog in my talk. It went good and I shared some personal experiences. One of our investigators actually joined the stake choir and participated in their performance. They even gave him formal attire to wear. Hes one of those people were saying were just waiting on for Dec. 7.

Sad story…our investigator died this week were had taught him three lessons and we went to him one day and he was excited to tell us all he learned from Joseph Smiths Testimony. The next day we went and they said he was in the hospital and he wasnt home for a week and then on Friday we were in his neighborhood and a bunch of kids ran up to tell us that he died. The way they do it in the Philippines is they have a viewing inside their home for a few days and just set up chairs. So we went by and the family had made a little stand of decorations next to his coffin of things that described him. Amongst those things was sitting The Book of Mormon that we gave him a picked it up and looked inside to see that he had a book mark placed in chapter 3. Life is really only a split second we talked to his daughter that was ten years old and she started crying when she said dads in heaven. We gave her a Plan of Salvation phamplet. It really felt good that I could say with confidence that gods plan for him will help their family be eternal and I even surprise myself to be bearing testimony of things that I never realized I knew was so true. But the spirit sometimes works to strongly to hold back what you truly believe.

Elder Polatis

 

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DSC05380I get cracked up by some of the sayings that the drivers write on their vehicles.

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Weekly Letter 11.18.2013: Binyag na! At may Darating pa!

Dear Fam,

This week was packed full. First off we had a baptism for Jhozel. Secondly we got something like 15 new missionaries that came from Tacloban that got hit by the Typhoon, we also had Missionary Leadership Council and Zone Training Meeting and on top of that Zone P-day. It seems like a lot of those things happened like last month when it was really just a few days ago but determining time on the mission is a little difficult.

The baptism when great its funny that Brittany mentioned getting an easy baptism last week because that’s the same situation here. We taught her all the lessons straight through and it never seemed like we were resolving concerns or struggling with Faith issues. It helps because her older sister got baptized a year ago and so we were just working with a part member. We saw it a good opportunity for one of the priests in the ward to baptize. Hes preparing for a mission. His name is Kazuki and he moved here from Japan like 3 years ago. His parents are still in Japan so whenever we are over there they are always on Skype and sometimes the missionaries are over at their house. So we talk to other American missionaries in Japan.

With the town of Tacloban completely destroyed they took all the missionaries from that mission and spread them out across other missions of the Philippines so 15 of them got sent here to San Pablo. None of them actually got put in my zone specifically so I haven’t met any of them. People say that town that got hit by the Typhoon is just going to turn into a ghost town now.

Back to the baptism though it was super weird what happened. We scheduled the baptism for Sunday morning before church so Sunday early we got to the chapel and bishop was preparing everything as we got closer we noticed he was sweeping the floor that had this little black dots all over it. When we got closer we realized they were beetles we don’t know what happened but somehow over night the church building got infested with beetles so we all grabbed a broom and had to sweep the whole church building down and we gathered a few garbage buckets full of thousands of beatles. The Philippines has tons of crazy little crawlers like that though. So it didn’t shock a lot of people.

This week I learned some very ineresting things at MLC from President Peterson. God uses the weak things of the world as instruments to show miracles and great power. I dont think he really meant to put the point that because were super young that makes us weak but we can definately feel inadequate. He referenced D&C 1:19 in teaching us this I also remembered my MTC branch president telling us that god doesnt need a bunch of super wise men and the top scholars in the world all he needs is someone with a pure heart to take his message to the four corners of the earth. I am really glad im out here right now at this time to be one of those weak instruments and at the same time being purified in the process.

Loves,

ELDER POLATIS

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Newest member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Jhozel Mangrobang

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Today for P-day the zone rented bikes and we went riding around the lake and drank buko juice which is coconut
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Weekly Letter 11.10.2013: Anong BAGYO!

Dear Family,

 

First things first the typhoon did not hardly do anything to us but knock us out of work for a day and a half. It just rained and blew super hard. President Peterson just had us stay in our apartments and wait it out. So we sat inside and ordered McDonalds Delivery. The honest truth is if we had a good umbrella we probably could have gone to work but he told us just to play it safe. We do have missionaries that are from the area of the Philippines that got hit which is called Tacloban some of my very good friends in the mission are pretty worried right now about their families because all communication is gone right now theres no way to get a hold of them. Even the missionaries right now, they havent been able to round them up and find out. Our focus in San Pablo wont change though just keep teaching the gospel and helping people prepare for spiritual calamities.

 

Today we went back to the driving range again and President Peterson came with us actually and took us out to lunch afterward. The big winds from the storm bent over the poles holding up the nets at the range so when I wouldnt hit the ball straight it would land on the roof of this house to the side and then the nanay came out all mad and stuff. It was kind of ineresting spending 1 on 1 time with president and talking about the mission. I will send you a picture of that one actually. Another current thing was we did have transfer day but of course neither of us were transferred but we are effected where our zone got shuffled around and plus they added an extra area to our zone so we now have 26 missionaries here in San Pablo. Its crazy because I dont think im that old in the mission I thought I was still new. But the facts our against me because all 26 of those missionaries except 1 are younger than me in the mission so despite being 8 months away from the finish line our mission is all super new.

 

This week at church was awesome we had the most investigators at church in my whole time in this area. Including two families which are preparing to be baptized in December. They stayed for all three hours and I think they really like it but we arent going to them till tomorrow to teach again and ask them how it went. Im super excited for them though because in my whole mission I havent yet experienced a family conversion so if they continue it will be 2. One thing that we always hear from President Peterson that we cant just work hard and feel satisfied we need to work with an objective I have found that being a workaholic isnt the trick. If it makes sense that we need to get lost in our work/lives but have a place we want to go all I want to say would be finished.

 

Love,

Elder Polatis

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