Sunday, August 26, 2012

week two

so this week was better, i'm getting the hang of being here in the field. i tried frog legs and bananna leaves and adobo and other weird vegetables. it still is a little weird being here and eating all the weird stuff but my comp is a good cook and he makes chicken and rice for lunch so its good. so i am literally the tallest person member or nonmember in my area, everyone one is so short and i swear that 20 year olds look like they are twelve and what not and it is crazy, everyone always says stuff to me and it always has americano in it so i don't know if they are making fun of me or loving me or what but i don't really care cause i can't understand them. they all stare at me too like they have never seen a white person before but i could take any of them in bball, from the looks they never had formal training in the art of bball. i'm getting eatin alive by mosquitos and i'm using my bug repellent but they seem not to care so i just hope i don't get dengue fever. so far as work wise, we have four baptismal dates set and hopefully those investigators will pull through, one is an old guy who was really stubborn for like four months then all of the sudden when i get here he says he'll be baptized, and they understand english if i talk slow and they are just afraid to speak it so i have been using a taglish when i am testifying mostly other than that i just try to translate what everyone says to no success but it's been interesting week. walking a lot! we have like 6 or 7 appointments a day with a like 20 to 30 minutes of walking in between so yeah thats fun. and everyone drinks coke here and it's nasty even when it is warm so i have to carry water wherever i go. it rains like crazy for about half the day and some houses are really muddy to get to so yeah it's a fun mission. My area is some corn fields and ends at the bank of the river and i think follows it for a bit but idk. mostly i just enjoy reading my book of mormon and trying to bear testimony at the end of each lesson so it's going like a greenie part of the mission, i just never realised how much faith it really takes to come all the way out here, if people knew what we do for our church they would call me insane but it's worth it to see people come to know of the truth and feel the love of god change their lives. It's been exhausting, but the district meetings are fun and the bakeries are amazing and everything is so cheap here so pros and cons. so goldfish (there is no such thing as those here) in the package and more granola bars and american candy and disney or motab cds cause we can listen to music! and perhaps in the next few months could you send me a dwight howard, steve nash, and kevin durant jersey shirts? i want to see dwights and stevies names on the back with lakers in the front and durant cause he is durant. Well thats about it, hopefully you get the pictures which will say more than i ever can. i have time to read all the emails you guys send so keep that up and update me on elder bell and elder creer, i feel for elder bell. i want to know if he has to shower with a bucket and can't ever flush the toilet and has to squat over it to go number two, my legs get tired when i do that and there are ants galore in my house! i am waging and endless war against them, this place is hilariously awesome. and send mail to the mission home, it'll just take forever for me to get it. have a good week everyone!
Mahal ko kayo,
elder robertson

the roads

their room

week one

Where to begin.....So there were no problems on the flight from slc to la, normal flight and what not we landed at like 9. Once we got to la we had like a 30 minute walk to the international terminal and then had to go through customs and what not and elder phippen lost his ticket so by the time we got to the gate it was like 11:30 and there was no food stores in the international section so it was not fun. The 14 hour flight from la to hong kong was even less fun, i slept for like seven hours and the other seven read that SI and tried to not watch the avengers. it was the longest boringest thing ever. once we got to hong kong we had to go through security again and walk like a mile to our manila flight gate and had like 20 minutes before we boarded. then once we got to manila customs was way easy, nothing like costa rica. then we met some guy from the church office and all 24 of us from america split to our separate missions. Those that were going to cauayan went to the mtc for a few hours and then with the filipinos that were new we caught a bus to cauayan, we were supposed to catch the 830 but because of the monsoon we had to catch the 10 and that was the longest ride ever. we had to sit on the packed bus with people standing in the aisles for 10 hours! i tried to sleep but maybe got two hours. so getting off that bus i was in a daze and then I met the shaners and president carlos and then went through the new missionary thing and sister carlos's cinnamon rolls are really good. then there was a transfer meeting in which he assigned me to elder llorin and then all the missionaries went to some chicken and rice restaraunt which was pretty good. I'm in tuguegarao south zone in the cataggaman area and then we had a three hour bus ride to here from the mission home and by then I was so tired i could barely stand without falling asleep. luckily there were no appointments scheduled so i just slept for like 12 hours. I left the mtc on monday and 430 and got to my area on thursday at 730, the longest i have ever traveled and have never been more tired. and on friday my mission started, in the morning we have an hour of personal study, two hours of comp study because theres this new training manual in which we do an extra hour of comp study and then we have an hour of language study where i learn tagalog and elder lorrin learns english. then we have lunch then go out and work. so the work is hard of course, we walk he whole time and prolly walk 6-9 miles a day. the culture shock was more than i expected it to be, super poor and there are cows and chickens and dogs everywhere! there are few streets and houses are like piled back behind each other so we have to walk through houses to get to other houses. there are cornfields we walk through and there is no trash service so everyone burns their trash so there is smoke everywhere. No paved roads, very few cars and a lot of dirt bike things with side cars which spew out exhaust that is really bad and there are tons of them! This place is just so much different and it will take some time to get used to. the language is a joke because i have no clue what anyone is saying or what is happening unless elder lorrin translates for me. which he doesnt do often. And the heat...oh the heat. it is so hot and humid that i haven't stopped sweating since i left the mission home, there is no ac and the best i can get is when i sit right in front of the fan. I have prolly lost weight this week because of how much i sweat and no matter how much i drink i prolly can't replace enough water. so work wise there were no investigators when i first got here but now we have like 5 new ones, i have no clue who is inactive, investigating and a member, they all act the same. when we are not teaching we are walking basically and everyone stares at me cause i am the only american within miles so i just say hi to everyone and they are thrilled that they spoke to an american. food wise, i tried intestines on saturday and got ridiculously sick yesterday cause i guess they were bad and still had food that the pig ate inside of them! so from yesterday at like 4 to when i went to bed i couldnt leave the toilet or move or i'd be sick. and there is no flushing here, just taking a bucket of water and throwing it in the toilet to flush it outside into the drain. there is no shower so i shower with buckets of water and it is cold so yeah. it is really hard to be in a positive spirit because everything is just so different and i got sick my first week here and everything else and if it continues it will be a long mission. the members are of no help either, they gossip about everything! even investigators who come to church and there are kids running around in sacrament meeting like crazy and they teach false doctrine and what not, it's nuts. this has not been easy and it's really easy to think if it's even worth it being all they way out here to teach people who have no clue what I am saying, but if thousands of others have done it then so can I. How is everyone doing? that's awesome dwight howard is a laker! steve, kobe, pau, and dwight! oh boy it should be really interesting season, hopefully they'll bring home ring seventeen! I wish I could watch this next season. Almost time for school! the kids here all have to wear uniforms. hopefully everyone is doing well and glad to hear that the golf is coming along very well, I am going to be terrible when I get home, also I am going to have a really bad spine, because I have to bend over all the time to get into houses and there are no chairs with backs and no cushions. There will be a lot of asking for strength these next few weeks from me and hopefully he gives it to me. anyways, hopefully everyone is doing well and enjoying the comforts that america has. pray always and read the book of mormon. someone said that no one will ever go astray if they read the book of mormon for ten minutes everyday and pray in the morning and when they go to bed. have a good week! I forgot my camera so I'll have pictures next week and i have taken quite a few, plus i need to get a converter thumb drive so I can put my pictures on the computer. until next week!

Mahal Ko Kayo,
Elder Robertson
new missionaries

President and Sister Carlos


Thursday, August 9, 2012

In The Philippines

 I won't say much now, but this weekend has been crazy. I was packed saturday night and have been watching my district scramble like mad to do laundry and pack and what not. They were up until two in the morning last night and woke up at four thirty to say goodbye to a couple elders who are in our zone. Our teachers told us stories of the philippines today and it sounds like it will be crazy! They talked all in tagalog and I understood a lot of it but still have a ways to go. I am almost done with the MTC and cannot be more excited for the philippines and fast food at the airport! It will be interesting to go back into the world after nine weeks. I got all the packages and my backpack is 15 pounds of food and magazines. So I'll call tonight, hopefully everyone is having a good day!
Mahal Ko Kayo,
Elder Robertson
This next email is from sister Shaner a senior couple in Elder Robertsons mission
Well Hello!!!

Good are just waking up I think and it is 5 pm here. We just got finished with our Cauayan Meetings and are heading to Mallig for the evening but wanted to stop at the house and send you these pictures before we go.
I was SO thrilled yesterday to find your comment on my blog and to find out that you have been 'checking me out' since January. That is GREAT!! I have had many parents tell me that they LOVE Sister Carlos' blog because she focuses totally on the missionaries and they so often will see pictures of THEIR kids and they enjoy mine because they get a 'feel' for the mission geography, the food, the people, etc.
This morning we had the blessing of meeting a bus full of very tired Elders and Sisters from Manila and on that bus was YOUR ELDER!!! When I walked up to him to introduce myself, he said 'you are Elder and Sister Shaner, right?' SO fun! What a fantastic young man. You have a jewel in your family and for the next two years, we have YOUR jewel in ours.
He looks great, a little tired but that will pass quickly. His enthusiasm for a mission is so refreshing. Some get off that bus after the brutal flight, the not-so-restful day, not eating right, aching and stiff and they are less than anxious to get into the work but not your Elder Robertson-he hit the road running.
I must tell you about his trainer-I have attached some pictures for you and one is of him with his trainer, Elder Llorin [pronounced lore-EEEN]. We had the privilege to work with Elder Llorin in Mallig a few months back-if you look back to maybe March, April you will find pictures of he and Elder Nay on my blog. When the new companionships were announced in the transfer meeting today I actually jumped and cheered with they announced that assignment-my hubby put his hand on my leg and sssshhhhh-ed me!! haha!
Elder Llorin is the most gentle and sweet soul-he is a little older and more mature which is great! He also speaks perfect English which will be so great for their companion language study. He is a patient guy and a little quiet but has such a strong testimony. I was with him his first week in the mission and he was bold and shared many messages with investigators. He is a marvelous cook and impeccably clean. I think they will get along just great! Elder Llorin will be Elder Robertson's tatay [daddy] and will take care of helping him get a great start on the next two years. He is an incredibly obedient Elder...a very important trait to stress to his 'son'.
I am happy that you allowed your son to serve the Lord and am very grateful the Lord sent him here to the greatest mission on earth! President and Sister...well, I can't even explain how wonderful they are and how they love and revere their missionaries. He is in safe hands for sure.
Elder Robertson in Cuayan, Philippines

Elder Robertson Talking to Sister Carlos, mission presidents wife

Elder Robertson and companion Elder Llorin
Sister Cheri Shaner

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Last Week In The MTC

 So travel plans, I leave at 4:30 pm on monday afternoon from the MTC and i fly from salt lake to LA at 8:20 and should be at LA at 9:20. I then have a four hour lay over in LA and leave LA at 1:30 in the morning. 14 hours later on wednesday morning I arrive in hong kong, have a two hour layover and ten fly to manila. That's all I know for now but the bus ride will be anywhere from 8-12 hours. so I'll prolly be in the philippines on thursday of next week. I am excited that elder cook will be in my mission the end of august and that will prolly be my first zone conference so that will be cool, you'll have to try out the pouch mail and just sending a letter and see which one is fastest, but I will have longer in the field to email so you guys can send emails. On sunday we had a guy who was managing director of missionaries for the church speak to us and that was pretty good, he spoke about alma and the sons of mosiah and how they became effective missionaries. But after i watched a talk called missions are forever given by elder holland and that was really good, he said that when we are set apart as an elder, we are as close to apostolic as we will ever get unless we are an actual apostle, so he said that if we have an opportunity to be apostolic and as it says in D&C prophets to those who listen to us, we should not waste any time and should serve with no regrets. he said that we need be completely obedient and get rid of the things of this world. He went in to describe that if we do then we will be like the sons of mosiah and of the nephi in helaman and be able to teach wih power and authority. He described what happened to almaa and that when the angel visited him that he was so astonished that he was struck dumb for three days. then he said very forcefully that we need to astonish people, we need to be bold, forthcoming, and excited to teach repentance and faith. So as to astonish our investigators. He also siad why it is hard for investigators to accept and live the gospel, because salvation is hard. people grow up thinking that just grace saves them but that is not we believe, we have to walk through gethsemane and up to the cross, we will have suffering moments and moments of tears and anguish but we have to be strong because jesus was strong. then he said the bigest disappointment is when missionaries come home and fall away because they just don't get why they were out there and that the gospel is really hard to live but the atonement gives us strength to move forward. He also said if we really convert ourselve for two years then we have had a successful mission even if we did not bapize anyone else. So that's what I can work on for two years, converting myself. It is about to get a whole lot harder come wednesday or whenever i get to my mission but let it come and i am going to let it strengthen me and truly convert me. well keep sending letters and what not, prolly monday at noon will be the last time i get the mail here in america, I'll send letters before i leave and hopefully email once more. Have a good week!