Week 4: It Isn’t Like ‘The District’

Family, Friends, and Fans,

You’re the most wonderful for the e-mails you’ve sent me. I always look forward to reading them every Monday. I try to keep my weekly e-mails interesting because they’re my source of outlet here in this mission.

I’m actually better now. I feel like I owe you an apology for making you worried about me and my homesickness, and should resolve it through telling you positive things in the area. Those were only the few days. I think I have kind of adjusted with the place and the people around me. On my first Sunday as usual I was asked to introduce myself and bear my testimony to Lucena 1st Ward. The chapel is great we are actually in the stake center. It’s very large and has three buildings. But we need some work on the attendance. A big percentage of the ward members are inactive so we really need reactivation efforts in addition to conversion work. The problem is that we don’t have ward missionaries here. My first missionary coordination meeting I was like “Where are the ward missionaries?!” It isn’t like back home where ward missionaries are officially set apart to help us full-time missionaries in inviting other to come unto Christ. The ward really needs help and effort from the members and missionaries. But we missionaries can’t do it alone, that’s why we need ward missionaries.

The ward members are great! After I bore my testimony (to which I added parts of my homesickness) the Bishop told the ward to take care of me because the first 3 months of a missionary is the most crucial time of his mission— it’s either he stays or he goes home! Haha. I admit the first few days I was already counting my money to see if they’re enough to buy me bus tickets and a plane ticket back to Cebu. But the families took great care of me here. I’ve met great people. We do get dinner appointments here sometimes! Mostly they serve us pancit. Their pancit is different here; they call it “miki” or “chami” whatev. It’s thick and full of toyo. It’s either pancit or chicken.

On Thursday I went on exchanges with the elders in Pagbilao. It’s 45 minutes from Lucena and I like it better there. It’s kind of rural and the wind is cooler because it’s literally beside the mountains. I want to share one of the coolest experiences I had during the exchange. We went on a “skid” on our way to a part members house. Here are some pictures
 
 
 
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Basically a “skid” is like a cart made of wood and it’s placed on the classic railway from Manila to Lucena.
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Me and Elder Langi on a skid with the driver.
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The skid railway is of course a one-way so if two skids goes against each other, one skid has to step down.
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There’s no fixed price for a skid ride. But we gave 5 pesos for the fare.
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Another interesting thing especially for the missionaries. In the pamphlet The Restoration, the first page has a photo of a happy family. Well the family literally lives in Lucena and I met them yesterday. Here is a picture of me and the father in the picture. It was a Hollywood moment.

 

Well my missionary life isn’t what I expected it to be. It isn’t like The District where we live in a nice apartment, where we have a good teaching pool, or where we have plenty of referrals and investigators. My goal for this area is to completely clean and fix everything in the area book and help the ward stand on its own. It’s a great challenge for me but we are the missionaries and we are under the Lord’s service.

Please keep the letters and e-mails coming. They make me really happy weekly and the happiness lasts til the next Monday.

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

PS: Mom, send me recipes with details. Foreigners can’t cook.
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