Week 57: Slow, Slower, Slowest

Dear family and friends,

Sometimes I feel like I should stop sending out weekly letters and begin with the video blogs. I’m still working on how the settings should be in my camera and minimize the size of the video so I could still send it out via MyLDSMail. It’s going to take me a lot of time for preparation but I hope I can still go on with the project.

So as you all know I’ll be home from my mission in 11 months now. Most missionaries have told me how it could get really, really fast, so I’m rather slowing my pace down. I honestly think I’ve missed so much beauty of the mission by speeding up and working way too hard during the first half of my mission, and I don’t want the same thing to happen in the second half. Of course I still want to do my purpose and I even want to magnify it twice than I did. As the days and weeks and months wear on I’m reminded of how really short a mission is and how I need to make the most of it.

Mom do you know how I brought to my mission the 20-year-old quadruple scriptures which my dead grandparents used for their mission? It got wet; not all of it, but most of it got wet. So with the money you just sent me I’m getting a new set of scriptures they cost like 1k for the triple but I’m buying a separate Bible (quad scriptures are too heavy). And I’m buying the rest of the money with 2 pairs of pants.

I love you all! Mom and Dad please prepare to pick me up. You definitely have a year to keep up. I’ll see you soon I love you!
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Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 56: His Eye is on the Sparrow

Dear family and friends,

(No e-mails from you? Okay. I actually have a video blog prepared but I won’t upload it anymore because there’s no point anyway! The longer I stay in the mission the more you care less about me.)

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​It’s a new look for me. I’m not sure if those glasses are for permanent though. I’m already old in the mission and I supposed I need something new. Maybe I’ll put on some wax next time.

Mom thanks for the money, but where is my 1 year package? I actually need some stuff I left back home. I’ll send the list in a different e-mail. But I love you thanks for you caring enough about me. Dad do you still remember me you don’t even e-mail me anymore.

I think I should share rather spiritual things in my e-mail today. As yesterday was Fast and Testimony Sacrament Meeting I shared my testimony to the congregation. I started by quoting the verses in the hymn “The Lord is my Shepherd” and it went on. I know that the Lord is full well aware of our needs. His eye is indeed on the sparrow. He knows us by name.

I hope all of you know that as I do. I want you to be happy in life. Keep pushing through. Just keep pushing forward. I love you. I’ll see you soon.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 55: Carabao Poop and Pee and My Pants

Dear family and friends,

Anyway let me talk first about the weather.The weather here has been crazy and indecisive, which is just cool because it doesn’t mean I would need to drench my shirt with sweat again. I threw away my cotton garments so I’m now wearing the mesh fabric. It makes life lighter.
Don’t worry about the title. No, I didn’t pee or poop in my pants. Let me tell you the story. So my companion really likes visiting this family who lives literally in the middle of a spacious rice field. I know how perilous it would be for a person like me to cross the rice field without any machination. So every time he would bring the matter up during our planning sessions I would try to shrug it off and suggest that we visit them at a later day, a day when we have nothing much to do. But this time he insisted. And so we went. Just to give you a picture of the ricefield:
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​In his zealousness he went farther and farther and farther. I followed him. I walked along the gap in between the rice fields whose width is just about the size of my shoe and the soil was kind of mushy. Little by little I tried to make my way out of the fields, but then there’s a gap that I need to leap over in order to get to the other end. With all the courage I could ever muster, I leapt, and then… splat!
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I didn’t talk with my companion for the whole day. Anyway so we did go to the house and did teach. But before that I asked the family if they have any clean water I could wash myself with. They said they do; it was brown water coming off the irrigation, so I thought it was clean. Then a member told me that perhaps it was water mixed with carabao poop and pee. We went back to the apartment to bathe myself. It’s been a week, but I can still smell it, mom….
I think it was a disgusting yet great thing for me to experience. It’s obviously another check mark in my mission must-happen list.
Anyway where is my hump day package? I need it by next month. And please don’t forget the cash.
Mom, since I’ve turned 1 year in the mission field, I’m already thinking about my plans when I go home next year. I’m thinking that it would be better if you come and pick me up here in the mission field, you and dad and Eric. I think it would be great if I could tour you around here in the mission and visit the wards and branches where I served. I want you to discuss it with papa so you both can make plans on how to prepare for the trip. You still have 1 year. I love you.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 54: Trunky Na!

Dear family and friends,

When I told you in my last weekly letter that I won’t do anything special in my hump day anniversary, I actually lied. On Wednesday after district meeting we had a little party at the chapel for my anniversary and Sister Walters’ (close friend of mine) birthday. The evidence:

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Another great thing is that we have finally moved in to another apartment! The mission office can’t stop me pestering them anymore, so they decided that they would rather move me to a new apartment or else I will do another breakdown. (Just kidding.) We moved on Friday morning, and Sister and Elder Galbraith (my fave mission couple) cooked us sinigang. The pictures should be in my picture e-mail thread.

Anyway I know most of you are concerned that I’m already trunky na and I don’t want to work anymore. I think I’m still working the same. Now I’m just less serious about stuff and starting to enjoy more the people around me. I’ll be gone in a year and I won’t see this people anymore perhaps for the rest of my life. Now personally I’m focusing on getting these people to come unto Christ especially through baptism. So don’t worry!

Elder Poblete

Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 53: HAPPY HUMP DAY!!!!!!!!!

Dear family and friends,

The only thing I hate about e-mailing on Monday is that it takes me so long to write to my mission president. Aside from personal matters and work progress, I would still need to write on the missionaries in my district. That would take at least 30 minutes for me to finish. Then when I take a look at the computer clock it doesn’t leave me enough time to write a quality e-mail to my family now! So I will try to make this letter a quality and quick one.

So on Saturday I just turned one year. Hump Day! There was nothing really special about it. Some missionaries have asked me whether I do get the trunky feeling already, but I said nope. In fact, in the evening I had to travel to Santa Cruz to two baptismal interviews for the sister missionaries in my district. I passed them (though not because it’s my anniversary) because I perceive that they are prepared. The sisters asked me if I could perform the baptism, and I said I will. It’s going to be my first time. I’ve had baptisms in my mission already but I haven’t done the ordinance yet! So I’m nervous and excited at the same time.

Because I’m already old in the mission, I want to write a brief letter to the young men in the ward and to those who are prepping themselves to serve a full-time mission. In doing so I shall give 5 tips or advices which should help you in your preparation (and Bishop Shaun, if you will, please print this letter out and attach it to the bulletin board for them to see). They are:

  1. Repent! Let me paraphrase the words of Elder Holland in his conference talk several years ago. In this battle between good and evil, you cannot play for Satan whenever temptations come along, and then expect to suit up for the Savior before temple or mission time, as if nothing has happened. No missionary can be unrepentant of sexual transgression, profane language, or pornographic indulgence and then expect to challenge others to repent of those very things. It just can’t be done! The Spirit will not be with you, and the words will choke in your throat as you speak them. You cannot travel down what Lehi called “forbidden paths” and then expect to guide others to the straight and narrow one. But whoever you are and whatever you’ve done, you can be forgiven. Every single one of you can be forgiven of any transgression with which you may struggle. The weight of your sin will really catch up with you in your mission. I’ve met missionaries in the mission field who ultimately went home because they can’t carry the guilt with them. So I’m asking you to repent. Be active and be clean. If required, get active and get cleaned. Don’t be afraid to talk to Bishop Shaun. I know our bishop, and he is a reasonable man. He can and will help you with whatever you are struggling.
  2. Read and study Preach My Gospel and the scriptures! Don’t follow my example. Many of you knew before I was ordained as a missionary. I didn’t read my scriptures nor did my daily prayers, and I loved skipping seminary classes.But many of you will gain profit if you follow this counsel. Familiarize yourself with the doctrines of the Church and study the missionary lessons. Know the Apostles and Prophets of both old and modern, and learn from their counsel. Your teaching will be more effective if you actually know what you are talking about!
  3. Save and budget your money! I speak to those who are impulsive buyers like me. Most of the missionaries in the Philippines receive at least 8,000 pesos in support, but they are only for expenses on food, transportation, and hygiene. Every single cent that you receive from the mission is the widow’s mite. You cannot be here to spend thousands as though the Church is paying you a personal salary. It is the Lord’s money, and remember in Malachi, the Israelites robbed Him in tithes.
  4. Learn how to plan! It all begins in planning. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. You can start ahead learning how to plan by planning for your life and for your mission preparation. Learn how to successfully make goals. They extremely important. As a current district leader, I have seen how planning can change an area and ultimately the lives of numbers of people. You will be happy to see that change in them because you decided that you will plan for 30-60 minutes just for their spiritual progression.
  5. Be exactly obedient, and wake up at 6:30am! I can’t stress this out enough. Begin waking up early while you are still at home. Be early at any home teaching or church activities. The Lord does not accept Filipino time. We follow His own timetable. For obedience, if you want to be happy in the mission, follow the white handbook. Remember, wickedness never was happiness. These will be the best 2 years of your lives. And these 2 years are of the Lord. They are not yours. But you will reap eternal happiness and gratitude for this rare opportunity to represent Him wherever you are assigned to labour.

I think these counsels should be enough! I hope you young men read that and
internalize the advice which I have given you. If the English is too deep, then ask someone to simplify it for you. The same goes to any young woman who has the desire to become a full-time missionary. I love you all! Keep those e-mails coming!

In closing, enjoy this picture with me and a siamese cat!

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Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission