Week 71: The Year is Dying in the Night

Dear family and friends,

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It was so much fun Skyping with you during Christmas morning! It totally made my Christmas this year better. At the same time I feel sad because this would be my last Christmas in the mission field; these two Christmases will always be special Christmases in my life. They’re bittersweet; and it makes me look forward to another Christmas next year—this time with my family and friends. Thanks mom and dad for following the instructions for the streaming; and Adrian for taking a little time to chat with me. It’s not really allowed haha but it’s Christmas!

My letter this week is going to be short. I just want to leave a short message emphasizing the end of the year in a few days. It’s so mindblowing how fast this year has gone by. During this year I have had the pleasure to serve with people in 3 different areas, from Calamba to Pila to here in San Pablo.

By January I will officially have 6 or 7 months left until I finish my mission. Don’t worry! I’m not trunky. I’m just very, very excited and stoked to see all of you in such a short period of time.

I love you! Bye bye.

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 70: My Last Christmas

Dear family and friends,

How is everyone doing?! Last week‘s e-mail was such a thriller. I wrote so many things but then they ended up getting erased. I’m now e-mailing in a better internet shop, so the system should automatically draft this e-mail.

So Bagyong Nona came but I’m still okay. Our mission only got hit by the edges of it, but it rained really really hard. For me it’s a good thing because it’s been a long time since cold weather and hard rain. The streets were always wet and the sky gray and clouds heavy. I finally got to wear my jacket! Our mission president expected some heavy damage but thank goodness we’re just fine. No work on Tuesday.

This Wednesday we will have another Christmas zone conference. I can’t believe this will be my last one. I can’t wait to finally eat lechon again and have some Christmas party fun with my fellow missionaries and mission family. Christmas time in the mission field could get actually sad, but when mission family and ward families invite you to share some few Christmas moments with them, it actually makes a lot of difference. It’s gonna be 4 days until Christmas day. I admit I get sad every night before I sleep because it’s another Christmas I’m gonna miss spending with my family and friends again. Our Christmas music catalog is limited; I think I could only get to listen to Josh Groban haha because he’s Jewish. I can’t watch Charlie Brown Christmas and Polar Express with my friends here because it’s not Church produced. It’s so hard to do the Christmas traditions you would normally do in a holiday season!

Anyway, I’ll be on Skype for Christmas morning around 11 AM. When I say Christmas morning I mean December 25th, not 24th. Here are some specific instructions I want you to follow:

  • I should be on Skype on December 25th, 11 AM.
  • I want all family to be there sitting in the sofa.
  • My Skype username is omgpaolo.
  • Mom and dad, set up the iPad so that I can Skype you without glitches.
  • Connect the Apple TV and the iPad to the same router. (If you still can’t remember the router’s password, I can’t remember it too. It’s been 16 months come on. Just reset the router.)
  • Wear presentable clothing. Don’t wear regular house clothes. Never appear shirtless in front of the camera.
  • Airplay the whole Skype video to the TV, and then place the iPad just in front of the TV so I can get a better and wider view of everyone.
  • I want my dogs, too.
  • Tats, please announce this on my Facebook! Post a status with my recent picture below.

Anyway so thats it! I hope I got everything written down in this e-mail. I’m just gonna miss another Christmas!!! That means I think Im gonna have to go to BYU-Hawaii in February 2017 so I won’t miss another Christmas with family again.

I miss you all!

I love you!

Have a merry Christmas!

 

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Taken with a member’s iPhone with Instagram filter during Saturday’s ward Christmas party.

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Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 63: Bigger World

Dear family and friends,

Hey everyone! I just want to tell you that I’m going to leave a very short e-mail this week. With my new assignment as a zone leader, I will not have enough time to write longer e-mails, unless I write a draft every Sunday night so it will be easy for me. Along writing a longer e-mail to my mission president and reporting about the zone, I am also to send the zone’s key indicators to the assistants. I have been really busy. In fact, I haven’t had my clothes washed; and later I will begin another exchange with an elder here in my zone. I’m going to be travelling a lot during this month, so I also expect that my expenses for fare will increase. I am in a big city. It’s so overwhelming. I haven’t had enough sleep; I hope I won’t see myself cracking again. Perhaps I just need to slow things down and take a break from all the duties.
But I want you to know that I love you. Very much. And that the Lord knows our needs and our sorrows. Every since I started my mission, I have found myself trying to help make ends meet in such a big world. The mission field is a place where a young man can prepare himself to live the real life. Soon in 9 months my mission is gonna end, and so far, my service here in the mission field has been great as I continue to represent the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that He will bless me and my family.
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Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 68: Some News before Christmas

Dear family and friends,

I forgot to tell you that last week was transfer day. My good companion Elder Vilingia got his transfer call to Batangas. Transfer day was too long: my new companion and I were waiting for missionaries to check in our checkpoints from 8 AM til 7 PM. The missionaries coming from the island of Marinduque took the longest in traveling. Thank goodness the assistants were there to help them out get off the island.

My new companion is Elder Mesina. He’s from Tarlac and a Kapampangan. He is one of the spiritual giants of the mission, that is, someone whom the generality of missionaries fear because of his reputation as one who is strict with the rules and a monster in the work. I testify of that reputation because his natural pace in walking is just extremely exhausting for me; I would be catching up on my breath when we walk so I have to tell him to slow down a little bit. He’s just a monster!!!! This is why I advise you to be careful what you wish for. I wished for a hardworking companion; I got him! And I think he’s too serious about life. Time to soften him up.

Christmas zone conference is coming up. It will be my last Christmas here in the mission field. When January comes, I’m gonna have to start counting. Many of you are aware that I might be applying and then be accepted to BYU-Hawaii. That means I’m gonna have to take an early release. This early release should be considered by the Area Presidency, as I have carefully noted in my mission application form that I prefer to be sent forth before the month of June 2014. However, when my call arrived, they had me waiting for 2 months until August, which made me not on par with my post-mission plans for education.

I haven’t been able to send many pictures because I would always forget to bring with me my card reader. Most of the internet shops here don’t have any card readers for me to use. It’s so annoying.

I’m so trunky already. It should be 8 months or 6 months before I go home. I have already selected names for my kids: try Penrose, Renlund, Orson, Parley, etc.

The busy world sits out here in this lonely internet shop. But there’s no Starbucks here in San Pablo. I’m so upset.

I can’t trust shoes from Milanos anymore. Mine’s already cracked and it’s only been a month.

I am in dire need of proselyting shoes.

Mom this is what I need for Christmas package:

  • money for shoes
  • trail mix from SnR
  • my other football jersey
  • my favourite sky blue shirt
  • my VOSS water container

I love you all. Have a merry, merry Christmas!

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Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 67: Short Christmas Thoughts

Dear family and friends,

Missionary work has been really busy that I have started to forget about Christmas. In fact, I didn’t feel Christmasy until just this week, when I’ve been around the malls frequently. People have been playing Christmas music since September but I was nonchalant about it.
It’s weird.
It’s been Christmas time. But now it’s almost Christmas. It’s going to be my second and final Christmas in the mission field, and when December ends, everything will be going faster. By January, I will perhaps have 6 months left.
I love you all. And I will see you soon.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 66: Planets

Dear family and friends,

How is everyone doing? I’m barely surviving here. It’s been a long time. It’s been a long time since I heard from my friends and family and from the ward.
This week has been really tiring. One elder in my zone got sick with dengue since Friday, so we had him stay in our apartment for better monitoring until we sent him to the hospital on Sunday morning. I’ve traveled a lot to and fro destinations and coordinating with other missionaries regarding the health condition of this elder. Although because of this situation we haven’t had a solid proselyting week, it feels good to be able to help a fellow missionary recover from a disease with which I too suffered many years ago.
So apparently I’m used to a zone leader schedule now. Our schedule is actually different than that of regular missionaries. Whenever we plan straight for a busy day tomorrow, it ends up being rearranged because of circumstances that usually come up surprisingly. Our companionship has been working hard to get at least 30 lessons in one week, and we hope can get it this week!
Funny thing I should share to you: While I was taking care of this sick elder this morning, the hospital security guard walked in to orient us about hospital security regulations. Among other things he mentioned was that he was once an LDS but now he’s not because he and his wife separated. During the convo I realized that he has a different accent, so I asked where he’s from. He said he’s from Lapu-Lapu. I was like, “Oh yeah, me too! Which ward were you in?” He said, “I was from Lapu-Lapu Ward 1. My ex wife was a member, her name is Venus Jacob.” Then I told him how I knew that Jacob family and it was just so cool. Haha he even knows my family! It’s amazing how the world is just so small especially when you’re in the church!
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Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission