Week 98: Red Carpet

Dear family and friends,


Well Mission Tour season has adjourned! On Wednesday morning Elder Haynie presided over the mission tour and this is gonna be my last. I had waited for a lifetime for this finale mission tour. I was so excited that I made sure I was gonna look best with a new long sleeve white shirt and of course a new tie.

Mission Tour or any other missionary conference is like the Hollywood Red Carpet. More than half of or the whole mission usually meets up for the conference, so some people whom you haven’t met in such a long time are also excited to see you. Aside from being spiritually prepared for the meeting, you also have to look your best, most especially when a General Authority presides.

So guess who I also met for the mission tour? The fresh from the MTC Elder Gaco. I was actually too busy visiting with other missionaries that I didn’t see him amid the crowd. It was actually him who grabbed me and tell me that he exists. And I was so happy to meet him again after 2 years! His trainer Elder Retig is a good friend of mine and I made sure that Elder Gaco gets the best missionary training experience. He is now serving in Canlubang in Calamba City, just right near to my previous area in Calamba in which I served. This was his first mission tour so I get that he didn’t really realize how big this occasion should be for him but I think he’s gonna get more big mission occasions in the mission. He wants me to tell all of you how much he misses you and I say please keep e-mailing him and sending him your support.
I mentioned in my last email that it is a tradition to have departing missionaries bear their fervent testimony before the mission at the meeting. President Mangum actually had us do it right after the opening prayer was given. I was in the middle of list to do it, and when it was my turn I was legit shaking. Despite the fact that I already mentally rehearsed my testimony the night before, when it was my turn to walk to the pulpit I felt I was just undone. Fortunately I didn’t get my words mixed up. I bear a simple testimony of the Book of Mormon, of the Prophet Joseph Smith, of President Monson, of Heavenly Father and most especially of Jesus Christ. I did great in testifying the first four parts, but when I began to testify of the Savior, I confess I was overcome. It was then that I realized that the words I rehearsed before were not the exact words that came out of my mouth; in other words I was thus being led by the Spirit what to say most particularly when I was about to testify of the Saviour’s grace. This was a faith building experience not only for the congregation, but also for me.

Lunch time!

Elder Anderson. He expressed how sad he was when he learned that I won’t be going home with him.

Elder Hodges.

Flu shots right after the conference. We get these flu shots annually.

Elder Alos! My MRC companion. So happy he’s now a zone leader.

Sister Loia and her trainee Sister Beatson.

Saying farewell to missionaries I’m never gonna see in a long time. It was really sad.

Mission conference was a good one. I love it. I loved it. I loved meeting all those amazing missionaries. Their faith and energy is contagious. I so much enjoy working and visiting with them.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission
Sent from my iPad

Week 97: Third Time’s a Charm

Dear family and friends,

Well, first of all, Happy Father’s Day! Sabbath day was a special day to celebrate, not only because it’s Sunday, but also because it’s my dad’s day and my Heavenly Father’s Day. Dad, I don’t know if you still read my e-mails, but happy father’s day to you! I love you and can’t wait to hug you soon. Although we didn’t spend much time mostly during my childhood years, I still look up to your example and miss the watchcare you exercise over me. I love you to the moon and back!
This week was rather busy. Sister Mangum asked me to get my x-ray as a requirement for my departure in July. I had to travel to Lipa with my companion on Wednesday and Thursday to get scanned and retrieve the results. Apparently the results say I’m “essentially normal”; no lung spots or anything that could prevent me from going home on time. I’m just fine.
Nothing much has been happening lately. I’m currently looking forward to bearing my testimony before the mission during the Mission Tour with Elder Haynie of the Seventy on Wednesday. It is a mission tradition that every departing missionary should bear their testimony at their last mission meeting. The thought of it just gives me chills to the center. And I’m quite scared that I might get too emotional while doing it. I’ve listened to my good old missionary friends bore their testimony at their last meetings, and now I can’t believe it’s going to be my turn on Wednesday. Time flies so fast; words are even inadequate as I attempt to describe how I feel right now. There was a rumor that it’s not gonna happen (because sometimes it doesn’t due to the hectic programmed schedule), but I’m actually grateful it’s happening to me. And if this didn’t happen I would just get up during lunch time and click my glass with a fork to invite everyone to listen to my testimony. It is indeed that important. Haha.
I love you all. I just cannot wait to see you soon.
Elder Poblete
Sent from my iPad

Week 96: Pulling the Cart amid the Sunset Ligh

Dear family and friends,

Hey guys! We just got home from zone p-day at the Lipa stake center and I am very tired. (But the above painting of weary pioneers pulling their carts has nothing to do with my physical weariness.) Somehow zone p-days even make you more tired to make it through yet another week in the mission field. But indeed it was fun to finally catch up and have fun with my fellow missionaries after such a hectic and busy week.
Nothing special happened this week. I still look for miracles as they happen in my life everyday. There’s actually a vast collection of them that I could not even keep them to myself, so please keep writing and e-mailing me. One thing I noticed is that (and this is particularly true to most missionaries) the longer a missionary stays in the field and lesser they get e-mails and letters from family and friends. This situation has evoked me to decide that when I come home I’m going to set aside a particular time to e-mail missionaries to cheer them on and support them in their experiences.
I have involved myself to deep gospel study and mighty morning and evening prayers to keep myself focused during the last 4 weeks of my mission. Excitement have grown enormously as the day of my departure continue to draw nearer. At the same time, distractions are becoming more apparent as I work through the day. Please don’t laugh at me, but I notice that as I read the scriptures and Church manuals, I am now more concerned of the names that might appear for me to name my children in the future years. If you are asking, some of the names are Penrose, Anthon, Cowley, Redd, Parley, Orson, and many more.
Now let me divorce myself from that daydream for a moment and give a short concluding message relative to the painting above. You recall that some weeks ago I mentioned in one of my weekly letters the phrase “my walk down Parley Street”. I have immersed myself in profound pondering about the lessons I can learn from the stories of these noble pioneers. Perhaps the most outstanding principles one can learn are faith and faithful endurance. I remember one of the things I said to myself prior to leaving for my mission is that I need not to start my mission, but to finish it honorably. These few remaining weeks of my mission have been really bittersweet and faith testing; in fact I never knew it would be like this. I likewise invite each of you to apply these profound lessons from the life of these valiant pioneers.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission
Sent from my iPad
PS: On June 22nd I will have the chance to meet once again with Elder Gaco who is from my ward and now serving in the mission as I am. It will at a mission tour conference with Elder Haynie of the Quorum of the Seventy and I am very excited to keep up with this fresh elder. I will send pics!

Week 95: “Closing Curtains”

Dear family and friends,

Hey everyone, it’s Elder Poblete here. I was supposed to write a cheerful and lengthy e-mail for everybody today, but I received the news that my dogs died due to disease. I was hard for me to leave my dogs and had been excited to meeting them again at my homecoming. But that’s not going to happen anymore. I am still quite taken aback by this recent news and hoping that I will quickly recover from this devastating loss. Right now everything hasn’t sunk in yet and I hope it won’t crash that hard for me. I love my dogs and now pray they are in a better place.
This week has been pretty basic week. We still find lots of investigators, most of whom can only make it through the first lesson and fall through thereafter; meanwhile there are still those who progress and we always pray for them. The miracle for the week was this returning inactive member bearing his testimony on the pulpit this Sunday. He had been inactive for a lot of years now and my companion and I decided to meet with him in his house on my first day here in this area. My companion told me how he had been really tough to deal with. We taught him once again and I said something that struck him to the core. As inspired by an Elder Bednar conference talk, I said in effect, “Because you chose to be offended, you can no longer partake of the sacrament, attend the temple and receive its blessings, exercise the priesthood authority you were given, cut off yourself from service opportunities to your friends and fellow members, and deny these blessings to the generations and generations which will come after you.” He stopped for a while and I could tel he was confounded and now absorbing what I said. The day after he came to church, and has been consistently coming ever since.
There are many miracles that happen in the mission field, and I am blessed to be seated in front of this grand panorama of the restored gospel. Truly miracles are poured out without measure upon the faithful and to those who patiently wait.
I love you all and I can’t wait to be home soon. Imagining how meeting with all of you at the airport thrills me to the bones. I love you. I really do.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

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Week 94: Stay to the Very End

Dear family and friends,

Water and dirt in a fancy bottle.
So it has been really humid lately. You may remember from my weekly letter that I said it’s been raining a lot; it still has, but this week’s been different. It’s crazy because it could rain really really hard but then right after it gets really really humid. There’s no burning heat from the sun as it’s covered by the gray clouds, yet the weather is totally humid for some reasons I can’t explain. I keep up with this kind of weather by taking breaks in 7/11 just as how I did in San Pablo when I was there at the beginning of the summer. Now that we are in the middle of the summer-rainfall transition everything’s going crazy. I have been complaining a lot to my companion about how hot and humid it has been but all is well. Evian water is a favourite treat.
In a similar note, I forgot to inform you that the Church has now revised missionary clothing guidelines. We elders are now allowed to wear sunglasses for protection from the sun. Of course, as you would expect, I have procured sunglasses because I easily get sunburned when it’s too hot and my eyes could sting really bad. Sisters are now also allowed to wear pants to protect against mosquito bites. We have not received official instructions from our mission president regarding these changes, but I asked my mission president’s wife for permission to wear glasses. There some instructions however that we should remove sunglasses when we are indoors and talking to people in the street, but so far that’s what we know for sunglasses.
Burger King is my favourite now. I don’t even rice anymore.
It was stake conference season last weekend. We didn’t get to attend the Priesthood and Saturday session but we got to attend the general session yesterday. There were several inspiring speakers who gave really good talks on the pulpit, including my mission president and his wife and an Elder Villanueva from the Area Seventy. The Lipa Stake Center was definitely and staggeringly filled during the conference, as evidenced by the 5 overflowing rooms for people who didn’t make it to the good seats.
There are only two zones in the mission which have easy access to Starbucks—one in Lucena and the other here in Lipa. You may remember how my last Christmas wasn’t complete because I didn’t get to have Starbucks for Christmas eve.
Transfer day will be this Thursday but I’m not transferred and I’m staying with the same companion. Next week would begin my last cycle here in the mission field, and I have felt mixed emotions and found that words are totally inadequate in expressing how I feel as I approach my walk down Parley Street. As the days drag on to my homecoming I realized that I have been losing my conviction in and becoming more complacent with the usual activities in missionary work. In spite of this unusual state, my desire to finish strong becomes firmer and firmer as I look to Christ and His example in finishing strong in his mortal ministry. Just as how the Israelites’ soles were wet before the Red Sea departed; much like how the Saints in Nauvoo made their first step into the snow to the unknown; in quite similarity to how Joseph Smith surrendered himself like a lamb to the slaughter—so are my feelings regarding going home in such a short time. The last 41 days are and should be the most important, and I don’t want to waste them by slacking off and doing nothing. In honor of my grandparents who faithfully served their couple mission together, I want to stay to the very end.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission
Sent from my iPad

Week 93: Flight PR 1849

Dear family and friends,

So we’re sorry for e-mailing late. We just had our district p-day today and it was so far so we arrived late in the apartment. We went to a park that gives a great view of the Taal Lake. I’ve been to the same park before in my mission last year when I was assigned here in Lipa Zone; the place is the same, but the place is different. So I’m trying to fast as type as I can and finish off this letter with quality imbued therein.

It has been raining a lot lately; and when it rains here, it pours heavily. It’s a relief after all the scorching heat throughout the whole summer. The only con is that I have to wear my missionary jacket every time we go out. The weather is also unpredictable. Sometimes I wake up with the weather really really cold but in the course of the day it gets hot. I had such experiences when I decided to wear my cotton garments for the day and it turned out to be so frigging hot. Haha. Never again.

Nothing much has been happening in the field. We still kept on finding. One thing I noticed is that I’m so used to rejection now; slammed doors and yells from people don’t even matter to me anymore. I just couldn’t care less about rejection and disappointment. However I feel concerned for my companion who’s only been in the field for 4 months and thus still not used to rejection and disappointment. As a missionary you can never please all people nor all members nor all bishops. You just need to be patient and get it over with.

By the way I just received my plane ticket from the mission office. I will be arriving at Mactan International Airport onJuly 13, 2016, Wednesday at 10:15 AM. I actually asked if I could have a night travel so I could just get to sleep when I get back to Cebu; but I think that’s a good thing as well so we could have a light lunch at home with friends and families. By the way I just need a light lunch upon arrival; that should mean just really light, mostly burger and chips and salad; please no rice because I haven’t been eating rice lately; and you need to be praying for me that I won’t get sick eating Mang Inasal with the zone every week. I don’t need trumpets and fanfares and if you want to bring a tarpaulin please just make it simple and never put my face on it because I’m still alive. I’ll add more instructions in my weekly letter next week.

Anyway to make this weekly letter fun I’m supposed to add pictures of fancy foods I’ve eaten this week, but I forgot my card reader and the guy in this internet shop is really rude to me.

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission
Sent from my iPad

Week 90: NOT TRUNKY!

Dear family and friends,

It was great Skyping with my mom on Saturday. We were supposed to Skype between Saturday and Monday but my companion and I decided to Skype on Saturday so we won’t be stuck in the vehicle and foot traffic in the city on Elections Day. The whole Philippines is just in commotion for the elections today but I wish not to be involved haha. Right now I’m e-mailing from the bayan because I don’t feel like going up to Lipa City; I just don’t want to risk it. We actually have a curfew at 5 PM today so we’re adjusting our schedule to have at least 3 hours of work today. Anyway the weather’s actually doing good for me as it’s starting to get windy and the heat is trying to tone down. It should start raining at the beginning of June; or rather it better start raining in June.
We only had minimal work this week because on Wednesday night we had to travel to Santo Thomas to sleepover for the district leader’s training meeting on Thursday morning in San Pablo. I actually told my mission president that I felt hesitant about going up to San Pablo again because first of all it’s so far and second I felt like I no longer needed any further training for this leadership assignment because I’ve had this assignment before haha. My president said it’s okay if I turn down the invitation but then I changed my mind last minute and decided to go up, but now mainly for the food and seeing my close friends haha. Honestly I’m grateful I went up to the meeting because I’ve learned some new things anyway.
Anyway I just want to announce that my request has been approved by the Area Presidency. I will be going home onJuly 14, 2016. That’s officially 66 days away to my last day in the mission field. My mission president sent in the request on Wednesday morning and received the approval on Thursday morning. The office couples are now preparing my plane ticket.I was literally crying I just can’t believe I’ll be home soon. I’ve been working on my homecoming talk soon so Bishop Shaun please sched me to give a talk in sacrament meeting on July 17, Sunday.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission
Sent from my iPad