Week 90: NOT TRUNKY!

Dear family and friends,

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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

Week 89: 21

Dear family and friends,
Today I turn 21. I woke up this morning with my heart feeling heavy because I’m not really sure what just happened in such a short time. I am now 21 years old. I’m past 20 years of existence now, and everything is just so confusing. My new zone leaders intended that we hold our zone p-day on this day to celebrate my birthday. We just went to the zoo here in Lipa and had some wholesome fun.
Another thing that I would like to mention is that Skype season has come again for Mother’s Day. I will be available on Skype on May 9, 2016, Saturday, at 1:00 PM. Mom and dad, please make arrangements as soon as possible. There will be no other day on which I can Skype after that.
Lastly, I wish to conclude with some information I didn’t get to expound last week. I am now transferred here in San Jose, Batangas. I am follow-up training my new companion, Elder McLaughlin. He’s of Scottish descent but has been residing in New Zealand. He has a heavy accent which makes it quite hard for me to understand him but I do think that’s really cool. I have also sent in my request for an early release in July to my mission president. Because I requested to go home more than 30 days early, my request has to go through the Area Presidency. I’m hoping it will be granted in the next 2 weeks. On a quite similar note, the mission has sent out the departing and incoming list of missionaries, and my name is just right there on that list. I am so thrilled.
Thank you for loving me and supporting me. Each one of you is worth fighting for. I love you. And please love one another.

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This ostrich almost ate my hair.
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My companion on the right, and Elder Erickson (batch) and Sister Harding (batch) on the left side. My favourite people.
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That’s inside a tunnel. I almost lost consciousness.

Elder Poblete

Philippines San Pablo Mission
Sent from my iPad

Week 88: “All the Grown Folk Things Separation Brings”

Dear family and friends,

Transfer day was bittersweet. After the glorious spiritual manifestations I’ve received both in the celestial room of the holy temple and the healing quarters of the MRC, I went back to my area in San Pablo having to bid farewell to my cherished companion. I miss Elder Barrizo…. Being separated with him really broke my heart; it was as though I had Alzheimer’s the whole time and when I came to my senses it was already too late to mend things between us. After our final hug together I tried my best not to cry on the bus. I arrived in my new area with my heart aching and full of bitterness that I didn’t get to spend much time with him after my stay in the MRC. It really made me sad….
I just want to wrap up what happened during the rest of my stay there in Manila. Apparently I broke the indexing record made by an elder. In his 2 week stay in the MRC, he indexed 500 names; during my 5 day stay there, I indexed 600 names. That was so funny that they drew a picture of me on the whiteboard with a crown that says “INDEX KING”.
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The last few days there were very relaxing. We made aprons.
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Sister Moyes was really clever.
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My apron. Trying to be cute.
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My MRC companion’s apron.
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Then some pictures outside the kitchen!

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So much fun haha.
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Tuesday morning we went to Mabuhay which is like a home for all the kids with eye, lips, and feet differences. It’s not owned by the Church but it’s run by members of the Church. They have branches in Davao and Cebu as well, so if you know anybody who has those kind of problems, bring them there, and it’s totally free.
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My last Tuesday there I went through the temple again for the second time together with Elder Jazmines and Sister Parojinog and with the rest of the MRC fam. I met my mission’s April departing batch but our session was 2 hours after theirs. I spent much time again in the celestial room to receive revelations and encouragement from my Heavenly Father.

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I am now in San Jose, Batangas with my new companion, Elder McLaughlin. He’s from New Zealand and he’s British, so that’s something different! At first it was quite hard to understand him because he’s very nasal haha. I’m still district leader and I don’t even like it anymore because I’ve been a missionary leader for more than a year now. Whatever. Below is a picture of us planning during a blackout.

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The last thing I’m gonna say is that: it is super hot. While we’re at work I feel like I can always cry because the heat just gets through my shoes. I don’t have an umbrella yet but I don’t want to use one because it’s too heavy. #thirdworldprobs
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 87: Broken People

Dear family and friends,

Hey everyone I wonder if my mission president has informed my family and thus they informed you or not about the recent news about me. A lot of things have happened this cycle and I have been depressed hence I was not able to function fully and fulfill my missionary responsibilities for a long period of time. My mission president finally decided that I need emotional help so he had me sent to the Missionary Recovery Center adjacent to the Missionary Training Center and of course just right across the Manila Temple in Quezon City. He called me about the decision at 11:00 PM Friday and asked me to pack up so he could pick me up at 4:30 AM Saturday. We arrived here in Manila at 7:30 AM together with Elder Alos, who is my district leader in my zone. It’s funny, because both leaders are injured!
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I’ve already sat in 2 therapy sessions with Elder Garrett, the Area Mental Health Advisor, one of which was done an hour ago. We discussed a lot of things about myself and why and how I’m feeling this way and I’m proud to say that he’s really helping. : )
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I arrived here in the morning really hungry so they kindly made me rice and eggs and hot sauce. Just the comfort food that I need. I have with me 5 other missionaries who are called to serve in different missions in the Philippines. One of which is Sister Moyes who is serving in Cebu mission and she speaks Cebuano really well. Another sister is not with us as she is now going under the knife today. I’m on a trio companionship with Elder Alos and Elder Jasminez (serving in Davao). I got to get through the Manila temple on Saturday evening with Elder Alos and I must say that I have felt peace again which I have not really felt for a long time in the field.
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One thing I realized is that we are all broken people here, and the Lord loves broken things, because He can fix them. One time I woke up and got up from my bed early I went to the living room and just sat while the radio was playing instrumental of “Love One Another” and there was this big painting on the wall of the the great Samaritan helping the injured Jew and I felt the Spirit so strong within me and realized how grateful we are for the charity that the Lord Jesus Christ shows to each one of us and how we ought to share the same charity to other people around us.
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It could be kind of boring here but I’m trying to stop lurking in my room in the darkness by enjoying the sunlight more and talking to the people more. I try to spend most of my time indexing records for family history. If you currently can’t preach the gospel to the living, why not help it be preached to the dead?
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The piano and our room in the MRC.
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Laying on the couch when I’m tired and need relaxation is my favourite. However they don’t want missionaries to get the hang of relaxing way too often because it could get them really “off” with missionary work. Every night we do nightly devotionals, just some sharing time about how the MRC and the gospel are currently helping us heal and how the Savior’s atoning sacrifice could make us whole. And I wonder, how could the holes in His hands and wrists could make us whole?
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On Sunday we attended sacrament meeting in Quirino Ward 2, just 15 minutes away from the MRC. The ward was reverent and was spiritually uplifting, and I think there were like 10 missionaries there in that ward, including senior couples and MRC staff.
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It’s a 3 storey chapel with elevator!
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Van ride selfie with the MRC district. F-U-N
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Because the Savior has gone through all things, He can help us go through with whatever our problems are.
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This Monday I learned that I am now released as a zone leader and transferred back to Lipa zone as a regular missionary. My new companion is Elder McLaughlin who has only been out in the field for 3 months now. I’ll be his follow up trainer.
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Gratitude door.
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This sweet sentence gives a different meaning when you’re in trials.

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The MRC senior missionaries are out for dinner on Sunday night, but we weren’t left to ourselves. So they hired babysitters! And we played games like “scrambled words” and “name that tune”. Team Elders won against Team Sisters!
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Just before the babysitters leave.
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You see? I’m having fun here, and you don’t have to worry about me. I love you all. Keep the faith. Fight the good fight. I’ll be fine, and I’m on my way back now. I love you!
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Sent from my iPad

Week 86: Tomorrow the Lord Will do Wonders Among You

Dear family and friends,

General Conference weekend has ended now! I hope everyone of you enjoyed it and resolved to apply and live the messages you’ve heard. This conference is memorable for me as it was the last general conference I had attended as a missionary. I had some personal questions answered as well.

Nothing much has happened this week except that I decided to dye my hair brown on Friday for a chance. But the dye won’t just stick on my hair for some reasons. My companion tried dyeing my hair again this morning but it still wouldn’t still. I’m quite upset about that. I also got a different haircut now and getting brown shoes and brown belt. It’s a change for the few remaining months I have left in the mission field! Excited!

Last week was supposed to be transfer week but because of the changes in the MTC schedule our mission transfers was extended for 2 weeks. We are now in the first week of the transfer extension so we’ll obviously get the call on Saturday. I feel the transfer call coming deep into my bones. For some strange reasons I think I need to leave the area but I still want to stay in the companionship and in the zone. Only the Lord knows what’s His plan for this upcoming transfer, and I’m really thrilled for it.

Last of all, I’d like to give a shoutout to my parents with whom I haven’t had communication for several weeks already. What’s happening down there? Y’all need to stop tripping and start sending me long e-mails. Please don’t snub me!

Elder Poblete

Philippines San Pablo Mission

Sent from my iPad

Week 85: Life After Death!

Dear family and friends,

Well there’s still nothing much going on in the mission. Forgive me I still don’t have new pictures to send with this e-mail. Too tired to use the camera!
So this morning we just got back from service in Nagcarlan. I was so bored I barely did anything, but it was fun to help these wonderful members build a house for somebody. We ended at around 10 AM and then went directly to the barbershop to get a haircut. I waited for 2 hours but my name hadn’t been called yet so I got really upset my companion and I just walked out of the shop. It was already too late to stay for a haircut so I decided I’ll just get it next week.
Missionary work could get really mundane; you do the same things over and over again. But you could put some fun and spice in especially when you’re with your companion. Elder Barrizo and I have been getting along really well; I think he’s the nicest companion I’ve had so far. #trustissues It’s true what they say: you can’t love other people if you can’t love your companion first. Companions really make a difference in your mission life. If you get along and love and respect each other, the work gets easier and smoother and more fun. It’s less stress. : )
I hope everyone’s having fun down there in Cebu. I miss you most! I’m still not really sure if I’ll be home in July or in August. Come what may. I’m enjoying my stay here. The best is yet to come here in the mission; I hope it does as well down there.

Elder Poblete

Philippines San Pablo Mission
Sent from my iPad

Week 83: Shades of Summer

Dear family and friends,

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So I think we can call it officially summer! Days are hotter than ever. By the first day of April my companion and I will be buying umbrellas to protect us. It’s funny how I got sunburns on my back again due to constant walking under and exposure to the burning heat everyday. The leaves on the trees are turning into different shades of brown, yellow and red, and then falling onto and lacing the melting asphalt with beautiful colors.
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On Thursday several departing missionaries and I traveled to Los Banos, Laguna to take the Michigan English test. It’s the test needed to gain entrance to BYU-Hawaii. I think there were only 20 missionaries out of 185 who took the test so the spots were pretty much limited to those who have plans to go to Hawaii for college. If you’re asking me if I’m really going, I’m still not so sure! It was 100 item test basically composed of questions regarding grammar, vocabulary, and essay; and they’re all multiple choice items. I didn’t have a hard time finishing it so I hope I’m just gonna do well with the results.
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Following context is not related to the above picture.
 
We started the exam at around 2:30 PM and ended some time at 4:00 PM. My travel companions were missionaries coming from Santa Cruz and they wanted to travel there directly to reduce the time needed for travel and the chance to sleep over somewhere around San Pablo. So we decidedly went up to Santa Cruz to get them there and it turned out unfavourable to me and my companion—we were stuck in traffic at the bayan and thus could not return back to San Pablo on time. We called the assistants if we could sleepover somewhere else in Santa Cruz and they told us we could sleepover in Pila. Yes, in Pila! In my previous area. We arrived at the apartment complex, where 3 great member families also reside, and they were utterly surprised when I turned up!
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More animal pictures. We found this kitten sleeping on my companion’s bag while we were eating at a member family’s house.
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I hope everyone will get to enjoy their summer! Love you!
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Sent from my iPad

Week 82: Spiritual Cures

Dear family and friends,

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Zone conference season! This would be my 2nd to the last zone conference. It was another great time to catch up with best friends and my fellow servants. The conference mostly focused on the Atonement and the Church’s new intiative #Hallelujah. I love conference season; it’s the perfect time to be lifted up again.

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And then on Thursday I was on exchange with the new assistant, Elder Tuiloma. A missionary exchanges is conducted by missionary leaders with other missionaries to assist them in their training and accomplishing their purpose. It was fun being with this great assistant despite the scorching heat.
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Not sure if it’s summer or fall.
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Beautiful sunset to end the day. I love the view of sunsets. I am literally paralyzed from 12 AM to 4 PM when the sun seems to kill everybody with the intense heat. But my energy goes up when it’s dusk time.
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This morning Elder Barrizo and I joined the National Breakfast Day at McDonalds! I hope many of you went there. We started joining the queue at 6:00 AM. We didn’t have any trouble looking for seats because most of the people in the line will only walk out after getting their McMuffin.
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While seated inside. People are still flocking.
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The free McMuffin and Big Breakfast. I think breakfasts at McDos are the best. I should continue doing this when I get home.
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My companion.
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Afterwhich we went to the stake center for district p-day. Nothing much except fun and games with the missionaries in the district. Good time to catch up and get to know each other better. My companion and I before the Sampaloc Lake. The Mabini Stake Center actually faces the lake.
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The district. I think it’s the biggest district in the mission. In this district we have the assistants, office elders, us and the rest of the missionaries.
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In conclusion, may I take this opportunity to greet my younger brother Eric a happy, happy birthday! I love you. I want to see you achieve and meet your potentials and acquire the blessings our Heavenly Father wants you to receive. I can’t wait to see you soon. I love you!

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 81: Demolish and Abandon

Dear family and friends,

First words: the weather is scorching hot. For some reasons the dark and gloomy weather was replaced with burning and stinging heat of the mad day. I was not prepared. People were telling me that the summer would officially begin in April. That was obviously not true. So what my companion and I would do when it gets way too hot in the area is to go 7/11 and have a refreshing break. Don’t you love that?!
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So it will be zone conference season again this Thursday! That means I’ll get to see the remaining friends I have in the mission and I get to have lunch together with them. But this zone conference is going to be different: we’ll be giving the workshops to our zones together with the sister training leaders. That’s weird for me because I haven’t really done that. It’s going to be a challenge but I hope everything is going to be fine.
 
And meanwhile in my personal study.
 
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I just wanna tell all of you that I haven’t been really thinking about home now. I’m trying to get my focus back to the work because I know it’s more important! I’ve realized that people need the gospel in their lives now more than ever. And I don’t want to waste my remaining 4 months by slacking around and doing nothing. It’s a once in a lifetime privilege to officially represent my Savior and His Church and that means if I’m privileged then I’m gonna have to it His way, not my way.
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With Sister Bennett and Elder English after district meeting.
I love you all. I’ll see you soon!

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Sent from my iPad

Week 80: Anti-Trunky Pills

Dear family and friends,
Time still has not soothed me from the separation sadness caused by recent friends departing last week. They are home now. They now watch television, enjoy music, and have simple fun under the sun. Meanwhile, I still knock on doors, get rejected, and complain about the extreme hot weather up here in Luzon. But I feel good about it. There’s nothing better about representing the Lord and His Church.
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Elder Erickson slept over in my flat before transfer day! He had to sleepover because he needed to get early to the mission home the day after to pick up his trainee. Many of you may not remember, but Elder Erickson is in my batch. We’ll be leaving together the mission in 4 months. It was fun catching up with him and talking about how great our missions have been since the last time we kept up at the mission home.

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Mom requested that I send coloured pictures for my e-mails. Request granted.
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It’s been pretty windy lately. We have been proselyting in areas to which we’ve never been before. People actually tell us not to stay too close to the coconut trees because coconuts can actually kill you.

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It smells like summer.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission
Sent from my iPad