December 22, 2013
Cabarroguis, Diffun, Cagayan Valley, Philippines
Well, this week was swell!
There was a funeral in the house next door to our apartment (and by next door I mean that we're kind of in the same house in a separate sort of guest house area). Traditionally in the Philippines, after someone dies, they set up a huge pavilion in front of the house, invite all the family members to come into town, and play poker and get drunk every day for about a week. Once they get tired of this, they decide they should have a funeral, because the body is usually just lying somewhere in the house. So they have a funeral service. With very loud music. Including brass bands. And karaoke. That play music. All. Night. All night. So that's great. Because you don't get sleep.
I also found that I will refer to moths as birds here. Because they are about the same size. I'm not kidding. I'm walking in the apartment one night and I see a large animal on the wall.
"Oh, that's a funny looking bird. Wait..." O___O. No. No no no no no no. Elder Manabo says the biggest he's seen is about two feet long. *Puke*
And the spiders. I'll call them dogs. Or hellhounds. Or Aragog. Or Shelob. Savages? (Air-fist to those who got that reference). Whichever works.
VIDEO CALL:here is there. So I'm thinking I could call you, for me, on the 26th at or so, and that would be Christmas Day at around for you. Would that work? And yes, Google hangout will work, I might need to use my personal email account to access it though. Which is approved, as long as I just use it for the hangout.
Be grateful for good, clean hospitals.
We visited a hospital here to give a sister a blessing of healing. I'm surprised I was able to maintain my composure while walking through that place. It was... absolutely tragic. I can't really explain exactly how tragic it was, but I can tell you that America is an amazing country, and our hospitals are among the best in the world. So be grateful for that; that you have access to such a thing in cases of emergency. We are truly blessed in that land. Among other things you can be grateful for are toilet seats, toilet paper being acknowledged as a necessity(which it is not here in the Philippines), hot water, authentic Italian restaurants, Coneys, J-Dawgs, traffic laws, clean strait teeth, and many other things. Which I will be fine without while I'm here, but that I will be grateful for when I return.
I found an interesting parallel this week between the words of Jean Val Jean during Epilogue and Mormon/Moroni at the end of the Book of Mormon. This part in particular I like to see Moroni saying while closing the book and urging people to read it: "On this page, I write my last confession. Read it well, when I at last am sleeping. It's a story, of those who always loved you. [and many] gave their life for you and gave [this] to your keeping." I thought about how Moroni and Mormon must have felt, while compiling the records of endless wars and contentions and sins and righteousness which had fallen, and how deeply they must have wanted us, the future generations, to learn something from it. Can we please? Listen to the voices of those crying from the dust. They have been through much. They know. We ought to listen to them, if we are to maintain happiness on the face of the land.
I pray for you guys every night. I hope you know that. Family is so central to Gods plan, and it has been especially emphasized in importance this dispensation for a reason. Don't let anything come between. I wish for this Christmas that all families everywhere could become a little closer, and as I have learned here, it is so easy to get close to your family through the restored gospel. SO easy. So take advantage of the blessings and resources you have there, and use them to make Christmas about families, and about Him who came into the world to save us all, through His simple yet profound gospel. Maligayan Pasko! Merry Christmas!
Ya know, just walking through the suburbs.