Monday, September 26, 2011

                                     Elder Hancock, Passing on the tourch
Hey Family,
I wrote Cory a letter, let me know when it gets home. If you could send it to him at the MTC that'd be great. GOOD LUCK CORY!! See you in 2. You know the exact day I leave the field, you will be entering the field. Just passing the torch on.
GREAT WEEK! like super duper. We held a Baptism on Saturday for Angelo Alarzar. That whole conversion story is a miracle that has changed my view on life. But I'll save that story to tell in 3 weeks when I see you all. Are investigators are going so WELL!!!! Megan Nunez, awesome person. I may have told you her situation a month back, but she was raised in a devoted catholic family, taking our lessons in secret, but now wants to be baptized and is afraid to tell her parents. I'm sorry I have so much to say about her but then I keep thinking it'll just be so much better if I can just share in person whats happened with her. You may just have to wait to get the full story on these people.
Wow, I just talked to a Filipino-American guy right now, that asked me if I was a Mormon missionary. He is actually from Nevada! We just had an English conversation.(weird) He told me he has a lot of Mormon acquaintances, and has wanted to join in their activities but has never been invited. I told him he's always welcome to join in, and if I'm ever in Mesquite I will call him and invite him to the activities. Look at me go, creating a pool of investigators for when I'm home! ha. I don't want this mission work to end. Hopefully when I'm home I'll be able to keep finding opportunities to help people come unto Christ.
Sorry for the random bit, but I lost my train of thought, so I just had to write it out. Oh yeah, and I'm sorry if I cant get the leather case, I'll try my best, but 3 weeks isn't the greatest time span to get it done. I'll see what I can come up with! Sorry my mind is super spastic right now. Back to my investigators, they are awesome!!! The Nilo Family is super progressing! I wrote weeks back about Sister Nilo, and her faith and patience in helping her family along. Well, after many fasts and prayers, Bro Nilo is now more sure than ever he's getting baptized and the past 6 weeks they have gone to church consecutively! Big Big miracles and changes are happening. They started a couple months back smoking 2 cartons of cigarettes a day, now to 1 to 3 cigarettes a week! I am super proud of their progress. There has been a lot that has needed to change before their baptism, but things are working their way out. We will also be holding a wedding for Bro and Sis (they never were officially married) so that will be happening these next couple weeks, and then if they refrain from cigarettes this entire month, at the end of October they will be baptized. I wont be able to see their baptism, but its been a true joy helping them in this long conversion process. They are such an awesome family, and I love them so so so so so much. Sorry this letter isn't very inspiring or great, I'm just like super super super happy. Like really. Can't even express the level of happiness.
Love you all.
Sister Hancock      

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hey Family.
So that sickness I had, ended up being the dengue virus. I wouldn't have lived like a true Filipino if I didn't experience dengue before I left. I think these sicknesses here are like the closeness I've ever felt to death. For real this last week I was ready to throw in the towel and meet my maker. But, I suppose I still have things to do in my life, like finish my mission, so I've been granted a second life.
So Penafrancia is over. This weekend was crazy. All of our lessons were cancelled, so we went and stood on a curb and gave out pass-a-long cards to the multitudes throbbing to see INA. It looks like other religions had the same idea to save some people from selling their soul to the golden woman. There were a lot of protestors with banners, telling people things like "Hell is Horrible! Repent!" or quoting the bible about idol worshiping. We of coarse didn't go to the extreme of protesting..haha couldn't you imagine. But the whole Ina worshiping was shocking. On Saturday, she took float on the big river that flows through Naga, then when she takes Land, people go crazy to touch her. One of our investigators explained the experience when he touched INA. He said its very dangerous because all the men get drunk, and fight each other off to get to her. Many people have died in the mob. He said that was a testimony to him the Idol was NOT a holy edifice, due to all the swearing and un-Christlike acts committed around it.
I don't know how successful it was passing out flyers, we'll see if anyone contacts us. Many people weren't that friendly to us. My companion compared it to fishing. When low-tide, you can catch a lot, When its High-tide you don't really catch anything. So I suppose the high-tide rush of people wasn't the greatest "finding" approach, but ya live and ya learn right.
Oh and Ma, to make you feel better, in my opinion its good that you bought the pleather scriptures for Cory. General Authorities Daw have counseled us to get a new pair of scriptures often. The many times you read them, there are different revelations or ways to mark and read a pair. I want to get a new pair of scriptures soon. So sayang naman ang leather scriptures ko that dad bought me. Oh and Corys scriptures, what size is that??? Small or Medium? And what would you like? there are different kinds of made scripture cases here. The members do businesses like this. One member makes nice leather scripture cases. What would you have written on it? scripture, name, mission? any logos? Then there is another type of case, water proof I think, its really nice and sleek looking. Thats what I use. Its plastic I think. Then there is another kind that is like.. wool type of fabric. Really durable... or if he has the little scriptures I could get one made out of bamboo leaves. But I need to know ASAP, because these members are from different places around bicol and I need to inform them to make a scripture case, hopefully done in time before I go home. Which reminds me, do you know if I can bring a chair home? Random question...but my investigator told me her husband is making me a chair, so when I'm home I can sit in it and think of their family. I told her I have no idea how i'd bring it home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hey Family,
So I've been fighting a pretty bad virus with a temp of 101 the past 4 days. I'm kinda dizzy writing this right now, but i feel I'm on the upside. This morning I got an xray. Not for my sickness, but all the missionaries going home have to get checked to see if we're bringing home a certain disease. hoorah for health.
This week we are looking forward to the PinaFrancia Festival. This is the Biggest Festival to ever hit the Bicol Region. Our week is going to be crazy. We've got Parades, Idol worshipping, and Parties to look forward to. People fly in all over the Philippines for this. Naga is going to be a packed house. This celebration is for their Idol called "Ina". Shes a golden triangle women that represents Mama Mary. She gets paraded around, and people believe if you touch her she will heal you from your sicknesses. Word on the street is she cries blood, others say its just water. But that's what people try to touch to be healed. You would think a Catholic country would follow the 10 commandments, namely number 2 Thou shalt not make unto thee any in graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God. On every Catholic church they have the 10 Commandments out front of the church, although they have removed the second commandment, and split the 10th one in half. What a perverse thing to do to. We plan on teaching a lot of 10 commandment lessons this week, and hopefully save some people from sinning.
Well, we've got SOO many progressing investigators. Maybe because we keep asking and asking, so God decided to get a dump truck and gather all the elect up and pour them out right in our pathway. About 3 weeks ago we met a man named Vicinti Ponon. When we met him on the street he was drunk. He said he had spent years searching for the true church. Gone to church at different denominations, yet said he has not yet found the true church. He was quite funny, and a had to hold in my giggles as he reenacted all his bad church experiences. We then told him we came bearing a message of truth. That this is what he has been looking for. We gave him a pamphlet, and took his name and address. He kissed the pamphlet and walked off. Well, two days later we decided to follow up on him. So we found his house, and he was rather surprised we returned for him. He had read the pamphlet and was eager to know more. The next couple days visiting with him, he vouched that he'd stop smoking and drinking. He even wrote on a big piece of paper Cigarettes, Alcohol, God. There was a big X next to the 2 vices, and then a Big Check Mark next to God. This was his promise that he would quit. He's attending church, and wants to be baptized! His long time search has finally come to an end. He's found the right pathway, and fighting to stay on it. He's such a sweet old man. He buys us Ginatan every visit, which I really really dislike. I tell him each time "next time, or I'm still full" But he tells us, "only the best for my sisters" So I still down and eat an entire bowl. Then afterward he loads us in his padjak and he peddles us to the highway. These type of experiences are priceless. I'm just soaking them all up now. Its going to be real real real hard leaving.
Love you all,
Sister Hancock      

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dear Family,
Transfer Announcements. My last area will be......... NAGA 3. No transfer between Sis. Tanodra and I! I'm going 7 months here in Naga! That makes one year in one zone. I'm happy about it. Love the work, members, investigators, my companion, area ect. I've really seen this area flourish, and have made the best of the situation that was first given to me 6 months ago. I couldn't ask for a better place to finish my mission. I feel like there are certain investigators here that I still need to help. This area has been and still is shaping me into a better person. It's lengthened my patience, hope, and my smooth out my over all character. I'll just share with you all more in depth about my learning experiences here when I see you next month.
Sister Tanodra and I keep getting tried and tried here. But we are enjoying every minute of it. On Saturday, we had 6 set appointments, a baptismal interview, and just in case set 6 back up plans of referrals and following up on tracting. Left the house at 9 am and entered at 9 pm. We squeezed every minute out of our day. Although all the juice we squeezed must have evaporated in the suns heat. By the end of the night we still hadn't taught a lesson. We bounced from place to place being rejected from appointment to backup then to appointment to backup. Even our baptismal interview fell through due to conflict with her schedule. But.... Sister Tanodra and I never felt discouraged! We smiled and kept our upbeat attitude the entire day. Our hope never failed. Even til the last minute, we kept hope in the people outside. Even though our day left us empty handed, we never stopped hoping through planning our next days events, and then waking up the next morning. I really appreciate our attitude we have together. Sister Tanodra and I looked over our transfer together, and recalled our success together. What an incredible transfer. Not one wasted minute. We never felt a glimpse of sadness. Excited to go out every day, side by side and work together. I'm just so incredibly happy.
Yea. Gotta love my ghetto city area. I guess to make my letters more interesting, I'll tell a story that happened yesterday.
While visiting a recent convert family, every one in the Barangay got ordered by the police to get out of their homes and gather in the street. 3 gang members were having a shoot out with the police, because they were trying to bust them for drugs. We all huddled together and watched the policemen rade the houses to catch the men. They wanted everyone outside so the men wouldn't enter someones home and take them hostage. They finally caught them, and we were able to go inside our homes and continue the visit. Man, this place is the king of places for distractions. You know in my entire mission, I have yet to experience a lesson with no interruptions. There's either children running screaming, chicken flying in and out, neighbors radio blaring, rain pounding on a tin roof, brown-outs, I could go on and on and on. Last night, we were having an incredibly powerful lesson with a less active (all the while his children hanging clothes on the ceiling, and cooking rice) Then suddenly a drunk guy over hearing our conversation outside bursts in through the window, and ended up non-stop talking for 10 minutes. Welp. What can ya do? Just pray that they remember the spirit they felt before the interruption.
Anyway. Merry Christmas! yes, its Christmas time in the Philippines. People here get a little to excited about the holidays. We've already started singing Christmas songs, and right now the mall is blaring "walking in a winter wonder land."
That's all I have time for now. Love you all,
Sister Hancock