"Bawal, Brother!"

[How much do things cost there? Is it easy or a struggle to keep on budget?]
Things here really are super cheap. The only thing more expensive are the American imported things. I spend about $10 on grocery's for an entire week. 

[We saw that your mission is one that has been affected by the new Zika mosquito virus.  Have you heard of it? Because of mosquito borne illnesses, the church has modified it's dress standards during rainy season.  Sister are now allowed to wear dress pants in certain missions. Including all the Philippines' missions.] Yeah.. I don't really know anymore than you do about the whole pants and mosquito thing.. I'll keep you posted though. 

5-16-16 (Monday)

Today was such a fun happy day! P-Day is always a fun day, but work tonight was so fun and spiritual. We taught [an investigator] about the Book of Mormon and praying to know the truth.. Oh my word, the Spirit was so strong.  I hope he continues to have a receptive heart because there's a lot of things he needs to change in his life. I swear everyone here has a problem with the Word of Wisdom.  I think I'm very grateful I don't have the ability to smell so I don't have to smell cigarettes all the time.. (; 

We also did a lot of OYM's [Open Your Mouth street contacting] today which I really enjoyed! I like practicing my Tagalog while getting to see how open some people are to listen to our message.  It's always an exciting thing talking to people when they all go wide eyed because I make them think I can speak Tagalog..But then they slowly realize I only know those get-to-know-you questions and once I know their name and where they're from I'm usually out of sentences that are grammatically correct. (; But I like that people are nice and appreciate I'm trying to learn their language.

5-17-16 (Tuesday)

I honestly don't know what to write about today.. Today just flew by! Sister Ming and Sister Mary Rose worked with us so that made things extra fun. (; We did get 30 OYM's today though, so that was pretty awesome! I am pretty worried we will run out of people to OYM in a couple weeks because Aguilar really is a small town.  Today really was a happy day and I think it was extra happy because it was cloudy and very little rain. So.. It wasn't super hot or annoyingly rainy. (;

5-18-16 (Wednesday)

Elder Ah Hong, ako [me], Sister Alpino,
Elder Key, and Elder Dela Gracia in the back.
I was sooo tired today! But it wasn't exactly a sleepy or exhausted tired, just a mentally tired.  I can't wait till it's easy to have a conversation with people in Tagalog. But I'm getting better at making the people we talk to on the streets think I really can speak Tagalog.. I feel pretty accomplished when that happens. (; Also.. I really truly love Sister Alpino so much! She's got such a strong and loving testimony. She's so good at being bold and loving while teaching repentance. Like today, we have this LA, [Less Active] who was talking about how she doesn't come to church because she was offended. So Sister Alpino just talked about how no one is perfect and even if people are offense [offended], our faith in Christ should be strong enough to go to church anyway.  And shared the scripture that talks about how God will forgive whom He will forgive but we need to forgive everyone. Now that is teaching repentance! It was very bold but even more loving that [our less active] even texted us after we left thanking us for coming to visit.  I love missionary work, I really do.  And it makes it even more enjoyable when you have a companion that you would be friends with even if you weren't forced to be friends. (;

5-19-16 (Thursday)

Today we focused on teaching RCLA lessons; which is always nice because it's easier to remind people what they believe(d) than to teach people something completely new.  But.. Today was a bit rough emotionally.  It's so heartbreaking having to beg people to come back to church when they've made such sacred covenants [in the temple] and once knew the importance of their covenants and enduring to the end. Teaching a certain family was so heart breaking for me.  The whole family was just sealed together in 2012. Most of the family is still active but [the father] is inactive and I just wanted so badly to lovingly beat some sense into his brain! I just want them to have the happy united family relationship I know they could/used to have.

5-20-16 (Friday)

Today we had the blitz in the other Sister's area, so I got to work in my old area again. (: That was pretty fun to go to San Jose again and do OYM's there.  I've noticed I have no problem talking to strangers and introducing myself, but I don't think my OYM's are very effective because I can never remember people's names. Their names are crazy AND they have such thick accents that I cannot even understand.  And to make it worse.. I'll ask them to spell it so I can write it down, but then I can't even understand what letter they're saying! Haha, ang hirap ng buhay! [life is hard] (; Other than that, life's great! (; Even though I'm sooo tired ALLL the time again! I feel like I'm as tired as I was when I was a trainee.  I guess training makes you tired no matter what side of the training scale you're on! ;D

5-21-16 (Saturday)

Today was a happy day.  We didn't do a whole lot, but we did get to take Nanay Alejandra to Rene's baptism.  I thoroughly enjoyed that experience! I loved how happy Alejandra was and that she said she's excited for her own baptism.  Woo baby, I'm excited too! ;D It was also fun to witness Brother Rene's baptism because he was one of my investigators when I was in Aguilar 2B. 

Also.. I think I've reached the point that I don't like writing in my journal anymore.. But I've never missed a night my entire mission and I am 100% determined to keep it that way. (:

5-22-16 (Sunday)

Today was packed with fun things. (; First! Nanay Alejandra came to church two hours early because she doesn't have a clock! Hahaha! :D Oh man, that is some serious dedication to make sure she's at church on time! I just love her. She's the cutest old Nanay ever! 

Second! We were able to bring Annamarie and Trisha to church for their first time and they seemed to enjoy it a lot. I was also very impressed with how well the members fellow shipped Annamarie and helped her feel more comfortable about having a two year old and a two month baby at church.  It made me really happy the members helped her enjoy church so much.  

Also..Third! Justin came to church today for the first time since his confirmation in January. Woo baby! I was so happy to see him! It's always been pretty uncomfortable for me knowing the first baptism I was able to help happen went less active the Sunday after his confirmation so it made me happy to see Justin at church again and talk to him a lot better than I did when I was teaching him my first week in the field. (; 

And the best/funniest part about today was in our lesson with a Sister. Her 40+ year old son came in super drunk and when he saw me he jumped and went back outside. Then after a while he came back in and sat down and was just so funny! I didn't know what to do in that situation because we were teaching his mom a very spiritual lesson about the Book of Mormon, but I knew we're supposed to stay away from drunk people. So.. We just started to wrap up the lesson, but not insanely quick because he is a silly and kind kind of drunk. But while we were wrapping things up, he just kept talking about how much he loves Jesus and his family. He was like "I really do love Jesus. Even though I'm drunk, I love him because I know he loves me." Oh my word, that whole situation was hilarious to me! He even spoke in great English..while drunk.. so I was pretty impressed. Haha. 

I ended up giving him a word of wisdom pamphlet and asked when we could come back. He said "Saturday or Sunday, but Sunday would be great because that's the Lord's day. Even though I'm drunk, I still knew it's the Lord's day." I was like "yes it is! So next Sunday we'll all go to church! (;" Sinabi niya [He said] "Okay, okay! What time!? I'll be ready! I'll wait for you to come get me." Oh my word the whole situation was just so dang funny to me! 

But the best part was while he was constantly talking about how much he loves Jesus he would do the whole raise your hands in the air Hallelujah thing. I was dying! Then after we were getting up and saying goodbye, he put his arm around his mom and kissed her cheek, then put his other arm around me and went to hug me and I just froze! I had no idea what to do in that situation. Luckily Sister Arpino was quick and knew he was going in for a hug. She grabbed his arm and yelled "Bawal [taboo], Brother!" He's like "Ayyy! ope pasensya! [Ooops! yes patience]" And once we finally got away, Sister Alpino and I died laughing! Oh my word it was hilarious! I bet it was just one of those things you had to be there for, but I'm telling you it was the funniest thing ever! ;D