April 5th E-Mail

Date: April 05, 2010
Area: Burgos
Companion: Elder Abitria from the Philippines. Living also with him is Elder Saet & Elder Ward


 April has got to be one of the best months of the year for several reasons. We get to celebrate Easter and the Resurrection of Our Savior Jesus Christ. The words, "He is not here, but is risen" have got to be the most hopeful words in the world. I love that Easter is always around the same time as General Conference.

I'm sure you have all had an amazing, spiritually uplifting weekend. We here in the Philippines get to listen in to all the sessions next Saturday and Sunday. I have not yet read the e-mails, but will after I write and then maybe I'll get back on and respond. I am excited to see those Conference shots of the flowers on temple square marking the end of winter.

Then this April 6 will be the be 180 years since the organization of the church. 6 official members. Look at this Marvelous Work and a Wonder now. Truly the stone is rolling forth to fill the whole earth.

What a great month April is. I miss that wonderful spring weather in Utah. When I first got off the plane here I thought to myself, "This isn't that bad." Then I walked outside of the air-conditioned airport and took back the remarks as I began to drip with sweat.

Manila took me by surprise. We got in a car and we were driven to a bus stop. There are tons of huge buildings. It was crazy! Then the driving was just like I heard, scarier than heck. I was too tired to be worried. The driving here reminds me of that Sunday School story of the horses where 2 get close to the edge and 1 stays far away. The drivers here represent the 2 horses. The drivers are talented in the fact that they come within centimeters of solid objects and don't get in a wreck.

Many of the houses here are made from that brick [cinder block] that we but under the tires of the trailer. Some of the poorer house are made from bamboo, with hay-like stuff as the roof. People are constantly burning their trash and other things to do with farming. We got a work out washing our cloths one day and hung them up to dry, and someone lit a fire and gave our cloths a great smell. I would pay a million pesos for a washing machine. All the fires remind me of the many camp-outs I've been on, many of them with you dad. Scouts, father and sons, hunting, just for fun, ext.

Anytime we go into someone's house they give up their seats for you, even if they are 80 years old. They will try to get up and sit on the ground so you can have a place to sit. The dogs here must have come from the dogs off of the movie I Am Legend. Dogs and chickens and ducks roam the streets. It is funny to watch when two roosters get into a fight.

Many people here have cell phones and Coke. Small family stores are everywhere, kinda like candy shacks. The areas are set up into baraks or something like that and there are 7 I think in Burgos. No free range grazing here, cows are tied up to a rope and stake in the ground.

The other night there was a wedding and it went from 5pm to about 5 pm the next day, music going the whole time, all of Burgos could hear. Elder Ward and Saet attended a funeral. I heard that was interesting. They would be pro Tetris players here, seeing as they are able to stuff people into Jeepneys when you think it is not possible. There is no such thing as a full Jeepney.

They have a Jollybee in Roxas, it is a fast food chain here. They have burgers, spaghetti, rice, chicken, ext. They have these mango pies that are amazing. The mangos are way Masarap.

Like Coke, Avon seems to be everywhere. I think of you mom, these people love Avon. It also reminds me of Elder Holland. He was speaking to missionaries and talking about Mosiah 27:18-19, how the earth shook and Alma the Younger was astonished after seeing an angle. He said as missionaries we need to be better at astonishing our investigators. Then he said his wife has an Avon lady who is more astonishing than some missionaries. The Avon lady is more persistent and more diligent. He asked, can't we as missionaries be at least as astonishing as an Avon lady.

The sport of choice up here is basketball, no soccer that I've seen. So next time when someone says "Everywhere else but America the biggest sport is soccer" tell them not true.

On Good Friday the place shut down. Everyone has fans and on all the walls these things called butikies crawl around. They are like the lizards at Lake Powell or Moab. Sister Sapongay cooks the best food, along with many of the people here, and Im not just saying that.

I'm convinced many missionaries go somewhere on a mission and come back swearing that the nastiest food is good. I'm a picky eater, and I would probably choose a Cafe Rio over a lot of stuff here, but honestly there are also some things here that beat Cafe Rio. The food here is good. I'm not starving.

We gave the soft commitment of baptism to the Calling-Calling family. Nobody died, nobody got killed, nobody got offended, but a father and mother of 7 kids said yes to entering into the path of eternal life, along with several of their kids who are older than 8. Now they only need to be sure of one thing... When I woke up Sunday morning I looked at the clock and realized that you (Dad) were getting ready to go and set up chairs, and make sure everything was ready to go at the stake center for Priesthood Session.

One of the most powerful things would be when we as priesthood holders across the world would sing, "Praise to the Man." There is something about that song that brings the spirit so strong. A boy, 14 years old, uneducated, a farmer, had a question. He pondered his question, he searched the scriptures for an answer and then he prayed. He received an answer to his question. God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith.

Several years later Moroni told him that his name would be had for good and evil among all nations. A simple farm boy, and now, here I am on the other side of the world from where the First Vision happened being part of the fulfilment of those words of Moroni.

A church, that started April 6, 1830, with 6 members, in a land of religious freedom, has grown to millions across the world who have a testimony of Joseph Smith, including the Sabongay family and hopefully the Calling-Calling family.

Truth has been restored to the earth, we have a living prophet today. "Praise to the man who communed with Jehovah." Thank you for your e-mail last week dad and for having me read about Joseph of Egypt. I also love getting those detailed e-mails from you and mom. Thanks Steve, for your letter, it's just what I needed.

Love you all. -Elder Hale


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