Monday, May 24, 2010

June's almost here.

Dear Family-

Elder Franciscus Jacobus Muller III is alive and kicking here in Calamba 2nd ward-and that is definitely a surprise. Why do I say this? Because this week was pure drama week. Never before have I had to deal with so much drama in one week. I thought that you became disinterested in drama when you reached 18…or 30 (ill explain later)…but NOPE. Ill just stop rambling and go straight into why this week was pure drama.

It started with this family that we are teaching. The mother and her sister were baptized before I got here, but we are teaching her 2 daughters. They are my favorite family here in Calamba and quite possibly one of the favorites in my mission. They are kind of like a home away from home. The mom is 30, her sister is 17, and the two girls we are teaching are 11 and 9. I love them to death, but they are all drama queens. When Duco left he didn’t tell them-he wrote them a letter which I gave them. When I gave it to them they exploded on me and yelled at me because I didn’t tell them. I told them that Duco didn’t want me to tell them and they said that it didn’t matter, there are no secrets between us and them. They are a little weird, ill admit, but when they aren’t mad they are pretty normal. The 30 year old has had A LOT of problems in her life like really traumatizing stuff that has kind of left her scared of the world, and the 17 year old is close with her family and the missionaries, but no one else. You all following me?? Ok. I am gonna give some background real quick so you all understand. Being a missionary, one of my favorite lessons to teach is eternal marriage (that’s not stereotypical at all…), but not for the regular reasons. The doctrine goes deeper than a lot of people know-deeper than the “RM syndrome.” Well, the other Sunday Elder De Leon was teaching about the Lord’s covenant people and explaining the importance of covenants…one of them being the new and everlasting covenant. Church ended and we went our ways. Still following me? After the lesson we taught to the little girls that night the mom came and sat down and was like elders I need to be honest with you all cause we have no secrets between us. I was like ok go ahead dude, whatever floats your boat. She was like church is a formal place. I was like that it is that it is. She was like and you elders minimize the importance of church by bringing your love life into your work. I am pretty sure I started choking on my own spit at this point and I was like woah woah WOAH stop the train. What in the 2 Nephi 9:34 do you mean? She told us that we bring our love lives into our teachings at church and that we were the English equivalent of giddy. I was like how do we do that? She was like you taught about marriage in church. I was like uh, ate, Eternal marriage is a doctrinal based in revelation given to us through Joseph Smith. I am stoked to get married in the house of the lord-the most beautiful place on the whole planet. She was like even if you were happy you shouldn’t have mentioned marriage. I was offended and I am sure other people were too. I was like so…you don’t want us to teach about marriage. She was like you know what I hate elder? I hate prideful and hypocritical people who say they will take advice when they really don’t want it. I was like ate what in the world? We mentioned eternal marriage because it is doctrine. I’m sorry if I am excited to start a family. We are taking your advice, but you have to realize something-we are gonna teach doctrine whether it offends people or not. Being missionaries, we aren’t gonna say or do something before thinking about it (man do things change when you serve a mission…). We know the possible effects of our teachings, and we accept that the truth may offend some people. In the words of Nephi relating one of the most significant truths of our time-

And it came to pass that I said unto them that I knew that I had spoken hard things against the wicked, according to the truth; and the righteous have I justified, and testified that they should be lifted up at the last day; wherefore, the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center. And now my brethren, if ye were righteous and were willing to hearken to the truth, and give heed unto it, that ye might walk uprightly before God, then ye would not murmur because of the truth, and say: Thou speakest hard things against us. (1 Nephi 16:2-3)

Obviously, the circumstance in which he said it was different, but this woman was offended because she associated love life with marriage, and because we taught about marriage she thought we were giddy. We were like thank you Ate, we will try to cut all elements out that may have offended you, but we aren’t gonna apologize for our doctrine-no matter how offensive it might be to you. She then looked me square in the eye and said, literally translated “oh really? Too bad. I thought you were like Elder Duco and Elder Call-willing to take advice. Its late now-you should go.” Elder De Leon and I were just sitting there in awe. Where in the world did this come from? Because I said “wooot” when Elder De Leon mentioned marriage? We went to shake her hand and she literally punched my hand and was like leave. I was like uh…ok. We returned back there a couple nights ago and the same girl sat down and was like Elder Muller, I have to be serious with you. I was like oh jeez…here we go again. Elder, please keep your hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times and try to enjoy the ride. Ate was like Elder Muller, I was not angry with you, I was angry with Elder De Leon cause he is prideful. I was like how does that work ate haha I was the one who answered for us? She was like it doesn’t matter he is prideful. Elder De Leon apologized and she was like oh its ok:DD We were like uh…ok. Well, despite the fact that you just chastised us, called us prideful, told us to leave, we tried to apologize and you wouldn’t accept it…we still love your family to death. What happened in the past happened in the past-just drop it. SO, now everything is a bowl of cherries and her two daughters (the 11 and the 9 year old) are gonna get baptized on Saturday which I am way excited for. They are gonna look absolutely beautiful in their little white outfits (not to sound like a creeper). I have been teaching them for coming up on 12 weeks now. Stuff kept happening so we post poned their baptismal goal date back and back and back until the time has finally arrived. WOOOOOOOOOOOT!!!!!!!!!! Andrea, the 9 year old, is like a sister to me, and Catriona is like the neighborhood kid you grow up with haha. They are awesome. So that happened.

One of our zone leaders hates Americans with a passion. He bags on Americans, America, Utah, and everything English every chance he can get (and yet he is gonna go to BYU Hawaii…uh…I don’t get it-how does that work?). He blew up something that happened and separated our zone to Americans vs. Pilipinos which caused A LOT of stress but things are fixed now so it doesn’t really matter. Grudges are overrated so there is no sense in keeping them! That is all I am gonna say about that matter. Ugh…I hate stress.

I learned something else from Elder De Leon this week. He frequently gets really bad head aches which put him in a REALLY bad mood. When he gets in a bad mood he is…not the easiest to get along with. At a lesson we taught yesterday the lady comment about how I talk a lot (joking) and he was like yea, he has a lot to say, but doesn’t understand any of it (implying that I don’t understand Tagalog.) I sat there and got frustrated for a bit, but then decided that it was not important at all to get mad over because the investigators know I speak Tagalog. Man, the Lord really seems to be pounding into my head stuff about patience and conquering my temper. I have patience with little children…not with people. I learned something valuable that day. His headaches happen every single day, and he says really rude stuff to me whenever he gets headaches, but I still love him for who he is and I understand that sometimes we can be at wits end which makes it easy to yell and scream at people. Obviously I can yell at him and say not nice things and go running to my zone leaders, but it isn’t worth it. When someone says something hurtful, let it go in one ear and out the other. Its not important. Sarcasm can be funny-it can make bad weather turn sunny…but if said to hurt someone one, it can dig a hole in a relationship that can be hard to cover up. Don’t EVER say something sarcastic when you are mad-you will regret it. I used to be the master of saying things before I thought about them…and it caused A LOT of problems in A LOT of my relationships with my friends and when I look back at it I ask myself why? To get the last word in? To have the last say? “How dare he say that to me…”? Guess what? We DON’T need to have the last word in. Hymn 235 is one of my favorites and it applies amazingly here-the last line of the first verse: “ …many words in anger spoken, find their passage home again.” So true. The gospel rocks my size 13 socks.

Many other stuff happened this week, but I have no time to type about them cause it is late and we have appointments to go to. Life here is amazing. The ability I have to spread the gospel is one of the greatest blessings I have ever had in my life. I hope you all are doing well. Haha sorry this email kind of sucks…time is on the shorter side:/ I love you all like lucky (the guy on the lucky charms box) likes using his irish magic to escape his credit collectors:D



Aka Elder Muller

Ps-ha-sorry for real. My email is weak sauce this week. Next week I am going to Enchanted Kingdom (the only amusement park in the Philippines) for p-day so that will be awesome. Ill try to rock you all with an amazing email next week:D

pss-sorry mom, no pics this week. But, I do have a memory card of 300 pictures to send home sometime soon:D

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

a few miscellaneous Pictures

Happy Spring!

Dear Family-

Kamusta na kayo, and hello from Calamba City!!! Life here continues to amaze me, as I wake up every day with a pocketful of sunshine:D

Last Thursday the APs came and worked with De Leon and me and another companionship and it was so much fun. We had appointments scheduled for every possible minute of the day with back up appointments scheduled for every half minute…and we got punted at every single one except for one haha but it was so much fun. When we were walking back to our meeting place after we were done, we crossed a college campus where there was this plaza meeting place thing-kind of like the hang out spot. There were these guys gathered in the middle break dancing and it was quite possibly the coolest thing I have seen in my life haha. I totally asked if I could record them and they said yes so I did and the second I started the show began haha. The first guy looked like he was training for the Olympic gymnastic horse thing-he was way talented. The second guy bounced up and down doing one handed handstand push-up things, the third guy did some dance thing, and the forth guy went all out with all these flips cheerleader style. After they were all done (and breathing harder than an Olympic runner) they looked at us kind of expectantly so I was like ok you guys want to see something amazing, watch this and I walked to the center of the plaza (with the whole college watching-something I didn’t know), sat on my butt, and spun around a couple times obviously joking…apparently the whole college thought it was the funniest thing since ALF. It was a good time haha. Then, we met up with our group (in order to give Byers back) and while they were talking I bought a water bottle, drank it, and started twisting it. The water bottles here have a little top so if you twist the water bottle enough to trap the air in the top and increase the pressure, you can shoot the top off way fast. Well, I do it all the time and so I didn’t think anything of it…or where I was aiming it and I shot it off and it shot a good 20 feet and nailed this girl right in her back. I blame it on the northeastern wind gust that happened to arrive right as I shot it…:/

Friday was a tough day. I noticed early in the morning that something wasn’t right with De Leon but I didn’t say anything because he is NOT a morning person. The further we went through the day the more ornery he got until we got home that night and started cooking. The next day was our national service day so I asked if we were gonna attend and he went off on all these crazy assumptions about my relationship with my ward and my salvation. Needless to say, I took it hook, line, and sinker and didn’t take it very well so I questioned him about his assumptions and it only turned into a clash of the titans. For not speaking English very well that kid can use sarcasm like no other:/ One of the things I have learned on my mission is that when you get mad at someone, there is NO purpose on dwelling on it. Fix it and forget about it. That’s it. Its not that hard to do. So, after the next sarcastic world war he went upstairs and I went into the back room to wash my garments. As I was washing I was thinking about how easily I had gotten angry and how I had no basis to get angry and I was trying to think about the easiest way to fix things. When things go wrong between me and someone, I have to fix it. I hate that awkward not speaking to each other trash-its useless. As I was sitting there scrubbing a thought came into my mind out of nowhere. “Hug him.” I was like whoa whoa whoa, wait a minute. That kid just mad FAT accusations about my entire foundation of work here in Calamba and I merely questioned him about it and I am supposed to be the one to take the blame and it came into my head again “hug him.” I was like ok, you’re the boss. I have learned the hard way not to ignore promptings that come into your head-but to do them right away, so I finished my paglalaba (washing) and he came down (he heard me clean the botsha-a big tub-out and so he knew I was done) and he was like are you done and I was like yes. That was it. He walked in the room and started filling up the tub and I walked to the doorway and was like elder come here and he was like why and I was like just come here. He walked to the doorway and I gave him the fattest hug I have ever given to anyone (which was really hard and kind of weird 1)because he is like 5’4” 2)because the washing room floor is 4 inches below the kitchen floor and 3)because I was rocking garments and he was only in a towel) and the biggest feeling of gratitude for him came over me like a tidal wave. We are 7X better friends now than we were when we first met at transfer day and were way stoked for our transfer together. Saturday and Sunday I was thinking about what happened and going over it in my head and I came to realize that losing one’s temper just might be one of the biggest signs of weaknesses known to man. I used to think that power comes from a booming voice, and harsh words, but I see now it comes from meekness. We all have stuff that frustrates us-we are all human. Saying people don’t get frustrated is like saying people don’t get sad when a family member dies. With this said, when a family member dies it doesn’t ruin your life. You don’t fall into a depression for 17 years and seclude yourself from the world. When something frustrates you, you shouldn’t let it pick at you until you lose your temper and either say or do something that you will most likely regret later down the road. When you are angry it clouds your mind; you cant think straight and your thought pattern revolves around how you were wronged and what you can do to “get even” with a person. Anger is a pathetic emotion. It’s a tool and we all know whose tool it is. Its not worth it. When I am angry, I am wasting precious time that I could be using thinking about how delicious skittles are, or about how Grand Teton National Park is my favorite place in the world. Tsk tsk tsk. It’s kind of like every time we don’t get angry it’s a victory for the Lord’s forces…and a fat smack in Satan’s face!!

Do you all remember that story that I told you about the iglesian community? The people that harassed our investigator to the point that she had to stop taking our lessons because it was causing her husband and her to fight? Well, she came to church on Sunday which was amazing!!!! A couple days before we went back to the community to tract where this lady lives to get to know the people and we saw someone we know and so we went and said hi. Keep in mind the cumulative conversation time of all our conversations with this lady that we knew was like 10 minutes. We came up to her and greeted her and she immediately was like im sorry, im closed to all other religions. We were like well good morning to you too sunshine:D how are you doing? She was like sorry. We were like ok wait a minute, we just want to come say hi to you and see how you are doing. She was like yea but after you left the iglesian missionaries came by and told me that my parents were iglesian, my neighbors are iglesian, and I AM iglesian. I looked at Elder De Leon and we had to hold back a laugh. Iglesia Ni Cristo (that is the name of the church) keeps its members under lock and key to the outside world. They cant talk with anyone of another religion, they cant worship at another church, they cant enter another church, they cant marry out of their religion-and any violation of these results in excommunication. Their founder (now this is interesting)…felix something…was a member of the seventy (yes our seventy) at one point and wanted to become part of the quorum of the twelve and offered to buy his way in. Obviously that’s not the way we work and he got pissed and left the church and created his own church. 95% of their doctrine is the same as ours. They have a temple in Manila. They do baptisms for the dead and other temple work. Their founder took the doctrine and covenants with him and combined it with the exhisting king james bible to get “The New King James Bible.” Felix claims to have seen a vision where God the Father and his Son appeared to him and restored the church…hmm that sounds oddly familiar. They have lured members into their buildings and killed them and we have been warned to be careful because if they see you as a threat, they will kill you. Well, right before the founder died he recorded himself admitting he lied about everything and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the only true church on the face of the planet…but after his death his son, wanting to inherit the bankroll position of president of their church, destroyed the tape. So, here we are with this pathetic church that is a fake remake of the one church of Christ on the planet. Anyways, they dispatched their missionaries after we left to inform the lady that she was forbidden to hear about us. A lot of people here are religious because their friends are, or their parents are. “I was born _____ and ill die _____” is commonly said here. We told the lady that we believe in agency and the freedom to choose and she was like no, its not like that, I choose to be iglesian because my neighbors and family is iglesian. We were like we also believe that a person’s religion should depend on them, and not their neighbor, mom, brother, dog, or hair stylist. She was like no its not like that…uh…it doesn’t matter, im iglesian and im not changing. We asked her what her beliefs were if she was die hard iglesian (and because we truly wanted to know) and she couldn’t tell us. Anyways, the minister in that area controls the lives of the people who live there. When our investigator left yesterday to come to church he ran up to her and stopped her and was like WHERE ARE YOU GOING? She was like uh…to the market…and he was like are you sure, you aren’t going anywhere else? That is the things that iglesians do. The lady that I mentioned earlier, the one that got the swat missionaries sent to her asked her if our investigator had gone to church “at us” and we were like why does it matter? She can do what ever she wants-she does have freedom. The lady couldn’t leave it alone.

Anyways, that story was kind of jumbled and such, but it was the lowdown of what went down at three different times at three different places and how they connected. Basic moral of the story-Iglesia Ni Cristo is something else:/ They have one building in Utah…

Side note-I saw a pug with a diaper on it yesterday.

Yesterday we went to this awesome family of 9 to teach them. Nuwemy (one of our single adults that works with us every Sunday) came with us, as did 2 other sisters and so we were the mormon brigade of 5 ready to rock people with the gospel. All three of them have enormous testimonies and they are all over 20 so its not like little kids who are like “I know the church is true amen” they give legit additions to our lessons. We went to this family (who have a pet monkey. Its TIGHT. I took some pictures and tried to hold him, but he showed his teeth at me and yelled something in monkey so I was like uh do what you want champ, just don’t fling poop at me or something. We taught the lesson and at the end I told them about the restoration and it was almost like a 500 pound weight dropped on the bench they were sitting at. It was so powerful. Elder De Leon is way shy so I do most of the talking-plus I am “big and really really loud” so people listen when I say stuff (hopefully:/). The feeling I get when I look people in the eye and tell them about the restoration is one I will never forget. I am so blessed that the Lord sees me worthy enough to hold the sacred gift of the Holy ghost, and that he allows him to accompany us to our lessons. Without the holy ghost, our teachings are nothing. There is nothing that makes us different-but when he is present wooooOOOOO!!! He drops fat bombshells on people. That lesson was solid awesomeness. Haha then, one of our sisters was standing under Redford(that is the monkey’s name) and she started to scream. I was like what in the world so I turned around and it turns out good old Redford had a full bladder…and was releasing it. Luckilly she jumped out of the way before au de monkey pee made her nice and fragrant.

Although the news about grandma is not the happiest, I cant help but think of things from another perspective. Being here on earth, we are subject to things that we can’t fully understand. Disease takes the lives of children across the globe every second. Mothers die shortly after childbirth leaving a new father alone with his child. People murder one another taking a sibling, father, son, and grandson. Hearing about grandma’s condition obviously plucks the heartstrings, but a story comes to mind. I know you all already know this, but I cant help but rehearse it in my mind. The story of Alma and Amulek is one to be counted amongst the literary masterpieces of the world. It provides so many principles that we can draw from and base our lives around. One thing that has left a mark on me is when they are trying to teach the people of Ammonihah-a city in which, “Satan had gotten great hold upon the hearts of the people.” It was a city of pure sin-one of the worst in the history of the Book of Mormon. Their experience was thus-

“And they brought their wives and children together, and whosoever believed or had been taught to believe in the word of God they caused that they should be cast into the fire; and they also brought forth their records which contained the holy scriptures, and cast them into the fire also, that they might be burned and destroyed by fire. And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of martyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire. And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames. But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgements which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.”

So, Alma and Amulek had to stand by and see the people they loved die around them. Ha, that hasn’t happened to me, but I’m not so sure I could just chill there sipping some hot chocolate while the people I was closest too were burned to death, but is it not the same thing as when people are taken from this earth? What they say next has changed my outlook on everything about death…

“Now Amulek said unto Alma: Behold, perhaps they will burn us also. And Alma said: Be it according to the will of the Lord.”

That is a powerful statement. Be it according to the will of the Lord. It has to be hard seeing Grandma take the turns that she is doing, but it is according to the will of the Lord. I love her with all my heart, but I know the Lord loves her more and he knows what she is going through. What an amazing blessing the restored gospel is! Keep hanging in there. I don’t have to see her decline, but I know it cant be easy. She has been one of the biggest influences in my life and has a place in my heart forever. I cant help but smile when I think about when we would “go over to grandma’s for dinner” when we lived on the east coast. Please tell her that I love her more than anything and that I miss her. I cant send a priesthood blessing over an email, but you might request one from a local priesthood leader. One of comfort for her and for grandpa, and for you all. I hope Leah will be able to get out to see her soon!!!!

Concerning that thing we talked about over skype, I have been thinking about it and I am formulating plans (haha no dad, they are not named plan foxtrot and plan alpha Charlie:D) to figure out how to do it. But, that is nothing but stress so ill let it play out however it is supposed to.

I am glad that you all are finally in spring. I hope rainy season starts up here soon:/ Next P-day we are going to enchanted-the only amusement park in the Philippines (or so it is said) so that should be way fun. Haha nothing like looking like tourists haha:/ I love you all and hope you are staying amazing. The Keep being awesome!! Elder De Leon ran around the apartment this morning waving his arms and screaming cause today is his 7 month mark haha!! Man, June 2 is 9 months. Where does time go? Love you all and hope you are enjoying the approaching summer! Send me some pictures in your next email:D


ps-thursday is zone con!! I get to get my temple dedication reccommend for the cebu temple dedication. COOLNESS!!

pss-if Jamba Juice had a "fruit of the tree of life" smoothie, would it be as delicious as the fruit itself? What kind of boosts do you get? Food for thought!!