anatess2

Update From My Son's Mission

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I just thought I'd share with you what has been going on with my son.  I got the privilege of talking to him twice a week for the past 2 weeks because of Mother's Day and my birthday so it was a really happy time for me.

Anyway, as of yesterday, he's been in quarantine at the Manila MTC for 52 days.  He has one assignment - MTC pianist - and his schedule includes 1 hour of piano practice everyday in addition to the 1 hour of daily devotionals (where he plays accompaniment for the hymns).  He also gets 1 hour of MTC class a day and 1 hour of required exercise (or any physical activity).  He gets 2 1-hour proselyting sessions a week where he proselytizes over internet to people he knows (mostly people from home or relatives in the Philippines because he was only on the field for 1 day and does not know any investigators from the field yet) as there are a bunch of missionaries stuck in the MTC and only very few devices to go around.  Overall, he is doing good physically, mentally, and spiritually.

One thing I have noticed though is that he has become weirder and weirder.  I mean, he already has his weird tendencies before quarantine but now, even I (who completely gets his weirdness) go "huh?".  For example, he has started to refer to his journal as some sentient being - sounds to me like it is female  - and is thinking on its own making comments at his journal entries.  He writes in several colors and it seems like blue/black are his entries to the journal, green is him talking to himself, and purple is the journal talking back to him.  Weird, huh?

He also sent a video of him sitting on a chair holding a Filipino fan, fanning himself in time to music.  It was quite artistic and something his classmates from his Arts High School would label as deep.  But it's just 3 minutes of him moving that fan on tempo which becomes hypnotic after 3 minutes.

But what really gets me is his letters.  This is where his spiritual thoughts just pour out onto "paper" and I realize... man... this is my son and he sounds as spiritually mature as an apostle.  It is when I read his letters that I become anxious that I don't know anything about what will happen after the Manila lockdown is lifted.  Will he be sent home or will he remain in the field?  Because... he needs to be in on the harvest - people need to hear the gospel from him.

Anyway, the Tacloban Mission Area will be released from lockdown on May 15.  Manila is on lockdown until May 30.  The Church has not issued any instructions to the missionaries in Tacloban to be able to go back to normal - as of today, they are still on self-imposed quarantine past May 15.  Patience is a virtue.

 

 

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After 74 days in the Manila MTC, my son finally "left the building"!!!

But, as there are no flights to Tacloban due to travel restrictions, he got temporarily reassigned to the Manila Mission.  He is very happy although, like missionaries here in Florida, they can only proselyte through phone/text/social media and not yet in-person... he finally gets to have his own electronic device!  Well - shared with his companion... but that's still a ginormous improvement from 50 to 1 to 2 to 1 person to device ratio for proselyting!  He gets to call me TWICE A WEEK!  WOOT WOOT WOOT!  And they can have short visits with members in public areas to say hi and bye (limited personal contact) and they meet with all the other missionaries in the area too.

His major challenge right now is to crash course on Pilipino (Tagalog).  His Cebuano training is not gonna help here.

Anyway, his mission life is starting to ramp back up and it's awesome.

Side note - after months living indoors, my son stopped looking Brown Filipino and started looking White American.  He sent a group photo of his district in the MTC and he shockingly stood out as a white dude with the senior missionaries in the midst of Filipinos!  But he's still Filipino short.  Hah hah.  

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So is his assignment to Manila just until the planes start flying to Tacloban again or is Manila likely to be longer term? I remember there used to be an incredibly long bus route all the way down Luzon, through Bicol, then a ferry  from Sorsogon to Samar, then continue by bus to Tacloban.

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4 hours ago, askandanswer said:

So is his assignment to Manila just until the planes start flying to Tacloban again or is Manila likely to be longer term? I remember there used to be an incredibly long bus route all the way down Luzon, through Bicol, then a ferry  from Sorsogon to Samar, then continue by bus to Tacloban.

We don't know.  It totally depends on when they're going to be able to go back to full proselyting and the Tacloban Mission asks for their missionaries back.  There's still that incredibly long bus route.  But there's restrictions on inter-province travel right now.  Anybody coming from Manila or Cebu going to any other province will have to go through a 14-day quarantine before they can go on the bus/plane in Manila and each province requires 14-day quarantine at the border.  Draconian?  Yes.  Yes it is.

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I got a surprise call from my son today!  They need to be able to teach 5 people every single day and it was getting close to 9PM and they still haven't found the 5th person.  So, my son decided I will be the 5th person that they will teach.  It was the most amazing experience having a lesson with my son and his companion on the Restoration Proclamation IN PILIPINO (not Bisaya).  He is still very new to the language and he still gets a lot of the words mixed up with Bisaya but one of his companions (he has 2 right now) speaks both so he is able to come in often and insert phrases just like how missionary companionship teach in tandem finishing each other's sentences.  It is so amazing to see first hand the amazing progress my son is making in the mission even with the extreme limitations that they have.

The 3rd companion is on his way to a transfer.  This is also a great improvement in the Manila Mission.  This is the very first transfer they have been able to do in the mission since the middle of March!

Also, there are so many Zombies in Philippine missions right now due to the travel bans.  But they are all getting sent home within a week or two.  In case somebody is wondering what a Zombie is - they're missionaries who have completed their 18/24 months in the mission but have not yet been released.  For some reason, they refer to people who gets released as "died".  Don't ask me why.  I was shocked when I first heard my son say Elder So-and-So died.  I'm like, "WHAAAAAT???".

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MIssionaries have their own language which they all come to understand and use quite quickly, but non-missionaries don't. As far as I know, missionaries using the term "died" for someone who finishes their mission and goes home is universal

That's a big call from his Mission President to aim for 5 teachings  a day under the current lockdown restrictions. They're still restricted to their apartment aren't they? He must be doing really well if he is consistently meeting this goal. 

It's tough on him that he has to learn both Filipino and Visayan, pretty much at that the same time. He's had a lot of study time lately, but two languages at once is a big task no matter what the circumstances are.  

Was it just you that he taught or the rest of the family as well?

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9 hours ago, askandanswer said:

MIssionaries have their own language which they all come to understand and use quite quickly, but non-missionaries don't. As far as I know, missionaries using the term "died" for someone who finishes their mission and goes home is universal

That's a big call from his Mission President to aim for 5 teachings  a day under the current lockdown restrictions. They're still restricted to their apartment aren't they? He must be doing really well if he is consistently meeting this goal. 

Yes, they're all restricted in their apartments but they get referrals from members for video lessons. 

 

9 hours ago, askandanswer said:

It's tough on him that he has to learn both Filipino and Visayan, pretty much at that the same time. He's had a lot of study time lately, but two languages at once is a big task no matter what the circumstances are.  

Was it just you that he taught or the rest of the family as well?

It was just me this time because my husband has already  left for work and my other son has left for fishing.  I thought it was perfect that I get to have the first lesson.  :)  I promised him the next lesson is gonna be with his brother.

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