Sunday, August 30, 2015

Mga Bata (Kids)


So what new things happened this past week? I feel like I was just here updating you all yesterday. Nothing new this week really. So after that huge storm last week, a lot of people here got sick. So my companion and I had the chance to visit the sick members. Even my companion got sick. Luckily, I didn't catch what's been going around. So we did work as usual. Oh! Mosquito bites have been at an all time high. I would say upwards of 5000 mosquito bites on my arms. Also I've been getting comments from members saying "Hoy Elder! Tumataba ka!" Translation- "Elder! You're getting fat!" That's what I get. Oh well. I have two years to lose it all and get fit, right?... Right? 

So the most memorable thing that happened this week is something that I've mentioned before in previous blogposts, but I'll mention it again because it's something that I hold really close to me. Kids. Every time we go proselyting, we get mobbed (and I mean MOBBED) by little kids, ages 3-8, who just crave for high fives. Missionaries here have a reputation here for giving perfect high fives. Every day we here the youthful voices of kids saying "Up here!" We then proceed to give as many high fives as we can while we continue walking. I love kids so much. Despite any challenges or problems, they always find something to smile about and to laugh about. They have a light about them that is just contagious. Nothing beats the feeling of getting a handful of smiles from kids. 

Kids are awesome. That's all for this week. I know it's a short update, but we haven't really had anything new happen. But yeah. Appreciate kids. We all were kids once and I know sometimes we all just want to return to those days. SO my advice for the upcoming week- Have fun! Smile! Be a kid again! Until next week everyone!

-Elder Bondoc

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Working Through Rain or Shine...but Mostly Rain

Hellllloooooo once again! Kumusta po kayong lahat? 

This week was awesome! It was super hard and super tiring, but man did I have a blast. So let me start with brownouts. This week we had an all time high of 9 brownouts. That's been exciting. Electricity is such a blessing so NEVER take it for granted. 

But this week was most memorable because of what happened on Saturday. So we started work on Saturday expecting it to be like any other day. We had heard news from members that there was going to be a bagyo (which is essentially this HUGE storm) headed for the Philippines. Thank goodness it wasn't really headed towards our area. Anyway, we started our day with a light drizzle in the air. So we arrived to our first appointment and began sharing our message. Then in the middle of the lesson it started pouring. Like POURING. The rain was so strong we couldn't hear each other speaking, despite the fact that we were all sitting about four feet from each other. So we finished the lesson in a yelling manner and waited a bit for the rain to stop. It didn't. We had other appointments and couldn't afford to miss them. So we walked, or I guess a better term would be trudged. So we got to our next appointment soaked or basang-basa as they say here. As we entered the house the rain stopped, which brought a glimmer of hope. We finished the lesson and set out again, hoping that the rain would and least pause for the rest of our evening. Alas, just as we walked out, down came the rain, even stronger than it had been earlier. So this pattern repeated for at least four lessons until we got home. We would enter a home and the rain would stop. Just as we would leave the home, the rain would begin again. Just our luck, huh? So after the second time I was just about fed up. My shoes and socks were absolutely drenched. So I took them off, put them in a plastic bag, rolled up my pants, and threw on a pair of flip flops.  It was awesome. I live for days like that. You wouldn't have been able to wipe the smile off my face. It was glorious. It was cold, wet, windy, and absolutely spectacular. 

So my message for the week, when rain comes down and it seems like all hope is lost. Smile for a second and understand that that's life. It's meant to be endured, yes, but even more importantly, enjoyed. 

Above is what I looked and felt like for the whole afternoon. Oh boy. Anyway. That's what's up in the world of Elder Bondoc! Love you all and talk to you again next week! 

-Elder Bondoc

Sunday, August 16, 2015



It's that time again! BUT before I start anything, let me start by saying..


Hope it's the best!!!!! If any of you see this and then see my mom, please give her the biggest hug for me.

SO this week.. This week was challenging, to say the least. It was our first week tracting and working in the whole city of Bato as a companionship. We walked about twice as much and probably sweated about 40 times as much as we did before (at least that's what it seemed like.) Despite that, however, let me tell you how fulfilling it was to just work. We come home smelly and heavy eyed, but we both feel like we truly accomplished something. I am so blessed to be here. 

But the best experience I had this week occurred yesterday. We were teaching a family when all of the sudden out of the blue, one of the teenage sisters says to me (in Tagalog of course) "Hey! You don't have an American accent when you speak in Tagalog!" My mind was blown at that point. Absolutely blown. She had been absent for the past couple of lessons we had had so when she returned, she noticed progression that I hadn't. BUT HOLY SMOKES when she said that I smiled and couldn't stop smiling for at least thirty minutes. I know that God's hand is in this work. There's no way it isn't. 

Lastly, let me share this picture. Meet Francis, a kid we're teaching. In his hand is a toy car. Now this toy car is very significant, to me at least. Before I left for my mission, one of my mom's second grade students asked my mom to give me these toy cars. He then requested that I give them to kids here in the Philippines. So I've made it a goal of mine to give them to kids that mean a lot to me. Francis is amazing. He's funny, sweet, and absolutely wacky. He's one of the reasons why I'm here in the Philippines and why I strive every day to do what I'm called to do. 

Anyway, that's my week in a nutshell. Hope yours was spectacular. Thanks again for all the emails and support. It always, ALWAYS, means the world to me. 

-Elder Bondoc

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A Big Challenge Ahead

So this week was the last week of my first transfer here in Bato. Let me tell you it was an absolute blast and I truly loved it. The people here are so amazing and I can't wait to continue the work here. This week we received word that an area in Bato was being closed and that for this upcoming transfer, the whole city will be the mine and Elder Marquez's responsibility. So during this transfer, Bato was divided in Bato A and Bato B, with two missionaries in each area. Now we have all of Bato. It's go time. I can't wait to see what's in store next. I can tell you it will be super difficult. Bato is HUGE. And we walk 99.76% of the time, so doubling our area with nothing but the two shoe express will definitely be challenging. But I'm so stoked. I can't tell you that I'm completely ready, but I'm ready as I'll ever be. And I know this will Bato progresses every week! 

Tagalog is coming more speedily now, I can finally understand and keep up somewhat of a conversation. We also had a zone community service project a couple of days ago also! We cleaned a local road.My legs were eaten alive by ants, but we still had a great time serving! Other than that, I can tell you that the most powerful thing that impressed on me this week was the reality of the gift of tongues. I can see God's hand in my learning of this language. It's been hard and still is hard no doubt, but I look back and I can see real progress. It can only go up from here! 

Most notable this week:
1. Only 5 ant bites on each of my legs
2. 2 brownouts instead of one every other day!
3. Community Service Project

​Iriga Zone CSP

Love you all! 

-Elder Bondoc

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sa Bundok Si Bondoc


So let me start of by saying this week has been an absolute blast. We had our zone conference, a baptism, and exchanges with other missionaries. We continue teaching and serving, and the area of Bato is progressing! It's still hard, but I slowly get more and more attached to this place, despite the difficulties I face. I love the families we teach. It's so comforting to know that the work we do here will change these families' lives forever. I'm also SUPER grateful for the other missionaries in our area. They are super supportive and caring for greenies (new missionaries) like me. Today we had our district activity! I had the chance to bond with a lot of them and sweat with a lot of them. We didn't really have a plan. We were in the city and figured that we should do something fun and wholesome. So our District Leader, Elder Hermosa, suggested that we climb this mountain on the other side of town. No one was against the idea, so off we went. We were at the bottom of this hill and didn't realize how hard the climb would be until it was too late to go back. It was muddy, I was only wearing flip flops, and I think I lost about half my body weight in sweat making my way up. But then we got to the top. The view was breathtaking. Green for miles and miles.At that moment, clouds hid the sun and a peaceful breeze overcame us. I felt peace and joy just from being with other missionaries who are here for the same purpose as my own. I'm not alone. I promise you at times, I've felt SO lonely here. But I know that there are thousands of other missionaries around the world experiencing the same thing. I am so happy to be a part of this work and to partake from it with others. I hope you know that I experience the blessings of your prayers every day. I need them! You're all a part of this work, as well! Anyway. I think that's all for this week. A cat didn't get into my bread, thank goodness and brownouts have been at an all-time low this week. We are so blessed! Love you all so much!

-Elder Bondoc

It truly doesn't get any better than this.