Getting Settled in Calamba

A highway outside of Calamba on a clear day

A highway outside of Calamba on a clear day

Hello everyone – I am going on my second week in my new city of Calamba and I am still getting settled into the routine here.  Calamba is an urbanized area so it is pretty smoky (hazy), polluted, and grey – sort of a “concrete jungle”.   This area is a stark contrast to my previous area of Atimonan, which was lush and clean and remote!  My first area of Lucena was a mix of this area and Atimonan, so I am feeling like I have experienced a broad spectrum of living conditions in my first year on the mission.
High Rise buildings

High Rise buildings

I have been assigned to open a new area for missionary work and so our apartment isn’t even in the town where we work.  We commute into our work area about 45-50 minutes each way, every day.  They didn’t even have a house for the missionaries before we get transferred here!  So, regarding our apartment – it is still a work in progress. The sink doesn’t really have a functional drain pipe, so there’s constantly water covering the floor!  But we just mop it up and it is not that big of an inconvenience.  I’m going to be thankful for living in a functional house when I get back to the states!
In other events, the week before I left Atimonan we baptized that little girl named Hershey!  She’s so awesome!  We were also teaching a sister named Venus who is mom’s age!  She would call us her “mga anak”, or children, so we are definitely loved here!  Church members are always watching out for us wherever we are!
This last week we had zone conference with the missionaries  and stake conference with the members where we learned about preparing for future family relationships, so that was pretty cool!  Also, I’m in a zone with my companion from the Missionary Training Center, Elder Bland, so that’s always a riot when we get together.  My companion is a riot too!  We make fun of each other’s accents.  He is from Sri Lanka so has a very thick accent and he thinks I sound funny too.  So that makes things fun around here and I am very happy on my mission.
A couple of insights I have had lately and I shared with Hunter is that there is always light, or truth, around us.  We’re literally surrounded by it, we just need to reach out and grasp it.  The scriptures teach us about the reality of the Spirit and how everything is based upon light and truth.  We are constantly surrounded by spiritual matter that we can’t see, so we need to feel it.  I’m working on understanding that too, but that means that even in the darkest situations, there’s always a glimmer of light and hope, so don’t get too discouraged!  Whatever it is, it can be put on the Savior and then we have to keep walking in the darkness and he’ll light the path eventually.  He requires that. Trials of faith aren’t easy, but they’re necessary for our progression.
Another thought that I recently shared with Hunter is that the spirit doesn’t actually manifest itself to us until AFTER we have acted.  God wants us to grow.  He’s not going to just give us the direct path.  Every single little thing requires our agency.  If we are to become like God someday, we need to be able to decide for ourselves and for our posterity what is right and wrong.  I like to think of the Holy Spirit kinda like coach Weeks back in high school football.  He was a great at coaching us up during practices, but during the games we had to make the calls for ourselves.  At quarter-break or halftime we’d come in and then we’d adjust according to his teaching and guidance.  Then we’d go out and execute – or not execute – and receive the consequences either way.
Anyway – it’s not that everything spiritual can be linked to T-Bird Football – but almost everything 🙂
I hope all is well back home!
Elder Tyler Norwin Burbidge
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