Tuesday, January 24, 2012

January 22, 2012

This week has been so lame and awesome. I'm sorry that there isn't going to be a lot of detail in this email. Thursday was our district meeting in Panganiban. We had our meeting and everything, it was just a normal district meeting. After that we went out to eat at a resto there. We had a lunch appointment later, but I was hungry and got a couple sandwiches in Panganiban with the district. I got an egg sandwich and a chicken sandwich. The chicken sandwich tasted funny, like "Filipino-wanna-be-American food" funny. After that we went back to Paracale, and ate at Ate Tess's house. She made us sinagang which is my favorite here! Sooo good.

Anyways we ate there and after a couple hours I felt sick. Then I felt wayyy sick, so we went to our apartment to lay down and I woke up with a huge pain in my stomach. So we walked to some members house to use their cell phone so I could text the ZLs about a medicine. 

On the way there, I threw up on the side of the street. After we used the phone and were walking back home, I threw up again on the side of the street. I then spent the WHOLE night throwing up and [that other thing] while listening to Elder Jeffrey R Holland talks and drinking Powerade. Sister Bliesner called me at about 9 or so to ask if I was OK. The next day I felt so sick, but didn't throw up. I didn't eat anything until Saturday at the baptism, and then a P.B. and J yesterday. I haven't worked out since Wednesday. I'm skinny and I'm glad I'm eating now.

The baptism went really good on Saturday. The sister of the 1st girl I baptized, got baptized. It was really cool. I had to baptize her 3 times because the waves were ridiculous [the waves kept breaking over us, and she was never fully immersed].  

I'd rather have baptisms in an actual chapel than at the beach. People get way distracted at the beach and forget that they're at a baptism. Also I get sand and everything everywhere at the beach! Also after the baptism, I have to change in the open. The other day, I was changing and literally as I put my bottom's on like 6 motorcycles with 3 people each on them rode by... I almost showed them everything - if they would have ridden by 5 seconds earlier... Not much happened there other than just sitting on the beach with part of my branch. Also the only other person who needs to be baptized in that family is Tatay and then the whole family will be complete. 

I also confirmed her a member of the church on Sunday. I didn't think I was doing that but I did. I was told I could do it in English if I wanted to but it was so crazy!! I thought of what I was going to say but I couldn't! I could only think in Tagalog, and it came out in Tagalog (mom stop crying)! It wasn't good Tagalog but it worked. That's the 1st time that's ever happened. Normally I just think in English and say Tagalog. The language is starting to click a lot more, which I'm thankful for. But I still have soooooo much more to learn. 

I also spoke in church about prayer, it went good, and helped teach elders quorum because the book they are using in elder's quorum is just in English. Its the book about the teachings of George Albert Smith. That's a really good book, I love the story about his life.

Now we are in Daet. Ive already eaten lunch, and we are here until tomorrow. We have Zone training tomorrow morning. It should be fun I love zone things. Elder Balasta is doing really good. I really like him a lot, but for some reason I really miss Elder Vedrio. He and I got a long so well as friends, but could have done more together as missionaries. Elder Balasta just had some teeth surgery this morning so I hope he recovers quick. Tonight the APs are coming to stay in Daet with the ZLs and us, it should be really fun.

What else do you want to know? 

Mom, stop crying. 

Love you,
Michael

Monday, January 23, 2012

January 15, 2012

Hello. 

I have a new companion. His name is Elder Balasta. He is way funny and so loud. Just like Elder Vedrio. Elder Balasta is from Negros Occidental and can speak Visayan. His English isn't really good so we have been speaking a lot more in Tagalog than I have with my other companions. If Elder Vedrio didn't understand what I was saying in Tagalog, I could just speak to him in English and he would get it. I can't really do that with my new comp, but its been really fun this past week. 

We've set some high goals for this coming week so I hope we can meet them all. This Saturday we are having a baptism in Jose Panganiban, at the chapel there. It is in my district. It is the sister of Joyce, who I baptized last October. Her name is Ria Ann and she has been listening to the missionaries forever! 

This week we had a broadcast, similar to general conference, at our stake center. It was a broadcast from Manila by the Area PResidency here. We have close to 700,000 members in the Philippines, but less than 150,000 are attending church. We had a bunch of baptisms last year, but no increase in sacrament meeting attendance. So the Area Presidency is having the church as a whole here and the missionaries focus on reactivation. Baptisms aren't as important as reactivating people. Once we are getting people active again, we are suppose to teach them consistently until they get to the temple. 

I am way excited for this because for me it is easier to talk to people about things they already know, and help them remember the testimony they already have, than teach it all from the beginning. 

Random fact. America has the most members of the church in one country, followed by Mexico, Brazil, and then the Philippines. Also Naga mission has the highest retention rate of its members, in all of the 'Pines(ya baby). 

The language is still way hard, but is always getting easier. BTW I saw the blog y'all posted with the video of me speaking. I'm never speaking to you again in Tagalog until I get home from my mission <3  

I don't know what else to talk about. 
  • Elder Balasta is a good cook. 
  • I have 4 protein bars left. 
  • I try to do 300 push ups every other day (half in am half in pm). 
  • I think I have LBMs. 
  • I love being a missionary.
  • I got a email from Joel. He drinks so much chocolate milk. I'm so jealous. 
Love your first born in the wilderness,
Michael

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas!

Christmas Conference!

Elder Kornegay back row, left. Elder Vedrio middle row, center (blue backpack)
NO email this week JUST a Skype video chat on Christmas Day around 6:00 pm. Here are some still photos...





 


 and here is a video clip of that conversation...

December 19, 2011

I love getting emails especially long ones!! I don't mind the long boring details! Sorry I love getting emails but I hate responding to them lol. 

Everything this week has been going good. It was Elder Vedrio's birthday last week so I bought him pizza while we had to go to Daet to withdraw on the 15th. We've been trying to keep busy with teaching but we've been punted a lot. People here don't have a whole lot of time for the missionaries. Elder Smith told me our area is a hard area, but I still love it here. We also had a baguio this week which slowed us down a bit. Even with my payong I was drenched!! Elder Vedrio doesn't want to go and buy a payong so he was even more wet. He is too cool for them I think lol. We were soaked. 

Also our apartment flooded a little bit this week. By flooded I mean loads of water all over the floor in our bedroom, but luckily my sheets were completely dry. It took me an hour or so to sweep up all of the water. I love the baguios here because it cools the weather done so much. I wore a long sleeve shirt the shower day, which is unusual. It was still hot and humid, don't get me wrong, it just wasn't THAT hot. 

Yesterday in my studies I made a Christmas lesson plan for our lessons that day. It was going to be for mostly less actives in our branch, but we taught it to some investigators too. I must say it went really well in all of the lessons. I know that when I plan and do everything I can the lessons we teach are so much better because me and the spirit are a much better teachers together. They all went really good. 

I'm in Daet right now for P-day. We've been here since 930 for our zone dance practice (I have a solo...). We are staying here tonight. Tomorrow we are going on exchanges in Daet. Wednesday we leave Daet as a zone to head for Naga at 630 in the morning. I'm sooo excited. I love Naga. They have a Mac Don (McDonalds) and a KFC!!! I will also be buying my "Christmas gifts" there as well as picking up my Christmas package. AND I GET TO SEE SMITH :D So I'm excited for that. 

Friday we are back in Daet for our Stake Christmas party. It is for stake leaders and missionaries. I'm excited for this week but bummed at the same time because there goes our work. We had a total of 10 of us at church on Sunday. Our first member showed up at 9:23 and the 2nd member at 9:41...church is at 9:00 people... The night before we had a branch Christmas party with a crazy good turn out. Lots of nonmembers, investigators, less actives (especially less actives) were there. It was a lot of fun, we had a lot of food, and a good turn out. Obviously people thought that that meant that they didn't need to go to church the next day. 

I can't wait to see you Monday kitakits!!
 
Love Michael

December 12, 2011

Hey everyone! 

Elder Vedrio and I are doing good. He is teaching me lots of things in Tagalog. It gets tough sometimes because he is really good at English, and I want to speak Tagalog so I can learn more. 

When am I getting a Christmas card?! I'm excited for my package. The ZLs told me that I have a package sitting in the mission office for me. I have to wait until the 21st to get it though :( Oh well I'm excited!! 

I'm glad to hear about all of your missionary work over there and hope you are all praying for this work over here!! That's really awesome though. 

By the way Ive lost 20 pounds. I got weighed in at interviews/DM in Labo and its official. I hate it. I worked out this morning for the 1st time in forever so I could try and get some muscle back!!! We stayed at the Talisay Elder's apartment last night. They have a pull up bar....and it was embarrassing haha. In the MTC I could do 28. This morning I stopped at 5. I couldn't do another. I hate it. I weigh a whole 178 pounds now. I weighed 207 in December/January. 

This week has been alright. We didn't meet our goals but I'm setting achievable goals yet tough goals for next week though. I love Elder Vedrio and am grateful for his help in helping me learn the  language.

Love you!

A Letter From President Bliesner

Dear Brother and Sister Kornegay,

I was just reading your son’s letter and he was telling me how much he loves to receive your emails and how much he loves the support from home.  He is always more motivated after he reads your letters.  I felt impressed to send you a quick note of thanks for that wonderful support to your son.  It is so important to help keep them motivated.

Your son is doing great.  As you know he has his first Filipino companion.  Elder Vedrio is on his last transfer in the mission.  He is a very happy, social missionary and he gets along great with Americans. He will really be able to help your son with his Tagalog, which is already coming along very well.  They should have a great transfer together.

We are impressed with Elder Kornegay’s progress as a new missionary.  He is working very hard.  He is very focused.  We love him.  Thanks for preparing him so well.

Warmest Regards,

President Ronald D. Bliesner
Philippines Naga Mission

December 3, 2011

Hey mom and dad!

Thank you for your emails I loved them. I loved the ones from the kids too. I think I might print them out and keep them with me. First I am soooo jealous of the cold. It is Christmas time here too and it is HOT. It has been hot forever. I left when it was hot, and I'll return home when it is hot. Seriously 70 degree no humidity weather is going to kill me! I'm adjusting well to the humidity quite well. Sometimes I get cold with 2 fans blowing on me at night. When I first got here I sweat during the night, now I don't. 

Yes my new companion is Filipino. His name is Vedrio. He is from Valenzuela City. I was so nervous about getting a Filipino companion but I like it. He is the best Filipino at English I've heard in the mission. We speak Tagalog outside and English in the apartment. I have to ask him to speak Tagalog sometimes because he speaks a lot of English and it doesn't benefit me. This is his last transfer...meaning I'll be in Paracale for at least 6 months!!! I'm excited about that, they speak pure Tagalog there. 

We have interviews in Labo with another district or 2, and President and Sister will bring any mail for us if we have it. I WILL open it to get my cookies!! Haha. If not I will get the package next week, or in 2 weeks while we are in Naga for Christmas conference. I am excited for Christmas conference. I love Naga because they have a legit mall there called the SM. I will probably buy something at the SM or just end up saving my money. Elder Smith is bringing me milk when I see him at Christmas conference though :) 

I got distracted the other day while studying....I was thinking about CEREAL AND MILK!!!!!! How lame is that?!?? I haven't had my favorite meal in 3+ months! By the way tomorrow marks my 5 months out as a missionary. Crazy! Also, don't worry about me being spendy either. I have become super tipid (frugal). I had a hard time paying less than 200 Peso for half of a large pizza and a cookie with ice cream on it (That's like $5 American or less). The food might sound good but it is incomparable to American food. Water is the main ingredient of all the ice cream here. 

Mom I loved your stories about being an aid at school! I loved it! That is so awesome to hear that you are so into BMX now haha. 

This week has been crazy. Transfers were this past week. We didn't get to go out and work until Thursday I think... I led all of the lessons on Thursday. For some reason I think my Tagalog turned off on Friday, I didn't lead those lessons. Sunday it got better. I tried to teach Elders Quorum but I wasn't able to teach the whole class. My language was butchered it seemed like. I don't know why but I felt stressed out, but I feel fine now. 

Last week while I was with Elder McKendrick (ZL) and Elder Smith, we were in Daet. This was the night before Elder Smith was leaving. We were getting our pictures developed and I talked to a lady. She then pulled out a piece of paper and asked if I knew what it read. She seemed very determined on wanting to know the message on this paper! I told her I didn't know because I don't know Chinese (the paper was in Chinese).... She thought since I knew Tagalog I just MUST know Chinese lol. I told her I wasn't even good at Tagalog. She then asked me another question and I had no idea what she said. 

Love Michael

November 28, 2011

HELLO!

Everything is going good here, no worries. I'm having a lot of fun. We actually have 2 people set for baptism on December 24th. I'm excited. I hope they come through though. One of the people set for that day, needs to get married first. That's a struggle. 

As for Christmas, I probably wont get my package until Christmas conference anyways. It takes forever for mail to get to and from here. Plus once it gets here, I have to wait for it to get to my ZLs which can take a while. THEN, I have to wait until I see the ZLs. Don't worry, Ill be lucky to get it by Christmas haha. Also about calling, don't send a calling card. Ive seen one cell phone here. Everyone says missionaries use Skype. Its free to use, and its video chat. Try not to cry to much. I'm not sure when I'll get to call, I'll let you know as that gets closer... 

I had no idea Thanksgiving was this week. Honestly, missionaries live in a different world. I hardly knew it was November!  For Thanksgiving Elder Smith and I might try and make mashed potatoes.  I suggested to Smith that we use boiled bananas instead of potatoes. They are so gross.  They have the same texture and taste as a stale boiled potato. They take all of the happiness out of your day haha. We are for sure going to eat a big deep fried chicken though. Its the closest thing to turkey. Also no one in my area has dinner appointments for the missionaries :(  

Elder Smith is most likely getting transferred from Paracale on Monday. That is when transfers are next. I was told President wants new missionaries to be in their 1st areas for a while. I bet I will be here for 6 months. I will also get my 1st Filipino companion soon (I bet). Once I hit 6 months here in the mission field, the language starts to really click. I've been here for 3 months!! 3 more to go!!

Today we had a Zone activity which was way fun! It was super last minute. We got a text from the ZLs yesterday saying to come to Daet for the night, because we had a ZA (Zone Activity). So we had about an hour to pack and cancel some appointments so that we wouldn't miss the last bus. For the ZA, our zone, President and Sister, and the APs (Assistants to the President) all went out to a beach in Daet. It rained a lot, its a Baguio (typhoon) right now here. It was so fun though. I'll send some pictures when Sister Bliesner sends them. 











On our way there I sat on top of the tricee, and about halfway there it started pouring rain. I was drenched. President and Sister saw me on top of there and slowed down to take a picture. It took forever to dry off but it was so fun. 


One random thing, on our way to Daet last night, our bus was rear ended by a motorcycle. I was sitting on the very back of the bus when it happened. I was one of the first to get off. Both of the riders were OK but were way shaken from it. Their bike was totaled. They should be OK though. 

Love you

November 13, 2011

Hey Mom and Dad, 

Thank you for your email! This week has been busy. The language is doing better. I think I get better everyday. I can understand a lot more of what people are saying each day. I think I'm starting to get sentence structure too. The hardest part for me is memorizing verbs and conjugating them in my head. I'm definitely going to get a Filipino companion next transfer, which is in 2 weeks or so. My language will start to get a lot better with that. I'm nervous for a Filipino comp. As for teaching, we hardly taught at all this week. This week has been so crazy. We have been to Daet several times and that normally takes all day. We also went to Naga which is way far away. It was a fun week though. 

Yesterday there were 4 of us in Elder's quorum. Me, Elder Smith, the Branch President, and his counselor. There is normally 5 or 6 of us. Manny Pacquiao was fighting and the whole world stops here when he fights. It was dead quiet outside except for the sound of TVs. So because it was the 4 of us, they asked if I would teach the class. I taught for 30 mins about repentance. It was hard but I made sure I asked questions and had some people read from Gospel Principles. It went good, I will start doing it more for practice! 

We have 3 people right now planned for baptism. They are progressing alright, but seem to forget about some commitments. We also get punted (which means they no-show for our appointments) a lot. That was the main reason we didn't teach so much this week is because of getting punted. 

This week we had a training in Naga to review the training program we've been following. It's the new program that we followed in the MTC. It's for new missionaries in the field. The church is starting all new and arriving missionaries on it. We did a lot of practice teaching in Naga. After practice teaching 2 different Filipino missionaries, President Bliesner asked us to teach him in English. We were trying to figure out why out of all the missionaries there, he wanted US to teach him. Elder Smith and I did quite good, but it was weird teaching in English.

November Training Conference in Naga. I'm back row just right of center.
Before the training was over, all the missionaries left for lunch. Elder Smith and I along with some others went to the SM (a local mall). They have MCDONALDS!! Or MCDO as everyone calls it. I ordered a Big Mac with a Oreo McFlurry, and then bought a peanut butter brownie on our way out. Sooo good. After the training one of the office Elders gave me my liter of chocolate milk!!!!!!!!!! SO GOOD. It wasn't like America, but definitely the closest thing to it. 

Also after training we went back to the SM to buy some things, before we left for Daet. I bought an umbrella, a snickers, and a smoothie.
Love Michael