Archive for September, 2013
So I of course wasnt transferred this week my my companion was. Elder Cabacungan is now assigned on the Mindoro island. My new companion in San Pablo is Elder Revillo. Elder Revillo is the most laid back companion of my whole mission. This is due to his limited time left in the field. He goes home November 6th so this is his very last transfer. He is super trunky and kinda feels like hes already done. But we have fun together and im taking over most of the time were still working hard. There was actually lots of transfers this last week. Elder Spezia my companion from back in the MTC is finally in my zone he is actually assigned to be an office elder right now. I actually knew elder Revillo from before when I was in Calauag. We were in the same district and he also has a brother on a mission. His father actually died back in may and so hes not going back home to what he left. All in all were going to have a good transfer together.
The week was actually super rough it seemed like almost all of our apartments fell through but its just going to take more effort in planning to get around that obstacle. I learned a lot this week that sometimes we think im just one person how can I make a difference but if you think about how many people are effected by one single decision. One person really does make the difference. The power of agency is really only a step under the power of the priesthood. So make good decisions. I know that were blessed more than we think for those simple right decisions
Im sure you noticed that for the first time I did not use Tagalog in the title of my email. The subject sums up my week. So yesterday after church we went back to the apartment had a quick companion study to finalize our lessons for the day had a bit to eat and headed out the door. Every sunday we have been visiting that family I keep telling you about that doesnt have money to attend church but wants to work to the point to get sealed. They leave in the farthest part of our area here up in the mountains. So we went there taught a great lesson and when we got out I looked at the phone which had 5 missed calls. The AP’s were trying to get a hold of us and say go home because our house was on fire. So it took about an hour and a half to get home and the whole time im thinking what burned down and where did it start. So what happened was the outlet next to my bed freaked out and started my bed on fire it burned the whole mattress to the ground. The good thing is all the houses are made of cement so pretty much it just filled the whole apartment with smoke and everything is black but I didnt lose anything just had a lot of laundry to do which the mission home kindly came and got for me and took it back to use the washer and dryer they have. So it was pretty memorable and at least I still have all my things. I do have a picture by the way but in all the Caos with us moving into the other Elders apartment we left the camera back home so next week I will show you what happened. But dont worry were all fine and did a lot more laughing than worrying.
Besides that event we also had a zone conference last week. Zone conferences are a great experience where President Peterson really sets the tone for the mission and gives us a vision and a goal to work for. Both me and President Peterson will be going home next July and so its kind of like were making that last push for the end. We actually have a mission goal to have 1423 baptisms by next July 1st. I thinked a lot of missionaries walked away from that conference in a new gear and ready to go to work and hopefully thats the case because this upcoming transfer there are going to be a lot of changes in my zone including a new fellow zone leader because Elder Cabacungan is transferred. So Im not sure who that possibly could be but I will know later this afternoon.
I learned a lot of things this week including something ineresting that we to often call daily good deeds thoughts or actions natural instincts when the correct term is actually the light of christ. In the last transfer me and Elder Cabacungan have had a large amount of new investigators, which is great. But its not enough because those investigators havent been progressing to where they should be. We realized were not doing everything “the lords way.” The truth is the spirit really makes you work and even for a missionary its not like it comes easy but we have decided we need to be doing better in following the spirit in not only lessons but also our daily lives. This next transfer we really hope to be bringing a handful of people to the waters of baptism as we follow the spirit.
Its just another P-day as usual but earlier this morning we had a zone activity and we all went to this fish pond resort where they just have a bunch of statues and theres fountains all over and the whole thing is a giant restaurant surrounded by fish ponds with all sorts of fish it was pretty ineresting place. But really just a place to look at things and take crazy pictures.
This last mission leadership training President Peterson was talking to us about how we can help other missionaries when we have exchanges. One thing he said we need to remember is that “robot is bawal” He doesnt know Tagalog but he knows the word bawal pretty well because it means forbidden so whenever he has a mission rule he needs to remind us of he says “Elder that is Bawal” hes pretty funny sometimes. Back to the robot being forbidden part. Sometimes we just get ourselves stuck in routines and we go through the every day steps. Even for the hardest working missionaries its hard to not let yourself just do the same thing over and over again as you follow the missionary schedule. But the extra effort is what we need.
This week we started doing the process of elimination with our investigators we have a huge teaching pool and almost cant keep up with everyone we are teaching. So we had to started dropping those who are not keeping their committments to read and pray or even go to church. One of the hardest things to do is give up on an investigator but its the lords work and he gave them agency.
One family that I mentioned before in another email is really progressing though. They are the family with 5 kids that havent been baptized. The truth is they are fully converted to the gospel at least the parents are and they want to be sealed in the temple is what they said to us. But first off they live really far away from the church and there budget is far from able to allow all 7 of them go to church. Secondly brothers work is really tough on him and gives him a super small salary. This week they said they might be able to save enough thoug. The two youngest kids are 9 year old twin girls and they literally studied the testimony of Joseph Smith and wanted us to quiz them on it. They are pretty darn cute!
Theres really something about the gospel that changes peoples hearts. Its crazy how stubborn people can be at first but if you just find a way to have them listen with an open heart. You can see a change even in there eyes. Theres alot of things that I would only ever be able to experience as a missionary and im glad now is my time. The change im talking about isnt always noticed by the person itself but I promise you other people will notice. So live the gospel and christs teachings and let it change you.
Despite it being rainy season here we have been pretty fortunate to have quite a few sunny days especially because I keep leaving my umbrella behind at our investigators homes. This week we really went to work on our investigators. Day after day our numbers started increasing and now we overwhelmed with all the people we need to visit especially where more than 13 of them have baptismal dates.
Maybe first off I will let you know about the family I told you about in the last email. They are the Macaday family and the father is the one who has been working in Saudia Arabia for the last few years. Well they live super far away from the church and they dont have personal transportation to get to the church and last week they actually borrowed money so the parents could come so thats the problem we have right now. We could have 5 baptisms instantly if they could just get to the church. The father actually is working hauling rocks all day and comes home with only 180 pesos a day and bleeding hands. Just to put it in perspective they actually need over 500 pesos just to be able to go to church so as of now its not very realistic. But hopefully they find a way.
Besides that we have found a lot of other families we are teaching and they have accepted to be baptized and are willing to learn but not one investigator came to church yesterday so at the same time that we feel progression in the work there really isnt much going on. This week we actually had what we call Missionary Leadership Council with president Peterson where they have a catered lunch and everthing. Its a very good meeting to attend actually where all the zone leaders come and also the Sister training leaders. Pretty much they just reveal the whole vision of the mission and how we are going to get it done.
Something that has really stuck with me this week is a talk the Sister Peterson our mission presidents wife gave in MLC about accepting what comes to us. Pretty much shes just always telling all the elders and sisters to take a deep breath and relieve some stress. But she showed us a few video clips about how sometimes we feel like we just getting beat up by life and that everything is weighing us down and holding us back. But really heavenly father is trying to tell us something by it. I really dont know why this is hard or why not a single one of our investigators felt like coming to church last week. But I also dont know whats in store for tomorrow or whats written in heavenly fathers daily planner. Thats what keeps us working hard out here because “No effort is wasted” and faith is the first step to miracles.
What a busy week as a zone leader sometimes its hard to just focus on our own area and the work here. We had a Zone Training Meeting that we had to do the workshop for, we had exchanges, we had a ward service project, and even a meeting with the stake leaders. All in all I can say we got quite a bit done. We also found a lot of new investigators. I remember Brittany talking about the old lady that was always falling asleep in the lesson and in a strange way reminded me of the old lady we found and taught this week. Except she was complete opposite despite being 80 years old she had a lot to say in the end she just twisted everything we taught her and told us she doesnt believe Joseph Smith was a prophet but she told us that we are prophets she was super hard headed and was super blunt my companion said he had to hold himself back from crying while she was going off on her big spill. We meet some super crazy people in a hard days work here.
What of the most unique experiences I had this week was going on exchanges with the office elders. I went to there area and my companion stayed in ours. The office elders live above the mission office and have every necessity of an updated american condo including air/conditioning, granite countertops, hot water, and couches. I dont know how they dont feel guilty living in a suite like that haha. So it was pretty ineresting working with Elder Howes in the office we just got sent around town doing errands and driving the mission truck around which also is equipped with Air/Con. At the end of the day we ended up getting out to do some work in there area a little bit also.
Its been really hard to focus on our own area and help our investigators progress. Its been rough cause the first two sundays in this area we didnt have one investigator come to church. Yesterday was the third sunday and I thought it was going to be the same thing. But the family we had a service for ended up bringing there neice and nephew and we taught them right after the meetings so we not only got new investigators but also had them be able to experience what coming to the lords house can do for them. We also had another couple that just barely moved into the area come to church. They are both long time members but the father has been working for the last 9 years in Saudia Arabia so none of their children got baptized. They have 5 children and they are super excited to bring them to church next week. So hopefully we have a big family coming up for baptism! Before all this happened I was honestly getting a little frustrated with the work in our area because we havent had the time to focus on it but the time came the heavenly father stepped in and really helped us out. Im really excited for the upcoming weeks to see the fruits of these labors. Thanks for writing and all the pictures and letters.
The way of life is so much faster in the city than it is out in the rice fields in my last area. It really does make it a lot tougher to be a missionary. We just tract big houses all day and find ways to get past the guards into gated neighborhoods so that we can find those golden investigators. To some point its fun but its more challenging and some nights its hard going home frustrated. The good thing is the investigators we do find are almost always educated and ideal people to teach. Last week on the way home we were just about to call it a day and instead we remembered what everyone says “just one more house.” So we knocked on a house just down the street from us. Some how for the last few years missionaries have just been walking by this house on the way to the apartment and skipping over him. Hes an awesome investigator so far. Hes a High School teacher and every once in a while will speak this deep english. Hes a pretty funny guy and super awesome to teach because of the way he thinks so deeply into the lesson. He even owns a car so we are proud of that find.
I think this is going to be the time of my mission where I fatten up. We have a Macdonalds, KFC, Jollibee, Pizza Hut, Red Ribbon, and many more savoring restaurants I have ate more american food in the last week than I have in the last year. At the same time my missionary support goes a lot faster than before. So lifes good as always anyway.
So back to that investigator I was telling you about that is a teacher. As we were teaching him the apostasy he stopped us and wanted to know more about what apostasy means as we explained to him he stopped us again and said something profound “I am personally living in an apostasy” its so true that even as members of the church we can have our own personal apostasy’s where we may be lacking in faith or struggling with in our selves but if we follow the example of Joseph Smith and ask for help we will always find a way past those trials.
Love you all,
So President ruined my surprise I guess about becoming a new zone leader but yup here I am in my new area, San Pablo City itself. This area is not like any of my other areas its complete city and we have a big shopping center that’s like a monster mall and has all sorts of american food restaurants. Also the people here are a lot more high class and many of them speak english. We as zone leaders are assigned in the San Pablo Ward 5 which is the highest ward there is by the way, so really our area only covers a little part of San Pablo itself.
So I got here off the bus around 3 o clock on Thursday afternoon and the very next day the Assistants to the President wanted to go on exchanges with us so me and one of the AP’s (Elder Merriam) went together while my new companion (Elder Cabacungan) went with the other AP to all of our appointments. So being my first day I didnt know anyone in the area or more importantly the area boundaries. So we just went tracting for 9 hours straight in which we ended wandering outside of the area boundaries without knowing it. We found out that we were in the other ward when we ended up running into a member who was confused why elders were in her area when sister missionaries are really the ones assigned there. It ended up being a pretty fun and interesting day and we met a ton of new contacts to visit in the coming days.
My new companion, I mentioned, is Elder Cabacungan who is from the northern part of the Philippines where they also speak Illocano. Note of interest, all of my Filipino companions have also spoken Illocano on top of Tagalog but one thing about him is his mom is from another area that speaks another dialect called Ibanga so he kinda has a different accent than I’m used to but I understand him just fine. He is also into agriculture where he’s from so he asks lots of questions about the farm and things. The zone that we are over is really big actually. It has three districts of 24 missionaries 10 of which are sister missionaries. I have never been in a district or area where there were sister missionaries so thats a new experience but after looking at their numbers they sent in this week it looks as though they work very hard.
The mission has got me wound up so fast that time just flies by but I can’t decide if thats a good thing…maybe for the time being it is while I serve a mission. But one thing I have noticed in our investigators and members is they let themselves get swept away by the world and before they know it 3 months have gone by and they have not been going to church or that goal they set to have more effective home teaching never happened. One great thing I have learned from following the mission schedule is to always sit back look at the big picture and evaluate yourself. Of course your evaluation would be a lot different because your calling is different and in different times of life but its always nice to slow down and PONDER.