Archive for category Pictures
I have ate more mangos in the last week than I ever ate in my life back in North America. Right now is the season for mangos and you can buy dozens of them for a dollar. We just came from a lunch appointment where a member fed us mangos for desert and I ate like 5. Normally we finish a meal with Bananas because there is no real season for bananas here they just grow all year round. Which reminds me of something else I am enjoying in this area. They actually make the missionaries a dinner calender. In most other areas we only get fed when someone has a birthday party or a few times a month. But here our ward mission leader makes sure to get a printed calender passed around once a month. My belly really enjoys that and so does my pocket.
Mom you mentioned about the seminary giving you an english book of mormon and asking if there would be any use of it in my mission. So I guess I havent been able to explain a whole lot about culture things here in the Philippines through my two years of emails. The church first came to the Philippines in the 1960’s and for the first twenty years give or take a few years missionaries were called here as english speaking missionaries. This was effective because the United States had many marine basis back in the day here in the Philippines and the people were widely influenced by english. My mission president served in the Philippines back in the day but to this day cannot speak the language. So most Pioneers of the church were converted through English church literature. Also if you refer back to my last email. Were teaching a pastor now of the El Shaddai Catholic church. He is great in English and we gave him an English Book of Mormon. Hes really interested in the fact that the Book of Mormon doesn’t replace the bible but makes it clearer to understand.
Oh by the way unexpected surprise. I have a new companion. Hes a Filipino named Elder Evelarion. Hes actually from an area that speaks Ilocano a lot like many of my previous companions. He will be my last companion because I just started my last transfer woot woot. Hes a short little Filipino but I like him I actually have someone who can teach in unity with me. Which is good because if we play it right we have a lot of potential this last transfer.
So yes the baptism pulled through. We ended up having it right after church. I hope i can send a picture later but I forgot to bring my card reader I will try to borrow one and send the picture. It was two sisters the one is 10 and the other turned 8 on saturday. The 8 year old was funny I was explaining how we get baptized and jokingly I told her theres a swimming pool at the church after that she got excited. So after she got baptized she plugs her nose and goes for a dive in the font. Just cant control these kids oh jeez. Everyone laughed. It was still a good spiritual experience anyways. There mom also came to church and the baptism she has been to church for at least 5 years but the relief society really kicked in when they saw her and I think she will be back next sunday.
This is getting long but so much is happening as I get down to the end of my mission and Im hoping it all pulls through. So yesterday we had 8 investigators come to church. 5 of those investigators attended church. 3 of them were a family that im planning on getting married and baptized before I pack my bags. One of the others is a 16 year old girl who we have only taught twice and she has already read to Mosiah in the Book of Mormon yesterday after the baptism she texted us and said she wants to be baptized. But we still need to work with her mom to make sure she approves and then we need to finish the lessons. Another one of our investigators was the widow who was living with our less active brother who we reactivated and got to church 2 times before he died 2 weeks ago. She had a change of heart and is already asking members for a ride to stake conference next week in Lipa City which is an hour and a half away. Everything is starting to get a kick start right near the end. Im just hoping I can finish it all out.
Last event for the week is actually we there are four of us Elders in Batangas First Ward and Elder Boyd who is my batch mate and also my companion going home which you will probably meet at the airport is assigned in the other ward. We were assigned in a lot of the same areas like Calauag so before we go home we are going to go back there and visit. We are planning to have a big massive baptism with them the week before we leave if everything pulls through. 🙂
The Church is True
So I am back in Batangas the land of my forefathers. The Batangas province is actually where my first area was and now it will also be my last. Its ineresting here because they actually speak a different for of tagalog and use a different vocabulary. But I havent had any problem adjusting I still remember it from when I was in Batangas before.
So I must start with the story of Adrian. If you remember the investigator i was teaching in my last area that was a referral from a lady in Idaho. I was so excited to teach him and then It went all down the drain because he picked up another job and moved away. Well guess where he moved to….Batangas City!!!! So first thing I did when I got here was went looking for him. Turns out the members now him as ding dong the rockstar. When he moved to months ago I gave him the address of the church and I sent his information to the missionaries here. He came to church twice in those last 2 months. But I dont know what the missionaries have been doing because he wasnt being taught. So I called him up told him I was here and then he came to church and we taught him the plan of salvation. He has been reading the book of mormon also. Hes now in Alma 62. So it sounds like this is meant to be. Hes golden. He comes to church, he reads the book of mormon alot, he is also being taught by sister missionaries in Salt Lake and his referral over a conference call, and somehow out of the 100 areas in the mission I could have been transferred to I followed him to Batangas. It sounds like god is really working hard on this one guy. But through all of this brother Adrian doesnt see this. He said he wont set a baptismal goal date and he is a little iffy about appointments. But I guess thats what we call agency.
My companion, Elder Abekoon, from Sri Langka is actually a super happy funny guy. He cooks just about anything you can put curry powder in but the chicken curry is still the best. Actually to be honest I cook it as he reads me the recipe from his mom written in some kind of swirly sign language. I was really comfortable in my last area with how everything was. I didnt really want to step out of my comfort zone. I was apprehensive to start over in another area with another companion. But we have had a great start. The previous elders in this area have been super lazy. The members here are just sitting on referrals but I dont think they trusted previous elders. My very first night here I got fed like 3 times. Theres one member here that has 3 missionaries out including one who is serving at the Oakland Temple visitors center. They fed us Ice Cream and oreos live in a house with air conditioning and took us home to our apartment in there 2014 Mitsuibuishi Montero. He actually asked me if I want to drive…of course he was kidding he is also an RM himself. All of the members here a super nice like that also.
You probably noticed in my last email I wasnt to happy about this transfer. I was actually being really stubborn and the opposite of humble. Its been tough starting over. But once I got here i saw a little bit more of god’s reasons for doing this to me. It will also keep me focused till the end.
This week went great actually! We had 9 investigators attend church all of which have a goal date to be baptized in March. We also managed to round up 20 new investigators into our teaching pool. Im not sure how it happened but day by day all of our numbers added up really nice at the end of the week. Its probably the best weekly numbers I have got in my whole mission actually. Most of it is because the ward is actually functioning how its supposed to be and our bishop is the best bishop in the whole church besides Kurt.
A couple of weeks ago there were some elders that got pulled out of their area on an emergency transfer and they arent going to have new missionaries until next months transfers. So their bishop calls us up after church yesterday asking what they are supposed to do with all these progressing investigators and referrals so president peterson sent us over to their area for a night and now we are going to start working in another area called Pagbilao as much as we can on a weekly basis. Its going to be a stressful rest of the transfer because we already have our share of investigators in our area. But we will manage and hopefully we get some fruits out of it all.
We have a very interesting investigator right now. He is a 32 year old bachelor who may have some problems. But he is scheduled for baptism on the 15th of March. I dont know if I mentioned last week that he asked one of the sister missionaries for her number but its gone to farther lengths than that. He gave us this note sealed in an envelope that he wanted us to give her. He has only seen the sister one time and hes always asking if they are coming or what. So obviously im not going to pass this love note on. Thats not allowed so the elders in our apartment couldnt resist but to open it. I dont know what was funnier his english or his pride. In short he said he wants to go to america someday and hes planning on buying her an engagement ring and wants to be a father with a beutiful baby someday. Our apartment got a real kick out of it. The good thing is that the sister is assigned in an area 2 hours away and hes always asking when they are coming to Lucena. So Elder Mallari thought he would mess with him and say he thought he heard her say shes going to attend his baptism. It was cruel and I dont support it but at least we dont have to worry about him showing up on baptism day. Dont worry though he has real intent to be a member he was progressing long before he met this sister.
Well it was an eventful week but not full of much progress. reopening is pretty tough because we just have to build our teaching pool from the ground up. But we got a few investigators now that we are working hard on. Of course I already told you about my weekend excursion. So we had Missionary Leadership Council in San Pablo on Friday and then right after that we jumped on a bus to Manila. Traffic was horrible in that monster city it was a ton of stop and go stuff. I was very tempted to get off the bus when I saw the first Wendy’s of my mission. But I endured and when we got to the Missionary Recovery Center they fed us pizza which is right next to the MTC so we talked with some of the teachers who were headed home. Its was a very ineresting place there were three missionaries in there when we got there. One Tongan with a foot infection, an elder from Malaysia who had a Hernia, and then a sister from california who we were told has some kind of psychological problem. We got on a bus the next day and came home.
This last fast sunday I fasted to get help from the members to establish our teaching pool. So in short I was fasting for referrals. Well heavenly father had his own ideas on how to answer that one. Tuesday morning just as we sat down to study we got a text from the mission office of a referral. This is what we call in preach my gospel a media referral. A media referral pretty much means it came from church headquarters. So that got us a little bit excited. It had a number on it so I called him up and asked him how he found out about the church. He said his best friend gave him a book of mormon and hes been reading it everyday. This friend of his had put in the referral that hes super prepared and ready to be taught so I asked him more about his friend. He told me that she lives in the United States in a place called Idaho. Well of course I know a little bit about Idaho so he was probably a little taken back when I jumped on what he said demanding to know what city his friends from. But he just gave me the simple reply of Chubbuck, Idaho. This is even more extra ordinary because elder Saunders who is from Chubbuck itself is just in a neighboring area and we already have exchanges set up to work with him. So were going to go teach him together this Wednesday. Just by way of information he said his friends name is Merlyna Hawes. Just by chance they might be in the same ward as Keshia. I have never had a fast so clearly answered and its crazy how it could be answered by someone all the way back home on the other side of the world.
Im sure your anticipating a baby a lot more than this email but you can read this and write me back to pass the time. It was a great week to end off my time in San Pablo. We did a lot of tracting this week and we got into 2 houses so yeah not the best but we still have some pretty solid previous investigators. Yesterday we went to both our wards church and another because our time is 1 pm and our investigators couldnt make it in the afternoon we just went to the other ward in the morning and also our own ward. It was crazy because they already have 4 missionaries plus there was another companionship of missionaries that were visiting the ward before they go home and then the couple missionaries decided to stop by so there were ten missionaries in the one ward. But it was fun to because we have a lot of friends also in that ward where they boarder each other and share the same building.
We had a way awesome experience where more than a month ago we placed a Book of Mormon with a lady at a store and set a return appointment. When we went to the appointment she wasnt there and we didnt think she was even inerested so we didnt go back. The other day I was on exchanges with another elder and she saw us and apologized for not being at the appointment and asked if we could come by the next day and she would bring the Book of Mormon. So to this point nothing to super extra ordinary. But from here me and Elder Hansen really felt guided we went to the relative area she said her house is we got pointed directly to a house at it was very obvious which one. For some reason when we got to the house I decided instead of going to knock directly on the house we would ask the neighbors first. Their neighbor was a very nice big home with a car(thats saying something). The guy came out and I just asked him if he knew the lady we were looking for of course he did. He looked like a very educated guy so from the start we spoke english. The Lady who was expecting us got jittery and came outside to see if we were coming and when she saw us talking to her neighbor she invited him as well. Ended up being one of the best Restoration lessons we have ever taught and they are already diving in to the Book Of Mormon. Now heres the sad part. Im transferred on Thursday ugh. I dont know where or with who but that will be the big news next week.
This could just possibly be my last area if the pattern continues and I spend 6 months in my last area. Who knows. But I have thought it out very carefully and of where theres not a whole lot of zone leader areas I have somewhat limited options. One of which is the island of Marinduque where the ZL’s have a van how sweet is that ha. They say its super beautiful over there though. Im excited to see whereever and im getting myself read to hit the ground running.
This week really cruised and it doesnt seem like we got a whole lot done. This area has been tough on finding people to teach to be honest. After those baptisms last week our teaching pool got cut down big time. This week was probably particularly hard because it was Coco Fiesta week here. Wednesday was the main event of the whole thing and we ended up having 6 eating appointments between the hours of 1-6. We learned where a lot more of the members went and we sang “Amazing Grace”on the Karaoke machine they have. One of the days they had street dancing where the schools dressed up in crazy weird colorful suits. The whole situation just made me realize that the whole thing was pretty much a replay of the movie Madagascar where are the little Lemurs party and dance around. Especially where the Mayor of the town stood up on this big stage in the middle of town just as though he was King Julian. It was a vivid experience.
Other than that were still teaching sister Joans husband Albert. He was doing so good he kept saying dont worry elders I havent drank since last year which only really means about 10 days. Then comes the fiesta and he blew it all. We did our usual chastizement and explained to him there are no occasions for word of wisdom it had more effect to because our bishop came with us to the lesson. Were trying to do every out of the box idea to find and teach our investigators effectively.
Finally we had zone interviews this last friday. The AP’s taught the first hour of the meeting and me and Elder Hansen taught the second hour while 1 by one everyone got interviewed. It all went well and President Peterson gave us a super broad topic to teach “The Doctrine of Christ” which we had fun with. All is well, Its kind of ineresting how much different interviews go with President my second half of the mission when I was new he talked the whole time and now its flipped around.
We did find one new solid investigator though this week. Hes 18 and studying in information technology. Hes a really nice kid for being 18. For instance when we first met him we asked if we could share and instead of getting the usual answer I have heard a thousand times. He said yeah Im not doing anything else sure. Then we taught him the first lesson just about the Book of Mormon and he dug it up. The Book of Mormon really is the true reason why the Singapore guy got baptized not because of the Osborn’s. I dont know what I would do with out that evidence. Missionary work wouldnt get anywhere. Definately True!
I feel like we have just been trying to suck referrals out of members this last week. The funny thing whenever theres a good referral its when the missionaries didnt even ask for it. So its really just a lesson of patience and learning we work on the lords time when hes ready and when we have earned it. We have in fact been getting some good referrals recently but they have only been coming from our recent converts. The new investigator they referred is named Jean. She is a single mother of a 5 year old daughter. We taught her every other day last week and she has been intently listening.
We also had a zone meeting last week in which me and Elder Hansen gave out last workshop together. Our focus lately in the mission has been working with the ward. The church does run even quite as smoothly here as it does in America. We actually had the third ward council meeting of my whole mission yesterday and we have a PEC meeting scheduled for the end of the month. Its kind of Ironic because in the zone meeting we taught we practiced taught how an actually effective ward council should go. It was also really cool because our recent convert that was baptized in December is now the 1st counselor in the young womens and so she attended a ward council meeting also.
This last week all the sister from my batch coming into the mission went home. Its just us boys left. Girls only have to serve 18 months because they can accomplish everything they need to in what us elders can only do in 2 years. I actually have noticed though its a long process trying to acquire and develop even just one christlike attribute. One of the couple missionaries taught it to us like this. That over time we become calloused to certain things and becomed hardened and stuck in a way. In order to remove that callouse it takes twice the effort. This next area I go into could be my last which means it should be my best if I have truly removed all of the callouses and prepared how I need to.