Tuesday, May 30, 2017

May 30, 2017

Hey everyone how goezit? So this week was pretty awesome. We had our first baptism in SJDM! Sister Ging or her real name is Cheryl Arellano (see picture below)

Well the rainy season is officially here!! It has rained everyday so far :/ Its kinda a blessing and a curse cuz when it rains the weather gets a little cooler and it also feels really good when we sleep because the sound, the downside is that we get SOAKED when we work. That is the worst haha. I am fine if my shirt (AND IT JUST STARTED RAINING RIGHT NOW AS I AM TYPING) and pants get wet because that dries up pretty quick but once my shoes get wet then I start to get a lil frustrated... Because then they stay wet the WHOLE day and it is just a mess. So yeah since last wednesday it has rained everyday. Hopefully it doesnt effect our trip that bad here:/ But yeah its pretty fun though walking around in the rain.

But yeah just this last Saturday Ging was baptized. It is actually pretty cool on how we found that family or more on how they found us. So Gings family consists of her and her husband and 7 kids... Her first 4 kids dont live with her so we barely see them but her last 3 kids Fairy, Anna, and Shine and also her husband were all baptized last december 2016 in a different mission. So one day in early April Elder Slade and I were out doing some finding trying to add to our teaching pool. Then we stopped by this cool street vendor thing that sold these cool little souveniers and he is there only once in a blue moon so we stopped to buy something. Then as we were there this teenage girl walked up to us and held out her hand and said "Hello Elder!" So we talked to her and found out that she and her family were members but her mom was not yet (Ging) and she said that they have been living in their house just around the corner from where we were for like about 3 weeks or so and they have been looking for the missionaries. Then we got her address and we went to them a few days later and met all of them. So we were super excited about this new awesome part member family. But as we started teaching her Ging was still a little hesitant and she didint quite want to go to church yet so we taught her for about a 1 week and it still seemed iffy. But then we expected them to come to church the next sunday but we got a text friday night saying that they were going back to their province for the weekend so we were disappointed but that Sunday we went to church and we walked upstairs and we saw all of them sitting down! We were shocked and so happy! Then from then on out she just kept on coming and we finished the lessons and now she is baptized along with her family! So it is a pretty awesome story and we are so happy to have met the Arellano family. 

Jack and Anna Manalang are also doing really well. THey came to Gings baptism and sister Anna cried as she witnessed the baptism and heard the speakers so they are on their way as well to being baptized this upcoming June. THey are probably my favorite investigators ever I love them a lot.

Brother Nathaniel (see picture below) is also doing really well. He has his interview this upcoming Saturday and will be baptized on june 10th which will be my last baptism to be witnessed in the mission. Pretty crazy. But he is also a great guy and the future of the church!

This past week I had a really cool experience as I was pondering about Covenants. Saturday and Sunday were days full of covenants. On Saturday I interviewed 6 people to be baptized in which covenants were brought up and discussed a lot then we had an actual baptism which is a covenant then we partook of the sacrament on sunday which is renewing covenants and then we did a special sacrament for this older man in our ward and then last we taught a lesson to a less active about covenants. So it was a covenant filled weekend. So as it says in True to the Faith a covenant is a sacred agreement between God and a person. So as I was teaching about covenants to our less active I just felt like I had a realization. Maybe a spiritual realization. I kind of thought about why God makes us make covenants to return back to Him. So I realized that God loves us so much that me makes us make a promise to Him that we will do our part to return back to live with him, He loves us so much that he wants us to promise that we will go back to Him. He wants us to go back to Him so badly. But then some people might realize "Well if He loves us so much why doesnt He just save everyone regardless of covenants or not?" Its not that he cant but that he wont because if he just saved everyone regardless of what they did then it wouldnt be possible for us to be happy in His presence then that would make Him not God because everyone is happy in Gods presence. So I just got a deeper understanding on really how important covenants are. I am not sure if that made much sense from what I said but hopefully it did a little bit. Anyways love yous all:) I will write you my LAST letter next week... woah I cant believe it.

May 22, 2017

So this letter will be all about the Manalang family. So we will start off on how we found them. I have mentioned them a few times in my letters but I dont know if I have talked about them that much.

So about 3 or 4 weeks ago I think Elder Slade and I had about 2 hours right off the bat in the afternoon to do some finding. We had been lacking new people to teach and so we just hit it and went to go knock on some doors. So as we were finding we got the usual responses from people "were busy" or "next time" but we kept going and we taught someone but they were not very interested for us to come back, then we knocked more doors. As Elder Slade was talking to this one lady I looked to my left down the alley of many houses I saw this lady walk out and she looked at us and I looked at her and I waved and then she waved. Then she went back inside but then I walked back to her and started to talk to her. After a little bit of small talk she told me that she is really familiar with us because missionaries taught them about 2 years ago. So she let us come in and teach her. They really liked the lesson and she told us that we had to come back so we can meet her husband because he really loved the lessons before as well. So we came back and that is where me met Annas husband Jack. THen they invited us back to have lunch at their house and Jack fixed my watch and we were just so amazed at how nice they were. I mean most all Filipinos are so nice but Jack and Anna were just so nice. So now as the weeks have gone by they have been to church 3 weeks in a row and they are our favorite investigators. They were very very prepared to be taught. We went over to their house last saturday for Annas birthday and we showed them the Joseph Smith video (picture below) They loved it. THey were very touched about and they both agreed to baptism on the 10th of June. So we are so excited for them. I really do love them, they are such amazingly nice people and I am so glad that we have met them. I really hope they will continue to progress and accept the gospel fully in their lives. 

May 17, 2017

Hey everyone! So I dont have a ton to say this week, we just got back from a session at the temple which was awesome but we dont have a ton of time left in our pday. I have 3 more emails left in the mission so I am curious if I should continually send weekly ones or just wait 3 weeks and send out a big one of everything that has happened. But lemme know what you think. This week was good, we had a good turn out at church and had some good experiences this week. After Elder Slade and I did so much finding a few weeks ago we kinda fell of the finding train for a couple weeks which isnt good. We have been trying to hop back on it this week so we can keep finding those new people that need the truth. But one family in particular that I would like to talk about is the Manalang family. They are so awesome. So the family is The dad Jack, the mom Anna, and they have a few kids but the only one that came to church and listens continuously is Jackilyn. But they are so great especially jack. So last Saturday we went over to their house to teach them and we taught about our life before earth and why it is important for us to know where we came from to help us to make the right decisions while we are here in this life. So Jack really loves the lessons and loves church but he feels held back because he really needs to feed his family of 5 kids with a small 4 year old child with a disability. One of the jobs he does is watch repair and on sundays he sets up his station in a place where he makes good money for that day. So sunday is a great day for him to make money. So we committed him to come to church but he said he really wasnt sure if he would go because he really needs the money but then Elder Slade and I shared with the whole family 3rd Nephi Chapter 13 Verses 31-34 Seek ye first the kingdom of God. We promised and told Jack that if he would not work on sunday and do his best to keep the commandments and read the scriptures and pray. We promised that God would help them obtain their needs for their family, it felt good to promise that because it was from the scriptures it was truth, we can always rely on the promises from the scriptures. The next day at church Jack and his family came to church. So it felt really good to see him make that sacrifice. 

Well that is my short story for this week. I love you all and will talk to ya next week!

May 7, 2017

Hey so this letter isnt going to be as long and detailed as the last one but I hope you enjoyed the last one. I just am not into the whole writing thing... I guess that rules out one major for when I get back and go to college. But yeah this week has been pretty good, got our goal of having 12 investigators at church. There were so many people at church yesterday 174 people in our small meeting house, it was so crowded. But so awesome. My favorite family that we are teaching is the Manalang family they are the NICEST people I have ever met forsure... I can believe how nice they are. They want us to eat every saturday at their house and teach them. The mother and father of the family are the heart of that family, Jack and Anna. THey are the best. They have so much care and love for other people. They are a great example of christ like love even though they are not members, yet... Jack and Anna came to church yesterday and seemed to enjoy it which was awesome and we will head back to them on Wednesday. I sure love them.

So one thing I have seen through out my mission is change. Such an amazing thing. I have seen change all over the place and in so many people. The Gospel changes many people. One particular that I have seen this week is our investigator Bro. Nathaniel. He is 21 years old and has not made a lot of good decisions in his past. He has a 1 year old daughter that his mom (who is a member) takes care of. I first met Nathaniel in about the beginning of March and when I first met this guys I thought to myself this guy is kind of a screw up (bad on my part, I repented) but yeah I just thought man this guy is something. So we taught him a couple times but it was almost impossible because he literally did not listen or understand anything. He wouldnt look at us, he wouldnt read, he wouldnt do too much. Basically we thought, well maybe he will be ready in the future but he isnt ready now. So we stopped going to him for a couple of weeks but his mom who is a returning less active kept coming to church so we decided to go back and give Nathaniel another try. So in the beginning of April we started teaching Nathaniel again, we took things very very slow with him, and he seemed to open up a bit. Then as we continued to go to him and do our best to help him he started learning and listening. And now after a month of teaching and him going to church 2 times he is soooo much different then he was when I met him 2 months ago. He is now keeping all of his commitments, he is understanding, and he told us that because of our message he wants to stop smoking, and drinking, and fighting. It is just very cool to see the great change that happens.

Hope all is good back in the woodhood. Miss you all and will see you soon

May 2, 2017

Yeah so I dont really know what happened but all of a sudden our area just got super awesome. Well I guess I do know what happened, we worked super hard the past 2 weeks. So this week we worked very hard to help our investigators feel the spirit of the lessons and give them the best chance to be able to choose the right and come to church. Right now we have 21 baptismal dates extended to our investigators with more coming this week. Some of my favorite investigators that we are teaching is the Buenaflor Family, Brother Alfredo (he is the guy with the tattoo and all the cigarette boxes) The Fernin Family. Well honestly I love all of them and we have quite a few so I will just talk about some of them. So Brother Alfredo has to have one of the hardest lives ever. His wife has stage 4 colon cancer, and she is not doing well, and he he is constantly up all night on the computer trying to make money to keep them a float. That doesnt sound that bad when I type it but just seeing him and his family its pretty hard. BUT they are still super happy and it is pretty inspiring. He really wants to be baptized but he has like all of the obstacles in his life right now to keep him from being baptized such as the law of chastity and the word of wisdom.  But this past week we taught him both of those lessons and we made sure we had members present to provide him support. He has been to church 3 times now and he is doing his best. He actually is not married to his "wife" but they have been together for 17 years. So we really want to help them get married so they can have a chance of being sealed but honestly his wife is in very, very bad condition. One night we went over to share and she was just on the couch crying from the pain she was experiencing so we gave her a priesthood blessing. But Alfredo just keeps pushing forward and is doing his best to learn and get rid of his smoking problem. Look at all those cartons that is just from 1 month... so it is a pretty big problem but he is determined to get rid of it.

Elder Slade and I found this family about 2 weeks ago. The Fernin Family. They consist of a mother and a father 2 daughters and one daughter in law. We just walked up to their gate and they let us in to teach so we have been teaching them the past 2 weeks and they have been making some good progress. They are like most normal Filipinos. They are Catholic but dont really read the bible, and go to church sometimes. So they are learning a lot and are starting to kind of realize that maybe their really is a better way that God has prepared for His children, the restored church. We had a pretty intense lesson last saturday night. We had planned to continue our lesson in the Plan of Salvation but upon following up their reading of the Book of Mormon and asking god if it is true we kind of saw that they didint quite understand the whole point of us being there and our church. So we very clearly taught them again about the restoration and focused on the Priesthood. Then finally it hit them on what they really had to do. They had to read the BoM, pray and ask God, then go to church. So we strongly committed them to attend church the next day.

We also have this part member family that we are teaching the Arellano family. They are all members recently baptized in another mission except for the mom. SO we miraculously ran into them a few weeks ago and we had been teaching them and they are awesome but we were sad to hear that they went back to their home town for a few days and they wouldnt be able to come to church here.

We were pretty disappointed about how last week turned out at church so we worked really hard this last week and knelt in prayer as a companionship on Saturday night and prayed that God would help prepare the way and help our investigators make the right choice. Then the next day we just went forward with faith that things would work out. So we got to the meeting house (picture below) at about 8:30 and waited for our investigators. None were there yet so we went around the corner to see if our investigator Elsa was going to come and she said she would run a little late so we went upstairs and we saw that the Buenaflor Family was there (yes!) We were happy, then we were so shocked to look to the left and see the whole Arellano family!!! We were so happy to see them there, they came home early. Then we had another part member come in brother Rey. And then a little late Alfredo came! But the most exciting was when we were about half way through sacrament meeting we got a text from the Fernin family saying that they were coming!!! WOHOO! They texted us saying they were downstairs and we went down there brought them up and they attended gospel essentials class and our combined relief society and EQ. Jack pot. Heavenly father really helped us out. It was so great. We ended up with 11 investigators at church. So God really does care about each and everyone one of his children. He works miracles daily.

More miracles:

Remember the lady we met last week that had the dream of two men visiting her home with a message? Well yeah we have been teaching her Gina and her son Lance. They are so fun to teach. Sister Gina is on chapter 11 now of 1nephi and she is really loving it. We taught them about where we come from last night and we we taught about Adam and Eve they were so surprised about how clear the BoM describes their story. It helped me to remember that we really need the BoM to fully get what God really means about things. I feel blessed.

So last Saturday we had a few hours to find in the heat of the afternoon, we knocked a lot of doors and didint seem to find too much success but we know how it goes so we just kept going. Then I saw this lady come out of her house while Elder Slade and I were talking to this lady and I just waved at her and she waved back. So Elder Slade kept talking to this lady but it wasnt really going anywhere so I walked over to the other lady I saw and we started talking and she is like "Wanna come in?" So Elder Slade went in to teach. Her name was Anna and she mentioned that her mom died last year so we taught about the PoS and it was a great lesson. We actually found out that whe was taught by missionaries two years ago and they had not gone back to her. So we set a return date and we went back yesterday, then her whole family was there! Her, her husband, and her 3 daughters. The husband was so thrilled to see us because he didint know where the other missionaries had gone, but they were soooo dang nice! Anna and her husband have been reading the BoM and they are already on page 160, then they invited us over again on saturday to have have lunch and teach again. They are sooo prepared. The Manalang family.

So there you have my week, it was awesome. I am officially in my last transfer of my misison, 6 weeks left. Time to kick it into gear. Love you all:)

April 24, 2017

Yo yo yo yo yo yo yo yo whhhaaattt upppp. Thank you all for your awesome emails, I love them. Especially the pictures they are great. Things are starting to heat up here, literally and in our area. The weather is super hot now. I am pretty used to it by now but still summer is here! We live right next to a swimming pool and Elder Slade and I just walk by that thing in envy on those hot afternoons when we walk out of our apartment haha. 

This week was one of the busiest weeks of my mission it was pretty dang awesome. Last week our zone leaders set up a weekly goal for the whole zone. It was called the Armor of God. This contained a different piece of armor for each day of the week. So the goal was to obtain those different pieces of armor by accomplishing a finding activity each day. For example, get 2 new investigators and give out 3 book of mormons. So each and everyday each companionship had to try and accomplish the different finding activities. I wasnt to gun hoe about it at first because I have seen stuff like this done before but when Elder Slade and I found out that their was a prize to who ever won, we were all over it. (we work pretty hard anyway but a prize sounded pretty cool) So we hit the pavement hard that monday to get things going. Then every other day we accomplished the challenge. So Elder Slade and I beat the whole zone :) (not saying that that is important at all but we won) We ended the week with 21 new investigators and 17 baptismal dates extended. So it was an awesome week. BUT it ended out pretty bad... We didint have anyone at church which totally blew but that is okay. I wasnt too upset because I know that next week will go a lot better. But the week was really fullfilling, we came home at the end of the day with no regrets. 

This one day we had to find 2 investigators and give them baptismal dates but it was getting late and we said to eachother "How are we going to find people to let us in and give them a date at this time?" But we kept going and we turned down this street and it was empty except for this one guy who was hanging up some clothes so we approached and talked to him and we saw that his wife was just inside their front porch washing clothes and they were a little bit more on the Elderly side so we figured it wouldnt really go anywhere but we said "Can we have a short amount of your time to share with you a message about Christs church?" And the lady said yes and STOPPED WASHING HER CLOTHES... You guys dont understand how big a deal that is but when a Filipino is washing their clothes nothing is going to stop them even if their house catches on fire but she stopped and told us to come in so I knew something good was lying ahead of us. Then we sat down and she said "This is so weird because last night I had a dream the 2 men were going to come to visit me to share something" THen I just froze and was like wwwwhhhaaaattttt. Then the pressure hit haha I was nervous because I felt like God completely set up this lesson and I didint want to let him down. So we proceeded and taught them and got a return date and we should be going back this Tuesday.

Elder Slade has a cool saying that his grandpa told him before he left. "There are two kinds of people in this world, the one that drains you and the one that lifts and fills you up" So I was thinking about how true this statement is and I really like it. I want to strive everyday to be the the person that fills and lifts. Even though it is super hard this is exactly what Christ did. He was a lifter and a filler. Anyone that was around him just felt happier and more alive. We should do our best to contemplate our behavior around others. Are we the type that drains or fills? God is the lifter and filler, satan is the drainer. IF we turn to him and do what we need we will be filled and we can help fill others. 

I hope you all have a dope week this week and do some filling/ I love yous :)))))

April 17, 2017

Hello... No body wrote this week so I feel like I might of offended you all...??? Hopefully not hahah. This past week was very very hot. Summer is now here again so I am going through it my second time. Hahah Elder Slade always gets sweat in his eyes and he says it hurts so bad, but I have never had that happen to me in my whole life because I dont really sweat that bad actually. So I guess that is a blessing. This week was also what the Catholic people celebrate "Holy Week" It was suupper busy everywhere this week. There is a main road between our area and the stake center that was closed on Thursday due to the people that literally get nailed to the cross here in remembrance of Jesus I guess. I think it is extremely sacrilegious but I guess its a tradition here so yeah. So we had to take the long way around to get down to the stake center to practice for our Easter Concert that the stake through yesterday. IT was pretty cool. THey had a bunch of people do acts on different days of the week leading up to Jesus death. My zone did a song about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane because our day was Thursday. It was a great concert and a ton of people came and the acts were awesome and it was a fun way to celebrate Easter. I found my new favorite hymn, page 112. IT is aweeessome. We have been teaching this part member family here for almost 3 months now. The Buenaflor family. They are really cool and we love teaching them and they are making good progress they have been to church twice now since I have been here. They always always say that they will come to church but something always gets in there way we dont really get it. So they didint come yesterday which was super disappointing. We were hoping to have their Baptism on May 6 but now we will have to move it to May 13. Which is okay because we want them to be ready but we just dont know why its so hard for them to go to church. We just need to keep strengthening their faith. But we had one of our other part member come to church for the first time and we were very happy with that. His name is Nathaniel he is 21 years old. But he has a super hard time listening but we try to make things really simple for him so he can understand it better. The goal this week is to work really hard. I need to get focused and finish up my last 2 months the strongest I have ever worked. Ill let you know how it goes next week:)

So yeah my wallet got stolen. We were on our way to withdraw our support so I brought my card we went to the ATM and I withdrew my 4000 pesos. Then I put 500 in my wallet and the rest in a secret pocket in my bag. Then I put my wallet in my bag and we walked off to 711 to get some change. Then as I was about to buy my drink I reached for my wallet and it was gone...... Along with my support card... So I will have to buy a new one. I am pretty sure this cross dresser stole it.. I was in 711 and she/he was right behind me and she bumped into my bag so I blame it on him/her but whatevs life goes on I guess.

Have a great week everyone! I hope you all enjoyed Easter. Love you all:)

Enjoy the pictures of the creepiest bathroom that we used one night.

April 10, 2017

So this week was pretty sweet, and busy. So yeah we watch conference a week later than you guys, so we just watched it the last couple days and it was great. I had a some great questions and they were answered. Not directly but I have some talks to go back and study that will more expand the answer I am looking for. One talk that stood out to me the most out of all that I absolutely loved was by Russell M. Nelson. It is titled "Drawing the Power of Jesus Christ into Our Lives" I loved it. It was answer to most of my problems as I was listening and searching for my answers to my issues I just thought "Duh, get to know more Jesus more, he is the answer to ALL our problems" So that one really touched me. A lot of others hit me that I liked a lot that I cant wait to study. Of course our Prophets messages were so short but SO powerful. It just showed that all we need to do is just be obedient to those small things and we will be GOOD! Which led to Whitney L Claytons which was all about doing the small things. It is so cool how conference just ties up together soooo well. So inspired. Sunday morning session was just so great, Elder Rasbands talk im sure hit all missionaries around the world to act on that first prompting. So many times I have ignored the first prompting and so many times I have followed it but it is so true what he said about questioning if the prompting is from God, or just our own thoughts, stop rationalizing just do it if it is good! So I am trying to really do that now. Yesterday we came home from conference and started our weekly planning and studies and we were going to be home for the rest of the night. Then as we were planning this name popped into my head and I remembered that we were supposed to go teach them that night at 7, but it was already 6:10 and we were not even sure if they would be there. But I remembered the talk and we just dropped what we did and left to go teach, but I said to God, "You know, I really dont know if this is from you but I am just gunna do it because I feel its right, and if they arent home I wont be upset." Turns out they were not there haha and we didint teach, so I am not sure why I felt like I needed to go but I am sure it was for some reason and I showed my obedience. So who knows, but it was good. We are teaching some pretty sweet investigators right now, especially sister Mayeth and her husband, they are super interested and have lots of questions and went to church the first time we invited them which doesnt happen often at all. It was cool to see these last 2 weeks Elder Slade and I just ended up in the right places a lot. We definitely felt led a lot. One in particular is we were exploring this neighborhood called Pabahay 2000 and in that place they have 7000 houses, which is a TON for how small it is. THere are so many people. So we were walking around trying to find needles in haystacks. Old members that stopped coming to church and in the process we found a house of a member that I had been to once before but had no idea where it was. Then we went and the member was there, Sister Failan, she is really old and sick but she told us that she had been praying for the Elders to show up and spontaneously we did. It felt good to be an answer to another persons prayer. I am really enjoying my time with Elder Slade though. He is a cool guy and we have a lot of fun, we laugh 24/7 and it makes the work way more awesome. I now can solve a rubiks cube in 2 minutes and 12 seconds. So yeah, boom. Anywho I love yous all. I will now write a message in Tagalog.

Dapat magingat ang mga aso pagbalik ko doon sa Amerika. Habang tumatagal ang panahon ko dito, nakapagtanto ako na ayaw na ayaw ko so mga aso... Sobrang pangit sila dito sa Pilipinas. Gusto ko silang patayin dahil ang ingay nila. Gusto namin hanapin ang mga magpapaturo sa amin kaso yung mga aso ay sumisira ang lahat! Susunugin ko lahat ang mga aso!!!!!!! 


April 2, 2017