Sunday, December 31, 2017

December 22, 2017

Hi Mom,

Thank you so much for the update on everyone.  I'm glad to hear that Star wars was great and that the kids are doing well.  I did indeed get your packages, and I can't wait to open them! 

The time frame for the skype will be (Utah time) Monday, 7pm Christmas day.  Hopefully we can start skyping by then.  We will definitely see.  

I just got an update from BYU that my scholarship has been reactivated, which is a little scary because it means I'm getting kind of close to coming home now.  I'll have to look into the housing now.  When I looked into the housing before, the waiting list wasn't for my semester.  It hasn't opened yet for the next fall/winter semester.  

Well, that's really it for this week.  It's kind of quick because I don't really have time to email today, just to notify family about the skype call.

Love you and can't wait to see you!


December 10, 2017

Magandang araw sa inyong lahat!

This week was pretty great. We had quite a few lessons this week, found 25 new investigators, gained 1 more baptismal date, and had 4 investigators come to church. We also have a baptism coming up this week on the 16th, and our investigator is more than ready for his baptism. We are also happy to report that our relationship with the members is very strong. It was a little different introducing myself to the members because this is the first time I haven't "opened" an area where the missionaries before were pulled out. My companion already knows all of the members and the area and for the first week and a half I was sort of tagging-along trying to familiarize myself with the area and the people. Now, however, I feel confident in the area and I know the members in our area/branch fairly well. I'm excited to keep working here and seeing the progress here in Sinait.

Elder Galos and I are getting along very well. We don't have any problems with each other and we have a great time teaching. Our investigators are progressing and we are having great success with the members fellowshipping our investigators and bringing them to church. I'm really enjoying this companionship and I feel like Elder Galos and I really work to push one another. I really feel like we are equals in this companionship.

I'm doing just fine. I continue to love this work and these people. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to help others come unto Christ. I'm grateful for the responsibility I have to help others accept the gospel and be able to return to their Father in Heaven. There's nothing else I would rather be doing than participating in this great and marvelous work.

I hope all of you are taking time to remember the great reason that we celebrate this wonderful time of the year.  Be sure to take time to Light the World through any small way that you can.  The Lord doesn't ask us to do big, grand things.  The small and simple things are what matter most.

Until next week!

Mahal ko kayong lahat!

December 3, 2017

Naimbag nga aldaw kadigiti kabsatko!

This week was actually pretty great. Elder Galos and I were able to have a great time working together. I was a little apprehensive at first to start teaching with him because of the usual adjustment that new companions have when teaching, but I was pleasantly surprised that we had very little adjusting to do. Our teaching is quite unified and we get along great together. As soon as I got in Sinait we planned and headed out to work. It honestly feels like coming back home here in Sinait because I used to have district meetings here when I was assigned in Cabugao. It's been nice that I am at least somewhat familiar with the area and especially the zone.

I also have some very exciting news this week. I don't know if you all remember Vladimir from my second area in Cabugao, but I was one of the missionaries who found him and finished all of his lessons.  Sadly I was not able to witness his baptism because I was transferred.  However, when I got to Sinait I immediately inquired about Vladimir to see how he was doing.  One of the elders from Cabugao gave me the great news that he had recent been ordained to the office of an Elder and was given the Melchizedek Priesthood in their last District Conference.  I was thrilled to hear this news.  However, the best part is he came to church in our branch in Sinait.  We embraced and we caught up on a few things.  He informed me he was planning on serving a mission after he finished his studies, and was already preparing to begin his application to serve.  Finally, I was also privileged to have the sacrament passed to me by the same young man whom I had found more than a year ago.  Tears filled my eyes as I partook of the bread and water, realizing I had made an impact on somebody's life so long ago at the start of my mission.

Somtimes, we don't realize the fruits of our labors immediately after performing them.  Sometimes, the Lord will call us to another place before allowing us to return and see what impact we have made.  This week was a testament to me that no effort is wasted, and people are being prepared to accept this gospel and that this work can bless the lives of others in so many ways.  I'm so grateful for the wonderful privilege I have to serve the Lord as a missionary!

Until next week!

Mahal ko kayong lahat!

November 26, 2017

Magandang araw ang aking mga kapatid,

Well, I was expecting the transfer text but it still hurt when I received it. But no worries, I know that the Lord is calling me to where He needs me most. I'm so very grateful for the time I have had here in Camalaniugan, and I'm going to miss this zone, this area, and the people here. However, I am also very grateful for the opportunity I will have in  Sinait to serve the people and help build up the church there and in Vigan Zone. The funny thing is, my first two areas are in this zone, so I most likely will be able to visit them again.  It could be a pretty fun experience.  My new companion is Elder Galos, and he is fantastic. I've already met him at MLC and we've had some great conversations. I'm excited to be his companion.

This week was pretty great for us in the work. We were pretty weak on finding, but we were able to extend four more baptismal dates and we had many investigators come to church as well. Our sacrament attendance overall went down considerably however. We only had 108 sacrament attendance compared to our 130+ for the other past two weeks, however it is still a stronger sacrament attendance than before.  We're pretty sure the sacrament attendance went down because our branch president attended church yesterday, but that is yet to be confirmed.

I'm going to miss Elder Ronquillo as my companion, we got along great together. He is very patient, kind, humble, and diligent in the work. He has great ideas and a powerful desire to work for the salvation of others. I'm confident in his ability to continue to progress the area.

That's it for this week. Next week I will send the pictures of this week's baptism, and my "goodbye" pictures from the branch because I don't have time today to send them.

Mahal ko kayong lahat!

Sa susunod ulit!

November 20, 2017

Magandang Araw sa inyong lahat!

This week went by pretty quickly, but it was a great week nonetheless. For the first time in my mission, our Lessons taught with a member present were more numerous than our Other lessons taught, which is a great measurement that we are really starting to work more effectively with the members. Our Recent Convert just received the Aaronic Priesthood and is anxiously waiting to baptize his daughter this Saturday, he's even been practicing the baptismal prayer to make sure he gets it right on the first try. I'm also happy to report that for the second week in a row the chapel was completely full for sacrament meeting, with 130+ attendance. We actually had to take more chairs from the classrooms because there simply weren't enough for everyone to sit on. We also completely finished both the bread and water for sacrament, which has never happened on my misison. It just shows the branch here in Camalaniugan is definitely getting stronger and stronger. We've witnessed great growth here and we are excited to continue seeing such growth.

My companionship with Elder Ronquillo is still strong. We had something happen this week where I was at fault. I kind of made a decision by myself that should have been counseled with him before executing said decision and afterwards he was definitely disappointed with me. However, we talked together and I understood my reasoning and also admitted my fault, where he forgave me. After that experience, I felt our companionship became much more firm than before. I really enjoy working with Elder Ronquillo, and I'm very grateful for his companionship. I will be sad to leave him when the time comes.

I'm still doing great. I'm so very grateful for the opportunity and privilige I have to serve the Lord as one of His missionaries. I'm so thankful for the conversions I'm able to experience and the power the gospel has to change and heal a person's heart. I continue to see my personal growth as a disciple of Christ, and even though I'm not perfect, I thank God that He has given me the ability and the chance to eventually become truly like Him.

That's really all for this week, I'll have pictures next week from the baptism!
Mahal ko kayong lahat!

Until next time!

November 13, 2017

Naimbag nga bigad kadagiti kabsatko,

This week was pretty good. We were able to have for Angel, the daughter of the Umbreros, interviewed for baptism this week and she passed, meaning we will be having another baptism in the upcoming weeks. Tatay Umbrero also passed his interview to receive the Aaronic priesthood, which he will be receiving next week. We are happy to report that the Umbrero Family are the first members of the church in their barangay and they are doing a great job extending invitations to others to listen to our message, and we were able to gain many new investigators in their area, with quite a few having very high potentials to progress.  The Umbreros are definitely the most converted people I have seen on my mission.  They love this gospel, they pay their tithing weekly, they changed their entire livelihood in order to follow the principles of the gospel.  Even other people have noticed how great of a change the gospel has played in their life. I'm so proud of them :)

Elder Ronquillo and I are doing great. We have made a goal to help Elder Ronquillo learn English, so we only speak in English when we are together. While we are with investigators and such, we speak Tagalog and/or Ilocano but I have already seen a great improvement in his speaking skills. We even pushed this goal to the other Elders in the apartment to help Elder MiƱosa learn English as well. It's been pretty fun actually to notice that the two foreigners in the apartment tend to slip into Tagalog more than the two Filipinos do. 

This week was pretty great for me as well. After the successful exchanges I had with Elder Dillabaugh I was reinvigorated with the Spirit and had a lot more drive for the rest of the week. For some reason, I've been feeling pretty sleepy all of the time, even though I have been getting sufficient rest, but other than that I'm feeling great. I love this work and I love helping others come unto Christ.

Well, that's really it for this week.

Sa susunod ulit!

November 7, 2017

Magandang araw sa inyong lahat!

So, this week wasn't anything too exciting, so I'm just going to give a little summary of what happened.

This week was pretty great. We were able to extend two baptismal dates this week, one of which is 100% sure and the other is very solid as well. We were able to work on building up our relationships with the members in our area. We had a couple of appointments fall through this week because people went out of town for the semester break, but we were also able to finish several lessons with one of our progressing student investigators who lives in our farther area.

Elder Ronquillo and I are doing great as a companionship. We have a great time working together and bouncing ideas off one another in order to overcome our weaknesses and how to better help our area. We don't argue and we enjoy our time together. I feel like we get along well. I don't have any problems with him.

I'm doing great as well. I love this work and I'm so proud of the progress I have seen in this zone. I love waking up each and every day knowing I will be serving the Lord and giving my all. I'm also grateful for all of the enthusiasm that the missionaries in this zone have shown in trying to improve themselves and accomplish the zone goals.

Our zone was the only zone to reach their baptismal goal this month, which was a pretty great accopmlishment!  I'm so proud of the work these missionaries have put in to help overcome the challenges in their areas and unite to accomplish our goal.  It's been great to be here as a zone leader, and I'm dreading the day when I get transferred out of this area.  I've been here for so long it will be hard to leave all of this behind.  However, the Lord has a plan for me and I know whatever will happen will be for my good.  Thankfully, there's still three weeks in the transfer cycle, so I've got a little time left here :)

Have a great week!

Mahal ko kayong lahat!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

October 30, 2017-- Pictures

October 30, 2017

Magandang araw sa inyo lahat!

This email is gonna be pretty short because I sent a lot of pictures :)
We had two baptisms this week.  We baptized the Umbrero couple. They are the ones who I said sell sticky rice and the like.  Their baptism wasn't anything too big, but that's what they wanted.  It was a great service, and we are setting up their children to be taught. We are pushing them to start preparing for the temple so they can receive the blessing of an eternal family :)

I would like to share just one thought I gained from my studies this week. I was reading about the plan of salvation, more particularly our purpose of our life here on earth, and I came across references in Moses 5 and 2 Nephi 2. After studying these references, I pondered over the meaning of the purpose of this life. I started with the well known reference of 2 Nephi 2:25, stating "men are that they might have joy" which I had always felt was a little broad in stating what our purpose in this life is. However, upon reading the Moses 5 references, I realized from the testimonies of Adam and Eve, that the joy they are blessed with is the joy that comes from receiving a remission of sins through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel, all of which is possible because of the great atoning sacrifice of our Savior. I also began to connect these thoughts with references found in Lehi's Dream, partaking of the Love of Christ and gaining a desire to share that same Love with others. 

I realized now that this life is meant for us to receive joy through forgiveness of our sins, which can only come through the gospel of Jesus Christ, and my purpose as a missionary is to invite others to partake of this joy. To show others the way to be completely cleansed and start over. I'm so very grateful for the part I play in helping others partake of this wonderful gift.

Mahal ko kayong lahat!
Have a great week!

October 22, 2017

Magandang araw sa inyong lahat!

This week was pretty great actually. We had many teaching opportunities this week and really saw progress in our investigators. We set a goal this week as a companionship that, before we could go home, we had to find at least five new investigators everyday. This goal really helped us in the work this week. It helped us remain alert for the promptings of the Spirit and become more active in our finding. It also helped us prepare for our other teaching appointments as we were already primed and ready with the Spirit. Although this goal wasn't extremely high or anything like that, it was definitely something that helped us refocus and improve as a companionship and was a great help in the progress of our area.

We have two baptisms coming up this Saturday. Remember that one family we found who made that sticky rice stuff? Yeah, well Sister and Brother Umbrero have passed their interviews and are preparing to make their first covenant through baptism! Also, this week we will be able to start teaching their ten year old daughter! We hadn't been able to teach her in the past lessons because she was at school but now is the semester break for all of the students, so we will hopefully be seeing her baptism coming up soon.

This upcoming week we will be having exchanges with the APs, which means we have to travel tomorrow to Laoag, a fantastic, beautiful, scenic, nauseating six hour bus ride :)  I am actually really excited though because one of my Elders in my MTC batch is the new AP, and I can't wait to work with him.

This week, I would just like to add some thoughts concerning member-missionary work.  We all know that, as members, we are supposed to share the gospel with others.  However, many times we are too scared or shy.  We hesitate because we think about what they might say.  We worry that our relationships with others will be destroyed if they reject the gospel.  Whatever the reason, these doubts definitely do not come from the Holy Ghost.  Those doubts come from the adversary, who does everything to slow the progress of this great and marvelous work.  So, how can we overcome these doubts and fears? The answer can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 6:36

"36 Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not."

As we remember the promises the Lord has made unto us, we can let go of our fears.  We do not have to be afraid of what "might" happen if we think about the blessings that we could share with others.  This isn't just another religion here on the earth established to simply teach good values and help others gain meaning in life. This is the truth.  This is the only way to salvation and exaltation.  Therefore, we should not hesitate to invite others to receive all of the blessings the Lord has in store for them.

One phrase that may help calm our doubts is this,
"We succeed when we invite."
Others have their agency, but we do too. Let's strive to at least give others the opportunity to receive the greatest joy they could possibly experience in this life.

Have a great week!
Mahal ko kayong lahat!

October 16, 2017

I'm still in Camalaniugan :) Yep, it looks like I will be staying six months here in this area! I'm so grateful for this opportunity I have to serve yet another transfer cycle in this beautiful area.  I know this is where the Lord wants me to be, and I know there is a reason I have stayed here so long in this area.

This week was pretty great actually. We were able to gain two more solid Baptismal Dates for the month of November and we were strongly commit two of our investigators to keep the Word of Wisdom and so far they have been doing good. We now have 2 almost 100% sure baptisms scheduled for the 28 of October. We had to move the Baptismal Date of our part-member investigator due to an illness causing him to miss church too many times, but his baptism is back on track for the first week of November.

Elder Ronquillo and I continue to get along great, and I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to work with him here in Camalaniugan for another cycle. Although I was expecting to be transferred, I know this is where the Lord needs me for at least one more cycle, and I know there is a reason why I am here. I will do my best to continue to help this area progress and to help my investigators come unto Christ.

This week I really focused on the purpose of "religion". A common concern with investigators here is that they always say, "We all worship one God." or "All religions are great, it just depends on where you want to go to church, all of us will be saved anyway," which is quite possibly the most frustrating thing in the world.  So, in my study I came across James 1:27 which is this,

"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

Which I came to interpret in this way: Pure, true religion is centered on the Father and His Son.  It is centered on charity, feeling love for those around us and helping others who stand in need.  It's purpose is to also keep us unspotted from the things of the world, not just sin, but those things that can distract us from God and focus on other, less eternal things.  It provides us a way to return to our Father and the only way to do all those things is through His Church and His Gospel.  No other church can back up any claim of their of "divinity" except The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. No other church has done more good for the world and for the salvation of man. I know that this Church is true, and as we strive to be faithful to living "pure religion" we are also striving to become closer with God.

Until next week,
Mahal ko kayong lahat!

October 9, 2017

Magandang araw mga kamag-anak at kaibigan!

Phew! This week was most likely the busiest week of my mission so far.  As mentioned before, we did not get back from the Mission Home in Laoag until Wednesday, where we had P-day.  Then, on Thursday we had exchanges with the Gattaran District Leader. I worked with his companion/trainee and Elder Ronquillo went and worked in their area.

The exchanges started out alright.  We had district meeting and the Sister Training Leaders gave an excellent training on how to more effectively get our investigators to church.  Afterwards, we ate lunch, went home and started planning out the day.  In the middle of our planning session our landlady pulls up on her motorcycle and says something to the point of, "So are you guys moving today or what?" and we reply that we most likely wouldn't be moving until the next day because that is when the owner of our new apartment said we could move in.  She then replied "Well how is that going to work because I'm going to sleep her and invite all my friends over later tonight."
Yeah... our plans were about to change.

The four of us Elders looked at each other and silently agreed that we would in fact be moving today.  We called the former District President and informed him that in one hour we would need his help in moving apartments.  Thankfully, he had already offered his help (and more specifically his truck) to the missionaries when we would be moving apartments.  We packed all of our things and were able to successfully move apartments across town in the blazing speed of six hours.  We are now getting settled into our new apartment and things are looking up.  Luckily, our new apartment actually has clear water, an awesome landlady, and (eventually) running water!  After the move we definitely felt a wave of stress leave from the four elders of Camalaniugan.

Saturday and Sunday we were also able to view General Conference. Like was mentioned in the past, general conference here is a week later due to the time difference of the Philippines being almost one day ahead of the States.  I must say I absolutely loved it.  Even though seeing temple square, the conference center, and listening to English for several hours makes me a little homesick, the blessings and learnings I receive from General Conference are worth every ounce of missing home.  I especially loved Elder Russell M. Nelson's talk concerning the Book of Mormon. Here is one of the quotes that I really found impressive,

"Whenever I hear anyone, including myself, say, 'I know the Book of Mormon is true,' I want to exclaim, 'That’s nice, but it is not enough!' We need to feel, deep in 'the inmost part' of our hearts, that the Book of Mormon is unequivocally the word of God. We must feel it so deeply that we would never want to live even one day without it. I might paraphrase President Brigham Young in saying, 'I wish I had the voice of seven thunders to wake up the people' to the truth and power of the Book of Mormon."

I know with my whole heart, within the deepest reaches of my very soul, that the Book of Mormon is the most powerful, most perfect book on earth.  I know that no other book can help us come closer unto God than the Book of Mormon.  I have studied the words of the prophets found in the Book of Mormon, I have learned of the doctrine of Christ, and have deepened my understanding of the Gospel through my time feasting upon the words found in this sacred book.  I know the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God.  I challenge all of you to feast upon it every day and I know if you will do so, you will be able to find comfort, peace, and answers in your life.

That's all for this week, until next time!
Mahal ko kayong lahat!

October 4, 2017

Sorry again, but this email is going to be short.  I will update you all next week on what has happened, but today we had to try and secure our new house before our landlady kicks us out (even though our contract doesn't end until the 10th).  We should be able to move in by the end of this week however, hopefully tomorrow.

Also, our district leader and apartment mate, Elder Dillabaugh, is sick, so we had to do some medicine runs in order to help him return to normal and working condition. Not to mention we really kind of need all the hands we can get when we move ;)

We had a great trip as the MLC this past Monday.  We went to the tourist spots in the mission and were able to relax a little bit and enjoy the many great sites that I never even realized were in my mission.  It truly is beautiful here, and I am so grateful that I am able to serve in such an amazing place!

Mahal ko kayong lahat!
Until next week!

September 25, 2017

So... this email is going to be very short because we kind of had an emergency concerning our landlady.  Long story short, she suddenly decided that she is going to live in her house again, so we need to find a new apartment.... But hey, like good ol' Michael McClean said "we are not homeless, because in His love there is a hoooooooooooooome!"

We need to go find that new apartment today and hopefully move in by the end of the week. Woop de doo.  

I hope you all have a great week!
Mahal ko kayong lahat!

P.S. we had another baptism this week, and our investigators who got baptized several weeks ago finally came to church, so we just had three confirmations this Sunday :)

September 18, 2017

Naimbag nga aldaw dagiti kabsatko!

This week was definitely busy.  We had MLC, several baptismal interviews, and we opened a new area which we took from the Sisters (with their permission of course) because they weren't having any progress and we needed a closer area than the ones we have currently.  We ended up finding many families and one of them was a part-member less-active family who really wanted to come back to church.  They came to church and we were able to set a baptismal date to one of their kids on October 14th! The sister was so grateful that we found her family and helped them come back to church.

I'll just be posting the body of my letter to the mission president because I would essentially be retyping what I sent to him.

Even with MLC this week, we were able to have a fairly solid week of work. We were able to redraw the boundaries of our area a little bit to create an area for us that is closer to the church and allow us to work more effectively on days where there is less time to work such as P-day and days with District meeting/weekly planning. We found many potential families in our new area, and we have appointments to return to them this week. We already had one of the new families come to church this week and set a baptismal date for the 14th of October. We also should have three baptisms and confirmations in our area this weekend. Overall, we are pretty happy with the results we have been seeing in our area.

Yep, there ya go! That's all I've got for this week! 
Mahal ko kayong lahat!
Sa susunod ulit!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

September 11, 2017

Hey Everyone!

So, this letter is going to be pretty short.  I just have some pretty great news!

First off, my new comp is awesome! He is from Paronoque, Manila and him and I get along swimmingly! We definitely edify each other in teaching and companionship study and we are going to have so much success together!

Secondly, Remember that family that promised to teach us how to make sticky rice in return of listening to the gospel? Well, they came to church this week!!!! They sacrificed working on Sunday and kept their promise to keep the Sabbath Day Holy! 

Lastly, I would just like you all to remember that you are loved by your Father in Heaven.  He is always there for you if you need Him.  Trust in Him, and He will guide you through your trials and heartaches.

Mahal ko kayong lahat!
Until next time! 

September 3, 2017

Magandang araw ang aking mga minamahal kapitid!

This week was transfer week, and I'm staying here in Camalaniugan with my new companion, Elder Ronquillo! I will be meeting him tomorrow and I can't wait to see what we can accomplish!  There is so much potential here in Camalaniugan and I can't wait to tap it! 

Sorry for the short email, but I'm kind of out of time. Next week I will have pictures, I left my camera at home today. Sorry haha.

However, I would just want to share this quick thought.  With transfers, it is always an adjustment.  In life, we have adjustments. Constant adjustments.  We need to always remember that God has a plan for each and every one of us.  His ways are not our ways, and we need to seek out the lesson He has planned to teach us in every moment of our life.  If we remember that God is guiding us, no trial is too hard for any of us.  Keep trusting the Lord and everything will work out.

Mahal ko kayong lahat!
Until next time!

Pictures-- August 27, 2017

August 27, 2017

Magandang araw mga minamahal kong kapatid!

This week was fantastic! We had exchanges with the APs where I learned many things on how I can improve in my work.  On our exchanges we had to take one of the missionaries to the bus station to go to manila because he just finished his mission! He was released a week early to start school on time, and it was such a strange feeling seeing that missionary get on the bus and seeing him for the last time as an Elder.  Weird.

Also, we had two baptisms this week! Rea and Precious were both baptized! Sadly, however, they weren't confirmed because they had an emergency happen where they were unable to attend sacrament meeting.  However, they should be confirmed in the upcoming weeks, completing their baptisms!  Even without the confirmation, the Spirit was so strong at their baptism and you could see the change in their countenance as they came up out of the water into the new life as a disciple of Christ.

Other than that, nothing else really happened.  We had a typhoon this week, but it was just a bunch of rain. No damage was done and we are all safe.

I would like to share one thing from my personal study this week.  I was studying Jacob 5, the allegory of the olive tree, and The Articles of Faith concerning the dispersion and gathering of Israel and also the Primitive Church.  As I was studying, I realized that there is so much physical, historical, and 'worldly' evidence that can prove the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon.  But even with all of this evidence, there are so many people who reject it.  This greatly helped me understand the principle that truth can only be received through the medium of the Spirit.  If a person is not willing to accept the testimony of the Spirit, that person will never gain a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon regardless of how many other things are presented that concretely prove its divine claim.  The only truly effective way to prove the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon is for one to follow the promise of Moroni; to read, to ponder, and to pray with real intent if these things are true.

I exhort you to follow the words of Moroni, even if you have already gained a testimony of the truthfulness of The Book of Mormon.  If you have doubts about the Book of Mormon, what is there to lose if you earnestly seek to find the truth.  If you have a solid testimony, enforce it even more by gaining another assurance of the truthfulness of this message.  I know that God lives and will answer all those who pray unto Him through the Holy Ghost. 

Have a great week everyone,
Mahal ko kayong lahat! 

August 20, 2017

Magandang araw mga minamahal kong kapatid!

This week was pretty great! We had three of our investigators interviewed to be baptized on the 26th and two of them (hopefully three) are indeed going to be baptized this week!  Their names are Rea, Precious, and Romnick.  We are so excited for them and we will do all that we can to help all three of them be baptized this week!

Other than that, however, nothing else too exciting happened this week.  The Elder who contracted Dengue is recovering and should be returning to his area today or tomorrow!  It's really hard to see missionaries get sick and have to leave their area for a whole week to recover.  You really don't see the difference one missionary companionship makes until they're gone.

Our new house is still great.  We have an interesting water situation though.  When we first moved in we saw that we had two choices for getting water to the house.  One was a manual water pump and the other was a motorized one.  We were so grateful when we saw the motorized pump because, to be honest, pumping water by hand gets pretty old pretty fast.  So we turn on the motorized pump and our shouts of joy quickly turn to cries of disgust.  The water from the motorized pump is... brown (tagalog: kulay tsokolate).  As we realize that this water just won't make the cut for our bathing, dish washing, and laundry needs, we turn off the motorized pump and turn our hopes to the bumba (the manual pump).

I felt like repeating the words of Princess Leia in Episode IV, "Help me [manual water pump], you're my only hope."

We get pumping...
And to our joy...
The water is not brown! It turns out the two pumps have separate water sources! There is only one draw back...
The water is the color of urine. 

But hey, I've washed my whites twice and they haven't turned yellow!... yet :)

That's it for this week everyone! I hope you all have a fantastic week and remember the Lord's blessings.  Especially look for the things you may take for granted, like clear, clean, drinkable water from a tap.  Seek to have an "attitude of gratitude" in all things and the Lord will continue to shower you with blessings.  You will be more content with life and live in peace as you come to appreciate all of the little miracles that happen in this world everyday.

Mahal ko kayong lahat!
Sa susunod ulit! 

August 13, 2017

Sorry everyone, but this week I won't be able to send my usual weekly update because we had to take one of our Elders in the zone to the hospital because he got.....

So yeah, I'll just give a longer update next week.  I love you all and don't worry, I'm safe and sound!

August 7, 2017

Grabe talaga marami akong ginawa sa kabilang linggo.  Pagod na pagod ako pero masaya pa rin :)

Magandang araw mga kaibigan at kapamilya ko

This week was quite eventful.  We had exchanges with one of our new district leaders in the zone in their area to help train him and to help their area as well.  We also had two baptismal interviews this week on the same day in different areas, which was great as well (they passed!). Then we had to travel to Laoag on Sunday to get to the Missionary Leadership Council and now we are here! Phew! We were also able to squeeze in some very valuable hours of work in our own area as well.

An update on our investigators: The Umbrero Family (the one who is teaching us how to make suman) is doing well.  We are reading with them out of the Book of Mormon and this week we will be working on getting them to church.  They are super busy and they work everyday, so we have to help them understand how blessed they will be if they sacrifice for one day to keep the Sabbath day holy and come to church.  But they love hearing our message and learning from the Book of Mormon, so we are confident that they will continue to progress.

We were also able to extend another Baptismal Date this week.  His name is Romnick and he and two of his friends are doing great in progressing.  We weren't able to extend a Baptismal Date to his friends because they weren't at the appointment, but Romnick is just great, he is already reading the Book of Mormon by himself and we haven't even known him for a week! He loves the gospel and ponders the teachings that come from the Book of Mormon.  I'm so excited to help him continue on the right way towards salvation.

In other news, we move to our new house tomorrow! I'm so excited! It's such a great, clean, and cockroach-free home and I can't wait to get settled in! I will have pictures next week! 

That's pretty much it for this week.  I just want to let you all know that this church is true.  Jesus is the Christ, the Redeemer of the world.  Without Him, we would have no hope of returning to live with our Father in Heaven.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to represent my Savior in this great and marvelous work.  I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and through him the Gospel was restored in its fullness. I also know the Book of Mormon is the word of God, and it is the truest book on this earth.  I know that we have living prophets and apostles today and I'm so grateful to live in this last dispensation.  

Mahal ko kayong lahat!
Have a great week! 

July 30, 2017

Magandang araw sa inyong lahat ng aking ka-maganak at kaibigan ko!

This week was very busy.  We are currently trying to move out of our current apartment because, quite frankly, it's not safe anymore.  That being said, we spent a lot of time this week working out the contract for our new home, which is now secure! We will be moving on August 10 and, let me tell you, our new home is gorgeous! I'll be sure to send pictures when we move in!

This last Saturday we were invited to attend the baptism of two children of record in our branch (meaning their parents are members and they are being baptized at the age of 8). Well, this baptism turned out to be a once in a lifetime experience. The baptism went well and the ordinance was performed as normal.  After they were baptized, time was given for the two kids to bear their testimonies.  The first of the two kids confidently went up to the front and stood there for about 2 minutes, trying to think of what to say.  Then, quite suddenly he bolted out the door while shouting "Umiisboak!" which is Ilokano for "I'm Peeing!" haha.  It was definitely a one of a kind baptismal service.

But the best thing that happened was we found yet another family that wants to be taught.  So, Elder Andon and I were walking to an appointment and suddenly we hear a nanay who is sitting out on her porch making suman (sticky rice), yell out, "Hey! Where are you going? This is my house! You found it!"  We were both surprised considering she spoke English and that she acted like she knew us.  We approached her and assumed she was talking to me because I'm the white English speaker.  We asked who she knew between the two of us and she pointed to Elder Andon.  He was very surprised because he was absolutely certain that he had never met her.  Anyway, long story short we meet the family and we make a deal that we would teach the gospel if they would teach us how to make suman.  It's a pretty sweet deal (pun intended) and we are returning to them tomorrow.

That last experience just goes to show that no effort in missionary work is wasted.  Even though my companion couldn't remember meeting this person, at one point they had opened their mouths and testified to her about the gospel, which at least made enough of an impression for her to call out to us as we were passing by.  I know that this work is the greatest work in the history of the world, and there is nothing I would rather be doing.

Mahal ko kayong lahat!
Have a great week 

July 23, 2017

Magandang araw sa inyong lahat!

This week was quite... interesting.  So, we were supposed to have a baptism this week, who was the grandson of the first counselor of the branch presidency (his name is Steven). All of his lessons had been going fine, and he had been reading the Book of Mormon and has a testimony of the gospel. He passed the baptismal interview and everything was scheduled to go.  On the day of the baptism, however, my companion and I felt something was off.  We went to pick up Steven to make sure he was ready.  We get there and he's dressed in basketball shorts, a cutoff tee and watering plants.  We realize something is up and we say we will come back after we talk to his grandma, the Relief Society President.  We get there and they tell us everything was ready to go, they went to the church and found out their grandson wasn't there.  They go back home and find out their grandson is hiding at his other grandma's house (He's 14 by the way).  

After learning about what happened, we return to his house and we try and talk with him to just learn why he suddenly changed his mind.  We sit there patiently and encourage him to help us understand but he doesn't say anything for the 40 minutes we were there.  We then felt it was time to leave, so we let him know that we would always be just one text/call away if he needed help with anything and we left a prayer for him.

Hopefully his time will come shortly.

However, this does have a silver-lining. We found a new part-member family who really really wants to be baptized so they can eventually go to the temple and be sealed! They are awesome! They all have a baptismal date for the 12 of August and they are doing very well!  

This rollercoaster of a week has really helped me appreciate the strength that comes from the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  Our Savior did not just suffer for our sins, He also suffered for all of our heartaches.  All of our pain, both physical and spiritual, He has felt.  He understands exactly how to comfort us, all we need to do is seek that comfort and He will be there to give it to us.

I know that my Redeemer lives, and o what comfort that sentence gives to me.  I love my Savior, and I know He loves me too.  

Until next week,
Mahal ko kayong lahat 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 9, 2017

Magandang araw mga kaibigan at kamag-anak ko!

Well, this week was super busy.  We had three different exchanges this week and have two more coming this week.  We had a lot of great lessons this week, even though our investigators got a little confused why my companion kept changing every time we came to teach them.  However, I think the change in companions was really helpful for the investigators because each missionary teaches and testifies in his own special way, and it was a great experience for the investigators to have so many unique testimonies shared with them.  As a result of our hard work, we were able to have 6 investigators come to church, which was definitely a blessing.

However, the best experience I had this week was while I was on exchanges with Elder Vincent, the companion of our district leader.  We went to teach this group of investigators who are progressing. In total they are 8, but one was absent when we taught them.  Anyway, we were able to teach them the entire Restoration of the Gospel and committed them to pray and read the Book of Mormon to come to know of its truthfulness.  They willingly accepted those commitments.  After that, we then extended a Baptismal Date to all of them and they...
... Rejected it.

So, we hopefully would have had 7 more baptisms scheduled for August, but I'm actually grateful that they rejected it because it helped me understand that they are true investigators and they want to understand for themselves if this is the right decision for them.  I know over time, if they really put in the effort to come to understand, they will receive that witness. 

Other than that nothing else really happened this week.

I hope you all have a great week and a fantastic day!

Mahal ko kayong lahat! 

Elder Anderson