Monday, December 28, 2015

Masaganang Bagong Taon!

WEEK 75 - WEEK 76
Dear Family and Friends,

     It's really hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone and we're already coming up on 2016.  This past week, we had our Christmas zone conferences in Lucena, Batangas, and San Pablo.  They were all really great and everything went smoothly (for the most part).  The assistants gave a workshop and related the people we teach to the different characters in the nativity.  For example, a really interested and self - motivated investigator would be a wise - man because all they needed was the star to follow.  Other investigators would be like the shepherds who were apprehensive at first and needed to be led by the angels.  Then you have your inn-keepers who simply don't have time for us.  It was a really good learning experience and they brainstormed with the mission on different ways that we can find the true seekers of the Gospel.  
San Pablo Zone
Zone Conference

     President Mangum's workshop was really nice and simple.  He simply reviewed what we had accomplished this year and set new mission goals for the upcoming year.  He committed us all to the new goals, and then we had a kneeling prayer at each zone conference to close.  It was a really spiritual experience and I thought it was really neat how President presented our new goals to Heavenly Father and asked for his approval.  We had an awesome meal, and we got it for three days in a row.  I guess that's definitely one of the benefits of being in the office.
Christmas Zone con lunch! Definitely the best meal we get all year.
Lechon - a Christmas tradition
(My companion, Elder Benosa)

     We also got to eat dinner at the mission home on Christmas Day.  It was a true American meal.  No Rice!!  (Bradyn mentioned during our Skype visit that Pres. and Sis. Mangum's children and grandchildren were there for Christmas and they took them out to speak and interact with the people and pass out candy.)  All in all it was a really great Christmas and it was really nice to have all of the extra things stripped away so all of our focus was truly on the Savior.

     I'm definitely excited for the new year and the new vision that has been set for our mission.  Everything is going great and the mission seems to be progressing as a whole.  Thanks for all of your support and counsel!  Happy New Year!
- Elder English

 We celebrated finishing zone con and splurged a little bit.
(It looks like they went to Pizza Hut and had American chocolate.)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Typhoon Season


Dear Family and Friends,

     This week has been kind of a crazy one.  This week, we had a super typhoon make its way through our mission.  This time it was Baguiong Nona.  How it works here is the first typhoon of every season starts with the letter A.  Then each following typhoon moves through each letter in the alphabet.  So right now we're at letter N (Nona).  In a normal year, they usually make it all through the alphabet.  That's kind of the standard that they use.  We just got hit by the edges of it, so it just rained really hard, but the center of it passed through Mindoro, through two of my past areas.  They have said that it was pretty devastating and around 14,000 homes were destroyed.  I have definitely been praying for them.

     We will be having our Christmas Zone Conferences next week also.  There will be three different conferences held throughout the mission, and we have the privilege to attend all of them.  It's a really fun experience and I learn a lot every time.  It also means that we're very busy.  This is the only time that a lot of missionaries actually see us and have a chance to order things that they need, so things get pretty crazy.  The focus of our zone conference is centered on Christ and the Book of Mormon, and how we can use the Book of Mormon to testify more powerfully of our Savior.  I'm really excited for it, and I'm just finishing up my Book of Mormon reading with the focus on Jesus Christ, so I'm really excited of the insights that I will be able to receive.  

     The typhoon actually brought in some cool weather, so I guess it's the closest thing that we're going to get to snow, and it's really great to see that the spirit of Christmas is the same anywhere in the world.  Everything is going well and thankfully, no missionaries were injured during the typhoon.  Thank you all for your prayers and support.  Love you all!   


- Elder English

Some of the departing missionaries that I was good friends with.

Some of the incoming missionaries and their trainers.

On one of our long drives.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Dear Family and Friends,

     We had another great week as we're continuing to get ready for Christmas and all that it brings.  It's definitely becoming a challenge to keep everything organized and to make sure we're getting things done as quickly as we can.  I think President Mangum noticed some things that we were struggling with and pulled us into his office for a quick meeting.  He gave some great advice from how to keep track of inventory to how we can best keep others updated and make sure that we're prioritizing things correctly.  I think it was just a really polite way for him to help us with some things that we have been lacking in, but I was really thankful for it, and surprised that he would take time out of his busy schedule to help us out.

     Everything else has been going well and we've definitely been keeping busy.  We had a baptism last Sunday and it was a really cool experience.  The sister that was baptized had made some really large sacrifices to reach her baptism.  She has bee coming to church for five months now and finally got the "ok" to be baptized.  The spirit was so strong and she couldn't stop crying the whole time.  It was definitely a very memorable experience.  She also has this little kid who only knows one word in English.  Salad.  I don't know why and it's really random, but every time I see him he just shouts salad at me over and over and asks me to play.  Everyone else thinks it's really weird, but I can never stop laughing.  I guess it's just one of those tender mercies that cheers me up when I need it.

     I can't believe that it's already December and that Christmas is coming up.  I'm really excited and I think that this is the most excited that I've been for Christmas ever.  It's really easy to focus on the Savior during Christmas when you're a missionary.  Thanks again for all that you do and for all of your support!  Maligayang Pasko!
- Elder English   

Friday, December 4, 2015

Transfers Again!

Dear Family and Friends,

     So this past week was transfer week and it was really sad to see all of the departing missionaries leaving.  It seems like there are more and more missionaries in every batch that I'm close with.  This last batch had a lot of missionaries in it that I had become really close to in the mission and it was weird to see them going home.  But then the feeling always gets reversed when the new incoming missionaries arrive.  It fills you with energy and excitement again to get out and get to work, so everything always gets balanced out.  

     Our mission is still continuing its reading in the Book of Mormon with highlighting all of the references, words, and characteristics of Jesus Christ.  It has been a really cool experience for me and it reinforces the divinity and purity of the Book of Mormon.  Right now, I'm on track to be done right before Christmas, so I'm really excited for that.

     Everything else is going well and Elder Benosa and I are very busy.  We seem to be spending less and less time in the office, and more time being out in the mission.  It has been very refreshing for both of us.  

     Above everything else, I'm just really excited for Christmas and the special spirit that always comes with the holiday season.  It seems like it gets easier and easier to teach people and talk about the Savior as we get closer to Christmas.  We also had the opportunity to go out with the new missionaries and do some OYMs around San Pablo Lake.  It's a really cool place were people like to just go relax and hang out, so they're all in a pretty good mood.  It was a fun experience to talk to some people and to watch the new missionaries release all of their bundled up excitement.  It helped me to realize that we can never be too excited or bold when sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

     Thank you all again for all of your continued support!  Maligayang Pasko!

- Elder English

Friday, November 27, 2015

Christmas is Coming

Dear Family and Friends,
     It's been another great week here in Alaminos and it's hard to think that transfer day is already coming again next week.  Things are starting to get even more busy than they were before.  There are a lot of meetings coming up and with all the transfers and supplies, things are starting to get pretty crazy.  The good news is that my companion, Elder Benosa, will not be getting transferred.  When there's a new office elder, he gets transferred a few weeks early so that he can have a little more time to get the hang of things.  No one has come in yet, so it means that Elder Benosa and I are going to be spending another transfer together.  I'm really happy about it.  We actually have very similar personalities and sense of humor, so it's been a fun few transfers.  

Some Elders in San Pablo zone.
The Ford Ranger is the car that we drive.
     Other than being really busy, things are going well.  We haven't been able to go out and work as much as we would like to, but the families that we're visiting are doing pretty well.  It's really easy to teach the Gospel during the holidays.  There just seems to be an extra force behind our words with Christmas coming up.  We've started doing lessons where we just sit down and talk about Jesus Christ with them.  We ask them how He has blessed their lives and how they have felt his love for them, and then we testify of how he wants to help them be even happier and come closer to him.  It's very simple, but it seems to be quite effective, and the spirit is always really strong. 

     One of the Elders in San Pablo got dengue fever so we kind of just hung out with him and helped everything get organized at the hospital since our mission nurse was busy in Batangas.  I felt really bad for him because I knew what he was going through.  I guess he was luckier than me though, because he actually got to stay in a hospital to recover.  He is all better now, and I had a really good time getting to know him.  We also went to Paete to move one of the sisters' apartments.  We have gotten really good at making everything fit in one trip.  I never liked packing or moving, but it's a whole new world here in the Philippines.  You can't really drive up to a lot of the apartments because they're all down really skinny, crowded roads.  This means that we usually have to park on the main road and walk all of their things down these skinny little alleys that are usually full of people and tricycles.  It' definitely an interesting experience.

     Everything is going great and I'm really excited for the Christmas season.  Thanks again for all of your support and advice!

- Elder English    

(another city in Laguna Province)
Elder Galbraith, one of the senior missionaries came with us.  
He's a photographer and he's always taking pictures.

Friday, November 20, 2015

The One

Lookout in Siniloan
Dear Family and Friends,

     Another week has come and gone and it's hard to believe that the next transfer is already coming up in a couple of weeks.  Just like last year, I'm really starting to miss the cold weather.  It is still really weird to me to be coming up to the Christmas season and not to have any change in the weather.  

     Things have been pretty exciting lately.  With all of the events happening around the world, a lot of the world leaders are gathering for a conference in Manila.  They have shut down a lot of the city for security concerns and everyone here (and I' m sure everywhere else)  is excited to see what's going to happen.  

     Everything else is going well.  We just finished up the filter runs this month, so hopefully we will have some time to get out and do a lot of work before next month, transfers, and Christmas Zone Conference.  Everyone in the office is just waiting for the big rush of everything that comes in around Christmas.

     We are really pushing the new church initiative right now.  It's called "A Savior Is Born" and we already have a ton of pass along cards and material going out through the mission.  I'm really excited to see how the mission can use this to help the work.  It seems like the Church is really trying to emphasize the purpose of Christ's birth and what this world would bee like without a Savior.  As far as work goes, we have been getting back to the office pretty late for the past week, but the other night we had about two hours to go out and work.  We didn't have any appointments and no one was available.  So, we were stuck doing the same thing we usually do in that situation.  We walked down the street behind the mission home to try and talk to some people.  I had a little bit of a negative attitude and was thinking that there is no way that there is someone on this street who hasn't been talked to before by missionaries.  Well, I guess we happened to find the one.  She was really interested in our message and even went across the street and found a male to sit in the lesson so that we could teach her.  It was a really spiritual experience for all of us and we're very excited to visit her again.

     Thank you again for all of the support that you continue to show.  I really can't think of anywhere that I'd rather be right now.

- Elder English  

Lookout in Siniloan


There was a giant B so I kind of had to take a picture.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Encrypted E-mail

His letter started out well.  I'm hoping that he'll be able to resend it un-encrypted?:(

Dear Family and Friends,
     This week has been another great one.  (*^%^&*))))(*GLGH
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Monday, November 2, 2015

All Saints' Day

Dear Family and Friends,

     Another week has come and gone in Alaminos, and surprisingly, I am starting to like working in the office more and more.  We have really been striving to get out and work more.  Even if we just walk down the street behind the mission office and try to find someone who we can teach a lesson to.  It has really helped me understand the difference between being an effective missionary and just being a missionary who's outside.  It's really easy to go outside and wander around, and then say that you worked hard because you're tired at the end of the day.  It's another thing to be able to say that you were able to utilize and maximize every minute of the day.  I have really been trying to bridge the gap between "hard work" and "effectiveness".
     As I said last week, I have been enjoying having the opportunity to have all of the words of all the prophets at my fingertips whenever I want it.  I was reading a talk this week called "The Inconvenient Messiah" by Elder Holland.  He said some things that really related to a few things that I've been trying to improve on when it comes to missionary life.  It says that Satan knows that most members of the Church, or believers of Jesus Christ will not be tempted by the blatant and obvious sins of the world.  Instead, he "counters our discipleship with the offer of 'Convenient Christianity."  He is constantly bombarding us with all these decisions to make things more convenient at the cost of  losing just a little direction on our path of discipleship.  It really made me think of all of my personal "sins of convenience" that are making things easier for me at the moment, but are ultimately leading us away from our Heavenly Father.  
     I had a really odd realization the other night as we were out working.  I kept feeling like there was something that I should be remembering or that I was missing.  I then realized that it was October 31st.  I stopped dead in my tracks, and shouted at my companion, "Elder, Halloween pa la ngayon!"  (It's Halloween today!)  He just shrugged his shoulders and kept on walking.  Apparently, Halloween doesn't exist in the Philippines.  Instead, they have All Saints' Day.  It's on November 1st and is basically the equivalent of our Memorial Day in the States.  Everyone sets up a big tent at the cemetery and just hang out there all day.  Anywhere in any city that is close to a cemetery is completely shut down, and we had to be in at 6:00 on Sunday.  Apparently, a lot of people also like to drink with their ancestors.  Even though I've been here for a little while now, there are still these huge differences in culture that you would think would be really obvious, but that I'm just realizing.

     Everything else is going well and we have the District Leader Training and MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) that we need to get ready for this week.  Thank you again for all of your support and all the advice that you continue to give!
- Elder English   

There was a member that fed us after we played basketball on pday.  
You can see that we're all really, really happy.


Monday, October 26, 2015


Dear Family and Friends,

     It has been another great week here in Alaminos.  Things have been going well, and transfer week went really well.  President Mangum was able to get on a boat and get back in time to get all of the interviews done with the departing missionaries.  This last departing batch of missionaries had a lot of missionaries that I was really good friends with.  There were also a few who had been my leaders throughout the mission.  It really hit me how fast that things are going.  I was also really thankful to them for helping to form the great experience that my mission has been so far.  

Some of the departing missionaries.

     Whenever a new batch comes in, it is basically just dejavu over and over as I think back to when we first came into the mission.  Also, Elder Allen, who is in my batch with me in the MTC, was just made the new Assistant to the President.  He is from Layton, Utah.  It has been really fun to catch up with him since we've been serving on opposite sides of the mission for the past year.  

A couple of incoming missionaries.

With Elder Allen from MTC batch.

     So, we haven't had water in our apartment for the last couple of days.  We have been finding ways to get water.  Our landlady doesn't seem to be in much of a hurry to get it fixed, despite our persuasions and complaints, so things have been pretty interesting.  We grabbed a bunch of empty containers at the mission home and filled them up at the faucet and got them over to our apartment.  This morning, we showered at some different Elder's apartment.  It's been a pretty interesting experience, but we're trying our best not to complain.

     Everything else is going well, and I have been loving the opportunity to be in the office, because I can print off talks and look up quotes while I'm doing my personal study.  I have really gained an appreciation for all of the revelation and scripture that we have available to us.  I've realized that I have been taking the words of our modern prophets for granted.

     Christmas season is in full swing, and I'm still finding it a little hard to get used to.  I really don't like to hear or see Christmas things until after Thanksgiving, but we're about two months into the Christmas season now.  It's definitely one of those things about the culture that I'm still trying to embrace.  It has really helped me realize though how much the people of the Philippines love the Savior.  It is simply common knowledge that Jesus Christ lived and died for us.  Almost every single person will testify of Him if called upon. 
     Everything is continuing to roll along.  There is always something new, unexpected, or exciting happening that keeps things interesting.  Thank you for all that you do, and for all of your support and counsel!

- Elder English  

I also saw these tricycles with a bunch of ducks tied to them.  The Philippines always keeps surprising me.  Yes, they're all alive and it was very noisy.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Quick Note

Received this early Monday morning......

Hey Mom,
     The internet is getting upgraded at the office today, so I just have a little time to email quickly.  Don't worry, I'll send the long email tomorrow morning.  Everything is fine with the typhoon.  It went north before it got to us, but I know that Ilocos was supposed to get hit pretty hard.  We've just had wind and rain for a week.  There is another one also coming in, but it's also going north.  The only problem is that President is stuck on Mindoro (the island) right now, because they closed the ports, and it's transfer week right now.  I will make sure to send you my email tomorrow and pictures also.  Thanks! 

Well....the "long" e-mail and pictures didn't come.  Things must have gotten a bit crazier than expected.  Looking forward to this coming week's letter.:)

Monday, October 12, 2015


Dear Family and Friends,

     Another week has flown by here in Alaminos and it's weird to think that the next transfer day is already coming up.  Right now, it is Fiesta here in Alaminos.  I'm not exactly sure why, but everyone just gets together for a big party.  We were woken up at 5:30 this morning by a marching band and fireworks.  Here in the Philippines, they focus on how much sound the firework makes.  Not how high it goes or how cool it looks.  It kind of sounds like a war zone outside right now.  Everyone also brings out the karaoke machines so things get pretty noisy.
     The highlight for us was definitely being able to watch general conference.  My favorite talks were by President Uchtdorf about not making the gospel too complicated.  My favorite quote was, "Exaltation is our goal, discipleship is the journey."  I loved how all the speakers were very straight forward.  They simply told us what we need to do and why we need to do it.  It really doesn't get any simpler.
     One of the miracles that Elder Benosa and I have been able to witness is the return of a young man that we've been teaching, to church.  He was actually baptized awhile ago and then they lost his record.  No one had any documentation showing what date he was baptized on, so they told him that he needed to be re-baptized.  He took it as meaning that he maybe wasn't all that important to the church.  We have been visiting him since I arrived in the office and we have seen him change his life.  (It's really convenient because he lives just behind the mission office.)  He agreed to be baptized again and is now fully active and seems to be enjoying every aspect of the church.  He even got his hair cut so that he could look more presentable to pass the sacrament. It was really, really long.  

     Everything is going well, and tomorrow we start doing filter runs again.  I'm not too excited, but it's a good chance to get to know the mission and the missionaries better.  Thank you again for all of your support and all the counsel that you continue to give.

- Elder English

Helping the Batangas Elders move apartments.

It got a little tight.:)
(Elder Benosa)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fleeing the Scene

Dear Family and Friends,

     Another week has flashed by in the office and everything seems to go twice as fast here when you see all of the things going on behind the scenes.  Elder Benosa and I have finally gotten the hang of things and we're just focusing on managing our time now.  President and the assistants are gone all week with zone interviews so we're flying solo here for a while.  We're also in charge of making slide shows for all of the zone conferences and departing batches of missionaries, we're slowly getting that done for this next group that is headed home.  Elder Benosa is really good with computers since that was his major in college.  He usually takes care of most of that kind of stuff while I work on all of the other things.  We've finished up the filter runs for last month, which means we need to start again for this month.  Most of the stuff that we do just goes in cycles like that, so it's pretty easy to get the hang of.

     Other than all of the office work, everything is going well, and we have little experiences here and there that keep things interesting.  For example, one day, Elder Benosa was backing out of a narrow road and and all of a sudden I saw someone run and jump into the back of the truck.  I rolled down the window and saw him lying on the ground screaming in pain (obviously exaggerating) and attracting as much attention as he could.  He also had a friend who was in on the plan and he started demanding that we pay him a huge amount of money.  I tried to explain to him that I had seen what had happened and that his friend needed to quiet down, but he was just shouting higher and higher numbers at me like an auctioneer.  Thankfully, someone who knew the man told us to just leave and he would take care of everything.  Apparently, this was not the first time they had tried something like this.  We thankfully "fled the scene" and laughed for quite a while.  One thing in the Philippines is that it is very hard to do anything without there being a lot of witnesses around.

     I've actually become thankful for experiences like this, because they give the work in the office a little more flavor.  I'm always thankful for the counsel and support that you show.  It really helps more than you know!

- Elder English

With Elders Benosa and Tumanguil 
and Calamba 3 Elders.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Episode 5 - Lost

Dear Family and Friends,

     Well, this week Elder Benosa and I spent a lot of time getting lost.  We are both relatively knew in the office and there are a lot of places in the mission that we have never been before.  We need to visit all the apartments in 5 zones every month.  We spent a lot of time having missionaries explain really obscure landmarks over the phone while we were driving through all these towns and cities for the first time.  It has been quite the learning experience and I have definitely learned a lot about being patient (with myself).  We're getting the hang of everything, and hopefully we will be able to be a lot more efficient with our time next month.  I have also become an expert in buying small kitchen appliances and politely turning down employees in the SM (large department store) who are always trying to sell us more stuff.

     On a more serious note though,  I feel like I have really come to enjoy the work in the office, and anytime that we can get out and work is a real treat.  We had the chance to go out and actually tract and do some finding.  Let's just say that it was the most excited I have ever been in the mission to talk to some people.  Our main goal is to be as efficient as we can be so that we can go out an visit people.  Sometimes it is kind of hard to get out and visit after drivng and doing office work all day, but it is always worth it. 
     One of the props of being in the office is that we get really good food.  There were actually two other people in the office who had birthdays right around mine, so we had a big event in the mission home.  We actually got to eat spaghetti that wasn't sweet and cake that was made out of flour that came from wheat.  It may not sound like it, but it was a really big deal.

     Everything is going well and my companion and I are finally starting to get the flow of things.  Thanks for all of your birthday wishes!

-Elder English

Monday, September 21, 2015

Episode 4 - Zone Conferences

Dear Family and Friends,

     Everything is going well in the office.  This last week we travelled to all of the apartments in the Santa Cruz and Siniloan areas.  It took quite a while because there are some apartments that are pretty far out there by themselves.  Siniloan is a really cool area.  It's just a mixture of lakes and mountains.  We had a really fun time with it while we tried to make the driving as entertaining as possible. 
     We also had the opportunity to travel around the mission and hear the great messages delivered by the assistants and President Mangum.  Our mission's big focus has been on teaching pure doctrine clearly and simply.  Now we are working on relating it to their lives so they can see how it will bless them personally.  It's one thing to teach all the bullet points, but we need to help them realize why they need the Gospel in their lives.  One thing that I really liked was said by President Mangum.  He said, "It's not enough to just say that we know the church is true and that Jesus Christ is the Savior.  Satan and all of his followers also know these things.  We need to go beyond that and show it through the Spirit and apply these beliefs in our lives."

     It was a really fun experience to be able to see all of my old companions and find out how they're doing now.  Right now, we're going through our monthly filter runs.  We text all of the areas and tell them that we're coming.  Then they tell us what supplies they need.  We go to SM (large department store) and buy all of the supplies and then spend the next day travelling through a specific zone changing filters and dropping off the supplies that they need.  We always go through interesting experiences along the way and we get to check if other missionaries are cleaning their apartments or not.

     Things are going well and the days go by even faster here in the office.  Thanks for all of the support that you continue to show me!
- Elder English  

Bradyn's birthday poster from home.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Episode 3 - The Smart Investigator

Dear Family and Friends,

     When I first came into the office, things were relatively calm, but now everything is starting to ramp up.  We have zone conferences this week on Wednesday until Friday.  We are also starting our filter runs.  We need to drive to most of the apartments in the mission to change filters and do apartment checks.  It will be really fun to see the rest of the mission because I've only been on one side of the mission for all of my areas. 

     Other than that, things are going well.  Elder Nielson has been transferred so it's just Elder Benosa and I in the office.  We have everything figured out and our biggest goal is to get out and get as much proselyting done as we can, even though it's really hard sometimes.  Right now, we have an investigator who is probably one of the smartest people we've ever met.  She is currently reading through the Book of Mormon like a history textbook.  She is matching it up chronologically with the Bible and following all of the family lines through the whole book.  I'm pretty sure that she started out in an effort to find all the faults that she could, but has now changed her focus to finding all of the evidences that testify that the Book of Mormon is true.  It is really exciting to see her make all of the connections and she is also getting a personal testimony through the Holy Ghost that it is true.

     I feel like I'm getting the hang of being in the office and the work surprisingly feels just as fulfilling as being out and proselyting.  That was something that I really wasn't expecting.  Everything else is going well and I'm excited for all of the new experiences that lie ahead.
- Elder English  

Mission Office
With Elder Benosa and Elder Nielson (transferred)

Elder Tumanguil - AP (Tuguegarao, Philippines)
Elder Benosa (Mindanao, Philippines)
Elder Nielson (Canada)
Elder Bryson - AP (California)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Episode 2 -Transfers

Dear Family and Friends,

     This week is transfer week in the office and I thought that this meant that things would be going pretty crazy for us, but we actually have nothing to do with it at all.  This all lands on the assistants and the President.  We just go about our normal things and watch everyone else stress out.  It's a really different experience being in the office for transfers.  It has really helped me to realize how the whole mission is run on revelation.  We'll ask President Mangum how the transfers are going and he will just say, "There's a few things that I'm just waiting for answers on."  He says it in such a matter-of-fact way that it helps me realize how we are all entitled to revelation.

     Also, things are going well with the adjustments.  I know how to do almost everything in the office now, and I'm excited to be able to travel around the mission for the upcoming zone conference.  I'm still a little nervous about the driving, but there are actually very few accidents that happen in the Philippines despite how crazy the driving is.  I'm pretty sure that I'll be fine.  We have had the opportunities to get out and work for about two to three hours every day.  We had a fun lesson with a part - member family and we taught them about the importance of reading the Book of Mormon.  This has become my favorite lesson to teach in the mission because I have had so many personal experiences with studying the scriptures.  One of the members in the family was shying away from the commitment to read the Book of Mormon.  We told her that if she read the Book of Mormon every day until our next visit to them, and she could honestly say that she hadn't noticed a change in her life, we would stop bothering her about it.  It's really nice and easy to make promises to people when we know that these things are true for ourselves.

     The ward here in Alaminos is great.  We don't really get as much time to interact with the members as I would like, but they are really friendly and welcoming.  We really only get to interact with them on Sunday at church, but I think I get my fair share of talking to people working in the office.  We are constantly on the phone talking to people, and sometimes I don't realize if I'm speaking Tagalog or English.  Everything is going well as I'm slowly adjusting.  I thought the work would just feel like busy-work.  It's actually very fulfilling and just as tiring as proselyting.  We take every opportunity to get out and get some exercise on Mondays.

     Everything is going well and I'm just picking things up little by little.  Thanks for all of your support and advice!
- Elder English 

The only picture that I have right now.
The first few days were really tiring.
(This is so typical of Bradyn in a car.....)

Below - Elder Nielson's photos

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Office - Season 1 Episode 1

Dear Family and Friends,

     I received an unexpected phone call last week Tuesday.  President Mangum called during our lunch time and notified me that I would be the new office elder for the mssion.  I was really surprised, especially when he told me that I would be leaving for the office the very next day after our district meeting.  I was a little disappointed because I had only been in Bauan for about a month and I was just barely getting to know the area and the members.  The good news was that I still hadn't even fully unpacked from my last transfer so that went pretty smoothly.

     Life in the office is really different, and I'm still adjusting to it.  Our mission doesn't have enough senior couples to take care of the different zones so we have taken on a lot of extra responsibilities.  We head to the office at about 8:00 or 9:00 every morning.  We go through all the baskets and prioritize what we need to do for that day, and then we do our hour of personal study there in the office.  Then we do work in the office (referrals, pouches, mail, supplies, cellphones, deductions from support, and anything that President or the senior couples ask us to do).  After that, we usually need to drive somewhere in the mission to help someone move an apartment or give them supplies for their apartments (we do a lot of driving).  Once a month, we also drive to most of the areas in the mission to replace water filters since we don't have senior couples to do it.  We usually get out to do actual proselyting at around 6:00 or 7:00.  We usually only get 1 lesson in a day and then we go OYM and give the referrals to the other missionaries in San Pablo.

     It's definitely a different schedule than I've become accustomed to, but the work is still really exciting and and fulfilling.  The two other office elders are really good at planning so everything runs very smoothly.  It is also really exciting to be involved in all the inner workings of the mission.

     I will be replacing Elder Nielson at the end of this transfer.  They just brought me in early so I could learn everything that I needed to before he leaves.  Elder Nielson was actually my zone leader on Mindoro and the other office elder (Elder Benosa) was my district leader on Mindoro, so it's pretty fun for us to all be back together again.  Elder Nielson is from Alberta, Canada, and Elder Benosa is from Mindanao, Philippines.  They are both really nice guys and it's been fun to be in a trio with them.  Elder Nielson will be transferred on September 10th, so we have a countdown to learn everything we need to since he has been in the office for the longest time.  

     Everything is going well, and once again, I'm just trying to absorb as much as I can.  I'm really excited for all of the new and unique experiences that lie ahead.

- Elder English