Monday, March 30, 2015

Training.......for real this time!

Dear Family and Friends,

     So on transfer day, I got off the boat from Mindoro for the last time (a really depressing experience), and hopped on the bus to Sto. Tomas.  I hopped on a jeepney and when I got off the  zone leader told me that I will actually be training after all because one of the missionaries who was going to train got sick.  I hopped on another jeepney and rushed to the mission home.  When I walked into the mission home, I saw my new companion asleep on the couch.  I woke him up and asked him "Hinihintay mo ba sa trainer mo?"  (Are you waiting for your trainer?)  He said yes and I proceeded to tell him that I was his trainer.  The assistants and President came out and apologized to me again and then we left for our new area in Tanauan City.  

     So my new companion's name is Elder Cultura and he is from Cebu City.  He is 18 years old and awesome.  We get along great we are excited to get our part of the area up and running.  He is actually supposed to serve in Australia, and is just waiting for his Visa.  So I really don't know how long we will be together, but we are both ready to get some work done.  I don't have any pictures yet, but I will be sure to send some next week.  The Tanauan 1st Ward is awesome and they are really excited about missionary work.  That's all that I really have for this week.  We're just getting to know the area and the members so we can have a great transfer.

- Elder English

With Elder Erickson at Zone Conference. 
(MTC Companion)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Training.....not really

Dear Family and Friends,

     The craziness has been continuing on Mindoro.  We have been having a lot of problems in our zone with disobedient missionaries, so a lot of interviews have been happening.  Sometimes I am just a little dumbfounded at some of the things that go on when Elders and Sisters feel that they are too far away from the mission home to get in trouble.  But everything has been sorted after quite a few interviews and phone calls.

     Speaking of phone calls, I was informed last Thursday that I would be training one of the incoming missionaries this next transfer, and that we would be opening up a new area in Tanauan, Lipa Zone.  I attended the train the trainers meeting and I was really excited for the new experience.  It also took away some of the sting of leaving Mindoro.  Let's just say that I'm used to the island life now.  I received a phone call from President Mangum on Sunday.  He told me that one of the incoming missionaries was delayed at the MTC and that I was no longer training.  He told me that I will be training next, next transfer, and that I will be in a trio in Tanauan for this transfer.  It's been a little hard to focus on the work, but things are going well on Mindoro.  My companion and I both have a laid back personality, and the work and the days just seem to fly by.  I'm sad that I only get to spend two weeks with him, but I've learned a lot from him, and even picked up on a lot of the Australian slang.

     We also had zone conference this last week and President really emphasized the relationship between Baptism and the Sacrament.  It helped me to realize that if our investigators don't understand this relationship, the rest of the missionary lessons are useless, and how the Sacrament should be the most important part of our week.

     I'm sure that I will have a lot to tell you about my new are and companions next week.  I don't really like teaching in a threesome, but I know that we will be able to work it out.  Thanks again for all of your support!  It really helps a lot.
- Elder English

Monday, March 16, 2015

Crazy Week

Pamilya at mga Kaibigan,

     I had another crazy week.  On Tuesday morning, I got a phone call from President Mangum that said that we had a missionary who needed to be taken out of his area.  He informed me that he thought I would work well in the area, and that I needed to pack my bags and be in my new area by the next day.  So now I have a new area (Naujan, Mindoro) that's about 45 minutes away from my last area and President has told me that I will be getting transferred off of Mindoro in two weeks on the real transfer day.  So I have a new companion and a new area for 2 weeks.  I was really disappointed, because I only got to be with Elder Avelino for four weeks.  But, Naujan is a really cool place and the apartment is huge.  

     My new companion's name is Elder Akroyd.  He is 21 years old and from Australia.  He's a really nice guy and he's my first foreigner companion.  It's actually really relaxing to speak English with him.  I've noticed that my head doesn't hurt as much at the end of the day.

     My new area has a small branch, and awesome leaders.  There is a really good base of return missionaries and Priesthood, so the future looks really promising.  It's a little hard to focus when I know that I will be leaving in 2 weeks, but we worked really hard and found some new investigators and talked to a lot of people.  The work is a little different when it's two foreigners together, and we get a lot of looks, but we are both pretty good in the language.  That's all I really have to say for now, because I'm just trying to get to know the area asap, and the members as well.  We have our Zone Conference this week, and I'm really excited for that, but I'm not as excited for the 4 days of travel.  Thanks again for all of your support!
- Elder English

My new companion, Elder Akroyd.  
This is the first couch that I have sat on my whole mission.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Kind of Slow

Pamilya at mga Kaibigan,

     I know that this might be a little weird, but I don't have much to report this week.  Things have kind of settled down in our area.  The people here are very busy so the work gets a little difficult during the week.  Here on Mindoro, most people sleep once it gets dark which is around 6:30.  They usually get done with work, come home, wash clothes, and then go to bed.  Everyone has settled into their normal schedules, so we are scrambling sometimes to find someone to teach in the middle of the day.  We are slowly figuring out ways to use our time better.  My companion and I are getting better at working together and we actually both have a really similar sense of humor.  We find the weirdest things to laugh about and it reminds me of being back with the Priest Quorum. 

     Our investigator, Anna Fe, the one that I've mentioned in a few past emails is now done with the Book of Mormon.  She just needs to be active for four months in order to be baptized since she is not yet 18.  She is only 14 and asks the deepest questions that I've ever received from an investigator.  My companion and I jokingly refer to her as the "inBestigator."  I'm hoping that I will not be transferred so that I have the opportunity to baptize her.  I'm getting used to the island life and I'm not sure what I would do if I got sent back to the crazy city life on Luzon.  But that's still a few weeks away, so I'm trying not to think about it.  Still working hard and having fun!  Missionary life is great!

- Elder English  

Joseph's birthday party

A service project harvesting mustasa (mustard greens).  It was really hot!!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Muddy Trails

Pamilya at mga Kaibigan,

     Another great week has come and gone here on Mindoro.  The honest truth is that work in our area is very hard.  We walk all day in the sun on muddy trails, and sometimes it feels like our numbers don't reflect how much work we have put in.  But I realized something just this week as we were walking, of course.  I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world than in Socorro, Mindoro.  As I was thinking about it, I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my mission walking in the sun up to my ankles in mud.  It was a really weird feeling, but it helped me to realize that I should be thanking Heavenly Father for every single second and I should be cherishing every single minute of His work.  I know that sounds really cheesy, but it's just something that I wanted to share.  

     I just learned that the Brother that I baptized in my first area now has two callings in the ward, and is doing great.  It made me really happy to know how many people that he is now helping and how every little bit of work that members do to share the Gospel has such a large effect.  

     Our work in the Socorro Group is going great.  We have progressing investigators and "should" be having some baptisms coming up soon.  Other than that, we have been working really hard on strengthening the priesthood in our area and trying to help them realize what it really means to have the priesthood.  As my family and friends know, I love Star Wars, and the youth in our area love it when I compare the priesthood to "the force" in Star Wars.  Except it really is much more powerful and I've come to realize how blessed we are to have true priesthood authority.

     That's all I really have to say for this week.  Thanks for all of your support and Christmas cards!  I'm still receiving them (believe it or not).

- Elder English