Monday, April 27, 2015

First Lesson in English

Dear Family and Friends,

     Just finished another great week of work in our area.  My companion and I are just getting better at teaching together.  It's too bad that we are going to get split up next week.  Other good news though, my companion and I just got the call that we are both going to be training next transfer.  We're both really excited for each other.  We have been focusing a lot on our investigators with baptismal goal dates, and the results really paid off this week when we had all of them attend church.  The members here are really good at fellowshipping and helping investigators to feel welcomed.  I am really coming to realize that the work is so much easier and so much more fun.

     One of our experiences.....we were able to teach one of our investigators about the plan of salvation.  He is 18 and originally from Pakistan, but is a native English speaker so I got to teach my first lesson in English on the mission.  His father was a Marine and was killed in action in Pakistan, but his mom is from the Philippines.  It was an amazing thing to see his amazement as we taught him about the fullness of God's plan for us.  He was very hesitant to accept a goal date, but once he heard about the Plan of Salvation, he accepted right away.  It seemed like a light went on inside of him as he saw the "big picture".  I've noticed that one of the biggest things that the Gospel gives to people is perspective. 
     I'm really excited to show the incoming missionary that I will be training all of these things.  We had a funny experience recently as we started getting yelled at by a leader of a different religion.  We quickly got out of the area as people started jumping in.  We couldn't help but laugh as we found somewhere else to eat.  That's one thing that I've noticed.  Here in the Philippines, people are definitely not afraid to stand up for what they believe in.  Thank you again for all of your support.  Things are going great in Tanauan!

- Elder English

Monday, April 20, 2015

More Changes

Dear Family and Friends,

     I informed all of you last Monday that I would be working in a trio.  I was pretty excited to get it figured out.  We had zone interviews last Tuesday, and President Mangum informed me that I would actually have a companion this coming transfer.  So my companion's name is Elder Encinares.  He's from Samar and is about a year into his mission.  He actually just got out of the hospital, because he had tuberculosis for 3 weeks.  He got better just in time to be my companion after Elder Cultura left (missionary he was training).  We will actually only be companions for 3 weeks until the next transfer.  Then Elder Encinares will be transferred and I will stay in Tanauan and train again.  

     Things have been pretty crazy, but we have 4 baptisms (family) scheduled for May 2.  The father is a member and is actually the older brother of our bishop.  They just moved back home to Tanauan and are all awesome and really excited to be baptized.  It has been really fun going through the lessons with them the past few weeks and telling them all the ways that the Gospel will bless their families.  It's really strengthened my testimony of how central families are to Heavenly Father's plan.  We are all really excited for their baptism.

     Other than that, our area is really progressing well.  I really have no complaints at all, and the missionary life just seems like it's instinct or second nature to me now.  Our ward has a ton of youth and all of our leaders are really involved in the work.   The work is going really great right now and the weeks are flying by.  Thank you all for your support and all the support that you continue to show.  Things are awesome in the Philippines!

- Elder English

Just as an afterthought, he later sent me an e-mail informing me that his bag had been stolen which contained his wallet (bank cards, license, money, etc.) and scriptures (marked and notated just as he liked it).  After several questions, I discovered that the theft occurred during the night in the lower level of their apartment (the bedroom is upstairs), where I'm assuming is their study area.  The window is covered by bars for security so they've concluded that a pole was used to reach into the room and hook items that could fit between the bars.  Hmmmm.....I'm a little uncertain how to feel about all this.  Aaahhh!!!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Another Change of Plans

Dear Family and Friends,

     So, I'm going to start with the bad news.  My companion's Visa for Australia has arrived so he will be leaving tomorrow.  It was expected, but we thought that we would be together for a lot longer.  So, I will be working in a trio for the rest of the transfer and then I will probably be training again next transfer, but nothing's for sure.  We had a really great time together and we got a lot of good things going in our area.  

     One of our great experiences..... One of our appointments fell through so we decided to go tract from our apartment until the chapel.  I've found that this is a really good strategy.  We found a whole family who was moving into their house.  I decided to stop and help them out.  They started asking us a lot of questions and then they invited us in to teach them.  We were able to teach their whole family the Restoration and give them a Book of Mormon.  I was really prompted to extend a baptismal invitation and everyone in the family (5 in all) accepted the date of May 27.  I was absolutely astounded and couldn't even talk to my companion after the lesson I was so surprised.  We have been working really hard to get the area up and going and it is really exciting to see the people that Heavenly Father puts in our path when we put in the work.  The ward is really getting excited about missionary work and we have a lot of young men who have been working with us.  

     Everything's going great right now and I have absolutely no complaints.  It's going to take a little time to adjust to working in a trio, but I'm really excited to experiment and figure it out.  Even if it's only for 3 weeks.  

     I also had a great time watching General Conference.  I honestly can't pick a favorite, but I really liked it when Elder Christofferson said, "Many things are good, many are important, but only a few are essential."  I'm coming to learn that when we put these gospel essentials as our first priority, everything else is automatic. We are so blessed to know the things that we need to do in order to obtain true happiness.  Thanks again for all of your support.  Everything is going great in Tanauan City!

- Elder English

Monday, April 6, 2015

Life in Batangas

Dear Family and Friends,

     My companion and I just finished our first full week of work in Tanauan and it was great!  One good thing is that all of the young men are out of school.  All of the priests are preparing for missions so one of them works with us every day to help us to get to know the area.  It's been a huge help.  It's a little different training, when I need to step in and take over sometimes.  My companion is very quiet, which is saying something coming from me.  I keep having flashbacks to my first transfer in the mission and then I think of what my trainer would have done for me.  Our ward is progressing very well and we have been able to get around to most of the members and introduce ourselves.  We had a lot of success talking to people this week and finding some new investigators and families to teach.  I have gotten a lot more comfortable with my Tagalog.  Instead of people asking me "Taga saan ka?"  (Where are you from?)  they just ask me "Ano ka?" (What are you).  They also speak very different Tagalog here in Batangas which has taken a little adjusting.  Other than that everything is going great and we're just helping the work move along.

     It's definitely a different world off of the islands, but it's refreshing to have a change.  The city really keeps you on your toes.  I am also burning through money a lot faster with all of the jeepney and tricycle rides.  That's all for this week!  I'm super excited for general conference.  I get so excited for our investigators to watch general conference.  I'm pretty sure they think that I'm a little crazy about it. (They get to watch/listen to General Conference a week after we do.)

     I would also like to send a shout out to Sissy and Brock.  Congrats!  I can't wait to meet Kinley on Skype.  She looks beautiful in the pictures!

-Elder English

Zone P-day

With Elder Brunt (a friend in my zone from Australia) on a jeepney.