Monday, May 25, 2015

The Heat Continues

Pamilya at mga Kaibigan,
     My companion and I just finished another week of hard work here in the heat of the Philippines.  Everyone is saying that the rainy season should be starting soon, but I haven't seen any evidence of it.  The temperature in Tanauan has been around 42 degrees Celsius or about 107 degrees Fahrenheit the whole week and then you can throw the humidity on top of that, it gets pretty taxing to walk around all day.  I feel pretty bad for my new companion.  He went from a Utah spring to a Philippines hot season.  It's a pretty drastic change and he has definitely been feeling it.  He's been running a pretty high fever that comes and goes without warning, so the mission nurse has been advising us to stay in the apartment when his temperature is high just so it doesn't turn into something more serious.  

     But even with the current circumstances, we have still been able to get some really good work done.  There are two families that we have been really focusing on these past couple of weeks.  I've come to find that sometimes it's better to just be a friend rather than a lecturer in the mission.  I remember when I was new and we would have a conversation with whoever we were teaching before and after we shared our message.  Sometimes I would get impatient thinking that we needed to do everything as fast as possible.  I just wanted to get in, teach, and then get out.  I've come to learn in the mission that people are much more likely to feel the spirit of our message if they know that we actually care about what's going on in their lives.  Even as we talk to people on the street and in front of their homes.  I was always rushed to get to the invitation at the end of the conversation.  Now, I just love learning about people's lives here in the Philippines and an invitation to hear about the Restoration of the Gospel is just a huge bonus.  

     We got to see the results of our work this Sunday as the two inactive families that we had been focusing on attended church.  Both attended church as well as all of our investigators with baptismal goal dates.  Sunday was definitely full of lots of smiles.  Things are going great here in the Philippines!  We're just waiting for the rain to start.  Thank you again for all of your support!

- Elder English

Looks like Bradyn is making some new friends.

Monday, May 18, 2015


Dear Family and Friends,

     Another great week of hard work has passed.  We are right in the middle of the hot season and it is certainly living up to its name.  It is unbelievably hot here in Batangas and the mission has authorized water breaks and 20 minute naps throughout the day, since there are a lot of missionaries coming down with migraines, dehydration, heat stroke, and other medical problems from walking in the sun all day.  The good news is that the heat hasn't really stopped us.  We have been able to find different ways to get things done and accomplish our goals. 

     One thing that we have started doing has actually worked really well.  We are trying to find new people to teack but it gets amazingly hot outside on the street.  Instead we do something that I call shop and talk.  We will go to the highway in Tanauan and start going from shop to shop.  At first I thought that people would get mad about it, but we have actually had a lot of success.  The other day, we talked to people at a music store, a sports store, and a pet store.  We found some people that were interested and invited us to return, found some members that we didn't know about, and were able to talk to a lot of people.  We also got to see some cool basketball shoes, guitars, and hold some puppies in the meantime.  All in the comfort of air conditioning.  I talked to the mission leaders about it just to make sure if it was okay, and they said that they're going to start trying it themselves.  It has really amazed me how friendly people are here in the Philippines and how the Lord blesses us when we open our mouths to share the Gospel (no matter where we are).  

     My companion is doing great considering all the adjustments that he is going through.  He has been getting really bad headaches from the heat and we are trying to get as much work done as possible while making sure that he stays healthy.  He was running a bit of a fever on Saturday and Sunday so we have been taking it a little easy, but we were still able to meet a lot of our goals for this week.  Things are going great and we should be having a baptism in about two weeks!

Thank you again for all of your support!

- Elder English

Monday, May 11, 2015


We were able to visit with Bradyn via Skype for Mother's Day.  He looked wonderful and sounded very happy and enthusiastic to move the work forward.  He has found great joy in interacting with the people he is among and mentioned how much he liked the openness of everyone and their willingness to engage in deep discussions regarding life.  He certainly appeared more confident and readily expressed that his language and communication abilities have greatly improved.  Bradyn also met his niece, Kinley, for the first time and I was thrilled to still receive a brief e-mail regarding his week.

Dear Friends and Family,

     So, I picked up my new companion last Thursday at the mission home.  His name is Elder Hodges and he is from Bountiful, Utah.  He is 18 years old and I'm really exciting to train him.  He's a really good Elder who wants to work really hard.  That's all that you could really ask for in a companion.  We both get along well and I'm super excited to start him off on a good note in his mission.

     This week we had a lot of appointments fall through, so we did a lot of walking in the  sun.  We were able to visit a lot of members, and share messages with them.  Training a new missionary who doesn't speak Tagalog yet has really pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I am learning a lot.  We have found a lot of potential investigators and I am really excited for the coming weeks and the things that we will be able to do in Tanauan.  

     We had a really good experience this week as we have focused on helping our investigators progress towards baptism instead of just working our way through the lessons.  I have noticed a big difference in the work when we are working towards a vision instead of just working our way down the teaching record.

     Things are going great here in the Philippines and I'm excited for all of the new things that I will be able to learn from this companion.  Thank you all for your support!

- Elder English 

New companion, Elder Hodges from Bountiful, Utah.

Playing a bit of basketball.  
A hugely popular sport in the Philippines.

Kinley was not willing to wake up for the introductions.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Battle For Greatness


Dear Family and Friends,

     Another great week has come and gone in Tanauan.  Unfortunately, we were forced to extend the baptism of the family that I have talked about before.  They had an accident in their family and they haven't been available for us to teach.  Other than that, we've been focusing on visiting members and finding new investigators.  We haven't really seen results from it yet, but I know that we will if we just keep at it.
      I've mostly been getting prepared for the new missionary that will be coming on Thursday.  I'm really excited to train and help them see what missionary life is like.  Training is by far the most fun thing I've done on the mission and I wouldn't mind doing it for the rest of my mission.  

     My companion and I have been through a lot of weird situations during the past week.  The Philippines is also in a deep depression right now after the loss of Pacquiao in the "battle for greatness".  Filipinos are very happy people, but I probably saw more sad people on Sunday than I have in the rest of mission combined.  We have also got chased by quite a few dogs in this new area that we tracted.  But we have figured out a secret for dogs in the Philippines.  You just bend over and act like you're picking up a rock.  Even if there's not one, every dog in sight scatters.  I'm still surprised by the new stuff that I learn every day in the mission.  Even if it is how to scare away dogs.

     My companion and I have been working really hard on extending the invitation to be baptized in the first lesson.  I've noticed that this has really helped me listen to the Spirit.  Whenever I'm not sure, I just sit and think for a few seconds.  I act on the impression that I get, even though my mind is telling me that it's completely wrong.  I've noticed a huge difference when I take a few seconds to just stop and listen.

     Everything else is going great and my companion and I are really excited about what's happening in our area.

- Elder English  

We haven't received any photos from Bradyn with the past few e-mails, so I decided to add one of our own that has reference to the Pacquiao boxing match that he mentioned.  Kinley is sporting one of Uncle Bradyn's Pacquiao t-shirts for the occasion.