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