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.