Monday, December 28, 2015

Masaganang Bagong Taon!

WEEK 75 - WEEK 76
Dear Family and Friends,

     It's really hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone and we're already coming up on 2016.  This past week, we had our Christmas zone conferences in Lucena, Batangas, and San Pablo.  They were all really great and everything went smoothly (for the most part).  The assistants gave a workshop and related the people we teach to the different characters in the nativity.  For example, a really interested and self - motivated investigator would be a wise - man because all they needed was the star to follow.  Other investigators would be like the shepherds who were apprehensive at first and needed to be led by the angels.  Then you have your inn-keepers who simply don't have time for us.  It was a really good learning experience and they brainstormed with the mission on different ways that we can find the true seekers of the Gospel.  
San Pablo Zone
Zone Conference

     President Mangum's workshop was really nice and simple.  He simply reviewed what we had accomplished this year and set new mission goals for the upcoming year.  He committed us all to the new goals, and then we had a kneeling prayer at each zone conference to close.  It was a really spiritual experience and I thought it was really neat how President presented our new goals to Heavenly Father and asked for his approval.  We had an awesome meal, and we got it for three days in a row.  I guess that's definitely one of the benefits of being in the office.
Christmas Zone con lunch! Definitely the best meal we get all year.
Lechon - a Christmas tradition
(My companion, Elder Benosa)

     We also got to eat dinner at the mission home on Christmas Day.  It was a true American meal.  No Rice!!  (Bradyn mentioned during our Skype visit that Pres. and Sis. Mangum's children and grandchildren were there for Christmas and they took them out to speak and interact with the people and pass out candy.)  All in all it was a really great Christmas and it was really nice to have all of the extra things stripped away so all of our focus was truly on the Savior.

     I'm definitely excited for the new year and the new vision that has been set for our mission.  Everything is going great and the mission seems to be progressing as a whole.  Thanks for all of your support and counsel!  Happy New Year!
- Elder English

 We celebrated finishing zone con and splurged a little bit.
(It looks like they went to Pizza Hut and had American chocolate.)

Friday, December 18, 2015

Typhoon Season


Dear Family and Friends,

     This week has been kind of a crazy one.  This week, we had a super typhoon make its way through our mission.  This time it was Baguiong Nona.  How it works here is the first typhoon of every season starts with the letter A.  Then each following typhoon moves through each letter in the alphabet.  So right now we're at letter N (Nona).  In a normal year, they usually make it all through the alphabet.  That's kind of the standard that they use.  We just got hit by the edges of it, so it just rained really hard, but the center of it passed through Mindoro, through two of my past areas.  They have said that it was pretty devastating and around 14,000 homes were destroyed.  I have definitely been praying for them.

     We will be having our Christmas Zone Conferences next week also.  There will be three different conferences held throughout the mission, and we have the privilege to attend all of them.  It's a really fun experience and I learn a lot every time.  It also means that we're very busy.  This is the only time that a lot of missionaries actually see us and have a chance to order things that they need, so things get pretty crazy.  The focus of our zone conference is centered on Christ and the Book of Mormon, and how we can use the Book of Mormon to testify more powerfully of our Savior.  I'm really excited for it, and I'm just finishing up my Book of Mormon reading with the focus on Jesus Christ, so I'm really excited of the insights that I will be able to receive.  

     The typhoon actually brought in some cool weather, so I guess it's the closest thing that we're going to get to snow, and it's really great to see that the spirit of Christmas is the same anywhere in the world.  Everything is going well and thankfully, no missionaries were injured during the typhoon.  Thank you all for your prayers and support.  Love you all!   


- Elder English

Some of the departing missionaries that I was good friends with.

Some of the incoming missionaries and their trainers.

On one of our long drives.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Dear Family and Friends,

     We had another great week as we're continuing to get ready for Christmas and all that it brings.  It's definitely becoming a challenge to keep everything organized and to make sure we're getting things done as quickly as we can.  I think President Mangum noticed some things that we were struggling with and pulled us into his office for a quick meeting.  He gave some great advice from how to keep track of inventory to how we can best keep others updated and make sure that we're prioritizing things correctly.  I think it was just a really polite way for him to help us with some things that we have been lacking in, but I was really thankful for it, and surprised that he would take time out of his busy schedule to help us out.

     Everything else has been going well and we've definitely been keeping busy.  We had a baptism last Sunday and it was a really cool experience.  The sister that was baptized had made some really large sacrifices to reach her baptism.  She has bee coming to church for five months now and finally got the "ok" to be baptized.  The spirit was so strong and she couldn't stop crying the whole time.  It was definitely a very memorable experience.  She also has this little kid who only knows one word in English.  Salad.  I don't know why and it's really random, but every time I see him he just shouts salad at me over and over and asks me to play.  Everyone else thinks it's really weird, but I can never stop laughing.  I guess it's just one of those tender mercies that cheers me up when I need it.

     I can't believe that it's already December and that Christmas is coming up.  I'm really excited and I think that this is the most excited that I've been for Christmas ever.  It's really easy to focus on the Savior during Christmas when you're a missionary.  Thanks again for all that you do and for all of your support!  Maligayang Pasko!
- Elder English   

Friday, December 4, 2015

Transfers Again!

Dear Family and Friends,

     So this past week was transfer week and it was really sad to see all of the departing missionaries leaving.  It seems like there are more and more missionaries in every batch that I'm close with.  This last batch had a lot of missionaries in it that I had become really close to in the mission and it was weird to see them going home.  But then the feeling always gets reversed when the new incoming missionaries arrive.  It fills you with energy and excitement again to get out and get to work, so everything always gets balanced out.  

     Our mission is still continuing its reading in the Book of Mormon with highlighting all of the references, words, and characteristics of Jesus Christ.  It has been a really cool experience for me and it reinforces the divinity and purity of the Book of Mormon.  Right now, I'm on track to be done right before Christmas, so I'm really excited for that.

     Everything else is going well and Elder Benosa and I are very busy.  We seem to be spending less and less time in the office, and more time being out in the mission.  It has been very refreshing for both of us.  

     Above everything else, I'm just really excited for Christmas and the special spirit that always comes with the holiday season.  It seems like it gets easier and easier to teach people and talk about the Savior as we get closer to Christmas.  We also had the opportunity to go out with the new missionaries and do some OYMs around San Pablo Lake.  It's a really cool place were people like to just go relax and hang out, so they're all in a pretty good mood.  It was a fun experience to talk to some people and to watch the new missionaries release all of their bundled up excitement.  It helped me to realize that we can never be too excited or bold when sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

     Thank you all again for all of your continued support!  Maligayang Pasko!

- Elder English