Monday, May 30, 2016


Dear Family and Friends,

     I'll start off with the big news.  I have been transferred again.  My companion went home yesterday and I received the call that I had also been transferred.  Elder Pepa and I are going to be replaced by four sisters.  I was positive that Lucena would be my last area since I only have 6 weeks left in my mission and I had only been in Lucena for 6 weeks, but I guess it just shows that you can never get too comfortable.  My last area will be Majayjay in the Sta Cruz Zone.  I've had the opportunity to go there before while I was in the office and it was always my favorite place to go, so I guess everything worked out well.  It's a small town in the mountains and it's pretty far away from any large city.  It's a really beautiful area and it's also much cooler there than Lucena so I'm definitely looking forward to that.  My companion will be Elder Villasana.  I don't really know anything about him except that he's Filipino.  It was definitely an unexpected change, but I'm also really excited.  It seems like Heavenly Father is just keeping me on my toes until the end of my mission.

     Elder Pepa left for the mission home yesterday.  It was definitely a weird experience, but I was really happy for him.  Right now, I'm companions with Elder Yagomyom since his companion also went home yesterday.  We're just splitting the work between our two areas until transfer day.  Elder Pepa and I spent most of the last week making sure everything was ready for the sisters.  We also had to let all of our investigators know that the missionaries coming there will look a lot different from us.  We also spent a lot of time cleaning the apartment.  President Mangum even called us and explained that a Sister's idea of clean is much different than an Elder's idea of clean, and that he didn't want to get any calls from traumatized sisters.  The apartment used to have four elders in it, but that was a long time ago.  We only used the bottom floor and the top was just locked off and we never felt the need to open it.  Let's just say that we realized that we were going to have to move some appointments around once we cracked the door open. 
     We also experienced a lot of success this last week.  Three of the families who have trouble getting to church all came last week so we were really happy to see them.  Elder Yagomyom and I also have been having a fun time together.  He's from Mindanao and he definitely has a different attitude than the Filipinos that are from Luzon.  The tone of his voice is really loud and harsh.  Sometimes I'm not sure if he's upset or not, but he said I will definitely know if he's upset at me.  Apparently, that's how they speak in Visaya.  He's a really cool elder and he speaks the purest Tagalog I've heard from the missionaries that I've worked with so I'm really learning a lot from him.

     Everything's going well and I'm really excited to head out to my new area on Thursday, and meet my new companion.  Thanks for all the support that you continue to show!  I love you all!

- Elder English

Monday, May 23, 2016

Repeat Letter??


Well, Bradyn has sent me e-mails that have been extremely short, encrypted and even missed a week or two here and there, but this was the first.....sent the same e-mail from the previous week.  Ugh!!! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Orange Soda and Cookies

Dear Family and Friends,

     It's been another great, hot week here in Lucena.  It seemed like one of those dead weeks where everything just seemed to be happening a little slower, but we were still able too see a lot of miracles.  The heat continues to get hotter, and we're really thankful for any opportunity that we can get to take a break and share a message with someone.  I never thought that part of my motivation to find would be the opportunity to sit in the shade for 20 minutes.  Also, it's pretty customary here in the Phillipines to give your guests a little snack.  This usually ends up being soda and some kind of bread or crackers.  We got to have a lot of orange soda and cookies this past week.

     The current training plan for the mission is focused on charity and the atonement.  The objective is that once we realize what charity truly is and how we can obtain charity through the atonement, our only desire will be to share that knowledge with others.  My companion and I definitely had the opportunity to share that charity with others as a lot of our appointments fell through and we were able to find new people to share with.  

     The family that I talked about last week came to church again last week, and they said that they're back for good.  The father was interviewed last week so he can start working towards getting the Melchizedek Priesthood, so that was definitely a miracle for us.  We're really happy for how much he will be able to bless and help his family.  

     Everything else is going well.  My companion's getting down to his last few weeks in the mission, but we're not even really thinking about it since we both know that we're close to the end.  Thanks for all of your continued support and advice!

- Elder English

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


Dear Family and Friends,

     First of all, I'm so thankful for the opportunity that I had to skype with my family.  Even though I'll be seeing them in just a few months it was a really fun experience.  It was especially fun to see my pamangkin (niece), Kinley.  I'm really excited to meet her in person!

     This week was another hot one.  Summer is really starting to set in, and it's only rained once in the past two months, which is really crazy for the Philippines.  Everything has started to turn from green to brown, and it's especially hot in our area because it's a city that's close to the ocean.  We're just the right distance away so that we get all of the humidity of the ocean without the breeze.  It's weird to say that I actually miss the dry Utah heat, but aside from the weather, everything is going great.  The area is progressing and we're continuing to see an increase in the involvement of the ward.  

     There was one miracle that really stood out for me this week.  We were running behind on our schedule and it looked like we weren't going to be able to make it to one of the families that we had planned to visit.  We had a set appointment that we really couldn't be late for.  My companion and I didn't even really say anything to each other, we just decided to go anyway, even though it would make us late for the rest of the day.  I guess we both had the same prompting from the Spirit, because we both just jumped in the tricycle without even saying anything to each other.  This family hasn't come to church in about a year so we were pretty unsure.  We showed up at their house and their 17- year-old daughter told us that she had been waiting for us even though we never told them that we were coming.  Her father had just gotten out of the hospital that morning and was having a rough time recovering from a surgery.  She told us that she had just said a prayer earlier that morning that someone with the priesthood would come to their house so that her father could have a priesthood blessing.  My companion and I both stared at each other as we realized what had happened without us even saying a word to each other.  We gave her father a blessing and then shared a message.  It was a great experience and they were able to make it to church yesterday.

     Elder Pepa and I get along well.  We always seem to be on the same page and seem to know what the other is going to say or what the other is thinking during planning or a lesson.  It's been a really great blessing to be companions with him.  Everything is going well and the days are flying past.  Thanks again to all of you for your support and advice.  Love you all!
- Elder English
With Elder Pepa - Lucena City

Monday, May 2, 2016

Short and Powerful

Dear Family and Friends,

     Another great week has come and gone in Lucena and it continues to amaze me how fast the time seems to be going.  My companion has one month left in the mission, so we're trying to get the most out of our companionship that we can before he goes home.  We're continuing to see miracles every day in our finding and visits to members.  When I first got here, there was only one member who was working with the missionaries.  It seems like the elders before just assumed that other members didn't want to work with them.  Elder Pepa and I have been trying to invite every member that we can to come out and work with us for a few hours.  Amazingly, several of them were willing to come out and work with us.  It turns out that all we had to do was ask.  The work and teaching all becomes a lot more effective when there is someone there that the investigator can relate to, instead of a Tongan and an American.

     We've also been working on getting our lessons focused on doctrine and making them more short and powerful.  President Mangum always says that the most important part of their conversion takes place in between our visits, not during them.  So we've really focused on just making sure that they understand our message and making sure that they've felt the spirit.  Then it's just up to them to act on these feelings and promptings.  It's been a real blessing to be with Elder Pepa, and a really unique experience for both of us to close to going home.  I've learned a lot from him.

     We have some investigators who are doing really well.  They're all reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.  The real trick is getting them to come out for church.  A lot of them have work on Sundays, and it really isn't an option for them to miss a day of work, since they're living meal to meal.  It can be pretty scary to tell them that if they sacrifice and come to church, the Lord will bless them and help them.  It really is a true test of their faith.

     Our district here is really fun, and I've served with all of the missionaries before in past zones, so there wasn't much of an adjusting period.  Everything's going great.  Thanks again for all of your support and advice!

- Elder English