Monday, June 20, 2016

Small Town Problems

WEEK 100 - WEEK 101
Dear Family and Friends,

     It's been another great week here in Majayjay.  The work is going well and we're continuing to see progress.  The members here in Majayjay are great, and there is always someone ready to work with us whenever we need it.  It really makes the work a lot more fun and effective.  Majayjay is a pretty small town, so everyone gets to know you pretty quickly.  While we're walking around every day, we see the same people over and over.  It's a really close-knit community and it's quite fun to get involved in the work here.  It gets pretty funny sometimes with the "small town problems".  For example, Majayjay is known for having the coldest, cleanest water.  Most of the conversations here end up in a discussion about water, and which political leader provides their barangay with the best water.  Elections just finished here, and the new mayor isn't too fond of the barangay where the church is located, so we currently don't have water at the chapel.  It's like we're in our own little separate world, and it's actually helping me so that I don't really think about going home. 

     We're also focusing a lot about getting out to the members who have trouble getting to church.  Sometimes they simply don't have the means to get to church.  All we can really do is testify that the Lord will bless them for the sacrifices that they might make to follow his commandments.  It's really inspiring to see their faith as they do everything that they can to show their love to our Heavenly Father. 

     We have mission tour coming up this week, and Elder Haynie from the area presidency will be visiting us.  He had our whole mission take an online survey, and apparently there were a few statistics that concerned him, so that's what he will be teaching us about.  Our half of the mission is heading to San Pablo for the meeting, and I'm really excited to hear his message for our mission.  I will also be bearing my testimony along with the other missionaries who are close to departing, so it's really putting things into perspective for me.

     Right now, I'm just focusing on keeping my head down and working through the last few weeks of my mission while also trying to savor all of the sights and sounds.  Everything is going well, and I don't really have anything at all to complain about.  
- Elder English 

Monday, June 6, 2016


Dear Family and Friends,

     So my last transfer in the mission went smoothly.  It was a really weird feeling to unpack my things knowing that I would be packing again in six weeks, but I'm loving my new area.  On transfer day, I took a two hour bus ride from Lucena to San Pablo, then an hour jeepney ride from San Pablo to Santa Cruz, and then finally an hour and a half jeepney ride from Santa Cruz to Majayjay.  It is the most exhausting thing to travel in the Philippines.  Especially when you're pulling your luggage around and sweating the whole time.  I also didn't have anyone to travel with, so I did the whole thing by myself, but everything went well.

     Majayjay is a really cool area.  It's a small town at the base of a mountain.  When I say small town, I really mean small.  The biggest building here is this really old Catholic church.  We don't even have an ATM in our area, so if we want to withdraw our money, it's another hour jeepney ride.  It's a lot cooler here and rains about twice a day, so I'm really thankful for that.  There are three sets of water falls here that are pretty famous throughout the region, so hopefully we'll get to visit some of those.  The members are really amazing and supportive, I'm excited to see what work we can get done here.

     My companion's name is Elder Villasana.  He's from the Visayas region of the Philippines and speaks Illongo (another dialect).  He's a really great elder and loves to smile and laugh.  We spend a lot of our time just laughing while we're walking or at members' houses.  It's only a branch here, so the members are really close to the missionaries and know all the Elders who were assigned here before.  These past few days, we've just been traveling around the area and getting to know everyone.  It's been a while since I've done a lot of walking in an area, so I did have some sore feet for a few days.  

     There was one miracle that we saw this past week.  We had Stake Conference on Sunday and it costs about twenty pesos (50 cents) to get there.  We were walking on Saturday night when we saw one of the elderly women in the branch.  She came up and said hi to us.  When she shook hands with me, she suddenly refused to let go of my hand.  She then told us that she had just spent the rest of her money on food and asked if she could have 20 pesos to be able to go to stake conference the next day.  We explained to her that we weren't allowed to give her the money and she seemed a little upset, but said it was ok.  The next day we saw her at the Stake Center and she said that her cousin had come by the night before, unannounced and bought some of the vegetables from her garden.  It was exactly 40 pesos. Just enough for getting to Santa Cruz and the return trip.  It was a really big miracle for me to see how happy she was.

     Everything is going well and I'm really enjoying the area here.  I can't find anything to complain about.  Thanks for all of your continued support and counsel.

- Elder English