Monday, 29 June 2015

Super Busy Week

Week 31
29 June 2015

First week of this transfer was a fast week. I actually haven't worked this hard for a long time, and the results in our numbers showed how hard we worked. I like to work, but I can get a bit laid back, and slack off from time to time, but not this week. We were out all day, every day and I found myself getting tired a lot faster.

My new companion is Elder King. I'm still junior companion. This is the second companion in a row who is a foreigner, and is under 1 year old in the mission. I really want to have a local companion that can speak awesome Tagalog, so I can learn from them in the language. I love my companion though, don't get that wrong.

The basketball has been great! We were able to meet with at least 10 new investigators this week from playing basketball last Saturday. Word has gotten around Pola of the two Mormon's, or as some people say, "Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson". If you're wondering, I'm Stephen Curry, even though I can't shoot 3-pointers at all well, haha. Pretty keen for the week ahead, to hopefully keep the missionary work pumping here, and hopefully be punted a bit less this week. The amount of times we were punted this week was insane! Probably the most I've been punted in my 6 months in the mission field.

It's getting pretty hot now, hasn't rained lately, but the heat is not unbearable. It would actually be bomb weather if I didn't have to wear a white shirt and pants all day, every day. My companion sweats like crazy, and all the members always comment to him how hot it must be for him. They ask me, and I just tell them it's kind of like home. 

So, we have been permitted to wear some sort of boots to work in as the wet season is now in effect, so I'm thinking about buying a pair of huge gum boots - Would be a great look too.

Wednesday was Pola's town fiesta. We had our district meeting in Pola as well, so after the meeting we all went back to our apartment to eat. 

What happens in Pola's fiesta day, is that people go around, well pretty much the whole town, goes around wetting eachother with tonnes of water, so I decided I would walk all us through the town, in the midst of the water fights. Me and Elder Nikau told nearly everyone they could wet the two Americans, my companion and Elder Wooden. Watching them run from the water was just too funny.

The waiting crew for new companions on transfer day.

The Zone Leaders hung out with us too.

Youngest child of our Branch Presidents 7 children, she asked for this photo.

New companion -  Elder King.

Fiesta night! Somehow, we got invited in.

A concert with the Philippines best comedian and rapper. We got invited sidestage for the duration.

Bumpy van rides to Victoria.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

New Companion

Week 30
22nd June 2015

This week was all over the place due to transfers. 

On Tuesday, my last companion packed all day and we cleaned, because the Zone Leaders  were picking us all up straight after District Meeting on Wednesday. We got to the port at about 2PM, and I was with Elders Calianga and Yacapin for the next two days while we waited for our new companions, who were due in on Thursday afternoon/ night.

We stayed in Calapan on Wednesday night, and Thursday we headed out to look for a basketball for me to buy. I found one, and the Zone Leaders met us at the Calapan pier, only to find that no one had come in yet, so we looked for a basketball court and played some 3-on-3 in our proselyting clothes. 

My companion, Elder King, and Elder Estarez arrived into the Calapan pier from Batangas at about 6.30pm, and then 20 minutes later the rest of the missionaries arrived. 

We all went back to Elder and Sister Cranston's home, and we had some food before we all went to sleep.

Friday we only visited the Branch President. Saturday we did a bit of missionary work, but it started bucketing with rain for ages when we returned to the Branch President's  home so my companion could meet our Branch Mission Leader. We ended up staying there for a while, before we went out to visit our investigators. Heaps more rain to come - monsoon season starting... Will have to go buy an umbrella.

We went to church yesterday, and it was a good day. I was absolutely trashed in Elders Quorum and I went ended up falling asleep in the back of the room... I think everyone knew I was asleep.

We will be getting a list of 15 names of less actives in our Branch to visit with this coming week. The Branch Presidency, Elders Quorum and Sunday School Presidency will put that together.

So my new companion's name is Elder King, and he's from Washington State. He's a baller, so we've made plans to go train every morning at the court behind our house, and play every P-day, as well as any opportunity that comes up.

I got my package on Wednesday after I left Calapan port. Elder Hapi's package got sent with mine from the office, but I had a bit of trouble picking up the packages because Elder Nielsen sent them both under Elder Hapi's name, but I worked some magic with my parcel and was able to pick up both.  Been slowly eating the lollies and chocolate. Elder Hapi and I  cleaned up the Rashuns and his feijoa lollies on Thursday night though. I gave him one mi-goreng  5 packet too, because only him and I know what they are, haha.

We have my mission tour on July 8. Looking forward to it.

I have lots of  pictures, but the computer won't read my card reader, so I'll just send them next week

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

This Weeks Travels .. and plenty of photos!

Week 29
15 June 2015

The week was a pretty good one I must say. Wednesday was the beginning of our travels, as we went to Pinamalayan so my companion could get a hair cut, before we headed out to Baco to stay with Elder Akroyd and Elder Hapi for the night, as we had our Zone training meeting on Thursday morning, and Baco is only 30 minutes away from Calapan compared to 2 hours from Pola.

Thursday morning, we had our Zone training meeting in Calapan. It was great, our Zone as a whole improved in our statistics, and hopefully this transfer we can continue to keep the rise in our statistics. Our numbers are not sky rocketing, but compared to where the zone was before the big upheaval, we're doing pretty well. 

After the meeting, we had some time to grab some lunch before we caught the boat to Batangas for a special training meeting. We arrived into Batangas city port at 4.30PM, and everyone headed straight to the mall. I did some shopping, and of course all the poly elders headed straight for KFC, because there is no KFC on the island. 

After the mall, we went to where we would be staying the night, which was Batangas 1. Elder Nikau gave me his clippers earlier Thursday to give to Elder Hapi, and Elder Hapi cut my hair that night at the apartment.

Friday was the day of our special meeting, and it went from 9AM until 4PM. It was great! I had a great time, and learned so much from the workshops given by President and Sister Mangum, as well as the Assistants. We talked about working with recent convert retention and less-active re-activation efforts, and how we should help them aim for the ultimate goal of being sealed in the temple, not just trying to get them to church. 

Finding new investigators was another topic that was talked about, and we had an activity to do skits about a finding method that was given to different groups. There was some mean as acting, but the person who stole the show was Elder Hapi. He's about 6'2" or 6'3", and a big dude, around 130kgs. He pulled off the best gay return missionary act ever, he had the whole room laughing, even President was cracking himself up. 

We finished up, then raced to the port to catch the next boat to Mindoro, but it wasn't until 8.30PM, so we headed off to the mall again to grab something to eat. KFC was the dinner again, and why wouldn't it be?

Some of us Elders were walking to catch a couple of tricycles to the port when Elder Nikau realised he had forgotten one of his bags at the KFC. SO, me and him raced back to grab his bag, then raced all the way back to the port. 

Everyone was calling us, telling us that the port was about to close. As soon as we arrived we ran to the doors, and the guard was locking them just as we arrived. Talk about lucky! To end the night, we grabbed some dessert from McDonalds with the zone leaders and the Baco elders before heading to the zone leaders apartment for the night.

So the news is that my companion is transferred out to Lucena Zone. He leaves on Wednesday, and my new companion comes in on Thursday. His name is Elder King, and apparently he loves to play basketball, and is said to be pretty good, so keen for this companionship.

Yesterday we had a special area broadcast that replaced our Sacrament meetings. It was pretty good, and it gave all of us missionaries an opportunity to take photos and stuff with each other, because almost half of our Zone is being transferred. In fact, our Zone is going to be one companionship smaller, and the mission is only going to have 200 missionaries in the mission by the October transfer.

This week is all over the place, being transfer week. Because we're so far away, my companion leaves on Wednesday, leaving me companionless for a whole day. Thursday I head to the Calapan port to meet my new companion, and we will stay in Calapan on Thursday night, before heading back on Friday. I'll probably just take him to meet the Branch President on Friday evening, then maybe on Saturday we will be able do some missionary work.

Still wearing uncle Shaun's badge.

Sunglasses selfie.

This is how all the Elders in our district eat after our district meeting. The ulam was still cooking.

Photos from a walk.

Nothing in sight except trees.

Still walking.

And to the left we have more trees.

Boat to Batangas with Elder Herrin and Elder Erickson.

KFC, nuff said.

Boat ride home with my barber Elder Hapi.

The sisters took my camera and went psycho with selfies.

Sunday meeting.

With Sister Walters. She was trained in my first area right before me.

A couple of YSA in my branch.

With my batch mate Elder Salanio.

Our message is centered on Jesus Christ.

Monday, 8 June 2015


Week 28
8th June 2015

This week was an average week of missionary work and stuff. We had a pretty good week, with lots going on. 

On Wednesday, one of the Elders in our district left us to go to the mission home. He was hospitalised for 4 days prior so I think they wanted to see if he is alright.

On Thursday, the newest RM in our branch returned home from her mission. She served somewhere down south where foreigners can't serve.

Friday was a pretty hard day. We were rejected a lot. 

Saturday, we went on splits with some members and got a fair bit of missionary work done. My companion and I for the day, Brother Michael, only worked for about 2 and a half hours, because I was feeling sick, and I started getting dizzy. We ended up cleaning the meetinghouse later that night.

Sunday was church and the usual things that go on  during the Sabbath. We had another meeting about how to reactivate people. Home teaching is getting started... and now this Thursday, the YSA are going to do a "1 day mission", where they will visit less-active members in companionships and encourage them to come to church. If this activity becomes consistent, the work here will get going. We already had a YSA return to church, and he is just as keen to be part of the reactivation program. His story of his reactivation actually only started 2 weeks ago, when he was invited to attend the YSA district sports fest in Calapan, and he went along. This was only his second Sunday at church, but from what he said to me, I see he has made a change. He used to play basketball on Sundays, because we watched him a couple of times, but now he says he doesn't want to play on Sunday anymore so he can come to church.

This coming week, a fair bit is happening for us! Tuesday may be the only day that we can do actual missionary work, as we have our Zone Meeting in Calapan - which is like 2 hours away. Then, all of my district are staying in Calapan that night, so that we can travel to the mainland on Thursday for our special meeting on Friday. 

We will be in Batangas, because it's only Mindoro Zone and Batangas Zone attending this. We might be back on Saturday, but we are not too sure yet.

I won't really be catching up with anyone, because the one person I knew in Batangas was Elder Richards, and well, he went home last week. So, not too much "catching up" to do.  But I am looking forward to meeting new missionaries. I'll be getting some stuff from the mall in Batangas while we are there -  I need a  backpack for our overnight trips.

Hey, so I started cooking for myself on the regular - rice and whatever canned food though for now. Next transfer I'll be hitting up the palengke (markets) for stuff to buy so I can cook. Just eating tuna and corned beef at the moment.
Next transfer day is 18th of June. The one after that is 30th of July. I don't think I will  be transferred, maybe my companion because he has been in the area for 4 and 1/2 months. 

My Branch Mission Leader is the Man! He is a recent RM, he came home in February. His dad is the Branch President, and it was his sister that got home from her mission on Thursday. That makes 3 RM's for Pola branch in the first 6 months of this year, and they have 1 still to come home in December. Two more are preparing, so they could have their calls before I get transferred, if I stay here for a little while longer.

Missionary work here is really hard, however, I am not frustrated. I feel like I was assigned here to help out the branch, and the branch is progressing really well. I hope I don't get transferred, because I want to be here for at least 2 more transfers, maybe 3, so I can spend my 19th birthday here!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Working Hard

Week 27
1st June 2015

This week we actually had a better week overall. We worked all day, and every day. We didn't have too good a week with numbers, but it has been better than the last maybe 3 or 4, so we getting there.

Lately, I have been striving to study the Preach My Gospel every day, and what a difference it has made to my work! I have been a lot more confident in not just talking, but sharing my testimony everywhere to everyone I can. I still find it amazing that I am 6 months in on my mission, and how well my Tagalog has progressed so fast. I still have a long way to go though, so I will be working on it every day. Every opportunity is a learning opportunity, and the only thing I have to do is be open to what lesson I could learn in a certain day.

Yesterday at church we had our first PEC. We discussed home teaching, and it should be getting into swing in the next couple of weeks. At the next PEC, we will be devising a list of 15 less-active members or families that we and the branch can focus on to re-activate, as we only have a small attendance, and small amount of Melchezidek Priesthood.

In regards to the Pola Branch return missionaries, we have another sister RM who returns on Wednesday, and then the Branch has another one who will be home in November. Four RM's in one year for a small branch, the excitement is only helping the branch progress, as all these RM's come home with knowledge from their various missions, that they can share with their home branch to help it become strong. We are only here to help.

I will be meeting Elder Nielsen who is one of the new office Elders for the first time on June 12th. One of his trainees, Elder Hapi is on the island of Mindoro with me, so he will be happy to see his trainer as well. 

My trainer, Elder Richards fractured his arm last Monday and was medically released from his mission, THREE WEEKS EARLY. I was so shattered, because I was looking forward to seeing him again at the special training meeting we are having in Batangas on June 12th. Looking forward to going to the mainland. 

Today we had Zone P-day at the beach, and we were there until 2.30PM. Played some touch, some hold, and even some American football. Even though we played hold, of course all of us Polynesians were putting little shoulder charges on each other, haha. 

Heard about Elder Tom Perry - Life long service, and can't wait to here who the next apostle is.