Monday, 27 July 2015

Transfers... and still on my Island!!

Week 35
27 July 2015

Transfers came and went... and I'm not transferred! I have one more cycle here in Mindoro.... which means I'll be able to have my first baptism in two weeks! Heaps excited!!   This baptism will be the first baptism in the area in over a year! It's difficult when you get sent to areas that you have to re-open, and there's nothing in the area book. So, I always take it on myself to update the area book every night for the following missionaries, so they don't have to experience what I have.

I got my parcel on Saturday at the Zone Interviews! So, Pods are a huge hit here in the mission, because only the Australian missionaries get them, so all of my pods were smashed in two days. So were the rashuns, and I destroyed the can of oysters as soon as I saw it!

That day, we also had an openhouse tour of the new District Center in the Oriental Mindoro District. A few people turned out, and the Mayor turned up too. The mayor was allowed to speak, and he said some whack things! The funniest thing he said was "The Church of Jesus Christ of..." then pauses, and tries to remember the end, then says "of Later On" hahahaha!

Pretty average week last week. We had exchanges last week with the District Leader, so I went with his companion into their area - pretended I couldn't speak Tagalog to a couple of recent converts who got baptised only two Saturdays ago. They tried so hard to speak to me in English, and they asked me to pray, in English. So I prayed in Tagalog, in my normal Tagalog speaking skills, and they started laughing during the prayer because they were so shocked - me and my companion played it off well!!

This week, we're just focused on finishing the lessons for our investigator, and getting her the interview this Saturday, in preparation to be baptised on the 8th of August. Doing really well with her progress, and when she gets baptised, her and her husband will be a completed family! Their next goal is to go to the temple after a year, and be sealed for all time and eternity.

Our zone is doing really well with baptisms in areas. One area is having a baptism this Saturday, and it's the first baptism in the area in around 1 and 1/2 years. Our's is the following Saturday, and is the first in just over 1 year, then a few other areas have some upcoming baptisms. As a whole, we're doing what we were assigned on the island to do..continue the work of sharing the Gospel.

Anyway, nothing too much on other side of things. The zone is staying together except for two new missionaries. One sister is re-opening with her trainee in San Pablo this transfer, and the the other one finished his mission on Sunday, and is currently in the mission home, getting ready to go home. 

We had interviews with President, and he said he's really happy with the work I've done in my area. I told him I was just happy to do what he had assigned me to do, which was get the missionary work going in the area, and helping the branch move forward.

Monday, 20 July 2015

8 Months Already!

Week 34
20 July 2015

My official 8 month mark will be tomorrow!!

This week was a solid week of missionary work again. It was jam packed. This week should be even busier, because my companion and I are trying to fit in over 20 total lessons taught to investigators, less-actives, and active members a week. We came close this week, with 18. 

We actually have a baptism coming up on the 15th of August! Our investigator has been coming to church a lot, and she started reading the Book of Mormon by herself. She's really interested in the Book of Mormon. Her husband is a less-active member, so we are also working with him so maybe he can baptise his wife when the day comes. Because of the extra requirements for baptism in the Philippines, it takes a bit longer for baptisms to happen. The baptismal date is next transfer, so there's a huge chance I won't be here in Pola.  I'm grateful for my part in teaching the lessons and helping her progress. I would be happy with my mission if I continue to do all I can to help people progress.

Anyway, we have been doing a tonne of finding, getting a lot more investigators into our teaching pool, and asking our investigators to 1) read the Book of Mormon, and 2) come to church! 

The hardest thing is getting investigators to church, because they most, if not all, come from Catholic backgrounds, where they don't teach the importance of going to church regularly. As the Philippines Area President said, "Catholics by name only". A lot of people always say, they're so busy, but the town is a quiet town, and no one really does anything at all. 

Anyway, this week is week 5 of the transfer, so we get transfer calls this Sunday night. I have a feeling my time here in Pola is up... maybe time to move onto another area.

We have our Zone Interviews with President Mangum this Saturday, and our new District Center here in Oriental Mindoro is getting dedicated this week too, so we'll be having the Open House on the Saturday of our Interviews. 

The language is going okay, I wouldn't say I'm fluent, but I speak pretty easily. The only thing I need to do now is expand my vocabulary. I have all the conjugations down pat, pronunciation was really never a problem, the grammar is sorted, so now I just need to learn more words.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Mission Tour Reunion .. and lots of food!

Week 33
13th July 2015

So, yeah our Mission Tour experience was great!  It started at 4.30AM on Tuesday morning, as me, my companion, and the Baco Elders woke up and prepared for our travelling. We got out of the house around 5AM, to catch the 6AM boat from Calapan City to Batangas.  

From Batangas, we caught a bus to Lipa, but we all were asleep and missed the Lipa City stop, so we ended up having to get off at Santo Tomas, which is 30+ minutes away! 

We finally got there, and we went to this nice restaurant for breakfast called The Pancake House. I ordered a steak and eggs, as well as an omelette. We stayed at the mall mostly all day, and then went to Tanauan, another big town/ small city to sleep at the Elders apartment there.

For our afternoon snack though, we hit up Pizza Hut, and Elder Hapi and I went hard on the food. We crashed a pizza, some buffalo wings, fish and chips, garlic bread, and unlimited soft drink!!

The meeting was pretty cool, it was with the Philippines Area President and his wife, they're from New Zealand of all places. They are both graduates of CCNZ.

Our training was about finding more investigators to teach, because our mission is pretty low on finding new investigators per companionship, per week. So, we got counselled about it all for the day. Learned a lot though. 

Awesome seeing all the Elders and Sisters that I have gotten to know over the course of my mission, who aren't in my zone.  Some of them I haven't seen since February!

Part of the mission tour was like a family reunion! All of the descendants of Elder Richards, except 1 of Elder Nielsen's grandsons.

We spent nearly 4 days on the road, travelling and sleeping in different apartments in different zones. It was great fun, but I was glad to be back in my area on Thursday night, and sleep elevated off the floor, it's a good change!

We had a pretty normal week after that, just missionary work for the days that we were in our area, and came out to Victoria last night for our Zone P-day that was earlier today. 

We played a bunch of games, ate a tonne of food, and talked a lot. I even went on a 10 game winning streak in table tennis before we left the chapel to come e-mail. We just played basketball, volleyball, and of course table tennis. Good day. We actually didn't finish until around 3, and then there's travel time..... Mission life with no cars I guess.

This week has nothing big planned, just the normal work and meetings happening during the week!

We do have our monthly Zone meeting this week though, and our Senior Couple always make a good feed for it.

The time we left the Baco apartment on Tuesday.

5:50AM on the boat.

7.15AM arrival to Batangas.

The Pancake House for Breakfast.

My mission family, only missing one of Elder Nielsen's grandsons.

Mucking around with that Pukana.

Bus ride back to Batangas

In the middle of nowhere.

New Haircut!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Mission Tour Week

Week 32
6th July 2015

This week was a pretty hectic week, even though we only did Missionary Work. We have had not much success, as we have been getting punted at least 3 times a day, but all part of the mission experience I guess. 

However, we have been playing a fair bit of basketball, and the more we play, the more word gets out about the two foreigner Mormons who can ball. Having a lot of success, and next time we play we will be setting a tonne of appointments with people we play with, it really can be used as a successful tool in missionary work! So many people interested in having us come over and teach them! 

I am having a lot of experiences with working with less-active members. I find it so hard to believe that they can answer the question, "What is the most important thing in your life?" with "Of course, the gospel!" I guess I have to either humble myself more, or get a bit bolder and ask them why they don't live the gospel if it's the most important thing in their life. Still pondering on what I can do more to help them.

We have been having a fair bit of success in the numbers though. Two weeks in a row we have had an investigator at church, after nearly 2 months of having no one. We have been working with a part-member couple, and the wife is our investigator. What's so great about this couple is that the husband, who is less-active, actively participates in the lesson just as much as his wife! 

They came to church last week, but weren't able to attend yesterday due to the Sister having a problem with her appendix that comes up every now and again. We actually weren't able to teach them as much as we wanted to because of this problem.

Yesterday we came up to Baco in the afternoon, where Elder Hapi and Elder Purawan are assigned. We are travelling to Lipa City tomorrow morning with them, and are currently hanging out with them for P-day, and we are in Calapan City. Elder Hapi and I  are taking off at 5AM tomorrow to catch the boat at 6.30AM. Dragging our companions along with us of course - haha. 

After I finish e-mailing,  we'll probably just head out to the maccas, eat, then head back to Baco. Sleeping there again. Elder Hapi's cutting my hair tonight for mission tour.

This week should be pretty mean, as we have mission tour! Elder Ardern is the visitor, who is the Philippines Area President from New Zealand. I'm keen to see all the other missionaries who will be at our half of the mission tour. No pictures, because my camera is in battery save mode for mission tour - I left my charger in Pola.

Our mission tour is in Lipa City. The mission tour is divided in half, because of travel and stuff, so our mission tour is on Wednesday.