Monday, November 5, 2012

November 5, 2012

This week has been great, crazy, long, busy, etc. I love my new area but we just have so many new crazy things going on. I'm assigned in Daraga 1, which is right next to Legazpi city. Elder Casanova and I are the ZLs for the largest zone in the mission, we always have tons of things going on. This week we have ZLC which is today (we are in Naga right now) until tomorrow afternoon. Wednesday we have exchanges with the Legazpi district district leader. That night all of the elders on Masbate will be sleeping at our apartment, and that next morning we have a joint zone conference in Legazpi city. It will be a combination of tobacco and legazpi zones with the 2 island districts there. Catanduanes in Tobaco zone, Masbate is my zone. I'm way excited because I've heard such cool things about Masbate, and i get to go out there once a transfer for like 5 days!!! Anyways, right after zone conference, we get to go out to our island (the ZLs island). It is called Batan island it is part of Albay Province but it is 4 hours away from Legazpi city. I hope I don't get sick on the boat. We don't have a house there so we just sleep at the church meeting house there on the ground. Then we stay out there and work for 4 days.. We are the only missionaries in the whole Naga mission with an area like this!! I'm so stoked! We will be back on Monday morning back to Luzon by 10am-ish hopefully. This week will be great, I'll doubt I'll even be able to take a stinkn break there haha. By the way, we have BIKES out there on Batan. It is the only area in the mission with bikes! Sick!!

This week was a blur. Church was good, I bore my testimony, we had tons of dinner appts, (we have a ward :)) , we work a lot with members, etc. 

Love u!
Paracale, Michael's first area was on the coast, about where the top of the "I" is in Camarines Norte. Naga is about in the center of Camarines Sur. Baao, which is in that same province is just to the north of the large lake which sits on the border between Camarines Sur and Albay provinces.
Legazpi City is in Albay Province and is situated right on that small inland bump on the coast of Albay Bay.
Batan Island is the middle of the three small islands that make up the northern boundary of Albay Gulf, included in their area is a second island, to the right of Batan, Rapu-Rapu.
Masbate is the very large set of islands to the south in the Sibuyan Sea 


October 30, 2012

Hey mom and dad I just wanted to check in and say I love you. I'm at the Internet shop with my companion tonight making the zone calender and other things. I'm a ZL in Legazpi zone, the biggest in the mission. We have an island in our area as ZLs that we go to 3 times a transfer for several days. its about 4 hours away from Luzon. Plus we also have Masbate island in our zone which is sooo cool! We will be going there at the end of this transfer for a training, exchanges, and apartment checks! My comp is Elder Casanova. He is way cool. Hes from Manila and is a RN.

 Love you!!

October 28, 2012 - PART II

Humans. Whats up?

Life has been good lately. Just doing my thing, being a missionary and all. I love it though. Its crazy that I'm about to head to my 3rd area though! Booya. I got the announcement on Saturday that id be transferred. At first my ZLs lied and said that I wasn't being transferred. They said that Elder Madsen was.....I was a little frustrated but I thought I knew it was what the Lord wanted for me. Then I scrolled down the text page and I saw the word "joke". I then slammed the door and yelled "NO"! After that they sent the real announcements! I was scared it was serious! It would have been crazy if I did 9 months in Baao haha. But ya, I'm transferred! I'm so excited, but at the same time, I'm really going to miss Baao. I almost cried yesterday at Church. I am really going to miss them. A good chunk of members cried, and then they thanked me for my work in their area. I was so grateful. I told them I did what I could but now a new missionary is on his way to Baao, to do that all he can to help them. So many of them gave me gifts. I felt awkward here taking gifts! I told the"no its ok" but they insisted. I feel bad I didn't have anything, but if Church attendance is as good as it was yesterday, every week, I think that will be enough as a gift haha. A nanay gave me homemade tsinelas (sandals), a family made me home made chocolate from an awesome fruit cacao! I love that stuff. I sister shoved a giant brown bag into my bag, and I didn't notice until I got home. It was filled with tons and tons of name brand cookies and some candies! It was not cheap stuff! I am so stinkn grateful. The best part of it was that she wrote a note saying, "Friends forever, this I promise." Man, I almost got teary eyed haha. I am so grateful. By the way that same sister fed Elder Madsen and I at her house this week. It was so good! Fried pork chops and fat, with steamed veggies, rice, and fresh cut pineapple for dessert. So good.Last night we ate at a members house for dinner. Again, almost another crier. Haha. Its kind of hard being assigned in areas a long time. I'm really close to so many people now.

This week has been good. We have been keeping busy with our work, even though we didn't teach as much as we had planned for. A lot of our messages were about enduring to the end, but we shared as well to the needs of our investigators. We are still having trouble getting our investigators, but I'm sure if a new missionary can get in there, especially a Filipino, they will make lots of progress. I had a good time visiting families for the first time. I will miss them so much. Not a whole not to share about those, thew were all super great lessons. 

This week I had the opportunity to go on exchanges with E Salas! He is my best friend in the mission, and he is way awesome. He is my ZL here in Ligao zone. We had a great exchange in his area, Polangui. It was awesome. We taught well together, and I learned a lot from him. I'm not sure what else to talk about....

I'm being made a Zone Leader tomorrow :/

I'M TRANSFERRED!!
love me

October 28, 2012

Oh yeah, he did it again! This did not sit well with his Mom! However, this e-mail was followed by some really great news, so it was worth it, sort of... 

Email from elder madsen to his family


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Austin Madsen <austin.madsen@myldsmail.net>
Date: Sun, Oct 28, 2012 at 7:47 PM
Subject: All Grown Up!
To: ...

Well I have officially reached the end of my second transfer as a missionary! That means that I am now done with my training! So Elder Kornegay my trainer is going to leave tomorrow and I am going to get a new companion! A Filipino! I won't find out who it is until tomorrow so I am way excited/nervous! It is pretty scary because I will have to take my new companion out to all the people we teach and lead the area for a week or two. It will be hard but I know I can do it because I have done it on our exchanges I have done it before, plus this will help me build stronger relationships with the people we teach because I will have to talk to them. Haha. Usually Elder Kornegay takes care of all the "small talk" stuff. It's going to be hard, but way worth it and I feel like my Tagalog is going to jump so much having a Filipino companion, hopefully he has really bad English haha.

Anyway so this last week went really well! We worked so hard like every day but we didn't get very many lessons. But it is ok because the lessons we did have were way good! On Tuesday I had an exchange with my Zone Leader. It went pretty well, on the bus ride to go pick him up they were playing Rambo III, and on the way back an Eagle's concert, it was really hard to resist those temptations, but I tried my best haha. So our work was really good, we had a lot of lessons planned but about half of them fell through so we finished and I didn't know where else to go, and it was dark, which meant it would be hard to do anything. People really don't like to be taught at night which stinks because it gets dark at like 6:30 here. So around 7:30 we went home to finish studies, plus he was excited to go home early because he is pretty trunky. He is going home like tomorrow, but it was a way good exchange, he is really funny.

The rest of the week was kind of like Elder Kornegay's farewell to Baao. We just went to all the people we teach and he said goodbye and he left them with a powerful message about enduring to the end. Elder Kornegay has been here 7 and a half months so he and the people were sad to see him go. I hope that I can get people to love me enough that they are sad when I leave! It is kind of hard because making small talk and getting to know them is not my expertise. Most of my vocabulary is gospel words, so I will be working on that soon.

Sunday was a really good day. President Flores of the mission presidency, (He is a Filipino guy that works with President Bliesner) came to our sacrament. We were nervous because we weren't sure if a lot of people would show up or not, luckily it was a pretty good number. There could have been a few more Priesthood holders but that's ok. President Flores said Baao is actually really close to becoming a branch again so that is way exciting! Hopefully my new companion and I can really keep up the work!

Well I love and miss you all. I am including some pictures of the last couple weeks, I forgot to send some last week, I hope you all have a great week!

October 22, 2012

This is Elder Madsen's email home. I'm too lazy to type too much of a big email!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Austin Madsen <austin.madsen@myldsmail.net>
Date: Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 3:05 AM
Subject: Masarap ang buhay!
To: ...

Wow this has been a great week! Sorry I wasn't online earlier though, we had something that is called a zone activity! So our zone had the cleanest apartments so we all got to go to this place called Kawa-Kawa and play games and hear from President Bliesner. It was like a "Catholic Shrine" place, they have a bunch of statues of Jesus and a big grass field in the middle to play in. I got to wear my chacos, it was a great time haha. It has been a long day because after that we had to help our Zone Leaders move into their new apartment, but now here we are!

So this week has been sooo busy, but one of the best weeks of my mission! I know its only been like 5 months, but it was an awesome week! So Tuesday I had "exchanges" out in a different area. I got to work with Elder Taylor, he is way cool and from Utah. So we worked together and after we got done teaching we realized we didn't have enough money to rent a boat to get across the lake back to the city he lives in. Soo we decided to walk! We wanted to explore a little. About 10 minutes in Elder Taylor lost his shoes in mud and thought it wouldn't be that far, he would just walk barefoot the rest of the way. An hour and a half later and some sore feet we walked past this house and a really nice guy gave him his flip flops. Ha it was so funny, he said in his great english, "I am a police officer, I am a good person, take my shoes." Elder gratefully accepted them and we walked another hour and half more. So yeah, 3 hours total, we were so tired! It was so fun though, probably the funnest day of my mission, we had a great time. Before we started walking one of the members came up to us and was like, "Hey you guys want some Buko?" YEAH! So Buko is the young coconut, sooo good! So he climbed up this like 30 foot coconut tree and chopped down some buko, then chopped off a part with his machete and we drank the juice, then he cut it in half and we ate the meat inside. Yeah my life is pretty cool here!

So this weekend was way good! Saturday we went out to my favorite area, called Santa Elena. So it is our furthest area but it is by far the strongest part of the Baao area. All the strongest members live out there and come to church every sunday, even though they are so far away. I love them all so much! So we taught this new family that is investigating the church, the Norte's! So we taught them with one of the strong members and we just talked about the Book of Mormon and bore testimony of it, having that member with us was so helpful, especially since Sister Norte came to CHURCH!!! WOO! It was great, I really think they are going to get baptized, they are so ready and accepting. Brother said that when he was a kid he wanted to be baptized but his parents wouldn't let him. Happiness!

Sunday was amazing too. So we were out of our apartment for like 12 hours just teaching, reminding people to come to church, and eating. Seriously like everyone we went to fed us, we were so sick! We decided we can no longer say "I am so full!" because every time we say that someone feeds us and we get even fuller. So church was good, I got to speak again and I talked about the Sacrament. It is pretty cool to be able to give a talk in Tagalog, I just can't believe how far I have come with the language. (Side story.) Today at our zone activity we met an American who was a teacher here, she taught in the schools like what Jordan did, she has been here two years and she barely knows how to speak Tagalog, if at all. This was just convincing evidence to me of the blessings God has given me as I serve Him He has blessed me so much with learning this language.

So after church we had a family home evening activity in Santa Elena. All the members that live there came out and we played games and sang and ate snacks. Sister and Brother Norte even came! So fun! I really really love that place haha. We had the Family Home evening because Elder Kornegay is leaving. It kind of made me look back on my short/long time here. Sometimes I used to get frustrated because it seemed like no one came to church or whatever, but as I looked back I saw so much progress, both for me and Baao. I love it here and I love this work. I love the feeling of just giving my all to the Lord and the sense of satisfaction that comes from that. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I wouldn't want to be doing anything else! Even as enticing as longboarding around Logan and going to school is, this is just soo great. I love and miss you all and once again I am so grateful for all your support and love for me. I hope you can feel the Lord's many blessings in your life and just I hope you all have a great week!

October 14, 2012

Hello family, 

Another week gone, which means another closer to being transferred! I'm so excited to get transferred. I'm going to work hard for these next two weeks, but I am excited to get to a new area though. This past week has been long, but good nevertheless. On Tuesday we had north leadership training, in Naga. That was a lot of fun, we learned a lot of good things. I will be teaching what we learned over our next two weeks in district meetings to my district. We learned a lot about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how to teach it more effectively and as well as more simplified. We met the sister missionaries who were assigned to go in Iriga at the terminal there, then the 4 of us rode in a van to Naga city. We got to the mission office by 8, and got a ride to the Naga stake center with the couple missionaries. We started at 9 and it went to 3 or so I believe. It was lots of fun getting to be with everyone who is a leader in the North. I talked to the DL in Paracale district a lot, he is assigned in Paracale and is way nice. So many people that we were working with in Paracale now have callings, etc. So awesome. I also surprised Elder Smith. He is the long time ZL in Goa zone and he thought I'd be in the south, but I surprised him by showing up in Naga. We had such a good time together. For the practice teaching at the teaching, we were assigned to teach President again. We had to teach from what we felt to teach him about, no topic or anything. We had to teach a person, and not just a lesson. At first I thought we kicked butt, I thought we nailed it on the head. For the second round, he changed his scenario and it was pretty hard; I felt like Elder Madsen and I were struggling pretty hard, and weren't really going anywhere with the lesson. Then President said something, and I felt prompted to go off about Joseph Smith. And I did I just went off, feeling inspired, not really thinking at what I was talking about, then I almost started crying. I was nervous I was too bold but after we closed that mini-lesson, he said it was great. Which is good, I was worried we sounded too lost at first. It was a really cool experience, a testimony builder I think of following the Spirit and of Joseph Smith. Something that are always needed as a member of the Church. After the practice, I said bye to E Smith for probably the last time. I'm going to miss that guy. After that we went out to the crappy Mexican food restaurant in Naga for dinner. We wanted to go buy milk but had no time. Later that night I texted one of the AP's to please get me some milk and please bring it to Legazpi for the other training. He said that my ZLs didn't understand the text he sent them, and that I'd just be going to training in Naga, not Legazpi too. That wasn't a big deal, its a lot cheaper only going to one. Too bad I didn't get to see Elders Yangyang or Gilliam. This is Gilliam's last transfer, hopefully I see him before he leaves. Because we didn't have to go to Legazpi I went on exchanges with Elder Flores in Iriga 2 area. I did it that day instead of this coming week to save time. This coming week will be a crazy week, which is good. While Elder Flores and I were out in Baao, we stopped at a bakery that we always go to to buy food. I noticed in their fridge that they had fresh Pili milk....like fresh fresh. Like exactly the same stuff I love! Its what I am always buying when I am in Naga.....but this time it was in my own area!!! I asked the lady 3 times, if they have this everyday. She said yes, but I had to keep asking to make sure, for sure, that this was for real. This is way serious to me! Haha. I bought oh so much milk, I used oh so much money, and have been drinking milk everyday since. Just shy of 2L a day. If I don't get transferred, Ill use up all of my money there. Hopefully I'm transferred haha. I feel so dumb though that I had it in my area for 7.5 months, and never noticed it. :/

Conference was great. Didn't do much those days except for eating and watching conference. Lots of fun. I loved each of the talks. Every single time that I see or hear Elder Oaks, I want to be a lawyer. Every time. Who knows what will happen when I get home.

I loved conference. I wrote about everything worth writing about. I hope this next week is great. Ill be fasting soon for it to be a great week, and great work.  To answer your question, transfer day is Oct 30. So Ill be unpacking my things in my new area that night. Malapit na!!

Love you!

October 7, 2012

I heard about the new age for missionaries yesterday right after church. I didn't believe it at first. It came to one of the teachers at church to his cell phone through a text message. I immediately text President Bliesner to ask if it was true, because if so that's way sick! He text back saying that it was true. After that I sent a message to everyone in our district letting them know of the change. That is so awesome. The first thing I did when I got to the Internet shop was watch that clip of conference. President Monson is the man. It seemed like he was just talking directly to a person, you or me, not a whole group of people. He also seemed really humbled about it, he did it very well. I am so excited for Elder Holland's talk as well as Elder Christofferson and President Uchtdorf. They are all some of my favorites. I listen to Elder Holland talks everyday, and I want to be a speaker or a writer just like him. He kills it, he is so good with words. I love it. Are there any 18 year olds or almost 18 year olds in our ward or stake that I'd know who are planning on serving missions? That's a crazy thing to jump forward a year. I wish I could have done that!! Id be home by now haha, but oh well, I love my mission.

This week has been good. Just another week I think. We got a lot done this week. We met the standard of excellence for lessons and new investigators, and didn't even work on one of the days. On Tuesday we had exchanges with the Iriga 2 elders. On Wednesday, the 2nd day of the exchange we got back to our area, and started cooking lunch. That turned into a nightmare. I had bought 2 liters of boxed milk on Pday, and started and finished them on Wednesday. Elder Madsen and I also ate more than half of the giant bag he was sent from home, of giant peanut butter M&Ms that we kept in the fridge. We had so much.... Then we ate some of his skittles.... We were so sick to our stomach. I don't know if I told you this, but I have a problem with milk now. Its still my all time favorite, but if I drink more than 2 glasses I get an upset stomach. I drank 2L lol. It was sooo good, even though it was boxed haha. I'm just trying to get prepared for when I get home; a gallon a day baby. Anyway, that slowed down our work for that day.

On Thursday, we had to be in the Ligao chapel by 8 AM for DLC and Zone Training. During DLC the zone leaders told me that the assistants called them the night before and told them that I needed to attend both leadership trainings coming up this week, one in Naga and one in Legazpi, and they didn't say why. UGH. I really am excited, but that is going to just be so hard on our work, and support, plus I have no idea why I have to go to both! All of the other leaders in the mission like me, only have to go to one, north or south, depending where they are. So I'm excited/nervous. I text the APs the other night and asked why and they said because "Ive been very very pasaway haha." Which means naughty. It should be fun getting to see E Smith, E Gilliam before they go home though. Elder Smith is going to be so surprised to see me in the North tomorrow haha. Anyway, this takes place Tuesday, and the other one on Thursday. They are both all day events. We also won't have any work on Saturday or Sunday due to General Conference. It will be a long/crazy/awesome week.

Friday and Saturday were normal work days. We kicked butt, and taught all we could. I had exchanges with the ZLs on one of the days. We got 4 new investigators in less than an hour. Its hard just getting 2 a week. We were way pumped about that. We also taught 7 lessons together. When I was back with Elder Madsen, we went and taught one of our investigators, Alain and his family, that we met a while ago. He's the one who gave us a free ride on his pudjak. We taught them about the Aklat ni Mormon. It went great. At first I thought that Alain had something in his eye, but he was actually trying to hide his crying. I hope they progress more! Later that day Elder Madsen and I were walking. I tell everyone hello, good morning, afternoon, night whatever it is to everyone I see, no joke everyone. After saying it to a lady she stopped and started talking to us for 10 minutes right there in the street. She had a child with down syndrome with her, and I told her that my brother has autism, and we talked about that for a minute. The conversation went great. We got her address and an appointment to go back to her this week. She pointed to her house. It was some big monster house! Which is awesome! That is our weakness in the Philippines. The poor people are easy to baptize, but its hard to teach the rich people. I feel really blessed that we met her. BTW, the tithing money that is used in the Philippines is 90% foreign. That means out of every dollar the Church in the Philippines that is used, 90 cents of it comes from America. We are working on finding those that can really support the Church in their own land, and be truly reliant.

Sunday sucked and was awesome. Bad news first, church attendance sucked. I'm trying to use better words in my vocabulary but sucked and sucks fits. We have been working our buts off this transfer. No joke, we get lots of work done. We work hard, and church attendance sucked. We worked lots in the morning of Sunday but literally everyone told us straight to our faces that they weren't going to go to Church. I was so sad. They are one of the closest barangays to the church, but they just don't go. We spend so much time there with them every week. Ive been there 7.5 months; I know their stories and situations, and they still don't go to church. I'll list the reasons why: its muddy, its hot, it might rain, tired, my clothes are still drying (shouldn't wash on Sunday anyways), can't find this or that, etc. So lame. When we got to Church later that afternoon, everyone asked if I was ok, I told them that I was alright. I felt like I wanted to cry, which doesn't happen all too much. I have spent countless hours, etc. to try and help them to get to go to Church, and they don't. It used to be kind of funny to joke about, now I just get super sad thinking about it. Ive been here forever and I want to leave Baao better than it was when I got there, and I have a hard time believing that I did. 

Alright the good news. I gave my first baptismal interview yesterday. It went so great. The girl that is getting baptized this week by the Iriga elders is so awesome. She is Emma's age, but so super mature. Elder Maure (one of the Iriga elders) told me to be kind of easy on her in the interview. I thought, well she has to pass the interview, but she has to completely understand what she's about to do in order to pass. So I started the interview and we talked for just 2 or 3 minutes before I started asking the questions, and she just blew it all away. She knew everything so well. I didn't go easy, I thought maybe I can make this a tad harder, and ask a lot of Why questions. "Why do you want this?" Why is....to you?"..etc. She knew it all and had great answers. I thought about her when I was at Church and was grateful that there are still lots of people with desires to do the right, and serve God, vs complaining about a patch of mud, or being tired. I hope everyone can be as ready as her. We are going to her baptism on Friday. I'm buying her a journal later today. I told her that I would and that every night she should write how her day went and what she felt from her new companionship of the Holy Ghost. COOL. 

my hand hurts bye. email me. love you

September 30, 2012

Hello! This week has been pretty good. We got a lot done this week. We met the standard of excellence, finally. That means we taught 25 lessons in a week. That's not to shabby especially because I am still training Elder Madsen, and because we didn't work at all on Wednesday. We had a district meeting and interviews with President on that day. Once we got home from that (at 5ish), neither Elder and I were feeling so good. It had been a long couple of days before that and we just needed to lay down haha. I never do that! But it was needed for sure. My body seemed mad at me for going non stop forever, it needed rest haha. Anyways we had a lot of lessons, and came home super pooped at the end of each day. The only problem was we didn't have a good turn out on Sunday. It wasn't rainy or anything, just way hot. It has been way hotter here than usual these past couple of days, but we haven't dead yet. Our members and investigators complain about it more than us. Haha wieners. Anyways it was pretty depressing going to church and seeing none of our 9 progressing investigators there, and half of the less actives we are working with. I want to leave this area better than I found it, and I have a hard time thinking that not much will have changed because of what I have done. 2 weeks or so ago we just completely filled the place, and everyone came up to the missionaries and said "thanks" and "great job." I told them it obviously wasn't me doing that, it was the Lord, and them making the change for themselves. Then its almost like people look at me when church attendance is low, and wonder why I don't do my job right. It makes me laugh wondering if they knew how many hours, and everything we put into our work for them and then they still don't make a move or change. I want to be more like a Jeffrey R Holland or a Brigham Young. They are amazing speakers, and so sophisticated and loving but are bold. Like what Elder Holland talked about I think 2 conferences ago, "being bold enough to singe the eyebrows a little...because anything else doesn't seem to work." I just know if I do that I could offend a lot of people. I think I could do it perfectly well in English, but Tagalog to me seems to be different. I just don't know how people here will take it. I just want to call them all to repentance and let them all know they are on the fast track to hell. (That's pretty Brigham Youngish...haha). I obviously wouldn't say something like that to someone. But I just want people to care. Oh well, hopefully everything works out. 

We've had several really humbling experiences this week. One is our friend, and group leader, Brother Jeff. Brother Jeff is the man. He is the man who needs the blessings that everyone else takes for granted. He can't even comprehend the fact that some teenager would complain about not having his gas tank filled, or not getting a really cool cell phone or something. This guy wants nothing more than to just feed his family. We were talking about Mathew 6, and Jesus' words about seeking the kingdom of God first, overall. He said that used to be the hardest thing.He said that the only thing he really finished in his mission was the 2 year part. He said rules became nothing, studies nothing, etc. and he went inactive. He talked about he hates the fact that he's always been a started and not a finisher. He said these past couple years he has been doing all that he can to be a finisher. He said since then life has been harder than ever. He sees members not paying tithing, gambling, drinking, etc and they always have something to feed the kids. It gets him mad thinking about it. Then he paused for a several long seconds and said "you know what I did last night?... I sold the vegetables I grew here...You know how much I made...?...20 pesos..." Then he kind of laughed, choked with a tear, and rested his head on the back of his chair, and took a deep breath. Then I shared with him what I shared for my DL message, about how the mission and life itself is our refiners fire. How we are all pieces of coal right now, but with hard work, and endurance we will eventually be the diamonds that God wants us to be in his Celestial kingdom. I basically shared everything Dad taught me in that email he sent. (thanks dad). He liked that, and offered us some vegetables before we left. He said they were free, but there was no way in heck I was going to take his free vegetables. He wouldn't take my money(100p, way way more than what those veggies cost), but I persisted. I am close enough with him, for him to not to have gotten mad at that. He really appreciated it. 

Oh I forgot to say that he was telling us how we landed a job interview with Yakult, driving a truck and restocking Yakult at stores. He wasn't able to get the interview in Naga though because he had no fare. He has it now, because of the veggies. I hope he gets the job. He would make 150-175p a day from that.... This guy is the man. He is the man of all men. He is humble, and deserving of everything we take for granted. Slap me if I ever complain of being without or ungrateful.
Not sure what else to write. Work is good. 

Love you

A Letter from the Mission Office


Dear Brother and Sister Kornegay,

We are pleased to announce that Elder Michael Kornegay has been assigned to serve as a District Leader/Trainer in the Philippines Naga Mission. This assignment reflects the trust and confidence of his Mission President and the Lord and reflects the will of the Lord expressed through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost. Elder Kornegay is a wonderful missionary with strong missionary skills and is loved and respected by his fellow missionaries and the other leaders within the mission.  This assignment brings opportunity for growth and a need for even greater humility, but does not overshadow his primary responsibility to invite Heavenly Father's children to return to Him.

Thank you for communicating with  Elder Kornegay on a regular basis and for encouraging him in humility, diligence and obedience.

We are confident that Elder Kornegay will put forth his best efforts in this new assignment and that he will strive to be exactly obedient in living the commandments of God and all of the mission rules.  Thank you for sending us such a great missionary.

President Ronald D. Bliesner
Philippines Naga Mission
39 Panganiban Rd., Naga City
4400 Camarines Sur
Philippines

September 23, 2012

Maligayang pasko!

Love you too. This week has been great. We are at the SM (a mall) right now in Naga city. We texted President last night and asked if we could go to Naga to buy some things, shoes, maybe a new pair of pants, and milk. Elder Madsen needs a new dictionary, etc. Hey President just actually walked by us with Sister Bliesner and said hey haha. I'm so glad that its finally P-Day! This has been a long week, just so much stuff going on. We are trying our best to hit the Standard of Excellence (25 lessons) this week but we only got 21. I know we would've had almost 30 if we didn't have a meeting on Thursday and didn't get any work done on that day. As well as Monday, we didn't get any work there either. I am a District Leader now. Yep I found out last Tuesday. Its fun, and I'm excited for it. I get to go on exchanges with all of the Elders in my district which I will start tomorrow. This means I also give workshops at district meetings. I gave one last week for my first week as a district leader, and it went really really well. I was nervous at first, but it went really well, and Im not to nervous anymore. That meeting we had on Thursday was DLC (district leader council) for the 3 DLs in the zone and their companions. do you remember my future roommate and really good friend here in the mission Elder Salas? He is my ZL now! I'm so stoked that guy is awesome. I'm excited to get to go on exchanges with him.

I had some cool experiences this week. Yesterday morning, we tried giving a baptismal date to a fairly new investigator. Her husband is a LA member, who we are working with. They love us, the missionaries, they love when we come over but yesterday she wouldn't accept our baptismal date, we will keep working with her though. Not only her, but her other of age children, who are also investigators. We taught lesson one so well to her! And reviewed our last message about scriptures and the Book of Mormon, and she was really starting to understand it all. Then at the end I asked, when you know this is true, will you be baptized by one holding the Priesthood authority of God? She was taken back, and just started talking and talking, so fast. I understood her though, it was great. I just kept thinking about a lady who talked like her from Paracale, and I just never understood her. At least I know I'm getting better haha. Anyways, she was worried she'd have to go tracting as a member, she'd have to go on a mission, she'd have to do all of these crazy things. I told her that's not true, and I told her what her only obligations would be, and she was surprised. She said she really wants to know the truth of our message, but that she doesn't want to leave the Church she was raised in. I told her that when she wants to know the truth, she will, and that she'll have to act on it. So we closed the lesson and asked her to pray and she did. She just started bawling about halfway through. She asked to know if it was true. She was too embarrassed to look at us as we left so she hid her face and laughed a little as we left. Then I told Elder as we were leaving "I think she just got her answer" hahaha.

Also this week we had the opportunity to work with Bro Jeff again. One time we went to his house this week to share to his wife, who is coming back to the Church. We heard them talking with the kids that they were just eating boiled bananas that night for dinner. They had run out of rice, and didn't have any sort of ulam (rice topping). As Jeff and us walked outside I told him that I was hungry but told him that Elder and I didn't know how to cook very well. I asked that if we bought the food, that they'd teach us how to cook it. He said of course! So Elder and I went and bought a bunch of ingredients to make Laing, one of my favorite dishes. We also bought almost 4 kilos of rice... a lot more than what we would have needed. We probably only needed .75 kilo for all of us at the house to eat. We went straight out to work again after that, we told them that we had appts to go and teach so that they should just start cooking, and that we'll learn next time haha. Smooth. It was a really good dinner. We are doing that again later tonight. We are going to learn how to cook tinula, which I love as well. 

Its really expensive at the SM to Internet, so Ill finish this later when I can at a cheaper place! Love u

September 16, 2012

Whats up? Have you both been? Life is going good here. Today is the first day of my 10th transfer. Everything is going by so quick! Elder Madsen and I have now been together for one transfer, and we only have one more left then I'm transferred!! Woo! I'm pretty excited to be transferred and everything, I am going to miss this area so so much, but I'm ready for my 3rd area. Haha. We finally got everything moved into our new apartment. It kind of sucks not having power but our landlord hooks us up to their generator about half of the time. So we have power from about 9-10 at night until about 7-8 in the morning, which is nice. It kind of sucks when there isn't power for an electric fan, but everyone is thinking that by the 25th, the power will be back permanently. Sana! Our landlord is so so nice. Like I said, they hook us up to their power, always are cooking us food, etc. We ate dinner there at there house last night after we got back from work. We had lots of really good chicken adobo and lots and lots of rice. By the way I'm really craving rice right now, kaya sana Ill go get some lunch soon. They are so awesome and are always asking us if we have eaten or if we want to eat food haha. So awesome. They have asked us lots of church questions and they want us to share our message to them sometime. Sweet! I'm way excited for that. The only kind of problem is that they call us 'Michael and Austin or Brother.' They asked about what does 'Elder' mean, and I explained how it means missionary, etc. They thought that Elder was our actual name haha. Then they asked what our real names were, and we told them, now they wont stop calling us that! Or Brother....haahahaha. We told them we should go by the name on our name tags because we are missionaries hahaha I hope that stops soon. But more times than not its Brother. haha. When we don't have electricity at the house, we also don't have running water! So there is a well like thing at the apartment complex that is for all of the residents to use. It is a free flowing waterway down in a cement kind of pit thing. Its where we shower, and wash dishes when we don't have power hahaha! Sometimes its sketchy showering at night because I just know there are people watching, I've seen and heard them. They're trying to get an American peep show. I never shower in it at morning because the whole world will see me naked lol.

This week we have been keeping really busy. Obviously the move took us until Wednesday. We have finally gotten everything situated, its about time. We still were able to teach 19 lessons this week, which is pretty solid for a week like this, especially with the training schedule going on. Our landlord said that President Bliesner stopped by the apartment on Friday morning, around 1030 or 11, but we were out at work. I have no idea why! He has so many things to do, I don't know why he'd come to us, but we were out doing our morning work, which is a weakness in the mission so that makes us look pretty good haha. On Saturday, we worked with Brother Jeff, our group leader. I love this guy so much. He is the 2nd missionary to have come from Baao. He is so awesome, funny, and good at teaching. He is almost 40 now, and has 3 kids, a wife, and a mother in law to care for but he still finds time to work with us. He is the one who asked for a polo. I wish I could just send him a million dollars or something. If anyone needs it/deserves it its him. Anyways, he went to work with us on Saturday. We taught like 6 lessons that day, contacted 7 LA's, and ate lunch at a members house. He took us out to our very very farthest area, and showed us where the LA's were, now we know where to go when we go out there! It was so awesome. One of them went to Church yesterday, and we have high hopes for the rest of them. It seems like the farther away/harder to get to members are more receptive to those who are so close. Like I said one of them fed us eggplant and rice for lunch. It was the best eggplant Ive had in my mission, as well as the best rice. I was in love with the kind of rice we ate. They grew it all (eggplant/rice) themselves. I worry that when I get home to America I wont like the kind of rice out there :/ I'm also in love with vegetables here in the Philippines. Those are my favorite kinds of ulams-vegetables. I love all of it, and that's why I'm getting so fat haha.

We had a lot of members who went to Church yesterday, even though it was rainy. I really have big hopes for this area. We had 40 people attend church this past week. We killed it! Our very very best in Paracale was like 47 or 48. I think in 2 weeks or so, we can get 45. No doubt. Everyone had such a good time going to Church last week that I think they'll all go back. Yesterday Elder Madsen and I spoke in Church. I spoke about what I learned about in my personal study. I am reading a church book called "Lay hold upon the good work of God". It's like a church book/class manual. So good. I spoke about lengthening our stride as members as well as the power of one. I had this impression of what to talk about before church yesterday, while we were out working, as I was looking at my stride. I talked about how we as members might have not to big of strides, in missionary work, and as well as in everyday lives. I stood at the front and walked a couple of steps in small small steps, and asked "After 10 minutes where will I end up?" obviously not much progress, then I took 2 big strides, and asked "where will I be in 10 minutes like this?" It worked better than I thought it would. I said that we might not be meeting our potential. Then I talked about how all of us have a great potential to do great things. I then talked about the power of just one person and the power of their big strides. I used to examples Joseph Smith, and Jesus Christ. I said because of just one Joseph Smith, one person, who went maybe out of his comfort zone, to kneel and pray out loud, is the roots of an almost 15 million member church, with the true priesthood that is growing everyday. I also talked about, one Jesus Christ, who because he kept himself free from sin, who even though lived among imperfections, and sin all of his life, chose the right, always, and was able to perform the Atonement for us. Now we all have the ability to return to live with God again. Before I finished the talk, I talked about things that we can do to lengthen our stride: family scripture study everyday, family prayer everyday, setting better examples, and repenting. It went better than I thought it would, haha. I spoke for just short of 25 minutes, the longest talk Ive ever given. Not to shabby. I asked Bro Jeff to count my mistakes before I spoke so I will no what to work on. 2. I'm still working on fixing those 2. But I still don't sound like a Filipino yet, still a long way to go.

Love you!

September 9, 2012

This week has been crazy. We only got 14 lessons this week but we've been working hard though. Sorry this email isn't going to be very long just because I burnt the heck out of my index finger on my right hand this week while cooking and it hurts like heck to type and it takes forever too! I have a nice giant blister on it haha.

We are moving into our new apartment later tonight, and we still have so much to pack, and clean. It is so stressful and crazy but it will for sure help the work here in Baao. This week we have spent several days moving some of the stuff in, finishing the contracts, explaining tax stuff, trying to figure out why we wont have power until the 25th, etc. Its so crazy. I never want to move again. It should all be done by tomorrow though!! :)

We are doing good with our investigator work as well as our investigator work. We are planning to give 4 baptismal dates this week. I hope they all happen! Elder Madsen and I have been pretty masipag! We are hoping everything goes well with them. This week we had two different trainings. We went to Ligao on Wednesday and on Thursday for trainer/trainee training as well as zone training. I am so tired of traveling and moving around. Its not as much that I am sick of traveling, its wasting money that I'm tired of haha.

I'm not sure what else to really tell you about this week, I'm so sorry. President is picking us up from Iriga centro in about 30 minutes or so, and we will be taking him to a member in our area's house (our farthest area) so that he can give her a temple recommend interview. I'm so excited for this member, her family all wants to be sealed, but mom is getting her endowment first, because she is ready now and the temple trip is this week.

Tell Dad that I need some advice. I have been thinking so much about my mission. I have been thinking about everything Ive learned and stuff and I feel like I haven't learned nearly as much as I should have by now. We learned when Elders Cook Ardern and Callister came to Naga mission that we need to be more consecrated missionaries. Ive been reading talks about grace from Brad Wilcox in the "BYU Classics" as well as Elder David A Bednars from the "classics" page. It talks about the Atonement being an every day thing. It talks about the enabling power of the Atonement and its power verses just the redemptive power of it. I think I have a weakness in all of these things. I want to be totally changed, when I come back. Kind of like the change that Alma had. The change that when I get invited to go see an inappropriate movie with friends when I get home, or something seemingly small like that, I wont even have to think about the choice. Ill just do whats right, without thinking or doubting my decision. Its so hard and I don't want to come home until I've mastered this. What did you do in your mission dad to be more Christlike?

September 3, 2012

Whats up? This week has been good. It's been such a crazy long day. We've been getting a lot done this week, and are having a good time. First, its funny how you recently asked about my clothes. This week both, one of my polos, and a pair of pants got wholes in them, so I just recently got fitted for a pair, and should hopefully get them finished this week. I'm going to try and fix the holes but I ordered the extra polo and pants just in case my other clothes start to give out soon. I spent just under a 900P for both a custom pair of pants and polo. 

This week, Friday or Saturday maybe, we had an earthquake. It was way cool to experience that. It's the first earthquake I've ever felt, it wasn't that strong but it was enough, and long enough to get our attention, etc. It was way cool. We ran outside and saw the streetlights shaking pretty good.

We had such a fun/great opportunity to go out to work with President Bliesner this week. It was so fun, I loved it. We got a text on our phone last Monday night from him saying that he wanted to come and work with us. We started freaking out. I was so nervous! I'm a trainer, and of course I'm responsible for everything that goes wrong. I wanted to make sure that everything went perfect haha. So after we got the text I just started praying, then the next day we changed our plans for the day. We were originally supposed to go to an area called Sagrada, but we didn't want kids throwing poop or something at him, so we changed the plans to a different area. We planned to go to 2 LA's, and 2 Investigators, as well as check out the apartment we wanted to get. So first when President got there, we all drove in his car to our area from Iriga to Baao, and checked out the apartment. He approved it after talking to the owner about what changes he wants made. The owner speaks weak English like most people here so he basically promised President anything he wanted for free: bars on windows, screens, new paint, etc. Haha it was sweet. So then we sat down and I took the information we needed for the contract and President and I explained the tax info to the owner. After that we headed to Sister Barena's. We just normally call her Jaylee's mom. At first we didn't think there were people there, but then they eventually answered, and we BRTed for a minute then prayed, and then taught the lesson. Our lesson was about her reading assignment in Helaman 6. It went so well. I let Elder Madsen lead as much as he could, and he did so good. I filled in all of the rest then I asked President about pride to answer for all of us, then he did that, left his testimony and closed the lesson.That was in English but it was sooo good because Sis Barena and Jaylee were crying, score! Lol. After that We walked around for a bit, made return appts for an investigator, left pamphlets for people we decided to contact in the street, etc. Then we drove to a guy named Bro B. Bro B is sooo awesome, but he is LA for some personal debt that he owes to an old member. He is in his late 30's and is a Melchizedek priesthood holder. We work with him all the time but he just never comes to Church. So when President text us saying he wanted to work with us, Bro B was the first guy I wanted to visit. I also changed our lesson plan to Repentance and Alma 36, which worked really well. We parked close to this guy's house, contacted some people, made return appointments, then went to Bro B. It went so well, might be the best lesson I've ever been a part of. I think it was amazing for President to be there, at the end of the lesson, President wanted to share one more verse, and he did, then he just called that guy out in a perfect way. He told him that we need him and his priesthood at Church, it was in English, but Brother started crying, and he said he would. President prayed and he dropped us off at our next appt. Before he left he said the only thing wrong with the whole day was that I didn't leave a reading assignment at the first appointment. That's it. I was so relieved. I was expecting a big overview of everything I was doing wrong, which would've been ok, because then I'd know what to fix. He is super pleased with Elder Madsen, and how he teaches so much, when he is still so new. I'm so glad he got to come work with us. After we reviewed the day, he talked to us for just a couple of minutes about some Mormon broadcast on NBC, etc. Then we left. It was so funny seeing kids touch and press their faces up to President's car, even though we were inside of it, or when we were walking up to it. They just kept doing it, it was hilarious. They also called President Joe, as well haha. It was by far my favorite day of work in my mission. 

Even though we taught a lot of lessons and got a bunch of new investigators, not a lot of people went to church this week. Our teaching pool has gotten so big, that there isn't time to give everyone the time we need. We are trying to figure everything out. Elder Madsen and I keep joking that we need to start doing disobedient things so that we will stop our teaching pool from growing. Its so huge. Yesterday before Church we taught 6 lessons, and basically ran to each of them before Church it was an insane day. Yesterday while we were riding to Church from our last lesson in the AM, I started praying that Bro B would go to church. I prayed for a minute or 2, and when I opened my eyes I noticed we had stopped almost just in front of his house. I thought, huh how funny, what a coincidence. Then we rode for another 10 minutes or so until the stop right in front of where we get off to go to Church, and I got off the front exit after a couple other people and I jump off and turn directly to right and almost run straight into Bro B! It was crazy. I was so surprised. I couldn't have been more surprised....maybe if I saw you guys there, but its a close call. It turns out we were on the same bus! He got on the back exit and we didn't see each other, it was sooo sick! I was sooo happy! A week from tomorrow, we move into our new apartment, I'm so pumped!

Out of things to write about.
Love Me

Monday, September 3, 2012

August 26, 2012

This was a really sad email to get, I remember how much he meant to you. I love what you said about sports, its so true. There is so much pride in sports, it makes sports not too great to watch. I can still remember watching Sports Center and hearing the commentators talk about how much they were tired of Terrell Owens and his post touchdown dances. They are all attention wh*res haha. I think the world really needs more good men like that, people who are so humble, and overall great. There is no amount of touchdowns that could ever equate to being the first person to the moon, and I'm sure Neil Armstrong wasn't so self focused on the moon. It sounds like he had his priorities in other places like his family. I think its awesome that he had greater pride in his family rather than the moon. 

This week has been amazing. We have been getting good work done. We were only able to teach 14 lessons this week. We spent so much time looking for a new apartment, as well as our town, Baao had a 3 day long piesta where we had a hard time teaching. So many members and investigators were in Baao centro attending the piesta, that our work suffered a bit. The new training program is doing really good though. Elder Madsen is an awesome missionary and is doing great with the language. He is doing better than I was my 3rd transfer....he is only in his 3rd week in the Philippines haha! If he keeps it up I'm going to run out of things to teach him. We are having a good time together. We are "OYMing" to every one. OYM means opening your mouth, and we are having great success with that. We have 8 new investigators this week, same amount as last week. I remember if I got 1 or 2 each week I felt really accomplished, but in the past 2 weeks we are at 16.... So awesome. 

On Thursday we were walking down the highway at about 2pm, and a dude on a motorcycle pulls over and says "Elders"! I recognized him as a the same guy who gave us a free ride on his pudjak last week. When we met him we told him we weren't interested in riding the pudjak because we had to save our money, so he said it was for free. Before we got off the pudjak we got his number and gave him a pamphlet. So as we were walking down the highway the next week (this week), he pulled over and asked us to come to his house. He said he had somewhere to go but that he'd be back in 5 minutes, so he pointed to his house and we waited there until he got back. We taught him, his wife and his 5 friends and they all asked us to come back, it went really good. 

This past week we also taught someone who we contacted last week while walking to our next appointment. When we met this guy, Celix, we thought he was just a poor man because of his clothes and that he was just cleaning up the bushes in front of a big house. When we returned for our appointment, it turns out that that house was his, and he also liked our message. We are really seeing people ready to be taught. I'm trying to have faith that they actually want to be taught instead of just knowing why there are 2 Americans walking around in the heat speaking Tagalog. Either way if we have the Spirit, we will be able to help them make changes. We are having a really hard time making time for everyone to be taught. We have such a large area, as well as a growing teaching pool. It's really hard to plan all of what we need to do each week. If we focus more on investigators, it seems that some of our LA's seem to struggle. When we focus on LA's, the investigators don't get the attention they need. If we could really find the perfect balance, this area would progress so much. I have such high hopes for this area before I leave. When I left Paracale, the area was doing great, now when I leave Baao, I hope it too will continue to be booming; better than I left it. 

This week we found an apartment that we want to rent. We are waiting to hear from President if its approved. Hopefully it will be, we are running out of places to look for new apartments. Once we have one in Baao, our area will progress so much. We have also been looking for a new meeting house for our group. Its really hard to give directions to our church now, because we meet at a members house. Once we can find a big enough place, and we think we have, that too will help the membership so much. This area will be a branch in no time. 

We had such an awesome time this week meeting Elders Cook, Callister, and Ardern, as well as their wives. They are so awesome and we learned so much. I clearly remember seeing and hearing all of them speak at General Conference, and I thought it was so cool that they came to talk to us personally. I will forward President's email that he wrote about the fireside. He wrote it for missionaries who weren't able to attend the meeting in Legazpi. One of the best parts of going to Legazpi was I got to see some of the stake leaders from Daet stake! I miss them so much. When we were about to head into the chapel, the leaders of the stakes and districts were heading out, and they yelled "Elder Kornegay" then I ran straight to them and gave them all hugs. I saw President Abao (the stake president), and President Favia (the BP from Paracale), as well as another bishop from Daet 1st or 2nd ward I think. So awesome. I also saw Elder Fronk who I really missed, as well as Elder Smith, Elder Gilliam, and a bunch of other missionaries. I saw the Paracale missionaries and asked them how everything in MY area was doing :) 

I also forgot to say that at the very end I was able to catch Elder Cook. I was super lucky and able to say goodbye before he left and told him that I'm Gordon Eliason's grandson. He got a big smile on his face and told me how much he loved him, and how they played football together. He said "send my love to him, for me". It was way amazing to meet an Apostle. I could really feel that they are special witnesses. Before Elder Cook came into the building I told myself that I wanted to watch and listen to everything that Elder Cook did, and didn't do, as well as every word, motion, etc. I wanted to see what the Lord looks for in an Apostle. We are always told that Jesus Christ is the perfect example in everything, but its so hard to really picture perfection in everything. I'm not doubting his perfection in anyway, I'm just saying that I believed that if I could see a "real example" of Jesus Christ, in real life. What exactly Christ would do, say, act, etc. if He was here. I feel like I learned so much just from seeing Elder Cook. Stuff that I want to do more of everyday so that I can be more Christlike. I saw him always smiling. I saw the way his hands held other's hands when he shook some one's hand. He always looked happy and awake, even though he must of been really tired. I saw that he really loved us even though he had just met us. He had a huge knowledge of the scriptures which blew us away. When he bore his testimony he didn't stutter. It was straight and super powerful.

Love you 

August 19, 2012

Hey dad! Love you. I hope everything is going good. You all sound like you are having a great time back at home. Thats good that you are getting more time off compared to what you've been doing these past several months. Its crazy. Thats awesome about the missionary who served in Cebu. I heard its really beautiful over there. The language is a lot different though, even though there are some similarities. Elder Yangyang speaks fluent Cebuano. He knows several languages actually. I miss him, I saw him last week in Legazpi when we met Elder Michael John U Teh for the 2nd time in one week. I will actually see him again this week (Yangyang2) when we go back to Legazpi to meet....Elder Quinten L Cook, President Callister of the 70, as well as Elder Ardern of the 70. Elder Ardern is the one who spoke at General conference about the importance of time, and Angry birds in his talk last October haha. I cant explain how excited I am to meet all of them, this is gunna be sick!!! I'm also excited because I will see 99% of my friends here in the mission. Smith, Fronk, etc etc. I cant list them all. Its going to be so sweet, I'm really excited. Our meeting with just Elder Teh this past week has been amazing, try putting all 3 of these Apostle, and 2 70 members, all together in one meeting. Not to mention, President Bliesner as well who kicks butt. Insanely cool. Anyways I'm really excited. 

This week has been really good in our work. Elder Madsen and I have been really trying to follow the 12 week new missionary training plan exactly. We have been seeing a lot of blessings from it by trying to follow the teachings and and guidelines inside. We have found 8 new investigators just this week alone as well as 3 referrals received, who we haven't even contacted yet. We also gave 2 baptismal dates to some investigators. I'm so excited for this work as well as the potential it has. We have doing everything we can to help this area progress and we really think it will, if we keep it up. I think the Lord really wants all new missionaries to have amazing first transfers in the mission and he is softening peoples hearts, and making them super ready for the missionaries if they just follow the rules and do what they are asked. Missionary work is idiot proof if people just follow the rules. 

This week we had a Tatay return to church for the 2nd week in a row. Which is amazing. He and his wife made a goal to be sealed at the end of this year. BOOYA! He and his family are amazing and they love when we come over. They are in our farthest area but they are probably my favorite people to go to. This week we also had a man, who recently wasn't even able to walk, go and bless the sacrament at church as well as get a temple recommend. Oh snap! the last Branch president who was then in active, is now active and blessing the sacrament every week. So awesome. He will be heading to the temple soon as well. I forgot to say that last week in Church we had a group of dogs run straight through our sacrament meeting, chasing chickens, causing chaos, right after my talk. After that Jeff Botor who is our group leader said in perfect English "come back spirit" in a funny voice. I laughed soooo hard. 

BTW _____ is a RM with 3 kids and he's in his 40's and he and his wife both work but are so hard off. He asked before i /get transferred if I can give him one of my white polo shirts. I told him no problem. I'm thinking before I leave in 3 months Ill just get him one made, fit for him. I hope that's OK. 

Love you!

August 12, 2012

Hey mom and dad whats up? This week has been a long and great and amazing week. I had such a good time. I need to back up to last Monday. Last Monday Elder Yangyang and I had dinner with the Bagacina family. They are amazing. President Bagacina is the branch president here in Iriga 2 branch, which is the branch over Baao group. We talked for like 3 hours and ate lots of Filipino spaghetti and cheesecake (cheesecake here is egg flavored cake with cheese sprinkled on top) -_- I love that family so much. They are so good to the missionaries and always want us to be OK. They told me they'd teach my new trainee and I how to make certain foods so that we don't die from eating Ramen and canned tuna everyday. Hehe how nice. On Tuesday morning Elder Yangyang and I cleaned the apartment and we both packed. I only packed 2 days worth of clothes and he packed everything he had. We rode to Ligao city on the bus as well as with the missionaries from Buhi. Once we got to Ligao I said bye to Elder Yangyang. I'm going to miss that guy. He was so loud and funny. We had such a good time and he helped me fix my Tagalog in certain parts that I used to struggle with. He is a great missionary. He is now in Sto Domingo near Tobacco, Albay. He'll for sure help the people over there. After that I waited no joke, all day with the other missionaries in Ligao. We went out to eat and just had a good time laying around in air conditioning while we had the chance. After that I rode with one of the APs and the new couple missionaries as well as with some other missionaries back to Naga city. We got to the office and all of the missionaries went back to there new areas. I was left with the APs until the office elders got back from their work. While we waited, they drove me to Mexicali, the only Mexican food restaurant in the mission. I loved it. I LOVED IT. I miss Mexican food soosooso much. Nagpakabusog ako doon. It means I feasted over there hehe. 

Once we got back we 3 hung out at the office until the office elders got back. Then when they did we went to their apartment that has AIRCONDITIONING and HOTSHOWERS. So stannnkn good. That was my best night of sleep ever.....even though I had about 5 hours of sleep because we stayed up late playing Monopoly deal, then we had to wake up at 5 to go to the mission home at 530 to help with departures. At the Bliesner's house we ate......get this.....milk and cereal....with cinnamon rolls. I thought I was going to die. I loved it. I never wanted to go back to Baao ever! I hadn't had milk and cereal in 11 months. Too bad it was boxed milk, but I count my blessings :) After that we took everyone to the airport blah blah blah said good bye to the departing missionaries blah blah blah kind of made we want to go home blah blah blah sat on the edge of the runway (not illegal in the pinas baby!) and watched their plane fly away, so sick. Makes we want to be a pilot. After that we bought fresh milk (score) chocolate and mango flavors, then went to the Filipino DMV so a new elder could get his filipino drivers license. BTW the DMVs here suck more than our DMVs. Count your blessings. 

After waiting for ever in the hot Pino sun, we went to a members calendaria and ate laing. One of my favorite foods here. Good stuff. And then, I took another hot shower and got ready for Trainer's training. We had a great time at trainers training. The Spirit was soo strong. President Bliesner is the man. We had such a good time and I learned so much. I really want to be the best missionary trainer that I can be. After that we had dinner and ice cream at the mission home, after all of the training. As we were all cleaning up, I asked what else I could do to help, and no joke as those words came form mouth I dropped a glass :( It was sooo embarrassing and I felt so bad. So I started apologizing and started cleaning up and then I noticed, I had a big cut right on my pinky :( I then started to bleed every where. All I wanted to do was be a helper and I ruined everything haha. I'm such a n00b. President and another Elder cleaned the rest up as I tried to stop the bleeding, and Sister Bliesner grabbed me a bandaid and some medicine. Before I knew it, it was just me talking to the Bliesners in the kitchen while I was trying to get the bleeding to stop. We didnt talk about anything too cool but they are such awesome people. I love them. I want to be just like they are. They are a perfect example of what families should be like. Anyways then I went back to the annex where the trainers slept. We once again had aircon and hotshowers. I was sooooo sooo cold that night. The temperature was on like 70 degrees F and I had 3 large blankets on me trying to stay warm. I was miserable and happy at the same time haha. I'm such a wimp for cold, since I've been here. The next day we had breakfast, and more training and ate our awesome lunch, then I met my trainee, my child, my first born in the wilderness, my anak, my aki. His name is Elder Madsen, from Idaho Falls, Idaho. 

I met Elder Davis, the one that is from Eager, AZ. He's really nice. I love Elder Madsen though, he and I will have a fun time. Our lessons have been sketchy at first since he doesn't speak Tagalog. He is still MTC level. I'm obviously not perfect but I think I'm pretty good for only being here a year. Ive been speaking more and more in lessons, almost trying to cover 2 halves instead of my usual one half of a lesson. I'm kinda nervous to be honest. Ive never been in such a situation where all understanding, and translating and everything rests with me. Never. I'm now the translator for both sides, is I guess how you'd say it. I need your prayers everyday, I can only do it with them. Every night after we close our day with prayer I pull up a chair to a wall and start practice teaching it, for 30 minutes or so. I pray every night, that Ill feel the Spirit while I teach my wall (which is dingding or pader in Tagalog, 2 words). I'm going to do this everyday of my mission so I can get good at teaching, and knowing the doctrines that need to be taught. I need your prayers people. Yesterday, Sunday, I gave a talk in church. I was called on the spot to speak. I was like "ughhhh this is the millionth time I've spoken in Church" after that I prayed for help and apologized for complaining. I spoke for 15 solid minutes about the power of testimony, and our duties as members of the Church to use our testimonies to help our selves and others. I spoke about the blessings of it, and what will happen if we forget our testimonies. I also shared the steps we need to follow to not forget them. One of the steps was showing our faith by preying and reading the Bible and Book of Mormon everyday. I compared it to an example I heard once. God gives us our bigas (uncooked rice) to be filled and nourished, but it is of no benefit to us if we don't cook it (cooked rice is called kainin). If we use the bigas that God gives us daily, and we use it too its fullest extent and "feast upon it, upon our kainin" we will be blessed and we won't ever forget God's power in our lives. Not to brag, cause I need to be humble but.....that was the best talk Id ever given in Church :) 

Later that night, we went to the Church in Iriga and heard Elder Michael John U Teh speak. He and his wife are staying with the Bliesners. They all came for the devotional. We will see them all again for a missionary zone conference this Wednesday in Legazpi. He came up to me shook my hand, and said my name and said how excited he was to meet me more on Wednesday, I responded to him in Tagalog, and then he and his wife spoke to me in Tagalog. I hate speaking to Filipinos in English. 

Love you 

P.S. Pray for my language. I still sound like an Americano though! I want to be a Filipino! I feel like even though I don't have much trouble in the language anymore I'm still so far away. Yesterday when I heard Elder Teh spoke. He had amazing Tagalog. Even though he is Filipino, Ive never heard one person here in the Philippines speak so well, smoothly, deeply. Every one here uses a lazy Tagalog because they are Bicolano people not Tagalog people. Pray for me that Ill sound like a Tagalog speak, please go to the temple! Ill fast for it this week! 

August 5, 2012

Hey mom and dad, its alright that you guys weren't able to email to much this week. I totally understand. Life sounds so crazy to you guys right now. I know that all of those extra hours for dad is a blessing, and the surgery will only help mom in the long run which is awesome. That's awesome that Shar is coming over, tell her that she is awesome and that i love her so much. Heck, just let her read the email. Haha. Thanks so much for the money....I already bought the camera! I withdrew my missionary support, and used some extra/personal/emergency money that I had to buy the camera. I was on exchanges with Elder Taylor for a day this week. Elder Yangyang had a crazy fever this week(highest was 103.6 F) and was at home all week until Friday and Saturday. I went with E. Sp8's comp (Taylor out to work) we went to the department store here to get some last minute things before we went home, and I decided to take a look at some cameras. They just got cameras in Iriga by the way. When I was looking everything was looking out of my price range. All in the 8000 to 12000 peso range. I was like holy cow no one in this whole province can afford this junk. I took a flyer from a lady and looked at the cameras. I saw a Canon which was 6000P. It was an alright price but a really nice camera. I looked for it in the window across the store, and found it but for 4998P. I asked why the prices were different and she thought maybe it was a typo. Then she asked her manager and they checked and said its on sale because its 'last years model'. Brand new, really great canon camera with a bumpn price i wasn't going to find any where else. I told them I'd buy it. I took advantage of that and consider it a blessing. Its 10x better than my last camera, but at a really good price. 16mp 5x zoom, sweet other features and junk. Thank you for letting me buy this!! merry Christmas to me haha. 

Being in the house this week kind of was lame. I did a lot of language study, and stuff like that. On Saturday we got transfer announcements. I could have sworn Id be transferred......I'm not. Ive been here for 4.5 months already....Turns out ill be here 3 more months, the same amount of time I was in Paracale! I'm here 3 more months because......I'm training. I'm pregnant. I'm about to have my first mission child haha. I'm so excited and pretty nervous. If he's American, that means Ill be teaching almost everything in every lesson. With Elder Yangyang as my first Jr companion, we had a really good teaching pattern splitting on and off. Now I'm going to have to teach everything to this new missionary. I really hope he is an American, just because it would be fun to speak English more than Tagalog all day, but if its Filipino my Tagalog is going to get even more better. Anything works for me. Ill meet him on Thursday afternoon. 

Today Ive spent all day cleaning the apartment for him and doing my laundry. Tomorrow I take Elder Yangyang to the transfer point in Ligao city which is in Albay. After I drop him off there Ill get a free ride in one of the sweet mission vans with the APs or the new couple missionaries and other missionaries going North in the mission. Ill be dropped off at the mission office and Ill be temporary companions with the office elders which is sweet. They just chill in air con all day. Their apartment has air con and hot shower. Wednesday morning they will be taking all of the departing missionaries to the airport but before that they said we all get to eat breakfast at the mission home! Sweeeeeeeet. I get to go! Wednesday at 3 I start being trained on how to train haha. This goes until Thursday afternoon when the new missionaries come in. BTW that guy Ali and Brittany know, Chantz, is in that group of missionaries. Ill get to meet him, maybe even train him. 

Dad did you ever train? DO u have any advice for me? MY ZL called me Sunday night and gave me some advice. He is one of my best friends in the mission and I respect him so much. This guy is a hard worker, and super awesome. He goes home this week so ill get to take him to the airport. He is from Glendale. Have you heard of Adam Conte? He is from Glendale North or just Glendale stake. He went to Apollo high school. He is coming home this week. He was my ZL for 3 months and is a kick butt missionary. One of the best missionaries I've met. Hopefully you get to meet him. He is from that area. 

Whats up? This is part 2. Yesterday we went to Pili which is in Naga zone to go get Elder Yang2's patriarchal blessing. We had an appointment for 2 weeks for this past Sunday at 4pm at the church building in Pili. The Patriarch never showed up!!! We texted him a million times and called as well but he never showed. So at 5pm we got a hold of the phone number of the Pili elders and called them for help. They said they'd take us to his house. That was so nice of them because his house is hard to get to and no close to anything. We met them in centro and by 6pm we were at his house. We go inside and his wife is so nice and tells us to come in. She goes and wakes up her husband, he comes out and starts talking to us. We tell him why we were there and he says "Oh." We ask if he can do the blessing, he says....."ya, next week." We just stinkn traveled from Iriga city which isn't that close! We had to leave early from Church just to get to the appointment he wasn't even at. We were all really frustrated with him(all 4 of us Elders). I was only for a second then let it go. I kept thinking of my really good fast that I was having, and I didn't want to ruin it. Plus if any arguing happened, he wouldn't have been able to give the blessing anyways. No Spirit. So we dropped it. Elder Yang was pretty bummed. They fed us saltines and hot chocolate (i broke my fast), and we were out of there after that, and within 2 hours we were back home. We just told him that Elder will get his blessing in a different stake when he is transferred.....thats if he's lucky enough to transfer somewhere near a place that has a stake. Anyways this is my email! Love you 

Thanks again for the camera. I really am grateful. I said a silent prayer once the lady went to go to the back for me to buy it. Im sure the 1000P discount was a blessing. Its such a good camera at a good price. 5000P. Also if you didn't read any of my emails yet, I told mom that Im going to be a trainer. Im already obedient in everything but Im really going to kick it into gear for this next missionary. So he has the perfect first experience to his mission. I know a lot of missionaries with crappy trainers. They turn into crappy missionaries. Any other suggestions? 

Love you 

July 29, 2012

Since when the heck did everyone start thinking that divorce is a good option?! It's not. This is what happens when people forget whats important in life, and their priorities, get prideful, etc. I gave a talk yesterday in church. I was called on on the spot, so I picked a topic really quick from the Book of Mormon. I hadn't read this part of the Book of Mormon since 2 transfers ago with Elder Edillo. It's Helaman chapter 6. It talks about the downfall of the Nephites, the righteousness of the Lamanites, and the "utter destruction" of the Gadiatton robbers. It is one of the best chapters in the Book of Mormon. I opened up my Book of Mormon and saw this section, and just decided that I'd wing it out or "chumba chumba" in Tagalog. I started off by reading the first 2 verses of the chapter which talk about the Nephites and the Lamanites and how the Lamanites were more righteous than that of the Nephites because, "of their firmness and their steadiness in the faith." Then I explained that if we know the Book of Mormon, the Nephites have always been the more righteous group. They are the ones who until then kept the commandments, and were blessed. But after blessings came, people became super prideful, forgetting where blessings came from, and giving thanks to themselves, and not to God or others. They forgot who they were, and why they were there. They forgot maybe even simple things: reading scriptures, praying as a family, giving thanks to God. Next, the Lamanites preach the word of God unto them. They have this power because they are righteous, and have the power of God. Boom there is peace....then Satan's temptations take a toll on them, and they forget and fall again. Not just the Nephites but the Lamanites too. Here is the cool part. The righteous part of the Lamanites went out and worked out the problem, they preached the word of God with such power that they "utterly destroyed" the group among them, and became completely righteous again. The Nephites, continued in their ways, "trampling underfoot the commandments of God", mocking those who did. I love and hate this story because it shows lots of things: the power of Satan's lies and deceptions, the power of repentance, the power of the word of God, forgetting who we are, why pride is the root of all sin, etc. So if all of our friends and family, just continued, to do the things that the Nephites forgot to do, they'd be fine. They'd find the power to work things out, to put ones needs over his or her own, to manage time, etc. I read a line from President Gordon B Hinckley yesterday. It goes kind of like this "don't let mole hills of difference turn into mountainous problems" or something like that. 

This week has been alright. Elder Yang2 is sick right now. He had a temperature of 103.6 last night, he is feeling more better now though. We had a district activity this morning. We played Monopoly Deal at the church and ate a bunch of junk food. Afterwards we had a testimony meeting. It was really good. This week we had a couple of lunch appointments. Last week, Bro Jeff Botor, our group leader asked us if we wanted to try dog before I got transferred. I said heck ya! 2 days later he text us telling us to come over for lunch, he asked if we could bring over some of the ingredients because he wasn't getting paid until the next day haha. We did. And we had dog. It was tasty. He said its his brother in laws dog. Its super clean. He said they wouldn't have killed and cooked it for us if it wasn't super clean. Hopefully Morgan told you that we needed to bring pineapple, tomato sauce, and peanut butter. He provided the other things that I forgot. 

This transfer has been so fast. These last 2 with Elder Yangyang have been so fast. And really fun. We got a lot of good work done. We will find out who is transferred between the two of us on Saturday. Im going to miss him a lot. 

Yesterday we had a lunch appt it was sooo good. Steamed Tilapia with a spicy sweet sauce cooked on top of the fish. There was also laing as a main dish too. I ate sooooo much. I love laing. It is one of my favorites, and out of all the fish Ive eaten here, the one from yesterday was the best. 

Tonight we are having an FHE with the BP and his family. The Bagacina family. They are going to teach me how to make one of my favorite ulams: Bicol express. Sooo good. Its a specialty here in Bicol, and I love it so much. I'm sure you all would love it too. I'll cook it for you when I get home. 

As for the undernourished kids, everyone is just really poor here. The Bicol region I believe is the poorest region here in the Philippines. One of the families who is LA here in Baao has 8 kids. The dad doesn't have a stable job. People only make several hundred pesos a day. Bro Jeff told me that when he was a pudjak driver, he made about 200P a day. A pudjak is a bike with a side car on it. By the way, there are 42 pesos to a dollar. Some people only eat rice, and the fruit that they pick. Other people aren't that are hard off and can afford to go eat fast food, or pizza. It is 2 ways here super poor or super rich. No middle class unfortunately. Kids are always hungry, and will eat anything you give them. I once gave out one of my bananas to a kid, I think this was last week, and he was super grateful. Then a bunch of other kids saw it, and all ran to me for a banana. I think I gave out 15 bananas! Haha. I'm glad I could help even if its just a little bit. I am too loose with my money here. I don't go out to eat much at all. I bought a non stick pan and cook all of the time now. But when I do go out I'll treat my comp to something, or when we go to the grocery store, etc. I have the blessing of living next to a Rays pizza and eating pizza all of the time, or just buying a canned soda and a snickers it's cheap. But I always feel like I should share in just a little way. I never do it if it's expected of me, but it never is. I like sharing that simple stuff. After the mission its back to the norm for some. For me, coming out here is like downsizing, and sacrificing, for others its a treat with lots of money coming from the Church. 

I have no idea what I'm really talking about. I have a bunch of ideas. 

Love you 
ME

July 22, 2012

Whats up? 

Happy Birthday dad. I wrote you a happy birthday in my journal! 

This week has been good. We got a lot done, even though our work was cut short on Thursday and Saturday. On Thursday Elder woke up with an earache, just like he had the week before. I texted Sister Bliesner for him to let her know that his earache was back. She told us that we should go to Naga to get it checked out to make sure its not an ear infection or anything like that. So we left our place at 9am and with stupid ridiculous traffic we got to Naga around 10:30. One time Elder Edillo and I made it in an hour... Anyways, we get to Naga and sat in the Panganiban district's district meeting. It was fun getting to meet new missionaries I had heard about. After that we went to lunch with them at......McDonalds. Booya. We scored. I ordered a Big N Tasty with a giant chocolate sundae. I didn't even used to like chocolate sundaes, but when your caught up in the moment and spirit of a Filipino McDonalds....you order a sundae. And it was really good too. I hope I don't go crazy with those when I get home haha. After that we went to Elder's DR's appointment. The appointment was scheduled for 1:00 but of course the Dr wasn't there so we walked back to the mission office to be there for an hour or so to wait until the Dr got back. The Dr's office is close to the mission office, and the mission office has air conditioning. While waiting there I met the new couple missionaries, they are so nice. As well as the new AP, Elder Laimana, who is Elder Smith's MTC comp, and who is also Elder Yangyang's trainer. It was fun to meet all of them. We went back to the Dr and the Dr has just got there, and then he saw us. He said Elder Yang2 has something in his jaw point. Not an actual thing but it just is a big pain. So he bawaled a lot of foods for him, and also told him that he has to rip his foods before he eats. He can't just straight up chew his food. Haha. After that I bought tons of fresh milk and we went happily home. 

On Saturday the youth in Iriga district had a "Mini MTC". The missionaries gave workshops and did practice teaching, and got to go out with the missionaries to teach. It was pretty fun. I don't think we, as missionaries, will sign up to do anything like that again because it took a lot of time from our work, but the youth had a good time. The youth in the Philippines are so awesome. They all want to be missionaries and love going out to work with them and sharing the Gospel. As a youth their age, I wouldn't want to do a Mini MTC youth activity, but they all loved it. I think the Church here in the Philippines is going to be soooo strong here in 10-20-30 years when these youth are all leaders. 

Something else that's fun that happened this week is that we lost our cell phone....or at least we thought we did. On Wednesday, we were out and about teaching and stuff, then we realized that at night once we got home, we didn't have the cell phone. We were freaking out because we wanted a zone activity this transfer, and we were told if we lose a phone, we become disqualified from having one. BTW we think our chances of an activity are pretty good, we got a 59/60 on our apartment check. Booya. Anyways the finance elder bought us a new one on Thursday when we were in Naga and gave it to us before we left. Then on Sunday, the member gave us our phone. It had fallen behind the bamboo bench we were both sitting on. I was so happy because now we might have a ZA, and we wont have support taken from us each time we withdraw! I was also excited because Elder Yang2 was claiming I had the cell phone, and he said he gave the cell phone to me, after he sent a text, in front of some tindahan (like a little roadside store) after that appointment. Well that's impossible because we went to that tindahan after the appointment, meaning the cell phone was still in the house of the member! Haha I love being right, and not feeling guilty for losing the cell phone. But I have grown up, and did not remind him of any of this, or rub it in that he was the last one holding it. :) 

I've been feeling my Tagalog getting better. I haven't been doing anything different at all, I just keep trying to learn new words, etc. I'm getting so much better at memorizing, but I still have a long ways to go. I feel so much more better with my language than I did 2 transfers ago or even last transfer. I've made a goal to try and memorize one scripture verse a week in Tagalog. 

Our investigators aren't going to be baptized anytime soon. The real concern isn't with them but with Tatay (Dad). We haven't met him, but he doesn't want his family being "Mormons". It gets frustrating with people like that here. They don't have any desire to listen to even a bit of what we have to say, they've already made their minds. I respect him for having his own beliefs, but when your whole family wants to follow Christ in a different (correct) way, he should at least consider it. But I love him still even though I've never met him. I hope he comes around. We are going to teach the Vega's how to use their testimonies to help their father. Testimonies are given to us to use. when we don't use them, we lose them, Every time we teach them now, we are going to incorporate importance of families, and faith and testimony. I real love this one line in PMG, it says that faith is the power to act. So when they have faith to have on their testimonies, that they've worked to build, they'll see the fruits of it not just in their lives but in someone elses. Tomorrow we have interviews with President. It was supposed to happen last week at our DM but there was an accident in Naga zone with another missionary, who fractured 2 bones in his foot on a tricycle accident, so now they are tomorrow. I'm also giving the workshop tomorrow with Elder Yang2, in English tomorrow, which should be interesting. Sister Bliesner will be attending the workshop while President takes missionaries one at a time to be interviewed. That's why it'll be in English, for her. 

Love you

July 15, 2012

I really wish that I had a lot of good things to say about this week because I don't...

Anyways I'm so excited to tell you about this week -_- 

Elder Taylor, one of the four missionaries in this house had some crazy long fever this week. From Tuesday until now, he has had a fever. It might be dengue. He says it is but if you compare his dengue to Elder Gilliams dengue, Gilliam's was way way worse haha. Anyways his companion, Elder Speight (Sp8) is the DL so to get out of the house, Sp8 and Yangyang (Yang2) went on exchanges on Tuesday, leaving me to be with Taylor. On Wednesday all DL's and ZL's in the south part of the mission had a meeting in Legazpi. Elder Sp8 being a leader needed a comp to go to the meeting. Pres told E Yang2 to go with Sp8 to the meeting, that was another long day. On Thursday E Sp8 and I worked, going on exchanges in his area. So I got to teach....but it had no benefit on my members >:( On Friday E Sp8 and I went on exchanges again in their area. We did this because E Yang2 woke up with a crazy ear/headache that morning, and slept most of the day for that to go away. On Saturday, we had weekly planning which took up our time. We also had to be back in time for a baptism at 5 o'clock that night. 

If you're wondering how our baptisms went, they didn't happen. Sis Vega told E Sp8 that her husband knows that she is attending a different church, but he doesn't know that she and the kids want to be baptized. E Sp8 said its better to have peace and happiness in a family relationship, than to join the church without talking it over with the husband first. They all have really strong testimonies, and she cried to E Sp8 as she bore her testimony on Tuesday, at their exchanges/baptismal interview. So the baptism for them hasn't happened yet, but I really hope it does while I'm here in Baao, before transfers. I did get to baptize someone though which was pretty cool. I was with E Sp8 on exchanges on Thursday and while I was with him he had to do a baptismal interview for the sisters for their baptism on Saturday. After the interview, the girl asked me to do the baptism, and to give her a priesthood blessing because she wanted one. I was so taken back because I have never met this girl, ever, but she wanted me to do this. So on Saturday, even though we didn't have our own baptism, I still baptized somebody. How cool is that? Also the blessing I gave her was the first priesthood blessing I'd ever given in Tagalog, and since then I've given one more, to E Yangyang (I did confirm someone a member of the church in Taglish - a mix of Tagalog and English - once, but that's a little different). It is great, I get super nervous sometimes with the language in blessings but I feel like I said the right things. 

On Sunday, I was asked to speak out of the blue. I had no idea what to talk about, so I just opened to one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon, Alma 17, and shared how Ammon said we need to share our good examples to others. It was Alma 17:11, how we need to be good examples to be used as instruments in the hands of God. I struggled at first sharing my talk, because I had no idea what I was really going to share about, then it clicked, and my Tagalog picked up, and my talk went really good, I incorporated other things like repentance, and stuff like that in the talk. I also shared the time that we all went to the fall festival at Sunset ridge and how my friends asked about dad, and if we were still Mormon, stuff like that. It went really well. Elder Yangyang said my Tagalog was correct during the whole talk which made me feel even better. During my rest time this week, I listened to my favorite Jeffrey R Holland talks again, I used to do this everyday in my mission. these are my favorites Borne Upon Eagle's Wings, In Times of Trouble, A faithful friend is a true defense, fatted calf, etc. Thanks for putting those on my iPod for me. 

Not sure what else to write about. 

Love you!!