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!! 

July 9, 2012

Last week I emailed to Dad first, now I'll email to mom first. Sorry I got on so late today, I hope you are still on. I got up early this morning to do all of my laundry. After that I ate some oatmeal, and got ready to go to the gym. Elder Yangyang and I went to the gym this morning and I had such a good time. I love the feeling afterwards and as well as during working out. It felt good to just kind of let loose like that for an hour in a constructive way haha. We stayed about 45 or 50 minutes to workout. I was sooo tired, I don't know how I did it all before, I got so tired, so quick. I had a good time. After that I showered and ironed my clothes, we went out to eat, and now I'm here emailing your lovely faces. 

This week has been good but it sounds like you guys had a much more fun week. I mean I can't compare my awesome stories of conversions and testimonies to yours.....joke. This week went by really well, and I'm excited to fill ya in. Our progressing investigators, the Vega family, is being baptized on Saturday at 1 o'clock PM. I'm super excited. With all other investigators that I've baptized, I've never been the first missionary that has taught the investigators, I've just baptized those that other missionaries started teaching. Now, I'll be baptizing three people who I first started teaching. I love everyone I baptize but I think this one is a little more special. I still remember the first day that Elder Edillo and I taught them. They were a referral from a LA family, that is now active. Elder Edillo and I went over and they let us come in and talk with them. I didn't want to be there that much. We had such a long day, and I was still trying to figure out the new area, etc. I put on my best "I'm a happy person" face. Ever since then I love going to them even though they are far away. They always feed us some tasty bread, and TANG. Elder and I love the TANG they buy we always quietly shout "combo, combo, combo", when Sister Vega is making it. Its good stuff. Now I'll be baptizing them all on Saturday. They all asked me to do it, and I felt so awkward. I wanted to split it up with Elder Yangyang, I just felt so awkward. Elder Yangyang is great, right after they had told me they wanted me to do it, "he said Elder Kornegay will do the baptism with water, and I'll do the baptizing by the Holy Ghost". I thought that was awesome, how great he was. Yesterday, after church we were reviewing the baptismal questions. We were trying to make it more like a conversation and not like a pass or fail interview. We were having a good time going over the questions but it still felt pretty serious. 

We have a mission tour here in Naga mission next transfer. I'm pretty excited. We are going to meet Elder Teh, the President of the Philippines Area. I'm super excited to meet him. Hopefully I'm still in the south of the mission when that happens. All of the missionaries in the South are in one conference that will be held in Legazpi city, while the zones in the north will be divided up. I sooo want to stay here to see a lot of friends, and old companions: Elder Gilliam, and Edillo. They are my only comps who are in the South. Elder Smith is still in the North part of the mission :/ So I'm really excited for the thingy! 

This week I got mail from Sisters Tess and Chona from Paracale!!!! OMGOODNESS I miss that area so much. When I left Paracale, Sister Tess was in Manila visiting her family and she was soooo sad that she didn't get to say bye... She cried when I said bye to her on the phone haha. Anyways, she sent me a nice letter saying happy birthday, as well as some peanut brittle and a t-shirt!!! I was so grateful that she did all of that for me. I was also impressed because I understood everything in her and Sister Chona's letters to me. 

I'm so jealous of the fireworks!! I miss going to the July 3 thing in Anthem, too bad I barely miss it next year.... How are the Bentzs and Blairs doing? Larsens? Yep Cathy C from Paracale. She is Sis Tess daughter who works in Manila, and she probably bought the shirt, and put her moms name on it haha. I found the duct tape that u guys sent with me, when I came here. It took me forever to remember that I had some so I bought some Filipino packaging tape. I still haven't gotten my package yet, but hopefully I get it this week or something like that. I loved the pictures of Morgan but u need 2 make her dress modestly. ;)

Love,
Michael

Saturday, September 1, 2012

June 24, 2012

What's up family? I'm 20 years old. I'm not a teenager anymore which stinks! Being a teenager was cool and sucked. I hope my post mission life will be super fun as well. I'm excited to find out....in one more year...hehe.

This week has been cool. I've blown so much money on food lately. I need to stop. I'm going out of control. AHH. I'm trying to eat healthier now, and trying to stop spending so much, but I still buy my boxed milk frequently. I'm addicted, I think. I drank 3/4 of a liter of milk for breakfast this morning, after we played basketball. It was great. By the way I stink so much more at basketball now, than I did when I was in the MTC. I did alright in the MTC now my playing is straight garbage. I made one solid point. WOO. We played with some young men who are leaving on their missions this week. The soon to be(s) Elder Riparip and Elder Tubig (which is water in Tagalog). They are awesome. I'm buying them lunch later then I promise I'm slowing down my spending. Hehe. I want to help Elder Riparip with his mission. I don't know what he needs, but I know he needs some things. I don't know what to do for him, maybe Ill think of something. I have no problem using my money to help him out. He is going to be a kick butt missionary in Davao.

On Tuesday. I took Elder Yang2 out to eat. At around 3 or so we went to a LA members house to start cooking for my birthday/FHE. It was pretty fun. Ill upload pics later. We had a good time eating, and hanging out. I'm glad I got to spend it with my favorite people from Iriga district! I love them all so much. Later tonight we have a FHE at the Branch Pres' house. It should be fun. They are cooking for us and the Iriga elders. Elder Casinillo is one of my best friends in the mission, and my house mate for 3 months is transferred :( He is way sick. I'll miss him. We were ka-zone in Daet for a while. We are hoping we get to be comps one day before we both leave. He is one transfer ahead of me. 

Elder Yang2 and I don't have any transfers. We are kicking butt in our area but our work was pretty slow this week. We both had some LBMs and I have had a cold for a several days now that's starting to go away. I'm not trunky but it was nice to be able to sleep some of that off the other day. 

BTW everyone here in the Philippines uses hehe instead of haha. I'm turning into a Pinoy. I will miss the Pinoy people soooo much. I'm glad I still have one year left. Everyone tells me the last year just goes by sooooo insanely quick. I'm excited for that but I'll for sure miss my mission. I still have so much to learn and experience. I could use another 2 years.....but I don't want to hehe. 

My language is improving everyday. President Riparip says I don't have any problems in my language, I just need to work on my time tenses sometimes (past/present/future) in Tagalog there are 4 time tenses btw. But other than that, no problems. I can speak pretty dang quick about somethings, and others I have to sit and think before I say it hehe. I also need to memorize new words, but that's getting better everyday. I want to use Tagalog when I get home and work. Maybe Ill go be ambassador of the USA to the Pines? hehe. BTW I spoke in Church yesterday, and taught Gospel Doctrine with Yang2. It went good.

Elder and I have some super high goals set this next transfer. We can do it if we don't waste a single minute! I'm excited. Hopefully it all works out good. 

Love you!

June 17, 2012

This past week was crazy though. We hit 24 lessons with everything going on which I'm proud of. Last week on Wednesday, we had interviews with President which I really enjoyed. President Bliesner is way cool. They came to our apartment with the ZLs to do the interviews and apartment check. Tuesday night, we spent forever and a half cleaning the place. We only got a 56/60, but whatever. Our area books were perfect though. 

Starting Wednesday and its still going on now, I was having these really weird mouth pains. It felt like I got punched in the face. Now it just hurts a little bit in a couple spots. Anyways I text sister Bliesner and she said that we should go to a dentist in Naga. So that's what we did on Friday morning. We went to Naga and the dentist just put a punch of medicine in my mouth and did a couple other things, then gave me the bill and a prescription. They are like canker sores but seem a little different. They are going away which is pretty sweet. That's the reason btw, I withdrew a bunch of money the other night, I wasn't sure if the mission paid for dental things, but they ended up paying for it. After the dentist appointment, we went to the mission office to drop off receipts and stuff. As I was talking to the finance elder he said something about Mexicali and Mexican food. I stopped him in the middle of whatever he was saying and I said, "did you just say.....Mexicali?"......"that sounds like Mexican food." Then he said "ya, its called Mexicali, its a Mexican food restaurant in this part of Naga" 

You can bet your butts what we did next. We were on a tricee 12 seconds later, and within 30 minutes I was shoving down a carne asada burrito with a plate of loaded nachos. BOOOOYA. Amen. I needed this. Ive been literally craving Mexican food. It kept me awake at nights a couple times in my mission.....and I got some. I bought for my comp because he didn't have money and the poor guy never had Mexican food in his life. I had to explain simple terms like burrito, nacho, taco, guacamole, salsa, etc to him. Simple phrases I could never live with out, he had never eaten. We pigged out and Elder Yang2 was so grateful that I did this for him. He loved it. This was the most expensive meal I bought on my mission but it was so worth it. 618P which is less than 20 bucks. We took pictures and all. 

Also this week we had some great experiences teaching. We taught the "A" family about fasting. Probably the best lesson Elder Yang2 and I ever taught together, the Spirit was really strong. We taught about fasting and faith because Bro "A" is a RM and he and his family want to go to church each week. Money has been a problem, but they worked it out to make it work each week, but he hasn't been able to go, even though the rest are, because he has some severe arthritis in his legs or something like that. He's been getting a little better each and every time we visit. But we told them that if they fast and have faith that he could attend church again. We need him because he is a Melchizedek priesthood holder. We don't know if they fasted because we didn't really have a chance to talk to him at District conference but he and his family went. Booya. And they plan on going each and every week now. Stuff like this is better than a baptism. District conference was good. 

We had a broadcast from SLC with Elder L Tom Perry, Keith R Richards, and Ann Dibb speaking to us. It was a lot of fun. So many people from Baao went, some people that we have been working with forever who haven't attended church yet, finally came. It was so cool seeing a sister there that we have been teaching. This past week we felt so drained in planning because we didn't know what we should teach her. we ran out of ideas, we did everything, then boom, she's there on Sunday. Ya baby.

On Tuesday we are having an FHE at a members house (the less active sister I just wrote about) and we are going to cook a bunch of food, and eat at her house with her family and some others for my birthday. I'm buying all of the food. Probably like 6-8 American dollars hahaha. Everything is so cheap here! How much money do I have in my account? 

Love you!

June 10, 2012 part 2

I already sent my email, but as I'm typing I'm thinking of other things that happened. I went on exchanges this week with a future missionary. He is super masipag (diligent). His name is Coven Riparip. He is way sick and his family is way strong in the church. They are in Iriga 2 branch. His name is Cove for covenant, Eter for eternal life is his brother. One of his sisters is Temple....guess what that one means haha. He has another sister with a name like that, but I can't remember it. His dad is way cool and so funny. He served his mission in Hawaii and he said that he and I are friends on Facebook. I will miss that guy. 

Anyways Coven goes to Davao mission on June 30. We had a good exchange and will be a kick butt missionary. He and I went to a funeral together and then Elder Yangyang and another prospective missionary met us there. I was asked to speak at the funeral last minute, so I shared Alma 40:11 I think it is how after this life men are taken back home to that God who gave them life. It went really good and was simple. It was my first time speaking at a funeral and I didn't know the guy. Hopefully his wife will start coming back to church. 

When we were there they kept feeding us so many cupcakes and Tang. I ate so many they were endless and I felt so sick after wards. Speaking of stomach aches I spent a bunch of money on a big thing of boxed milk and drank it for breakfast booyah.

On Saturday there is a family out in Bula who has a hard time sometimes paying for bus fare to get to church. When we went over there to teach they told us that they were going to start selling Buko (coconut custard pie). AMEN SO HAPPY. I told them that I wanted to buy 7. And I did it all equalled to less than 2 American bucks, we all got sooooo full, and they were able to go to church the next day :D

June 10, 2012

Hey what's up? Another week is gone by. This week has gone by pretty quick, its crazy. We got a lot of work done this week. We taught 25 lessons. Wooo. First time we did it here in Baao. That's the "standard of excellence" here in the mission. It's not about numbers for us, of course its all about the people, but I am glad we were able to meet our goal. 

We didn't have any investigators at church yesterday, which stunk. We had to move their baptismal date back one week. So if we are lucky we are looking at about 6 baptisms on June 30. If we aren't lucky maybe 4. Which is still great though. We are going to kick butt though this next week and hopefully everyone will keep progressing. Our investigators weren't there because half were in the hospital and the other half were out doing something not as important. The Pacquio fight didn't really affect our church attendance which was great! So people might have had more legitimate reasons to miss church compared to just going and watching a fight. 

Bro Talacsan is progressing really well, he is in the hospital with his wife and one of their kids. Their youngest son got really sick and so they've been in the hospital with him for almost a whole week. They don't have any money to buy food or things like that which is really sad. I wish we could help but as missionaries we aren't supposed to get involved with that so we've been talking to the branch and district about what they can do to help out. The Vega's are progressing well, and we love going over to teach them. We are having a FHE over there on Friday. We would go over there tonight but we have a different FHE to go to at the Iriga 2 branch president's house. 

One of our less active members, Bro Hapa is almost activated. He is a way cool dude. We were really able to help him out this week, twice. Once we were walking by and we saw him outside cutting wood so we hoped over the fence and took the ax from him and started cutting wood in our regular proselyte clothes it was way cool because he was so appreciative. We took turns every couple minutes. While one elder was cutting the other was talking. After we were done, we taught a lesson about the importance of being good examples. It went really good. I was lucky, my hands didn't bleed this time!! :) 

A second time we went over there this week and his daughter wasn't feeling good. We asked what was wrong and she said she had a headache and a stomachache; she looked so beat. Bro Hapa said he was cooking dinner for her and them and we asked what was for dinner and he said rice, then we asked what there ulam was and he said just rice. So after that elder Yang2 and I went to a Tindahan and I bought a 1.5 L of coke for them. I didn't know if buying ulam would be inappropriate so I bought the coke because it always works for me when I have stomachaches and headaches. They were so grateful!! It was awesome. Bro Hapa when he shook my hand said "Dyos malabos" which is the "thank you" in some Bicols (his native bicol is a bicol in sorsogon province) and then he said thank you. So he said it in his native tongue and mine which was cool. Salamat is thank you in Tagalog and it is neither of our native languges but it is how we speak to each other, but becuase he was so grateful he used his and my languages. 

I know Coke is bawal (forbidden) here in Naga mission but just because I can't drink it, doesn't mean they can't. I used my personal money, they were thankful, and the next time we saw them they said it helped. 

We are working on getting our house worked out but we can't get a hold of the owner of the new house. She never texts us back. People only text here, people never really call because its more expensive. Its also cooler to have textmates vs callmates haha. I can't think of anything else send me an email. I love you. Language is good I had a little trouble with it yesterday I don't know why, can you put my name on the temple rolls or something?

Love you

June 3, 2012

What’s up boys and girls, 

What’s up. 

This week has been kewl. Pretty much savin’ the world here in Baao. You know how it is. We taught quite a bit but we weren't able to teach 3 days of the week. Kind of lame but it was good. First day was p-day. By the time we get everything done here, we don't have time to go teach because we have to travel to our area etc. So we are fixing that problem by looking for an apartment in Baao. And we found one. It’s just the cutest lil thing. I’ll upload it to my pix later. 

On Tuesday, we had zone conference. By the time we were done there in Ligao, and got home, and everything, again, not enough time to go out and get a lesson and still be back to the bus stop for a last trip back to Iriga. So again that kind of stunk. But the conference was good though! President called 2 people to speak on two assigned topics we were given, and I was picked to give one of them. It was random, and without much notice. Good thing we're all Eagle scouts (I say we all cause you guys did so much of mine) right? I was prepared, and gave my talk on the Doctrine of Christ. I felt good about it, and some other missionaries told me that I did good. Im just glad people paid attention haha. 

The other day that we weren't able to work was Saturday. We had a baptism that day. We spent the whole morning at the computer shop trying to get stuff worked out with our apartment, and a baptismal flyer made. I swear the workers are so dumb at that Internet shop. Literally I told them specifically in perfect Tagalog (Elder Yangyang backed me up and said I said everything right) how many flyers I needed and everything.... 2 hours later, still not write. I felt like I was talking to idiots. I had to talk to them while they were on Facebook and playing games, instead of helping customers. I never complain about stuff ever. I am grateful that if I have a talent, its not really letting stuff like that bug me, but this one did. So after we got everything fixed, I chastised them a bit in their own language, so there would be no misunderstandings haha. 

After that we only had an hour and a half until we had to be at the church to start filling the font, which takes an hour to fill. The area we had planned to go to takes an hour to get to by bus, so we just ate lunch. The baptism was nice. 

The 13-year-old boys name is Arnold. His family is all members except for him, ad he has a good testimony. He should be made a deacon next week, I believe. Arnold's dad is less active and we worked with him to plan to do the ordinance. He never showed up to the baptism. Only Arnold and his mom did, and he might have been a little bit bummed because of that. Before the baptism my DL told me to be prepared to do the ordinance just in case, lucky for me, I brought my white pants! I did the ordinance and put my regular pants on my wet clothes. Mesh dries super quick, and I only got a little wet on my polo. It was nice. After that, we went to 2 FHE's and had a really good time. 

Other than those days we were able to work and find a new apartment. I'd definitely say we got a lot done this week, which is good. We are doing great with our investigator family; they are all progressing so much. We are also killing it with the LA's. We had 5 Melchizedek priesthood holders at church on Sunday...the amount we need to become a branch! BOOYA! Hopefully that will happen soon. 

Some Melchizedek priesthood holders are almost fully activated! We are kickin’ butt here. We are also teaching a brother that I told you about. We are going to give him a baptismal date tomorrow. We are sooo pumped! He has a big desire to be with his family forever. COOL. 

This transfer is almost halfway over. Ive been gone 11 months today. Crazy right? Any questions class? Love you. 

ME 

P.S. can you send me a small Book of Mormon (English) in my birthday box? A less active teen says the English Book of Mormon is easier than Tagalog (everyone says that) and wants a small one! Like the little pocket sized one. I figure if that’s what it takes for him to read and be active then no problem… 

May 27, 2012

The whole setup sounds pretty sweet dad. I can't wait to see it...in 13ish months haha. I want to watch the Ken Burns The War so bad. I love the music that you uploaded onto my iPod from that documentary. I also want to watch his documentary on baseball. That looks so sweet. Speaking of WW2 when we were walking to a member's house I saw a memorial sign for a WW2 battle or "massacre" that happened in that area. I forgot the name of the massacre but it’s in my area. Its in an area called Bula which is outside of Baao and on your way to Pili, in Camarines Sur. Ill take a picture of it next time. 

I was reading this quote in an old Liahona the other day, its way good. 
“As a consequence, self-discipline has eroded and societies are left to try to maintain order and civility by compulsion. The lack of internal control by individuals breeds external control by governments. One columnist observed that “gentlemanly behavior [for example, once] protected women from coarse behavior. Today, we expect sexual harassment laws to restrain coarse behavior...
Policemen and laws can never replace customs, traditions and moral values as a means for regulating human behavior. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Our increased reliance on laws to regulate behavior is a measure of how uncivilized we’ve become.” 
That last part is my favorite. Our increase need for laws and regulations is proof of how far we are coming from God, or from what God intended us to be. 

This week has been good and long. We got so much stuff done. We attended a funeral (night time viewing, next day actual burial), a wedding, activated 5 people, and almost reached the standard of excellence for how many lessons we taught (which we've never been able to meet since I’ve been here in Baao). This week has been so long. We have been working with the Vega family here. Sister Vega and a newly reactivated sister are sisters. The Vega family has been progressing so much. We are almost done teaching them Ang Plano ng Kaligtasan (plan of salvation), and they are doing great. Tatay and one of their children live in Laguna. We got their address, and hopefully missionaries will be there soon to finish the family. 

The Vega's have a baptismal date for June 23. I’m so glad we have investigators that aren't just kids of members who never got baptized. This is a much better way to build the Church. I remember when we met them for the first time. They were a referral and Nanay didn't have too much interest in what we said at first, and now she can't stop crying every time she prays. 

Hopefully all 6 of our investigators work out! We are also having lots of success with Less Actives. We activated 5 yesterday! To activate someone, they need to attend church 4 weeks in a row, with out a miss. Its harder than it sounds! Now we have to prepare them for the temple and get them callings <3! 

We also had 2 less active members I’d visited a bunch of times, finally come to church for the first time in forever! One is Brother Hapa. He is a Melchizedek priesthood holder whose wife had died in a jeepnee accident years ago and has had some struggles since then. We have worked with a bunch of times. He finally promised us last week, that he'd go to church and sure enough when we got there he was there in his Sunday best. If he becomes activated we will be so much closer to becoming a branch! Also another one is Sister Talacsan. She never showed too much interest at the beginning but more and more each visit, she had more and more good questions. She wants to go to the temple and be sealed to her family. In our last visit, she told us that her husband has been asking her about how baptism works, what are temples, and families. It was a "kaboom hallelujah" moment. Sure enough, they were there on Sunday. They are husband and wife, and we have a return appointment for Wednesday. Their kids though are crazy they have 6 all under the age of 8 or 9....... Thats crazy. One of them is so makulit that once I held him by his ankles until he settled down haha. 

President Bliesner texted us yesterday morning asking us what time church in Baao started. I was kind of curious and told Elder Taylor, and he said, "I bet he wants to attend with you guys". Sure enough he texts back and he and Mom want to go to church with us. They met us at the Iriga district center and gave us a ride to the member’s house where we have church. It was so awesome to go to church with the Bliesners, I love them! Too bad it rained so hard on our way to church. If not, I know attendance would have been so much higher. President wanted to see how Baao was so he could apply to the Area Presidency for permission to start renting a meetinghouse here. He said the Sprit was special in Baao and that hopefully we become a branch soon. I’m going to work my butt off for that. 

Not sure what else to write, my hand hurts love u 

LOVE U

May 20, 2012

What’s up? Life is good here. I’m still here in Ligao zone after the transfers. Elder Edillo was transferred to Tabaco. Here is a ZL over there. And I just got made the senior companion here in Baao. My new companion is Elder Yangyang. He's from Negros Occidental and he's a loud guy, which is awesome. It’s a lot more fun when your companion is loud and out going compared to quiet and to himself. 

This week has been all right, maybe the longest of my mission. I don’t know why it seemed so long, but it did. Its been crazy temperature wise here too over the past several days: hot, then super rainy, then super hot, etc. Some of the members at church said I need more sleep, I tell them I sleep 8 hours a day! So they said to eat more ice cream. They said it would help my body adjust to all of the temperature changes haha. OK normally I disagree with some Filipino medical tips but I’m down to eat ice cream for some medicine! Haha. 

Earlier today, Elder Yang2 and I went to a small little gym here that we found! It was 35 pesos. I hated working out!! I’m so sore right now. I know I’ll hate working out for the first month or so after I start but after that it gets to be really fun. We are only going to come here on P days though, there isn’t time in the normal day to workout like this. I’m super sore right now and I love/hate it! I haven’t worked out since mid June, craaazzzy. 

We tried to keep busy this week with work. We went out to work everyday on time, and I always did studies but we didn’t get a lot of lessons this week. I feel bad for as many as we got but we kept getting punted from everywhere that we went. The lessons we did have though were great. We gave a family a baptismal commitment! Everyone except for Tatay and one daughter, who both live near Manila. Other than that, everyone is excited for baptism. We don’t have the date yet, but the commitment is done! 

Also this week Elder Yang2 and I have been looking for a new apartment in Baao. That took some time away from teaching, but it will definitely help our teaching when we live in our area.

Michael

May 7, 2012

This week has been so long and so fast at the same time. We are having a good time here in Baao/Iriga but I’m way excited for transfers. |’m excited for next week too. I’ll sign onto Skype later before I go home to figure out my password/account info etc. I don’t remember it. BTW that picture that Morgan emailed to me, the cowboy one, please make that my profile picture lol. That was so funny. That is a less active family and we were just trying to have a fun time with them, make them want to go back to church kinda thing. 

That’s cool you both got haircuts and carpets cleaned. I haven't stepped on carpet in 10 months and hopefully Ill get my haircut later tonight. 

Tonight has been a fun day. We had a district activity. My first district activity! I’ve qualified for one every transfer except for my first and we've never had one because there wasn't much to do in Paracale or Jose Panganiban, plus there is only 4 of us in a district. It wouldn't have been super fun, but today was cool. My district, 8 of us, went to Buhi! Buhi is way cool, it was my first time going there. They have a big sweet lake in their area. We took a boat across the lake and hiked for 30 minutes or so until we came to these awesome water falls. Sorry I don't have any pictures because I don't have any batteries, but I will try and get the pictures we took from other people in my district. It was way fun! I loved the short boat ride across the lake. It reminded me of going to the lake by our house. I loved being out there! After we had our activity we cooked and ate at the Buhi elder's apartment. 

While I was there, we went over to their neighbor, who is a member, and I bought some things. She is famous in the mission for her business. I swear this lady makes so much money from the missionaries. I bought a new coin purse (my old one busted), 3 new ties, and a side-proselyting bag. I’ll take some pictures or show you next week. Everything together cost me 550 pesos, which is a little over 12 bucks I think. Its great because I needed new ties, and a side bag would be nice. 

Our church group here is doing well. The district here (its like a stake but smaller and run by the mission) had a Youth conference this past week. It did really good things for the youth here because they all went to church on Sunday and most of them bore their testimonies too. Hopefully they will stay. I got up and bore my testimony about my experiences at youth conference and why seminary is important. I think they are all going to do really well. 

We have a baptism on Saturday. It’s for an 11 year old girl named Marry Cris. She is way cool; she is Emma's age but just a few months younger. Marry Cris is way awesome. She lives with a family that is coming back into activity in the Church. Her real family died recently and this family is her closest living relative. Sad. She is super quiet, and I think I’ve only heard her answer yes and no questions, and maybe some other very simple questions like that. When Elder Coble (ZL) was giving her her baptismal interview, she asked if I would do her baptism. Which I thought was pretty cool. Elder Coble had to tell me, she was too shy to tell my in person hahaha. I’m the new missionary here and I think its cool that I get to do the baptism. Plus it will be at a regular building! I don't have to worry about getting all gross at the beach. 

I always try and make Marry Cris smile and laugh by saying stuff like "girl where's your boyfriend" or just really goofy things or maybe do a dance walking into the room, etc. She always hides her head when she laughs haha :) Other than that this week has been the same. Hot. Humid. People calling you Joe. Etc. I have a friend named Joe, and I'd honestly bet that more people have called me Joe than him. It’s honest. 

This next week is transfers! Can you believe how fast this is going? It’s been almost 3 months since Elder Gilliam had dengue. That feels like just the other day. I have been thinking about what we can do as missionaries for the group. I’m thinking that Elder Edillo and I will go out each morning, and teach and invite others to church, and even invite some to walk with us to church, etc. Then, after church (which is 2-4) we will do our studies. I hope it works. I bet people will go when the invitation is fresh in their head compared to 3 days earlier. We need some improvement here. 

Elder Edillo and I work hard and are obedient, and our lessons are few, and we are trying to figure out why. But hopefully it will kick back up soon. Its kind of hard coming from an area where the Branch President drove up from Daet 2-3 times a week to work with us, as well as his counselors; which if planned right, would work with us everyday. Here it’s really hard to get member help. That really is such a big part to missionary work. I left Paracale a much much better area, than when I found it, most of which was because of the branch presidency and members. 

Here is Elder McKendrick's phone number. He and another missionary from Naga mission would love to eat dinner at our house on a Sunday night if possible. He'd bring Elder Reed. They were in the MTC together and left together from the field. I saw him once my first day, but I don't remember meeting him. They'd love to eat at our place if that’s cool. (---) --- - ---- 

Love me

April 29, 2012

My old ZL here in the mission, Elder McKendrick is of course back home. He went home in February. He is moving to Arizona for a bit to sell Living Scriptures to save up for school. Do you think he could come over for dinner or something? Only if he wants to. I’ll tell him to try and not sell anything but it would be cool. Maybe have the missionaries over or something like that... 

This week has been good. It’s getting hotter here everyday, which stinks. I can't wait until it starts to cool down...in several months. Elder Edillo and I are doing well. We are working hard but this week we had a bad turnout at church, so we are going to try and work a lot harder in order to get a lot more people at church on Sunday. 

Elder Edillo and I just ate at some little restaurant here, and now I have a stomachache. I ate a fish dish mixed with some vegetables and coconut milk; it was pretty spicy but really tasty. I don’t feel too good now. 

This transfer is almost done. Today is the first day of week 5; it’s going by really quick. I love it more and more everyday here in Baao. 

By the way I think my spelling is getting a lot worse here. I have to keep clicking the right click button to correct and change my spelling. 

This past Saturday, I went on exchanges with Elder Casinillo. He is one of the other elders in our house. He and I went and worked in Baao. He is a really great Elder. He and I taught the best together out of all of the missionaries I’ve ever taught with. We exchanged really well in our teaching and had a really good time. All of the lessons we taught that day kicked butt. Of course we were worthy for the Spirit, which was a big help. While we were on exchanges we went to a lady's house in our area. We visit her often and she used to be quite active, but now is having a hard time going back to church because life "is hard." She text us before we went and told us to come over to eat--for free! We were like "sick that works see u there". When we were about 75ish yards away, we heard some really loud music, and it kept getting louder. It was videoke. It is the biggest hobby in the Philippines hands down. No one here can sing, but everybody gets all drunken up and just lets it loose. People's voices are so bad. Elder McKendrick and I used to laugh about it when we were together. I’m no one to talk, my voice isn’t good, but this isn’t in the same ball park. Anyways we approach the house and music is just blasting like crazy! There are tons of people there, all with a bottle of alcohol. They all simultaneously (it could’ve been a movie) turn to the left and look at us, like we just killed the party, then I said something in Tagalog, and they were so taken back that an American just spoke Tagalog. We were about to turn away and leave when we were ushered in and shoved to a couple of chairs, and shoved full of food. (BTW we just came from a lunch appointment, which was really tasty and we were so full). We had lechon (the big roasted pig) and all sorts of food. I ate something that tasted like my gym shorts and sauerkraut. Other than that everything else was good. They had blood too. I’ve eaten blood here before and I’m not a big fan, but its not too bad. I was so full. 

The people kept saying "Joe u want drink", and a lady asked why I wasn't dancing and I said "honey my drink ain’t strong enough, this is just water in my cup." I said that except without the honey. On the way out people kept asking me too sing but I had to refuse. If I wasn’t a missionary, I’d go load up on some overpriced boxed chocolate powder milk, and sing all night with those guys, but I’m a missionary. 

Love,

April 22, 2012

This week has been good. I’m feeling better; I had my first full week of normal poops in forever! Haha. I was given one medicine from the Dr and I think that with tons of rice, and prayers worked for me :) 

Not too much happened this week so I’m going to write what I can remember that was happened and stuff. BTW tell dad thanks for making me cry a little bit about Court. I don’t know why but I did, I hate crying lol. 

This week I ate lots of PIZZA! It’s been forever since pizza! Canned tuna and rice gets old after a while, so I ate tons of pizza when I had the chance this week. In the Philippines there are lots of things called "Butiki" here. Butiki are house lizards. There are always lots of them, and they don’t do anything except eat bugs, which is awesome. They are so cool to look at and do some funny weird things sometimes. One pooped on my patriarchal blessing once, which was retarded, but other than that they are cool lol. They're like our pets here haha; there are always 1 or 2 Butiki on the ceiling or something. Right before a lesson started I was watching a Butiki crawl around on the high ceiling looking for bugs, and halfway in the lesson it found some. I looked up at the ceiling to watch it eat the bug, because I heard it make some sound, then it jumped and missed climbing on to the other wall, and fell straight in the middle of us in the middle of our lesson hahahaha. It was so hilarious because of the splat sound it made when it hit the floor. It was like Family guy, when people fall in that show, their actions are so over exaggerated and they look horrible when they fall. This is what happened to the Butiki! It was so hilarious I couldn’t help but laugh :) After about 15 seconds of lying down in such a twisted position, it slowly walked under a bookshelf hahaha. 

Something cool that I noticed this week was that the words covenant and testament are the same words in Tagalog. I have known this for quite a while but the meaning of it never really clicked with me until I was in a lesson talking about it. I don’t want to type forever about the significance of it, but I’m sure you guys see it. I thought that was really cool as I thought about our covenants in the Church. 

I talked to the people at LBC (Filipino FedEx) and asked how much it costs to ship Morgan’s ring, they said they cant ship "accessories" like a ring or watch, something like that. Maybe because of its value. Ill try and figure something out to get it out to Morgan. 

We taught this girl named Jayle yesterday. She is the only active member of her family, and its really bumming her out. She cried a little bit about how hard it is to be the only active member of her family. And we gave one of the best lessons of my whole mission to her about how God loves her and how he knows her trials. It was so great and I’m glad we were able to help her. She is 13 or 14 and she is so nice to me. She talks sign language to me while we talk, because her older sister is deaf, and she is trying to teach it to me. So I'm learning sign language here! I love you all. 

Michael

April 16, 2012

I really like my new area and really really miss my old area. But Baao is sweet of course. I’m excited to be out and seeing the mission vs. being in Daet zone for 7.5 months. The church here in Baao is pretty weak. We have a group and a group leader named Jeff, but we need someone from the district at our meetings every week to preside, even though Jeff has the Melchizedek priesthood. We have more than 25 I think going to church every week. Iriga is awesome. Its like Daet, but to me isn't as cool. I’ve spent so much time in Daet; it’s like my home. If I could pick a place to end my mission it would be in Daet. Anyways, Iriga has everything Daet does except for Alvino's and Catherine's (two best restaurants in the Pines) but it does have an LCC (grocery store like place) and a BIGGS diner, which has almost American like food for twice the price. Its actually not that bad priced, unless you're a missionary haha. Just a couple $ US. 

Unfortunately I didn’t see any crucifixions or anything like that. And unless Elder Edillo didn’t tell me, we had no curfew. I really wanted to see something crazy! We did see a lot of parades. But parades aren't so special in the Pines because they have parades like every other day for no reason! In Daet there were at least 3-4 parades a week....crazy haha. We are looking for a place to live in Baao but no luck so far. I don’t mind it. I can get my socks, pants, and polos washed here for super cheap. I kind of hope we don’t move but we will keep looking around, and asking members for places to live.... Congrats to Amy Lee and to Mitt Romney. I hope he kicks butt. Ill crap my pants to come home to a Mormon Prez. Heck ya! We will be able to Skype!! I’m so excited to see you all :) but I’m not speaking my language until I get home :) 

I really liked your Ensign article and hope it gets in!! That means Ill be able to read it in our Liahona issue :) 

This week has been good. It’s been long but good. On Tuesday Sister Bliesner told us to come to Naga for a Dr's appointment. They think I have an amoeba. But DONT WORRY. Its fine. They gave me medicine and I’ve been taking it. I feel better and my LBMs are getting better haha back to normal poop hahahaha. At the Dr's I had to do a fecalanysis but I couldn’t poop. I tried forever but couldn't. BTW it was cool talking about poop in Tagalog to the Dr.. The Dr wrote me the prescription for amoebas any way and I’m getting better. Later at the mission office, Pres Bliesner joked that the guy who has had LBMs couldn't produce a little poop sample. Stage freight! haha. I laughed so hard; I thought it was pretty fun. Nothing like your mission president telling you poop jokes. 

This week has been good like I said. We are teaching some pre-teen-ish kids as investigators which is all right. I really want to focus on their families though, who are Less Active. We are hoping that as the kids build testimonies, the parents will remember theirs. I wish I had a cool experience like Brad Hunsaker did, but I did feel the Spirit in my teaching. For me, teaching Adam and Eve and the Fall is the hardest thing to teach to people because it really has to be taught PERFECTLY for people to understand. This is hard for me especially being new to a language. We taught it twice in a row. I can only think of 2 other times I have taught it in my mission, let alone twice in a row. After the 2nd time I was bummed and kind of mad, because I know I could have done better. We went straight to another lesson and started teaching the Restoration. It went so great. And I felt a really good feeling as I explained the First Vision. I know what I was teaching was true and I know that my language kicked butt in that lesson. I felt so great ending the day with that great lesson. And now I know what I need to practice, after teaching the other lessons earlier. 

I spoke in church yesterday about the importance of Jesus Christ, and his influence on us as members of His church. It went really well. 

I don’t know what else to write!! In the pictures you see of the CSP, the members served us Bicol express. My favorite dish, as well as Buko (young coconut). SO AWESOME! 

Love me