Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Week #63 - Merry Christmas

December 27, 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

Well this past week has been so fun and my companion and I really enjoyed our Christmas together. It truly was the most wonderful time of the year!

So we are finally getting adjusted to our new area. Albuera is literally the best place on earth and we are so learning so much here. I don't think we have been hungry since the day we arrived here due to the kindness of the members here! We get fed every day and it's a little bit too much every day. I think I have gained at least 10 pounds... Blessings!!! So speaking of blessings we saw a lot this past week. First was the multi zone mission conference that we had on Wednesday. Half the mission got to come together and celebrate Christmas. Also every body here in the mission got a package for Christmas. Everybody was so so grateful for the kindness of the people that put together gifts for missionaries. 

Then Christmas came! My companion and I woke up at about six and went crazy opening our packages. Skyping was so fun and I am happy I got to see all of you! Then we had the ward Christmas party! I think more people showed up to the party than actually show up to church! But it was still awesome and filled with karaoke, dance contests, and a massive gift exchange.

Work was awesome. The ward we are currently serving under has placed their focus on less actives. So we have been helping them with that and we have also found less actives that nobody knew existed!  

My spiritual thought this week comes from 1 Nephi 4:15-16. This takes place when Nephi is commanded by the Lord to go back to Jerusalem so he can retrieve the brass plates. As he is there contemplating he remembers these things. I would like to relate it it our lives. The scriptures are our guide. We learn of the the law of God by reading them and studying them. If we do not read then we cannot learn and we cannot possibly follow.  We need to make reading a priority in our lives!

Well that's it for this week! I love you all! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Elder Child

A little taste of home??

Brett & Elder Villanueva at the beach

 At the Mission Christmas celebration with his follow-up trainer

And with and Elder from his batch drawing a Thank You picture for the gifts that were sent over for all of the missionaries

With his companion, Elder Villaneuva

Elder Child with his Christmas boxes.  He actually set out his stockings for Christmas morning and waited to open his gifts - quite a change from last year!

from Brett: "We ate the goat!!!  This is the delicious thing while it is being skinned"

 Enjoying a ride with a Ward missionary in the back - funny!

From Brett: "A super decorated house.  The only one like this in the entire city"

 Being silly!

 The Albuera Christmas tree

We sent him this Christmas tree - here are the before and after pictures

 Elder Villaneuva with is Christmas box

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Week #62 - Merry Christmas!

December 20, 2015


Well not much time has passed since my last email so I will try and make this work!!

This area is awesome! I think I mentioned in my last letter that it's paradise but it really is! It's so beautiful here and it's awesome to be able to walk out of the apartment and look out over the ocean! The roads here are lined with Christmas lights and you can just feel the spirit of Christmas here! 

The work has been a little difficult in the past few days I have been here. Everybody is really busy and they just don't have the time to listen. But we got to visit a lot of less actives this past week and a lot of them even came to church! Speaking of church it was awesome! The members here in Albuera are so kind and willing to help! They have been so good with showing us around and helping us this past week! We appreciate their help.

Cebuano is awesome! It's kind of similar to Waray-Waray but not really! It's been a challenge learning it but I can now do pretty much everything I could do in Waray-Waray! The gift of tongues truly is appreciated! Especially when it helps you learn a language in a week! Only in this mission do you have to be worried about being transferred to a new language.

Just got this from some sister missionary:

     I am one of the sister missionary who received the gift you made. Thank you for the service and time for          preparing that thing for us- it will really a big help for me for teaching the people. 

     This Christmas, may the Lord bless you a bountiful blessings. May you always feel the Spirit of Christmas in    your heart. Thank you. and may God bless your family.

     Love, Sister Marcos

Well that's pretty much all I have for this week! I will have more next week!
Quote: "Obedience is something you do. Righteousness is something you are" -Chad Lewis

Elder Child

*The sister missionary who sent a thank you note must have received a Plan of Salvation kit that we made last year.  Brett had signed some cards before he even left for his mission and one mission must have had some left over and gave them out this year.  So sweet to get a thank you letter!
Pics 1-4: Brett with his former companion, Elder Clark; pictures of the Alang-Alang Branch at the farewell party for Brett

Pic 5: Elder Child and Elder Villaneuva, his new companion

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Week #61 - New Area & Companion

December 15, 2015


Well this past week will be a week I probably will ever forget!! Everybody in Alang-Alang knew I would be transferring so they all prepared for it. This past Friday we had a ward home evening which they dedicated to me. They all took moments to say goodbye to me and then to end it off with a bang the closing prayer was "God be with you till we meet again". It truly was an amazing experience and I could feel the love in the room. Then this past Monday we had a family home evening at the Rapajon family's house. They prepared a song for me and it was an amazing experience. I will truly miss the Alang-Alang ward.

So I am now 14 months into my mission and I have family been assigned into an area that speaks the language stated in my call letter, Cebuano!!! I am now assigned in Albuera. It's a small little town on the side of the ocean but also really close to Ormoc City! Our apartment overlooks the ocean and it is so beautiful! My companion is Elder Villanueva and he is so awesome! I am happy to be assigned with him. He has been in the mission 18 months! It has been a long time since I have been a junior companion so I am happy for this opportunity that I have to be taught instead of teaching!

Just a quick update on Alang Alang since I have been in this area for less than 24 hours. This past Sunday we had the highest attendance that Alang-Alang has had in over a year! 160!!! It was so awesome to see so many people there.

Elder Clark and I really enjoyed our last week together! It was a sad day to split up but I know he will do awesome! I learned so much from my companionship with him!

Well that's it for this week. My spiritual thought this week comes from the story of the brother of Jared in the book of Ether. When he was commanded to build barges he encountered a large problem. They had no light to travel in. So he prayed to the Lord for help and the Lord pretty much told him to figure it out for himself! So the brother of Jared made rocks and asked the Lord to light them. The moral I get from this story is that we don't go to the Lord with questions. We try to figure it out for ourselves first and then we go to him with solutions and ask for his help!

Oh also Elder Adern of the first quorum of the Seventy came to the mission last week. He taught us as a mission and called my companion and I out of everybody to teach President and Sister Maurer in front of the entire mission. Then he evaluated us. So yeah just another fun thing.

Well thank you all for your love and support! I love you all!

Elder Child

*No pictures this week because the computer he was on had a ton of viruses.
*We will get to skype with Brett on Christmas Eve - just 9 more days!!!

Week #60

December 7, 2015


This week there was a beluga whale having a seizure on my bed. A dog somehow got onto our roof. And a one and a half year old kid smoked a cigarette.

Well this week has been quite eventful as you can see from the first paragraph. But of course a lot more spiritual things happened to pass by! Including but not limited to helping a man solve his word of wisdom problem, a dropped investigator that out of the blue decided to be baptized, and random people deciding to join in on lessons!

So lets start with the first. Tatay Macasil is a less active that was baptized last July. This week as we were out tracting we just happened to see him out on the street smoking cigarettes. So next time we visited him we of course taught the Word of Wisdom. Turns out this man has been struggling with this problem for like 20 years and he really needs help solving it. We could see a desire in him to change so we helped him create a plan to stop. He readily agreed and hopefully it all works out!! Second is about Katherine. So she was a referral from a couple weeks ago but decided she didn't want to listen anymore due to no family support or anything. But this past week she told her member friend that she wants to be baptized because she read the Book of Mormon! Brothers and sisters I would like to testify to you all of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. The words contained in those pages are powerful and have changed and will continue to change lives. Let us make reading the Book of Mormon a priority in our lives. I promise that families will be strengthened, faith will grow, and miracles will happen. I encourage you all to develop your own testimony in the Book of Mormon. Third, random people wanting to listen to lessons. This week as we were teaching a part member, a man was walking by and we just shot a quick hello to him and he decided he wanted to listen. He had lots of input and even asked if he could go to church. Sadly he didn't show up but it was an awesome experience!

Alang-alang is still progressing amazingly!! Oh have I mentioned that alang-alang literally means to meditate? Just a fun fact! Our branch continues to do better and they are all becoming more and more involved in the work! Sadly this will be my last week in this area so I better enjoy it!

Elder Clark and I are killin' it here and it feels so good to be in a working companionship! He has truly been a blessing in my life and has taught me so much! He is going to do great in the mission!

Well that's it for this week! I love you all and thank you for all your love and support!

Elder Child

Pic 1 - his "gwapo companion" Elder Clark
Pic 2 - dog on the roof

Pic 3 - a returning less-active family

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week #59 - Happy Thanksgiving

November 30, 2015


Well this week was the second Thanksgiving I haven't had with my family but as I was thinking about it I realized I have 3 more to go! Sad thought. But this week was absolutely awesome and we saw so many blessings in our work!!

To start off with we had 3 amazing baptisms this past Saturday! But it was a challenge. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong on Saturday went wrong! I think satan didn't want for these people to be baptized. The baptisms were scheduled to start at 11:00 Saturday morning so naturally my companion and I showed up at 9:00 to make sure everything was ok only to find that the water in the font looked like pond scum. So of course we thought let's just empty it then refill it but because it's the Philippines the water was just plain nasty coming out of the faucet. Then it started raining. Hard. Then we figured we might as well just do it in the next town over but then everybody would have to pay a fare to get over there. So of course we tried to find rides to get everyone rides and eventually we got two members to lend us their tricycles! Then the missionaries in the next area over texted us and told us we couldn't be there till 2:30. Basta a lot of things happened but the baptisms were a success and the spirit was so strong! Our converts were so grateful and it was a day I will always remember.

So this week was Thanksgiving right? So of course we decided to teach a less active family about giving thanks for everything and we even told them about Thanksgiving in America! So guess what they did! They told us to come over on Thursday night and that we were going to be celebrating Thanksgiving together! They even taught us how to cook!! We had a delicious combination of chicken dishes, pork dishes, and vegetables! So delicious and we even went around and said things we are grateful for!

Also this week I had the opportunity to help out at the dental mission that was here in Tacloban mission. They came to help people with their teeth and stuff all for free! Anyways on Tuesday we got to go and work as translators and I even got to help one of the dentists with an extraction! Coolest thing ever! I can't wait to be a dentist! Also dentistry in America is a lot different compared to here. While we were there a mom brought her kid in to get an extraction. The girl was about 10 years old and did not want to get her teeth pulled out. So of course they asked me to hold her down because I just happened to be the biggest person in the building. I kindly told them to get someone else because I was not going to hold the girl down. So I watched as some other people held her down as she was kicking and screaming so they could give her numbing shots and then pull out her teeth. People, be thankful you live in America!

All in all this week was so successful and we saw so many blessings. Elder Clark is now leading a lot of the lessons and he is doing so good in every phase of the work! We continue to get along great and sometimes we even tell each other jokes... haha just kidding there is never a serious moment between us! Basta you are all the best! Ginhigugma kamo nakon! 

Elder Child

Pics 1-2 - my future Dentist
Pic 3 - Jonas "our investigator; he is a funny guy and so awesome"
Pics 4-5 - Thanksgiving feast
Pic 6-7 - baptism

Pic 8 - the font full of "pond scum"

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week #58

November 22, 2015


Well this week was awesome and as you can see it was also full of exchanges!! So many learning moments and fun times! Also Elder Clark got to lead the area for the first time this past week! He is growing up so fast... haha

Anyways this past week we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders and our district leader. The were so awesome and I learned a lot! Especially from the zone leaders! One of the zone leaders, Elder Reynon, was my companion. He is an amazing teacher and he challenged me to do a couple things to get better at teaching! The first is to memorize the First Vision in Tagalog, one of the three languages I am trying to learn. I saw how effective it was in our teaching and it really helps to have it memorized when we go finding for new investigators. The second is to improve in teaching the 4 minute executive summary. The 4 minute is an amazing thing to use when you are out finding and everyone is just so busy that they only have like 5 minutes to listen to you. It's a summary of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we teach the 4 minute summary it invites the spirit to testify to the people that we are teaching that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. We have so many blessings as we have tried to improve in this phase of the work.

Well Ryan Morfe, Elba Ancheta, and Pauline Ancheta have all gotten interviewed for baptism and they passed!!!! They will be getting baptized this coming Saturday and we are so excited to see them continue on their path back to our Father in Heaven. It is so amazing to see the gospel at work in peoples lives and the blessings they receive from it. As I see others gain happiness from the Gospel it boosts my testimony and makes me happy also. Missionary work is so amazing and I can't think of anything better I could do with my life than to serve the Lord.

This week we got a new investigator named Jerom. He is 18 years old and is currently going to college for banking. He is amazing. On our second visit to him this week we found out that he had read the entire pamphlet that we had given him and believed everything in  it. He is doing amazing and hopefully he continues to progress. We also have a progressing investigator right now named Jonas. He is in his early 20s and is an amazing man. When we first started teaching him he didn't take anything seriously and thought it was all a joke. But we have seen a huge change in him. He now reads the Book of Mormon regularly and believes it is true. This past week we committed him to baptism and he told us that he needs time to prepare himself and to repent before he gets baptized! The Lord is truly at work in his life.

Well on Saturday as we got home we discovered that the keys to our apartment had fallen out of Elder Clark's pocket as we were out working. So we tracked down where it was (a members house) and set off to go get it. As we were walking our cell plan expired. Then as we were walking home some kids decided to throw rocks at us. Good times in the Philippines. And I also almost stepped on a baby cobra. Snakes love me.

Well that's it for this week! My spiritual thought comes from Luke 15. The story of the prodigal son is an amazing story and I encourage all to read it and ponder it. Thank you for all you do!

Elder Child

Pic 1 - Elder Child and Sergio
Videos - taken during Zone Training Meeting - it's so fun to hear him speaking!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week #57

November 15, 2015


Well this week has been hard. Everybody this week has been busy working out in the fields harvesting their rice so it's been a lot of work for us but despite the trials we did some good work this week!

To start off with our Sacrament attendance jumped up again this week! We had a skyrocketing 141 in attendance with 3 less active families and 6 investigators!!! It was amazing! The Lord really did bless us for all of our hard work this past week!

So about our investigators. Ryan Morfe is still doing amazing! He can now read brief passages in Tagalog and remembers things way easier now! We taught him about the 10 commandments this past week and he had all of them memorized in less than 20 minutes! This is a huge improvement since 2 weeks ago where it took him a long time just to memorize 4 things! The Lord is really helping him in his life and we can see his testimony and faith growing every day! The Ancheta Family is also progressing fantastically. This week I think something finally just clicked for them and their desire has increased and they are doing so much better than before!

Something sad happened this week. Zyra told us that she no longer wants to keep investigating the church. But on the bright side her sister, Katherine, is very willing! Katherine is doing so awesome in her progression! She has already prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true and she said that she has received an answer!! She has gone to church twice and says she loves it! This week she even invited one of her friends to come and listen also! Its amazing to see the change that takes place in peoples lives as they learn about the gospel and feel the spirit! You can even see it in people that no longer want to investigate the church! They feel something different in their lives and they have tasted of the truth. It's just not their time.

So funny story! This week we got some amazing referrals from a member! The Lord must have seen that we were struggling so he gave us some awesome help! This week we will start teaching the Mayor of Alang-Alang, a woman that owns hotels and a jollibee in Tacloban, and her husband that owns a ton of jeepneys (a good source of income here in the Philippines)!!! We are so excited to start teaching these people! They are future leaders of the church and hopefully they can see and feel the truth of the Gospel.

So just some things that happened this week! One night as we were walking home after an appointment it was quite dark outside! And as we were walking I almost stepped on a massive anaconda that was just chilling in the middle of the road. Luckily I saw it because a motorcycle just happened to be passing by and its headlight pointed it out. But I guess people here in the Philippines don't really like snakes because the guy started running over the thing until it got away into the weeds. Second, Elder Clark attempted to cast out spirits.

Well that's it for this week! It's been good and the work is amazing! This truly is the Lord's work and I am so happy to be His representative. 

Elder Child

Pic 1 - that cat fell asleep on Brett's feet as he was teaching
Pic 2 - this is a combination picture of Brett on the left and his companion, Elder Clark, on the right
Pic 3 - Brett in goggles
Pic 4 - "We are just too gwapo"
Pic 5 - meeting with a member who has just returned from inactivity

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week #56

November 9, 2015


Well it's been a long time since I last emailed (not really!). But it's been fun! Oh yeah and our apartment is haunted.

Well first of all I want to start off with a quote from our amazing investigator, Ryan Morfe. So on Saturday we committed him to go to church again and he said, "Elders I already promised God I would go to church every Sunday". Of course he said that in Waray-Waray but it was still a legendary quote given by our best investigator! Also we had an amazing turnout at church yesterday with the attendance jumping up to 132 and with 7 investigators attending church! We are seeing blessings every day and we can really see the Lord's hand in our work!

So we have some new investigators that I have probably already told you about. Their names are Kathrine (21) and Zyra (19) and they were some referrals from a less active. Actually he became a fully active member this past Sunday! Basta these two girls are awesome and they are so interested to learn about the gospel! They have even been inviting their friends to come and listen to us also! We have set a baptismal date for December 12 so let's pray! Also we had a super spiritual lesson this past week with the Ancheta family. We taught about conversion and really learning for ourselves that the gospel is true. We shared Mosiah 5:2 and talked about having a change of heart. The lesson was amazing and you could feel the spirit testifying to everyone in the room. Including us. 

Well that's all that has pretty much happened this past week. We are still surviving and life is going good in Alang-Alang!

Elder Child

Picture 1 - Brett received his Halloween/Thanksgiving box just in time!
Picture 2 - a recently converted family and Sergio, a young man that is preparing to serve a mission and works with Brett & Elder Clark every day
Picture 3 - he said he sent this "because I just like it"

Friday, November 6, 2015

Week #55

November 3, 2015


Well this week has had so many miracles it has been amazing! Our work has been booming and the Lord is truly at work in the lives of the people we teach! Also the 1st counselor in the bishopric snorted pixy stix this week.

Well to start off with we have 2 more investigators on date! These are two referals from a returning less active that we are teaching! They are two sisters named Katherine and Zyra ages 21 and 20 and they are both in college for cooking so we can be expecting lots of delicious dinner appointments in the near future!!! Basta they are awesome and so receptive and we commited them to baptism on the first visit. Hopefully we can make that goal!

Also about our other IBDs. So I would like to start with Ryan Morfe! Ryan Morfe is our 23 year old part member who has a 5th grade education. He has been taught before but because he has a bad education he doesn't remember anything. But he has been improving so much! So this past week we were planning on teaching him the word of wisdom and the law of chastity but when we started teaching him he remembered everything and it was pretty much a review for him! He is being helped so much in his learning and knowledge! And then the Ancheta familly. These people are still progressing at amazing rates and they have such good motivation! Sadly we might have to move their baptismal date due to complications but no worries!

So some interesting things that happened this past week! To start off with there is a married couple in our branch that are both returned missionaries. So anyways we were talking to them one night and all of the sudden they told us that they have cousins in ISIS. So yeah that was kind of a shocker! Also I almost stepped on a cobra yesterday. A cat tried to get into our house so I kicked it out. We found some work out equipment and now Elder Clark and I are getting huge muscles. And we had a ton of less actives and inactives at church on Sunday!

Elder Clark is still doing great! He continues to impress members with his fast learning and is already and amazing teacher in Waray-Waray! We continue to work great together and have so many fun and faith building experiences! I can't believe we are already half way done with our companionship!

Well that's it for this week! Thank you so much for your love and support.

Elder Child

Pic 1 - "It started raining, so I used a leaf"
Pic 2 - the counselor "snorting" pixie stix

Pic 3 - Brett with Ryan Morfe and some kids