Monday, May 25, 2015

Week #32 - First full week in Gandara

May 24, 2015


Wow what a week! I have discovered since last Wednesday that this is definitely going to be a hard area. Last transfer my companion had a companion who didn't ever want to work so he doesn't know this area at all! Plus our teaching pool (last Wednesday) consisted of about a total of 10 people so that was a little interesting to see. Basta this past week has been full of hard work including finding, talking to the branch president, and just about everything else if you are opening an area! My companion is American and his name is Elder Thompson. He is a very good missionary with a big desire to be obedient and work. We live in the tiniest apartment I have ever seen! And we come home every night to cockroaches all over the place so it's fun to have a killing spree! Elder Thompson is definitely getting better at the language even though he has the worst American accent in the world! haha It's so funny to listen to him sometimes! The upside to having an American companion is that people really like to invite you into their homes and listen to you speak. Especially the girls. Anytime a girl sees an American here they instantly think "gwapo"(handsome). So it's a little challenging but fun none the less! But yeah about the work. We had a lot of finding. And this area is huge so that meant a lot of walking. My shoes now have holes in them. Anyways we have 7 new investigators and we taught more lessons in the past week than he taught with his last companion in the last transfer so he was a little happy with that. Then it got to Sunday. I don't really think you can call the Gandara branch a branch. It's more of like a group! haha We only had 41 sacrament attendance and then I had to force a "branch" council afterwards. So we kind of just sat them down and told them all this stuff they need to do because they have no organization at all. Oh well I hope that by the end of this transfer it has improved a little bit! Also this past week I had the opportunity to ride in a ambulance! We were working with a member and trying to get a ride to a super far away barangay and a ambulance happened to stop to get some snacks and the member asked if they would give us a ride. So they did so that was pretty awesome! Basta that's pretty much it for this week! My spiritual thought for this week is just strive to be like the 2060 stripling warriors! That's my goal too! Well I love you all and thank you for your love and support!

Elder Child

*I asked him how they kept their food uncontaminated from the roaches.  Brett said that they have to put their food in bags and tie them shut.  And they have a "drying cupboard" to put their dishes in so the bugs can't walk all over them.
*They found a new family to teach last night.  It is a mom and her two teenage children.  The father ran away.  The daughter's name is Angel and they asked the missionaries to come back every day to teach them.  Brett told them they could come every other day.
*Pic #1 - Just Brett and a little boy.  So cute!!
*Pic #2 - Elder Thompson and a big praying mantis
*Pic #3 - Brett and his district having lunch.  He said the pizza was disgusting.
*Pic #4 - Elders on a pot pot.  It belongs to a member in their branch.  It is the family vehicle.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Week #31 - First Transfer

May 19, 2015


Well this week was transfer week... And I finally got transferred!! I am now in Gandara area, Catbalogan zone! And I have survived another transfer of getting no leadership responsibilities! Junior companion for life!!! It was so sad to finally say goodbye to my last area though. I had grown so close to the members there and they really were kind of like family to me! Especially the members in Canmogsay. But that's the mission life! Anyways my new area is cool too but our apartment in terrible!! It is like a 5 hour ride from Tacloban by van (the fastest mode of transportation in the Philippines) but it was probably one of the worst rides of my life. First, because a kid sitting next to us pooped his pants about an hour into the ride so that was bad. And then to add on top of it we had a girl start puking into her barf bag behind us. So the smell wasn't all that great for the last 4 hours of the ride. Basta, my new companion is Elder Thompson and he is American. So this is going to take some getting used to because I like Filipino companions. Also he doesn't know Waray Waray because he is from a Cebuano area so this will be tough! Oh well! My birthday was awesome! I had so much fun eating at a members house and we even had some missionaries from our district come too so that was fun!! Anyways that's really it for this week! I love you all!

Elder Child

*He mentioned that his apartment is horrible.  It does have running water and a microwave though.  It is in more of a city than the last area, but still surrounded by wilderness.  It is located on the northern island of the mission near the western coast.
*He will be teaching his new companion the language.  So even though his prayers were answered that he would not become a trainer, he is really still training in a way.  They get along good so's been 2 days!
*His birthday was a success!  He forgot to take everyone's email addresses that sent him a card or letter to send out a little thank you.  Maybe he will remember next week.  They couldn't find all of the ingredients for poppy seed chicken so they just made some other skillet chicken dinner.  First picture is of his birthday dinner.
*The third picture is of his "mission nanay" or grandma.  She's so cute!!
*The last two pictures were taken on his last night in Tolosa.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Week #30 - Mother's Day

May 11, 2015

Hello All -
We didn't get an email from Elder Child this week because we were able to Skype with him for quite a while on Mother's Day.  He seems so happy and (luckily!) healthy.  He and his companion work a lot with the less active members from both of their areas and are appreciative of the help they get from the branch mission leader.  Today is his 19th birthday and they went over to the nanay's house (grandmother - the same one who, a few weeks ago, gave him brownies for working in her yard more than the other elders.  He says that she is his mission grandma and really loves her) for a party and dinner.  He requested the recipe for Poppy Seed Chicken and was going to make that for everyone for his birthday dinner.  On Monday he was able to pick up his birthday boxes from the Mission Home that we sent a few months ago.  They arrived just in time and I can't wait to hear his reaction on Sunday about them.  I know he will love all of the letters that some of you took the time to write to him.  Thanks again!!

Transfers are next week and he said that the rumor is that he will get transferred and will be a trainer.  He has been in Tolosa for the whole time he has been in the Philippines.  He said that he doesn't want to train, that he just wants to be a regular missionary.  He finds out on Sunday his next assignment.

He did send a few pictures, which are below.  For their zone activity they went up north and crossed (half-way and back) the San Juanico Bridge.  It is a 1.34 mile long bridge that connects the two large islands in his mission.  The last picture is with more of the Philippine children.  He said again how hard it was to not pick them up and play with them.  He mentioned that it is part of the culture there to pick the kids up and throw them around and play.  He said that sometimes he will wrestle around with the older children on the ground.

Brett sends his love to each of you and is so appreciative of your support.  Until next week...


Monday, May 4, 2015

Week #29 - over 200 days out

May 3, 2015

Good Morning!

Well this week wasn't very good. To start off with I was sick until Wednesday. Then the youth had youth conference in Sogod this week so all the leaders and our helpers weren't in town. Also all of our recent converts and investigators went too. We have a rule in the mission that you need a 30 year old male in order to teach someone of the opposite sex. So there was a lot of people that stayed that we could have taught if we had a 30 year old. But we didn't. It's hard to be improving and improving and working hard and then just get shut down. It really is a disappointment. But oh well. Hopefully the mission president doesn't call us or something. Anyways, we did have a couple good moments this week! We were teaching a less active about the word of wisdom this week (which seems to be a common problem here in the Philippines) And it was a super good lesson! He is always complaining about how he doesn't have enough money to go to church and provide for his family and stuff so we targeted the word of wisdom and told him that cigarettes don't do anything for you and are a waste of money. We were a little bold with him... basta, we told him if he stopped smoking he would have more money. I think he realized that we were right. But yeah good lesson there! But really that's all for this week. My spiritual thought can be found in Ether 12:6. I actually read this scripture in my personal study this week and it really hit me. God gives us challenges and trials all throughout our lives but it's all really to see how firm our faith is and to see if we will endure. And if we do endure he will bless us in the end. So yeah that's it! I love you all!

Elder Child

Notes: His computer froze up so we weren't able to go back and forth too much.  He is no longer sick.  We will get to skype with him next Sunday evening around 6:00 (best Mother's Day present I could get!).  There is another storm developing in the Pacific so we will watch that this week.  Hopefully it dissipates!  He sure is excited to hear all about his friends and their missionary papers going in and calls being received.  Such an exciting time for everyone!

Pic #1 - He says that they walked into a classroom on Sunday and that was on the board.  I'm not sure he didn't have something to do with it ;-)
Pic #2 - Some of the kids that he loves to be with.  He has always been a magnet for little kids and apparently that hasn't changed.
Pic #3 - The big typhoon that came through a year before Brett got there destroyed a Catholic church on this site.  So, someone put a Mary shrine there for people to worship.  We have requested that he tie his tie a little longer!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Week #28

April 27, 2015

Hello! (sorry I have lame intros)

Well this week was great! We are still improving in everything we do! We have gone up in lessons and everything! We had members working with us all week so that made things a lot more fun also! Also teaching is getting way easier even though I still get super nervous every time I teach! Sadly I am sick again. I think I got food poisoning or something so I am suffering right now as I am in downtown Tacloban with all the fish smell in the air! haha anyways, about the thought I gave last week. I actually used that in my chastising talk I gave on faith to our branch here so I thought you could use it too. Me and my companion are still coming along great too! Sad news though. We dropped baptismal dates for 4 of our investigators. The eternigators. So yeah, sad day but oh well. We still are going to continue to teach them and hopefully they change! So I have discovered this past week that it's very important for members to visit less actives. Just in the past few weeks we have had 3 returned less actives because we got members to visit them every week. When less actives see that members actually care about them they are more likely to return. Also we are going to get branch missionaries next week! My spiritual thought today can be found in the eighth chapter of the book of John. In this chapter we find the story of the woman that was accused of adultery and was taken before Jesus. My favorite verse is verse 7. "So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." The main message I get from this scripture is that we have no right to judge others of their faults and mistakes (cross reference Matt. 7:2) It is God's responsibility to judge and no one elses. So yeah that's pretty much it for this week! I love you all and thank you for your love and support!

Elder Child