Monday, July 27, 2015

Week #41

July 27, 2015


Well this letter isn't going to be very good! This week has been hard and the work didn't go very well for us. But we did have success because we endured!! haha Ether 12:6

So first of all this past week was a little crazy! To start off with we went hiking with some youth from the branch and some investigators so that was super fun!! We went hiking up in the hills around my area and it was so amazing up there. Then Tuesday came around. District meeting. And guess who showed up at my district meeting! President Maurer and the assistants... But luckily it wasn't for a bad reason! The assistants gave the training and President Maurer was doing his quarterly interviews! So nothing bad there thankfully!! 

Our work,despite how little was accomplished, was good. We got around to everyone in our teaching pool thankfully and all the lessons were amazing! And the turnout yesterday at church was awesome! We had 11 investigators at church and they all had a great time!! This coming Saturday our investigator is being interviewed for baptism!!! Yay!!

Being a district leader is still very unenjoyable (not sure if that's a word). Preparing trainings is the worst! You gotta think about what's best for the district and what they need to hear. But by far collecting key indicators every week is the worst. Yesterday I had to collect actuals for the month so that was a mess. But I'm surviving so that's good.

Well that's it for the week! Thank you for all you do!

Elder Child

Notes: I didn't know what he meant by "collecting key indicators and actuals" - basically it's collecting data: how many lessons were taught, it measures your success for the week.  He said that the missionaries in his district probably get the highest numbers in the mission, which shows how hard they work.
Pics 1-2 - Brett said that these arm wrestling matches usually end in a stalemate, but this time he won.
Pic 3 - this is the father to Brett's favorite family in Gandara
Pic 4 - the fire alarm in their apartment wouldn't stop beeping one night so Brett put it in a bucket of water.  I suggested that he get another one and he responded with "nah, the risk of having a fire in the Philippines is so low.  The air here is an active fire station for everyone."
Pic 5 - Here is Brett on the hike he mentioned in the letter.  I asked why the two investigators were carrying machetes and he was carrying his flip flops.  He says the machetes are for clearing a pathway to hike and for killing cobras.  And he said it was easier to hike barefoot.  I asked if people get bit by cobras often there and he said that usually the kids will trap them and stone them but he hasn't heard of people getting bit.
Pic 6 - Lunch he bought from a street vendor.  He says it's delicious.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week #40

July 19, 2015


Well this week has been full of so much fun... kind of. It's been a really good week for work though! We set a record for the amount of lessons that has ever been taught in Gandara in one week! And we saw that it payed off!! It was such a good week and I had a lot of fun!

The work was so awesome and there are so many lessons I would like to tell you about but we will only stick to a couple! The first one is the Alcala family. I know I talk about them every single week but they are just to awesome. We had an awesome lesson with them this week where we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lesson 3 for short. Basta, this is one of my most favorite lessons to teach because it has everything that we need to do in this life! Faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the holy ghost, and enduring to the end! The reason I like this lesson is because we get to use so many scriptures and the spirit is so strong whenever we teach it! The reason I liked this lesson is because the Alcala family invited their friends over to listen also!!!! They do more missionary work than all the members combined in this branch! They are so awesome. They have been giving us referrals every single week because they just talk to everyone about the gospel. Sadly they are the ones that don't have a baptismal date because the daughter and her uyab are live in partners and haven't gotten married yet. Someday!

Another lesson was with Abel Valasco. He is our investigator with a baptisimal date! So me and Elder Hepler (the zone leader) went to teach him on Wednesday and at the end of the lesson he came right out and said he wants to serve a mission! Sadly we had to tell him he can't because he is 36 years old and has 4 kids all of which are still in elementary school. But we found the perfect calling for him when he gets baptized! Branch mission leader. It'll be perfect for him because he wants to do missionary work.

Communication with my companion has gotten no easier. He refuses to learn Waray Waray and only speaks Tagalog. So I understand a little but not very much.

Being a district leader has gotten no easier. It's still so stressful and I'm always worried about my district. It's also fun at the same time though because I get to communicate with them a lot more and help them with their problems!

Well that's it for this week! The work is going good and we had 12 investigators come to church yesterday!!!! Thanks for everything!!!

Elder Child

#1 - Brett was excited to find this little Filipino boy with blue eyes.  He said the whole family has blue eyes, which is not common there.
#2 - dinner with some members
#3 - out working and ran into some of the Branch members
#4 - tricycle
#5 - Brett titled this picture "welcome to Gandara, where the water is black".  He said that was his shower water for the day.  It isn't always black, only occasionally.

Week #39 - Transfers & New District Leader

July 12, 2015


Well this past week has just been full of surprises!! To start off with I got a new companion!! His name is Elder Castillo and he is a pretty cool cat! He is Filipino and is my junior batch (he entered the mission in January). He is really easy to get along with but the only problem is he can't speak English to save his life. Or Waray. Just Tagalog. So that's a challenge. 

Anyways this past week has been really fun as it always is when you get a new companion. We have had lots of good experiences and a lot of good lessons! Again we had an amazing attendance at church so that was awesome!! We had 9 of our investigators come to church so it was awesome to see them!! It makes me so happy to see the people I care about so much come to church! It's a lot of hard work every single week to get them to church on Sunday and it's so gratifying to see the rewards of your labors! One of my most favorite lessons to teach is the Restoration because I feel the spirit no matter what every time!! 

So the biggest surprise this week. I am a district leader now. This is probably the most stressful thing that has happened to me on my mission. I now have to do follow up calls (the worst, most awkward thing), give trainings every week, and perform baptismal interviews. It's hard too because anything that happens in your district is your responsibility and you are accountable for it. I'm stressed. But all I can do is pray. It also has been one of the times on my mission I have received the most revelation. I am constantly thinking about what I can do to serve and lift up my district and I am always receiving answers. It's so great!! 

My spiritual thought this week actually comes from a talk titled "Converted Unto the Lord" by David A. Bednar. Read it...

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

Elder Child

Lots of great pictures this week!
#1 - we sent a box for Brett and one for his companion.  They arrived the day of transfers so Brett was able to give it to his new companion.
#2-3 - his district on another biking activity - he really enjoys that!
#4 - with some friends at a birthday party
#5 - taking a refreshing swim 
#6 - got his new scriptures in the mail
#7 - a picture of him in action.  He is teaching an investigator, sitting on their bamboo floor
#8 - a picture of the transfer meeting

Monday, July 6, 2015

Translating Books - Mini Service Project

July 6, 2015

Thank you for sharing your amazing sons.   They helped with our mini service project where we translated and organized donated books gathered from friends at home for children whose school libraries were destroyed in the typhoons. Your sons were especially fun with this because of their love of books, and how the kept showing their enthusiasm about certain books, and also all said how much their mothers loved books too.   Thanks for raising exceptional young men..   ...Sister Hansen

Week #38 - Transfers, but no word on a new companion

July 5, 2015


The week of exchanges has come! And my comp is transferring! And I am staying in the area! But that's awesome because I love the area of Gandara!! I have seen so many blessings in this area and I have seen that if you work hard, the Lord will bless you in the end!!!

So this past week has been stressful. With knowing that transfers were coming up we were just trying to visit everybody that we could! My comp is so awkward with goodbyes... Anyways we did a little better this week! We didn't get the highest number of lessons in the mission but that's ok because lessons don't matter. One theme I have tried to stick to my entire mission is "teach people, not lessons". These people are the reason I am out here. Not so I can get the most lessons in the mission. Basta this week was so awesome!!!! We had so many spiritual, heart touching lessons! And then we got to see the rewards of our labors on Sunday!! We had 11 investigators come to church AND the sacrament attendance was a staggering 53!!! That's the highest it's been since the Gandara Branch was established!!!! It was so awesome to see the people there and it makes me so happy!!

So something I have learned here in the Philippines is that parents don't discipline their kids here. I had to be the parent for 7 kids yesterday during sacrament meeting. The kids in question were playing dodge ball with chairs, jumping of tables, and screaming at the top of their lungs.So yeah, me and my comp took care of that real fast.

Well my spiritual thought today originates from a book my mom sent me titled "30 Ways to Love Your Mission". The chapter I want to focus on is called "Thoughts." Everything originates from thoughts. And thoughts can be the most destructive thing here on the mission. Even 5 minutes of thinking of something wrong can lose you the spirit the rest of that day. And if there is no spirit there is no work. 

Well I am excited for transfers!! I'll tell you all about them next week! I love you all!

Elder Child

The only picture we got this week was of Brett's companion in a bathroom