I have been called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines Cauayan Mission. This blog is managed by my parents. If you would like to contact them, you can email at lindalarson1598@gmail.com

Monday, August 25, 2014

May Pag-Asa Palagi!

Hello everyone. It was a solid 2nd week with my child. By the way, his mission 'nanay' is the sister in the district who has been in the field the longest. So here is a little family picture: (What's funny is Sister Frame [on the right] was tied for the oldest back in my first district when I was the one being trained. However, we cleared things up that she would disown me because if my wife was also my mother, that'd be a little weird wouldn't it? That might not be funny to you guys. Just missionary humor...)

Anyways, cool little experience and some good news for this past week:
This last week, we were studying about 'my purpose' and baptismal invitations. Throughout my mission, extending baptismal dates is something I've never been super comfortable with, maybe because of fear of rejection or me feeling like they aren't ready yet, or whatever it may be. However, even though he is new, this is something that Elder Aguilar has been able to help me with. This last week, we felt prompted to give a baptismal invitation to an investigator on just the 2nd time that we visited with her, which to be honest, I have never done before. To our delight , she accepted and she also came to church yesterday, which is the first time in the two months that I've been here (and from what I understand, probably a couple even before that) that we have had an investigator at church. 

Our investigator LetLet (Filipinos are really big on the whole repeating name thing btw) is I think 18 years old. Perhaps one of the big reasons why she made it to church is she was fellow-shipped by her neighbor Imie, who is a member. As for Anne, we continue to have good lessons with her and I think her testimony of the gospel is getting stronger, but she still hasn't been able to come to church, so perhaps this is a sign that we should also be getting the members involved in helping her feel welcome.

Lately, I have been reminded that we can't control all the results because people have their agency, but through obedience and diligence we put ourselves in a position where we'll be more likely to be successful and the hard work truly does pay off; And as the title translates, there is always hope. We taught the most lessons this week than we have since I've been here in San Pablo, and we also added a few new investigators to our teaching pool; So little by little, the work is picking up in our area and we are starting to see the fruits of our labors. 

And lastly, I forgot to do so last week, but happy birthday S/O to my main man Dave. The big 45! Thanks for being a fantastic father! As for the rest of you, thank you for the constant support and prayers on the behalf of me, as well as all the other missionaries around the world. Love you all!

Picture #2: On Saturday, we had an open house for a new stake center in Tuguegarao. Here are the boys:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Life as a Parent

I did it everyone. I have successfully given birth. It's a boy and I have decided to name him Elder Aguilar. You are all invited to the baby shower! :) Anyways, my new companion is 18 years old (I'm finally older than someone! By precisely 6 months, to be exact) and is from Bicol (under Legasbi Mission). To save time and effort, I will just attach my LTP for you guys to let you know how things are going:
Fresh from the MTC, Elder Aguilar has brought that strong spirit into the mission field. On Wednesday, we didn't get back until 6:00 but we were able to get out and get a lesson in and we also ended the week with 15 total lessons, which is the actually the most I have achieved since being here in San Pablo. He is still in the early stages of adjusting to missionary life, but he has been well prepared for this calling. He makes my job as a trainer easy because he is obedient to all my instruction, but he already seems to be pretty comfortable in his teaching and knowledge of the lessons, so I don't have to do a lot of correcting. Once again, I'm very grateful for the opportunity to be training and helping pave the way for a new missionary; I know that even though I have been in the field a lot longer, I will still be able to learn a lot from our companionship.

Some good news for this last week is that we taught one of our investigators, Anne, about baptism. She really seemed to understand the importance of this saving ordinance and have a desire to be baptized, so we extended her a baptismal invitation and she accepted. She hasn't been to church yet (or for quite a while at least), but I hope that with a goal date set, this is something that will give her a little bit of a boost for her and help motivate her to come to church and keep other commitments. And that's all I've got for now. Love you all! Have a great week!

Monday, August 11, 2014

I'm 19. And I'm a Dad

So the other day I woke up and realized that I was officially 19 years old. Pretty crazy to think that if it wasn't for the age change, I would still be at home right now. Thank goodness that we have a living prophet who receives revelation for our time eh? I'm old but I'm not that old; Young but I'm not that bold, am I right? 

And what did we do for my birthday? Well apparently out here, the birthday boy is the one who gets to buy the food for the party. So I bought some Tostitos chips & salsa (first time I've had that in a year), popcorn and also spaghetti which Elder Sison cooked. Saturday night after work, we invited over the Cabagan elders and one of the fellowshippers in the ward to celebrate and we just ate and played some cards. So nothing too crazy, but all in all a good time and memorable birthday to say the least. 

I like food 


As for the title, I guess my birthday present from President Rahlf is that I'm going to be father. Not literally. That would be awkward. But this cycle with Elder Sison has come to an end and I have been called to be a trainer next cycle. It is a big responsibility because for the new missionaries, we are really the ones who help them adjust to missionary life and can really pave a way and set a tone for the rest of their mission. Training will be a very different experience, but I'm excited for the new challenge. I hope I can be close to as good of a trainer as my tatay Elder Merza was to me. 

We'll miss ya Elder Sison!

We still haven't had a ton of success yet here in San Pablo-The few investigators we have, haven't been to church yet-but we're doing better. I think the area is in better shape than it was when it was when I first arrived 6 weeks ago. So hopefully me and my 'anak' (child) can continue that progression.

Another birthday present, perhaps one of the greatest of all, was the news of one of my homies back home making the decision to be baptized. As a missionary teaching others the gospel in a foreign land, it is seriously such a cool thing to hear one of your friends has accepted the same perfect gospel that only our church can offer. So to my dear pal Kevin Borland, congratulatons buddy. Love you man and I'm so proud of you!

And with that, the cycle has come to an end. Excuse me now while I give birth to my son (although I'm not sure how that process would exactly work). Thanks for the happy birthday wishes! Love, Tay Larson

Monday, August 4, 2014

Find Them That Will Receive You

And from this place ye shall go forth into the regions westward;and inasmuch as ye shall find them that will receive you ye shall build up my church in every region
-D&C 42:8

Hello friends. So it's August now, so time is continuing to go by quickly. But anyways, this last week I had splits with our District Leader Elder Corcuera (and yes, that would be a Filipino) here in San Pablo that went pretty well. Something that Elder Corcuera is really good at is "OYMing" (Open Your Mouth. Check out these cool missionary abbreviations eh?) Or in other words, conversation skills while tracting. By the way, let me tell me how 'tracting' works here, because I don't think I really have in the 9 months that I've been here in the Philippines:
Most people here either leave their front door open or some don't even have one, so you basically just stand in someone's yard and repeat "Tao po!" (Which means people. Now imagine if that's how the whole knock-knock system worked in America haha) and stand there until someone comes outside. The next step is you pretty much say, "Hello, can we get to know you?" (Again, not sure how advisable that method would be for missionaries in the States) You then proceed to have a casual conversation about life and eventually introduce the gospel and ask if we can leave them with a pamphlet and if we can return sometime to share our message.

So that is tracting. And this is something that Elder Corcuera is good at. Like I have said before, 'finding' is something that we have needed to focus on here in San Pablo, so I was pretty grateful for our splits and his advice to me improve these skills. As a result, this week seemed to be more successful for Elder Sison and I. We technically didn't get any new investigators yet, but we found some people that hopefully can become investigators when we follow up with visits this upcoming week. And although we came up a little short of our goal for total lessons, I think we gave a better effort this past week and as a result, our total of lessons was the highest that we have achieved yet. Success doesn't always come immediately, but if we do our part, everything we do will always be worth it. And that's all I've got for now. Have a wonderful week guys!
Picture: Saturday morning, we took a little nature hike with a less active family. So here is a nice view of our area (from very far away)