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, September 29, 2014

Family Week & A New Calling

Well I was expecting our district to be the exact same this next cycle because not a single person from our last district got transferred last week, but I was wrong because Tuesday night, we got a surprise phone call from President Rahlf and I was called to be District Leader. I am grateful for the trust that the Lord has put in me and excited for the opportunity to serve my fellow missionaries to the best of my abilities.

I've grown so much spiritually in the past twelve and a half months, but to be honest, my personality hasn't really changed and so I am still the same goofy, easygoing wise guy that I was before I left; So Thursday I taught my first district meeting and I think at first, my district was probably wondering if they were going to be able to take me serious. But we have an awesome district-two other elders, four sisters, then us-and our District Meeting turned out great. My lesson was about the importance of prayer for both us as missionaries and also for our investigators; I was also very grateful for everyone's participation.

I also had the opportunity to conduct my first two baptismal interviews on Saturday. I was a little nervous at first since it was my first time, but I studied a little bit in Chapter 12 of Preach My Gospel and also prayed for comfort and guidance, so when I got to the interview, I felt very at peace and the interviews went great. It was also an awesome experience to see the testimonies of these two candidates and I could tell they had truly been converted to the gospel and were ready for baptism.

On Saturday, our stake also had an all-day event in celebration of 'Family Week'. The program consisted of games, food, and some dance presentations from each ward. One of the games they were like playing tag/wrestling with a greasy coconut or something like that and a lady dome-rocked herself on the concrete. Two of the sister missionaries who have nursing backgrounds said that she was alright, but they decided to rush her to the hospital anyways. She turned out completely fine but what's a family-friendly activity without a little action?

As far as the presentations, the Primary from each ward did an interpretive dance, the youth did either a pop or folk dance, and the Relief Society/Elders Quorum did these skits where the men were singing and playing guitars in order to court the women. I don't know if we have any activities like that back home, but all in all, I'd say it was a pretty fun time.
Our investigator LetLet also came up to the activity with the ward and seemed to enjoy it. She unfortunately didn't make it to church yesterday because she went somewhere Saturday night and didn't get back until Sunday afternoon, but we were able to teach her twice this past week (both times at the house of the Soriano family who are members that live close to her. It is really helpful for us to have fellowshippers because that helps her feel more comfortable I think and those are also additional testimonies being added to the lessons. LetLet seems to really be progressing and developing a testimony. She used to have a few vices with the Word of Wisdom, but we are working on that with her and she has committed to live the Word of Wisdom.

The work is still going rather swell also. We had two other investigators show up to church and also a tatay who used to be less active but he has now attended like 4 weeks in a row and so he is now counted as a 'returned member!'

Well that was another long letter so I think that's about all for this week. Tomorrow I've got another District Meeting to teach and then Wednesday I travel to Cauayan again for a 'new leaders' meeting so I'll let you know how everything goes next Monday. We don't get to watch Conference until the 11th but I hope everyone enjoys their weekend. Peace until next time!

 That net shop swag

Riding atop the jeepney

Monday, September 22, 2014

Now a Toddler

My kid is growing up right before my eyes. Today we got the transfer list and although Elder Aguilar and I will of course will be staying together for another cycle, this means that we have completed 6 weeks together and come Wednesday, he will no longer be the youngest batch in our mission. He still hears the "how many months do you have left?" jokes, but it seems like not too long ago that I was in the same position but now here I am halfway through the mission (I think I may have mentioned that a few times last week haha...) Time truly just continues to fly.

Happy 1 Year Batch!

The typhoon last week definitely affected our church attendance, but yesterday a lot of members from our area were able to make it to church, including several less actives who I think have the potential to become "returning members" in the next few weeks.
Our investigator LetLet also made it to church yesterday for what was her 3rd time in the last 5 weeks. She temporarily has a baptism goal date set for October 18, but she has been pretty busy lately and we hadn't been able to teach her for a while until yesterday. So hopefully we can continue to help her in her progression and help her feel totally ready by the time that date rolls around.
We are still teaching Anne and she still picks up really well in every lesson we share with her, but unfortunately she still hasn't made it to church so that is really unfortunate because I am not sure how we can help her take that next step...But we will sure keep trying! And that's it for this week so have a good one folks. Love y'all!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Hump Day & Hurricane Luis

Whoooaaa, we're halfway there. Whoa-oh, living on a prayer! Can you believe it guys? Ya boi (a.k.a me. That's a Matt Conway reference) just hit his 1-year mark this past week. I love it out here so much and I seriously can't believe how fast the time has gone!

Anyways, this week has been a pretty busy one. Wednesday we had a meeting for all the new missionaries and their trainers, which is pretty much just like a "You've survived a month. How's everything going?" reunion for all their greenies. It was a nice little event and the food was great (first time I've had some quality mashed potatoes in quite some time). And also since our area is far away and we didn't want to travel early Wednesday morning, we got to spend Tuesday night at the apartment of the Cauayan Zone Leaders-Elder Bangal and Elder Allred-who happen to be two of my best friends here in the mission. We spent our whole time playing chess, (this has actually become a big hobby of mine here in the field. Anyone, feel free to challenge me when I get home eh?) talking and hanging out. As a missionary, we're obviously out working a lot, but sometimes it is nice to just kick it and have a little fun. 

Thursday we also had quarterly interviews with President Rahlf and a zone meeting. It was rather hard to focus because there was a brownout, so it was really hot (the power always goes out for several hours at a time for absolutely no reason at all. Kind of annoying but whatever) but the gist of our agenda was about gossip and the qualities of Captain Moroni.

And yesterday, we had a typhoon roll through our mission so that was kind of fun...It didn't really hit until night time but the weather was less than favorable during the morning, and that didn't exactly help in terms of church attendance-None of our investigators made it and there was a total of three total members from San Pablo area who showed up (Dad, to answer your question, we are combined with the Cabagan ward-not separate. So the total attendance was still probably around 80-100 or something haha).

We were on lock down last night and had to be back at the apartment before 6:00 in order to be safe before the eye of the storm hit. We got a little jiffy of flooding in the apartment because of a small leak in the wall but we got that cleaned up quick enough. There was also a power outage for like 5 hours so Elder Aguilar and I watched The Best 2 years as we were just sitting around, but thankfully the power came on just as we were ready for bed. And we were really lucky too, because it turns out that all of Tuguegarao had a power outage from last night until earlier this afternoon. Which is why I am e-mailing so late right now. But as D&C 38:30 states, "if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear." So in short, all is well now. We're good, we're safe, and did I mention that I have now been on my mission for a whole year? (pero of coure, hindi ako trunky haha!)

My mother asked me to expand on my picture with the cow last week. Well basically I just saw a cow by a lake, thought it would be a nice pic, and figured "You only live once" (Although President McArthur recently informed me that the term 'yolo' is no longer in style. Sorry guys, I'm a bit outdated haha!) Hmm seems like that was a kind of long letter so I guess we'll leave it at that. Have a great week guys!

Monday, September 8, 2014

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Yep, you heard right. It is now September and since the month ends in BER-just like the month that Christmas is in-holiday music is now in full force here in the Philippines. So it's a long season, but Tis' the season to be jolly amirite?

Well things are continuing to get better and better here in San Pablo. Yesterday I counted 18 people at church from our area (and that doesn't sound like a whole lot, but it sure beats the 5 that we have had a few time in our past). One of those in attendance was LetLet, so she is continuing to make good progression I think. 

Also, for the first time since I've been here, this last week we received a referral. He is a 17-year-old named Reymart who is the student of a member in our ward, and seems to have been very well-prepared to receive the gospel. We taught him for the first time on Saturday and then he came to church on Sunday. I've said it before, but it continues to remain evident that we can tract and tract and tract in order to find new investigators, but what will bring the most success? It is when we have the help of the members! Growing up in Utah, I always assumed that there was not much I could do in terms of sharing the gospel, but since I've been out here, I have realized that that is not the case! No matter where we live, who we talk to, or what we do in our everyday lives, we can ALWAYS set a good example for others, whether they be members of our Church or not.

After this week, I will have been out in the mission field for a whole year now and it amazes me how fast the time has gone. It seems like it was not too long ago that I arrived in an area that was really struggling, and now I've been with my anak for nearly a month and our work is improving by the week. I still love being a missionary so much and am so grateful for everyone's constant support and love. Have a fantastic week and start deckin' those halls with boughs of holly. Until next week!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy September

Ba de ya, say do you remember. Ba de ya, dancing in September. Ba de ya, never was a cloudy dayyyy (Lyrics cred to Earth, Wind, & Fire) Well it's crazy to think that the peeps are back in school already. Even while being here in the mission field, the summer just seemed to fly by. Anyways, the work here in San Pablo is continuing to pick up and go well. As we have stayed diligent, not only have we been able to teach more lessons, but have also been more successful in the finding aspect as well. I got here two months ago and there was pretty much zero investigators, but now we have a fairly decent-sized teaching pool.

Unfortunately, however, none of those investigators were able to attend church this last week. Perhaps one of the reasons is that something we have struggled with a little bit is fellow-shippers and having members present in our lessons. However, we are starting to focus on trying to get the ward members more involved and if we improve in that aspect, hopefully our investigators will be able to feel more welcome and comfortable in coming to church.

I don't have much more to say, so I apologize but I'll be keeping it short this week. Good luck to everyone starting school, and have a great week!

Picture: Last P Day we went bowling. The balls are really small and they have one worker there who manually sets up the pins by hand after each frame. Very different experience than bowling in America but a chill time for sure!