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, December 29, 2014

Viva la Villaverde - Adios 2014

I just chatted with you guys a few days ago so I'll keep things relatively short but anyways, I forgot to mention we had zone meeting on Tuesday and after that, we had splits and I went with Elder Saguire to their area Lamut because I had some baptismal interviews to do. The interviews both well-the first was with an 80-year-old nanay who was awesome and had a strong testimony of the gospel. The second was with a teenage girl who was a little forgetful of some things that the missionaries had taught but after a few follow-up questions and reminding she was good to go. I could tell both had a strong desire and were ready to be baptized. 
We also had a dinner appointment and the member family's house was huge; I felt like I was in America! They fed us duck for dinner, cake for dessert, and we left with American candies (M&Ms, Twix, Snickers, etc;) for take-out so that was a nice early Christmas gift haha. Because of time, Elder Saguire and I didn't really have an opportunity to teach any actual lessons together but we still had a good time and I enjoyed it. 
Yesterday in sacrament meeting-since it was the last pagsisimba of the year-I was one of the speakers and I decided to talk on the story of Lot's wife. I'm excited for the new year because it is a great chance for us to start fresh and focus on what we want to accomplish instead of what has happened in the past; Unless we want to become a pillar of salt like Lot's wife haha. 
Last week we also hit up a couple sites here in Villaverde (a waterfall and a hiking to the top of a mountain) that were both pretty tight so enjoy the pics! Hope everyone had a great Christmas and also a Happy New Year!

 Started from the bottom

Now we are here 

Started from the bottom 

Now the whole team's here

Viva la Vida - 2015 be coming

Friday, December 26, 2014

Maligayang Pasko!

I am going to be talking to you guys on Skype in just a little bit but I just wanted to take this time to wish everybody a Merry Christmas and say how truly grateful I am for you all. I couldn't ask for a greater family and friends. I am also so thankful for this gospel and this wonderful Christmas season that helps remind us of the birth and life of our Savior Jesus Christ.

As for us, we did most of our partying on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day was kind of a day to just relax and we basically spent it resting and eating/visiting with the members. I definitely missed the NBA games, the Christmas movies, and the snow, among other things, but we have a message of glad tidings and great joy and the privilege we have to share it as missionaries-especially at this time of the year where the Spirit of Christ is definitely in the air everywhere you go-is a special feeling and privilege that I will look back on and miss in future Christmases to come.

So once again, love you all. Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and are enjoying the break. And here is a picture I meant to send on Monday but anyways it is from Zone Conference last week:

Flashback to Christmas 2013 with Elder Merza

Monday, December 22, 2014

I've Been Dreaming...

...of a white...Christmas...BUT I got a green one instead. I can't believe it is already Christmas already! I do kind of miss the snow but there is an aspect about the holidays that I find pretty funny here in the Philippines and that is caroling: You know how when we go caroling back home we do it as like a ward activity and give cookies or something to the houses we sing at? Well caroling here is like a business haha. Carolers will go door-to-door like they're trick or treating and sing the same song over and over until they either get money or they have sung the chorus a few times without being acknowledged. Even while we are sitting at a fast food restaurant or waiting for a tricy, little kids will walk up to us and start singing Christmas songs and expect to get paid. I find it rather ironic and a little bit awkward sometimes haha...

Walkin' in a not-so-winter land

As for this last week, on Friday we had a zone conference which was a Christmas devotional/celebration in which President and Sister Rahlf spoke on the music of Christmas and the gifts of Christmas and then we had lunch, games, and skits that we had only 30 minutes to plan on the spot so that was really fun.
On Saturday we had a district Christmas party so all the branches had a few singing/dancing performances and that was a fun time as well. Then yesterday was Branch Conference so all the auxiliary leaders from the district came to our church meetings and there was more of them than there was actual members from Villaverde haha. And none of our investigators came either so that was a little unfortunate. But things are still going good and I also received the Christmas package this week so thank you to all my dear family for that. I will be talking to you later this week so I guess that's all I have to say for this e-mail. Have a Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Week 60-Still Busy

Another cycle has come to an end and neither Elder Costacio or I is getting transferred so I am excited that we will be spending Christmas together. This last week (60th one here in the Philippines. Holy cow!) we were kept busy again but it was another good one for sure....Tuesday we went on splits with the Zone Leaders in their area and I worked with Elder Volpe. He is from North Carolina and goes home next month. I have actually known him for quite a while here in the mission but he is someone I really admire as a leader because he is a stickler for the rules but in a very loving way and not in a way that is bossy or self-righteous or anything. I had a good time and we also had a dinner appointment combined with the Lamut elders (because those 4 are all under the same branch) and one of the things they served us was dinakdakan-which is like grilled pig parts blended with pig's brain. They didn't tell us until after we had finished eating because they thought that Elder Navarro wouldn't eat it if they told him haha. It wasn't bad though.

On Thursday, we also had our Mission Tour with Elder Bowen of the Seventy. Inspired instruction and good information was flying at us from all directions and I learned so much that I don't even know where to begin but basically he focused on teaching skills that we can improve in order to see more miracles as missionaries and also about the doctrine of the Abrahamic Covenant and the oath and covenant of the priesthood. Then, as always, a delicious dinner and a bit of downtime to hang out and catch up with the other missionaries.

Reunited with an old pal, Elder Bangal

Our lessons with Khanejie and Jarone are still going pretty well and this last week we extended baptismal invitations to them as well as one of their friends who has joined in a few of the lessons. We are hoping for some time in January but we aren't sure for a specific date yet because yesterday none of them came to church except for Jarone.

Last night we were also able to watch the First Presidency Christmas Broadcast with a few people from the branch because one of the members downloaded it. I love this holiday season and also the opportunity to be able to share the message of the reason why we celebrate it. Let us all emulate the Spirit of Christ and remember Him always. God gave us the greatest gift of all, which was His Son. What will WE give to HIM this year? Have a great week! Here are a few more pics from Banaue!

 Elders Luli, Me, Loitz, Glassie, Poulter AND Lawrence photobombing
(Good thing we're all wearing jackets for the first time ever haha)

Three countries joined together in the circle of life

Monday, December 8, 2014


First of all, you may already know this, but there was apparently another decent-sized typhoon that hit the Philippines and is slowly moving across the country, but rest assured, it isn't expected to really affect us and nothing has happened up here except for a little bit of rain earlier. BUT, that didn't stop us from going to the Banaue rice terraces earlier today and riding on top of the jeepney for the nearly 3-hour ride.

On top of the jeepney

The Banaue rice terraces is basically one of, if not the coolest and prettiest sites in our entire mission. We actually went up with the Bambang Zone because even though we are in Solano Zone, Elder Costacio and I are basically the unofficial members of Bambang just because we always hang out with all of them. We traveled last night to "sleep over" at the Bambang ZLs since we had to leave at 4:00 in the morning, but there were ten of us elders over there so there wasn't a whole lot of sleeping going on and we also decided to hit up Jolliebee for some food at like 2:30 A.M before we hit the road (Kind of reminds me of late night Denny's runs with the homies haha). I have actually been awake since 6:30 A.M Sunday morning so after we are done e-mailing and go home, I will be lookin' to go straight to bed for a long and scrumptious snooze.

 To where we are going

 From whence we came

Along the trail

This last week we also went on splits with the Lamut elders and I worked in our area with Elder Navarro, who is 18 years old from Idaho and has only been in the field for a month. It was a little different than some of the splits I've been on in the past because this was Elder Navarro's very first time going on splits, but that was able to help me a lot in trying to exemplify my role as a leader and example to others. The language is obviously still coming for him but he is a chill guy and a good missionary with a strong desire and bright spirit, so I still rather enjoyed the experience.

We have two investigators who have been progressing pretty well named Jarone and Khanejie. They are brothers aged 14 and 10 years old and are living with their aunt, who is an active member, so we have been teaching them quite a bit lately. Although they are fairly young, they have still been doing pretty good in the lessons and we are hoping to extend baptismal dates to them sometime soon but unfortunately they weren't able to attend church yesterday (but they were the ones who came last week).

Last night we also watched some basketball at the barangay which is like the Filipino version of rec ball or a city league or something like that. It was really more like watching the circus but it was one of the more entertaining things that I've seen in quite some time and it reminded me of how much I miss rec and church ball haha. But that being said, to little Ry Guy and the rest of the gang-hope you are tearin' things up back home. I still got that Viking Pride ha!!

Well enjoy the pics and have a good week everyone. I'll send some more next Monday. Time for me to go get some sleep ha :) Love you all!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Back to December

Thanksgiving is over (Hope everyone had a good one. Thursday was just a normal day for us but like I said, we basically celebrated it last Monday) so you know what that means? Let the Christmas music begin! Filipinos have been rocking around the Christmas tree for like three months already so that's a bit too early in my opinion, but I can now say that I've officially got my playlist downloaded and jamming so I'm definitely in the holiday mood-as opposed to last December when I was still the new guy and it didn't really feel like Christmas. 

An early sneak peak at some Christmas swag

As for this past week:
We had a great week here in Villaverde and one reason why things went so well is because the members really got involved in helping us with the work and there was definitely a noticeable difference in how effective our work was. We found several new investigators this past week through referrals and we also had members fellowshipping with us a few different times throughout the week. As a result, three of our new investigators were able to come to church right off the bat-the first time we have had investigators attend this cycle-and also a less active sister who we recently had a first contact with and apparently hasn't been to church in several months.

So yup, basically everything is going great! This week we will be going on splits twice so that is just the start of what is going to be a very busy and joyous month. But that's all I've got to say for now, so have a good one everyone. Remember the reason for the season!