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, March 30, 2015

Cycle 13 - Week 3

It was another week that just flew by! I am still not totally familiar with the area but it's getting better I guess and this last week we had our first splits of the cycle (For splits as ZLs it is usually all 4 in our area). I worked with one of the District Leaders, Elder Haacke--He is eighteen, from Idaho, and has been in the field about six months. I hang out with him more than anyone else in the zone so our splits was good I'd say.
Wednesday we had a leadership training thing in Cauayan that was pretty good--they talked about ministering/administering, responsibilities, etc;--and then afterwards we ran into one of my previous companions Elder Costacio, who is actually assigned in Cauayan Zone, so that was cool. On Friday Elder Labrador worked with us because his companion had to go to Manila for fingerprinting.

Long time no see!

The work here is also going pretty good! We have been able to do a lot of OYMs (finding people through street contacting, giving out pamphlets, etc;) lately and we actually have a pretty big teaching pool of investigators, which is pretty different than most my previous areas. We have been able to play basketball every P Day but unlike my past zones, there isn't a whole ton of missionaries so today we played with a bunch of Young Men from our branch. It was still fun though.

Ball is life
This week we have our monthly MLC (Mission Leadership Council for all the ZLs and STLs. This will be my first MLC.) so I'm excited for that. Can't believe it's Easter and Conference again already (although we won't get to watch it until the week after) but anyways, have a nice week everyone!

Dinner with the Aquino family. I don't know why we did this but...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Only in the Philippines

Hey guys, Happy St. Patrick's Day! That happened sometime recently, didn't it..? Anyways, everything is still going well here--We are having a lot of fun in our companionship while still going hard in the work, I'm starting to pick up some of the Poly slang and I'm also getting a little more familiar with the area...I feel like I don't have a ton to report on this last week but the topic above is a catchphrase that basically describes many things that go on around here haha. 17 months ago today I entered this country and it has been wonderful to me, although very interesting at times. Sometimes I laugh; Sometimes I scratch my head at what is going on. But anyways, I guess here are a few things that happened this week:

We had our baptism on Saturday and it went pretty good despite it starting like 30 minutes after it was supposed to (Filipino Time-This is one of the not-so-amusing head-scatcher things around here but ehh it is what it is haha). Sis. Carmen is such a funny old lady! But it was awesome that she was able to be baptized!

Yesterday, right before church started, I was asked to talk in sacrament meeting because one of the speakers didn't show up (#OITP). I'm kind of used to that though so I'd say it turned out alright. We also saw witnessed a drunk guy yelling at a tree and that was one of the funniest things I've seen in a while. One of our investigators has apparently finished the Book of Mormon already but she told us she couldn't come to church yesterday because she had a runny nose...WHAT! Oh well, there's always next week I guess hahaha.

This last week we also went on splits with the APs and I worked with Elder Espino. He was actually my zone leader back in Tuguegarao and he is an awesome guy. He is 26 years old and has only been a member for like 3 years but he's a great missionary (Guess that's why he got called to be AP haha) so it was a fun experience and I learned a lot..But anyways, I think that's it for this week.  Have a good one peeps! #OITP

The field is white and ready to harvest 

Bath time

#tbt to the MTC - Can't believe all these sisters are home now!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Makin' it Nasty

I'm already in my 5th area now! How weird is that?! Tuesday-My last day in Solano- we met up with Elder Glassie and his companion and had a 'last supper' lunch at Mrs. Bakers (the best restaurant in the mission because it's actually American quality) and then we returned to Villaverde and I said goodbye to all the members.

Farewell Villaverde!

As for my new area, I have been called to be a Zone Leader here in Roxas Zone--A lot of missionaries have gone home over the last few cycles and not enough have come in to replace them so it seems like our mission has been shrinking a lot lately haha. Here in Roxas, there are only fourteen missionaries (10 elders, 4 sisters) so that's pretty small but it's a fun bunch I guess. Elder Pawin (my housemate for three cycles in Angadanan) is here and so is Elder Cruzit (we were the same ward in San Pablo and he's one of the funniest guys in this mission).

As for my new companion, I finally got my long-hoped-for wish of having a Poly comp! Elder Lavelua is from New Zealand but he is mostly Tongan. He's 21 years old, has been in the field one cycle longer than I have and this is his 3rd cycle as a Zone Leader. I think he's got to be one of the strongest guys in the mission but he's a way nice dude and really laid-back so I think it's gonna be a pretty fun cycle. I've already got my monthly pass to the gym that's close to our apartment and we have gone there almost every night after we have finished our proselyting hahaha. #getbig

Watch out everyone: We're both on scholarship for rugby!

This is the first time that I've actually been assigned in an actual city so that's a bit different, but our area is wayyy big so there's also some parts that are a whole lot of bukid (field). It is a branch here (Roxas 2nd Branch) but I think the sacrament attendance is around 100 or so, which is another big difference between here and Villaverde. We have a baptism coming up this Saturday so that'll be the first time that I have come into an area and someone is already ready to go.

Oh yeah, the sisters from my MTC batch just went home last week so that's kinda weird. I also found out that my anak, Elder Aguilar, got called to be a District Leader so that was kind of surprising but I was way pumped for him! Hopefully he will also train soon so that I can have a grandson in the mission haha! Like I said, we went to Banaue last Monday so here's a few extra pics. Have a good week everyone!

The old Ifugao women have a little too much swag

Chillin' like a villain

That sunrise tho 

The new crew

Monday, March 9, 2015

I went to Manila

I'M TRANSFERRED! This last week of the cycle has been absolutely fantastic but I guess I have to back up and do some explaining. I hardly even know where to begin but here goes. Try to keep up with me...

So normally--a couple weeks before they are about to go home--all the foreigners in every batch take a little trip to Manila to do fingerprinting for Visas or something. The newer batches don't have to worry about that because now (after they have completed like 5 weeks at the Provo MTC) they go to the Manila MTC for like a week and get all that stuff done. Since they started doing that only kind of recently, (My batch never went to the Manila MTC) I figured that I would be going with my batch around August or so. Well I don't know what happened, but apparently it became technically not legal for us to be here right now without those fingerprints and Visa stuff. So last Monday they informed us that we would all be going to Manila for a few days and they sent us all at the same time (There was like six batches at once and around 40 of us in all).

That's just the intro. Hopefully you followed that. Anyways, Thursday afternoon, I left Villaverde and met up with Elder Lawrence from Bambang Zone so that we could travel to and sleep in Cauayan. All the missionaries that are going home this week had a career workshops thing that day, and for dinner at SM (a big mall in Cauayan) I was able to see a bunch of my really good friends in the mission for the last time before they went home.

                Elder Allred                                                                       Sister Lasay

                                          Elders Heumann, Camain, Larson, Bangal                     

Friday we went to the Cauayan airport and flew into Manila and went directly to the bureau of immigration for fingerprinting. I am not lying when I say that I probably saw more white people in two days than I have seen in the last 16 months that I've been here. A lot of those included white guys who were probably in their late forties with their Filipina wives in their early twenties hahaha funny stuff. It was a bit hectic there and it took about two hours for our whole group to complete the whole process but that is actually way faster than what we were expecting. But after that...it was time to party!
Bureau of Immigration

We got to the hotel at around 5:00 and then we split into our groups and basically had the rest of the night to go to MOA (Mall of Asia) to eat and wander around at the mall. It was freaking huge! I must've spent around 40 dollars on food alone in a 24-hour period but that didn't phase us because this was a once-in-two-years kind of deal that we got to eat this kind of food. Good riddance I've missed that stuff! Our Manila trip seriously felt like senior year Choir Tour at Disneyland with the boys haha and I got a little America-trunky because it was like taking a step back into the real world for a day! But it's okay; I think I'm recovered now haha but here is a lot of pics!

 T.G.I. Fridays with the boys:
Elders Tribe, Thorpe, Waldron, Poulter, Larson

 Coldstone for dessert

Elder Coronel was our former AP. He went home last September. We randomly ran into his sister Friday night but then we were able to arrange for him to drive us to MOA Saturday morning. 

IHOP for breakfast

 I've missed this stuff

Not sure what this store is

 They've got an ice skating rink inside!

Subway takeout for lunch 

Rockin' that Jamba Juice the airplane ride home

Saturday afternoon we flew into Tuguegarao and then it was another six-hour bus ride back to the southern part of the mish and we ended up sleeping at Bambang. The only part that sucked about the trip is that I had to miss Jessica's baptism but I am still happy for her and that things turned out alright. Although it was a little annoying because apparently nobody from our branch presidency even showed up to the baptism so we had to get someone from Solano to preside. Elder Baquiran ended up performing the baptism because Mario hadn't been ordained to the office of priest yet but at least his family was there.


After church with Jessica

So yeah it's been a great week and we also went to Banaue today but I will have to wait until next week to send those pictures. And yes, today I found out that I will be transferring. I have enjoyed my time here in Villaverde and developed good relationships with the members but I was definitely ready to change things up so I am excited to be able to report next week on my new companion and area. And mom, you have been asking for a 'city' picture for quite a while so here are three very different ones that kind of reflect the change in environments.

 Highway in Manila (actually one of the few times there wasn't traffic haha)

Main street in Solano 

Street view in Villaverde

Monday, March 2, 2015


It's been another good week! I can't believe that February is over already! This last week we went on splits twice--Wednesday, I was with Elder Kocherhans and we worked in their area Bagabag. From being same ward while we were both being trained, same zone again in Tuguegarao and now him being my Zone Leader here in Solano, Elder Kocherhans and I have kind of 'grown up' together in the mission and become good friends so our splits were a lot of fun but he is also a great missionary and I learned a lot from him.

Thursday, we met up in Lamut because we had a lunch appointment with the Balubbal family (the house that makes me feel like I'm in America whenever we visit) and we had a barbecue there. Then Elder Navarro and I returned to Villaverde--Elder Navarro is a stud and he's still fairly new in the mission but it doesn't really seem like it anymore. This is the third time I have been on splits with him and the first two times I was trying to exercise a lot of leadership skills and help out in his training but now he is like a seasoned veteran so we had a good time.

Jessica is doing super good and still on track to be baptized this upcoming Saturday the 7th. This last week we reviewed everything that we had taught her in preparation for her baptismal interview (which is tomorrow) and it is just amazing to me to see how truly prepared she has been by the Lord to receive the gospel. We still haven't been able to actually teach her husband Mario because he works in Solano throughout the week but he joined Jessica for church again yesterday and that has been another cool thing is Mario starting to get active again throughout this process of us teaching his wife. Talk about two birds, one stone, eh?

I taught Sunday School again yesterday haha; that has been something a little different about this area. Mom you asked about the music in our branch...We have a chorister who sings the first line as a lead note and then we all sing acapella. We have a kind of out-of-tune piano but we haven't used it in sacrament meeting ever since the pianist moved out a couple months ago...To answer your other question of an experience where I have felt protected-or comforted would probably be the better word-as a missionary, I think you should refer to my e-mail back from my first area about "Drunks and Demons". Evil spirits can be some crazy ish but you gotta love the power of the priesthood haha!!

This is the last week of the the cycle so next Monday I will know if I'm being transferred or not. We are also going to Banaue again that day I think. Don't have any pics from this last week so here are a few more from Zone Conference a couple weeks ago. Have a nice week erryone!

 Elder Kocherhans and Elder Navarro are the two in front

Zone pic: "Wacky" version