Monday, July 30, 2012

We rode a Carabao!!!! WOOT! :o)

Hiya Everyone! :)

That certainly was a glorious P-day last week and we followed it up with another pretty good one :)  One of our new investigating families owns a small Pig Farm and a rice field.  Yesterday after we taught a bunch of the pigs got loose and Elder Blotter and I helped them chase them all down and throw them back in the pen hahaha.  Elder Blotter got pretty muddy and REALLY stinky :)  Afterwards we asked if we could come back on P-day to accomplish a mission goal for Elder Hicken (our apartment-mate).....

We rode a Carabao!!!! WOOT! :o)  We were all pretty sketched out cuz it's a REALLY big animal but it was super chill and calm.  We even jumped and struggled to get on top of it but it didn't phase it at all haha :)  This was after a journey through the bukid (fields) and wading through a surprisingly deep stream(got up to my chest:).  Havin pretty great adventures here in San Ildefonso :)

Hi-Ho-Silver, AWAY?!!

Haha, sorry I haven't gotten you any of those detail pics yet.  The apartment's not bad at all.  It's nice and clean and fairly new to missionaries.  The mall and grocery store are modern but that's in a different city.  Everything out here is modern-ish but in a small city style.  I'm not sure what the population is.  It's definitely not as crazy as the city but it's still somewhat heavily populated.  Maybe like Pleasant Grove with LOTS of farm fields.  No rodents..... oh wait.... We've had a couple pretty epic mouse hunts with frying pans and empty buckets... fun stuff :)  No roaches at all out here though.  WOOT! :D  We walk quite a bit but it's not close.  It's a 1.5 hour walk to one of our areas.  Pretty cool and really tiring :)

Love the hat, Beej!!

Hahaha, that's pretty funny about Brayden's letter. (His cousin served in the 'Pines several years ago, and had a bit of 'culture shock' when he first got there.) Sounds like just about every American missionary in the Philippines.  I felt that way at the beginning but it's not that bad at all.  I'll probably go into culture shock again when I come back to America haha :)  Aww man!  I wish I was better at writing letters.... Sorry EVERYONE! :P

Go Ryan (Coombs)!  Pretty weird that all of Chelsey's grade is taking off on their missions now.  REALLY weird that I've almost been out an entire year.  I'll hafta throw a crazy party for my year mark haha :)

I'm pretty glad Alexander's coming to church again too.  Man those 2 are awesome.  They pick up everything we teach them SUPER quickly :)  Our District's great!  We have us 4 Americans and then 2 Sisters.  The Zone has 12 people.  Pretty fun stuff. Haha, I'm missing the filipino influence in the apartment a bit but it sure is a freaking BLAST having 4 American guys in one apartment. :)

Thanks for all the cool quotes.  I can see the change Elder Uchtdorf talked about too.  Elder Bednar's super cool too.  Apparently he went to the MTC after I left and gave a talk comparing Cookie Monster to the Natural Man in Mosiah 3:19 hahaha :)  I like the Apple Seed thing you talked about too haha good stuff :) (You can cut an apple in half, and see how many seeds are inside, but you can't cut a seed in half, and see how many apples have grown. So keep on planting those seeds!)

Love y'all TONS!!!!
Next week is transfer week (already???) so I won't be able to get to ya till Wednesday.

Da Beej

Monday, July 23, 2012

Great First Week In San Ildefonso Received 7-09-2012 (sorry out of order)

Hey, Hey, Hey! :D

Had a pretty great first week!  Even though there was almost no work when we started last week, we've built the area up really quickly.  We got 5 New Investigators this week which now puts us at 8.  And....... we gave out 5 baptismal dates! :D  Woot! haha, most of them are little kids but I'm glad that the work picked up really quick rather than us wandering around wondering what we should do for a week or two.

Carabao-Water Buffalo

So San Ildefonso and being in the province is still kinda sorta epic :)  It's still be-A-utiful and I don't think that'll wear off my whole time here.  Yesterday we were walking to an investigators house and this guy rode past us on his gigantor carabao pulling a cart.  Pretty cool stuff :)  Our laundry is done by hand by one of the nanays in our branch.  She's super cool and we call her Mama 'P' :)


Even though we're in a branch the building is still the same.  It's huge like the last 2 churches but about the same size as the Panghulo chapel.  It's pretty interesting being in a Branch because it is a LOT less organized than a ward.  President Sperry's 1st Counselor in the Mission Presidency came to our Branch yesterday and gave a talk.  After the sacrament meeting we talked to him for a while and he told us that we need to take a lot of responsibility with the organization of the Branch.  He said that in the city the church has been around for a long time but that since it has only been here for about 10-15 years it is really dependent on the missionaries for a lot of what happens.  It's going to be really cool to watch how much we help not just the missionary work, but the branch to progress.  There's a TON of potential for both the missionary work and branch progression, I'm really excited to see how much of a lasting difference we can make in this area.

We're REALLY far from the temple so it costs 3000 pesos ($75) to rent a jeepney to take us there.  So we didn't go this time because we didn't have enough investigators to make it worth it.  But we hope to take a bunch of people on July 28.  We'll see what happens, it would be cool :)

Too Cool For School?! ;)

Soooooo..... Birthday on the mission?  SUPER weird. haha :)  Since it wasn't a P-day it just felt like another day but I was a little less motivated to work heheheh :o)  It rained SUPER hard for 30 minutes without letting up at all on my birthday.  It was so loud we couldn't hear each other talk without yelling a bit.  It was the hardest rain I've seen and we thought it was gonna be a bagyo (storm/hurricane).  But it randomly let up after that.  It flooded the street outside and almost got a bit in our apartment.  So we went and got some pictures just for you Mom :)  We ended up having a feast at a member's house that night even though I don't know them super well yet and kinda just wanted to relax instead haha :)  It was fun though.  They made Adobong Manok(Chicken) and Sinigang Baboy(Pork), and we brought a BIG cake and mango/ube/chocolate ice-cream.... weird mix :o)

Now that's what we call RAIN!

Hahaha, that's awesome that you guys celebrated at Los Hermanos without me :)  I hope the Enchilada, chips & salsa, and fried ice cream were napakasarap!!!!(freaking delicious:)
Oh no.... Mom, I'm a good example of picture taking for sister missionaries??? That's a really bad sign, I better start taking less pictures ;o)

That's pretty cool about the rain you received from praying.  Really cool and shows that prayer really works and miracles happen in our day too; not just in Pioneer times or the scriptures.  Awesome 'possum! :)  I'd say that you could have some of the rain we're getting but I really like the rain now :)  It cools things off a bit (the other Elders even get chilly sometimes!) and getting wet from rain is SOOOOO much better than getting wet from sweat :oP  I even gave up my manliness a bit and bought a payung!(Umbrella:)

Giving my first workshop in District Meeting tomorrow.  It's about Finding new people to teach, which is something I haven't been super great with so far.  So I'm a bit nervous but REALLY excited to teach other missionaries and hopefully just lead a discussion :)  I'll be going to the Mission Office this week with Elder Batan (the other DL in our zone) on Friday for training.  Man, I wish I had time to tell you about all the AWESOME people I've met out here haha :)  Just know Elder Batan's a cool Philipino.  Should be a fun 2 hr. bus ride there and 2 hr. bus ride back :P

That's all for now folks! :)
Da Beej

Be excellent to each other and party on dudes! :)

Most Excellent Adventure! 7-23-2012

Hiya! :)

Man, I'm really sorry to hear about Brian. (Brian Cook passed away Wednesday, July 18th.) That guy is a stud and he'll be missed greatly but I know he's in the place where he's needed right now and is doing a lot of good for a lot of people just like he always has :)  I agree with what dad said, that Brian would have just wanted everyone to move on and be happy.  Great guy, I'll miss him.

Hunter went undefeated AND won the State championship AND was 1 of 3 MVP's in his first year of baseball?????  WOOT! :D  He's gonna be an athletic star I'm tellin ya, he's lucky he had such a great coach :o)  Thanks for all the details of mighty triumphantness, it sounds like it was just as fun and intense as it was back when I was doing it :)  And yes of course I remember that catch in Spanish Fork... it was sooo cool :o)  Let him know I'm super jealous and SUPER proud of him :)

One Happy Hunter!!

So we kinda sorta went on an adventure today :)  Not only did we drive a half hour away on dirt roads to the HOLY mountain.... We drove another 20 minutes and then hiked and swam (well... sorta) to...... JESUS MOUNTAIN!  Just in case you're wondering that's kinda epic :)  They were both mountains out in the middle of nowhere with Catholic parishes from what seemed like the 1800s and we had a blast getting to them and taking pictures.  We even had to take a bamboo ferry over a river to get to Jesus mtn.  Pretty awesome :)
Elder Powell-Elder Hicken-Elder Miller

Epic P-Day Journey!

Yup, things are going better with Alexander.  He was able to go to church this week and we had a long talk with his mother about it.  She's still a little antsy about him getting baptized but that will hopefully wear off as we continue to teach him and pray for him.  He and his sister, Iza, will hopefully be baptized on August 18th along with the Brillantes kids (Jastine(11), Manuel(9), and MJ(8)).  Should be great if things work out :)

So as a parting note....... I ate dog last week :)  So cool.  So gross :o)  It was just too chewy and had little bones in it.  Don't worry mom, I haven't gotten deathly sick....... yet :o)

Little Hot Dog Anyone?

Sorry this is kinda short, our adventure earlier took up a lot of time.
Da Beej

There In Spirit :) Received 7-18-2012

Sorry there was no email on Monday.  Our leaders snuck up on us and changed our temple day the night before.  So we were super excited for P-day the next day and then they texted us telling it wouldn't be until Wednesday.... Lame sauce :P  No worries, at least you know I'm still alive now :)

Slater Family Reunion-2012-Uintahs

Holy oh my freaking epicness! :)  Sounds like the family reunion was a BLAST!  Kinda sorta super jealous that y'all went camping and canoeing and getting drenched in the cursed tent without me :)  I got a pretty good laugh mom, out of the fact that you tried to fix the dripping tent problem by sticking a garbage sack on your face hahaha.  Pretty embarrassing that Dad wet the bed too :o) (ok, let me clarify, he didn't actually wet the bed, the water seeped up through the bottom of the tent, through both the sleeping pad and bag making it look like he wet the bed!) haha

Cursed Powell Family Tent-Always rains whenever we take it.

Hahaha, I'm so glad that you guys finally got to act on your childhood torture jokes with grandma :)  It seemed like every time we all got together you were all talking about wearing yellow and the EPIC coconut covered cakes she baked for you haha.  I'm thinking we'll probably end up making fun of you for the bowl cuts and puffy jackets you always made us wear hahaha! :)  You'll hafta send me a picture of the puffy vests next week ;o)

Faked Grandma Slater Out-
Instead of shredded coconut, it was shredded white chocolate.

So the work slowed down a little bit out here, but compared to where we started from, we're doing great, so no worries :)  It's still pretty out here but lately it stopped raining and got SUPER hot!  Eww... haha, definitely prefer the rain.  We're having a blast in my apartment.  We've got 4 Americans together and we're always joking around and talking when we get home.  It's been fun, but surprisingly we only have about 3 weeks left in the transfer.... Yikes!  That was kinda sorta FAST!  Haha, hopefully we'll get the work rolling again this week.

Our investigators are doing pretty good but we're having a bit of a hard time getting them to church. 2 of them are Iza (15) and Alexander(10) Sta. Maria.  They are SOOO cool and SOOO into the Gospel and they seem to fully understand it even though they're a little young.  Their Mom is a less-active member named Alma and they've had a bit of a rough life.  Alma's committed sins and is too ashamed to go to church but she lets her kids go.  The last 2 weeks though she hasn't allowed Alexander to go because he has a problem with stealing things at school and we think it's cuz he's hungry.  Alex is such a good, kind, quiet kid and we think that going to church will get rid of his bad habit but that's the punishment his Mom has set and we can't change it.  Hopefully he'll be able to go to church this week.  Iza will hopefully get baptized around August 11 and then Alexander will probably be a couple weeks after that.

Being a DL hasn't been too much of a problem so far.  The workshops go by MUCH faster than I thought they would, especially since my district is kinda talkative and we get good discussions going :)  This week I gave a work shop on Charity.... I'm kind of a bum cuz it was almost all prepared an hour before I gave it but I felt the Spirit leading me and it turned out great :)

Elder BJ

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

MALIGAYANG BATI!!-4th Area-5th Transfer-

Hiya Ma! :D

Hahaha, thanks for all the Birthday wishes!  I had almost forgot how fun birthdays were and was just planning on having it be another day of work but now I might hafta do something epic! :)  I also almost forgot our fam's happy bday song! :O  Here they just say Happy Birthday like 50 times to the tune! (They say Happy Birthday instead of dear      )  It was good to hear that from y'all :)

I have been transferred.... BACK TO CALOOCAN!.......

Just kidding :o)  I'm in BALIWAG ZONE! :D  I am officially a genius and a few of ya got it right.  Good work! :)  It took almost 2 hours to get from the transfer meeting to our area.  My area (San Ildefonso Branch) is about 85 km from the mission office.  We're the second farthest area in the mission and part of our area borders the Angeles Mission.

It's kinda sorta freaking BEAUTIFUL out here!  My first 3 areas were deep city but Baliwag Zone is a completely different story, you could say a fresh breath of air :)  I finally saw all the things that I thought I would see in the Philippines when I first opened my mission call.  Rice fields everywhere, carabao(water buffalo?) with HUGE horns pulling carts full of veggies and stuff, and beautiful views.  I think there's a volcano that I can see but it might just be a really cool mountain :)  Basically, it's completely different (in a good way) and it's freaking amazing :D


Lately there's been a big problem in our mission with people being pasaway(disobedient).  President and Sister Sperry both gave pretty firm talks about it at Transfer Meeting and there were A LOT of changes in the mission.  The Valenzuela Zone has been split to make a new Meycauayan Zone :)  Elder Calinog (MTC Companion) and...... Elder Sidillo (Trainer) are the ZL's there hahaha :)  SO cool to see old comps and areas connected :)  Elder Cloward (MTC Companion) was also made a ZL and so were Elder Taulelei and Elder Day from the MTC.  Pretty cool stuff! :)  Elder Compao was transferred to Panghulo (my 1st area) haha

I was made a DL! :D  WooHoo :)  I'm pretty excited about this transfer because everyone here is super obedient and excited about the work.  There are 4 elders in my apartment, in our District, 2 sisters, and the ZLs.  Last transfer almost the whole Zone became pasaway and so it seems that President has sent in good missionaries to fix it.  So everyone in my district has already improved their areas even though we've only been here 5 days.  WOOT! :)
Elder Blotter

My new comp is... an American??  Weird. haha :)  Elder Blotter is my new companion.  He's from Woods Cross, Utah and has been in the field for 5 months.  He's SUPER hard-working, kinda strict, and I'm really excited to get to work with him.  He's a really good singer and played Enjolras in Les Mis in High School. Cool :)  Our Branch is.... a Branch haha :)  That means there aren't very many people that go to church (about 50 a week), not too many Priesthood holders, and there's a lot of work to do.  I actually like the idea because there is SOOOO much room and potential for growth.  I'll be able to watch as we actually build the kingdom here :)  Pretty excited.

The other Elders in our apartment are Elder Hicken (5 months in from Roosevelt, UT) and Elder Miller (6 months in from Oregon/Utah).  I'm gonna hafta thank Aunt Katie here.  Elder Miller is a HUGE Pink Floyd fan and was raised on the music haha.  He's basically my "Dude" side taken to the next level hahaha :)  Really cool and funny.  We've been singin songs and talking about Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Hobbit movie comin out, and all sortsa stuff from my dude/nerdy side hahaha :)

It was pretty sad to leave Batasan 2nd but I'm excited to kick pwet in San Ildefonso :)  As we went around saying goodbye to people one of the sisters even cried haha.  I loved the people in that area, it's been my favorite so far, even though I was only there one transfer.

Monreal Family

Here's the link to my new house.  It's the long red one below the trees and tennis court.  It's actually 3 apartments and we're in the middle.  Just copy and paste it.

  Thanks so much for the bday wishes!  I love and miss you all like crazy! :)
Be Excellent to each other and party on dudes! :)
Elder Powell
Hangin' With the Monreal Kids
Thanks for the awesome advice mom, I totally agreed with it all and loved it! :)  Pretty cool thing I noticed was that Ammon's approach to missionary work is a lot like what I've learned to do haha.  Rather than attacking people with the gospel, loving them and finding similarities in our beliefs.  It was pretty cool to read your email and realize that.  ALMA and the Sons of Mosiah are SO COOL! :)

Thanks a bunch to you, Chelsey, Gma and the whole fam for the Box O' Sunshine hahaha, it was great :)  Thanks for always bein so good to me and sending me your love :)  Just make sure and take care of yourselves too eh?  Don't spend too much on me, I'm doin good out here :)
Tell all the Smiths and everyone out there hi for me :)  I love y'all!
Keep sendin those pictures!  Keep me updated on that Hunter kid's first State Tourney! :)  Is he pitching?

Loads of Fun in the Sun!