Monday, June 24, 2013

Workin' Hard, and Lovin' it in the 'Pines!

Happy missionaries with Brother B helping out.
Mommmaaaaaaa! Oooooooooooo!

Hiya!  That might be one of the busiest weeks you've had in the past 2 years eh?  Running around like a chicken with it's head cut off again? :)
Hunter's X-Factor Team
Hunter's Bball team is the 2nd best in all of Utah?!  WooT!  I trained him well :)  He sounded pretty proud of his man-scar/goose-egg :)  I'm glad they had some time to relax and have fun as a team off the court as well.  That's gonna be a great memory for him, can't wait to get home and see it all for myself :)  They're gonna play at the SouthTowne Expo Center?  That's some pretty high-stakes stuff eh?  A little bit bigger than rec league eh?  He's gonna dominate in rec league after all these traveling teams haha
Hunter getting ready to steal the ball....again! ;-)

Sad to hear y'all missed out on Strawberry Days.  I told Ashlyn that she's gonna hafta save me a Fresh Strawberry Shake from Taco Amigo :)  That's great news that Gma Miller was able to join in on the parade!  Glad to hear that she's made it back home.  Make sure and send her my love.

Bud's all married now eh? :D  That's awesome. Sounds like the wedding went great, you're all looking very pogi and maganda :)
Such a cute couple!

Pretty crazy to think that Heather's already leaving on her mission!  She's gonna do great!  Is she in the MTC for 3 weeks then?  She'll just BARELY miss the 4th of July with y'all haha.  Tell her congrats and send everyone my love!

We had a pretty good week.  We're trying to Open our Mouths more and it's been going well. Heavenly Father keeps placing people in our way for us to talk to and share the Gospel with.  We got 6 New Investigators this past week and we're hoping that we'll get a bunch more this week and that we'll start to get a little harvesting done from all the planting we're doing right now.
Our cute family at the wedding.

We haven't gotten to see "The Work of Salvation" but it sounds great.  With all the new missionaries Heavenly Father is really try to speed up the Work of Salvation but in order for it to happen we all need to stand up and "Lift where we stand".  Nearly all of the real success that we have as missionaries comes from members helping us out.  Just ask Heavenly Father to give you a chance to help in the work and then have the courage and faith to do so when He gives you the opportunity.
Hahaha! They caught me in a BIG yawn! ;-)
Missionaries in BJ's District

Planting 'Seeds' in the Meycauayan Zone! Received-6-17-2013

Hiya! :D

Wow, that's pretty cool that Gma's Attorney's been to my area haha, what's his name?  Haha, this place really is my own little paradise.  We weren't able to go back to that spot and might not be able to again because it's just too far away from the church to focus our work out there. There's plenty of beautiful views in other parts of the area to keep us in paradise though :)

Sounds like it's an exciting time for y'all back there preparing for B and K's wedding.  That's just terrible that you'll hafta miss the Strawberry Days Parade though!  That's a family tradition!!!  I'm sure Dad doesn't mind much though eh? ;)  Hopefully we'll be able to go as a family again next year. But as far as wedding preparation experience don't plan on using it soon on me haha :)  I'm hoping to get some good fun in before that step haha.  I've decided one of my life goals is to become a Tour Guide or something like that in Yellowstone hopefully next Summer :)  I'll try and spot out some good camping spots for y'all to come visit too :)

I'm in the Sta. Maria Ward of Meycauayan Zone.  But it's still part of Valenzuela Stake, the Stake just has 2 missionary zones, us and Valenzuela. This morning we went to the Meycauayan chapel to play basketball as a zone and a lot of Elders came from the Valenzuela Zone as well.  I got to see some friends from past areas including Elder J!  Haha, it was great  he's one of my favorite companions and it sounds like he did great training in Minuyan and is doing good in his new area too. We had 2 Meycauayan vs. Valenzuela games and we won both.  WooT! :)  Buuuuut.... I forgot to get a picture... haha, sorry.  Another funny thing though is that ALL of the other Elders are giving me a hard time about getting close to going home.  An airplane passed by during bball and everyone started yelling at me and pointing at the plane hahaha :)  I might be a little excited to get home but I'm loving the work right now and we're working our hardest.

Haha, you always seem to worry about me and my apartments :)  It's a newer and nice apartment again.  We have a pretty nice shower, there's only good water pressure at night, so being impatient I just use the ladle and bucket while I still can :)  At this point I'm actually enjoying having cold showers instead of hot ones, might be weird getting home haha.  Yes our toilet does flush... after you pour a ladle or 2 of water down it... just like every other toilet in the Philippines :)

As far as the area, it's not poor at all.  There are parts out in the outskirts of our area where more farmers and stuff live but for the most part our area is full of really nice subdivisions.  First time that's happened for me on the mission.  As far as the address.... I'll try.  It might not be exactly where our house is because the subdivision's too new for google again.  
One Happy Family!

Had a really good week as far as Less-Actives go.  We got 17 lessons in with them and 7 of them came to church.  We were hoping more would come but 7 is a pretty high number itself.  The Zone Leaders were pretty impressed with how quickly we improved the area.  Cool beans :)  As far as investigators we're still kinda short.  We've got 3 that we were hoping would come to church yesterday but had things come up and couldn't make it.  They said they would next week though.  I feel like I did when we were new in Camarin 1st Ward and started planting seeds during our 1st transfer there.  As far as I can tell we've planted a couple good seeds but need to Open our Mouths more this week and plant a bunch more.  Still pretty excited about what we'll be able to do here :)

Sta. Maria is a ward.  There's not much leadership, we only have 9 or 10 brothers in the Elders Quorum every week. There are a BUNCH of Single Adult sisters and Young Women though haha. I'm thinking Heavenly Father's trying to help me to prepare to come home ;P It seems like we'll get an average of about 120 people going to church each week.
J M's Baptism 6-15-13

With B O.'s email last week our part of the mission had that meeting last Wednesday.  The Area Presidency is coming out with new focuses in the missionary work in the Philippines in order to more fully utilize the new force of missionaries coming in.  In short they've asked us to OYM more and focus a lot more on baptisms.  They especially want us to focus on finding the more wealthy people here that we can teach and have potential to become strong leaders of the church.  They've even asked us to start teaching in English where appropriate in order to focus more on the wealthy.  They also asked us to strive to "Match the Message."  Or to be more careful in our actions and appearance in public so that we look more professional and can be recognized as God's servants.  Pretty neat stuff and even more incentive to start looking for new investigators.
Soooooooo.....  Father's Day's probably over for you guys too by now buuuutttt.....
HAPPY PAPA'S DAY POPS!!  Love and miss ya to death.  Just so ya know, I picked up a gift for ya today.  Be excited, it's pretty swerve sauce :)

Love y'all tons!  Talk atcha next week!

P.S.-I'm on the hunt for souvenirs as of now.  Got a surprise for each of you earlier... That's right.  BE EXCITED :) Pics from the baptism of J M.  He's 12 yrs. old and was also given the Priesthood at church yesterday :)  As of now we don't have any baptismal dates.... Bummer... I was hopin to have one on my Bday haha :)



Monday, June 10, 2013

Happy Missionaries in the Great Valley!

Gorgeous might be an understatement!
(When we got on to email BJ we thought we'd already missed him, but we lucked-out!  He was still on, and we got to have a little 'chat.' ;-) It was great!) 
Here's some AWESOME pics of my GORGEOUS new area before I forget or run out of time or have something lame like that happen :) Yesterday we went out to one of the farthest parts of our area and then walked with a member for another 20 minutes until we got to this GORGEOUS farm in a little valley.  Needless to say I'm kinda sorta stoked for my new area and am pretty bummed that I'll only get to spend 2 transfers here.  I was telling everybody that I'll just build a house in that valley and live there after the mish haha :)
Elder C
That's my new comp, Elder C.  He's pure Filipino, but was born and raised in the U.S.  He's from down the road in Saratoga Springs, UT and worked as a caterer for GoodWood Barbecue.... LUCKY!!! :)  Right now will be his 5th transfer. He's a stud and we're waaaaaay excited for this transfer.
Brother B
This is our AWESOME ward missionary, Brother B.  He was taught back in 2008 in Bacolod but moved to Manila before he got baptized.  He didn't see any missionaries again until 2011. He was doing chores when he saw them walk past his house, but he couldn't talk to them until he finished the chore. He finished as fast as possible and then CHASED the missionaries down and told them he wanted to get baptized. LUCKY missionaries! haha :)  He's super cool and said he'll work with us every day.  DOPE!
We ate "Dinuguan" last night..... Pig's blood :)  It was actually pretty good, They cooked it different so that it wasn't Pig's blood soup like normal :P  The 2 Filipinos there are our kabahays (Housemates), Elder P from Ilo-Ilo, and Elder D from Bicol.
Eating Buko
Here's me eating buko straight from the tree... Doesn't taste all that great in my opinion but it looks cool hehe
The work's going pretty well.  When I got here Wednesday we only had one serious investigator and he'll be baptized this Saturday.  But we found a couple new people we can teach and had an amazing lesson with a member's wife that is an Inactive Methodist and has been to any and every church under the sun.  She asked why there are so many churches and we taught about Joseph Smith, the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon and she is pretty excited about it.  The Spirit was super strong :)
As far as Less-Actives go they're doing pretty well also. We've got plenty of work to keep us busy and we had 11 Less-Actives that came to church last week.  WooT! :)

Pretty sad that I missed our investigators' baptisms in Camarin  last week, but I'm loving this place already and super excited for it :)  Hopefully I can get Elder Bagaoisan to send me some pics from their baptisms.
As far as this area, it's all beautiful and provincial. Isn't this area amazing?! :) Those pictures are near the end of our area which touches Norzagaray, a mountainous area that also touches.... Minuyan Branch!  I'm about 15 kilometres away from Minuyan and Meycauayan, and 20 kms away from Camarin and Batasan Hills.  Small world haha
'The Great Valley!'
Hahahaha, you poor, poor, poor family of mine!  I would say I feel bad for ya and play you a song on the world's tiniest violin if I was there with ya :) (I was complaining to him about our air conditioner being on the fritz.) Just borrow some Electric Fans and have them on full blast 24/7, that's what we do :)  Also remember that BJ's out here sweating his life away :o) It's still really hot but the rainy season's started here now.  We got caught in the rain on that farm I showed you and it's supposed to rain every day this week.
Lovin' it in the 'Pines!
Hahaha, don't worry Mom, this area's too amazing NOT to take pictures of everything I see :) Be excited for and expect many to come :)

We're probably just gonna head home and play Phase 10 for this P-day but we'll for sure get some wild Adventures in :)
Man oh man oh man I wish I was there to see that little guy tearin it up :) (Talking about Hunter's success in baseball.)  Sounds like we taught him well and your continued cheering is keepin him goin :)  Thanks for all his stories you send me.  Keep em comin! :)

I'm gonna hafta take off.  It was fun chatting with ya and can't wait to send ya some new pics and stories about people we meet this week :)

Mahal Kita! :D
Your Son,

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Will He Stay Or Will He Go Now? 6-3-2013

Mamaaaaaaaaa!  Ooooooooooo! :)

Are you ready for Transfer announcements?  Do you want to know if I'm leaving?  Do you wanna know about new companions and whether I have a new area or not?  Are you SURE?!  Well too bad. I'm not telling you yet :)  Mwahahahaha! :)
Awesome baptisms with a miracle too!

Sorry... Just trying to add a little excitement to your Summer :)  We had a great week, but of course the only thing that was on our minds the entire week was the baptism coming up :)  It was great, we baptized Sisters R S, C C, and H R.  They were all super excited and were super happy to be baptized.  Their testimonies afterwards were super strong and there was a bit of a miracle that was included with the baptism :)

The night before the baptism we visited them all to make sure they understood everything that would happen.  When we visited H she was miserable and crying.  She got a really bad stomach ache and had sore eyes as well and wasn't sure if she's be able to be baptized this week.  We gave her a blessing to help the sickness go away.  The next day when we got to the baptism 30 minutes early they were all already there waiting for us.  H was crying and in really bad pain still.  We asked her if she wanted to extend her baptism to next week instead so she'd be feeling well at her baptism but she really wanted to go through with it.  We started the program, and in the middle of the 2nd speaker she was still crying.  None of us wanted that to be her memory of her baptism.  I said a prayer and asked Heavenly Father to heal her according to her faith and our faith so that she could enjoy her baptism.  From that moment she seemed to cheer up and was much more attentive, active, and happy. They were planning on going to the doctor the next day to find out what was wrong but from what I can tell she didn't feel any pain from that moment on.  It was a pretty amazing miracle that Heavenly Father blessed us to witness.  The power of Faith and Prayer cannot be doubted, I know it's a real thing.
Happiness in the 'Pines
Sunday was Testimony Meeting.... It was great! :)  The testimonies of those we have taught are soooo strong.  R S, who's 15, was one of the first to bear testimony and the spirit was very strong. She bore testimony that this is the true church, she knows the Book of Mormon is true because she reads it and is already in Mosiah, and that she wants to serve a mission when she's older.  WooT!!! :) She's one of a group of 5 13-16 yr. old girls we've taught.  At first I didn't think anything would come of it cuz they're young but their testimonies are soooo strong and the Young Women's group has embraced them and they all want to serve missions.  Heavenly Father provides a way :)

Later on in the meeting the Golden Investigator I told you about last week Q G, bore testimony as well.  She still has 2 or 3 weeks before she'll be baptized but she bore such a strong testimony of the truth of the church and how it has already changed her life.  She also called me and Elder B her angels haha.  I love it when our people stand up in testimony meetings, it's a great feeling.
One hard......

So yup... the work's going great here and the ward is very excited and involved in it now.  We've got 5 baptisms set up over the next 2 or 3 weeks and they've all been ready to be baptized for a couple weeks.  Of course, with everything going so well.... What would you expect?.....
working missionary's.....

I'm Transferring!!!!! haha, Did I scare ya into thinking I wouldn't tell you the results? :) Got the text last night in the middle of a Family Home Evening.  They told me where I'm going and who my comp is. My new (and probably last) area is.......  Sta. Maria, Bulacan!!! In the Meycauayan Zone, goin back to the old stompin grounds :)  I went there once or twice with my second companion, Elder M, and it's a very pretty area.  I'm super excited to go there and see what I can do to build the kingdom of God in my last area.  It's province like San Ildefonso was but it's closer to the city and has a little bit of a city area to it.  My new comp will be Elder C from Lehi, Utah.  I met him once at the temple and he seems like a really cool guy and I'm really excited to get out there and get to work with him.
SHOES! ;-) They're his favorites!

Soooooo..... I finally got ya some pics.  But before that, mouse stories :)  Haven't had any except for San Ildefonso and we LOVED it :)  We would go on mouse hunts whenever we caught one sneaking around, probably scared the neighbors with all the hooting and hollering :)  We would chase em around with sticks or anything we got our hands on, shoving furniture and anything else out of the way trying to get em.  It was a blast :)

Sounds like you've got plenty of exciting things going on back home, keep up the good work and have a fun summer :)
I love y'all tons and can't wait to see ya in 86 days!!  Maybe I should make my own little paper link chain here haha.
~A few of BJ's basketball~dunking~buddies~

Mahal Kita!!!
Elder Beej

BJ's Still Busy and Loving The Mission! Received-5-22-2013

Hiya Everyone! :D
Haha, I'm still on a high after talking to y'all, (Mother's Day call was amazing!) it was great and I've been looking forward to it for a while.  We did have a great week of teaching.  We got in 36 appointments!  WooT! :)  We had 25 in the first 4 days and were hoping to get to 40 for the week but we got busy with helping with another companionship's baptism, Temple Tour and all sorts of fun stuff.  Hopefully I'll hit 40 sometime on my mission :)
Cool Jersey's!
Haha, don't worry ma, I got my scriptures this morning at the temple and I'm gonna give them to the Leather people on June 5th to do their magic :)  I'm also gonna have them leather-bind my Jesus the Christ book... cuz it's pretty much the best book ever written behind the Book of Mormon and it's probably just as good as the Bible cuz it explains it :)
I also bought me some nice fit pants and a plaid button-shirt for school from the American Surplus store and I'm gonna get Elder B a jersey for his birthday later.  I'll make sure and get pictures of all of it for you so that we don't drag out our picture famine any longer haha.
BJ's companion Elder B

Elder B said thanks for the birthday wish.  Sorry I wasn't able to get you his address last week or shoot you an email... We were pretty busy last week and we've been pretty busy this week too already.

Hahahaha, I'm glad Ashlyn's having a blast in NY and saving her sleep for when it's free :)  Can't wait to see pics and hear all about it next week :)

Has Hunter EVER lost a Little League baseball game???    That kid is a MACHINE! :)  I trained him well.  Work hard.  Play your best.  Show no mercy :o)  That's pretty ridiculous about the soccer Championship.  I always did think that Soccer was a sissy sport ;o)  I hope you guys can get that championship reclaimed.  Whatever happens they're champs for me :) (The team we played in the championships had an illegal player that came at halftime to help them win us by one point. He was too old for our league.)
Hunter's Extreme Force soccer team.
Sorry no pics of the shoes but we had a great Temple Tour again. We were able to have a lot of investigators come with us again to the tour last Saturday.  They all enjoyed it a ton and our new Golden investigator bought a bunch of church books and DVDs for her kids and even bought them CTR rings :)
The new Golden Investigator's name is Sister Q G.  She has 2 kids: K(9) and P(7). Her next-door neighbor/sister-in-law is a Less-Active member that's been taught by missionaries for a year.  Lately we've helped her Sister-in-Law (R) finally start acting and coming back to church.  One day we showed up to teach R, and Q was talking with her so we quickly introduced ourselves and gave her a Book of Mormon.  She told us that she's seen Elders go in to teach her neighbor for almost a year and has been waiting ever since for the day that the Elders would talk to her.  WooT :) Now she's been to church twice.  She knows about the Restoration by heart(pretty much taught our investigator's class about it) and believes all we've taught her.  Her questions and intentions are soooo sincere and she's very excited to be baptized and help her husband do so also when he gets time off work. Yesterday we taught her about baptism and were planning on inviting her to be baptized but she beat us to it :)  She asked us what she needs to do to be baptized and when she and K can be baptized.  WoooooooooT! :)  We gave her the date of June 15th.  Transfer day is June 5 so one of us will likely miss her baptism but she's da bomb :)

Also saw....... Sister E today! :D  We were leaving the mall to go home when someone yelled "Elder!" and I turned around and it was them.  I love seeing people I love after a long time of not seeing them.  Can't wait to see all of you in August :)...... but I'm still working hard and enjoying myself here :)

Hunter's X-Factor team won the 4th grade tournament!

That's a bummer that the other teams chickened out on the St. George basketball tournament.  They probably just heard how good Hunter's team was and gave up all hope :o)  We were all really looking forward to that.  Oh well, I guess that means he won't hafta miss a baseball game right?  Haha, way to keep busy, you guys are the best :)

I was in Minuyan with Elder J from December 13 until March 13.  2 transfers.  No info on the baptisms yet but I'll try and remember next Monday haha.

Sorry there aren't many pics yet but I'll get ya some that I talked about here next week.
Elder Powell