Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year

So its new year.  I don't know where it has gone...  But its been fun.  All missionaries have the opportunity to Skype or call.  It was fun.  We should do it again in a few months.  The work has been kinda rough lately because alcohol is a large commodity during this time of year, but its been good.  I can't believe the cycle is almost over.  We have two weeks left before the transfer.   Our attendance went down this week because it was Christmas and it is planting season again but we still have a bunch of awesome returning members.  We are focusing on finding investigators.  We have one super progressing investigator.  He is 16.  He worked with us once last week and it was awesome.  He testified about what we were teaching.  We wanted to give a baptismal date this week but he went to Manila for Christmas.  I'll give you an update next week.  I'm doing good.  We were able to go to the gym this morning. Thank you for all that you all do.  I have the best family ever.  I love you all and I will talk to you next week.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Skype with Family

Even with the few glitches that we experienced, it was still a blessing to see his handsome face

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Dinner 2013

Main course before Dinner

Dinner's Served
Christmas Pies made by the Missionaries

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Devotional 2013

Roxas Zone

Elder Marshall directing the renowned Cauayan Mission Choir of Roxas
             I promise, you have never heard a choir like this one--
         --composed entirely of soloists, each singing their own song.  
                                            At the same time. Very loudly.
                                                      And quite off key.


Monday, December 16, 2013

New Companion

So this week has been different.  Elder Rivera decided to go home so my new companion is Elder Padol.  This is his third cycle here and he is awesome.  So we had an awesome week.  We had a baptism and the most lessons I've ever had.  We worked really hard and we have seen a lot of success.  One of our investigators has a lot of Word of Wisdom issues but he seemed happier yesterday when we taught him.  He said that he has been able to cut back on the cigarettes.  So we are really excited for him.

I'll send pictures next week.  We are at a new net-shop and I don't want to get a virus.  So we are doing great.  I love my area.  And we are working hard.  

I don't really have much news...  I love peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches.  I cannot count how many I have eaten this week.  

One request:  Could you send me some recipes with using Chicken without rice as an ingredient. I'm sick of rice.  I need real food. Other meats are hard to come by here.  Thank you!

I love you all.  Have a Wonderful Week.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Staying in this area one more transfer at least :-)

So this week...  We had transfers.  My new companion is Elder Rivera we entered the MTC at the same time but he went to Manila.  He is from Cavite, Philippines.

This story showed up in our mission newsletter for December:

"For 11 years there has been a missionary house in one of the areas here in Philippines Cauayan Mission that happens to be right next to the missionaries’ landlord. This landlord and their family have seen the missionaries for years go in and out of the house next door. Occasionally they would talk to each other, which eventually became a gradual friendship as the missionaries passed by every day. Several sets of missionaries had attempted to teach them and had got through a few lessons. However, in reality they were only trying to be friendly neighbors and showed no progression.

Just recently the missionaries decided it would be good to invite the family to Family Week. They agreed and actually showed up that day. It just so happened to be that President and Sister Rahlf had been invited to speak on families. The next week the father of the family shared with the missionaries how touched he was about the message he heard on families and thought of his own family. Even though they were well off he felt a lack of purpose in his own family and wanted to learn more.

They soon invited the missionaries over to have them expound what they heard on Family Week. Before the father was baptized he thought about what Joseph Smith did to receive an answer and did the same. He went up on the nearby mountain, where he was alone, and prayed to know. After his prayer he felt the Spirit so strong he started to tear up and had his own Sacred Grove experience as God testified to him of the truth he had come to know.  Lesson after lesson he intently listened to the missionaries with his family and they accepted all the commitments given. After talking with his wife they decided to be baptized together and now enjoy the blessings of the gospel.  We never know who around us is being prepared by the Lord."

This great experience is from Aritao.  The father drives the missionaries up for transfer meeting each cycle.  He found me last week at transfer meeting and in the most humble way, he told me that he had been baptized.  He was beaming from ear to ear.  Two of his three children will be baptized before Christmas and the third is actively going to church but hasn't had time for the lessons yet.  This family is awesome.

I had a opportunity to listen to President Rahlf talk about the consequences of sin.  He gave some very enlightening points.  One of the things that he said is that we can become completely clean from our sins however, repentance does not always remove the consequences.  The consequences remain sometimes indefinitely as a reminder to live the commandments.  He then explained why it is so important to follow the commandments the first time and every time.  Because the consequences can be avoided forever if we follow. 
This is the family that was baptized Aritao

Monday, December 2, 2013

No Turkey for me this year!

So I’m not dying or anything.  The sickness I had was just a cold that lingered. I feel better now.  I am actually emailing from Echague.  Elder Franzuela had some teeth that needed some work so we got approval to come to the dentist here.  We had a good Thanksgiving.  The Turkey here isn't good from everything I've heard so we bought some beef at the market and did a barbecued roast.  It tasted really good.  I woke up Friday morning not feeling very well and threw up a few times.  I think the meat we bought was bad...  But I am fine now.  I feel good, I'm happy, I'm getting healthier. :)

So when we had interviews with President a few weeks ago, he said that it was likely that I would be transferred because I have been in Aurora 3 cycles.  The transfer list came today,  I'm staying in Aurora  So I will be in Aurora for Christmas.  Um so that is what the next cycle is going to hold.  I really do love my area so that won’t be a problem.  

 I will let you know how the transfer turns out next week.  I love you all so much!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Re-post from Pres. & Sister Rahlf's blog on Nov. 2013

November 6-11
The week after the Mission Presidents Seminar, we were blessed to have a Mission Tour with our Area  President and his wife, Elder and Sister Nielson.
We held multi-zone conferences in Tuguegarao and Cauayan and we were all the recipients of inspired counsel, instruction, and encouragement.
On Friday morning, the 8th of November, we were ready to begin our Zone Conference. It was at the time the typhoon was raging south of us.  Elder Nielson asked if we would join him in a kneeling prayer on behalf of all those in the path of the storm.  We knelt with about 130 of our missionaries, united in love and prayer.
We are deeply grateful for the leadership and care we receive from our Area Presidency.
Roxas Zone with Elder Nielson and his wife

Monday, November 25, 2013

Good Morning Western Hemisphere

How is everyone doing?  I'm doing alright.  I'm glad everyone had a good time on their trips.  This week has been hard.  I was sick again for a few days.  I was put on an antibiotic with being sick it was super hard for both of us to get in the groove of things.  The whole week was an uphill battle and we got beat to pieces... haha.  The one diamond in the rough was that we had a less active family come to church.  They brought two daughters-in-law and one daughter that have not yet been baptized.  So we have 3 new investigators.  It was a hard week however, I learned a lot and this next week will be better.  Transfers are coming up and so I'll be preparing for that, I will let you know where I end up.   Other than that I don't have much news.  Its kind of a short email but I'm all out of news.  Lauren, I got your letter about your investigator that was baptized.  That is really cool.  You never how long it will take.
I love and am grateful for all of you.  Have a great Thanksgiving.
There is a member here that likes to have the missionaries carve their names in his tree

Thanksgiving Feast (it looks delicious)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Super Duper Week

So this week has been super duper spiritual.  I have learned so much and feel like I am more the missionary that Heavenly Father needs me to be.  We aren't really expecting any changes because of the disaster.  Visaya is essentially a completely different country.  They speak a different language and it is fairly far away.  So I will let you know if anything changes but don't expect anything to change.

So I don't know if you ever saw any of the blog posts about Brother Pete.  I know that the Carlos' did a couple and I know he is in one of the Rahlf's posts.  He is an American that was a member of the military here in the Philippines back in the day.  He found a Filipina and decided to move back.  He is a huge help to this mission. He cooks at almost every zone conference and he provides souvenirs for missionaries at essentially wholesale price.  All he does is go around doing good.  Salt Lake heard about him and sent a bunch of camera-men out to do a piece for  in between conference.  So we are all excited to see Brother Pete on TV.  Be watching for it.  

This week things got really interesting.  I realized that I will probably only have 2 more weeks in this area...  I honestly love this area and so I have been trying to let loose.  There was a quote last conference that said "Don't die with your music still in you."  I will not leave this area with my music still in me.  

I was able to get my hands on a copy of "The Other Side of Heaven." (it has been approved by President.)  I realized that I really have it good.  I have so many luxuries (even in the Philippines) that I have taken for granted.  I am always safe, I have running water, I get mail, I can go to the store, I can email, I have a companion, the branch is established, I speak the language, and many more.  I am so grateful for what I have!

So pretty much that is it... I love you all. I am doing great and am committing to be a better missionary every day.   Missionary work is hard but it is so worth it.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Message to Missionaries from Pres. and Sister Rahlf

Wonderful Elders and Sisters of the Great Philippines Cauayan Mission,

As many of you have asked, I wanted to inform all of you of the circumstances surrounding the Super Typhoon affecting the Tacloban Mission.  Here are some of the facts that you should know:

- All of the Missionaries have been found and are safe and accounted for.  As far as we know, all of the families of the missionaries serving in the Cauayan Mission who are from that area are safe, although many have lost their homes and belongings.

- The Tacloban Mission has been closed.  All of the missionaries have been evacuated to Manila and treated for wounds and illnessed caused by the typhoon.

- All of the missionaries from the Tacloban Mission have been reassigned to 11 of the 21 other Missions in the Philippines.  To make room for all of the reassignments, many missionaries who were in the 11 Missions that took in Missionaries who were going home in the next two months have been asked to go home early, and are now home or on their way home.

-  The Cauayan Mission was not asked to receive any of the reassigned missionaries from the Tacloban Mission, I assume because of distance and the fact that those missionaries spoke Cebuano, not Tagalog.

-  The Tacloban Mission home was flooded and damaged during the typhoon and storm surge but will now be quickly cleaned, repaired, and used for a command center for disaster relief operations for the members and communities in the mission.

-  A total of 43 Church buildings were damaged by the storm in that area, 12 with major damage and 31 with minor damage.

-  Seven trucks with supplies for members have reached stakes and districts in the Tacloban area. Tens of Thousands of food boxes and hygiene kits have been prepared by church members and and sent to those effected. 

If you have questions or members have questions about what we can do.  We have been told that the very best thing to do is increase your Fast Offerings as much as you can to provide for the typhoon area.  If you or members have specific questions, I have asked Sister Laker to be our disaster relief coordinator.  She can provide you with information you may need.

So... Elders and Sisters, sometimes we get asked to take an assignment on a last minute notice, or be transferred because of a real emergency.  If this ever happens to you, think of the 150 Elders and Sisters who were transfered overnight by a storm, not to a different area in the mission, but some all the way home, others to an entirely different mission.  Many of those only escaped with the clothes that had on them when the storm hit.   We are so blessed, Sister Rahlf and I thank God that you are all safe and sound.  May the Lord continue to bless us.


We love You!  All is Well.   The God of Israel leads this Mission!

President & Sister Rahlf