Sunday, March 31, 2013

News from the Mission office

The Cauayan Mission had 7 missionaries heading home this month and the very next day they had 24 coming from Provo MTC and the Manila MTC.  From the Carlos' blog it sounds like a new area was opened up.  It appears that this has caused extra work for the support team, got to love the senior couples...their work is equal to that of the young missionaries.   

This is from Pres and Sister Carlos' blog "This was the first time missionaries could fly in and out of Cauayan--that's right no more overnight bus trips!!! This became a reality when the MTCs finally came together and released our missionaries on Tuesday instead of Wednesday so that they could make the early morning Wed. flights. (We only have 3 flights a week into Cauayan.) So Sister Laker spent hours working on all the paperwork necessary for the flights".

Braden flew in to Manila along with the other Elder's from the Prove MTC, at that point they added the Missionaries that were being trained in the Manila MTC  and along with them had that all night bus ride to Cauayan. 8-10 hours in a addition to the long flight from the states.  What a blessing to have that last leg of the journey shortened. 

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Elder Cousin is in the back

Elder Daluz enjoying lunch

Elder Cousin (He sure looks happy)

Training Time

Elder Cousin's turn

Elder's Songari & Teitbwebwe from the MTC

All the Elders enjoying Lunch

Elder Teitbwebwe
Roses amongst the thorns

Sisters enjoying lunch together

Monday, March 25, 2013

Can't believe I have been out 4 months!!!!

This week has been another one of those awesome weeks.  It has flown by like every week does.  I can't believe that I have already been out four months!  We have had a lot of success that can't necessarily be tracked but is still so important!!!   This week we have been focusing on finding new investigators.  We went on splits with the zone leaders this week and Elder Smith pretty much talked to everyone we walked past and now we have a whole bunch of new investigators.  We taught a lesson to a group of high school boys and they were asking really good deep questions about the gospel.  It was so amazing! 

We had a zone activity this morning because the AP's were texting the transfer list to all the Zone Leaders.  We only had 3 transfers in our zone.  No one in our apartment is being transferred which was kind of expected.  There will probably be a bunch in May.

Food is typically a lot cheaper here but there isn't as much of a selection.  But I really do like Filipino food.  The rice here is really good and they use curry sometimes so there are no complaints from me.  We are going to Cauayan again tomorrow for farewell fireside (all the missionaries that are going home talk and the whole mission comes).  

I really do enjoy being a missionary.  The adjustment hasn't been that bad and it is so much easier when I just follow all the rules and do what I am supposed to.  Its crazy how when we follow the rules we are blessed in every aspect of life.  Because God is a never-changing God this principle is true in non-mission life.  I challenge you all this week to try to recognize those little rules of God (also know as commandments) that we don't always pay attention to. D&C 62:3 about bearing testimony.  I've given you one, now try to find at least one more this week and follow it.

P-Day Basketball at the Church

Pizza for Lunch with

Elder Smith, Elder Cousin, Elder Saba, Elder Amoi

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to get there from here???

So this week has been really good.  We didn't see a lot of success with our numbers but we saw a lot of success in things that we don't track.  There are so many less active members here.  Even members that have been through the temple together.  But this week we met a lot of less active families that are in our branch and some even came to church this week.  It was fantastic.  One young man had been less active for a long time but he came to church on Sunday and we are going to try to help him prepare to serve a mission.  Just that constitutes a successful week for me!  Another success is that we got a referral from one of the AP's.  So the way they the towns work here is super different.  They don't have addresses or anything.  There are towns and within a town are barangays.  There can be 20 different barangays within a town.  And inside the barangays are puroks.  The purok is basically just the street.  So when you ask where someone lives they will tell you the barangay and the purok number.  And then you just find someone in the purok and ask them where the families house is exactly.  So we received this referral from the AP and he all he gave us was San Isidro, Purok 2 and the family name.  We thought San Isidro was a barangay but really it is an entire town with 13 barangays.  So from this one referral, we found a whole new city that could become its own area.  It's super exciting! 

We went to Angadanan this morning to play football.  It was really fun because we had three zones playing.  We typically only have 2 zones.  Then we went to Santiago for Mcdo and Savemore, which is basically like a U.S. Supermarket its great and terrible at the same time because they have everything but it causes me to run out of money sooner than I should.

Monday, March 18, 2013

New Email Guidelines

Elder Cousin (aka Braden)
Informed us in his last email home that the rules for receiving emails have changed. All extended family and close friends can now email him using his church email. 
I checked with the Mission dept and they advised that those other than immediate family keep their email to a page or less so that the missionary will have time to write home.  
I am sure this will be a blessing for all, with the price of international stamps and the ease of emailing.  I know Braden has mentioned hearing from several of you since he has been on his mission and how much he appreciates the letters

Thank you for supporting him.

So here it is:

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Beautiful Echague Sunset

Elder Cousin, MJ, and Elder Daluz

Did something happen behind the camera

M.J. is a member here in Echague 
He is leaving on a mission this week,  
He is going to the lloilo Mission here in the Philippiines

M.J. and His girlfriend with the Missionaries

Monday, March 11, 2013

New Mission President coming in July

                This was sent by President Carlos 

One True Disciple of Christ is George R. Rahlf and his wife Lori C. Rahlf.  Brother and Sister Rahlf are originally from Montana, but now reside in Ohio.  They have 5 children, all boys.  4 of the children are married and out of the house, and the 5th one just recently received a mission call to the Alpine German-speaking mission.  Brother Rahlf recently retired as Global Innovations Manager for Procter and Gamble.  Sister Rahlf is a homemaker, and constant volunteer to numerous projects to assist the poor around the world.  Sister Rahlf will be traveling to India in the next couple of months to participate in a relief effort in that country.  Soon after her return from India, Brother and Sister Rahlf will join their son at the Provo MTC, to begin their own missionary preparations.  Brother and Sister Rahlf have been called as full-time missionaries—to the Philippines Cauayan Mission.  They will arrive around the first of July, and become President and Sister Rahlf, Mission President and companion for the Philippines Cauayan Mission.  It will be my pleasure at that time to turn over the keys of the mission to President Rahlf.  It is with great pleasure that I introduce them to you.

Missionary Work Is Wonderful

This week has been great and it was so good to hear from all of you.  I am now on week 7 of training 12 weeks total. everything is going really well.  Tagalog finally started to click this week.  It's not always right but I can at least form a understandable sentence.  We are planning for one more baptism before the end of the month.  Transfers are on the 27th of March but none of us in the apartment think that we will be transferred. 
We are trying to work with the branch here to fellowship and give us referrals because when members bring us investigators things seem to work.  When we just street contact there is less of a relationship.  So my commitment to you this week is to talk to a non-member friend about the church.  I know it is a little bit harder in Utah but it is still possible I know I could have done this so much before my mission.  

We all have a large role to play in the immortality and eternal life of man. 

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here in the Philippines.  It is hard to explain because there are many things that are just so different. I am not sure I would be able to handle them all by myself, but I know the Lord will be with me every step of the way if I invite him to be.  

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Feb 26th 2013

Sister Shaila is awesome.  She has kept every single one of her commitments. 

New Mission President this summer + 4 New Missions in the Phillipines

I'm sure you have heard that the new Cauayan Mission President has been announced. 
His name is George R. Rahlf, He is from the States but we do not know much else about him yet. 
With the influx of missionaries they are creating 58 new missions, 4 of which are in the Philippines.
 1 .Philippines Cavite,
 2. Philippines Cebu East,
 3. Philippines Legaspi,
 4. Philippines Urdaneta 
So we will have 21 missions total here.  Crazy right? It will be great to learn more about the changes. 

Slowing Down... and enjoying life Filipino Style

Well this week has been really good.  I feel like I finally have gotten past the culture shock and am able to just work.  In Utah we joke about Mormon Standard Time but Filipino time is so much slower.  I was struggling with it a lot earlier this week.  If you have an appointment (even a baptism) at 10 am it typically will not start until 11 or 11:30.  It is super frustrating.  Our church block starts at 8:30 but no one shows up until about 9:30 or 10. 
I had no idea what to do about our appointments.  We had Zone Meeting with President and Sister Carlos and it included our Quarterly Interviews with President.  I was struggling with the tardiness and so I asked President how to best deal with it.  He wisely told me just to not let it bother me.  I need to do everything I can do to follow the schedule but if the schedule changes to just be flexible. So this week I have been trying to be flexible and I can testify that it brings the spirit!  Before, I would get a little frustrated that things never started on time and it would cause the spirit to leave.  But if we become flexible and not get upset because of little things I promise the spirit will be able to work more fully in our lives.  Just this simple little thing has helped me sooooooo much this week.  I feel like my testimony of this gospel has grown exponentially this week. 

 We were teaching Ang Plano ng Kaligtasan (the Plan of Salvation) this week and during the lesson the spirit hit me in the face.  I had the realization that I know that the Plan of Salvation was true!  I have had a testimony of it for a while but this realization has strengthened my testimony so much.  I know that we will be able to see Grandpa Cousin and Grandma and Grandpa Kupfer again.  I don't have any doubt of it in my mind.  And I am so grateful that I have that knowledge.  

Monday, March 4, 2013

This week has been awesome!!!

I thought I would just post Elder Cousin letter this week, it is pretty short and so so sweet.

Dear Family,

This week has been awesome.  I did get the package.  It didn't cost anything on this side.  Thank you for the contents.  Most of them are already gone.  Thank you for the music it is amazing!  We had a visit from Elder Halstrom of the 70 on Wednesday.  His talk was so good.  Before he started he asked if we had questions that needed to be answered.  Then he said.  The speakers today won't be able to answer your questions directly but the Holy Ghost can.  So he  asked all of us to write down some questions if we hadn't prepared any.  So I made a few and almost immediately the spirit answered them!  It was so amazing.  The great thing about it is that we can have that happen in every meeting we go to.  We often put the responsibility on the speaker.  If the speakers are good then the meeting is good.  Right?  Wrong!  The responsibility is on us.  If we are able to feel the spirit the meeting will be good.  I can attest that I when I teach in Tagalog it sounds horrible but if the spirit is there it really doesn't matter what I say.  The spirit will teach.  After that talk Elder Daluz and I have been so excited to teach.  The work has improved and we have developed a greater love for our investigators.  Going along with your advice for the week.  I have noticed that when I am concerned about our investigators it is easier to teach.  My Tagalog is better and the Spirit is stronger.  And of course it is easy to love those people that are progressing and are keeping commitments.  The part we have to strive for everyday is to love those people who aren't easy to love.  There is a scripture in the start of Mosiah (I can't find it right now because I have been switching scriptures a lot lately, I got my quad split into three books and have been carrying the smaller copies while teaching.  But it was something along the lines of giving to all people.  Not just those who are nice to us.  

 I received  a nice dearelder from Aunt Les today and emails from Sadie and Jeff this week and Chris and Shelly last week.  Tell them all that I love them and so grateful for their love and support.  

Last thing, For scripture study one night this week search for the differences between and characteristics of sheep and goats.  The Lord said that he would put the sheep on his right side and the goats on his left.  Why?  And what is the difference.  I know Wikipedia has some of the answers.  Try it and see what you find.  I thought it was very interesting!

Thank you so much for all of your love and support!  I love all of you so much.