Tuesday, October 29, 2013


So wow.  This week has been awesome.  The work has been fantastic and I love my area.  I don't think I have pneumonia.  I'm feeling better, the cough has just taken some time to get lost.  So I'll start of with the work this week.  Now, back when I was still new, I focused a lot on numbers.  I wont lie, the Philippines is a fairly easy place to have lessons and investigators.  But now that I am a little bit more mature, I have realized that numbers aren't really that important.  They give us goals to set and numbers to track in order to improve but, if we work the numbers come.  However this week our numbers were really good.  We found 12 new investigators. We had referrals.  And we met our goal for street contacting.  So we were able to see some success.  Another really cool thing.  One of the YSAs in our branch wants to go on a mission but was putting it off for school.  We had a lesson with him about not putting his mission off.  He told us he would pray about it and that he really wanted to start working with us.  So we are really excited to help him get out on a mission.  

Elder Franzuela is doing well.  He has adjusted and is just learning.  It is actually really really funny.  I have gained a shadow...  Whenever we are at the store I will put something in my basket and I will notice the wheels turning in his head and then he will grab the same thing.  This morning we went to the gym and instead of wearing my running shoes, I wore my green nikes.  He was in the process of putting his running shoes on but he noticed I had grabbed my other pair so he went and grabbed a pair similar and used those instead.  The funny thing is that it isn't annoying.  I just kind of chuckle at it.

I had a bunch of friends go home this transfer.  It was kind of sad but cool at the same time.  All the people that went home were where I am at now, when I got here.  

One funny thing I have learned about Ilocano people.  So you don't really think about the words you use when you are surprised or scared or in pain.  In English it is typically just a grunt or another noise.  However, in the Philippines they have actual words to express these things.  For pain they say "Aray" (Uh-Rhye).  In Ilocano they use "Ne" (knee) for surprise.  It is a very versatile word.  Another one of my favorite words is "kwan" (as in Michelle Kwan)  Kwan is the most versitile word in Tagalog.  In order to keep up the speed of the language and to be able to stop and think while still talking, one uses the word kwan for any word that does not immediately come to mind.  It can also be used to give obscure directions and to replace words that have to do with Law of Chastity violations.  Very Useful. There is your Tagalog lesson for the week.

Example: Kilala mo ba si Kwan?  Nakatira siya sa kwan doon malapit sa kwan.
Do you know what's his name?  He lives at that place close to that other place.

And that is perfect Cauyan Mission Tagalog

So that is pretty much it.  I love you all.  You are all great.  Have a wonderful week.  I will talk to you soon.
These are the Elder's that were at their year mark when Braden arrived in the Philippines

Cutting of the ties (for Elders) A Mission quilt will be made out of the fabric. 
These Elder are heading home after serving for two years.  
 Elder Cousin will miss this group of Elder's,
He considered them his friends

Monday, October 21, 2013

Transfers, New investigators and Sick again

Well another week has gone by and the cycle is over.  We are still waiting for the text from the zone leaders. 
We really have no idea what is going to happen.  I love my area and I love my comp but I have had a feeling that I'm getting transferred.  I have had to keep telling myself that I will go wherever I am needed. 

This week I got sick again.  I had this super bad cold that started in my chest.  I woke up Friday morning and my lungs were at like 50% capacity.  I text Sister Rahlf and she emailed the doctor in manila.  He prescribed an antibiotic and an inhaler.  The inhaler really helped.  I'm so glad I can breath now.  

The Earthquake was super far.  Cebu is a completely different region.  It was a 7.2 earthquake and from what we hear it was devastating.  I really wasn't downplaying the flooding.  It really wasn't bad at all.  

We had a good week.  We found a whole bunch of young men that are willing to listen and are really into playing basketball at the church.  We are super excited to see their progress.  

Its really weird all my friends in the mission that were just hitting their year mark when I got here are now going home.  Its crazy to see how fast the time flies.

I don't have much news other than I am not being transferred this cycle. 

Brother Saludes.  We were on a split
This is Rambutan.  It comes from a tree and is super delicious
There were absolutely no people around for like 3 hours so we went on an adventure to get to know the area better.  We found a big field of corn, a calamansi (native lime) orchard and a river.

Other than that I have no news.  I Love you all and will talk to you next week.


Elder Cousin
Brother Saludes and Elder Cousin on Splits
Getting to know our Area better, We found a corn field, a calamansi orchard (native limes) and a river

This is Rambutan  it comes from a tree and is super delicious

Monday, October 14, 2013

Category 3 Storm and Conference

So this week has been crazy.  The work has been very sparse because we had so many other things.  We went to Ilagan on Wednesday to get fingerprinted.  It was a pain but if we didn't do it we would be deported, so I guess it was kind of important.  We didn't have any work on Wednesday because Ilagan is far.  Then on Friday they told us that a category 3 storm was coming and that we needed to watch out.  They told us that it was going to hit Bambang so we didn't worry too much because we are super far from Bambang.  So we worked until about 6 pm and then our Branch President told us to go home because the storm was starting to pick up.  So Friday we barely had any work and then on Saturday we had Conference and there were 5 baptisms in my district so after conference we went to the baptisms.  So pretty much our work didn't happen this week but conference was really good.   I really wanted to send you some pictures but I have an auto-run virus on my memory card and it doesn't want to send them.  I actually took a lot of pictures too.  So maybe later if I still have time and am able to remove the virus...  Internet Cafes are so annoying...  So the storm didn't really affect us until Sunday Morning.  We weren't in any danger.  We woke up on Sunday morning and walked to Centro in order to go to the District Center for conference but we soon found out that our whole Centro had flooded in the night.  There was like 2 feet of water in some places.  It was crazy.  The streets had turned into rivers.  Our house wasn't affected at all except for the leaks in the ceiling.  

Today was the first experience cleaning a Filipino restroom.  We bought some Hydrochloric Acid and turned our black restroom into a white restroom.  It was amazing.  I actually enjoy using it now.  

Our new investigators are doing great.  They still haven't quite found the truth but they are actively seeking for it.  We asked how The Book of Mormon was and she told us that she had started reading 1st Nephi.  We had just committed them to read the introduction first.  So at least sister has a desire to find out if it is true.  We had a lesson with our Investigator Glenford 9 and his cousin Catherine 8.  Catherine is just sitting in on the lessons and then they will both be baptized at the end of the month.  Their questions yesterday were awesome.  One asked why prophets are important and the other asked why prayer is important.  They are still really young but they have an honest desire to learn.  
Oh and by the way today is my 11 month mark. Yay.  It has been so quick.  

Conference was great.  The talks were different tone to them but very applicable for the problems of the day.  I realized how far I have come and how far I still have to go.  But there will always be room for improvement.  

Thank you for all your love and support.  I have the best family every and I know that this church is true.
Elder Cousin
Watching General Conference Filipino Style :-)

Flooding in Centro from Category 3 Storm

2 feet of standing water

Monday, October 7, 2013

Training and Conference

So this week has been crazy.  It flew by.  So we had P-day on Monday and district meeting on Tuesday we then had a meeting in Cauayan for all trainers and trainees.  We got a text Tuesday night that one of the zone leaders from a different zone was in one of our far areas and that they wanted to meet the next day. We found out  that president decided to split our area half-way through the cycle to speed up the work.  he had decided to essentially close down the other area to focus on the area close to the church.  So our area was split and elders were added.  They will only be there for three weeks because one is going home and the other is only a part time missionary.  So we worked with them on Thursday and Friday,  the work in our area has been very little but we did have some very good lessons.  We have found two families that are super willing and ready.  It is insane how prepared they are. On Saturday the two companionships of sisters in my district had 5 baptismal interviews.  I did all five interviews in a row.  My brain was fried afterwards.  I felt like I taught 5 lessons in a row in.  So this week has been good. 

The foreigners have to go and get fingerprinted on Wednesday.  Apparently some law changed and we all have to be on file...  So this means that we get McDonalds!  It'll be worth the trip.

I'm excited for conference.  I downloaded Saturday and priesthood.  I wasn't able to get Sunday because the internet is really slow.  I miss being able to stream.. oh well.  The Philippines internet is slow.  But I love it.

Zone Conference Lunch (mabuting gana...Bon App├ętit)
My Companion Elder Franzuela on Left

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The work is going great!

 Hello all,

We had a really good week this week.  We focus a lot on less active members in this area because there are so many of them  The sacrament attendance is typically around 60.  So we have a lot of less active work.   Our investigator pool was depleted so we set aside 4 hours on Friday just to find new investigators. Thursday night the zone leaders called and said that they  organize a split with us on Friday.  So Friday afternoon we went out and just started talking to people on the street, in their houses, at the market, everywhere.  We found 14 people and have 5 return appointments.  One is actually later today. It was awesome the appointment we have later today, when we talked to her the first time and gave her a pamphlet, she actually started reading it right away.  So we are excited to follow-up.

I am super excited to see conference but here we don't get to see it until the week after.  I can't wait though.  Its like the super bowl for missionaries.

I had a cool experience yesterday.  It was fifth Sunday yesterday so things were combined.  The youth teacher wasn't at church and the sister that was supposed to teach said that she really wasn't prepared
and asked me to teach.  No manual, no topic, nothing.  So before the prayer I had no idea what to teach.  I did some pondering and prayer and when the prayer was over I got up and taught an understandable lesson.  Everybody was involved, answering questions, and made comments.  It was one of those moments where you could noticeably see the hand of The Lord.  There is no way I could have done that in my first area.  I would always let the fear get to me but now the fear is gone and because of that The Lord can use our faith   It is nice to see some progress.

Thank you for all your love and support.  I have the best family in the world.  There are so many families here that have not been sealed and they don't understand why it is important.  I'm so very glad that I know why it is important and that I will be able to be with my family forever.

Elder Cousin and Elder Franzuela

Sept. Zone Conference