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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Anticipated Letter after Typhoon Haiyan

Hello Everyone,

This is probably the most anticipated letter I have sent so far.  To answer all your questions.  We were not affected at all.  It rained a little.  That's it.  Elder Nielson the area president was doing a mission tour this week in Cauayan.  He gave an awesome talk and did a question and answer session.  One thing he said that should put your minds at ease was that the missionaries in the field are our and the first presidencies first priority when a disaster hits.  He said after any disaster he gets a text from the first presidency, asking where the missionaries are at.  If they can't account for everyone, they go in to get them.  As of right now there are 75 missionaries unaccounted for, however they are presumed safe.  They have not been able to reestablish contact yet however they are sending people in to establish contact with the mission president.  Isabela is super far from pretty much everything.  Don't worry unless you hear Isabela, and even if you do hear it, don't worry.  Elder Franzuela is from Nothern Samar which is kind of close to where it hit but his family is alright.  

We had a good week with zone conference.  Super Spiritual.  We found a family that is interested in investigating.  They are awesome.  They weren't able to come to church but they are coming to an FHE later tonight.  Uh...  I don't really have anything super inspiring to say...

I discovered hot showers again this week.  I got sick of freezing to death every morning so I started boiling water to shower with.  It was glorious. 

The work is still going great.  I realized this week how short our time is to make the decisions Heavenly Father wants us to make.  Our investigators were not able to come to church and it reinforced to me that if we will act now, we will receive that blessings now.  Super simple.  But on the flip-side if we do not act now we may have to wait for another chance to act and also to receive the blessings.

Here are two new Mormon Messages.  They are amazing!


Note: Sorry I can't seem to make the link work but wanted to include these in Braden Blog because they are so good...write them down and view when you can

Found Joy this week, it is all about the simple things!

Looking over the Bukid

Pretty Sunset over the Bukid with Elder Franzuela

Friday, November 8, 2013

Typhoon November 8, 2013

Message from President and Sister Rahlf

Dear Parents, Families and Friends--this is just to let you know that the Cauayan Mission is NOT in the path of the typhoon.  We will receive rain and some wind, but we are not in danger from this storm.  Many, many others are, though, and we ask that you keep in your prayers the beautiful people of the Philippines, along with the members and missionaries--for their safety and protection.  Our missionaries have been in constant prayer as well.  Thank you-- President and Sister Rahlf

Monday, November 4, 2013

1st year in the mission field this week!

So yeah November is here.  I would just like start out with One Year Na Lang!  I promise I'm not trunky.  This week was good.  Our numbers weren't the best because of other activities however every time our numbers are a little bit lower, those are the weeks where I see the most success.  The young man that I talked about last week, that wants to go on a mission, has an interview this week for the Melchizedek Priesthood.  We were pretty excited.  And we had a bunch of less active members at sacrament.  Our Sacrament attendance is typically around 60.  This week it went above 90.  We were all super excited.  Our branch president is going to start having meetings with the leaders to get the branch more organized.  And we had investigators at church.  To top it off, I had some really cool realizations.  The first was during sacrament meeting.  My first two areas were great but to be completely honest until I got to this area I struggled with the branches.  But during Sacrament yesterday I felt this overwhelming love for this branch and the area.  It is almost for sure that I will be transferred in December and that thought made my heart hurt.  I really have grown to love this area.  I will go wherever I am needed but I would be completely happy to finish out my mission here.

The second realization was last night.  We stopped at a members house;  we were talking and the topic turned to marriage and Nanay said something profound.  She said that when ever her husband comes home she hides because it is nice to hear him ask where she is every day when he gets home.  I thought it was a little weird but then I thought about it for a minute and realized that mom doesn't hide but whenever she is in the back room the first thing out of dads mouth is, "hi bud, how are you?  Where is mom?"  I love that I am on the other side of the world but I am still learning from my parents.  Thank you for your wonderful examples.

Oh yeah I have pictures.  We went to one of the Baranggays (neighborhoods) called Kalabaza (squash or pumpkin)  We walked to the very end and found a river we also found a very wealthy Indian family that just so happen to be members.  I am praying for a dinner appointment.  I have missed Indian food. The Young man is Sady.  He is the one preparing for the mission.

So that is pretty much It. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week.


Elder Cousin