Monday, December 21, 2015

Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow.... Merry Christmas!!

Hello Everyone!

Well this week is Christmas!  I hope you all get all of your wishes and that all of your construction gets finished up sooner rather than later.  

Anyways I had a pretty good week too.  We had our ward Christmas party this week!  Wooh!  I was excited because I got a lot of food and candy.  The activities were super fun to watch haha.  They had an activity where all the adult couples had to feed their spouse a marshmallow using a toothpick that was in their mouth.  We also had nonmembers show up which was awesome and they had  blast!  

This sunday we had 2 new investigators come to church.  Their friends from church invited them to come and they seemed like they would love to return!  Also our canadian investigator has come back!!!  For a while we thought he might have been kidnapped! Hahaha but we have talked to him and he is excited to start coming back to church!  

We have had 2 typhoons this past week!  It definitely made for a wet and windy week and I loved all of it!  I also got a haircut today they way I have wanted it for 2 months and they just finally figured it out... (Should work on my hair cutting directions in Tagalog probably...)  But hey I am super happy now!  Mom I am glad to hear that you were able to accomplish your talk even with all that has been going on.  I hope that grandpa is ok.  Keep me updated on his status and if things get bad.  I am glad its something they can knock out with antibiotics.  
Now back to my week, we had a Christmas devotional on Thursday and I was able to see my Tatay Elder Canencia!  Man he missed me and I missed him.  He took some pictures with me and talked about how we were doing.  It was a really nice devotional.  We really dove into the Christmas story and learned a lot of background history about the birth of Christ and his apostles.  It was incredible what people have figured out about the birth of Christ.  I was really humbled when I found that Christ was most likely born in a cave that was carved into a small hill.  That was what was common for stables back in the day.  The whole devotional was amazing and the spirit it brought really had me pondering on the Spirit of Christmas.  

There was also an amazing video they showed about a man that had a son.  The man operated a Bridge for the Trains and one day the Train didn't notice the bridge was up.  They boy tried to tell his dad, but his dad wasn't paying attention.  The boy fell into a compartment of the bridge and his father had to decide if he would save his son or the bridge.  I guess for the first time in my life I really saw and felt just a glimpse of what Heavenly Father must've felt when he gave His son's life for all of us.  I can't even imagine what sorrow that would bring, but then I saw what good came from that action.  

I feel a renewed sense of commitment to really strive to be more like Christ, in order to show Heavenly Father that His sacrifice was, is, and always will be treasured by his other Sons and Daughters.  "Joy to the World, the Lord is come, let Earth receive her king!" This Christmas season, have joy, remember all of the talents and gifts you have been given, and spread your joy to everyone you meet!  

I love all of you and am excited to see you all soon!!!


Love,
Elder Warren

Ward Christmas Party!!

The Marshmallow Game

Merry Christmas!!

Reunited with Trainer

Striking a Christmas Pose!

Tis the Christmas Season!!

Hello Everyone!

Another week has gone by!  Time doesn't even exist anymore at this point.  Christmas does not feel like Christmas here, surprisingly it feels like summer.  I wonder why that is...  Anyways Elder Rebojo and I are gearing up our stomachs for the 25th because we are about to be fed by a lot of members!!!  

From the looks of it, I guess I am not the only person who is busy during the Christmas season!  Although I am glad dad gets to meet a lot of members, make sure he enjoys some family time too, after all that IS what me and my companion have been stressing for the past couple of weeks.  Christmas is a time to spend time with your family.  

I can't believe that you guys are redoing the house during Christmas, although it doesn't surprise me.  I am a little glad I don't have to help in cleaning that up...  We have not had as much rain as I would've liked this past week.  I think it only rained once or twice, which made for a very hot week this week.  Its ok though, I am just getting my tan on!  I can't believe I will be 19 either.  I feel like I could be 60 right now hah.  As for requests, I would love more beans aand mac and cheese.  I don't see that stuff here and it tastes amazing!  

Things here are going just fine!  Our Canadian investigator, sadly, has just disappeared for the past three days and no one knows when he will return.  He missed church so at this point, I don't think we can continue with our baptismal date.  A new investigator showed up with his friend on church on Sunday, so I am very hopeful that he will continue to attend!  

I have been really focusing my attention on bringing families together for the past week.  I have felt that it is important to be with your family during this season.  So many people get focused in all the other distractions, that they forget what Christmas is all about.  On Christmas we celebrate the Birth of our Savior, that was also the creation of a family.  I feel that families are very important, especially to the season of Christmas, so spend some time to have some fun just as a family.  The family bond is the strongest thing we have.  Your family supports you and provides for you.  Now is the time to show some love and care back to your family.  

My preparation for Christmas has been taping up the tree that was given to me by the Deavers! Many thanks for that.  I love how we had to attach the star ourselves!  I have also begun reading the scripture passages about the prophesy of the coming of our Lord as well as the Birth of our Savior.  "For God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son..."  I often reflect on the 2 verses in Jon 3:16 and 17.  Those passages are possibly the strongest verses for the missionary work.  It focuses on the main beliefs of our church.  Love and being centered on the Savior.  

During this Christmas season I challenge all of you to really find for yourselves the true meaning of Christmas, being more gracious, and focusing your thoughts towards the Savior.  

Have a great week everyone and wish me luck as I prepare to cook adobo for the first time!  Yum.  

Love you,
Elder Warren


I have attached pictures of a bakery from a member who makes delicious breads and cakes, and me and my companion!

Visiting the Bakery


Freshly Baked Rolls!!


Me and my companion

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Eating Balut and Giant Attacking Spiders!!

Hello Everyone!

Well it sounds like you have had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving break!  I really miss Thanksgiving, especially the part about food! 

Speaking of food this week I tried one of the weirdest foods of the Philippines.  That’s right, I ate a balut this week.  I honestly didn't even have time to react.  We arrived at the family's house and the Sister told me that she bought me a ballot to try and become a Filipino.  This woman loves to make me a Filipino. Trust me, when she decides you are going to become something, you become it.  Anyways, there in my hand was the egg.  I opened it up and it was pretty dang warm.  The first couple of bites I took were small, but once I got to about a quarter of the way down, I knew I just needed to eat it whole, like I would do back at home.  So I put on a good amount of salt and vinegar and finished it.  It honestly just tasted like an egg yolk, except you could feel the slimy feathers and feel the tiny crunch of bones.  Although I would not go out of my way to buy another one of these, it tasted fine.  I also had duck today. Although I am pretty sure I have already had it so that isn't much of a story.  

Anyways, now to the important stuff!  My teaching with the Canadian investigator is going really well!  Now I understand why I wasn't placed in an English speaking mission; it would've been too easy for me.  I whipped through one and a half lessons in 40 minutes! Of course I asked questions and made sure he understood but dang did it feel great!  I actually felt like everything I said was correct and I had no doubts!  He showed up to church this Sunday and we sat and talked about a lot of principles.  Unlike most investigators, he really accepted the law of tithing, which was a surprise.  It came up during our Sunday school lesson so I explained to him the importance of tithing.  Before we even were able to talk about the Word of Wisdom, he gave up drinking and smoking.  And that was after our first lesson.  I am very excited to see him progress, because his desire to serve the Lord is very strong... As well as talk about basketball.  He repeatedly told me that he wants to be my manager and that I should be practicing ball everyday to prepare for when I go home.  Maybe I should teach him the Missionary Handbook Guidelines... Hahaha.  

Well besides that, we continue to work hard with our ward and less active members.  I am starting to feel more happy now that I have a good investigator with a strong desire.  It reminds me of all of you back home.  I hope everyone is doing well back home.  I am now
going to attempt to send a mountain of pictures so bear with me!  I hope this works!  

Love you all!
Elder Warren

PS - Thank you so much for the package!  I can't wait to open my Christmas presents!


PSS - I forgot to mention a HUGE story back from last Monday.  Literally right after we finished emailing, we went to this place called AKIS. It is basically the best burger restaurant you will find in the Philippines haha.  As you can see, the burgers are huge there! Anyways, I go into the bathroom there and everything is fine.  When I am done, I look to my left right above the door to get out when I see a HUGE spider.  I am talking bigger than the palm of my hand.  I thought it was fake because it was like behind this flower decoration. Being me, I had to make sure it was fake, so I flicked its back.  To no surprise it MOVED!  It went behind the flower thing, but it was soo big that I could still see its legs sticking out.  I literally could not move.  I was shaking, hyperventilating, and sweating.  Spiders are my one fear.  I had to call my companion to help me out.  Of course first he proceeded to make fun of me, then he just killed it.  I thought I was gonna die.  The picture of it crumpled up and dead does not truly show the horribleness of the awful creature.  Yep that’s about it.  Love you guys!

Transfer Day

The HUGE Dead Spider

Where's the Beef?

Enjoying the Burgers

Getting ready to eat Balut

Down the Hatch!

Mmmm. Yummy!

New English Speaking Investigator from Canada

Hello Everyone!!!


Well you actually had QUITE and exciting week.  I have to be honest, you guys beat me!  My work was pretty solid this week, let me tell you.  So ever since I read your last email DAD, I am super trying to get an investigator to progress and be baptized before next cycle.  (By the way, dad I do read your emails every week.)  I haven't really eaten anything too interesting lately besides what I have already had.  The only thing I really have left is balut (duck egg) and I kind of want to save that one for a little bit otherwise there won't be anything fun out there anymore for me to taste.  

Anyways, back to work...  So I found a new investigator from a referral that Brother Rick gave to us.  Brother Rick is a very funny man by the way.  He is always sarcastic, kind of like Grandpa Warren!  Anyways the investigator is from Canada and guess what his first language is...  Thats right ENGLISH!!!!  Oooohhh you don't even know how badly I want this investigator to be the one to progress and become baptized.  He was super energetic too.  He told us he wanted to read the pamphlet on restoration that night and was gonna have a long list of questions for us for our next visit!  He also expressed his excitement to attend church this coming sunday.  Talk about a golden investigator!  I am going to give my English a run for its money for the next couple of weeks because I have a really good feeling about this Canadian.  

Along with that we have found a ton of Less Actives this week.  Many of them have expressed their desire to return to the church but somehow they ALL have something that they have a problem with that takes them away from church.  I guess my companion and I will have to solve those problems for them ;).  While we were going to a less active member's house with our two fellowshippers Nanay Febrero (Nanay Mabeauti!!!) and Brother Kevin, we stumbled upon my first illegal mining area.  The place was ill-hid with a fence covered by a black tarp.  I mean I guess it would be hard for short people to look over the fence, but I have no problem seeing what lied behind the gate.  Brother Kevin quickly advised me not to keep looking over the fence.  I guess he kind of made some sense with that decision.  

I developed a rash this week.  That isn't too much fun.  It is continuing to spread even though I put hydro cortisone cream on it.  If it doesn't heal soon I am afraid I may be out of the sun for a couple of weeks which means no work.  It also may mean that I have to go stay in Cuauyan for some time which would really be a bummer, so I continue to pray that I will become better.  I am glad to hear that Aunt Wendy's family is doing great.  That video was super funny and I really want to see that dog now.  I also super miss golfing.  That was like my life.  

I can't even believe it is already Thanksgiving.  Make sure to be thankful for just about everything that you have there, because it doesn't exist in the Philippines!  You know how hard it is to tell time here.  This is like a year round July here hahaha.  I even hear fireworks every couple of days because kids can get a hold of them for like 5 pesos.  I'm telling you what, if you ever wanted to do a lot of things without having to worry about the law, this is the place to do it.  All of the drivers here think we are shooting a fast and furious film.  My life is on the line every time I take a tryke hahaha.  

Anyways I love you guys and I hope all is well!  

Love,
Elder Warren


PS - I am the worst person in the world with cameras.  I don't have any new photos yet.  Sorry

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

All You Need is Love!!

Hello Family!

Well the weeks just continue to go by!  I have been working hard in this area of ours.  We continue to find more and more investigators every week, but the problem remains to convince them that they should come to our church!  My new companion, since he is a lover of food, has been able to hook us up with tons of dinner appointments!  Talk about being my new best friend.  I love having more than just one dinner (at a member's home) every 2 weeks.  This week I got to have this bread that is like filled with vanilla icing.  It was really good.  Pretty soon I am going to try balut (duck egg) for the first time and hopefully I don't get sick! 

Anyways as far as work is concerned, we are having a little bit of a challenge with our ward.  The attendance continues to go down, even though we continue to work everyday.  The reason why this is, is because the members are judging other members pretty harshly.  My companion and I have been trying to get things to settle down, but I think I may have to get up and say something in front of the ward because it is getting out of hand.  

The less actives need our help, not our judgement.  The only being with the authority to judge us is God.  I know that even I have been caught judging other people, but in all honesty everyone just needs love.  That is the key to reactivating members; through love.  I am hoping that we will be able to figure this out because I would love to see our attendance go back up into the 100s.  

I would love to live a long and prosperous life, instead of see the end of the world right after I get back home and things just start to get rolling for me!!!  My challenge to everyone reading this is to LOVE!!  Because we all need somebody to love.  

On a funnier note, this week I got a funny video of this dog in our neighborhood doing circles in his cage.  It appeared to be on some drug because its eyes were all dilated.  I think we may have to much time on our hands...  Just kidding! I also took some good pictures of the landscape (see below) we get to walk by every other day!  I hope you all know that I love you guys!  

Recently I found I kinda have just been going through the motions with email so I am trying to really go back and reread the past emails!  I know that this church is true.  I know that our responsibility as a missionary is one of the highest callings I will ever have in my life.  I know if I continue to work hard and be obedient, I will receive many blessings later.  

Keep being a great example to those around you!  Remember who you are and what you stand for!  And most importantly, remember to keep sending me love!... And food... ;)

Love,

Elder Warren

PS - Christmas is a huge celebration in the Philippines.  I mean the Christmas music starts around September and keeps on going.  I haven't not heard about Christmas since the time I got here haha.  I don't know what else they celebrate.  All Saints Day is another big celebration.  It has tons of food and they go to the cemeteries.






Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Transfers and Another Food Update

Hello Family!!!

Well I guess I kind of lied last week, my companion in fact did get transferred!  It was a little bit of a sad week for me, but I am ok now.  My new companion is actually pretty awesome!  His name is Elder Rebojo and he is actually from the same batch as Elder Canencia.  

Since I am now leading the area, I actually got to go down streets I have been wanting to check out and we ended up finding some very potential investigators!  It feels weird being in charge now.  I feel like I am getting old in this area haha.  I have been here for 2 and a half months.  

I am now eating rice and pancit for every meal now.  Its actually pretty good, but I think my skin is getting a little stretchy haha.  At our ward council meeting I was able to successfully talk about all of our recent converts, less actives, investigators, and describe their needs all in Tagalog.  After the meeting we went with Brother Kevin, a return missionary to a less active Sister and let me tell you, the spirit was so strong.  We hadn't had a lot of luck that day with lessons and I think we were ready to get in a good lesson with someone.  The women actually really wanted to come to church, at least to sacrament meeting, but her father was in the hospital, so she couldn't.  

Leading your area is a big responsibility.  You need to know the names of those you teach, where you teach them and when you can teach them.  This week I have felt like I am now worthy enough to be leading my area yet, but I guess I did pretty good for my first week.  I have contacting down now.  I can say and get everything I need in like 2 minutes.  I am actually pretty proud of how my Tagalog has been progressing.  

As for food this week... I had blood!  It actually tastes pretty good and I don't really mind the texture but it is pretty weird.  Along with this, I had kikiam and fish balls which are probably the greatest things ever.  I am on the Filipino diet now, that includes rice, pancit and chicken.  That is really about all I eat now.  

I am doing great now though.  I joke around with the presidents in my ward because I have enough vocabulary to do that.  My new companion is a lot more serious than Elder Canencia so someone has to make up for his absence!  I am too used to this area haha.  But I love the fact that now I can explore the places I haven't been yet.  After all, we as missionaries can not leave any stone unturned!!!  

I miss you guys and love you guys but the time is flying by so fast.  Before I know it it is going to be christmas and I will be able to talk to all of you face to face!  I love you all and hopefully I can send some pictures soon.  Maybe not this week though because I am still trying to get them off Elder Howards camera...  

Love you!

Elder Warren
(email sent on 11/9/15)

CTR and Food Update

Hello everyone!

Well it was another week in the lie of a missionary!  It was jam packed with proselyting, meetings, and tracting!  What was super sweet was that a member of the 70, who is in charge of the health of all the missionaries came to our mission to come talk to us!  It was a great meeting, and very powerful.  I learned a lot from this meeting, including ways to get better contacting.  I have really been working on contacting, since that is the best way to get better at the language!  

Yesterday,  I just decided to Choose the Right... street and I ended up meeting some very good potentials.  I was able to teach them the first lesson without the pamphlet because our mission has no more.  In fact we have been out for a week!  I guess that just goes to show how our mission is hastening the work!  But anyways I got 3 new investigators just in 10 minutes.  it turns out they had even been coming to our church activities already and have been wanting to learn more about the church!  Finding new investigators is so easy for me now.  I always seem to find random streets I have never been down and I just tell my companion we are going down them. On average, I find 1 - 2 people who know about our church and want to learn more about it.  I really just wish I didn't have to give them the lesson 3 pamphlets now hahaha.  

Anyways, I am kind of all over the place today with this email, sorry haha.  For the meeting with the member of the 70 we had to get up at 3:30 a.m..  It was not a very fun day.  I had to work to stay awake, but somehow I did (unlike all of those times back in Paradise).  I loved being able to see my 4 roommates from the MTC!  We had some good laughs and talked about the struggles in our areas haha.  I also got 2 dinners for the first time during this mission in the period of a week!  Mom I guess I should've been nicer to missionaries, then maybe I would have more dinner appointments now.  

Besides that, I did not get hit by another car this week.  I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting this fast sunday, but it didn't go over so well.  I was so tired that when I first came up I said "we believe" instead of "i know".  I didn't give a long testimony but I had an overwhelming sense of peace come over me.  I feel like sometimes I go so hard that I don't remember to settle down and really feel the Spirit.  After all, the Spirit is our greatest tool as missionaries.  

I wish I had more to say about my week but that is pretty much it.  Oh wait........... FOOD!  Holy cow did I have some GOOD stuff this week.  I tried this ice cream called quezo real ice cream.  As you've probably already guess, yes it was cheese ice cream but for some really strange reason it tasted amazing!  I also had squid this week which pretty much just tasted like salt.  All of the Halloween costumes looked great!  Natalie did a great job in the performance!  You guys are wayy to busy though.  I do not miss those days.  Well I am doing great here.  I am still with my companion so I think he will be my companion through Christmas!  Wow I can't believe it is already that close.  January marks my 6 months completed.  Dang I am too old.  

Well I love all of you guys!

Elder Warren

Monday, October 26, 2015

Road Hazards and Liquid Golden Investigators

Hello everyone!  

So this week has been a very VERY long one haha.  To start off on a good note, mom I got your first package this Tuesday!  Sweet.  I have to say the Reeses were a great idea.  They tasted like liquid gold as well as the bottle caps, skittles, and the chocolate caramel things I don't remember the name of.  My companion also really enjoys his Christmas tie.  So much in fact, that it is the only tie he wears now...  Hahaha! 

So that is about it for the good.  Now for the interesting...  I got hit 2 times this week and almost a third time, but I barely avoided that one.  On Tuesday we were doing are weekly walk to MacDo for lunch after District meeting when a trike started coming down the street.  Now I was walking away from it towards the sidewalk, but it continued to come at me.  It ended up scraping up against my leg which left a little bruise.  I was not very happy and my anger boiled over a little bit so I yelled and told him he needed to go back to the DMV.  I think I scared a lot of drivers because now when I am in that area all of the drivers give me a wide distance.  Then the next day I had a near miss with another trike which was the same situation, but I jumped away at the last second.  A couple days later, I was walking back home from a day of work when an SUV traveling about 10 miles per hour just hit my right side.  I was so shocked I didn't even know how to react.  It just kept driving too and I took out its mirror.  I will never complain about Jacobs driving again.  Another great thing that happened to me this week was I sliced my finger pretty good on our fan.  I was just trying to adjust it when it came back to bite me.  Elder Howard, the Elder I was about to go on splits with, thought I lost my finger because of how much blood squirted out.  I feel like I am a walking target, but I am still alive!  

Me and my companion killed the KIs this week!  We got over 80 contacts, 7 new investigators, and many lessons.  My Tagalog is getting better and better, but now my companion is starting to correct me more and more haha.  Sometimes I just say I give up and start taking him down with my biggest English words.  Haha he is fun to mess with.  I am so happy that our work is progressing, but I really wish we could get more help from our members.  Right now it looks like I will not be able to get a baptism in my first area.  It is a little depressing, but I know I will get baptisms eventually.  All I do is continue to invite everyone I know to come unto Christ.  That is all I can do, and in the end I have faith that Heavenly Father will take care of the rest.  

This week while contacting I found one woman who knew about the Plan of Salvation.  Not only that she wanted to know about where more about where she was going after this life do to the fact that she had a stroke.  Talk about a golden investigator!!!  We proceeded to teach the first couple of principles and are planning to go back to see her.  I have some high hopes for her.  You know life throws trials.  That is just life.  Those who are successful are the ones who continue to move on.  I know that at some point, I will find success, but I can't be deterred by some minor set backs.  I will not lie, I am not just cruising in the easy life.  The missionary life is a struggle, especially in an economy like this, but I see this as an opportunity to realize all of what we have in America and to grow stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually.  I may not be the best missionary, but I will never quit, because I am no quitter.  

Alright now on to answering the questions.  My house is small, probably not the cleanest or most sanitary as it is in the Pines.  It used to be pretty infested with spiders and cockroaches, but I killed them all.  Also it has a ton of mosquitos.  I have kept a tally of how many I have killed and it is well into the 3,000s.  If you would like to try and find my house, it is called Rizal Village and is in Santiago.  We don't really have addresses.  From the Rizal Village sign (Dad-like I would know where that is), it is on the left then third street on the right.  It is the last house on the right.  We don't have a lot of clean up projects.  We had one which was interesting to say the least.  We meet in a church building for Sundays.  They are the nicest buildings in the Philippines.  My ward fluctuates between 80 -110 people.  There are two wards in our building, but I think it is about to collapse into one.  It is small but that is why us missionaries are here!  Well I love you guys and I will talk to you again soon.

Love,

Elder Warren
(email sent on 10/26/15)

DISTRICT MEETING TIME!

Surviving the Typhoon

Hello everyone!

So I survived the typhoon!  But just barely hahaha.  We stayed at another group of missionaries apartment because they had electricity.  Our apartment ended up not having electricity at our apartment for 3 days!  For one night we had to use candles.  It was not very fun but I survived!  This week I tried intestines and they were super good!  I also really like the outside skin of pigs.  It is kind of crunchy and they deep it in this like sweet and sour sauce.  Masirap!!!  

So work was just a little hard this week due to the fact that everyone stayed inside because of the storms.  For the first time I led my area because we were on splits in Rizal, our area.  I guess I am a lot better than I thought.  We got a ton of lessons in though because I can't hold a conversation as well as Elder Canencia but they were very powerful messages.  I can definitely see that the Lord has given me a lot of blessings.  

So as for the typhoon itself, it was not too bad.  We did have to stay inside for almost the entire time because it was very windy and the rain was super strong.  Lots of branches fell everywhere, but there wasn't a ton of destruction because everyone was prepared.  There is more trash on the ground now though...  And I know it will never get picked up.  

One lesson we had this week that was very powerful for me was with Brother Mak and Sister Vik.  When we arrived at there house, it was raining and they weren't there.  Now I know you don't know this, but their house is out in the middle of the rice fields.  WE literally had to walk on the very narrow grassways to get to the house.  The powerful part for me was Sister Vik saw us from across the fields and just started running over.  She was yelling "Hello Elders!!!" while plowing through the mud in flip flops only.  Now, maybe she just enjoys being muddy, but to see that a Less Active enjoys having us over that much where she will stop in the middle of the harvest, sprint through mud to come have a lesson is very touching to me.  It was just another experience that showed me how important this work is.  

Its good to hear that Jake is doing well.  That is insane that we only have 2 wards now!  Just make sure dad that you don't overload yourself.  I have definitely learned here that if you feel even a hint that your body is overwhelmed, it is better to take a quick nap.  If you don't, you end up becoming sick and lose a lot of time that you could've saved with only a 30 minute nap.  Anyways I am doing good here, I will continue the work and I love you all!

Love,

Elder Warren
(email sent on 10/19/15)

BBALL TIME

MUDDY RICE FIELD

P-DAY SHOPPING

PICTURE TIME

WATER BUFFALO!!

I AM NOT ON STILTS!
arren

Sunday, October 18, 2015

New Greenies, Tang! and OYM

Hello Everyone!

Well this week flew by again haha.  I stayed away from being sick which is always a bonus.  So lets see what I did this week.  As of Wednesday I am no longer the newest missionary in my zone!  In fact there are 4 new American missionaries.  I didn't even know what to do at the Zone meeting because I saw so many Americans haha.  I am so used to a lot of foreigners now.  Elder Canencia and I had to go to the Ramon Elders to give them a key because they were both new to the area.  One of the Elders is about as tall as me, but super thin.  Man I am a little worried for him.  When I was talking to him, he saw a lot of what a third world country was like and he was basically in shock.  He saw a dog and thought it looked bad.  I had to explain to him that that dog was actually one of the most healthiest dogs because it had all of it's hair.  It is definitely a different world here.  I adjusted pretty well and really quickly, but I came to realize we have soo many advantages in America with this new Elder.  I hope he is able to adjust to the differences of a third world country.  

I got to listen to conference this week.  For the first time ever I had to be dressed up for all of the sessions and I didn't get my usual breakfast of cinnamon rolls, eggs, and bacon...  Sayang (too bad).  In fact I didn't eat breakfast at all for those haha.  I loved the talk from Elder Bednar about the advantages of having elderly lead the church. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/chosen-to-bear-testimony-of-my-name?lang=eng It is so true that they are spiritually mature, plus when you think about it, if you are still raising a family and become the President of the Church,  I feel like you might just go insane.  There is a purpose for everything in our church.  I learned a ton from Conference.  I also liked the talk on pondering a scripture every week, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/my-heart-pondereth-them-continually?lang=eng  but first I have decided to focus my efforts on finishing my reading of the entire quad.  After I finish it, I will go back and with my newly highlighted scriptures I can then ponderize every week.  

So this week I found the most amazing invention ever.  Tang.  You know that orange drink mix I used to have as a kid.  Well they got liter packets here for 9 pesos each.  Man I buy like 1 for each day, and it makes drinking a liter of water sooooo much easier.  My favorite flavors are Orange, Grape, and Mango.  Dang that stuff is good.  I also learned that cooking with only oil can be a pain sometimes.  For instance I burned three fingers last night making myself a grilled cheese.  

On a spiritual note, this past week when we went to the promised land, a crowd of kids came up to me like usual.  This time I was determined to OYM (Open Your Mouth) all of them.  SO I did.  I talked to each one individually, asked there name, shared a message, and gave them a pamphlet.  That day we had 25 contacts.  Now it is pretty easy to talk to kids when you know they want to know how to be tall and if you play basketball, but it also shows how easy it can be to share a quick message about the gospel.  All you have to do is share a quick 3 minute testimony and give them a card with our beliefs and you have the potential to save them for an eternity along with their family.  Being a missionary is super hard, but it is also super simple.  You just have to try, show each and everyone you talk to love.  If we do our all to show others that God is our Heavenly Father and his arms are always stretched out towards us, how great will our joy be in the end?  I know that no other church has what we have.  They can't.  We can not change our standards to meet what the world desires.  We must be like Christ, unchanging, and constant.  Only then will we find our true happiness.  As it was stated in a talk, the barrier isn't to limit our abilities, it is to prevent the evil that lurks just on the outside.  https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2015/10/blessed-and-happy-are-those-who-keep-the-commandments-of-god?lang=eng  I love you all and I know it won't be long before I see all of you again.

Love,

Elder Warren

Email sent by Elder Warren on 10/12/2015

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Chicken Feet and Wild Monkeys?

Hello family!!!
Well this week was a little long for me, not gonna lie.  It could be due to the fact that I was sick for about 4 of the 7 days last week.  It wasn't too much fun but I am still alive now so it was good.  The other day some Sisters told me they felt bad for me because I look so thin.  On the bright side, they gave me free food so I can't complain too much. 
So as for this week.  I have not watched conference yet, and really I don't know when that will happen.  It wasn't even brought up this Sunday.  I feel like we are watching it this Sunday.  (So sorry mom, we actually weren't doing the same thing at the same time haha.)  As I was sick this week, I was able to read a ton of Liahonas and New Eras.  I also got through the entire nook of Genesis in one day.  It was super fun.  I think by the end of that day, I was a pro with the Bible.  I got pretty close to Elder Canencia though.  We talked a lot since it was just us two.  I really like him and I am super glad that he is my Trainer or Tatay.  I got weighed at the beginning of this week and was around 230 pounds, but I think I dropped a couple more since I kept getting sicker as the days progressed. 
In turns of investigators, we are super close with one.  If he keeps up obeying the Word of Wisdom, I could have my baptism in this next cycle!  I also had an interesting experience at a dinner this week.  We were served rice, beef stew, and chicken feet.  Now I was totally content just having rice and a little bit of beef stew, but my companion on the other hand...  He kept telling me that I need to at least try chicken feet, so of course he put one on my plate.  I have never had an urge to hit him before that moment.  He may have a black eye now though.  Anyways, there it was.  I knew I had to do it now, but I really didn't want to.  When I went to go take my first bite, the stupid fingers petted my face.  How ironic.  Being petted by my food.  I was more than happy to be done with that thing when I finished it.  Honestly it just tasted like the outside of a chicken.  It didn't have a lot of actual good meat on it because of course, its just a chicken foot.  I also saw my first wild monkey this week!  It was just sitting there outside our apartment.  Of course I got a picture of it!!!  It was super cool.  I also got another haircut this week.    
The work is going great along with the language.  I see more and more improvements everyday.  I just want to say I know that we are blessed as missionaries.  I have had many trials, but in the end, I have always received help right when I needed it.  With those blessings though, we need to do our part for the Lord.  Even though I was sick, I still made sure I tried to go do at least 2 lessons a day.  Now granted, some of those days, that probably wasn't the best thing for me to do, but I was glad I did it.  Now to answer your questions mom.  I do like my mission president.  He is super nice and pretty dang funny, but I have to say I love his wife too.  She has helped me through my long list of sicknesses.  I felt bad sometimes to text her because she probably has a lot of missionaries to deal with.  Although if it weren't for her, I wouldn't be taking the medications I need to be taking right now. 
I am glad to hear you guys are all doing well.  I love you guys and I just keep working hard so the time will fly by.  I can't wait for the day I get Taco Bell again.  I tell you what, its gonna be a long two years without any burritos...
Love you all,
Elder Warren

 Zach's Wild Monkey Pic... 
(sitting on a perch with a leash around his leg - hmmm)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

First Talk in Church

Hello family!

So this week was a pretty great week!  We had tons of meetings this week though which was not very fun.  On Wednesday I had my 4 week reunion!  It was nice to see the Elders from the provo MTC again.  They all seem to be doing really well for the most part.  On the down side, the meeting lasted around 9 hours.  On the bus ride back to our apartment both me and my companion totally passed out.  Then the next day, we had to go to a Zone Conference!!!  Talk about exhausting.  We kind of have to get up early for these things due to the fact that my companion is the District Leader.  The meeting again lasted around 9 hours.  After the meeting we went on splits with the Ramon Elders and we went with them to a baptism the next morning.  It is always fun to be in a group of 4 Elders.  But somehow everyone keeps finding ways to get baptisms.  But I found out that Rizal is not a high baptism rate.  Although this won't deter me from finding a way to get a baptism before I leave, I guess our APs, Zone Leaders, and so on have been there and were also unsuccessful in getting any baptisms.  

On Saturday we had family week!  This is a highly church endorsed week in the Philippines.  We started off the day going on a 30 minute walk to the church with our stake.  Then we had basketball games.  Now at first I didn't expect to play, but sure enough in the second game it was the Elders versus the adults.  Of course we won.  The crowd was very entertaining as well.  Whenever there was a pack, the whole crowd started yeling "OHHH".  Afterwards we played volleyball and had lunch.  It was really nice to fellowship our recent converts with the other members.  In my opinion, that was definitely a successful event.  

On Sunday I had to give my first talk....  Being a missionary I really didn't have time to prepare anything until that morning during priesthood.  Luckily I found a good article in the memorial for Elder L. Tom Perry.  When it came time for me to give my talk, I guess I did really well.  At the end of sacrament, President Tumaliaun kept telling me that I was magaling at Tagalog haha.  That means like great by the way.  

This week we were able to get a woman who has been inactive for a long time to return to church.  We went her house expecting to teach someone else, but it happened that she was available.  The lesson ended up being an hour and a half long.  She had so many questions, but we were able to answer all of them.  By the end I was really exhausted, and even said if she doesn't come to church now, I don't know what will.  I know that God prepares people for us in his own due time.  If we continue to constantly try and don't give up, Heavenly Father will give us his children to bring back into the fold.  As it said in Elder L. Tom Perry's article, we must strengthen every area we go to.  Sometimes it may seem pointless, but I know that if you continue to give the people love, they will eventually come back.  

That is it for this week.  I will continue to work hard.  And I will send some pictures!!

Lots of love,

Elder Warren

Elder Warren with MTC Buddies

Group Pic at Mission President's Home

Elder Warren and Trainer, Elder Canencia 

Mosquito Net and Hot Dogs!

Hello Family!

Well it has already been almost a month and now the time is really starting to fly by!  I remember last Pday feeling like it was yesterday! This week had been great!  I actually have to give a talk this coming Sunday, but it only has to be 5 minutes long so I am set!  We also have 2 investigators we are working with.  One has a big problem with word of wisdom, but he attends church and he told us that he has a strong desire to stop doing drugs and stuff.  I am hoping he can stop, because I really want a baptism.  It is mainly because I have had to attend about 5 different baptismal interviews for the Sisters that work in the other ward in Rizal.  I don't know how they do it, but I am really starting to get jealous of them.  The second investigator is a teenage guy who is pretty cool.  He has a little dog named Chihuahua that loves me.  I kid you not it does so many circles around me that sometimes I accidentally step on it.  It is as fast as lightning for real.  I love it to death though.  The investigator has been making excuses for coming to church, but he thinks I am pretty cool.  I told him that this Sunday we would be at his house early to come to church with him this Sunday.  I guess you could say I can be stubborn when I want action...  

I have gotten into a habit of writing in my journal everyday.  I am proud to say that I have not missed a single day on my mission.  I think I am up to about day 73.  I have also become more proficient  in my personal study  Although it has taken me a little longer than I would have liked.  I am to Moroni in the Book of Mormon.  I will probably have the Book of Mormon finished by next P day and then I can start on either the Bible or finish Our Search for Happiness.  

So to finish off this email I want to say that work is going great.  I honestly love this member in my ward Nanay Febrero "Nanay Mabeauti".  She is soo funny and likes to tell me to fight my companion hahaha.  She even got me a mosquito net!!!  WOOHOO!  Let me tell you, I could not have been more excited to put that on my bed last night.  No more mosquito bites for me.  Also last night I witnessed a pig get killed and cleaned.  Also.... I got to experience my first dog barbecue.  The family just had the dog roasting on the fire like it was a hot dog.  At first my brain didn't comprehend what was going on, but I picked up on it real fast.  Well that is it for me!  

Lots of love,

Elder Warren

Recent Converts Birthday Party

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Giving a Helping Hand

Hello family!

Well here is my update from this week!  I had a good week this week!  I am starting to fit into my nutrition schedule.  I will mainly be eating egg and cheesedog omelets along with peanut butter sandwiches.  It is really all I will be eating for the next 2 years.  I am glad to hear that all of the weddings went well.  To Megan, thank you so much for your letter and thank you Jesse and Megan for the wedding invitation.  Sadly, I have to inform you that I will not be able to make it.  Something about being half way across the world on a mission.  

I got  the flu this week!  That was super fun, not.  I am still adapting to the Philippines, but it was ok.  Since then I have done so much better.  We taught a ton of lessons this week.  I am really trying hard to not beg for some of these people to come back to church.  They are a very stubborn people haha.  But because they are so nice they will just say yes so that you will leave.  I am still trying to find ways to make them really want to come back to church.  It will just take time and patience.  We get lots of help from the Return missionaries and the mission president, along with one of my favorite Nanaes, Nanae Mabeuti.  Her real name is Nanae Febrero but she loves to be called on her beauti hahaha.  She has helped us with a lot of lessons and she has a strong spiritual presence about her.  My first week here she made me sign her book of remembrance for missionaries.  It was a huge honor. We do a ton of work with less actives and recent converts.  We have a couple investigators, but our main focus is on this Brother who recently just started attending our church.  I am excited for the turn out of this investigator.  Hopefully all goes well!  

It is super cool to see how much more organized I have become.  I take care of stuff now.  I brush my teeth multiple times a day.  I mean, its like a whole new world has opened up for me.  My breath never smells bad for a change.  I am also rocking a new hairstyle because of how they cut it here in the Philippines.  It is pretty nice, and I don't really care what other people think about it since I am half way across the world.  

To close, I want to share an experience that happened to me last night.  We were walking home after a good day, when we were called by a man sitting on the side of the road.  With cigarette in hand, he called us over.  We started to talk to him when we found out that he was a member back in the day.  We talked about why he left and if he would come back.  At the end, he said that he would like us to come to his house and wants to come back to church.  These people are awesome.  They have an actual desire to come to church.  They just need a helping hand.  Us missionaries are that helping hand.  As well as the members.  We need to take a better look around us.  Listen a little longer.  Then maybe we will come to find that there are so many more people ready to accept our invitation to come unto Christ.  I have no fear here to open my mouth here, because I have found that through the Lord, I am made stronger daily.  A mission is emotionally, physically, and spiritually demanding, but through the Lord I receive more then enough strength to get through each day.  I will never stop hastening the work, and we can always invite.

The Matangkad Misionary,
Elder Warren or Warrrrren(roll the r)


Picture of me, an Austarlian, and an Elder from Tumaluu


Email sent on 9/14/15

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My First Area!

Hello Family!!!
Well I am officially out in the field here in the Philippines!  My first area is the Rizal Ward in Santiago.  First,  I have to say I have come to love Pepto Bismol.  The food here tastes great, but my stomach doesn't agree.  I have probably overdosed on the stuff, but it is very important because no one really has bathrooms here.  A lot of people just kind of go on the side of the road.  Written on the walls here is "Bawal Umihi".  At first, I thought it meant, no soliciting, but I soon found out that I was wrong.  (English translation: Don't urinate here) The Philippines is a very different culture from here.  There are many tindahans, which are basically shops attached to the sides of houses.  The nice thing about these is that they are literally every other house, so we could go to them for breakfast items.  Two of my favorites are cheese dogs and croissants filled with cheese.  The cheese dogs are hot dogs that are filled  with cheese.  They are super good.  I usually have them with oatmeal and add brown sugar to the plain oatmeal.  
My area is kind of a jungle though.  There are actual huts and there are roads that are flooded with people just fishing in them.  I walk an average of 7 - 10 miles a day.  I have had to dunk for people about 10 different times already, and I think someone may have asked me to marry their daughter.  I here people say "tangkad"  everywhere I go which means tall.  The culture here is pretty lax.  People just ride on top of semis and kids will take rides on the back of U-Hauls as you will see in the picture.  My companion is Elder Canencia and he is Filipino.  He is super cool and he speaks English which is very handy.  He taught me how to wash my clothes today.  It was a long process and I sweated a ton, but my hands were fine.  They were just really sticky.  Dad, I can't believe you even thought about complaining about humidity.  I can't go anywhere without sweating.  I am sweating in this computer shop hahaha.  
I love the people here.  I have had some amazing lessons as well.  My favorite ones is this:  I was teaching Tatae (Father) Korpos.  We had just eaten dinner (rice and meat only for me) when I started to try to find a scripture on faith.  While I was doing so I flipped to 3 scriptures on pray to know if the gospel is true and receive a warmth for the spirit.  I told my companion and changed the lesson plan.  I read the scripture and bore my testimony.  At the end of the lesson I expressed our love for him and told him that we really wanted to see him at church next week.  The Spirit was super strong and I know I was given guidance in that moment.  Although this isn't the first miracle, I know it definitely isn't the last.  I will have a lot more to say in the coming weeks, but for now I love you all!

Elder Warren

President Rahlf, myself and Sister Rahlf

My trainer Elder Canencia

The Manilla Temple

War Memorial in Manilla

Getting a ride!