Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Understanding the Atonement

Hello Everyone!

Well this week was a good one.  Today we went to Magat Dam.  There we got to ride on a boat that was kind of flooding but it's ok, no one got really wet.  We got to go to a floating hut hatchery where they grow hundreds of fish.  It was really cool.  Afterwards,my favorite part, I got to have baby back ribs at a carinderia.  I didn't want it to end!  

I would like to take a quick second to thank Aunt Wendy for my Birthday card.  I would also like to thank Brianna for writing!  And thank you to the Matthews family for the letters.  A common trend in all the letters is what is the weirdest thing I have eaten.  Bare in mind it is very hard to compare these foods.  I would have to say one of the weirdest foods that I have eaten is chicken feet.  The fact that the toes pet you as you attempt to eat it is pretty weird.  Snails are kind of salty and have a very slimy texture.  Ballut is just a hard boiled egg with bones, feathers, and a miniature brain hahaha.  I have also had duck which has the same consistency as liver.  Another weird thing I have eaten is fried blood.  Now that is weird.  It is solidified blood on a stick.  Its like a level above a corn dog!  

This week for work we are trying to focus on our investigators.  We made some good progress with them in the past couple of weeks.  Sadly, this Sunday not many attended due to the fiesta that is going on in our town.  It is pretty big.  This coming Thursday and Friday no stores will be open.  

One of our investigators is getting really close, we just need to get him to attend church for a full month.  This week we talked about the Atonement that Jesus Christ paid for us.  While we were discussing it, I came across a sentence that said He felt our pains, our sufferings, and our temptations.  It never occurred to me that he also felt all of the things we were tempted to do.  It just made me realize that the next time I am ever tempted to do something wrong, I know that my Savior felt that same temptation.  

Well I love you all!

Elder Warren

New District T-Shirts

Just hanging out with my District

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Muddy Trails!

Has it really been 34 weeks???

Wow, well hello Family, Friends, Acquaintances, and all of you in between!  

I am doing pretty good this week.  Dad, first off, I got you more pictures.  I know, your welcome.  Anyways I am writing this email after consuming 3 pepsis in a row.  Here in the Philippines water is not really an option besides when I am at the appartment, so Pepsi and Coke are really my next best choice!  

So this week was pretty straightforward.  We are starting to have some luck with investigators thanks to our awesome branch president!  He invites young men over to our FHEs and then takes them with him to church!  We owe him a lot of credit on helping these people progress in the church.  We have begun teaching them and it is kind of funny to see these young men because its like looking at how I was like at that age.  They start off acting cool and almost like they are embarrassed to be talking to us.  Then when they realize we are pretty cool, they don't stop talking hahaha.  I feel like I might have been like that when I was younger, except maybe a little worse.  I am happy to see that we will have some more investigators attending church.  That is a great sign!  

On another note, one of our Single Adult Sisters finally came back from her job training.  The problem is, she now has to attend church in the Ilagan area which means her family won't be coming to church very much anymore.  It is sad to see that they all go if she comes, but maybe this will be a good thing.  Maybe we can help the family see that they should want to come to church to feel the Spirit for themselves and not just because another family member is going.  

Well one day on our way to an appointment we decided to take a shortcut.  Now this path was pretty steep, but I wasn't too concerned because it is pretty normal here.  What I didn't realize was a single patch of mud after a pretty big step.  Due to my error in calculation I proceeded to slip and get the entire backside of myself covered in mud.  Now this was at 4 in the afternoon.  I still had a good couple of hours to go before we could go home.  For the rest of the day, I got to enjoy dirtying everybody's chair that I sat on.  I also do believe that I have bruised my tail bone which has been forcing me to sit proper.  Too bad it is no longer the 1700s.  

Anyways on the topic of pain, I think I may have lockjaw, but I am not sure.  It will be something to check out in 16 months!  Haha! This week I had some dreams that honestly were about my family Stephen and Andrew.  (I guess they are like step family at this point.)  For the past 2 nights before I went to bed, for some reason I just couldn't stop thinking about you guys and Steve and Drew.  Then I have dreams that I am with you guys and it is honestly super realistic.  Like Jake is picking on Rachael and Steve and Drew are playing games on their phones.  It just made me think that honestly one of the most important things we have in this world is relationships.  These are something we take with us into the next life.  That's one thing I have noticed is special about the Filipinos.  They don't really care about possessions. If you ask them for something, 99% of the time they will just give it to you.  Even if they like it, because to them, whats more important is the relationship that is associated with that gift.  It made me realize why all the Filipino missionaries want a gift of remembrance, it isn't for a gift.  Its to remember the friendships they made during their mission.  

Lately, I have been working on just being a friend to everyone in my area.  Maybe I won't get any baptisms, but instead maybe I will have a whole network of friends who strengthen each other and encourage each other to become better than they are now.  Well that is just an observation I made this week. I love you guys and hope all is well over there. 

Until next week I love you all!
Elder Warren

Wild Attack Cow!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Service Projects and Blessing the Dead

Hello Family!

This week was a good week, but like always it had its exciting moments!  We are continuing to have more young men attend our weekly family home evenings at our Branch presidents house.  Some have even started to attend church so we are going to go visit them.  They could be the key to having success in this area.  It also could be an answer to the prayers of the members because they are really in need of some more Priesthood holders.  

On Tuesday we had a Zone Conference.  During this meeting we got our new Standards of excellence and although not a lot has changed they have put in a new category.  It is for investigators attending church.  We are now supposed to report how many investigators attend church weekly.  The goal for each week is at least 4 investigators each week.  This is a little more difficult of a category to track, but I know it will push me to become a more effective teacher.  

We also got a lot of lectures on how to be more effective Missionaries.  One thing that stuck with me is the CASH system.  CASH stands for comment, ask, smile, and help.  I really feel like this is the most effective way to contact someone on the streets.  You start off by giving them a comment, something natural, not to cheesy.  Then you ask them an inspired unique question that will help get them thinking about gospel topics.  For example you could ask: Have you ever wondered what you are doing here on earth.  When they respond, you can then ask if they are interested to learn more about the topic.  At the conclusion of your short 30 second contact, you offer to help them with whatever they are doing.  I feel like this is a great way to show people what we as missionaries do.  We don't just want to get to know others, we also want to help them, and leave any area we go stronger then when we started.  

We had a service project this week at Mama Tins house which was a lot of fun.  We helped her take out a thick patch of weeds in her back yard.  It was fun to be with everyone in my district.  It was also a great way to show the surrounding neighbors what we do for others and the great community our church has.  Many of the Elderly came up to us and thanked us for what they were doing.  It feels good to spread so much joy to others.  

I honestly can say that making others happy is like my new motto in life.  Even acknowledging someone with a smile can make there day brighter.  Kids tend to like to abuse my arms, but I just smile and allow them to climb my arms because I enjoy hearing them laugh and have a fun time.  It is also a great way to keep my arms in shape haha!  I know that joy is an essential part of missionary work.  Its a way to introduce yourself and show that you aren't just another person who is trying to push their beliefs onto you.  We merely want to share in the joy of our Savior and his plan for all of us. 

On that note, I will now dive into the excitement of my week!  So I TOTALLY forgot I had to give a talk yesterday and the branch president forgot to remind me about it.  I only had about 15 minutes to prepare it so about half of it was in English sadly.  Thankfully, most of the Branch understood the talk and actually got something out of it.  

The other excitement for me was I had to give a dead elderly woman a blessing.  I know that may sound weird, but it is true.  We had our lunch appointment after church and right towards the end we get a call.  Before I know whats going on, Elder Fernande says we need to go.  When we get to the house, the first thing I notice is that all the women are crying.  Right away, I knew something wasn't right.  When I looked into the room, I knew why.  Apparently the woman had passed away about 30 minutes before we got there.  Elder Fernandez didn't really know what to do in the situation, but he knew they wanted us to bless her.  So he asked if I would.  I was a little uncomfortable touching her head, as she had passed away, but I did and proceeded to give a blessing.  After the blessing I was still a little uncomfortable, but I felt at peace and knew she was going where she needed to go.  Of course, immediately after the blessing I asked for hand sanitizer and reported it to the Branch president like I am supposed to.  I hope I was able to help that family.  

Well I am continuing to do well here.  I have a picture with me and my batch mate from the MTC who is now in my zone.  I also have a picture of me here at the net shop with my new haircut listening to some EFY music!  

Well until next week, I love you all!  Have more JOY IN YOUR LIFE PEOPLE!  After all, at least your not dead.


Elder Warren