Monday, June 20, 2016

Getting Transferred This Week and 10 Donut Limit!

Hello Everyone!

Well it has been one packed week.  I picked up a cough at the beginning of this week and it hasn't wanted to leave me alone.  The members tells me it has to do with the heat and my back sweat.  I told them I was doomed to have a cough the rest of my mission then because I am always sweating!!!!!  

Anyways, I will be officially transferring out of the Cauayan Zone on Wednesday!  It has been a lot of fun here in Cauayan, but I am ready to see more of the mission and meet more peope!  On Sunday, a lot of less active members came to church and it made me happy to see that before I left. I got to see almost all of the seats filled up at church. 

On Wednesday, Elder Sorronda and I had to come up to Cauayan because he is going to be a trainer.  I worked with another Elder while he was in his meeting.  On Thursday, I had splits with our Zone Leaders and I was given the opportunity to work with Elder Posadas.  We went to one family of his that I could tell were the joking type.  The problem was that the parents were not active.  I knew I was kind of going to have to be straight with them, when Elder Posadas asked me to teach the lesson.  I was pretty direct when I told them that they needed to be better examples to their children.  They made the excuse that they needed money, but if that was the problem then how were their kids getting to church?  It kind of seemed like the Father had many excuses as to why he couldn't come to church, but in the end it came down to the fact that he wasn't willing to exercise his faith.  At the end of the lesson, the parents weren't joking anymore and I could tell that I had struck a chord with them.  Although I love to joke with others, we need to realize the importance of attending church and repenting of our sins.  Our lives should be centered around our beliefs, we can't only go to church when it suits us well.  We should be making a valiant effort to return to our Savior, because he sacrificed everything for us.  

On Friday we had a specialized training, we watched a video that was to train new mission Presidents.  At one point it said, why would [we missionaries] think this work would be easy when it was such a great challenge for Him.  Jesus Christ preformed miracles on this Earth and yet people still dwindled in unbelief.  That part of the video really hit me.  It made me realize I need to put more faith in the people I am teaching.  If it was that hard for Our Savior, it will be that much harder for me.  I won't give up, in fact after that day, I had a renewed sense of purpose.  I know this work won't be easy, but the joy and happiness it will bring me in the future can't even be described.  

Well to end on a funny note, this morning I bought 10 donuts and 2 sodas, and because of this fact, I was not able to eat lunch.  Lesson learned, 10 is my limit.  I ate 7 with ease last time and was still hungry for lunch but I guess 10 is just over doing it.  

Also Happy Fathers Day to my dad and to Grumps and to Grandpa Matthews.  All 3 of you have left a deep impression on my life and without you men I would not be the man I am today!  Grumps, your still weak and you have strings hanging out of your shirt.  

I love you all and will talk to you again in a week!

Elder Warren

The Baller Technique

Hello Everyone!

Well it was another good week for me!  We have a truly progressing investigator.  He has attended church for 3 weeks now.  Since last week, he has accepted the word of wisdom and has given up coffee and has stopped his occasional drinking!  I am honestly so happy right now that I am finally on the route to my first baptism. Part of me hopes that I get to stay at least one more cycle, but I will go where the Lord wants me to go!  

This week I got to teach the youth about stories they can use to explain to their non member friends the importance of the Priesthood.  I was very impressed by the scriptures that were provided in the lesson book.  There are several references to the priesthood in the Bible.  Almost all of the passages we shared were in the Bible so that their friends would have a better understanding.  Honestly this is one of the things I love about our church.  Although many people like to disagree with our beliefs, our church is centered off the same authority as the Church of Jesus Christ back in Biblical times.  I love how I don't have to be confused about the governing of our church because we have the same positions as in times of old.  It also makes my life easier because to be quite frank. 

Anyways, we went to the Quirino area again and for what seems like the first time in forever, I dunked for some little kids.  Afterwards about half the neighborhood wanted to get to know me.  Talk about a great way to get contacts!  My companions mouth literally dropped open when the people started to come towards us.  Haha and then to make things better, all of the people were shocked when they found I was pretty fluent in Tagalog.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not even close to perfect at Tagalog, but they thought I had lived here for years.I usually started my contacts off by telling them that, yes I played basketball in america, and yes I was about as tall as Stephen Curry, then I was able to smoothly transition to the gospel!  I call it my baller technique! :) 

Side note: By the way, have I told you that I think I have grown an addiction towards peanuts... I buy them by the kilo!  I just cant get enough of the salty flavor they provide!  I also thinks its an indication that I may need more sodium in my diet.  Oh and I found a cheap donut shop!!!!  I bought 10 donuts and they were amazing.  

Recently we have been having some problems with the women in our branch and as I was listening to one of our less active sisters talk about her concerns about attending all 3 hours due to the fact that there was some contention, a thought crossed my ind: "Who's house is this?"  The thought hit me so clearly that I lost my place in the conversation.  Immediately I was able to answer that the church is the Lord's house.  As it is the Lord's house, all of the members come together to worship and think about our Savior.  The Lord's house is not a place where the members should be diving into groups and talking about each other in negative ways.  It is a sacred place where everyone should be gathered together for one purpose, to come closer to Christ.  

This week I am going to focus my lessons to the women on the sacredness of the Lord's house and how we should be treating it.  It is high time this Branch felt some warmth and love! And who better to give it than us missionaries!!!!  I know this church is true.  The church is a sacred house of the Lord and should be treated as such.  It is no place for contention and definitely not a place to speak negative about others.  The 3 hours we have there are very short and should be cherished every second.  It is an opportunity to receive revelation for the things we need to focus on for the following week.  It is an opportunity to improve on ourselves and come closer to Him who was our perfect example.  I challenge all of you to truly ponder what it means to spend 3 Hours in  the Lord's house.  

Well to leave off, Id like to send my prayers off to the victims in the mass shooting.  I can't believe that was able to happen on US Soil.  I hope the government works hard to control this situation, because it seems to be getting scarier everyday.  

Well I love you all and will talk to you again soon!
Elder Warren

Hanging out

Crossing the Bridge


The "Dam"

Silly Kids

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Yet Another Food Joint, Street Flood and Frog Invasion!!

Hi Everyone!  

I can't believe that summer is already here.  Man its been a long time now.  It truly amazes me to think about how much time has gone by already.  The scary part is that I have only been in 2 areas so far.  So in the next year, I could only have 2 more areas!!! Thats crazy!  

Thats too bad to hear about the death of Scottie.  He was such an amazing kid.  I always enjoyed seeing him when I went to their house those couple of times.  I know he is reunited with Heavenly Father and watching over his family now.  His happiness is greater than any of us could comprehend.  

So as for this week,  I just got done eating at chicken deli, its like a second hand version of mang ingasal.  Basically, you get some meat and then unlimited rice.  Polynesians have actually made it so that we can only get so many things of rice.  Its ok though, because I have not yet beat that record.  The secret to eating this way is to have only a little bit of meat with each spoonful of rice.  Then you can get your ulam, or meal to last or at least 4 scoops of rice.  Then you just drench the rice in chicken sauce until you are full!  I know all of the secrets now to eating like a Polynesian.  Seriously though, the chicken sauce is amazing and I love to order their pork sisig.  

The weather has not gotten any cooler besides the baguio that passed through the other day.  Let me tell you, I had not experienced true rain until that evening.  When I was trying to walk to the tryke from our last appointment (we needed the ryke because all of the streets were flooded) the water came up to past my knees!  I think I may have screamed like a little girl when the coldness enveloped my legs!  My first though was that hopefully no worms would go up my pants!  

When we got back to our appartment our walkway was COVERED with frogs.  I literally believe we may have a frog infestation.  They were in our house, on the walls, everywhere.  We had to spend some time getting them all out of there.  I also experienced my first tree frog and man those things can jump!  

Anyways our work is starting to take a turn for the better!  We had 3 investigators attend church yesterday!  The difference is that they all had friends or family members who came with them to church!  Now how hard is that?  I am hoping more members start to take this initiative because most of our investigators are friends with members!  I feel a lot better now that I am starting to see the results of my work.  It is an amazing feeling to see it pay off.  

Anyways I continue to do good over here.  I just can't seem to ever fill my bottomless stomach!!! Luckily, members are pretty generous over here.  Well I love you all and will send some pictures soon!


Elder Zach Warren

Cheap Pizza and Finding True Happiness

Hello Everyone!

Well I did have another good week full of week and just recently, pizza!!!!  This week, we discovered that Greenwich pizza is pretty dang cheap.  So Elder King and I split one and it is about $3 per person.  That includes a Hawaiian slushy!  Man is it DELICIOUS!  

I have also been working hard with our investigators.  Literally we have around 30 investigators but we can never get them to attend church.  Pretty soon I may have to start using the Force to drag them into the church!  Many of them actually expressed interest, but interestingly SOMETHING always seems to come up...  I will get to the bottom of this strange occurrence!  Until then I will make sure I pray and exercise stronger faith.  

So as for a special story: for the past couple of weeks Mama Tin has really been struggling to be happy.  She has been having some trouble with some of the members and things are hard right now for her with a baby on the way.  Yesterday she gave a talk on how the members can fulfill their callings to the fullest.  She testified to me later that night that when she gave her talk, unlike all the other times she had talked, all of the members who usually talked were paying attention to her.  She said that never in her life had she felt the Spirit so strongly while giving a talk.  It was amazing to see how happy that had made her.  

Elder Sorronda and I had been trying to find ways to make her happy (none of my usual humor worked...) and I guess this was what she needed.  It was one of many instances where I can testify that if we endure and continue to choose the right, the Lord will lighten our burdens.  Mama Tin is trully a great member and she has endured a lot to get to where she is now.  I will say though that she really seems to like when I act goofy.  I did one of my impressions when I could tell she was just done with her crazy kids.  I did my impression and I kid you not, she was crying for the next 30 seconds.  That day I felt more accomplished than usual.  

Well I think that is about it for this week.  I will continue to work with these investigators and make the members laugh!  Until next week!


Elder Warren

emailed on May 22, 2016

Strengthening the Roots of the Ward

Hello Everyone,

I really enjoyed to talking to you all on Mother's Day!  I am sorry if sometimes it looked like a was zoning out.  The water had taken a long time to fill up the night before so needless to say it was a little bit of a long night.  It only makes me stronger though!  

Well in terms of work, things are going great!  2 investigators attended church, one of them the partner of one of our active members!  I have high hopes for him.  The other investigator is dating a member in our branch.  He seems to feel at peace when he is in the church.  

I gave a talk this week and it was the bomb!  I kid you not, I prepped that baby.  I made sure everything besides the scripture verses were in Tagalog.  It took wayyy too long, but now I have it for future areas!  In fact, I had to cut my talk short, I had 2 long paragraphs left and I had already talked for 17 minutes!  I am proud of myself haha.  

We continue to just work with our investigators little by little.  They continue to progress little by little.  This area may start to bloom.  Hopefully I will still be here when it does!  Another area we have been stressing is Less Actives.  For the longest time we haven't been able to see why they don't like to return and I realized it came down to the members.  Now, they weren't doing anything wrong, they just weren't doing anything.  I have realized that members are key to the ward.  They are like the roots of a tree.  If you get rid of the roots, the rest of the tree dies.  

Well our problem here is that our active members are starting to waver in church attendance.  Elder Sorronda and I put some time in with our active members to help them see their importance and also to see that they need to help strengthen the ward.  Hopefully, our active members, will start to make efforts to bond with everyone in our ward so that the roots of this branch can become long and strong!  

Well I just keep working here and have begun to stress to all the members the importance of showing LOVE!  No more straight faces.  That kind of reminds me of me back in the day...  Anyways i love you all and I know I am such a slacker with pics!!!  Maybe my comp has some.


Elder Warren

emailed on May 16, 2016