Friday, July 7, 2017

Zone Conference Week and Being Humble

Hello Family and Friends!

This week also went by pretty fast for me!  We had a lot of stuff going on this week. On Wednesday we had a great Zone Conference on beware of pride.  I felt like it was a very fitting conference and I learned a lot from it.  It helped me to really see how we need to make sure that everything we do, we do for Our Heavenly Father, and that we don't do it just for ourselves.  Even we as missionaries can sometimes let our own personal ambitions and goals take precedent over the will that our Heavenly Father has for us and that is just not good.  

As a missionary, I really need to align my will with my Heavenly Father's and do everything that HE wants me to do.  Not what I want me to do.  Thinking like that has really helped me through out my mission.  When I didn't get baptisms or obtain callings, I always kept in mind that this was what my Heavenly Father wanted for me.  This is what will help me most align my will with His and forget about myself.  That is the key, we have to forget the I and only know the You.  

Everything we do as missionaries, members, and people should be to help progress the salvation of our Heavenly Father's children.  By doing so, we can NEVER go wrong with what we do.  

Work was good this week.  We are starting to focus on some Less Actives right now.  This Branch really needs some Priesthood Holders here to help the Branch run more smoothly and more efficiently.  I try to make sure to emphasize to men how important and sacred the calling of being the presiding Priesthood holder in a house is.  That is one of the most special callings a Brother can have in our Church.  He holds keys that no one else can hold that allow him to be a resource and great blessing to his family, if he remains worthy to use such Priesthood authority.  

I also make sure to teach the importance of Humbling ourselves and forgiving others of their mistakes.  No one is perfect.  Not even us missionaries are perfect.  And as such, we really need to be forgiving and forget the wrong and offensive things that members can do occasionally.  I know that as we do so, we WILL be blessed, and that burden of anger can be released from us.  May we always forgive those who have done something to hurt us.  

Well the rest of my week was very hot and filled with a couple things of ice cream so that I didn't overtheat!  Haha I love you all and will talk to all of you again soon!  Thanks for all of the love and support that you give me!!!!


Elder Zach Warren

New Companion and Philippine Commercial

Hello Family and Friends!

Well this week was ok!  I say ok mainly because I think I may have exhausted my body just a little bit and my body may dislike me with a strong passion right now.  On Monday and Tuesday, Elder Panton really want to say goodbye to EVERY member in our branch.  I know it's his first area and he seemed to have gotten close to everyone, so I just went along with him.  But... Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.  I don't think my body is designed to be out in that kind of heat for 12 hours straight for 2 days in a row.  I say that because I got a pretty bad rash all over my body.  I also got the flu which has not been fun.  I have been taking medicine and really washing my body, but I think later I will be going to be checked up by a doctor.  

Anyways, this week I got my new companion... Elder Branzuela!!!!  I love this guy.  For those of you who don't know, we were actually roommates and worked together for 3 cycles back when I was in the office.  Its great to have him as a companion.  We get along very well!  We always keep each other laughing, even when I'm sick haha.  

This week I have been helping him get to know the area and introducing him to all of our members, investigators, and everyone else!  But it was a little hard to do that since I have been pretty sick these past couple of days.  I'm hoping that after this check up I will be able to get back to health and start going back to normal work schedule!  

Here in the Philippines they have what is called Holy week for Easter, so this past week almost no one has been home.  Everyone goes to parades in the city and parties, which makes it hard for us to be able to teach our investigators, but we were still able to find ways.  Actually, Easter here can get dangerous in some cities because some people get pretty crazy, but we had no problem here.  

Actually, our church put out a commercial here in the Philippines about Christ for Easter.  We were in a members home and they were cooking us food when we saw the commercial and Elder Branzuela and I started screaming!  Haha the members didn't really know what was going on because they didn't see the commercial so then we had to explain it to them haha.  I think I may have scared Nanay pretty badly hahaha.  

Also this week I had the opportunity do a baptismal interview for an investigator in the Sister's area and I am happy to report that the young man passed!  He had a wonderful testimony and is definitely ready to become a member and take upon himself the name of our Savior!  I was happy just to play a small part in helping him come closer unto our Lord. 

Well I don't have too much more to say besides that.  Most of the rest of this week I have spent trying to recover because this rash is pretty bad, but I think it is about to get better!  

Well I love you all and will talk to all of you again next week!


Elder Warren

Here's some pics of my district and the area. Enjoy!

General Conference Highlights and Car Ride with AC

Hello Family and Friends!

Well it was a great week here in Angadanan!  Early this morning I learned that my companion will be transferring!  He seems to be excited and very nervous to move to his second area in the mission.  Haha I remember what that was like!  I will be staying a district leader and later today or tomorrow I will find out who my new companion is!  

So this Saturday and Sunday I had the opportunity to watch general conference and I really enjoyed it.  One of my favorite talkers was Gary B. Sabin.  That man was so funny, I loved when he talked about how we have to be all in when it comes to the gospel.  I had a good laugh how he talked about how when we are not all the way in, there won't be a disturbance in the force.  It is so true.  If we start to wander off of the right path, we will not notice it until we are down a very dangerous path that will be hard to come back from.  I also really enjoyed the talk given by Elder Uchtdorf concerning the men.  Men as leaders really do need to stop taking themselves "so darn seriously."  Although we all have responsibilities here in the church, we should be more humble as we receive a higher calling.  We should try our hardest to serve the people we are responsible for, instead of trying to command them. 

We are all equal as Sons and Daughters of God.  For the reason, and that reason alone, we should not take advantage of the responsibilities we are given.  We should take that opportunity to change more ourselves and become EVEN better servants to the members around us and the people we serve.  There were so many great talks in conference and I really loved them all. 

So work went pretty well this week.  Right now we are working on getting our investigators on coming to church and we are also trying to help some past recent converts who have kind of stopped coming to church.  It's been a little bit of a struggle lately, but we really stress to them the importance of the 3 most basic commandments in our church, pray, read the scriptures daily, and come to church.  As we emphasize this, I am starting to see it click in their minds and in their hearts that they really need to be doing that.  Hopefully they will start coming back soon, so they can feel the true happiness that comes from our gospel!  

My companion and I also kind of had a couple of funny experiences earlier this morning too.  So we went to go get haircuts this morning and when we go to do this, we go jogging together.  Before we started jogging, we were walking and all of the sudden my companion decided he wanted to jump this tall sign.   Hahaha.  Lets just say, he ate it hahaha.  I kind of felt bad for him, but I also was like, why would you do that?!?  He later told me he used to be able to jump that high so I teased him for a little while.  We also had a nonmember, whos cousin is serving a mission, just offer us a ride to town which I was very thankful for!!  It was a double bonus because we were able to contact him, and got a free ride in a nice cool air conditioned car!  Man do I love my work!!!  

Anyways, that was pretty much all that happened this week!  I love you all and hope that everything is going well over there!  

I will see you all soon!

Elder Warren

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Baptisms, Parade Distractions and Elder Smiley

Hello Family and Loved Ones!

Well this was quite the week!  We ended up having 2 baptisms this Saturday and it was incredible!  I got the opportunity to baptize the Brother, Jimrex and then my companion got to baptize the other 2 Sisters.  They all had great amazing testimonies afterwards and my companion and I were very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their first step towards coming unto Christ and working on their progression towards eternal salvation! :) 

So this week, our town had a fiesta, so when it was night we had trouble find appointments because EVERYONE, and I mean everyone was at the Carnival haha, but at least they were having fun!  So I don't know if I told you guys or not, but every morning I go jogging at the church, well I do liners.  And so one morning I just finished doing my liners and we were walking back to our apartment.  As we were doing so, there was a parade going on.  Haha, honestly all of the people who were participating in the parade got distracted by me.  Haha there were actually marching bands who stopped playing their instruments to look at me hahahaha.  It made me feel like I was the parade!  Overall, there was a lot of parties and fun activities going on in our town, and I wasn't complaining because there were a lot of food stands!!!  

Anyways, work continues to progress over here in Angadanan.  Right now we are focusing on getting these other investigators to church, because they really do have strong testimonies, but we just haven't quite gotten them to come to church yet!  But Elder Panton and I will continue searching for ways to get them to want to come to church.  

One thing I have started to do while I am out working, is I look for anyone who isn't smiling and I make it my goal to make them smile.  Everytime I get someone to smile at me, I just feel that more satisfied with my purpose and the service that I can give as a missionary.  Literally, all I look for now when I work is smiles from everyone I pass.  And let me tell you, this is no easy task for me.  I have never been that good of a smiler, mom can testify to that!  When I first started smiling at people, it was seriously awkward for me.  Like I just feel like a look goofy when I just smile, and the worst is when the people don't smile back, but I just keep pushing myself to smile at strangers because I want those smiles!  In a way, I feel like this will be really valuable to me in the future, so I just keep on pushing myself to smile at someone, even knowing that most likely my face has turned red from embarrassment, more so when they don't smile back!  But I feel like the more I smile, the easier it becomes so I will continue to do it until I no longer feel uncomfortable!  

On Sunday, we went to one of our areas that requires crossing a broken bridge to get to it.  Well yesterday, there was a lot of debris along the side of the bridge floating in the water, and I didn't want to pay to be pulled across the broken bridge on a boat, so I walked on the floaties!  It was so awesome, and soo many people thought that I was going to just fall in and the floating debris would sink, but because there was so much and my faith was sufficient I did it, twice!!!  I got a lot of smiles and laughs for that!  Haha I figured I need to make my last 3 months as exciting as possible so why not?  

Anyways, I continue to do really well here and the work is going great!  I couldn't ask for anything more in my mission! :)  I love you all and here are some pictures!


Elder Zach Warren

3 Upcoming Baptisms and Veggietales

Hello Family and Friends!

Well this week was a long, but well worth while week!  In fact, Elder Panton and I have 3 baptisms coming up this Saturday!!!  WOOHOO!!!  That will make it 6 baptisms for me so far!  2 of them are younger kids and the other is a Single Adult with such amazing faith.  She is in our farthest area, it is about an hour away and you also have to take a boat, but she still continued to come to church every week for the past few months and is now ready to get baptized this Saturday.  

It's amazing what some of these people can do and how much faith they have to stay true to the commandments of God!  The kids on the other hand took a little bit of work...  So I just have to be honest and come out and say that this is the first area where I actually had kid investigators.  I never got them in my other areas because they are usually pretty crazy, they have a hard time paying attention, and there are many things that can cause them to leave the church.  

When I came into this area, I found that over half of our investigators are kids, so I am working with my companion on some things, but I am still happy to teach them, if they will actually listen!  These 2 kids took a lot of visits and reminding, but on the day of their interviews they were ready and definitely had a testimony and a strong desire to become members of our Church, take upon themselves the name of Christ, and come closer unto Him.  

It was a little funny though, because one of the kids after their interview said, "Yes, I was able to memorize it all!!!"  And then our Zone Leaders asked if they memorized their testimony and they said no.  Hahaha man am I glad they said no otherwise my companion and I would have been in some trouble! (Let it be known as fact that Elder Panton and I ONLY helped them memorize the rules in our church, like Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, and Tithing!)  

Summer has also arrived here in the Philippines and man is it hot!  Literally, after we walk out of the apartment, I sweat for the rest of the day, without any hope of it ever stopping.  That's also kind of a bummer because now I have to pay Nanay more to wash my clothes because there are soo many!  I also need to make sure I drink more water, so I don't get sick anymore.  I am trying my best to stay away from the hospitals for the last 3 months of my mission.  My biggest fear at this point is to get really sick again right before I go home.  But as long as I keep doing what I am doing, I think I will be just fine!  

So this week, while reading the Bible, I got to the story of Esther and I really enjoyed the story.  As I read, I was able to picture it all in my head as the Veggietales version!  Hahaha there were multiple times where I laughed and my companion looked at me funny because it was during personal study after all.  I really like her story though.  To do what she did took a lot of faith.  Knowing that you could die just be entering into the room of your husband, has got to be a little scary.  I love how she said that if she died, so be it.  It takes someone with real courage to forget about themselves and their life for the sake of their people.  I also really had a good laugh when Hamen tells the king how to properly thank a man and says that the person should ride on the Kings horse and where the Kings apparel, only to find it wasn't for him, it was for Esthers uncle.  Haha, anyways I had a good laugh with that.  

Well besides the work we did in our area, I also got two do 2 baptismal interviews for the Elders in my district and both of them seemed ready to enter the waters of baptism!  I am very happy for them and the decision that they have made, and I am also proud of the Elders in my district!  Its neat how I now get to see how other missionaries are doing.  No matter what happens during their week, I am always proud of the effort they give! :) 

Anyways, this week I got to try this weird fruit that I guess is like watermelon.  I don't really know how to describe it but honestly it tasted like candy!  It was also weird looking but I don't have a picture of it before it was cut... SORRY!!! 

Anyways, that is pretty much all I have for this week, I love you all and will talk to you all again soon!

Elder Zach Warren

Another Week in Angadanan

Hello Family and Friends!

It was another good week here in Angadanan!  Work is going great!  We have a ton of investigators and it is very different for me because I came from the office where I was only able to have a couple investigators.  But I enjoy having a lot of people to teach, it makes the time so much more pleasant and enjoyable and the time goes by much faster!  Elder Panton is still doing really well, although I am starting to push him to speak English some more so he can learn it ;)  I know he will be the best at cracking jokes in English when I am done with him!  

Angadanan is a smaller town, but the area in itself is pretty large because I am assigned in a Branch.  Being a District Leader requires a lot more work for me which is ok as long as I make sure to manage it always.  It means I have to do accounting with my district every week and teach a district meeting every tuesday, but that is about it.  

Anyways, this past week I enjoyed reading about baptism.  I thought it was so amazing to read about baptism. Baptism is such a great thing to have in our lives as well as the sacrament.  Those 2 things allow us to be completely forgiven of all of our sins every week if we continue to be worthy to take the sacrament.  I also enjoyed reading about how children do not need to be baptized.  If Our Heavenly Father favored one child over another because one was baptised and one was not, He would be a partial God and would cease to exist.  Isn't that incredible?  

Our Heavenly Father loves all of the children.  He loves them so much, that if they die before they are accountable, he will allow all of them to be saved!  Children are very precious, not just to us, but to even our Heavenly Father so we should treat them as such!  I make sure to always try to cheer up the kids I come across in the street, because not only does their day get better, my day gets better as well!  

Well I love all of you and will talk to all of you again next week!

Elder Warren

Here are some pictures of huge butterflies I cam across while working this week! And the Sisters who like to steal my camera.....!