Monday, November 25, 2013

"Never thought I would meet a Scottish person on my mission, but it happened"

Hello pamilya at mga kaibigan!  How is everybody?

This week might end up being a lot of pictures and not as much email.  So I have to tell you about the amazingly beautiful beach that we found that's in our area.  It kind of kills me that there's an awesome place like this and the whole water part is, well bawal...guess that gives me an excuse to come back! It's a place called Sabang and it has an island just a little ways off called Salomago island.  That's technically in our area too, but we can't go there because we'd be crossing water and I don't think anyone actually lives there.  But there's lots of nice pictures from there.  Crazy story about Sabang, we were taking a few quick pictures when we ran into a white male that spoke English.  He's from Scotland!  Never thought I would meet a Scottish person on my mission, but it happened.  He's an ex-military guy that met another ex-military Filipina and now they're engaged.  So we talked to him a little and he said we could refer missionaries from Scotland to him.  So we gave his name to the mission office and who knows what will happen now.
We had interviews with President Barrientos this last Friday along with a training from Sister Barrientos and the Assistants to the President.  It really pumped everybody up for hastening the work and Elder Lynn and I both felt like the Spirit was working stronger with us during the weekend.  We are starting to get a little more success with getting investigators that have baptismal dates to come to church.  Lilibeth came with her son and daughter, Jimmy was working this week so hopefully we can teach him about the Sabbath day and he makes it next week.  Christmas might end up really white this year after all! 
Speaking of Christmas, there's a funny story about us caroling.  We were out walking in the sentro of our area and we ran into one of our investigators sisters and started talking with her and a couple of her friends.  Then Elder Lynn told us all that we were going to go caroling.  So we did.  We sang "We wish you a merry Christmas" outside of the house we were by.  The people came out and tried to give us money.  We didn't take it, but the kids did.  We gave them a pamphlet though and set up a return appointment.  The many methods of finding!
Well that's about all I have time for right now so I hope everyone is doing fine and I can't wait to hear from you next week.
Laging mahal ko kayo!
-Elder Egan
so I ran out of time last week to send all the zoo pictures so I'm sending more.

This is that island off of the coast of Sabang

These are all of the adin that follow us around in Namruangan and love us to do magic for them.  The one where we're on a bench is my favorite because I got to sit by a very special soul. The kids here swarm Americans and for whatever reason they really (really) love Elder Lynn and I (almost too much...)


Monday, November 18, 2013

An Explosion of Referrals and a Zone Activity to the Zoo

Kumusta kayo? Sounds like life is going along pretty well in America.  I can't believe Jonny is back already!  He's probably just like a Mexican now.  Snow already huh? It'll be weird not seeing that for a while.  So I guess we'll get started with questions.  No I won't get to help with any humanitarian effort where the typhoon hit for several reasons, the most prominent being that it's pretty far away from our area and it's not exactly pwede to leave your mission area.  I heard a lot of the missionaries are going to serve in Manila now.  I feel like the language is going pretty well.  I can say pretty much anything that I want to, but it's pretty slow.  I'm pretty comfortable with it right now, definitely not fluent.  I'm picking up some Ilokano though which is way more fun than Tagalog!  Grandma got stung by a scorpion!? I mean that's something I wouldn't be too shocked about hearing if the houses in America were like the ones here, but talaga!?
Ok, so I think I'll talk about the exchanges I went on with the Filipino missionary in our apartment. He speaks really good English so communicating wasn't a problem at all.  We went out to Namruangan to teach the family that came to church last week.  We gave them the baptismal challenge and they said yes!!  Dec. 21st! Then our fellowshipper Sis. Sandra (I could write a whole e-mail just about her) went crazy and started talking with all these people as we went to go see a trike driver that has a son with cerebral palsy.  We got 6 referrals in that day just from Namruangan.  It basically exploded in missionary opportunities!

We went back to Namruangan to teach Jimmy and Lili's family (the ones I just talked about) and we gave them a Word of Wisdom lesson just to make sure we got that taken care of quickly.  Sister Lili was reading the bawal things from the pamphlet and just started laughing.  So Elder Lynn and I thought "oh no, what's so funny?"  So we asked her.  She said her husband didn't do any of that stuff. And then we were like "Talaga!?"  We went through every individual thing and they have absolutely zippo problems with the WoW.  If that isn't a prepared family I don't know what is!!  
We tried to teach some of the referrals we got out there, but there were crowds of adin all around us and they basically just wanted us to stay with them and visit them.  It was kind of how I imagine Jesus being flocked with people...except He was infinitely better at teaching to crowds and adults as well.  So we did manage to get a couple new investigators out there and another baptismal date!
So at church yesterday we had Jimmy and Lilibeth with there whole family and four other cousin/friends with them.  Record at church again!  The only problem is that our other investigators with baptismal dates didn't come.  That's probably the toughest thing about helping investigators to progress.  So everyone takes a tricey to church if they don't have their own vehicle.  Jimmy has a motor so he takes his family and then the rest of them triceyd it.  Tricey is about 25-30 pesos per person or less than a dollar and Namruangan is the farthest area away so it could get down to 20 if you're closer.  But yeah it's less than a dollar.
Here's a cool-ish story from the week.  We were teaching a less active guy with his family and it started raining the hardest I have ever seen.  We couldn't hear because it was so strong.  So we waited and had a little merienda after teaching and then it stopped as quickly as it started.  I'd say it was about a 15 min. storm and it already started flooding the streets.  Yep, we call it the mini-bagyo.

Well thanks everyone for your care and love for me.  Can't wait to hear from you again.  It's weird, I feel like this is just some extended boy scout camp (except I'm teaching the gospel in Tagalog) and I'll come back in a week and see everyone.  I bet time will keep on flying and it probably will feel like that, so I'd better enjoy it here while I can.
Mahal ko kayo lahat!
-Elder Egan

Zone activity to the Vigan Zoo


Monday, November 11, 2013

Smooth Sailing in Laoag

Hello my wonderfully amazing family and friends and other people who may end up reading this. No problems at all in the Laoag mission with the typhoon that just hit the Philippines.  I'm about the farthest down south in the whole mission and all we got here were some clouds.  We got the news from our President about the devastation caused by the bagyo.  We pray for them as well.  It's incredible to hear that the missionaries are safe (I guess we aren't quite sure about Tacloban, but President made it sound like everyone was ok).  So there isn't any emergency demand for humanitarian assistance in our mission. 

So it's nice to hear about some of the things going on with the family.  It's awesome that Kol made it to the semis and I guess Emma already has a better high school career than I did.  And now Mia's gonna be a snowboarding pro!  I hope that's fun.
I still can't quite wrap my head around the fact that I'm half way around the world in the Philippines. It's been pretty quiet round here, aside from  the fact that there's 6 Elders in our apartment now.  It's a little tight, but we have a ton of fun with each other.  
There isn't a whole lot thought that I'm thinking of right now to write about.  I've been reading Jesus the Christ and that's made me stand in even more amazement of the things that he did in his life.  The world was changed from just 3 years of writings about his life and teachings, that much almost everyone can agree on.  The more amazing part to me is the fact that so many people don't truly understand the eternal value of the Atonement.  I don't even understand as much as I wish I did, but I know it's real.  If everyone in the world knew it was real, I doubt that there would be as much misery and confusion in the world.  So that's something I'll try and help people in the Philippines understand at least a little bit more personally.
I think I'll give an update on one of the families we teach now.  It's a family that I haven't taught since the first week I was here.  They're names are Jimmy and Lilibeth and they have two kids, Jimpau (Jimpo) and Jelhina May.  They live really far out in a Brngy. called Namruangan.  Lilibeth and her kids came to church this last Sunday and they brought some friends with them too!  We're going to start teaching them a lot more.
I guess one of the things I wanted to share was that we've been able to give a few blessings just this last week.  One was to a little baby named JJ who had some kind of fever and and a rash around his ears.  He was looking a lot better on Sunday.  We gave one to Jimpau because he was really sick when we taught him on Saturday.  God still works miracles today.  He made it possible for Jimpau to come to church on Sunday and as far as any of us could tell, he wasn't sick anymore.  
Well that's about all I have for this week.  I love hearing from everybody.
Mahal ko po kayo lahat!
-Elder Egan
Here's a picture of a great sunset in the Pinas and a Filipino Christmas tree

Here's a beach out in Namruangan where a couple of our new investigators live

Here's a little friend that likes slurpees apparently

"Stinks that you can't be out here experiencing all the amazingness with me"

Magandang hapon! I hope everyone is still doing good.  It's crazy to think I've been out here a whole transfer already.  So I think I'll answer the questions first and move on to this last week.

There is no daylight savings time in the Pinas.  Yes I have plenty of money for my needs.  I have had a few emails from mission friends and I try to send something back so they at least know I read it...usually I can't actually reply.  It would be awesome if I could get all the letters compiled and then send it through the mail.  Printing them would probably work too, but it costs money to do that and that could start getting expensive depending on how often.  Soccer isn't a huge sport here, but I see people playing it in the park 2 or 3 times a week.  We got to play some soccer during our zone activity, but this transfer it's my goal to get us to play soccer every Friday for our exercise.  

Pansit, rice, and adobo...that's some good stuff!!!  I don't think I've ever had all of that in the same sitting, but I've definitely tried all that before!  The package plan will probably work out fine.  Nice, way to scare off the 12 year-olds.  So I guess that's one term down for everyone in school.  Good job to Emma, keep it up!  I'm sure everyone else did good in school too.  Snow and 60s...Ha!  That's freezing!  Thanks for the stories, I love it!

Well, this week has been pretty good I would say, aside from the occasional hiccups.  So we have transfers going on and we found out we're getting two more missionaries in the apartment.  Elder Knowles and his new Filipino companion, Elder Vesaya, are opening San Juan officially which cuts our area basically in half.  I have to say though, I'm super happy that I get to stay in Cabugao, I love this area!  So our new zone leader is going to be Elder Sloan, he graduated from Layton a year before I got in so now we'll have three Layton Elders in one apartment!  So in the apartment we have there has always been some problems with the bathrooms such as the shower head not working in either the up or down stairs CR (comfort room a.k.a. bathroom) and the toilet downstairs only flushes by pouring water down it (we don't use the upstairs one) and there was a leak in the faucet upstairs.  To top all these problems off, our water spinner broke. So Nanay Gaspar got somebody to fix all the problems and another guy to fix the water spinner.  So now we can use either CR and they both have working showers!  It's weird to use those after using a bucket for 6 weeks...anyhow, then she organized a cleaning service project by the BML and his assistant, and she cooked lunch for us!  Did I mention she cooks dinner for us every Sunday?  Yeah, sobrang mabait.  

This last Thursday there was a bagyo signal 2 so we couldn't go out and work.  It really stinks to just sit in the apartment and do nothing.  But the night is always darkest before the dawn, the storm was strongest before the calm (literally), and trials in missionary work seem to work the same way.  We went on companion exchanges on Friday after the bagyo and had huge success.  Elder Sablan had an impression to turn off our path to talk with some other people off of the main road.  They invited us in since it was raining at the time.  The mother was cooking some treats for her daughters birthday the next day and invited us to have merienda with them, they pulled out the orange royal and coke too.  So we had merienda, and then we talked to them about prayer.  It was a great lesson and this family seemed like they would really be accepting towards the gospel.  The only problem is that they leave for Manila on Wednesday for a few months.  We want to leave a BoM with them so they can at least have that.  We contacted a referral next and got 5 new investigators!  They asked us to come back (that really doesn't happen often, especially on the first visit).  Our last lesson was with a new father named Ferdinan, he accepted a baptismal invitation for Dec. 7!!!  Now we just have to figure out how to get our investigators to church...have super magaling nanays bring them! (That's a story for later).  

So I guess now to the funny stuff.  I find this completely unfunny, but the zone leaders were amused.  Elder Sablan gave us a referral in Barbar.  Barbar is the farthest area away that we have.  We didn't realize quite how far away it was so we thought we would save some pamasahe and walk from the highway up to the Brngy.  We didn't get there until an hour and half later when we walked over one bundok and into the next.  Turns out that the referral doesn't exist either.  Sayan naman!  We got a ride back from this old lolo and lola who were taking their grandkids on a ride to get merienda.

Well that's it for this week.  Love you all a lot and miss you too.  Stinks that you can't be out here experiencing all the amazingness with me.

Mahal ko kayo!
-Elder Egan

P.S. I would tell you if I was sick after I was better already.  No I'm not sick and I never really have been yet.
Sun setting over some flooded rice fields.

This little girl always comes by and asks us to do magic when we teach our recent convert.

A picture of the Cabugao District

We were tempted to cross this bridge...but then we looked across the bridge to the other side and realized that nobody had crossed it in years because it was covered in spider webs!

Cutest little Filipino boy ever who got a hold of Christopher's camera and had some fun!