Monday, September 29, 2014

Sept. 22nd, 2014 - Learning, Adjusting, Serving

I hope everyone's going well and doing good. So from the whole pictures thing this may end up a little shorter than normal. Well as usual it seems we had some more trials this week. Isn't that a great part of life? We went to the one family that I said I loved a lot (with corn) and the first thing there little kid Stanly says is "dad has a sin. He drank. He needs to repent." A little bold for a 7 year old. This dad has been teaching his kids right though. They know the difference between right and wrong. This kid points out that it's a mistake to drink. Other kids go out and buy the beer for their dad. We shared just real quick about overcoming trials. I think he was kind of shy about it still so they didn't come to church. We went to bring them some tinapay (bakery goods) and just have a good spiritual thought with them on Thursday, but they weren't home. So we took it to another returning less-active and her recent convert father. Turns out that was the last time we would see her because she left for Manila on Saturday to be trained and then go to Singapore. It warms my heart that she has a desire to go to the temple and she's been preparing herself to go someday or at least live worthy of it so she can experience those blessings.

Ah I forgot to explain the whole trials. So I don't remember what I've said about this area and fellowshippers. I'm sure I've said it's awesome. The BML and one branch missionary literally worked almost everyday last transfer. Then a couple other Branch missionaries came back and we started working with another couple recent converts more to give the two a break. Well we were getting super high numbers of member present lessons thanks to all of their work especially since a lot of our investigators from far areas are sisters and we can't teach without a male fellowshipper. Well they all for some reason just started not wanting to work. It's just a lot of drama and somewhat sad. I would explain but it's just ugly and long to explain. Let's just say a lot less member present lessons and sometimes we don't get to teach. We only get to say "sorry, no fellowshipper. Can't teach." At least there have been some opportunities to serve when we weren't able to teach. It's still a lot better than my last areas, it's just sad that instead of progressing, they digressed.

So we taught the Talang family (THE family) and had an FHE with them. They loved it and were so grateful to us for teaching them. They really want to be baptized and go to church, but they won't really commit all that solidly because brother wants to get a new job first so they can always go. Brother said "don't give up on us." I won't, I can't. But sometimes I feel like giving up. They didn't go to church again. Just breaks my heart. We have a good plan for this week to help them though.

We taught Denver's family as well on Saturday. It was great and we have some good ideas to help them save money to go to church. We thought we would get them to come to church this time...only the youngest came again. I need to write a novel on their family too because of how the gospel is changing them. Ever surely and steadily they are moving forward. Had FHE on Sunday and did it about temples and eternal families. They loved it. They prayed to be able to go to church next week. Now it's up to them to work for it. Makes me want to cry when they say that and never end up coming.

Well we're learning a lot, adjusting to the trials, and keeping on serving the Lord. I'm learning to be more happy even when it seems like there are a lot of problems (I don't know how this email sounds, if it's negative or positive). Trying to find those that are ready, but we keep finding more in farther areas (not on purpose, it just happens that way). The finding in the closest areas for us (which are still far) just hasn't led to any success so far. The far areas are where we're seeing some hope. If that's what God wants right now, so be it. Maybe he's trying to test some families so they can be well rooted in the gospel and be the ones to open the way for the more people in order to progress in the far areas. We just gotta keep on doing our best and I know the Lord will provide the way. 

-Elder Egan

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15-All Is Well After Typhoon Luis

Well mom commented on the typhoon that hit or area. It was a signal 3 warning for us so President told us to go in early on Saturday (bummer) and then all of Sunday we couldn't go out (huge bummer). So it was pretty windy and a little rainy until about 4 and all of the sudden it got really calm. THEN, about 7 o'clock... the power went out. That was annoying! So then we got a text from President around 9:45 saying it was close and that we could go to sleep. So we did and it was super hot without the fans. And THEN..............................................................................We woke up and absolutely nothing happened. It was like back in my first area where we had a warning and we were told to stay in and it ended up being way far from us. We didn't even get touched. The power was out though until 3:30 which stunk pretty badly. But we can email now! Yay! :)

So for this week: well it was really rough lessons wise. 17. That was super low. On Monday we didn't get to teach because we were about to go and all of the sudden we got a text from a member asking us to bless their father-in-law so we went all the way out to there house and by the time we got back it was time to go back to the apartment. I would still count it as a successful day though. Then we had a really rough time getting lessons in one of our areas. Even when finding there was a lot of rejection. On Friday we had no fellowshipper and in all of our lessons the mother was home and the father was out working or had some other thing they were gone doing. The help of the members is crucial and we felt the negative effects of having a lack of member support this week. Literally almost everyone was home, but no male so we couldn't teach. Saturday would have been good except for having to go in early. We went to a far area and only got to teach one lesson before having to go back because of the travel time. So after all this struggle and disappointment we went to Church on Sunday and only 58 people came. Half of what it was last week. It was raining a little bit so nobody came. No less-active members and not even the recent converts from our areas came. Then we had the miracle, a small but very real miracle. Denver's sister came to church! The youngest in their family came for the first time here in Sta. Teresita. She said everyone else didn't have money to come (we have an idea to help with that). I'm seeing the change in this family. They are reading the scriptures and learning new things. They are praying daily and recognizing God's hand helping them to change their lives. They accepted to live the Word of Wisdom (even though it's the less-active parents that have the real problem there. They all accepted though). Church is the only thing they're lacking. If they all tried once to go as a family, that would seal the deal. They really need to exercise that faith and trust that God will help them as they obey His commandments. Please pray for them. I feel like we're about to have a really good week.

That's it for this week. I'm very well (actually feeling a little lazy since we just stayed in doing nothing yesterday). Love you all a ton and miss you just as much (it's really a shame you can't all be experiencing what I get to experience daily).

-Elder Egan

P.S. Mom that sound's perfect for a Christmas package. Just load it up with American goods. Maybe a couple ties (some of mine are really old/dirty now).

Here's the Filipinos in our apartment.  Elder Molleno and my companion Elder Saragoza.

I'm proud to say I made these.  It looks like Christmas time again to me.  I actually messed up these little rice flour ball thingys at first.  It was great fun.  They're a part of this dessert called ginataan.  It's delicious and I wish you could have all tasted it.  Maybe I'll learn how to make it

Monday, September 8, 2014

September 8th-Patience.

Well hello family and friends of all sorts! Sounds like you've all had a great week. Congrats to the champions. (referring to Kolsen and Mia's Mayor's cup wins).

Philippines is treating me like it treats everyone. I got a haircut from an American that lives here (for free :) ) and I can relate to some things that he misses from America, but it's still pretty amazing here. It's supposed to be getting cooler but so far it's still hot. Yes I got the package! Just like I said, got it on Tuesday along with some mail. Thank you so much! It was wonderful. Now maybe I failed to clear this up but it would probably be better to send things that are individually wrapped. That way you just freeze all the things individually and it's easy to eat one when you want. The unwrapped things just melt together and then all the apartment mates have a rough time trying to split it into equal parts. For me whatever is fine; for everyone else though they say sharing would be easier if it was individually wrapped :) I guess I might have forgot to mention that I'm out of the clear care contact solution. I can get the other saline stuff here so it's not a huge deal. Just for future reference.

What to say about this was somewhat rough. We taught a ton of investigator lessons this week. We really ended up focusing on that since we haven't seen very much progression in our investigators yet. We committed a lot of people to church and we had a lot of people say they were coming. Sunday came around and no investigators came. That's right, none. Absolutely no progression for our investigators because none of the formerly progressing investigators have come in at least 3 weeks. We worked so hard, we prayed, we fasted, we had faith, hope, charity, and love with an eye single to the glory of God. But it seemed like nothing came from it. I hate to admit it, but I was really discouraged and feeling really down about it. I love these people so much and I know that the Gospel will help them. I want so badly for them to be able to be baptized in order "to open the doors of the Celestial Kingdom to the sons and daughters of God." This area is so different. Everything is really far and there's only 1 or 2 members in 4 of the 5 areas we go to. In the 5th area there's a lot of members, but we mainly focus on teaching the less-actives out there. It's hard for the investigators to get to church when they don't really know anyone else that's a member and they live so far away. So I guess we just keep going.

No matter what happens, I'm going to keep doing everything I can and working my hardest. We're going to fix any problems that we find and keep improving everyday. More work, more prayers, more fasting, more faith, hope, charity and love with an eye single to the glory of God. More diligence, patience. Perhaps that's what the Lord wants me to learn. I'm sure there are many things I can learn from this and I'll make sure I come out of these hard times better than I was before. I really want to keep a positive and optimistic attitude all the time. Love the Lord's work 24/7. We are being successful missionaries even if we can't immediately see the success. We had 9 less-active members attend church. A family and some other returning less-actives. I don't know why some of them decided to come to church this week and not other weeks. We didn't focus a ton on less-active lessons, very few actually, yet the Lord knew what they needed to hear and His Spirit was able to help guide the less-active members to make the right choice and come to Church. We'll keep working hard and if I end up leaving here, the next missionaries will get to continue to have success. There are some families that are truly ready for the Gospel, but they are taking a little longer than I want to actually take the steps of faith necessary to prepare for baptism. Patience. I know the Lord is still a Lord of miracles and he will have everything done in His time and His way.

Here's kind of an example. Denver's family. They love us so much and they so want to come to church, but they're really poor and think they need to work on Sunday to survive. So I have them wash my clothes and I'm able to give them enough money that would cover half of the cost of going to church and the rest is up to them. Well they were really set on going this week, but for whatever reason they decided to wash my clothes on Sunday instead of Saturday. That's what we call a palpak (fail). So I'll have to give them my clothes a whole week in advance and tell them not to wash on Sunday. Pick any other day but Sunday. They're still reading the Book of Mormon and praying, they really are just lacking in going to church. Next week. For sure! The Golden family. They're really awesome. They want to be baptized, but brother knows he needs to find a new job so they can go to church and so he isn't tempted to drink (it's a pretty bad situation). So we need to keep praying for him and we know that they would be so blessed if they took every opportunity to go to church. There's just a little lack of faith right now.

Thank you for everything. The encouragement and advice is just what I need every time. It really helps me to keep going. I'm at a year now and I think I've got the hang of everything now. I need to increase the fire a little bit more and climb that next step. I'm always striving to be a better missionary and that will ultimately help me be a better person. The mission is so great!

Mahal at mamiss din,
-Elder Egan

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 1, 2014 - We'll Keep Pressing On"

(Happy birthday Mia!!) Well that's the second birthday of yours I've missed and I don't know if I'll miss another (part of me just really wants to stay in the Philippines, but I'm pretty sure I won't).

So for the week...well unfortunately Denver, Jeremy and Edison didn't make it to church again. Denver went to Sta. Anna (very northern part of the Philippines) to give a medical paper to his uncle on Sunday and the other two are a little shy without him going. But we taught again on Sunday and we're seeing some progression! Denver doesn't smoke more than one cigarette a day and he goes a few days without smoking, but then gives in. He's close though. He can definitely do it. Edison really has a desire to get rid of smoking to and he himself said he could and would do it. Their awesome. Edison really has respect for the missionaries. He heard that a punk teenager said "F U" to us and he said he was going to beat that kid up. We said don't do that, the guy just doesn't understand what he's saying.

In some other good news, we had two more investigators from Buyun come (where Denver and Edison are from). The YM president's daughters invited them so they came! Great missionary effort from the members. The new companionship is so-far-so good. He has his weaknesses like every other missionary, but I haven't seen anything that's overwhelmingly terrible about him. He's a great person. He just turned 25 which makes me feel really young.

Good luck to all the soccer players in the family. No car huh? (for Emma) I still want to see a picture of the new car. HINT HINT. and of the Ogden temple HINT HINT Congrats to the parents of my newest baby cousin!! They get cuter and cuter every time. No package yet. Tomorrow the APs are coming up for a special training so I'll probably get it then.

Well if I sound up beat and happy that's good. I'm working on always being optimistic, hopeful, patient. Honestly, yesterday just about killed me when Denver didn't come to church let alone anyone else that said they would come. To top that off, I started feeling awful when we were teaching and everyone commented that I looked bad and felt hot and had no energy. That's what a fever will do to you. I'm doing fine now though. God helps his missionaries out pretty quickly. But we'll keep pressing on. Yeah I don't know what you would call fluent. (Mom asked if he felt like he was fluent in the language yet) I'm always learning new stuff, but I can understand like 98% of what people say and I can say anything I want to. Fluent...sure I'm fluent (I guess), perfect: Heck no! Well here in Cagayan there are more pure Ilokano speakers and I've had to teach in Ilokano so I've been learning a lot more of that here. Gift of tongues is still real even when it isn't your mission language :)

That's it everyone. Have a wonderful week. Love and miss you all!
-Elder Egan
Here's a cool pond in an area called Aridowen.  It was literally blue.
These are baby least we found them as babies and not as giant rats like in Pagudpud.

Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014- Staying in Santa Teresita

Well the transfers here just keep flying by faster and faster.  I'll snap my fingers and it'll be Christmas.  So with transfer news: I'll be staying here in Sta. Te. and Elder Avila will be going to Banna.  That will be a great experience for him.  My new companion is Elder Saragoza.  He's really nice and hard-working according to Elder Avila.  We're gonna tear it up here doing the work of the Lord.  We've got some miracles in store as we help others come unto Christ.

I'm really excited to be working with a new companion and learning and being edified together.  There are so many people here to help and and will be great to get to work with Elder Saragoza to help and serve the people here.  Denver, Jeremy, and Edison didn't come to church last week.  Actually no one did.  Every week it seems we get more and more people to commit to come to church and then wala.  It was really pressing on my mind and I was wondering what I need to do to change.  I suppose right now I just need to move on and be strictly obedient so the Spirit can be with us and others can come unto Christ.  

On the bright side however, Denver, Jeremy, and Edison went to the branch's youth activity on Saturday and had a really good time.  I had a hunch that they might have used up all their money to go to that and didn't have any for going to church.  Yep, that was the reason.  I think we need to emphasize what things should take priority. They said next week they're coming though because they'll be working all this week until Saturday and then they don't have work on Sunday.  They said that smoking has been going better as well.  They didn't smoke at all at the activity and only had one on Sunday (if only they'd come to church!).  They're progressing really well there.

Well it's somewhat short but there it is!  Love and miss you all!
-Elder Egan

Here's a picture of our District in Sta. Te.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 18, 2014 -Halfway!

Thank you everyone for reminding me that it's been a year...No you can't say that because it makes me feel like I have no more time to be serving a mission.  I love it way too much out here!!  I say that technically the halfway point is next week when the transfer ends.  Makes me feel younger :)

Now I'm a little interested in this whole car incident.  First Emma, now Kolsen (he can't even drive yet) Mom and dad; be careful with Mia.  Well I'm super grateful to hear that everyone's doing ok and little damage seems to be done.  Now that it's over with, did you scream and panic like a maniac? ;) Sorry, just curious. Now as far as the package; I bet it's arrived but we're the farthest zone away so I most likely won't get it until transfers at the earliest if they decide to send it up here. I'm really thankful for how great some of the leaders I get to work with are.  This area is just awesome with fellowshippers working with missionaries, now we just need to spread the load around a little so we don't exhaust our fellowshippers and we get a few more testimonies exercising.

Well for this week we did a lot of walking.  As usual.  We went to our second farthest area for the first time to try and contact a less-active family and a former investigator family.  It was somewhat fruitless so we walked to Buyun (that's where Denver is from).  It only took like an hour or so I think.  Wasn't really paying attention to time and I'm used to walking that far.  Everyone we talked to though asked "where did you come from?"  "Alucao." "Ang layo!"  Translation: "Dang that's far!"  Really sweet news!  Denver and Edison both came to church again and they brought Edison's cousin Jeremy!  3 investigators!  Record for Sta. Te A!  What's even more awesome is Edison accepted a bapt. date for the end of Sept. a week after Denver (we'll see how prepared they are if they can't both be baptized on the same day).  Edison really wants to change.  He had a super, I mean SUPER Word of Wisdom problem before but ever since going to church he's really wanted to change.  We explained baptism and how this is the ONLY true church on earth with authority and a fulness of the gospel.  He believes that the church is true and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet.  He said he really felt something when he prayed and asked to know and he felt it again at church.  He has really awesome questions and it's awesome to get to teach him.

That's about all for the weekly letter.  Love you all extremely and miss you as well.  Take care.
-Elder Egan

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 10th - Happy Birthday Mom! and "I will 'go where He wants me to go.'"

Wow you must've turned like...24? ;) Well I hope everything was excellent for you're birthday because the best mom ever deserves the best birthday ever. Well to start off I just have to say that I've got the best story ever and I'm not telling it until after I'm back! :) It's in my journal so I'll not forget it. (Don't know how I could). Well congrats to Emma. Play some varsity this year. I'm super jealous that you all get to go to the temple that's only 25 minutes away! I do want to see some pictures of the new outside.

This week was a fairly decent week. We had a nice Zone Training Meeting that has helped inspire me to work harder, study better, plan better, and help people be baptized! I'm really going to strive to be the kind of missionary that one can recognize as a servant of Christ. We dropped a little bit on the lessons this week which is in part because the ZTM went a little long and we didn't get fellowshippers a couple of mornings. But we worked just as hard as ever and Denver came to church!! It's been so long since we've been able to teach him since he's working so much now. Unfortunately he's smoking again since he missed the Spiritual strength from Church and his body gives into the addiction when he's tired after working a lot. Satan truly knows when we're at our weakest and when we will most likely give into temptation. We taught him about missionary work on Saturday and he brought a friend to church on Sunday!! He has such a desire to be a missionary it's amazing. We taught him about fasting on Sunday so he could fast to abstain from smoking and then we went to teach his friend that he brought. The first thing his friend said is that his problems immediately seemed to be lifted at church and he wants to know about what commandments he's missing in his life so he can follow them. What a couple of awesome investigators!

We're seeing some good things here and we have interviews on Tuesday which is always great. I love our Mission President and his wife! Well that's the biggest news for this week. I can't tell if I want to stay or leave this area. Part of me wants to go to more places be a part of different people's lives but there are some people I've seen here that could be helped over a period of time and I want to be there as well. So I've determined that I will "go where He wants me to go." I like that quote so I think I'll work on diligence and patience in all aspects of life. I think I could use a little more of that as a missionary.

Love ya'll! Ingat!
-Elder Egan

A picture of an "aurora thingy"
Here's that little kid named Stanly from last week with his adorable little sister Ashlyn.  Their family is great and we're going to teach them a little about the temple because they totally need to be sealed!!! :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August 3rd, 2014 - It's hard for sure, but it's so worth it.

Wow time flies.  I'm doing fine here. Physically I don't think there's any problems at all which is wonderful. Spiritually...well I'm not sure what to say.  Yesterday we had a whopping 0 investigators at church.  That always stings a little bit.  So we have no progressing investigators which is pretty depressing in all honesty. It'll be a long while I guess before we get another baptism in our area.  Well now that I've gotten all of the bad news off let's get onto the good stuff!  Sorry if I sound like I'm's not my intention it's really more like...venting I guess?  I'm still loving it out here and there's no place in the world I'd rather be. Let's get to the good stuff honestly.  

So we hit 33 lessons again this week which is superb!  I've also been noticing one family in particular that I really want to focus on.  It's Denver's family.  We've found out a lot more about them this week.  Their mom and dad are members from Gonzaga that went less-active when they moved to Buyun which is super far from the church here.  Their dad has some pretty bad health problems: he has appendix and kidney pain (he should've had  his appendix removed but didn't) and he has a blood clot in his shoulder.  He can't work so all four of his kids that can work are working to pay for his medicine and to support the family.  It's a pretty rough life.  The saddest thing is that he has a problem with smoking too.  I don't understand why, but they barely have money for food and can't afford to get an x-ray let alone an operation and instead of saving money he buys cigarettes when he can.  Wasting money to give yourself some more health issues?  They don't view it that way though.  I know that these trials that they are going through are to humble them so they can turn to God.  How blessed they would be if they would follow the commandments and live the gospel. That's why we're going to keep going to them though.  So we can help them come unto Christ and let him heal them spiritually and physically.  That's a family I have already grown to love so much.

We got a referral!  It's a really nice women that is friends with Bro. Aguilar (see the pics.).  If she were to go to church she would absolutely be baptized.  That's the problem isn't  We have really far areas so that seems like it will be the biggest struggle.  Lots of walking so we get really tired but I know the Lord will keep helping us put one foot in front of the other.  I think we just need to focus really on getting some good studies, acquire the Spirit, and really trust in the Lord for this.  Now here's the best part: we had some miracles with Less-Actives this week.  10 less-actives at church from our areas alone.  One of them was the Mape family.  They haven't been to church in years because they got offended.  It was really hard to even get a lesson with them before daw.  We have only been able to teach their kids once before and out of the blue their family came to church.  That was definitely the Lord's hand that gave them a desire to come back. We pray that they will be here to stay.  The other Elders had a less-active that was one of the first members here in Sta. Te and she came for the first time in 10 years.  That's definitely been the success of our labors here is with returning less-actives.

Well just to reiterate I love it out here.  It's hard for sure, but it's so worth it.  I'm so grateful to be serving the Lord and I know he has gone through everything for all of us.  Thanks for all of the support!  Love you all a ton.

-Elder Egan

Here's some of the great people here in Sta. Te.  Tatay Cabralda is the older guy and he's a recent convert here that's always first to the chapel on Sunday. He lives way far away and has a pretty small house.  He loves the missionaries.  The other guy with him is brother Arnel Aguilar.  He's a recent convert from a year ago that has gone a little bit Less-active.  He is really awesome though.  He has has two kids and they're the cutest ever (the other picture is their oldest.)  That family is awesome.  They love to share the gospel.  They need to be sealed! I already really love that family.

Here's me getting some water from a well for one of the people we teach so she can bathe some pigs and then come listen to us.

July 27, 2014 - "...crazy how quickly time flies by when you're doing the Lord's work."

Well it's been yet another incredibly fast week here in the Philippines. It's just crazy how quickly time flies by when you're doing the Lord's work. Wow that will be really cool for Emma and Kolsen to get to be a part of the rededication of the Ogden temple. I bet it looks really cool. Well I miss soccer a lot so all you siblings of mine better enjoy it and pray that they like soccer where you get called to serve ;) It's funny that like almost all of the world plays soccer, especially in poorer countries, and then we have the Philippines: a bunch of short fast people that would be perfect for playing soccer and they all like basketball. But I'm learning to like basketball more I guess :) This is the first apartment I've had where we need to pump the water. It's one of like 2 that are like that. We might be getting it fixed sometime...That's awesome for Danny! He'll love the MTC and I'm sure he'll like being in Chicago too. He only gets 2 weeks in the MTC I think.

Well as for things here in Sta. Te; I think I'll start with the good news. For the first time in my mission we hit and the passed the standard for number of lessons this week!! WHOO! That's pretty exciting. 32 is our Mission standard (that's pretty high and it's like the highest in all the Philippines.) We got 33 this week. That's a record for me. So that was sweet. Next thing is we found a family. This is THE family! I've never felt so certain in my life that this family will be baptized. The feeling in their home is just different. It's nice. They were taught before and then the missionaries stopped going out there because tatay got moved from Gonzaga to Aparri. He's a security guard and he works one week then has a week off. He's got a motor and they can come to church, but we need to teach him when he's home and we need to find some solutions to the work problem and transportation. It takes us an hour to walk there because there isn't any tricey that will take you there unless you pay a ridiculous amount of money and then you have to walk out anyway because there's no one going back to the centro. That's two areas now where we walk an hour just to get there and then we teach! It's a lot of walking but it's so worth it.

As for the not so great news...No progressing investigators!!! That was somewhat discouraging. We worked so hard to get standard on lessons and none of our investigators with a baptismal date came to church. Bummer. You pause to think and say "what's wrong?" Well we're just going to keep working as hard and be exactly obedient to the mission rules so we can have the Spirit with us. I hope they feel and recognize it too and then choose to accept it. We'll do everything we can and then the Lord will bless the people here in His own time and way. Oh yeah, Denver has appendix and UTI sickness stuff so that's why he couldn't come to church. Next week he will though :) That's about all my fantastic family and friends.

I got those letters from the family reunion and they were awesome! Nice little bonus to my day. Maybe I'll tell you about that day. It was District meeting and I felt like I was starting to get a fever. Just that awful feeling. Well I had no desire to feel that way so I prayed that I would have the strength to keep going, took 2 advil, and that's the day we found that family that's going to be baptized. Miracles! I truly do count it as a miracle that I've never had a sickness where I've had to stay in and rest. Can't say the same for my other companions (except the Filipinos so far have been doing good). The Lord is really good to me. One thing about the letters though that kind of caught my attention is that grandpa said he wrote an email and I have not received an email from him ever. In fact I've only ever gotten one email from grandma Snow ever. I'm starting to think that they've been sending some and they're not getting to me. Maybe just double check that they have the right email and everything. Oh yes package!! Thanks mom you da bomb! Well we go out into those mountains to teach, just not very far up so I probably won't get to climb them. It was raining (halata (obviously)) so it was somewhat cool, but then it warmed up and got SUPER HUMID so it was still hot :)

That's all...for reals now. Love and miss you all. Mahal and Ingat!
-Elder Egan

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 21 - Santa Teresita

Good day everyone!!  Well it's already been a week here in Sta. Teresita.  It's Cagayan alright.  Yeah it's just next to Gonzaga.  That's where we will have District Conferences and Zone trainings and such.  There's a lot less people here in Cagayan than in Ilocos.  It's very provincial out here.  Well the area recently got split into three different areas.  They moved two Sisters in here and they get the three main centro areas.  The four Elders just split the rest in half.  So we get the Barrangays that are super far away and we walk a lot! There's no triceys really that go to our main areas so we have to walk through our closest area (which is still far) to get to the area with the most members (active and less-active).  I'm somewhat amazed that people go to church from all the way out there.  Then again it might just be that the people from my other areas were just a little bit more prideful and complaining that they would have to pay 20 pesos to get to and from church.  They're are a lot more humble people here.  It's a much more simple life.

We get a lot of lessons out here.  My first week (keeping in mind that we only had an hour to proselyte on Tuesday) we got 25 lessons.  That's the highest I've ever had on my mission.  We only have one investigator progressing right now though.  His name's D.  He's 16 and his parents are actually both members but for whatever reason are less active now.  He's come to church 4x but only 2 consecutively so we'll have a baptism for him in a couple weeks!  The main challenge is to keep him following the Word of Wisdom.  He was at 5 cigarettes a day before and on Saturday he only did one and he told us on Sunday that he was done for good.  I feel like he can really do it, but breaking addictions is hard so he really needs our prayers.  He also had a little Law of Chastity problem but it seems like he's already resolved everything and has repented/is repenting.  He has such big desire to come closer to Christ and be baptized!  We did a lot of work this week and set up 5 new people with baptismal dates.  Now the challenge is to help them get to church.  That's always the challenge it seems.  Especially here where people are poor and they're mindset is that "I need to work on Sunday or the rice will die."  God will provide!!  I take a look at everyone who keeps the Sabbath day holy to the best of their ability and they seem to survive if not do better than those who work everyday including Sunday and struggle to get by.

Another cool thing here is that we get a lot of fellowshipping.  There's three people that work with us all the time, like everyday.  One of them can't work all the time though because he has epilepsy and isn't allowed to exhaust himself and risk having a seizure.  He wants to go on a mission so bad too!  He can, it will just be less proselyting I would assume.  We taught 13 investigator lessons and 11 were with members.  That's pretty darn incredible.  The ward had a branch home evening on Saturday (apparently it's monthly (that's exciting!)).  There seem to be quite a few baptisms here because there's lots of recent converts but for some reason or other the sacrament attendance is dropping daw.  We'll see what we can do to help the less-actives.  To sum it up, it's like Pagudpud in terms of terrain and area (and bathroom), Cabugao is most similar apartment wise and member wise, and it's absolutely nothing like Batac at all.  In a word I would say it's: Sta. Te!  (Ok so I guess that's two words.)

Now to miscellaneous/question answering- I loved training!!  Mostly because my companion was so great. He's probably my favorite so far.  Well I saw those cooling towels with Elder Larson and I didn't have any desire at all to try those.  So about the umbrella...I had that thing since Pagudpud.  That cheap lousy thing lasted 6 months!  And then Sister Malobago (she transferred from Batac to here as well) said that it was a really sturdy umbrella.  Then I opened it...broken.  It rusted on a part keeping all the wires in place so it's trash now.  So if you want to send a new one sure.  I'll buy another cheap one and hope it lasts 6 months again or longer.  That's another thing about here; it rains a ton!!  It is rainy season and all, but we're close to the ocean and it's always gray skies daw.  I HATE rain.  I have no desire to live in Oregon ever if it's always rainy.  Give me some nice desert instead!  Oh and I let a member use my one long sleeve shirt that I bought here that was a piece of crap and they must have taken it to wash it and I never got it back so I'm back down to one again.  If you can send another (I think there's still one of my old ones right?) that'd be fantastic!!  As for Kolsen and High School it's really based on his circumstances and whatever.  I loved Layton because the social aspect is so much better.  If he wants to go to Davis so be it.  Pray about it.  One thing I'll say though: if he's as good at math as I am or he's finding it pretty easy when he gets into Pre-calc and calc, take the BC calc. at Davis.  I wish I would have done that, but what's done is done.  Well I heard all about the World Cup and it looks like Germany will be the next Spain.  They're pretty young still I believe.  Ozil must be doing pretty good.  Brazil is going to be a pretty interesting place for a while I bet. Poor Messi.  He deserves a Cup now.  Maybe they can do it in 2018.  Yeah Suarez has always been a nut. Don't ever become that competitive alright Kolsen ;) Well I guess the last little bit of random stuff is if any of my recent converts want to FB friend you (Emma and Kolsen) you should accept!!

Well I love and miss you all!
Mahal and Ingat!
-Elder Egan

Here's the Sta. Te apartment!!

Well unfortunately there's no running water inside so we have to pump it from outside which means we have to use the outside bathroom as well.  It's sort of like Pagudpud.  But we have a washing machine here!!! Yes!!!

It's super beautiful in Sta. Te. We see a lot of this here. Bukid!!!(rice field)

Here's Elder Avila and I at the beach.  The other Elders had a baptism Saturday in the dagat!!(ocean).  It was raining. That's an unforgettable baptism!!

July 13 - Farewell Batac, Hello Santa Teresita!

Well it has been a super fast transfer once again and I can't believe it. We ended off with a great couple of baptisms!! One of them is standing over my shoulder as I type this. Good thing he doesn't know English!! OOps. He says he understands!! Hahaha Oh if only you all could be here in the computer shop with us!! Well That's the biggest highlight of the week. Again, you'll just have to ask me about their stories and everything once I get back because I'll be able to explain it then. Just know that they're awesome!!!!

We have a total of 4 future missionaries now in Tungbol and one in Quiling Norte. I'm really gonna miss Batac. On that note, I'm getting transferred! Santa Teresita A companions with Elder Avila. I think that might be one of the Filipinos that came out as the same time as me. I'm excited to be going to Cagayan!! Well I wrote some reminders about some things to mention in my email but I forgot my old planner that had all the reminders. So stay tuned for next week!!

Busy kami!! Love and miss you all!!
-Elder Egan
Here's just a couple pictures of the wonderful baptisms we were able to witness on Saturday.  Jeff and Len-len.  What great examples they are.  They have great testimonies and they all want to serve missions!!  I'll miss these guys.

We had a little farewell type  Family Home Evening last Monday with all the gang in Tungbol.

Monday, July 7, 2014

July 7-Happy 4th of July and Birthday to dad!!

Well it has been quite a busy week. Being Under the Savior's Yoke. That's my kind of busy! Lot's of great things have happened, are happening, and will still happen. Thank you soo much for the prayers on behalf of Len-len. She has her interview on Wednesday!!! Keep praying for her, but also pray for Jeppoy. They're going to be baptized sabay-sabay (together/on the same day). Jeppoy is just too awesome. He's extremely bright and he already loves missionary work. He is so prepared for baptism now. His father on the other hand...well let's just leave it at the point that his father will let him be baptized, but he's very against it and isn't really supporting at all. Now that's not usually a good situation because no support from family usually means that the person goes less-active pretty quickly. Jeppoy is another case however. He has cousins (our recent convert Aiko and soon to be RC Len-len) that are very strong members and Jeppoy by himself is a strong member (well he will be on Sat./Sun.). I won't go into details, but Jeppoy has some pretty hard trials with his family and he related it back to the Savior and his suffering for our sins. That's coming from a 13 yr. old. He has such big faith in Christ.

Well that's about all I have to say honestly. We're ending my time in Batac with a bang!! Sounds like everyone else is busy too. Just remember to be the good kind of busy. The Savior's yoke is easy - Satan's is much harder. I hope the trips to St. George and Idaho was as nice as you said they were. I actually met an Elder here from St. George during a Dual Zone Activity this morning. He said I looked familiar and it must've been when I was playing in the St. George tournament. Small world. Well good look at the camps (BYU soccer or YW) and enjoy some of those other vacation/work outings. I'm super excited to see the baby pictures when he's born!!

Love and miss y'all!
-Elder Egan

P.S. Haha Mosquito repellant...I haven't used that since my first area. I will again because mosquito season is starting up, but I've basically got as much as I started with so I'll be fine. Hey mom, I don't like thinking about how close I am to a year. I'd much rather prefer to say that I ain't even at a year yet so I'll have plenty of time to keep being a missionary :) It's going way too fast! :(

Here's some pics from the great mountainous valleys of Dariwdiw

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June 29 - "We have some great things happening here"

Big hello and happy day to all!! Well it's been a pretty good week here and I'm just dying to tell you all a great story.

So Len-len (long time investigator and friends with Crismar, Aiko, Rommel, and Jeppoy) finally told us her concern of why she doesn't really feel ready to be baptized! It's a very long story but I'll cut to the chase. We had just taught a lesson to Bro. Acoba about eternal marriage (man he is a great father and would make a great husband. Pray that he finds a good eternal companion) and he gave us a ride over to Tungbol with Jeppoy (yeah he still fellowships with us Saturday and Sunday even though he's just an investigator) to teach Len-len. It's 6:30 at this point and we figure we'll have a short lesson and get back to the apartment by 7. Well Bro. Acoba did some introducing with our recent convert Aiko and Len-len and Jeppoy were doing some friendship building and then we started into the lesson. She had a real quick question and then we went over what baptism and confirmation was. No problem. So I decided we would just go through the questions to see if she was ready for baptism. She believes God is our Father in Heaven and His son is Jesus Christ the Savior and Redeemer. So we asked if she believed the Book of Mormon was true. She said in all honesty she wasn't sure if it had quite sunken in of being completely true. So we asked her why not. She said that maybe there is a lack of desire sometimes to truly know. So I shared how that was actually my problem for a while before finding out if it was true. Then I told about one verse in particular that I read that helped me know it was true. I didn't say what verse or quote it exactly but the Spirit took over the lesson and Elder Valenton turned right to the verse (no he did not know before hand that it was that verse) and shared it. Then our recent converts (Aiko and Bro. Acoba) testified like the bosses they are and Aiko basically asked her to commit to baptism. That's when she let out what her true concern is. She's afraid of going Less-Active!!! She wants to have like a 100% knowledge that it's true so she won't go Less-Active because of the whole "it would have been better if ye had not known me" scripture. Mas malaking kasalanan daw. (It's a bigger sin). Then Bro. Acoba testified again like a boss to have no fear and trust in the Lord (did I tell you he's a complete boss?) and the Spirit was so strong I felt like I was swimming in it (it's bawal by the way to swim if you're a missionary). So we decided to bring out all the big guns. We committed her to read with purpose and ponder the Book of Mormon every day this week and to pray with faith in Christ and real intent, asking God if it is true, then to go to church next Sunday and pick one day to fast for the answer and we promised that she would get it. That's a big promise. She committed; now it's up to her to hold on to her end of the promise so God can as well. Boy are we praying for her and I want to ask all of you to pray for her as well. The Lord really wants her to be baptized. Sooner than later. She would be an incredible leader someday and she would be able to help so many people come unto Christ. Her faith is growing and it's almost ready to bring forth fruit. We just need to nourish it a little more to help her open the gates of the Celestial Kingdom. So we're going to have a family home evening with the Tungbol clan and another boss fellowshipper named Jomary tonight. We're seriously bringing out all of the big guns this week. I'm ready for one of the toughest, but most spiritual weeks right now. I'm super pumped. We have some great things happening here. It's just awesome to be a missionary!

Well I hope you liked our story everyone. Now I have a few things to say regarding other matters. I'm not sure what date exactly Stef got married, but do I have a new cousin that you may have completely forgotten to mention? Well if so I forgive you, on conditions that I get to see pictures or if that cousin still happens to be in the womb an ultrasound would do. I'm also waiting to know what the new car looks like. Yep those are homemade french fries. Nope we don't get berries. Honestly, I just love having American candy no matter what shape or size. I have to say that reese's pieces would probably hold up a little better (reese's is still delicious when it's a giant melted soup by the way). Hey you could send a picture of what Mark and Julie's house looks like too! Don't feel too bad about not seeing Johnny. I haven't either ;) Well that's about it I suppose.
Love and miss you all!

Mahal naman!
-Elder Egan

June 22- "Punted" Again But Pushing On

How is everyone in the family? Hope the week was good. I guess there was youth conference pala. And a family reunion. Well that sounds fun.

We had another rough one. It's strange to me; last week my companion and I had been doing our best at everything. We were getting everything possible out of studies time and we were being strictly obedient, down to the minute. We were using God's time in the wisest way we knew how. And what happens during the week? We got punted. Half the week pretty much went up in flames as we tried to teach. All our plans seemed to fall apart and so we tried finding and that turned out to nearly no good as well. Bakit kaya ganoon? So why is it like that? Well, we have something to learn from this I'm sure. If nothing else, our patience is being tried and we will come out of this a little stronger than before. I think I'm handling the disappointment a lot better than I would have 6 months ago on my mission. There's a part of preach my gospel about being a successful missionary and as we reviewed that I can honestly 100% say that we were successful. We gave it 132% last week. Miraculously, we didn't drop very far in KIs. The lessons we had were very quality, very spiritual lessons. It seems like we need to do something else in order to have progressing investigators. Our finding doesn't seem to work too well unless it's through members so we'll work on getting some referrals and contacting those that we did get. Even though we only have one progressing investigator right now, he is truly progressing. He will be a CONVERTED investigator at the time of his baptism. All the other people I have come to meet have been able to be a part of their conversion have been so amazing in so many different ways. Jeppoy is no exception. He's the first investigator that wants to work with us. Too bad he's only 14. He followed us to a lesson we had in his barrangay and he said that the feeling of working with us was masaya. He had the "hair-standing up on your arms" feeling when he left and went home. He came to church yesterday even though he told us he wouldn't. The Spirit whispered to him that he needed to and he followed that prompting. Because of that, he was blessed and felt the Spirit. He wants to work with us all the time. We just need to talk to his parents to get permission for him to be baptized. He is truly ready and prepared. Please pray for us and him continually.

Well that's about it from this corner of the world. Love and miss you all ulit!!
Mahal, -Elder Egan

We have the coolest recent converts/investigator in Tungbol ever!  They made food!!  We brought the cake.

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 16th 2014 -Happy Birthday Elder Egan!

Kamusta tatay!? Buhay ka pa eh? Haha Oh if only you all spoke Tagalog. Habang buhay sa iyo! Well I hope Tatay and Lolo and Lolo on the other side of the family all enjoyed a wonderful father's day. They didn't really mention that it was father's day here...

Well I knew the World Cup would be in full swing by now. It's really a lot like Brazil I bet. Everyone's got a t.v. The difference is that everyone's about the NBA finals. Haha Heat lose! Well I'm sure I'll have a great birthday and I'm sure I'll have a terrible time trying to remember that I'm 19 when people ask me how old I am. It'll be just a P-day. We might actually have a spare moment to breath once we're done shopping though and then we might sit down and write some letters!! :) Just in case I failed to explain, we really have no time to write letters. I would love to but...well we're hastening the work here in the Laoag mission so that's more of bihira (rare) activity. Hey I got the packages!!! They were great!! As expected, the chocolate melted. But we got those bad boys frozen ulit (again)! Don't worry mom. I'm sure they'll all be eaten by next month. ;) Those are exactly the pictures I was hoping for. I love the photos of when we were super bata (young). Now I can prove that everyone started out with blonde hair and then it turned brown :) Hey I'm missing a picture of the new car though. Haha My Tagalog companion doesn't know that birthday song. They all just use the English version. If you'd like I'll translate to what it really says (with the help of my companion since I don't know what some of those words mean).
Happy greeting, happy day
Happy greeting to your birth
May real happiness be unto you
Kahimanawari...(Even he doesn't know what that is) may your life be long.

Well I hope everything continues to go well for uncle Mike. Hey that's great! The whole helping with Mia's friend Zoey and her mom. Keep up the missionary effort! What I have found helpful so far with helping in reactivation (which was basically where I found our source of success in Cabugao) show how much you care about them and in turn how much our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ care about them. That shouldn't be too hard since you're the most care-giving mom in da whole wide world.

Well as far as the week has been; we topped it off with a nice stake conference. We had a broadcast from Salt Lake to the Pinas and we heard from Sister McConkie, Bishop Davies, Elder Teh (he's Filipino and awesome!) and Elder Cook. All very good talks and very helpful for the Philippines. Too bad it was all English and not everyone understood as clearly as the English missionaries. We had 643 in one building. There were people standing in the back (consequences of being late). It's humorous actually. We thought it started at 9 and told everyone to come at 9. Well we got there early (8:30) and turns out it didn't start until 10. And even though we told everyone 9, they were still late! On another positive though, all of our Recent converts made it and they all brought friends! There was also a member from Urdaneta that came and brought a friend that is from our area. She's fairly wealthy and has tried 4 different churches. She's searching for the truth daw. Boy are we excited to bring her family the Gospel! :) We had a conference on Wednesday with Elder Ardern (Area President) and that was fantastic as well. We had a super spiritual pick me up and what does Satan do? He works double time to get you down. I have been purely exhausted this week. We went out in the rain for 5 hours and taught one lesson only. Lots of walking. We were like "what they hay. What just happened there?" Two days it was like that. So we had a good comp. inv., rolled up the sleeves and said "we're going to work and we aren't stopping until we've seen some progression." Well we saw some progression. It's small, but it's there. The Spirit has been helping us for sure. Studies are awesome right now, I feel like we're learning so much. There are still disappointments, but I can say honestly that we aren't disappointed in ourselves because we're being successful missionaries. We're going for some pretty high goals this week, but we're putting in the faith, diligence, obedience, and work that we need to hit those and there's no way we won't. The Spirit will guide us to those families that are ready to hear the gospel. It's happening. The heavens are open in this Church and we have revelation from prophets, seers, and revelators. We have priesthood leaders that advise us. We have personal revelations and the Spirit guides. I feel like I've received some good personal revelation this past week. Eternal Progression!! In the words of Nephi "Let us be faithful." The Book of Mormon is so true. Don't take it for granted.

Have a wonderful week everyone. :)
Mahal naman!
-Elder Egan

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 8th 2014 - "The Lord is hastening his work, are we helping Him or not?"

Happy summer break everyone! It's funny because everyone's schooling here either just started last week or starts today. Well since I confused you all, I'm still in Batac. Next transfer (when Elder Valenton's training is done) 98% sure I'm getting transferred. But in other news, we lost two of our best prospects for baptism. The first one is Alpred that isn't baptized only because he has a WoW problem. He moved back to Solsona which is a different Branch so the missionaries over there will be working with him. Our next investigator was a house-helper at a member's home that had been coming to church with them for who knows how long. Well we extended the baptismal invitation for the end of this month after teaching her for the third time and she didn't want to be baptized. So we just bore testimony of how important it is and how she would know she needs to if she read and prayed about the Book of Mormon. Well she decided to leave to Manila because apparently she felt like we were going to force her to be baptized if she stayed. So we weren't exactly sure who to focus on next. Well come Sunday and we have two of our investigators from WAY far away come to church. I'm sure you remember some of the pictures of poor people's houses I've sent. Well they're living in very humbling circumstances. Nanay has 12 kids. A few have moved out but there's still at least 11 people living there. Only nanay and her 14 year old daughter Jenica came. There are a lot of girls around that age for some reason that really like the gospel and actually want to read the Book of Mormon and come to church. Elna, Shane, and Gellen from my first area, Sherwin and Jenny Ann from Pagudpud, and now Jenica. We really need to teach the whole family so we can help them all receive the blessings of the Gospel (so far we haven't met tatay yet). And our recent convert Aiko is back from Claveria! It was great because she took Len-len to church (she hasn't come for a while because she didn't have a friend). And our fellowshipper Crismar will be back this week so we can teach Len-len again.

So there are some good things happening along with the bad. I like dad's four step cycle. It's true, that's what we use. The problem is that step 3 doesn't get done a whole lot with our investigators. I don't get it, but people seem just so blind sometimes. The Great Apostasy has had some far reaching effects here. Some people here won't take one minute of time to read the Book of Mormon to find out if it really contains the everlasting gospel. There are so many approaches I've tried with teaching and I've never honestly met anyone right off the back and seen them desire to know about the gospel. People just don't seem to care if there's more out there than what they know. Some people don't even really care that they KNOW they're breaking God's commandments. Just one giant example. Sunday is the Sabbath. Every person who "believes" in the Bible knows that is part of the 10 commandments (unless they're 7th day adventist). And what day is the busiest at the market here? Yep, Sunday. And some people here wonder why finances are difficult. Satan really has great hold on the hearts of the people. But God is still preparing His children to receive the gospel!! Bro. Acoba is the best example for everything. He was a referral from Bishop that turned into 4 converted investigators baptized. I know there's people out there like that, but we need help finding them and helping them receive the fulness of the Gospel. Members know their friends, family, and neighbors a lot better than two 18-20ish year olds who are completely new to that city, state, or country even especially when they are only staying there for 6 weeks to 6 months. We need to follow the advice and revelation of the Prophet. The Lord is hastening his work, are we helping Him or not? Unfortunately, I would say we could be doing much better. If there were one person that you could invite to learn about the gospel and there are 100+ in the ward (there's probably more in our ward but I'm counting here), how many people would that be? Pretty simple, 100+. Let's say only half even say yes. Let's say only half of those actually commit to learn about the gospel. Let's say half of them come to church. Now half have a baptismal date. Half of them get baptized on their scheduled baptismal date. That's at least three baptisms my dear friends. And of those that want to learn, down the road they may be baptized. Even those that don't accept at first may do so later on. Our effort is not wasted, but it is if we don't give any effort. The Lord needs us. We have the vision. We have the instructions. Are we going to act? If so, I promise we will celebrate. This has been a successful month for me so far and it's only the second week in. How much more could be done by the end of the month? Let us act.

Well there's my little kuan for the world. :) Hope everyone has a great week, I'm going to make this week a great week. Love and miss you all, -Elder Egan

June 2, 2014-" It's been a great week and a great transfer"

Hello my wonderful family and friends. It's been a great week and a great transfer. I feel like yesterday I got called to be training and now Elder Valenton already has a transfer under his belt. Well I won' be leaving Batac yet. I get to finish training Elder Valenton and then I'll be leaving. It was great to end this week/transfer off with the baptism of Bro. Acoba and his family. He did it. He has such a strong testimony and being able to work with him has strengthened my testimony especially of the fact that the Lord is preparing people to receive His gospel. You have to remind me to tell you the full story of Bro. Acoba in another 1+ years. I'm grateful for being able to be a part of his learning of the gospel.

That's pretty much the highlight of the week and transfer. Now we have a fresh transfer and in a lot of ways a fresh start and new beginning. I feel like we're starting 0 and trying to work up, but we have some really good potential here. We have to work even harder this transfer, but we'll definitely be able to have success here. The Lord blesses us immensely when we are doing all we can to serve Him, even when we don't always see it at first. Somehow He always provides a way.

Nice job to all the siblings on making their teams. I'm sure you'll all do great. Good luck uncle Corb. Sorry I don't send you any emails. There's a lot to do and no time to do it. And I agree with what dad said. Hey I learned about those four phases in my communications class last...well whenever I was Senior (feels like just last year but I guess I graduated around this time last year...whoa). Speaking of balance though, the clerk here is a somewhat new father that is trying to balance a career, church, and family. The problem is he has work out of town from Mon. to Sat. late at night and on Sunday he stays at the church for similar hours to dad I would imagine. He feels like hes family time is too short. I figure dad might have some good advice for him because dad has a similar calling at church. I don't think there's a whole lot he can do right now about the job and I'm pretty sure he doesn't have soccer time with his kid to do bonding. If you have any advice I bet he'd appreciate it. And Mia, Elder Valenton is very funny (kind of in Kolsen-like way) and it's HOT!

Thanks for the news. I heard for a while that something was going up there. What's Smith's Marketplace like? I don't remember if that's a groceries only type place or more of Walmart type store. You did cancel the TV!? Too bad I missed it. Somehow I imagine everyone's still surviving without it. You should let the rest of the Philippines know that it's possible. If you have $25, you have a TV. What they don't understand is that their electricity bill adds up over a lifetime. I'd personally go for the washing machine first.

Wow. Mark's letter was really good. That really helped me look at some of the miracles I've experienced. We feel like there isn't anything miraculous that happens until we have experiences like that or reminders that make us think and notice all of the amazing blessings God has given us. My only question is when did Mark get the writing skills of a General Authority? ;)

Wow you really met an Ilokano in Utah? You have to let me know where she's from exactly. If it's Ilocos Sur then I might have gone to where she's from (Vigan is the furthest south in our mission so if it's more South than that I guess not). It's true, there's a lot we take for granted in the States. There's no way to really understand that until you've lived in a third-world country. Haha I'll work on the Ilokano. I'd love to be able to speak with her once I'm back. If you see here again tell her: "Naimbag nga aldaw! Narigat ti Ilocano! Agsusuro nak pay. Kayet ko nga agsao iti ilocano. Aganad!" Even that simple stuff might be wrong (especially the spelling). Haha I'm learning to cook Filipino style. I cooked a lot when Elder Valenton first got here. He has a few favorites that he likes to cook though. He makes good tinola and sinigang. I'll definitely make some Filipino dishes!

Now I have a little assignment for you all in my pamilya. Take a look at the Lesson 4 commandments that missionaries teach (the purple part in chapter 3 of Preach my gospel). Think of one experience of how you have been blessed by keeping those commandments and then, drumroll please, send it to me in a handwritten letter! Stories and experiences are super awesome. It would be much appreciated :)

Well that's the weekly report. Love you all and miss you as well. Ingat! Mahal, -Elder Egan P.S. Mom, you still haven't told me about Bro. Yerka's son's prayer
The Acoba Family

May 26th, 2014 "...the work is still going"

Ah, hello my wonderful family. It was great to read your emails and it sounds like some good things are happening...and not so good things too. Poor Elder Snow...Just make sure if he has to have an operation that he doesn't take the same hallucinogen as dad ;) Anyways, I have super little time because we had a zone activity and then there were some problems with getting on the internet so this will be extremely mabilis (quick). But just so I don''t forget congratulations to all the newly called missionaries (whether or not they're still in our ward is another question). Good job to Layton's soccer team. Good luck to Emma!

Well I guess really I just need to say that the work is still going. It could be accelerating with the full coordination and cooperation of members, but we're doing what we can with what we have to work with. Bro. Acoba and his two kids passed their interview and are going to be baptized this Saturday the 31. And what added more to our joy, their cousin that has been listening to the lessons and coming to church with them wanted to be baptized too so we asked President and he said go ahead with it. She did better at answering the bapt. int. questions than Bro. Acoba's kids according to our District Leader. What do you know eh? Sorry I don't have time for pictures (it's too slow right now) but next week you'll get to see them in baptismal clothing :)

Bro. Acoba is one of a kind and I doubt I will ever find anyone like him out here. There are golden investigators and then there are GOLDEN investigators. He is the latter. This is a man who was searching for salvation and like James directs, like Joseph Smith did, he prayed to God that he would find it. He just so happened to meet the bishop here who was reading from the Liahona. Then the missionaries introduced the gospel to Bro. Acoba and his testimony and faith has been growing to tree status (reference in Alm. 32).

We have a lot of work to do still and we have high expectations this week. Time to work our butts off once again! :) Elder Valenton is great. He'll take good care of Batac once I leave (which I will be either this or next transfer).

Well that's about all I have time for this week. Lots of love to all back at home or abroad. Mahal, -Elder Egan

May 18th -"We're improving and always striving to do our best."

Well how is my most wonderful family?  From the sounds of it we're down one car, but I'm really relieved to hear that we aren't down one sister.  I know you sort of implied this by saying you were okay, but I'm just going to ask again and make sure: are you ok?  You can't do those things to me Emma, I'll get a heart attack.  There are plenty of things not to take after me in. (that was one that hopefully you didn't take after ;) ).  But yes I'm very happy to hear that you're okay and that you had a good time at morp.  Hopefully Keoni treated you well.  I remember when I hit the tree.  I felt like I hit it pretty hard and I thought it was the wheels on the curb, not the brake light.  I was pretty mad at myself too, but it was a good learning experience.  I was a much safer driver after that and who knows if I would have had a bigger and worse accident if I hadn't learned from my mistake. The good news is that you were blessed to be safe.  Did it make a huge noise??  Sorry, just curious ;)  

Well that's interesting to think about.  It's an example of what happens in life.  God gives us choices and experiences to help us learn and grow.  When we are given even more choices and responsibility, he sometimes lets us experience a trial to help us learn to use our agency more wisely.  We experience some sadness and unpleasant things, but we can choose to improve ourselves and gain more knowledge, joy, and peace.  When we make mistakes and run into stumbling blocks (or trees) the next thing we can do is learn from it.  May pagsisisisi pa rin (there's still repentance).  So let's learn from our mistakes so we can be refined and formed into what God knows we can become.

Well this week has been a lot like every other.  Ups and downs.  We're improving and always striving to do our best.  We're going to break 15 lessons this week for sure.  We were really busy doing some finding and we gave 9 new baptismal dates last week and half of them were brand new finds.  I have a good feeling about these families that we've found.  One of them comes from a referral and she's a 14 year old that reads the Book of Mormon all the time.  She takes it with her wherever she goes.  Whenever we go to teach her she's always gone, but we've taught her family and they've had good experiences before with going to church in San Nicolas and Laoag.  Now we just need to help them learn about the importance of this gospel to prepare them for baptism. The other two families we actually found on exchanges.  One of them is renting rooms to a less-active member and when we went to visit him we were able to teach about the restoration to the family and give a Book of Mormon to them.  The tatay is having a hard time sleeping but he reads the Book of Mormon when he can't and he says it gives him a really peaceful and comforting feeling.  He wants to learn more about the Church but we feel that he will eventually find out that this is where he needs to be baptized.  The last family was also found on exchanges and there are a total of 21 people living in the house(s).  Right now we have given baptismal dates to 4 of them and we have had really good lessons with them.  Bro. Acoba is doing great.  His interview is this Saturday and he'll be able to be baptized on May 31.

I don't know if I'll be staying in this area to see all of these people be baptized, but I have a really good feeling that a lot of them are willing to learn and, although it may take some time, they will receive and accept the gospel. The gospel is a truly beautiful blessing in our lives.  Every good person out there wants it, they just don't know where to find it.  The Lord is preparing more people and opening the hearts of His children.  We're going to give it 132% this week.  Keep praying for us (Can't thank you all enough for the prayers).  This is the work of Salvation. I know that our Redeemer lives.

-Elder Egan

P.S. well I got some ideas for the package.  That yellow rope that you sent me...well it broke unfortunately (must be using it to much).  Just thought I'd let you know.  Also some clearasil.  And Elder Valenton doesn't have a camera so if you could send even a cheap one just so he can take some pictures and show his family that would be awesome! :)  (I'm letting him send pictures from my camera but I'm talking about later on specifically).  And last but not least: (definitely not least) Pictures!!!!!!!!  Old (like California old), new (specially those) but just some pictures of the fam. that I can show others.  But yes, that would be just splendid. 

P.P.S. I still have no idea what's going on in America or any sort of worldly news type stuff, but you should make note of any good movies that you see so I can catch up after I'm back (which is still a long way off hopefully ;) )

Happy car hunting!