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.