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