Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Week

This letter might be a little bit shorter, just because I got to skype this last week! Skyping is the best! One more to go then I will be home! ITS TOOO FASSSTTT ANO BA YAN!!!

Well the really surprising news is that I am NOT TRANSFERRED! WHAT! yeah, everyone thought I was going to be transferred, I have been here 5 months now, and now I will be here for almost 7 haha, I am way excited though because I didn't want to leave, there is going to be so much happening the month of January! We have 4 solid baptisms coming up this week, and two of them are a part member family, which would mean this will be my first completed family in my entire mission! I love that flippin family so dang much its insane, I just want to be with them all the time, and they nearly cried when I told them I thought I was going to be transferred. I really feel the love from the Ward, and the members here. I have gotten so close to all these people here, i figured I was transferred, so I kind of warned everyone that i was going to be transferred, haha. They all start giving me gifts and pictures, letters, and food... haha so I am going to go to church on Sunday and just say JOKE LANG! which means I was just kidding haha. They will all miss Elder Olsen as well, they really like him here. I am so grateful I get to spend another transfer with these wonderful people. 

Christmas was awesome, we visited some families, of course we ate tons of food, and did some work of course. Then we went to a house and had a REAL American dinner. A foreign man from Switz cooked us tenderloin steaks, with mashed potatoes, veggies, and apple pie with ice cream. I will not even attempt to explain how good it tasted... ah... They are so nice, they own a big store, and they just give us free stuff all the time, and I just feel like a boss when I just walk through the back like I own the place, everyone just gives us that look.. haha plus we are friends with all the workers. I am trying to get a lesson in with them but they don't really care about religion.. we will change that.

We had our Christmas Parties with the Zone Leaders, and also as a ward which was really fun. As a district we had a Nacho Bar! played games, and shared spiritual messages! We had lots of fun at the Ward Christmas party, there was a lot of dancing and music, and fetch!! I wanted to dance so bad! but I just can not, its bawal... when I get back, and I can be YSA ah man I am going to be all up on that dance floor lookin like a dweeb! ayos lang... At our District Christmas party we played games from Whose' line is it anyways! haha It was so funny. We were playing the bachelor game, and one of the elders was Squirttle hahahahaha  I almost had an ahzma attack from laughing so hard! it was a good time. The mission is the best! 

Yesterday was actually a really cool day and I will try and keep it short explaining it. Basically we went to a really far area to visit a member who hasn't been visited for how many years now, and it was weird because some guy showed up to church who has a car that lives right next to him, so we were able to get a ride in his car to the super far area, the car ride was so nice... anyways it turns out that this family has been praying for missionaries to come back recently, and boy was the father so excited, he was jumping up and down shouting for joy, and invited all his neighbors to come and see us, and be taught by us! Plus everyone we talked too over there was way receptive! So the members and I have plans to see if we can get something started over there, like a group or a branch. We will see what will happen, but it was a testimony builder. We got 38 oyms in one day, and our mission standard is 50 in one week. it was another testimony builder for me that the Lord prepares people to fulfill his purposes! 

Well I will just leave it there for now, because I said this was going to be short but it still wasn't, I can't do it... haha its impossible! I love you all and wish you all a happy new years!

--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission
just having fun while we work with the members! 


Potential Completed family!

My shoes after visiting that family!

Our Christmas Dinner!

Here is a picture of that Family that lives in that really far area! The father is the the guy in the cut off blue shirt in the middle. He is the man! 


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Concecration Round 2

Hey everyone!

Boy has it been a crazy busy week, by far one of the fastest weeks in my mission, I can't even measure the time of the weeks anymore, seriously a blink of an eye.

We taught a lot of lessons about Christ and why have Christmas in celebration of his birth and ministry. We had a lot of success as well in having some Less actives come back to church last week. That was really exciting, I really hope they will continue to come back, and realize how much the Gospel can bless their lives if they are only willing to sacrifice small things, sometimes big. 

Our Christmas Zone Conference was awesome! We traveled to Lucena Sunday night, and stayed with the Zone Leaders which by the way lives right behind the Chapel where the meeting was held, which was super nice because we didn't have to wake up super early and got a little time to study! I had to sleep on the floor though because there wasn't enough matresses for everyone, and I ended up getting sick from it too because it was a nasty floor. The Christmas Zone Conference was awesome as expected, was full of the Spirit of course as President, and the Ap's delivered a powerful message of the Atonement, and more specifically the repentance side of the Atonement, and lovingly called us all to repentance just like King Benjamin did with his righteous people.  We also had lots of fun and games, with food. The bought a roasted pig for our feast which was the best! there was so much food! Thats how it should be on Christmas right! 

After the Zone Conference we went to the mall to prepare for Christmas! We all know what that means right! MORE FOOD!!! hahaha so we had fun, and enjoyed the compnay of our fellow servants. We didn't get back until 1 in the morning because we just slammed on the worst bus the kept stopping for everything little person to get on... I was not very happy plus the lady's kid in front of us pooped in his diaper and yeah.. we got to smell that for 4 hours... I was pretty irritated but what evs.. nothin you can do but breath in threw your mouth...

Going along with the title of the e-mail, as we have been teaching about Christ and God's gift he has given us through Him, I personally thought what Could I give Christ this Christmas?? I was all ready in His service, and doing what he wants me to do, even thought sometimes I am not the best at doing but I am definitely trying my best each day. I thought of the best thing I could give him, especially with 6 months left in my mission, and this is the gift of consecration. I have tried to do this my entire mission, and i even think at some points i was even acheiving this goal but I really thought about it and I am sick of thinking about what school I am going to go to when I get home, or what career I am going to go into, what job I want to have, cars, entertainment, and who is possibly going to be my wife hahaha I am sick of thinking about all of it, and I am ready to throw on the blinders, and just see track and finish, because its pretty close, and I can run a lot faster in this race. I feel that I now have been trained, I now have experience, I now have the knowledge of how things should be done, and just haven't been the best at applying it all. So now is the time where I am going to take all that and start hitting the pavement. I am not going to come home regretting that I didn't work hard till the end of mission, I will not allow it. A Sister in my batch made an interesting comment while we were having a testimony meeting while we were stuck in the Chapel for 4 days, she said: " At the end of your mission and you go through the temple before you go home, and you are in the Celestrial room then you should ask the Lord if he has accepted your mission, and your efforts as his called servant." That hit me pretty hard, and I have been thinking about it ever since. How heart wrenching would it be to be told that the Lord didn't accept your mission because of your lack of will, obedience, and love. Knowing you had one chance to do it, man that would not be fun, and that ain't going to happen to me. 

Consecration is what I am going to give to the Lord on His special holiday, and I challenge all of you to look within yourselves and give a gift to Christ that He is really going to like, something challenging to help you really feel closer to Him, and I know he will be proud of you in your efforts doing so. I love you all and hope you have a very Merry Christamas! I am grateful I can be in His service at the special time of the year! 

--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Aftermath

Hey everyone, the weeks just fly by so fast in the mission, I feel like it was yesterday i was in Mindoro on my birthday thing Christmas was in 5 months, and then BAM its here! Its unreal..

So there is not much to report on this week, so I will keep it pretty short. So most of you want to know how the aftermath of the storm here in Calauag. There really wasn't any aftermath at all. The natives say it was just like another storm that had stronger rain and winds, so there was no damage, just a little of flooding. We thought for sure our apartment was going to flood because it was level with the road, and between you and me the Philippines sucks at installing draining systems haha. Luckily we didn't get flooded when we returned home and all is well, we got back to work and checked up on our investigators and members. 

Nothing really interesting happened this week, its was just a simple week. We have our Christmas Zone Conference on Dec 22nd which is going to be lots of fun, the Christmas Zone Conferences are always the best. 

I guess I will share something from my personal study this week. As I was reading the Book of Mormon I pondered about how these many people in the Book of Mormon and how they received such spiritual experiences like seeing angels, prophets, and other signs, and miracles. Then I thought about how can such people who have seen and heard such great things fall away from the Gospel or the church!? How could someone lose so much faith after receiving such a great witness? Then I often thought about missionaries in the mission field who sometimes make wrong mistakes and are sent home or disciplined. How could missionaries do such a thing? After reviewing my own faults, mistakes, and weaknesses, as well as those in the Book of Mormon, that we are all just people, and we are all imperfect people, capable of sin, forgetfulness, anger, and all other un Christ like attributes. We all have weaknesses, some of us many, some of us few, and some that strike us to the very core... and this is something we have to accept in our mortality and try to overcome, through the amazing powers of the Atonement which we all come to know so very close in our journey through life. So what I am saying to all of you is that whether is be a leader, a missionary who comes home early, or someone you love. Don't judge them so quickly, try to understand what they are going through, and also look at yourself first before you start pointing fingers and saying things you do not really know. An apostle once said that if an apostle was to become apostate and do something terrible how many of us would still know the Church is True? How many of us would stay strong in the Faith? and how many of us would fall by the wayside in unbelief? I know this Church is true and I will never forget it! 

Let us all have a little more Christlike love on His special Holiday, and everyday of our lives as His Children in His Church. I love you all and remember to #Sharethegift

 
--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Typhoon Survivor 3

Well Do I have a story to tell this week... It was definitely the craziest thing that has ever happened to me on my mission... so lets get too it.

So first off is that the storm was obviously weaker then yolanda from last year, as I am e-mailing home only a day late, and I will explain later. All is well, and the Philippines is at its regular routine, it was a miracle. basically the storm was weakened enough by the time it hit us. 

The story goes.. Friday we get a call to start preparing for the storm by making sure we have our 72 hr kits, food, water, and all other essentials for a huge storm to hit us, at that time it didn't look that bad but slowly it got worse. Saturday we received another phone call that we are going to be evacuated out of our area to a chapel in a different area that is far away from the ocean, and high up in the mountains. We packed our stuff, and headed to the chapel before 8pm and the journey began... 

We spent a total of 4 days and 3 nights in the Malinao chapel in the Lopez Zone.. and what an adventure that was, 14 missionaries stuck in a chapel, limited food, water, and nothing to do...

Day 1: Saturday

Day one we got to the chapel, and of course as missionaries we were way excited to see all the other missionaries and the whole zone together. We were all kind of in shock that this whole thing is happened and not even knowing what exactly is going to happen. We all felt that we were just going to get smacked by another huge storm. It turns out the storm slowed down a ton, soo it took days for it to actually get here, and the only news we get is from the the Ap's talking to our Zone Leaders. It was just super cloudy and nasty looking outside the whole day, but no rain or storm yet. That night I slept on the floor, no blanket, no pillow, nothing... haha Lets just say I didn't sleep well that night. 

Day 2: Sunday

We woke up on time like we would have if we were in a regular schedule, it was Sunday so we still continued with church because the storm still hasn't hit because it was moving slow and it still looked nasty outside. There was a few members that still came to church and we had a good sacrament meeting, it was kind of cool going to church as a zone. We just had sacrament. After church which was also a fast Sunday, we kind of just spent the next few hours in quite time, reading scriptures or small chat, or the amazing Sunday nap because nobody got sleep. After a couple of hours we starting to play some games, and other fun stuff to pass time, and at night we had a Zone Family Home Evening! Which was really fun, of course tons of little things here and there people did was funny, all of us just still in shock that we are actually having to use our 72 hr kits, and not taking showers. Up to this point the power just went out, and the storm started to pick up but hasn't hit yet. It rained constantly half the day. I managed to grab a couch, I slept a little bit better. 

Day 3:

Apparently it rained all night long, and strong rain as well and it ended up backing up the water pipes in the chapel, and the bathroom was over flooding during the night!!! We had members waking us up at 5 in the morning telling us that there was a flood in the chapel, so we all ran around like the fire alarm was going off, and there was 2-4in of water through out the chapel! Coming from the bathrooms! ah man... did it stink... it was so bad! We were all going crazy trying to get the water out of the building because the whole place was flooded. It was just a flowing stream coming out of the pipes in the bathroom into the church. We were trying everything to stop it, and it took us forever to figure out what the problem was, but after a couple of hours we solved it, and ended up cleaning the chapel up by the end of the day which was nice. Today was the day the storm hit, and because we were in the mountains all there was, was heavy rain and winds. We still had signal service for our phones but not electricity, bathrooms didn't work, and also no one has taken a shower for a couple of days, we were all going kind of crazy, and sooo bored... We had to get creative with the bathroom situation too.. haha that story I will have to tell in person... We basically spent the whole day relaxing and playing games, just waiting for the word saying we can go back home. Ultimately the storm was not what we all expected, no trees were knocked over, houses weren't destroyed, just lots of rain and flooding, so it really wasn't that bad but President just wanted to make sure the nothing would happen so he made us stay at the chapel. slept on the floor again..

Day 4:

once again we woke on time, I actually got up a little bit earlier because I couldn't sleep, and because everyone was a sleep i decided to take a shower in the custodial closet mop room haha best shower ever! it was really nice after not taking a shower for 3 days and getting all sweaty and dirty. We stunk so bad.. all of us eating crackers and canned foods for every meal we were so ready to go back home. We finally got the word to leave and we all went to McDonalds and feasted! It was great end to the experience. I have never heard of anything like this in mission happening and its going to be a story for a long time! We learned a lot about how important preparations is for emergency and because we prepared we were just fine during that storm, and managed to have a good time during the whole thing. 

The storm is just passing right now as i am writing this e-mail and all is well in the Philippines, nothing is destroyed like it was in Tacloban, just floods, and loss of electricity in some areas. but everyone is back to the daily routine, and I just want to sleep, and eat some more food haha.  That was one crazy experience but its time to get back to work! I miss teaching lessons and its only been 4 days! Thank you for everyone's prayers on my behalf and also the Filipino people. We were truly blessed by the storm being slowed and weakened. If you could only see how this people live their daily lives, you would wish that these kind of things would never happen to them because they have it hard enough all ready. I am safe, and well, and getting back to work! I love you all, and I hope you are all Typhoon Survivors! 

I will try to send pictures! 
this is the one picture i was talking about in my last e-mail
 
me and Elder Olsen on a Tricycle.



Where Elder Olsen and I slept on the first night...

survivors!

The sisters just loving the experience!

THE FLOOD!

Add caption

The Zone!
 

--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Super Typhoon

I received this email on Thursday and I'm not sure if I will hear anything by tomorrow. I also included the statement from the Mission president

So as you have probably heard there is a "Super Typhoon" coming to the Philippines again, the same size as "Ulanda" that hit the Philippines last November. I am e-mailing you now to let you know that President Mangum has said that the direction of the Typhoon has a potential of striking us dead on, so... yeah... its going to be Tacloban here in San Pablo mission haha soo... I have no idea what is going to happen. We have been spending all morning preparing, buying food, water, and all kinds of other stuff to prepare if the storm hits us directly. Good news is that we are in one of the nicest houses in the area so if the storm hits, I am pretty sure our house will stand, it will just get flooded like crazy. Most of the natives have been saying we have nothing to worry about, because its not going to hit us very hard here in calaug because we have a lot of mountainy areas. Out of the 5 categories, they said we will be at a category 1 or 2 here in Calauag, but President seems to think its going to slam us. We are all prepared and hoping and praying for all who are going to be affected by the typhoon. Also If we are hit, I probably wont be able to e-mail for a couple weeks, maybe a month or so if its really bad, just to give you a heads up haha also President Mangum will send out an e-mail before the storm and after I believe. I am sure its going to be fine here, because like no one here is preparing haha but we always expect the worse and hope for the best! Love you! See you on the other side ;)
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

(A message from the Mission President)
Dear Philippines San Pablo Mission Family,
You are probably already aware of Typhoon Hagupit, locally referred to as Ruby, which is off of the coast of the Philippines and headed our way. We have been tracking the storm for the past few days and have been working to prepare our missionaries for its arrival. The latest projections show it is tracking directly toward our mission and it will arrive sometime this weekend or early next week. The speed of the storm has been decreasing so it is difficult to estimate when it will reach us.

All of our missionaries have been alerted to prepare for the storm and have been given very specific instructions about how to prepare. We are working to relocate missionaries from coastal lines and areas that might be prone to flooding, mudslides, etc. We are being overly cautious and conservative in the approach we are taking to protect your missionaries.

Given the timing of the storm, you may not receive an email on Monday, which is your normal day to hear from your missionary. Don’t panic if you don’t hear from them. In July we lost internet service for a period of time following the storm and I assume we will have the same experience with this storm. I will allow your missionary to email home as soon as services have been restored. As soon as possible following the storm, I will send an email confirming that everyone is well and accounted for and give you a brief update

Please continue to keep our missionaries and the Philippines in your prayers. Our hope and prayers are that the storm will weaken as it reaches us and all of our preparations will have been unnecessary. We are preparing for the worst while praying and hoping for the best.

Thanks for the amazing sons and daughters you have consecrated to the Lord’s service. It is Sister Mangum and I’s great privilege to serve them and serve with them!



President Mangum

Monday, December 1, 2014

Fear not, I am with thee.

Hey everyone! How was the Thanksgiving!? Elder Olsen and I forgot it was thanksgiving so we didn't do anything haha.. I know how lame... but they don't have thanksgiving here in the Philippines so its nothing big, but Calauag is getting crazy for Christmas, I am excited for Christmas here in Calauag we have all ready been invited to so many houses to eat, and have christmas and most of them aren't even members! Since Elder Olsen and have just been walking everywhere and opening our mouths we have talked to so many people, and are making so many friends here. Almost every day now we will walk down the streets and people will always yell out at us "Elders!" give us a wave or a smile, its feels pretty good, and its nice knowing that the community is starting to recognize us for who we are, representatives of Christ. The Girls still freak out, its even worse now with Elder Olsen! He is just the chick magnet here in the Philippines because he has got these bright blue eyes, and blonde hair so the girls here just literally stop and stare at him, its so funny. Actually the other day we were sitting down at 711 drinking some hot chocolate, also where we were sitting there is a big glass window, and outside of the glass is some tables and chairs. There was a bunch of girls outside trying to sneak photos of us as we were sitting there, and at one point they just starting taking selfies with us in the back ground, so Elder Olsen and I thought it would be funny if I just randomly pulled out my camera and took a selfie, so I did... haha I will attach it to this e-mail.

The work has been getting better here in Calauag. We are starting to see more success and progressing in our investigators, potential baptisms as well, I don't know if I will be here for those baptisms but at least Elder Olsen will, and I would rather have him get baptisms in his first area so that would be awesome! We are getting really close with Ward here, and they are really helping us in our work. Its hard being in one area for so long, you just build this love and bond with those you serve and you just want to do everything you can to help them! I will probably be transferred Jan 1 to my possible last area! Who knows! 

During Sacrament as i was pondering about the greatness of Christ and His influence in my life a scripture came to mind, and i believe its in St. John chapter 16:33. The words that came to mind was "Fear not for I have overcome the world" those aren't the exact words in the scripture but it reminded me of that scripture, and I just felt comforted knowing the Christ the Son of God has overcome the world through his Atonement, and obedience to His father's commandments, and we ourselves are sons and daughters of God and have the ability to overcome the world through Christ's atonement, to overcome all of our challenges we face in life, and in mortality, that no matter what we can overcome anything through God's grace and mercy. For me personally that means so much to me for my personal weaknesses and trials which I have been through all ready at such a young age, and I am so grateful for my knowledge of the Gospel that is going to lead and guide me for the rest of my life. How could someone not want that kind of happiness and knowledge? I invite all of you to ponder how much your knowledge of the Gospel has blessed your life, and what you life would be like without the Gospel.  

I hope you are all doing great as usual nd staying pogi as ever! Love you all!


P.S. This computer won't let me send pictures... next time na lang.
--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Monday, November 24, 2014

Calauag! Week something...

Hey!

So the first bad news is that I need to start shortening my e-mails home... I know so sad... We as missionaries only have 1hr 15min to be on the computer so the big e-mails I send home take me like 45min to type out so I have to strive to be more obedient to the Lord and seek his blessings because we need it. 

The work has been good here, we are still struggling to get our investigators to become progressing investigators. We are seeing small and large miracles here in the mission field, and it is always a testimony builder. The Gospel is true, and there is no doubt about it.

Hey so I saw a new Mormon message that goes exactly what I was talking about in my last letter, you should all check it out its really good. 

nothing really interesting really happened, we talked to a lot of people this last week, and are really striving to follow up with these people, most of them just want to talk to us because we are white, but at least it gets our foot in the door, haha. We oym'd in a store once and I was asking about shorts while Elder Olsen would Oym and we would switch of with the lady's in the store, and then they just started freaking out haha, and Elder Olsen made us take a picture so I will add that with this e-mail, its pretty funny.

The Philippines is a part of me now, and I am really going to miss everything here beyond measure. I never thought I could get to this point, but all the people I have met and had the pleasure with working with has truly blessed my life. Elder Olsen and I are still going strong, its still a little quite at the house but Elder Olsen has taught me how to shut up and stay focus haha, which was something I needed! 

Well everyone thats about it for today, I hope you all have a good week, and of course Happy ThanksGiving!


--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Refiners Fire

Magandang hapon so inyong lahat! ( Good afternoon to you all!)

Elder Olsen and I had a pretty interesting week, and I will start with a few stories, and then some stuff I have learned this past week that might help future missionaries understand what the mission is like, and what to expect.

First thing is first! Elder Olsen ate Balut! for the first time in his mission! Ha, he didn't like it when he ate a crunchy part. For those who don't know what balut is... look it up on Youtube ha. I think it taste good, maybe its because i am now a Filipino! To top that both Elder Olsen and I ate DOG! yup thats right, dog. One morning I watched a family kill their dog (and for those who are dog lovers I wont describe how they did it, but lets just say it wasn't very nice.) and asked us if we wanted some and I wile, "Heck yeah!" Just one more thing to cross of the Philippines bucket list. Elder Olsen only took a bit, and I ate the whole bag. It was soo Good! I was shocked how good it was! It tasted exactly like roast beef with a beef jerky taste to it. So yea, I am pretty satisfied now with my experiences in the Philippines, I pretty much hit it all. I am now complete...

Another story I want to share happened while Elder Olsen and I were walking a long side of the highway around 7pm. We see this lady at what seems like a restaurant and she said hello to us, so we engage her in a Gospel conversation. as we were talking I noticed a girl inside who was scandalously dressed, and I thought to myself, Thats odd, Filipino Girls don't usually dress like that. We kept talking to the lady. There was another Girl who came out who was also dressed the same way, and I started to think where we were at. I saw a sign on the wall that said "bawal na umutang" which means you can't ask to pay back, or create debt. SO with out putting two and two together I thought it would be funny if I would ask "pewede ba ako umutang?" which means can I pay back later? Because on the wall its says you can't. Sometimes here in the Philippines when your white you can get away with anything like that, or get a pogi discount, pogi means good looking. anyways, I said "Pewede ba ako umutang?" and right when I said that the girls inside started to giggle. I was like, oh o what did I just say. I finally asked the lady if this was a restaurant, and she replies in English, "No! This is a bar!"... Which is the same thing as a strip club here in the Philippines. Then is just came to me that I just asked two strippers if i could pay them back later... smooth move kikel.. haha. I turned to Elder Olsen and I told him we needed to leave right now. and we left. The funniest part was that after I asked that question they said "Pewede!" ha! which means you may! even though there was a sign that says you can't. Pogi Discount... 

Okay, on a more spiritual note I want to share some personal feelings about the title of this entry. "The Refiners Fire" I read this in D&C 128:24 how the Lord refines us like Gold or Silver and shapes us into who he would like us to be. When I read this I thought about the Samurai! I love that whole time period and them its awesome! I remember watching a documentary about how real samurai swords in modern times are still made by ancient tradition. It was about an old guy who makes samurai swords for a living. Its a big long, exhausting process that takes up to 6 months i believe. In the actual creation of the swords they pound, beat, smelt, and fold the metal of the sword over and over again until its as strong as they want it to be. I feel that is what the Lord does to me personally in my mission and probably to all his missionaries. This has been the hardest and most demanding work I have ever done. I thought I was a hard worker back at home working two jobs and even cleaning windows on the side of that sometimes, but this, this is 24/7 for two years and it truly beats, pounds, and shapes yo in who the Lords wants you to be. I have faced the biggest challenges in my life on my mission, and has really helped me to be who the Lord wants me to be. I feel like I am 10 years a head of my life before my mission, and never would I have gained a testimony that I have now with out serving a mission. I now know whats important in life, and how important the gospel is, and that we follow it exactly! I am not saying this to scare those who are preparing for a mission, but to help you get excited because it will be the best experience in your life that I cannot explain to you or could you understand until you experience it yourself. As the saying goes 'Hard work ALWAYS pays off" so too in the mission, because its the hardest work its also the most rewarding thing in your life in so many ways. So prepare now, and get ready to work hard because if you don't your wasting your time, resources, and sacrifices, and most importantly the Lord's time. He doesn't expect you to be perfect but he sure expects you to do your best and to always be humble and seek improvement. I am so grateful for my mission, and how its has completely pounded, beaten, and shaped me into who I am today, in way I couldn't even imagine. I left as a boy and I am coming back as a man ( 1 Cor. 13:11) Thanks to the Refiner's Fire!

I hope what I have said helps Young Men and Young Women to be more diligent in preparing for their missions so it doesn't have to be as hard as it was for me, and also for everyone else to strive to keep the commandments more closely, because the Lord is refining us through out our lives. I love you all, and I thank you for all your prayers and support!

Yup Elder Mack is now gone, but this is a picture of our "Family"  


Yeah.. thats me eating DOG!

Elder Olsen and I under the Rainbow!

A sweet Rainbow in the Philippines!

The Philippines!


--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hard Work, Brings Blessings

Oh how sweet the blessings come  as you are obedient!!

There is not much to report this week we were just so busy!

We did go to another meeting in San Pablo for the 4 week training check up where President follows up with how are training is going, and if the trainers, and trainee's are being obedient, and oh how we are doing so!

Its always fun seeing other missionaries from different places, and different countries, and its really fun seeing new missionaries because it just reminds you of when you were new! Now its just gone by like the snap of my fingers! 

but yeah, after the meeting Elder Olsen and i just hit the pavement! We have just been working so hard lately, its awesome! I love it! I feels so good, and you sleep so much easier hahaha, I am exhausted. I thought I worked hard before but Elder Olsen is really pushing it, and that is exactly what I need especially right now when I am getting closer to coming home where I need to stay focused. 

We got a ton of referrals today that can turn into potential super progressing investigators, so we are pretty excited for those, and I will report if we have anything super interesting going on. Thats pretty much it this week folks, but I will make sure to send a bunch of pictures! 

I love you all and always remember who you owe your life too!  
our Zone in the Van to that big meeting we had a couple weeks ago!

Elder Olsen's mom sent him cookie mix, and this is how we cooked it, and it was the most delicious thing I have ever eaten in my mission...


Me and Elder Hapi

rice field selfie.


The picture in my main e-mail was a picture of a few guys we met on the street, his idol is 2pac haha


Elder Olsen during companionship study haha

 me and my trainer Elder Mack he goes home in a couple of days

 
--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Monday, November 3, 2014

100% Agency 100% Responsibility

Hello Everyone! I think this is about my 67th e-mail I have sent home since I have been in the mission? I am not sure I am not really counting. Its hard not to count when the clock is ticking closer and closer, and all of a sudden you got to start planning and preparing, but I still got some good time left so its all good.

All right I don't have much time so I will dive right into the good stuff, the missionary training meeting that we went to! 

We were taught from on high by Elder Ribbons who spoke in the most recent General Conference. Even though we were dead tired, that meeting was incredible! 
Okay I will give a little background first, cmon Its me I got to tell the stories first! So after our work last Monday we traveled over the Zone Leaders area, and also the District Leaders area, they live in the same apartment, and also some other missionaries from a farther area were sleeping over at that apartment, so there was 8 of us in that apartment! Yeah... we didn't sleep... MONOPOLY! We did our planning, and got everything ready to go. Then we just played monopoly until 2 in the morning... haha oops... it was probably best that we got as much sleep as possible but it was to tempting! I havnt played monopoly in so long! They didn't know what hit  em' when you got a Kikel in a monopoly game things get real, and I took it all the way for the win! hah good ol' days...

So after we left, and picked everyone up with the van that we rented, we arrived in San Pablo at 5 in the morning, which was 5 hours early! haha, so we had some McDonalds breakfast, and we all slept at McDonalds! After a little while we went to the chapel, and saw pretty much everyone! Almost the entire mission was there 200+ missionaries! it was so cool! 

Elder Robbins talked about Agency and Responsibility, and it was awesome how he described it. Because we have agency we also have Responsibility, and we can't have any excuses for our responsibilities, and he continued to give a list of excuses and examples of how people use their agency to get out of things, and a big topic he talk about was blaming others, even when they are to blame.  It really put it into perspective how when we exercise Responsibility your are also exercising self control, and humility. You are acting in a more Christ like manner, and more outwards, then inwards. When we start to list the excuses thats when Satan takes control of us. We should always take responsibility for everything that we do, good or bad. Every choice has a consequence, and it all starts with the choice, so lets choose to be more responsible in our lives. 

Thats about it for this week, we had a good week and we talked to a lot of people! More then I have in my entire mission. Elder Oslen is doing great! The stories have kind of stopped but thats okay I am working more, and I am more focused! What a blessing! There is a purpose to all things! 

I love you everyone and I can't wait to see you all, Stay fresh, clean, and just stay there so I can see ya when I arrive home in some what months... 

Ingat kayong Palagi at huwag na malimuton mo ako! 

take care always and don't forget me! 



--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Monday, October 27, 2014

Spiritually Fed

I don't know how to start these e-mails anymore I feel like I say the same thing over and over, what would be a good introduction to my e-mails?

This week was all right, I wasn't able to work for 2 days because I got sick! I hate those times that prevent you from doing the Lord's will, so stay clean, eat healthy, and exercise! I don't know how or where it came from but I just had like the worst LBM (lose bowel movements) is what they call it here in the Philippines or back in a America diarrhea! haha, I won't go into too much detail to spare you all the hard ache but man oh man was it a sight for sore eyes ;) Lets just say I went to the bathroom 22 times in 2 days! not a fun experience, and I don't even know how much weight I lost, I was losing water faster then I could drink it! hahaha yeah wasn't fun, and I am still recovering but I am doing a lot better, I thought I had the iron stomach after being here so long! I was proven wrong...

Other then that the couple of days we had to work were good, and we found some new investigators to teach, we are currently trying to follow up with them, and help them come closer to Christ. I wish I could tell you all about the things that we talk about with people and the topics of conversation because its just so inspiring! Everyone here is not afraid to talk about Jesus Christ, in fact its a common topic of conversation, Unlike back at home where it couple be a little bit awkward if in the wrong setting. Here you can literally walk up to a random person with introducing who you are and ask them what their relationship with Jesus Christ is and they will tell you with out hesitation! isn't that awesome! Only if the entire world was like that. 

We had a stake conference this last Sunday which was fun, its all ways fun to see the entire stake get together and hear from the leaders of the stake, there was some good talks given, my companion almost fell asleep because he couldn't understand anything yet, haha but he is doing good, and definitely works hard which is exactly what the Lord needs. The ward is good, the ward actually seems a lot happier lately, and are having fun. 

I played a prank on Elder Olsen last night it was hilarious! I have always told him how Filipinos will just stuff you till you throw up, or else they will get offended. which sometimes they actually do! but last night we were at the bishops house, and I told his wife to just keep forcing food on his plate, until he has to say no. but, I told Elder Olsen to say no or else they will get mad at him. hahahahah so the entire family was in on it and boy did they just stuff him with food it was hilarious! He ate like 2 plates of rice, with all kinds of vegetables, and sausages, and a liter of soda. Then they started forcing him to eat bread and peanut butter, ice candy, and anything else they could find! He wasn't lookin to good so I had mercy upon his soul and told them to stop, they were all laughin pretty hard and he had no Idea why, the curses of not knowing the language... but I got a good laugh out of it as well, and said I never wants to do that again. 

So according to the Title of this e-mail tomorrow we are attending a Special Missionary training meeting in San Pablo! We all thought is was going to be an apostle but its not, its pretty dang close though! We are going to be taught by Elder Robbins who spoke in this last General Conference he was the one who gave the talk "Where do you face?" and also another General Authority I believe who name is Elder Tobias I think. So its going to be awesome! President said we couldn't sleep over at other missionaries apartments to go to the meeting because we are so far way, but he did say that if we leave early enough we can attend the meeting. So as a Zone we hired a van and are leaving at 3 am tomorrow, and for us Elders in Calauag we have to travel to the Zone Leaders area first because that is where we will start and we have to go at like 8pm because there are no more buses, so we will be there all night long with 3 other companionship! that means MONOPOLY!! ALL night long!!  WHOOO! haha I am so excited haha Its going to be a good couple of days, and hopefully we can stay awake for the messages these great men will give. I will share a report next week on what they taught about! 

Thanks for everyone's support I love you all! 

--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Monday, October 20, 2014

Training: Week 2

Monday, October 13, 2014

General Conference Weekend!

Hello Everyone this last week was full of the much needed spirit, and we here in the Philippines have been taught on High.

I was able to watch General conference this last weekend, and it was amazing! IT was probably the fastest session of Conference that I have attended! I was shocked how fast it went buy, I was just so into the messages that were being given striving to find something that I can improve on, and also apply in my missionary work. I really loved the messages that were given. It had a different feel too it this time, maybe because the were some talks given in a different language! that was pretty cool! I liked many of the talks, especially President Uchtorf's talk asking all the question "Lord, was it I?" I loved that talk, because not only here in the mission but all over the place there are people pointing fingers for their own mistakes. I could go on forever about the talks given in General Conference but I don't have time for that, I hope we will all study the talks that were given, to help us the follow the commitment that President Monson gave to all of us. To listen to these words and chose to be a little better, and a little kinder. I love it. 

All right so most of you probably want to know about my new Trainee! Okay my Trainee's name is Elder Olsen, and as you probably guessed he is American, he is from Idaho Falls, Idaho and we are not the same.. what I mean by that is that the Lord put us together for a reason! We get along just fine, and I all ready love Elder Oslen but I think this is the first time in my mission I have had an companion who is almost opposite in personality. He is a very quite Elder, and doesn't talk much, when asked to share he doesn't share much, and we don't really have much in common haha so its definitely taking some getting use too, but he is a really cool Elder, and he wants to work which is the important part! I am all ready seeing the Lord's hand in our short time together, and I have been feeling the spirit a lot stronger lately, and I am so excited to work with this Elder, and I my spidey senses are just tingling telling me that we are going to have some crazy success these next 3 months! I am definitely looking forward to that! 

All right so for the funny story of the day, I just have a tendency to lose things here in the mission, on Sunday while we were traveling to the Stake Center to watch General Conference Elder Olsen and I bought a bunch of food to eat during the break because it was Sunday, and also to share with others. The bus was SOOOO SLOOWWW, and I was getting frustrated because we were going to be late, and I don't like being late....so when we finally got there I just ran off the bus and left my bag on the flippin bus!! and I didn't even realize until Elder Olsen leaned over to me, and said " Elder, where is our food?" at that moment I just wanted to take my chair and smash the little TV we were watching General Conference on while I was thinking "AGAIN!!" haha, yeah it wasn't a good feeling but the good thing was that there was only food in it, instead of all of my support like last time haha. 

so yeah everyone get there laugh at Elder Kikel. I always forget something. 

Its been pretty funny watching Elder Olsen adjust to the Philippines, he just walks around like everything he touches is going to get him sick, and he does not look comfortable haha but he will get use to it, he has been the man at trying some weird foods! I still haven't gotten him to eat Balut! 

Okay thats it I got to get to some other E-mails I hope you all enjoyed conference, and I will see you next time! 
Elder Calianga and I before we left each other, and that lady is 4'11" hahah

So this is My trainer Elder Mack, if anyone remembers him. I haven't been in the same Zone has him since my first area! I totally miss him but I hardly recognize him because he lost so much weight as shown in this picture! That is his MTC card when He was in the MTC, and he goes home Next month. 

Picture of the Baptisms!




Ya know.. chillin in the Philippines...

That is the little TV we watch General Conference on




--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Monday, October 6, 2014

TRAINING Round 2

So this last week has been pretty crazy haha let me tell ya about it...
So first off the week was going as usual, and on Wednesday when we went to our District Meeting which was actually at the chapel this time haha one of the other Elders told me I needed to call President immediately, because he is waiting for my call. Any missionary will know what the feeling you get when you hear those words obedient or disobedient haha. We still don't have a phone so President wasn't able to contact us. I called President and he extended an assignment to me to Train a new missionary coming from the MTC! Whooo! I was so excited this is totally what I have been praying and wanting for the last couple months! I think Training will help me so much! Its the greatest responsibility you can be given in a mission, because the way this missionaries mission will go will depend on how you train him. Do you remember when I trained Elder Strobelt!? phew.. that was a stressful couple of months! But he turned out really good, and has all ready trained once, and is actually a District Leader in Mindoro! So, I am super stoked for this week, I will pick up my new trainee on Thursday.
So the real story is when we were traveling to San Pablo where the mission home is located and is an unfortunate 6 hour bus ride away. Oh! Also Elder Nielson is also training, he is my District Leader so we were pretty excited so we traveled together, also with the Zone Leaders because they had a meeting as well in San Pablo. So after traveling for 4 hours we stopped in Lucena which is one of my old areas and we went to the mall to take care of a few things, get some stuff, and eat. We ended up spending a lot of time over there and it was getting pretty late, and we still needed to travel another 2-3 hours to San Pablo. We left on Wednesday afternoon and slept over at another missionaries apartment, and the meeting was on Thursday. As we took a tricycle to the bus station, one of the Elder's left his bag on the Tricycle! and he took off and we didn't realize until right before we got on the bus! It has been a good 20 mins before we realized, and that tricycle was long gone, and it was dark. So we spent maybe an hour trying to hunt down this tricycle driver and where he lives. Here in the Philippines most the of the tricycle drivers know each other in an area, and are all buddies, so if some dummy missionaries left entire suit case of stuff on his tricycle he scored! and his buddies wouldn't rat him out, but we finally found a nice man who actually took as directly to his house haha, he was pretty surprised, and then when 3 big Americans get out of the tricycle he had no problem giving back the luggage hahahaha its was pretty funny. Another funny thing is in the commotion of all of it I accidentally left my bag on a tricycle too, and he took off! but he was nice enough to turn around and give it back, the Filipino people are seriously a ridiculously nice people.
For the actual meeting it was really nice. President Mangum just stressed very seriously the importance of this assignment, he expressed it as we are changing peoples lives with the way we act with these new missionaries. Everything they do is their idea of what the most obedient missionaries do, and say. So the pressure is on, and I got about a thousand things running through my mind how I want to approach every little aspect of this, but its hard to know until I get to know who I am working with it. I actually really hope I get an American companion, but I am willing to work with anyone I am put with because I know it is all by revelation.
Thats the story.. haha.. thats all I got for this week, I am really looking forward for General Conference, and training. I think these next couple of months are going to be a great point in my mission, and also it just came to me... when I am done training this missionary... I will only have 5 months left... what... that is so crazy!! haha I love you all, and I miss you! I will try to send some more pictures!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Kitten Killer

Hey!!! whass upp...
So this e-mail will be pretty short, well short for me haha but I got tons of pictures I am going to send so hopefully the computer will let me!
So first of on the news list is that I never really mentioned that we had baptisms coming up! We had 3 baptisms this last week! Whoo! I never really mentioned it because there are just 3 little girls that are from part member families, but as I thought about it, these kids are awesome! They will grow up in the church, possibly serve mission and help support and strengthen the Ward which is exactly what this Ward needs! So I am pretty grateful to have gotten to know them and help them be baptized! They were so excited, it definitely helped me to learn how to teach kids, because I haven't really taught a lot of kids on my mission, you have to speak super slowly and super simple haha. They are all 9 years old. I will try to send pictures of the baptisms!
Okay now for a few quick stories...
First we had our District meeting here in Calauag we usually travel to the District Leader's area to the chapel in his area, but we decided to do it here instead last week, and we were suppose to get the key to the chapel. That morning we went to the members house that has the keys, and they weren't there! So a longer story made short we had District meeting in our Apartment! haha I took pictures, it was hilarious that is definitely the first time that has happened to me, we used an ironing board as a desk haha. Plus its only 4 of us! 2 companionship's! That is also a first, its because we are so far out here in the mission! It takes us about 20 mins on a bus to get to their area, and an 1 and a half to get to the next closest area! its so far!
Okay so this next story for all those who are cat lovers, or even more kitten lovers (mom) stop reading this e-mail.... haha
So it was late at night and we just got done teaching, we are in a very poor area so there is no lights outside, and we have no flashlights so were are literally just walking in the dark, and we can't see anything because there is super bright lights far away pointed towards us! So as we were walking I stepped on something soft, and I heard a squeak! I thought it was a frog because I have done that a few times haha, but then my companion yells out " Dude! you just stepped on  a kitten!" I was like what! and to all your cat lovers, the kitten lived, I didn't kill it haha. it just got up and kept walking out in the middle of no where! thats actually quite normal, there is so many stranded dogs and cats here there is always little puppies and kittens runnin around everywhere. sad story I know but you will get use to it haha ONly in the Philippines!
Thats about it! Hope you guys had a great week! and I will write next time!
Activity at the church




enjoying some buko! Coconut!

District meeting


selfie hour! and I forgot to shave





--
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission