Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It is so HOT!!

Magandang hapon kayong lahat! Kamusta kayo!?

Grabe... sobrang maiinit dito sa Pilipinas! lalo na sa Mindora ang island kasi... malapit so dagat, pero sa appartment namin, mayroon kaming masarap ang hangin! 

Hey everybody! Just sweatin my days away!

I can not believe how hot it has been these past few weeks! We are just ending the Hot season here in the Philippines and I have never experience so much heat! Some days it gets up to 90 degrees! and how ever high the humidity is, which is especially high because I am on an island, and am close to the ocean! phew! its so flippin hot! You just sweet all the time, all day everyday! even if you have a flan blowing on you! It is crazy, and I am not enjoying it hahah, I have always said I like the heat but this is to much. I will take a shower and minutes after the shower I will be sweating again like I am working out! If I do anything recreational its like I am taking a shower in my sweat, all the Filipinos make fun of me saying I shower in my own sweat haha. I am going to die, when I have to experience the winter in Utah! bleh... Not looking forward to it, now we are starting to get into the other season of the Philippines, raining season... I don't like rain haha! It has rained every single night for the last 4 days! Remember in my first area were there was always floods!? because it rained so much!? There is no floods here because there is so much vegetation, but it just rains so much during rainy season! There is two seasons here; Rainy season, and Hot season. ha, I don't know which one I like more. 

Work has been good, a little frustrating, and discouraging this last week. President Peterson is just throwing down the Spiritual bomb on the mission, and just trying to refine it into perfect shape before he leaves! He is going crazy! We had another Zone Training this month, but this one was different. This time, we just came, and President spoke for 4 hours! It went a little something like this... He chastised us first, big time.. told us how to fix it... and then inspired us to act! It was crazy, we all had headaches after and none of us could think, because there was just so much that needed to change ha! President Peterson for me is like the Latter-Day Moroni! He ain't afraid to chop some heads off if someone doesn't comply, or needs to improve, but somehow you can just feel the love behind it. He is the Man. Us missionaries say that he is going to become a General Authority. That will be cool! So after that Zone Training everything has just been a lot more stressful and a increase of haste in our work! After the meeting one of our Zone Leaders was banging his head on the wall saying, "I've been doing it wrong for two years!" hahah.. I laughed so hard, he goes home next transfer. 

What President has said has been true, and is working, Elder Bituen and I are applying what we learned, and we are seeing the results from that as well! Though we don't have many investigators at this time, and the ones that we do have aren't progressing very well, there has been a ton of improvement in the Branch. I have felt that our purpose in being in this area at this time is to Fix this area, to set it straight, and set the example of missionary work. We have been working with members, and teaching members like crazy, it has been most of our lessons. We are seeing member starting to fulfill their callings, and more less actives coming to church! Its awesome! So I am just keep fixing and keep planting those seeds in my areas haha, but its okay I know I am here for some purpose, for some reason, and I might never know why until I go to heaven, but Ill just trust in the Lord that he is putting me where I need to be.

Thats it folks, I hope you all had a good week! I look forward to speaking to you all next week! 

-Elder Kikel

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Guest of Honor


Well Today is going to be a bit shorter cause I don't have too much time but I will still try and get some good stuff in! 

This last week was the best numbers wise since I have been in Mindoro! Woo! Our prayers are being answered! We are finding more people to teach, and all those people are coming through referrals, and we are also started to work with our members more closely and focusing how we can help them exercise there faith, and grow stronger in the Church. We have been a lot busier now because after our Branch President showed us where all the Less-Actives live and the super far areas, we have been just working our butts off trying to bring these people back, and find new investigators in those far areas. I will tell you one thing I don't not want to be a door to door salesman! We try to stay away from tracting as much as possible, because it is the least effective way to find new investigators. How many of you when as soon as you open your door and see a salesman there automatically think that you don't want anything to do with it! hahah... I did...

We are teaching 2 families right now, and hopefully a third, and it is pretty difficult! to make sure everyone of the family members is there, and are paying attention, that they all understand the message, and all that good stuff, its been rough. Plus, we have discovered a few deep concerns with the main family that we are teaching (Lapara) that have cause us to move their baptismal goal date... but Tatay still came to church again! Which is great, we just need to help them have a spiritual experience! Also our recent convert Brother Maur! He is awesome! He still hasn't missed a day of church since we started teaching him! He is so faithful! He won't eat pork because it says in the Bible that we can't eat pork or something, but he is just so diligent in studying, and he comes with us and works with us, teaches, and testifies, and he is really good at it because he actually studies the Gospel. The Branch all ready has him participating in activities, and have responsibilities! He doesn't have a calling yet, but I think he will have one soon! It is so awesome to see that my First baptism is doing so great! It brings so much peace to my soul know that he is going to stay active, and help this branch grow! I see a potential leader here! 

So one funny thing that happened to Elder Bituen and I this last week was that we were invited to a wedding reception of one the members relatives, so we went for just a little bit to support them even though we were super busy that day! They had this huge ritual that the Filipinos do, its hard to describe, but at one point they gather the groom and bride and stand them in front of these tents with tables and stuff with all this food, and the call in all the relatives, and guest of honors. well towards the end, the member that invited us to come kept ushering us to go in the tents! We were to shy we didn't want to because everyone would see us go in , and we aren't part of the family! hahah.. She forced us... and we went in,, it was super awkward, so we were guest of honor at a wedding reception that we didn't even know hahhah and we sat down by all the young ladies and men, and we all ate while everyone else watched... it was funny, but the funniest thing is that we gave them a Book of Mormon as a wedding gift! HA! Elders be creepin... 

Also today for Zone-Pday we went to the beach again, and had a lot of fun! Played some Ultimate Frisbee, and some other games, made smores, and got a long! It was a blast and much needed! I love Mindoro it us so much more fun here! I hope I am not transferred, I would really miss this place! All right thats it folks! Till next time
Love ya,
-Elder Kikel
McDonald's. A little piece of home where ever you go.
Smores! Even in the Philippines..
Part of the Zone
Wait... Whats that!? Yep... its Sister Bennion again!
We smash 20 missionaries in the Truck! Filipino style!
Little miss short stuff! 5 footer!  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The 40th Email!

Dear Diary...

Thats how I feel these e-mails are, since I send one every week! This is my 40th e-mail I have sent home since I have been in the Field! That is crazy! 

Well today is going to be a bit shorter of an e-mail there is not much to say. 

One really cool thing that we have going on right now is that we are teaching a family (Lapara Family) that is a part member, and they are a family of 7, so we have a goal set for them all to be baptized on June 14th! We are super excited for them! Nanay (Mother) has a few concerns, and is pretty much a die hard catholic, but she is starting to recognized how the Gospel will bless her family, and the cool part is that she said that she prayed to know the truth and feels that everything that we have been teaching her and her family is true! Whoo! Tatay (Father) is the one who is most interested in our message, he gets so into it! Its funny because if you were to take one look at him you wouldn't thing he would be the kind of guy to be interested in religion. Its awesome, we are really hoping everything will go well with them, and we will be able to help them resolves their concerns. For some reason baptizing entire families is a hard thing to do here in the Philippines so there is tons of Part-Member families the need to be completed, and so this is like Gold to us and we are trying everything that we can do to help them progress, and feel God's love for them. The scary thing is that once again those baptisms are right after a transfer which is on June 5th. So... hopefully I don't get transferred again hahah that wouldn't be to fun! 

Skype was awesome! I am sure you are all hearing about it anyways from my mother.... hahaha It was nice and yes I was little bit homesick after but how can you  not be? I was able to get over it pretty quickly though and we ended up getting 4 lessons that day! So that was great! Our area is starting to progress, and we are seeing the fruits of our labors, even if they are small fruits ;) ha. Elder Bituen and I are really excited for the rest of the transfer because things are finally starting to get better. Its just weird to think that I still have more then a year left, and I might have 2 or 3 more areas! There is so much more to experience! 

While i was skyping I was asked how the language was coming along since I haven't really said anything about for a while. It's getting a lot better now. I wouldn't say I am fluent because I still have a hard time really understand what people are saying to me, but I can basically talk and listen to everyone I talk to, and get around town and stuff like that, its just a little bit of a struggle thats all. It's cool that I can even speak a different language! I was told that Tagalog is one of the hardest languages in the World! Whoa! ha it gave me more confidence and feel better about my efforts in trying to learn this language, its definitely a challenge. 

Well attached is a picture of a Van. These Vans are the fastest way around the island and they are crazy! You can ask my Mom the story I told about them over skype about them, but basically they just smash 20+ people in that thing and they drive like they are nascar drivers! Overpassing people driving on the wrong side of the road, and just making close calls. They drive all day everyday, so they are pretty good! It keeps life a little spicy sometimes! 

Wells thats about it nothing too exciting this week, so stay cool, stay fresh, and stay there until I get back! 

-Elder Kikel

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

No matter what job you have, you better be the best at it.

Hello everyone! 10 months down! grabe sobrang mabalis! 

Anyways lots to type today so Ill get typin'

This week was another usual week in Mindoro! ha Mindoro is crazy there is so many things different here on the Island instead of the Mainland. First off we were not able to pull out our support last wednesday, and so we waited some more and it never came. We were completly out of money I had 100 pesos left, and my companion had nothing haha and it was Friday! We made the call to travel to a different area in our Zone where we can pull out money but the thing was, the travel fee was 100 pesos! So if we wern't able to get our support there was no way back! We risked it for the biscuit! We went up to pinamalayan which is about an hour and half ride down south of Mindoro the farthest area in our Zone. We got there met up with the missionaries and found the bank they usually use, the ATM was offline.... and they wouldn't let us withdraw from inside because the mission uses Bank of America. So we wen't to another bank, oflline... so we went to another bank! Offline... and we were stuck in Pinamalayan! We had no money and nowhere to go! hahah we just wondered around, and looked at souviners and stuff like that until our leaders got out of their meetings that day, finally after 3 hours one of the ATMs was working and we were able to pull out our money, phew! that was a close one! We bought ourselves some mango shakes to celebrate haha they were sooo goood!

Also this last weekend we had District Conference was really cool, it was different then I expected and President and Sister Peterson spoke at both sessions which was cool, it was funny because President Peterson's talk was more like a workshop, and all the missionaries were to laughing and giggling. He is awesome and its going to be crazy when he leaves but we will won't worry about the right now. The main thing I want to talk about is my thoughts I was having on the way home after the Sunday session of District Conference, its about an hour ride. 

Most of you probably don't know this, but for some reason since I have been on my mission I have found myself constantly thinking about, dreaming about, and pondering about joining the Military when I come home. Once again I was doing this as we were riding home late at night, and just wishing I was in the Military, and imagining some of the things I would do as a soldier, wether I would join the Marines, or go army, and stuff like that. I was pondering if I was in the Military what kind of soldier I would be. I thought to myself I would want to be the person who everyone can count on, works hard, gets things done, and takes charge when everything seems to be going wrong, I am always imagining situations and stuff like that. After a while spending time pondering about these things wishing I was in the Army, a thought came to me. I am in the Army, the Lord's Army.

It hit me pretty hard too! and I suddenly realized the comparison! I am in the Lord's Army as we speak! The Spirit is my weapon. the Book of Mormon, and Preach My Gospel, are my tools to accomplish this work. The Vehicle of the Spirit takes me from place to place, house to house, person to person. My Testimony is my defense against Satan's constant attacks. I have been trained, called, and assigned by someone with more experience, that knows where I should be. My Battalion is the San Pablo Mission, my squad is the Mindoro Zone, and my Unit is my District. We go out in pairs of two trying to win the fight against the non-believers. Instead of establishing peace, I am establishing the Gospel in this land. I am in unknown territory, speaking a different language, striving everyday to survive and do what I have been asked to do. The comparisons can go on, and on. I then realized everything that I want to be as American Soldier should be everything I want to be as Representative of Jesus Christ, serving in His army. Whether I will join the Military when I return home I don't know, but I do know, that once again I need to give every ounce of my soul to this work to bring to pass the purposes of heaven here in this area, or wherever else I am needed. It doesn't matter how hard it gets, or how much success that I will have, as long as I am concentrated in the work, and doing what I have been trusted to do. Thats what matters to me, and there is more the i can do to improve, and really start getting this done, right! 

Ever since those thoughts I have just had an added strength and courage to take responsibility, and charge of what needs to be done, to work harder, longer, and by the Lords way everyday. It has been great, and once again, another learning experience, day by day, inviting others to come unto Christ and follow Him through Baptism. Its hard work, but very rewarding! I would like to quote Elder Murray fromt he Preach My Gospel DVD. " Those who are worthy to serve a mission, and choose not to go, are making the biggest mistake of their life." Its true, and its to hard to explain why. I hope all of you can ponder about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has blessed your life, and the testimony that you have of it. 

Work wise... umm... still the same hahah... we are still struggling but we are working more closly with the Branch President and hopefully there is going to be some progress soon! Thank you all for you Prayers, and your Love, and Support in me I truly appreciate it! I love you all!

-Elder Kikel

-Or should I say Lt. Kikel.... hahahah joke...