Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Baptisms and Dreams fulfilled

Hey everyone first I would just like to say Thanks for all the Birthday wishes, they have been awesome! Can't believe I will be home before my next birthday!

All right I know you all want to hear about the Baptisms so Ill just get right in to it!

They were PERFECT! 1 year of tracting, oyming, teaching, resolving concerns, dropping investigators, working with members, improving, trials, struggles, pains, sufferings, disappointment, fear, discouragement, and just outright will power, and they day has finally come were I was able to baptize in the.... OCEAN! AHH YEAHH! Everything just went perfectly! It was a beautiful day, no wind, no people at the beach, and no problems that morning, even rode on top of  Jeepny! I can't explain just how perfect everything was and how prepared our investigators were. We baptized three investigators, and 1 child of record (Oscar, Cathrine, Jessica, and darlyn) The only way I could describe how i felt that day was that I felt as light as a feather the whole day, so peaceful and calm. There was no worries, no stress, no frustrations, just peace! That was all the day before (Friday) that was a very stressful day because of Jessica haha.... 

Jessica didn't go to church the week before her baptism and in our mission we have a standard that investigators must go to church 4 weeks consectativley before they are baptized and that was her 4th week! So after discussing the matter with mission leaders, they felt that we should postpone her baptism but Elder Bituen and I felt that she was still ready and her reason for not going to church was Semi-legit haha..and the problem was that she had worked monday-friday, and we wouldn't be able to talk to her until Saturday morning the day of her baptism! ugh... So after many prayers and pondering for me personally I really felt Jessica was ready to be baptized and that this wouldn't happened again. So we chastised her pretty bad Saturday morning just to help her understand that this cannot happen, and that she need to repent and of course gave her love and encouragement after (President Peterson style). She took it really well and understood, she said she is so grateful that we continued her baptism! I felt that if we postponed it should would of gave up because of other opportunities pulling at her. Her conversion story is pretty sweet, I don't have time to share it right now but someone remind me and i will share it in a different e-mail. Then she did something that almost gave me a heart attack! She was late to church and she showed up right before the confirmations! PHew! I was going to blow! hahah... 

Anyways the members were extremely supportive with our baptisms and we had a good turn out with even our investigators bring their families to see their baptisms which is awesome and they all got along great with the members, and we hope to see Cathrine's family baptized, and also part of oscar's family. We have a family Home evening with them today and the branch president pretty much invited the whole branch hahah so its going to be pretty crazy tonight! What a wonderful experience, and what a blessing in my life! I was blown away how much of a difference it makes when people receive the Holy Ghost in their lives. Yesterday we taught Cathrine and Oscar and their understand just went through the roof! They had so many comments, and so many things to share that they learned at church, and they just pick up on the smaller deeper doctrines of the lessons which is awesome, and they just constantly tell how they can feel the presence of the Holy ghost in their lives, and just how happy they are and how they want to work with us, and help others to feel the same thing! PERFECT!! they both want to to serve missions! they have friends in the Branch and they hang out and have scripture study together! PERFECT! and we are slowly fading off in the background! PERFECT! haha that needs to happen so that they stay active. AHH i just can't believe and have never seen or heard of such conversion from anyone! And it was all by the hand of god and the power of the Holy ghost!

Thank you all for you prayers, for our investigators and their well being, it has truly blessed their lives! 

So it was a pretty good day! At the beginning of the day I even forgot it was my birthday! haha I was just to focused making sure everything was good! But the branch all wished me a happy birthday, and I just had dinner at a members house with our recent converts, didn't do much, just got to get back to work! ;) 

Well thats about all the time i have, so thanks again, and thanks for those who have reported back to me about the challenge I gave last week about the Atonement I love reading your insights, and sorry if it takes me a while to get back you, but I try my best to make sure to send a reply in all of your e-mails! patience is a heavenly virtue! 

Love you all!
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission
coming out of the Ocean

Cathrine and Oscar, ha i wasn't ready for this picture!

Sister Jessica   
Us on top of the Jeepny

Monday, July 21, 2014

"... But when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1 Cor 13:11

In the cab! 4 of us in the passenger seat!

We got a record in the Ford ranger! 20 people! 11 people in the back, and 9 in the cab! hahah Filipino style! 

Missionary work is hard but it has its good moments, are you jealous? haha "Thou shalt not covet!" 

Our big Family Home Evening!

On the boat!

Elder Bituen I took a tour of the Church being built in our area and we are standing on the Baptismal font! haha SWEET!

Elder Bituen and I chillin' at the Beach! Again!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Philippines San Pablo Mission Typhoon Update

Dear Parents,
Most if not all of you are aware that we recently had a typhoon visit our beautiful Philippines San Pablo Mission. It arrived Tuesday evening and lasted through the night into the early morning hours of Wednesday. We had warned all of our missionaries Tuesday morning of the pending typhoon and that its path would cut across our mission, so they were well prepared and had taken cover well in advance of the storm.
Following the storm, our first concern was to assure that all of our missionaries were safe and in good condition. The storm knocked out our power, cell phones, internet, and water in virtually all areas of our mission which limited our ability to establish contact immediately. Many of the roads were closed or clogged with downed trees, power lines, etc. Our cell phone service was the first of our services to be restored on Wednesday and we started reaching out to our missionaries. Thursday morning we went forward with our transfer day as planned and about half of our missionaries were at the Mission Home that day to pick up their new companions allowing us to check on them. We have been in contact with all of our missionaries and I assure you they are safe and healthy. I am amazed at the resiliency of these great missionaries.
Much of our mission still does not have power as I am writing this message my Friday night. Power was restored to the area around the Mission Home about noon today. Tomorrow we will need to drive outside of our mission to the closest location with internet service in order to send this email. Local crews are working around the clock to restore power to the balance of the areas as quickly as possible. Each of our missionaries are well prepared with sufficient supplies and we will continue to monitor the situation from day to day and take any necessary steps to assure their wellbeing.
Depending on when power and internet services are restored, you may or may not receive an email from your missionary this Monday. If they are unable to send an email Monday, we will have them send one as soon as possible following the restoring of services.
Sister Mangum and I will begin a two week tour of the mission next Tuesday to conduct interviews with each of the missionaries as part of our normally scheduled interview cycle. We look forward to seeing each of the missionaries and being able to check on them personally.
Thanks for sending us such well prepared and consecrated missionaries. You can be very proud of them for their dedication and devotion to this sacred work of the salvation of our Heavenly Father’s Children.
President Bart A. Mangum
Sister Renae J. Mangum

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Finisher!

Drum roll please.......

dadadada.... dadadadada.... dadadadadada.....

I am not Transferred!!! ano ba yan!? Paano Yan!?

So I have been told that I am not going to be transferred which means I am going to be going 6 months on the Island of Mindoro! SWEET!!! Finishers baby! I can't describe the excitement that I have right now! I thought for sure I was transferred, I was kind of all ready saying my farewells to the members, and just preparing myself to have to leave the beautiful place! Now I don't have too! WHOOO! phew... what a relief knowing that I will finally be able to harvest those little tiny seeds that have just grown so big! So as of right now we have 2 for sure baptisms on the 26! WHOO!! So stoked! And we are going to do it in the OCEAN!!! WHOOO! Elder Kikel dunkin' in the Philippines! I am so excited and and Our two Investigators that are getting baptized are so prepared! We have been working really hard to help them really prepare themselves for baptism and stay active after! So I will explain who these to people are a little bit since I haven't really mentioned them before:

The first one was a referral from an Investigator that we are still teaching from forever ago, they are ready for baptism but they just need to be married... but their referral is like their best friend and her name is Jessica. She is 25, with one child that is almost 1. She is a single mother because the father ran off,(That happens a lot here in the Philippines.) and she is living with her dad. She has been really good from the beginning but her biggest concern was that her uncle who was a member of another church was trying to buy her out. If she would attend church at his church that he would pay her bills, and pay for her baby, and give her food and stuff like that! We were pretty worried because thats a tough concern to resolve. but, thanks to the Lord she resolved that concern by herself. She receive revelation through Church Attendance and told us the she knows this church is true! She told us yesterday that she feels that she is ready for baptism! 

The next Candidate is a young women who goes by the name of Catherine. Catherine is only 19 years old, and was a referral from a member in our Branch. The first day we met her is that our Member txted us and told us to pick her up for church! And we didn't even know where she lived or who she was! Turns out that her and her brother in law have been interested in the Church lately, and we have been teaching their family as well. Her brother in law (Oscar) will hopefully be baptized on August 9th he is progressing very well also. But ever since we picked them up for church that day and taught the Restoration they have been doing so well! This is the fourth week since we started teaching her and she is doing so well! She even comes with us to teach other investigators! She told us she wanted to help other people as they come closer to Christ, and prepare themselves for baptism! So she is doing really well and we are all super excited for her. Ha everyone in our Branch calls her "Si Maganda" which is kind of like saying "The Beautiful" so for example members will say to us "Saan si maganda? (Where is Beautiful?" or Kamusta and maganda? (How is Beautiful?). Everyone thinks she is so beautiful, my companion says she is a solid 8... tisk... tisk.. tisk... haha he is still new... These silly Filipinos when they see a girl who is tall a little chubby and white thats as beautiful as you can get here in Philippines! She is super nice, really mature, and totally ready for Baptism, the branch is all ready has her going to the temple right after her baptism! WHOO! Bonus points! She is pretty excited for that as well. 

You may have noticed that I said "A little chubby" haha... um well... let me explain... Here in the Philippines if you are dark you are ugly, kind of like in the America if you are super white its not very attractive. If you are tall you are automatically super attractive. If you are skinny you are NOT very attractive, kind of like in America if you are Fat you are not very attractive. (I am not saying this to be rude to anyone or anything like that just keepin it straight, and to the point, cuz good ol' Kikel has got himself a rice belly now, and has some work to do at the GYM when he gets back) So if you are chubby or kind of fat here in the Philippines you are GOLDEN! hahaha, the members tell me I am ugly because I am to skinny hahha... I love the members here!  Just some little facts about the Philippines! 

Good things are happening right now and and we are excited for some fun things to happen! Plus the Zone is just awesome! So since I am here again for another transfer that means I will be here all the way until September! Phew Sobrang tagal yan! (That is soo long!) Tagalog has been going really well, since for the last 3 months I have just been speaking straight Tagalog with my companion and the members really try and correct me when my grammar is wrong my Tagalog has been shooting through the roof right now. I guess you could say I am getting a lot closer to the Fluent line. I just need to start getting diligent with my language studies! 

Hopefully if all goes planned we will probably have another 6 Baptisms in August, and those investigators are progressing as well, there is just concerns we are trying to resolve with them. Church attendance has been great! We are planning to have 15 investigators at church this week, which is INSANE! the couple weeks we have been getting around 10-11! So this outcome has really got the Branch excited and just naturally pushing them to do their missionary work! Despite the last few challenging weeks I have had recently I think I am finally out of the mud and on dry ground looking for that Delicious fruit! but, who knows maybe the Lord will humble me again... Its all about aligning our will with his will and thats when the miracles happen! 

Good things to come, and better to happen! Thank you all for your Prayers, Support, and Love I have truly felt it, and I hope you can feel mine as well! 
Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hump Day!

To all those I love! How are you going!? Hope things are going your way, in the lord's way!

So this last week was pretty interesting! I'll try and throw it all in one e-mail! okay here we go!

Lets see... We will start with my ears! So My ears are good now the swelling has finally gone down, and they are good to go phew! finally... thats been pulling me down for a week now! Got some pictures of that maybe Ill send some.

ZONE CONFERENCE! Zone Conference was awesome even though half the time my ear was killing me, and I had headaches but just as Zone Conference started the pain kind of settled for a few hours so that was nice! I also lost my Planner with all of my support in it on the bus! ahh... man... This last week was just not my luckiest week haha, It was funny because the sisters in the Zone ( there are only 4) We know each other pretty well and they all just felt so bad for me and they just wanted to buy me stuff, and give me money hahaha and they were all surprised how calm I was when all these things were happening! Anyways to the good stuff... So President Mangum is so awesome! He was the VP of Operations of Nuskin! thats so crazy huh? and he started out as a plummer, haha totally looks like one too, but he is so humble, I mean so humble! He made us all feel that we were better then him as he talked with us, and I felt so bad for him he was shaking, and look so nervous as he spoke with us, I mean c'mon I can't even imagine the pressure he is feeling right now to take on a mission of over 220+ missionaries! that is so rough, and I appreciate his willingness to accept the call to help us all out. I think he is going to do some great things here in this mission, he said something that was awesome at Zone Conference he said this, " Faith in Jesus Christ can move mountains, but don't be surprised when he hands you a shovel to do it!" it is so true! I love that quote! We just got to grab that shovel and get started and do our best and the lord will do the rest for us, just as long as we get started not knowing how long it will take or what will happen, President Mangum is a really goofy, funny, jolly kind of guy and its a really nice change, I feel like we are most like friends now. I am sure after a few months he will start to crack down and bring out that inner CEO in him ha! 

Zone conference was fun and I was finally excited to get back to work! We got back on Thursday and there was no work done for a week in our area because I was always down in the Zone Leaders area for hospital check ups! Things in our area right now are doing great! Our investigators that we have been teaching are starting to finally progress, and we have had to move a couple baptismal goal dates around but I think we finally have a set Baptismal goal date for these people and its definite! Those goal dates are on my BIRTHDAY! We have 6 solid Baptismal Goal dates on July 26th and we are so stoked, these people are so ready for baptism and I am so excited, we have been teaching them forever! The only problem is that Transfers are on the 17th and i have been here for a while now! It is possible that I could go 6 months here but it is more likely that I am going to get transfer. One of our Zone Leaders is going home this Transfer so we will be getting a new Zone Leader and everyone in our Zone thinks its going to be me! what!? Because the Zone Leaders of a leadership meeting and the one who is going home will stay there and the other will come back with no companion, so everyone thinks it will be me. I don't think it will be, but that would be crazy if it was! I would drive a truck! haha.. and spend half my mission Mindoro! We will see what happens. I love this area so much I have connected with the members so much! On fast Sunday I bore my testimony and I told them that this might be my last time to bear my testimony and the whole congregation just gasped all at once! I have really felt their love and support for me in this area, they have been so helpful and so nice, even through there diversities. They have been a blessing in my life, and I love them so much! I am afraid that my Mother's prophecy is going to be fulfilled I will forever be a "Planter" in my mission, that is where I do all the teaching, and finding of investigators but never get to baptize them or see them get baptized! Its happened in all my area so far. Which is okay, as long as they are baptized that is what makes me happy, and that I was able to be a part of them and help them get closer to Christ! I am fine being the guy who does all the dirty work with no recognition. As long as I continue to work hard! 

We had another Zone P-day on the beach today! I try to send some more pictures of that too, it was really fun and as usual just a good time to get to know the Zone and make new friends and help each other out!

Speaking of Mountains I am on the way down of my mountain! technically  I only have 11 months left because I will probably be coming home around the June 15th mark, according to transfers and stuff, so thats pretty weird! I just can't believe it, I have been talking about this for the last 2 months and its finally here, and I still just can't believe it, I swear it was yesterday when our next door neighbors that moved in recently told us that their son was on his 1 year mark! that was a couple months before I left! Its been an absolute wonderful experience and I am ready for another year, If we were only to serve 1 year, to think that I would be done all ready and coming home just blows my mind, and I would most definitely not be ready! So this tells me that when the time comes close I really need to prepare because I was DIE, if I had to come home right now. Luckily for me the adventure continues! I hope things are going well at home, don't let to many things change back home or else Ill just want to stay in my room all day and read the scriptures! 

Thanks everyone for you comments and support! I have felt it! I hope you all had a good 4th of July, and I totally forgot about that holiday until my dad mentioned it in his e-mail! So Ill just stay here in the Philippines and eat some more hot dogs and rice!
Ingat palagi, mahal ko kayong lahat! 
This is our Zone at Zone Conference President Mangum is the bald guy!

Sorry I couldn't send more the Internet is pretty slow and I need to go! We got a family home evening!

I will send more next time!


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

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

May sakit sa tanga ko

Hey everyone how has you week been? Mine was okay, let me tell you about it...

I am getting known now in our Zone for being a good story teller when ever we with the zone or district or with other missionaries they will always ask me for a story, (Because I just talk to much) and I never realized till now how much I talk ha, but hey they love it so it works out!

This last week was okay but a little rough again... our week was fun until we got up to Friday when we went on exchanges again in Soccoro. I was working with my batch Elder Hammer i served with him in the MTC. anyways.. we were working in an area where they were having a fiesta which is like a big neighborhood party! its pretty cool, but not for missionaries, because everyone and I mean everyone was absolutely hammered, and here in the Philippines people like to make food and feed people and since we are both foreigners EVERBODY wanted us to eat at their house! It was crazy we were being attacked by people everywhere and they are all drunk! We ate so much food, and then it got a little overboard. The people here are pretty sensitive and get offended easily so when we told a bunch of guys that we had somewhere to go and that we can't eat they started to get mad at us, and it got a little sketchy too they started grabbing our arms and pulling us into their houses and being aggressive of course because they are drunk. We manage to get away safely and continue our day. 

Also that same time people called the "Mangyans"  came down to beg for food and stuff. So let me try and explain what mangyans are... you know on tv or on documentaries how they have shows about villages and people who still live in the old ways, like living off the land, wear loin clothes and stuff like that, yep... they have them here in the Philippines and they are called mangyans and when their is a Fiesta they will come down from the mountain to try and beg for food and stuff, and they are all in loin clothes and stuff like that with swords, and bows strapped to their backs, its crazy! 

Work wise it was okay, we missed out on a few days of work because of exchanges and I had to go to the Hospital. (ill talk about that later) but we are teaching these awesome investigators right now that are going to be baptized in July and they are really looking forward to that so that is super exciting! We are planning a baptism on July 12 which is the week before transfers and also baptisms on July 19 and July 26. So lots of good things happening and again transfer day is on July 17th so who knows what could happen I have all ready been here 3 transfers and 4 transfers is the max in one area. But what ever happens I look forward to preparing these people for baptism and seeing their testimonies grow! 

The Peterson are gone now! They are probably still on a plane! That was so fast I remember 2 months ago I talked about this. President and Sister Mangum are here and We get to meet them and see them on Thursday at Zone Conference so that will be really exciting! 

Okay.. so the Hospital! that wasn't fun... So on Thursday I started to get a ear infection and it wasn't that bad so I planned to get some ear drops and stuff like that but then I had to go on exchanges. After that night It just got so bad! My ear were completely swollen on both sides with ear wax dripping out of my ears with some pretty excruciating pain, and I bought medicine and stuff and it wasn't working, same with pain killers. Then I also got a fever from it too, I had a temperature of 102 degrees! I couldn't sleep at all and I was just miserable so we finally went down the the Zone Leaders area to go to the Hospital and there was no ENT in office so we had to wait till the next morning. The pain was just so bad, probably one of worst pains in my entire life, I couldn't anything by sit down and clench my fist fighting through the pain while they others had to sit there and worry. I feel bad for them that they had to see me like that, it probably really stressed them out. Here is the cool part, I asked for a blessing from the Elders and took some pain medication and went to bed. I fell asleep almost instantly and I woke up around 12 am because I had to go the bathroom, and when I woke up my fever was gone and the pain in the my ear was gone too! They were still super swollen but the pain was gone! I was so happy I wanted to wake up the Elders and tell them what happened ha it was a miracle! So I slept well that night and this morning the pain came back a little bit but my fever was gone and we went hunting around the city and finally found an ENT that we had to wait for ever for, and he stuck a camera in ears and the video footage was on a big screen and my ears were almost completely swollen shut, he couldn't even see my eardrum in one ear. So he sucked out all the ear wax out of my ear as much as he could which was pretty painful because he had to force it down my ear, and now its okay my ears are still swollen and I am taking medication, so hopefully I will be well enough to go to Zone Conference! But yeah, thats the story! its was a good ol time but hopefully it doesn't happen again...

hahah well thats about it for this week I will let you know next week how that Zone Conference went! If I can go! 

Till next time...

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