Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The brigde San Juan area

The bamboo bridge is still intact, barely...
Elders Potter and Sudweeks Taugtog area October 2016

Fiesta - San Juan December 5


It is December! Crazy! This week was awesome, still really hard. It was the Fiesta for Taugtog, which means every other house just makes food for everyone, and everyone goes from house to house eating! It was super fun, getting to see some of the members again, but the LBM afterwards was not as much fun... Then we killed a little tiny snake in Nanay Ebyangs house. (Nanay Ebyang is the Nay in San Juan. She has a business selling Nata de Coco, that might go international) Then I got a package! The MP3 player and recorder are awesome!!! It was super cool to hear from everyone on it! I haven't gotten the batteries for it yet, so I can't reply yet, but I will try to this week. 

The bridge is still intact, but only just! Haha, I'm waiting for the day when it gives out... That will be a fun story to tell!

Our investigators our doing good, the one family is ready to be baptized this week! The other two are still hard to get a hold of, but we are trying our best! 

The sick companion of Elder Sudweeks left for the MRC (Missionary Recovery Center) about 3 weeks ago. He has a new companion, Elder Palacio. Elder Palacio is actually assigned in the Provo Utah mission, but has been waiting on his Visa for about 5 months. Crazy to think he will go home before me! They are doing good, Taugtog has been really progressing since I left, 31 Investigators with a Baptismal Goal date! Crazy! Makes me a little jealous... But it's okay!

Me and Elder Jumagdao are getting along alright. We will see what happens this transfer day; the 7th. He has a lot of family support, his Dad is actually a Branch President in his home branch. 

Just the word Rodeo makes me miss home! It sounds like a great time, I'm glad everyone is doing to well.
Christmas here sounds like it will just be one great big party! Lots of food! Hopefully less LBM... We have a Branch Party the 23, and a Mission 'Devotional' the 22. 'Devotional' because I don't know how much of a devotional it will be, or how much of a party it will be. 

I'm excited to see and hear from everyone too! I still don't know the plan, but I will let you know as soon as I do! 
Love you all so much, can't wait to hear from you! Miss everyone, take care!

Elder Kobe Potter

November - San Juan


Our investigators in San Juan are;
The Denito Family. Brother Mark is Police in Manila, so he is only home every other week, so Sister Charmane is home with the three young kids. Brother has a small alcohol problem, but it is mostly social from work. Hopefully he is doing well in staying away from it this week. We will teach him later today!
Andrew and Lewel, are both young men. They are friends, but live on opposite ends of the area. It's hard to teach them, because they have such busy schedules, but we still try. They are not really progressing, so we need to track them down and see what the problem is.

The most exciting thing this week... Probably Mission President Interviews. We talked about becoming a normal missionary, because my training schedule ends this week on the 6th. We are not sure yet, but President Dahle said he thought I would probably stay in San Juan. If so, I will be there with Elder Jumagdao, and then have to lead the area after he leaves... Scary...

Most everything is normal now... When the chickens and lizards and bugs are in the house and it doesn't bother anyone, that's still weird, but other than that... The weirdest thing is seeing other white people, haha!

I'm eating more, and drinking more. I'm still hungry, the rice doesn't really fill me up... In San Juan it's hard to find clean water, so I usually drink a lot in the mornings and at nights when we are home. But it's all good! I think I've lost weight, but it's hard to tell...

The shirts I'm getting sized are the long sleeve ones that were always a little big, so yes they will be altered to be smaller. Hopefully the will be ready to pick up today, and I will send a picture next week.

We have enough money for everything we need. If I want to get extra things; more food, souvenirs, glasses, new clothes or another bag, it will need to be personal money. If I withdraw 10 dollars a month, its about 500 extra pesos, and should be more than enough. But I will try and only do that if I need to. Is that okay with you?

Sounds like a busy week! Makes me miss home, and the things I know. I'm just so new to everything here, it's hard to get comfortable anywhere. But it's okay, we just lift where we stand and do what we can! 

Nothing yet about the phone home, hopefully this next week or something. It will probably be on a Monday here, so Sunday evening back home. Christmas Eve for you, Christmas Morning for me! Still no packages, I'm getting worried now, haha.

Love you! Miss everyone! I know this is where I need to be, and am trying to work hard! 

Elder Kobe Potter

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Thanksgiving?? San Juan area


As soon as I leave the house I can't think of the food I'm missing! I will have to start a list, haha.

That is surprising to me that President called... I didn't mean to make you worry about the bike. We took it tyo one of the towns here, got some new pedals and welded the seat a little. It's better now, but there's nothing else to do about it... I just don't like it, haha. He probably said that because the last Elder in San Juan was transferred because he couldn't handle the bikes. So yeah, a fat joke ����

My clothes are all doing good, I'm getting some shirts sized right now. My shoes are starting to wear a little bit, but I think I'll try and just have them repaired and keep them for a long time. 

I haven't gotten any packages yet, so I am (not so) patiently waiting! Excited!

Now I'm Confused, is Thanksgiving this week or last week? They don't celebrate it here, so I don't know what we will do... We didn't do anything this last week.

The bridge is still there, just waiting to get me when I least expect it... Haha, it's just about 7 feet above a shallow river. I would probably be fine, but I would really rather not find out. But we need to visit those people, even if they haven't been to church in a month now...

Me and my companion get along alright. It's hard, living with someone all day, every day. But we work it out! He's doing alright, he's nervous to go home this January.

Thank you for your love and prayers! You could never write a too long letter for me, I love reading them and hearing about home! Love you all, and miss you!

Elder Kobe Potter

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Broken bike - San Juan area


The bikes stay in the mission, so we just picked them up from the house and ride them out to our area. 
Elder Jumagdao is from the Tacloban Mission, in the southern islands of the Philippines. His first language is Versias, but they learn Tagalog also, in their schools. He goes home in January, so he's very experienced in English and teaching. 
The duck blood on the planner is from a less active's house, where they were preparing some ducks that they had raised. They had a birthday party or something coming up...
The funniest thing, now that it happened, is the bamboo bridge we have to cross in order to get to a super less actives house. The first time, it was okay. 2nd, a little creaking. 3rd, one crack. 4th, lots of cracks. Elder Jumagdao, being smaller than me, crosses easily every time. And then laughs as I try and carefully shimmy across. We have to visit again, and I'm not looking forward to it. But it makes me laugh now, because I know it's going to fall apart soon, and am almost looking forwards to it now.

The language - Maybe not improving, but I realized that I know a lot more than I thought I did. Hopefully it will continue to improve and get better.

I'm glad to hear about everything at home! How exciting! I'm glad Aunt Meri is better, I have been praying a lot for her. Awesome, I know Cord will be a great missionary! Ahh, I can't believe I missed Hadli's talk! I know she did awesome, tell Hadli good job from me! 

This week has been really hard. I'm a little to big for the bike, and I got it broken in 2 places... Riding a broken bike through the jungle, in a new area, with a new companion, learning a new teaching style... But I have learned the importance of just putting your head down and working hard. We have been blessed, with three new investigators this week, so hopefully we can start to turn the area around a little bit. 

Love you, miss everyone! I know this is where I need to be. I hope everyone knows how much I love them. Take care of everyone! 

Elder Potter

Elder Jumagdao is from the Tacloban Mission, in the southern islands of the Philippines. His first language is Versias, but they learn Tagalog also, in their schools. He goes home in January, so he's very experienced in English and teaching. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Unexpected transfer - San Juan

Funny you should ask about Elder Sanchez... 
Because he was sick (better now, but still weak), he cannot bike like he needs to in San Juan. So guess who got emergency transferred into the San Juan branch! This lucky Elder! Elder Sanchez switched me, and is now training in Taugtog.
It was really hard to leave Taugtog, and all the people that I have grown so close to in such a short time. We had a Family Home Evening with a bunch of the members, and when we all sang "The Spirit of God" I felt the Spirit so strong! 
Biking in San Juan, and San Juan in general, is a very difficult transition. I am now companions with Elder Jumagdao, who actually speaks fairly good English. Biking is hard, as we go down tiny little jungle roads. The other day we walked up a small mountain, talking to people while someone at the bottom of the mountain welded our bicycle seats on strait. ( I was a little to heavy for it I guess ) Saturday we walked across a bamboo bridge I was sure was going to fall apart. I have duck blood on my missionary planner. We get chased by dogs once it gets dark, as if biking here isn't hard enough! I was having a really hard time. But President Dahle came and we had interviews early. Before I could complain to him, he told me, "You're just living the missionary dream! Biking through the Jungle, a sort of struggling area, a native Companion! It doesn't get any better than that!". I hadn't thought about it that way yet, but now I am ( a little ) more excited to go back to work! 
On Sunday, while teaching the Home teachers, President Doble talked about three Elders. Elder Fear, Elder Duty, and Elder Love. I didn't understand everything, but I got the general message; What is your reason for serving? I now that right now, I might be closer to Elder Duty or Fear than an Elder Love, but hopefully this week I can change that...

The typical day;
6:30 Arise and get ready. Freezing cold showers, oatmeal and other fun things. Plan to work out, but forget to...
8:00 Personal Study
9:00 Companion Study, practice teaching
10:00 Language Study, usually trying to read a page of ANG AKLAT NI MORMON
11:00 Lunch and get ready for work
1:00 Bike to San Juan, about 30 min from Taugtog, and work untill...
9:00 Return, dinner, relax untill
10:30 Fall into a comma like sleep untill 6:30
The work now is; bike to the house, talk to maybe 1 or 2 houses in that 'compound' or neighborhood, and then bike to a different compound.

Trikes are what we usually use. Jeepnies are usually only in bigger cities, and they just go from one end of main street to the other. Busses go from cities to cities. 

No packages yet, but I haven't seen the Senior Couple Missionaries ( they deliver everything ) for a little while yet. Is it a Christmas Package that I'm not supposed to open until then?

Funny Story... Hmmm... So this week was pretty stressful, like I said. But we were trying to find some Less Active members in this little compound where all the houses are bamboo. We were back in the middle of it all, when we met this very tall Korean woman and this little old Filipino Nanay. Elder Jumagdao started trying to talk to them, but they were not very interested. He tried to ask the Korean woman where she was from, and in very slow English she answered that she was Korean. I was so shocked, and as she was walking away, she told us she doesn't know Tagalog. I was amazed that I knew more Tagalog than someone else living in the Philippines! I don't think she knows English very well either, but it was cool to hear someone try and speak English in that little compound of bamboo houses, in the middle of no where in the Philippines. 

Another funny thing. Most members have a really hard time remembering missionaries. There are just a lot that come through in the years, so they usually don't use names, but they say "Elder Chubby, or Tall, or Dark" stuff like that. Well, not when your last name is Potter! Everyone says, "How are you related to Harry?" and "What magic do you know?". I was introduced in the San Juan fast and testimony meeting as the branches new magician! And telling them my first name is Kobe has just about the same effect, only with Basketball this time...

That makes me happy to know you all think about me so much. I miss you all too. Sister Dahle wanted to know about my family, and as I started to show her the photo books you sent, it was really hard for me. She just kept saying; "I bet they are missing their big brother so much." I wanted to say, "I'm missing them too!", but that would only have made her worried. 

My SD Card to USB port adapter has broken 😥 so I can't send any pictures until I can find a new one. The only problem is I don't know if there is any where to buy one here... I will try to find one, but just in case will you send at least one in the next package please? 

Thanks for the continuous love and support! I love and miss all of you, and hope the best for everyone. I will pray for Aunt Meri. Take care!
Elder Potter

P.S. It was Clay Esplin and Michael Musto's birthday this past week. If you see them, please tell them Happy Birthday from me!

Staying in Taugtog - October 30th


Transfers; Me and Elder Sudweeks have stayed. Our housemates, changed though. Elder Jumagdou is training again, but his Trainee has been very sick (throwing up every time he eats) and unable to work. He will probably be transferred this week, to someplace closer to a Hospital. 

Those 2 did get baptized, and confirmed! It was a super stressful day, we waited 3 hours for the wrong keys, got the right keys, and then another hour for the Branch President to come. But despite all the adversity, yes they got baptized! Super awesome!

I heard about the football games, that's to bad. Both CV and Utah sounded like they should have had really great seasons this year. 

A convertable car would be really nice right now, compared to Trikes and Jeepnies haha! Hopefully I can help start a ripple here in the Philippines! There is sure a lot of work to do here, hopefully my actions will help.

Thank you for the email! I was able to go on splits this week with Elder Jumagdou so that his area, San Juan, could have at least one day of work while his Trainee stayed home with Elder Sudweeks. A really cool experience to be able to know that I have most of the basics of missionary work down, so that I could go to another area and help people there too. 

I hope everything is going well at home! I love and miss everyone! I know you are praying for me, and hope you know that I am praying for you too! Happy Birthday to Sydni and Hadli! I wish I was there!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

First Typhoon

Answers first...
Typhoon; if no one told me, I wouldn't have known. It was just a bigger than normal storm, almost as windy as Cedar City during storms. We got all worried and bought 72 hour kits, but nothing really happened. Supposedly it's still going on, so maybe there will be more. A Typhoon is just a Hurricane with water.
Yes, we have a mission phone, that we both share. Elder Sudweeks typically has it, because 1. I can't really read/speak Tagalog yet, and 2. The Tagalog texts (texting is really common here) are really abbreviated. They all use ltl wrds like dis, bcuz its ezyr thn typing all the big long Tagalog words out.
Yes I am drinking more water, and trying to remember to take those pills every morning.
I did eat dog this week... Just a little tiny piece, but I did. They had it really flavored like soy sauce, but the texture is like steak, really chewy. Whatever I had for lunch at the members 'Tindahan' today was really good, some pork and potato mix over rice.
I've seen lots of karebou this week, but couldn't take any pictures. I don't know what might be 'cool' now... It's kinda starting to be normal now.
Transfers are this next coming week, so we will find out then!
Zone conference was good, it's always fun to see different white people ;) I learned a lot!
I like President Dahle a lot. He seems to care a lot about the missionaries, and is very good at teaching and telling his stories He will leave about right halfway through my mission.
Our week was good, we couldn't work during the storm, we never know when a flash flood or something might come. And clothes are impossible to dry here. But all our investigators are doing good! We might have to push back the one family, they had a coffee problem that we didn't know about (they need to be completely clean for at least one month) but that's it. We are supposed to baptize two investigators in two weeks!
I talked to Chad, he could only write a short email this first week. I know he would love to hear from you too, in either an email or a DearElder while he can get them. 
That's a hard thing to learn, Christlike Attributes. There is a whole chapter of Preach My Gospel dedicated to just them. I've started trying to improve my attributes too, so that I can be a better example to people around me. It's hard to be an example when every one around you is so relaxed, but I know that following those attributes is important, and really the best thing we can do.
This week, during the rain, we were walking when a group of kids leaving the school suddenly swarmed towards us and started walking underneath our umbrellas with us. I was shocked, and startled at how close and how many of them there were in so short and time. Before I could really get used to them, they had already ran off to their different streets or roofs to wait out the rain. It made me think about how sometimes we will come running to other people for help, but before they can really help us, we turn to a different source. I know that we all know that daily reading, prayer, and simple things like that can help our lives so much, but if we don't see the immediate results we get angry and try something different. I hope that we can stay focused on and be diligent in doing what we know works. I know that by doing what we should, by choosing the right, we will be blessed. Just maybe not as quickly or in the way we want.
Thanks for the email, love you and miss you. I pray for you all, and I know we all will be blessed because of our service. 
Elder Potter. 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Yes, the block building is the little 'tindahan' where we usually go to 'eat out' in Taugtog. I'm good, just always tired and a little stressed out.
Me and Elder Sudweeks get along great, lots of work and laughs!

The work here...
It's hard, because the 2nd Councilor in the Branch Presidency has quit coming to church, the Branch Clerk is less active, there is no Ward Mission Leader, and the other organizations are all messed up too. We don't have enough people to be a ward, and our area is not yet a stake. So we are the only missionaries here in the entire branch. Yikes...
It's also good, we have started to fill up our calendar with baptism dates. Every Saturday starting with October 29 till November 26 ( i think ) has at least one of our 11 investigators who have baptism goal dates. That is really good, and I'm excited for them, and hope they can continue keeping their commitments.
The language... Ugh... I feel so worthless, so hopeless, so pointless. I can understand maybe 70% of what other people say, but it's super hard to be able to speak back to them. I have such a hard time every day, because I just follow Elder Sudweeks, listen to him talk, try and testify, he repeats my testimony, and repeat. But they tell me I am getting better, I am growing. Elder Sudweeks says the best way to learn the language is Time. But I can't help but feel that I am not doing good enough.

Conference was amazing, I felt like every other talk was meant just for me. We had to download it onto our SD cards, and then work those into the TV, because there is no BYUTV here, and the TV was to new to connect to the old Computer. The priesthood session was just us two, and so was the Saturday morning session. The Saturday afternoon session had 5 people, including us. Sunday morning was 47 people I think, and afternoon was about 15. My favorite talk was in the Saturday Morning session, from Brother Cornish; "Am I Good Enough? Will I Make It?" He spoke more about making it to the Celestial Kingdom, but it applied a lot to my life as a missionary.
This General Conference, I think one of the main themes, for me at least, was that we take too much for granted. We have been given the most correct book in the entire world, and we leave it sitting on the shelf. We have a living prophet in our days, but people don't want to watch because it's "boring". We have the same priesthood that Jesus the Christ did, and sometimes we don't want to use it bless others through the Sacrament. We have the Gift of the Holy Ghost, a member of the God head, and we don't listen to his promptings, and maybe even drive him away with sin. We have repentance, and forgiveness that's just a prayer away, but we are 'to tired' to kneel down for two minutes. I think that it is important for us to realize that we have a great thing here for us, and we need to be more grateful and happy to serve in the church, serve others, attend meetings, do everything that we have been asked, because we have been given everything!
One day, we were walking back home from one of our farthest houses. My feet hurt, I was wet, it was dark, my knee was hurting, I was hungry and thirsty, and embarrassed about the testimony I had just stumbled through. Elder Sudweeks was a head of me, talking to the member who was with us. I offered then, a little prayer, a tiny, complaint to God in my heart that I didn't think I could do this every day. I was suddenly flooded with a warm feeling, from head too two. My pain, and feelings of wetness disappeared. But my feelings of depression did not leave. I could practically hear the Holy Ghost saying to me; "How about now, will you still give up? Do you still not want this?" And for a second, I still didn't. I still didn't want to go and embarrass myself again, and get wet again, and have that pain again. But I knew, that if God could listen to an angry, complaining prayer, from my heart, He could do anything. He has called me to stumble through a weak testimony so that He can bring the spirit. I don't know why He wanted me here, now, to do this. But I do know that everything happens for a reason. Every single thing in life is supposed to happen the way that it is. I don't think we can ever know the whole truth, the entire purpose. I just hope that I can quickly learn, so that my purpose will not be to be embarassed, but instead to be able to teach and share.
I love you, and miss you. It's still hard. But this is where I need to be. I gave Sydni and Logan some challenges for the family, I hope that we can start to do them together.
Elder Potter

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Tougtog area week 3

I will try and drink more water and eat more. It's just that we typically don't carry water with us because it's so heavy. As for the food, I will buy myself some more this week to add to the 'house food' we all get. 

I'm pretty sure that the bites are just from mosquitoes. They are everywhere here, and there is only so much we can do. Everyone has them, natives and foreigners. But I might try ironing the mattress latter today. 

General Conference is a week later here, because they translate everything into Tagalog first, for those who don't understand English. We will watch in English though, this Sunday at the Stake Center, with all the missionaries, I think.

For Christmas, maybe a flash drive. We have a DVD player at the residence, where we can listen to church songs and watch church movies, if we can somehow get them. The WiFi here is really slow, but I think I could download some stuff to watch on P-days and listen to in the mornings. As for cookie mix, we do not have an oven. Or any cookie sheets. I think our Nanay (like mother in Tagalog) has an oven, but I don't know about cookie sheets or anything like that. 

In our house, we have 4 missionaries yes. Us two in Taugtog, and the other two bike to San Quan every day, about 20 minutes. They are both Filipino. Elder Humagdou has like two months left in his mission, and has really good English. He is the district leader, and sometimes asks for help learning English. Elder Detera is new, technically me and him will go home at the same time (my 6 weeks in the MTC put me up there with him). His English is not as good, but he can understand most everything I say. They both love to help me learn Tagalog, even though we don't see each other very often, just right before bed and in the mornings. 

We don't have a house keeper or cook. We have asked a member to wash our clothes, Nanay Baluyot, and Nanay Kastro feeds us dinner most every night. 

The language is slowly, slowly coming. Our biggest problem here is having a male presence in the house so that we can teach. The fathers and sons who are old enough to count for us, are at work or school all day. So it's very important for us to have a member working with us at all times. Without them, we probably wont be able to teach. These members, usually Brother Zuess (a super short Return Missionary I think) and Brother Sam (a young man, 18 or 17), are always fun to (try and) talk to. We have 6 BGD right now. BGD means Baptism Goal Date. They are; Jasmine and Maryann, Nanay Bagobi, and the Onate Family. Jasmine and Maryann are 9 and 10 years old. Jasmine is from a super less-active family, and Maryann is her best friend. They have both been to church a few times, but Maryann couldn't this week because she was sick. Nanay Bagobi is a super new convert, and she and her daughter went to church for the first time yesterday! Nanay Kastro said she participated in Relief Society meeting, but she went to Olongapo to visit family before we could talk to her. The Onate Family, the two parents and a daughter, where referrals. They were actually taught 4 years ago, but where dropped for some odd reason. They are very receptive, and excited to learn. Their daughter, Jowena, came to church by herself this week, because the Tatay and Nanay were gone to Iba. 

This week for our CSP (community service project), we cleaned out Sister Baluyot's new house. It was actually kind of scary, a dark concrete block full of spider webs and garbage. She said there might actually be a snake in the roof. But as we cleaned anyways, under the light of the little flash light I brought. As I was cleaning the CR, with a broom that's really just a bunch of sticks, I thought about how much cleaner this place would have been if someone would have just continued to clean it. But because they let it go for so long, without any supervision, it became dirty and disgusting, and if there really was a snake, unsafe. I realized later, how that kind of applies to life. We need to continually clean our own lives, to make sure that we can stay clean. I was reading in Alma, when Helaman and Moroni are fighting with the Lamanites, and there are rebellions inside the Nephites government. Alma says that we first need to clean our inner chambers, before we can try and clean the out ones. We have to prepare ourselves, and make sure we are clean, before we can expect anyone else to be clean or ready to hear the gospel. 

I love you so much, and miss everyone. Take care, and know that I pray for you.
Elder Potter

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tougtog area week 2

How close am I to the ocean?
This mission is one of the farthest from the ocean. We are surrounded my rice fields and forests. 

The house is similar to a house back home I guess. 4 walls with bad paint, cracked tile floors. One bathroom, one room for all our dressers and closets, one room to hang up the clothes we wash by hand. And one big room, where we sleep on the floor, study, cook, eat, and just hang out. We have a little side alley way where our water, trash can, home-made weights, and main drain is. I will take some pictures this week.
There is a camper chief stove top out in they alley, other wise it would get too hot inside. We have a little tiny fridge. We have to buy clean water because our filter is broken. I'm good on toilet paper for now, maybe in the Christmas package. 

Every day we eat rice. Rice, rice, rice. If we cook, it's usually tuna, corned beef, Filipino hot dogs, or some other meat the house captain has cooked, with soy sauce, on top of our rice. 
We eat almost every night at Nanay Kastro's house. She owns a little street vendor shop, and so we get to eat the left overs from the day. We occasionally get dinner appointments at members houses, the branch (taugtog is neither a stake or a ward yet) presidency will typically have us once a month at least. Except the 2nd councilor has gone less active, so we haven't eaten there yet. 

The craziest thing I have seen so far... Probably the pig ear that Nanay Kastro was cutting up for the next day's food. Just a whole pig ear sitting in a bowl. 

Elder Sudweeks is a great companion. He's very quiet, which is okay with me. He teaches most of the lesson by himself right now, and I just try to stumble through a few gospel principals and my testimony, and try and understand what everyone is saying. He's not really the comforting type though, nobody is on the mission. Not that I would ask. I just have a hard time, I'm so emotional all the time. I don't like showing people that though, so I try not to complain about it. 

Physically, I am exhausted. I have bug bites all over, nothing I have tried so far has helped. We sleep on the floor, and so mosquito nets are impossible, and bug spray doesn't work. I'm always a little dehydrated and hungry. I haven't really been sick though, I'm taking the pills you gave me, and a multi-vitamin I got from Sister Dahle. 

We study every morning till 2. Personal, Companion, and Language study. I mostly just memorize phrases from the Lesson pamphlets. 

Yes, I have been shopping. The stores here a lot the same, just smaller. I can get most everything here, it's just the question of if I want to spend the money on it or not. I feel guilty spending the Lord's money on cookies and stuff, so I haven't really bought anything yet. Elder Sudweeks always is surprised at how little I buy. 

I'm very excited for General Conference! Partly just to hear English for a couple hours strait, partly to have a little bit of Utah again, and also for the revelation. I just need the continual comfort in this time as I struggle with the mission. 

I'm glad to hear that everything is going well back at home. It's crazy to me that it's football season, it feels like summer here still. I hope Dad can get better, I know that's hard for him. I know that everything will work out right for everyone if we can continue to press forward with a steadfastness in Christ. Hope, has been a huge word for me these past couple of weeks. I know, that through faith, we can have a hope for a better future. And that hope leads us to act and make better decisions. 

Packages need to go through the mission home. I don't know how you sent that last one, but it was perfect. Sister Dahle said that if you send them other ways, they can end up costing me a lot of money. But your first one was perfect, without any charges. Letters are the same I guess, and they get distributed through the Zone leaders. 
Our mission address is; 
Km. 140 National Highway
Mangain-Vaca, Subic 
2209 Zambales

That's awesome about Mathew, I know he will be a great missionary. If you see them again, wish him luck for me.

Thank you for the scripture and talk! I love hearing these things, they help me so much. I need the constant comfort nd support. That verse has grown in meaning and importance to me so much in these past (almost) 2 Months. But who's counting...

I spoke in Sacrament meeting this week. Our Branch President asked us two hours before church started if we would both talk. I had to give the talk in English, and speak very slowly so that everyone could understand, because I can't speak Tagalog yet. I wasn't sure if anyone understood, or cared to listen. But afterwards the Branch President gave me a note, saying he knew everyone understood and was grateful for my spirit. I hope he was being truthful, and not just saying that for me. I know that this church is true, I just don't know how to share it with them yet...

I hope that everyone can know how much I love and miss them. When I do my work outs (by my self, neither Elder Sudweeks or the other two missionaries we live with aren't really into working out) in the morning, I can hear Dad, and Robbie saying that I can do it. We have some gospel music in the house, and when the words "Mine is a home, of priesthood power... I see my mother kneeling with my family each day..." I can't help but think of home. I think of home constantly. I love everyone so much, it hurts me to be away. But I am trying to submit my will to the Lords, and if this is where He wants me to be, then I will suffer this too. I love the people here, even though I can barely understand them. I hope everyone at home will take care, and know that I love them so much. 

Elder Potter

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tougtog area week 1

Hi Mom!
That's amazing to hear, how exciting for Cedar City! I can't believe the temple has come so far already.
Things here in the Philippines are about the same as they were earlier, only now I can try and lose my self in the work. It's hard, I can only understand some words, especially through the native accent, and it's even harder to try and speak back. But I learn new words every day, and hopefully I am slowly improving. 
It's crazy here, there are so many flies and bugs that people would rather have spiders in their house. So we have at least one spider in every corner, and some lizards that wait on the walls by the lights for something to fly past. There are dogs and cats everywhere, and goats and chickens that roam the streets. I can hear rats at night, but I haven't seen one yet. I wake up every morning from my little mattress I put on the floor, and turn off the electric fan I've had pointed at me all night. We go into the bathroom to cold water and toilets without toilet paper, or flushing power. We just pour half a gallon of water into the toilet and it all goes down and out. We study next to the same fans, and then get ready to work. We walk everywhere, or maybe get a trike (motorcycle and side car) across town. Our mission is called Tougtog, and is very rural. We go teach maybe 6 or 7 lessons at night, because new missionaries have to study all morning. 
Church was fun, because I had to say the sacrament prayer (in English), and then share my testimony ( in Tagalog). I also gave a sister we taught earlier that week a blessing in English, because she is going to be taking a big test to see if she can become a teacher. 
I tried balut, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I've eaten fish with just my hands, and lots of other food I don't really know what it was. 
It's hard here, really hard. But I think I just might make it through this mission thing. 
I love you, and miss you every day. Keep praying for me please, I really need it. 
Elder Potter

A letter from the Mission President

17 September 2016

Dear Brother and Sister Potter,

We were delighted with the safe arrival of your son, Elder Kobe Emerson Potter, here in the Olongapo Mission. He is excited about hismission and enthusiastic about entering the Lord's service in this area. 

Elder Potter has been assigned to the Taugtog Area, Botolan District, Iba Zone. His companion is Elder Sudweeks. The attached map will help you to locate his current area and help you to follow each future transfer.

With our love and training and your support and encouragement from home, he will mature and progress beyond your expectations. With these great experiences, he will develop a great love for his fellow missionaries as they strive to teach a better way of life and the principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

We urge you to write your son each week and include encouraging news of family events and achievements, spiritual experiences and other matters which will bring joy and deeper commitment to him. Please do not worry him about family problems over which he has no control. If you want him to know about a family emergency or special situation, please send a letter or email to me and I will inform him.

Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you or your son. We love your missionary and want this mission to be a great experience for your entire family.

May the Lord's blessings be with you.
Dennis W Dahle
Philippines Olongapo Mission  
Mission President

Friday, September 9, 2016


Yes, we have made it to the Philippines! It is crazy hot and humid here! You know how hot it gets when you are steaming a pot of vegetables on the stove and suddenly take the lid off the pot? That's how hot it is here, all the time! And they said it's cool here now!
I am exhausted. That's crazy to think that its 3:30 there, because here the sun is still shining, between the sudden downpours of rain. It looks like someone has turned on a really big shower, and is just spraying everything. 
We just had a devotional with the MTC President here. I was shocked to hear him say a lot of the same words of comfort that you did, and I know now that everything will be alright again. 
That's awesome to hear about the JV team, great for Tyson! 
I was going to try to hand out my Book of Mormon on the way here, but I was too sick to think strait most the time... I did hand out a pass along card though.
As we drove through Manila on our way to the MTC, we all took some crazy pictures. I can't send them now, but I will make sure to do that soon, it shocked me the poverty in some places. The number of people here is crazy! I couldn't teach all the people I've seen just today in all the two years I have. 
Thank you for your love and support. I can feel your prayers always. I'm going to try and see examples of how God has touched and influenced my life each week, and base my emails home on those stories. I'm going to try and start doing that next time though, because I can hardly see the words I'm typing on the screen. 
Thanks again for your love and advice,
Mahal kita,
Elder Potter

Thursday, September 1, 2016

MTC week 5 -The worth of one soul

Do I NEED anything? No, not really, but food is always appreciated 😉
I ran into Elder White his first day here, and was able to help him to the front desk. He needed help with something, so we talked for a second on the way there. 
Yes, I am very nervous to go to the Philippines, and I need all the extra prayers I can get to help me make it through this week!
There are 10 Elders in my district right now, but if you are asking about the Philippines I have no idea. 

My district leader says that I have two packages waiting for me to pick them up, thank you for getting those put together so fast! That's amazing, I love getting things from you. The new President of the Tagalog MTC branch (we've had 3!) says there is usually not toilet paper in the bathrooms, so we have to carry our own... Thank you for the probiotics, after listening to Elder Iabeta tell us stories from Kiribati, I was a little worried about the food. He has something called "Toilet Fish" that; in the words of Jeremiah 4:19," My bowels, my bowels!" That has become the joke of the district, especially after Taco Bell catered the MTC. 😬😂

I am also excited for my opportunities to serve. It's hard to get excited to get up in the morning here, because everything feels very staged and repetitive. I'm excited to be able to meet real people that I can care for and love. It's not going to be easy, but it will be worth it. 

This week's devotional speaker was Elder Richard J. Maynes, of the Presidency of the 70. He gave a great talk about the worth of one soul. One young man he baptized on his mission, served a mission and had a family. It turned out, that this young man and his posterity, ended up baptizing over 400 people, and more than that in baptisms for the dead. That's a great example of how missionary work blesses lives. I'm excited to begin my own personal journey down this path. 

My President told me that; yes I will go to the temple in Manila, and yes I can call you in the airport. When would you rather, sometime in the 3:00 PM - 7:35 PM in the Salt Lake airport, or the time in Las Vegas airport?

Thank you all for your prayers, I feel the blessings every day!
Mahal kita, 
Elder Potter.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

MTC week 4 - He knows each of us.

To answer your questions;
I leave September 7th, if everything works out like it should. There is an Elder here who's passport got lost, so he's been here for almost 8 weeks now...
I have heard I can call you from the airport, and yes I would need a minute card. I'm sure me and my district will figure it out when the time comes.
No, I stayed with the same kasama (companion, literally = one who goes with) 
No, me and Elder Copeland are the only ones in our district going to Olongapo, but everyone else is still in Luzon, the main island of the Philippines. 
I just got a hair cut today, it's free for missionaries at the MTC
Yes, I will spend 5 day's in the Manila MTC, mostly for Visa purposes. Hopefully though, we can go to the Manila Temple while we are there. 

That's awesome to hear about Football, that all seems so far away now! It's good that they both are working out, fitness is important throughout life.  Weird to think that life is going on without me. 
My teachers told me that the word of wisdom is a really big deal in the Philippines, people will smoke and drink for social aspects, medical, and they start at a really young age. It will be a big deal for most people, but I know the blessings of Heaven are upon those who can break that habit.
Time Management is a chapter in the Preach My Gospel for a reason, I have a hard time fitting in all the studying that I have to do. That's more impressive to me, when people can realize that even the good things they are doing could be replaced with better things. "Good, Better, Best; Never let it rest, till your good is your better, and your better is your best." What a great goal! Maybe you should have a Family Home Evening and everyone could discuss things they wanted to improve, so you all could help strengthen each other in those goals. 

This week I have learned that God knows each and every single one of us. He is omnipotent and all powerful, with the love of a Father to his children. His hand IS in our lives EVERY day. We can see and know that, if we will just look for it. We had a great devotional this week from one of the 70. He shared the Investigator's point of view on Missionaries. He said; "SEE that ye serve with ALL of your heart ( your desires), ALL of your might ( your talents and skills), ALL of your mind ( your imagination and intelligence), and ALL of your strength (your physical abilities). As you do this, Investigators will see your passion for this gospel, and want to know more." Our teachers have said that we could get baptisms in the Philippines simply because we are white. They love white people, and seek their attention, and will agree to be baptized just because we asked. But it is more important for them to gain a testimony, and know why they are being baptized. Many people will be baptized, and then stop going to church. They don't full

y understand the plan. We, as members of the Church, who all know and understand the plan, should always strive to attend church, and constantly set our goal on the Temple. As we go to the temple, we show that we are worthy to be saints of Jesus Christ, and also can gain a better understanding of the Lord's will for us. The temple should always be our end goal, and we should attend regularly. 

I love you all, and miss you. I hope you will keep writing me!
Mahal kita,
Elder Potter

Friday, August 19, 2016

MTC week 3 - Pride

This week we had transfers, and I was expecting to be made a district or zone leader... Instead, the Elder who was struggling the most with the mission it seemed, was made District leader. I had a really hard time accepting that, because I thought I could do a better job than he would. But in a really emotional testimony meeting we had as a district I was able to realize that if I wanted to become the best missionary I could be, I needed to accept God's will for me. Then, after I shared that, our Zone leader (the old district leader) took me aside and told me that he looked up to me as a leader in the mission, and even though I wasn't given a leadership position, I could still be a leader. That helped me a lot. I was struggling with my pride, and couldn't understand why God wouldn't choose me. 
We watched a video from a general conference talk, about a bush. The bush had grown big and tall, and was happy with that. But then the gardener came and cut the bush down, very small. The bush cried out; "How could you? I was so strong, and so big, and so happy! Why would you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here?" The gardener then said; "I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. And someday, you will thank me for cutting you down so low."
Hopefully I have a handle on my pride know, and I can wait until the day when I will look back and say; "thank you for cutting me down, and making me into who I am today." 
Today at the temple, I went with a question; "What can I do to better be as thy Hands and do thy will?" The answer came as I sat in the Celestial room, and picked up the Bible. The book mark was stuck to Isaac's story, when Abraham was about to sacrifice him. In the Chapter summary, it says; "Both father and son yield to the will of God." Hopefully I won't have to make as great a sacrifice as Abraham or Isaac in order to do God's will, but I know that in order to do what God wants me to do, some sacrifices need to be made. Like leaving my family for two years, and going to the Philippines. I don't know if or what the Lord may ask of me, but I hope that I will be ready when that time comes. 
I got Cadet Dunn's letter, and the package! It was awesome! But I haven't gotten my patriarchal blessing yet, so I think it's been lost. I'll see if I can get it printed off here, but I don't know how to go about that. I am just excited for it so that I can try and become the man described in it! 
I've seen Elder Rigby, Elder Gatherum, and I saw Quincy Adams once! I hardly recognized him, but he stopped me at lunch and we talked for a second. 
I've gotten pretty used to the schedule here, classes and white shirts. Tagalog is still slowly coming, but I can say almost any sentence in Taglish if I can think about it for a couple of minutes! Not near good enough yet, but hopefully I can get there. Oh and don't ever feel like you are sending too many DearElders! I love to get them, and know that someone is thinking of me!
I love you, and miss you! 
Elder Potter

Thursday, August 11, 2016

MTC week 2

It's so good to hear about home and every thing that is going on. It's hard to know that you all were so close, at Hannah's wedding. I hope you know I pray for you all every night, to be watched over and protected. I saw Seleck, and we got a picture on his Ipad but haven't gotten it yet. I'm glad to hear life is going on as normal, I almost miss the thought of school. 

Thank you for your example of diligence in reading the Aklat ni Mormon, I have been so busy studying different things that I have gotten off of my regular reading schedule. I will have to improve that. 

Me and Elder Copland get along well, we have a few differences that we settle quickly. Mostly because I want to go and do everything; choir, study, get mail with the District Leader, and he would rather stay in the residency and read. But we get permission to go on splits with other Elders with similar desires. 

The language is coming dahan-dahan (slowly) but surely. I know enough to say most things in Tagalog, but sentence structure and verb conjugation are difficult still. For example...
Patay = kill
Patayin = to kill
Pinatay = killed
Pinapatay = killing 
Papatayin = will kill
Pinatay ng mga tao ang JesusChristo 
Killed by the people was Jesus Christ
But if you said...
Pinatay and mga tao ng JesusChristo
Killed was the people by Jesus Christ
You can see how ang and ng have become nightmares for many missionaries. ]
I have learned that true Christlike pag-ibig (love as a noun) is essential to missionary work. We where practicing teaching to one of the Sister teachers who had bothered me all day. I don't know what it was but something about her bothered me... I was unable to feel ang Espiritu Santo, so I nagdasal (prayed) to be forgiven of my anger. I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling of love and pride in this Sister, and after reading in the scriptures, was able to share a message with her. She later told me, in Tagalog, that my words where similar to those in her patriarchal blessing.

On Tuesdays we have guest speakers come in and have a devotional with us. Last weeks was Elder Holand's son, and this week was Elder Anderson! He bore such a powerful testimony of Jesus Christ, and his power. I felt the Espiritu Santo so powerfully, it was incredible. He talked about how we would have 'joyous reunions in heaven' and I felt Grandpa Bill near at that moment. I know that he is watching over us, and protecting us. 

I am still waiting for the letter from Cadet Dunn, and my patriarchal blessing. If you could get those to me fast that would be awesome, I really want to read both of them. Other than that, I love getting Dear Elders, letters, and packages. It's just something that brightens my day knowing you are thinking of me. But you have everyone's emails, so if they want me to email them back they will have to either email me or send me their email in the Dear Elder. 

Mamal kito ( love for you )
Elder Potter

Thursday, August 4, 2016

MTC week 1

Hello Mom! 
My first week in the MTC! It was crazy! We were thrown into teaching on our second day here. Which would have been hard enough, if it wasn't in Tagalog!! The hardest part of teaching someone in a different language, is not really knowing what questions they have, or how to answer them. We teach one of the other Tagalog teachers here at the MTC, but we call him Romel. He only speaks to us in Tagalog, unless there is a word he knows that we don't know or can't find in our dictionaries.
Kasama ko ( my companion) is Elder Copland. He is 19, and lives in Missouri. He was really good at football and baseball until he broke his ankle, twice! He is a pretty goofy guy, (somewhere between Anthon and Chad), but he has a great understanding of how people are feeling and can really connect with almost anyone, which are very important attributes for a missionary to have. 
Yes, I have gotten all the Dear Elders, my shoes, Candy from Grandma, and the drawings from the Champneys! 
Sundays at the MTC are amazing, we start early with zone Sacrament meeting in Taglish ( Tagalog and English), and have all our other meetings as a district. The zone is basically everyone speaking Tagalog, and next week our zone will be over 100 missionaries. My district is 10 missionaries who all live next to each other. We are classmates, and have grown to be close friends.We are zone 16, district J. 
Elder Temple is our district leader, and he is amazing. A great example of leadership and calm in this stressful time. He is from Texas, and super into fitness. His kasama is Elder McFadden. He is from Snow Canyon, and is a cowboy/drama&choir kid. His knowledge of the gospel and ability to pick up the language is crazy. Elder Iabeta (i think) is from Kirabiti, a small island east of the Philippines by like 200 miles. He is a great example of strength and faith, as he is learning two languages; English and Tagalog, and has a hard time understanding our culture. His kasama, Elder Tanner, is smart and patient, but also laid back and fun to be around. He and Iabeta are struggling to understand each other, not so much the language but each others personalities. Me and my kasama have our hands full trying to listen to both sides of the argument. He is from Utah, but I can't remember where. Elder Brockbank, is from Utah also, shorter, and he thinks he's very funny. Very competitive; he challenged Temple to Basketball (bad idea) and when I beat him at chess he was shocked. He has nicknames for everyone, he calls me different names from the Harry Potter books. Severus is his favorite. His kasama, Elder Rogers is from Utah, and he has a twin in our zone. They look so much a like, it's crazy hard to tell them apart. Both are quiet, but smart. My roommates are Elder Black and Elder Hamilton. Black is short and funny, from Kodiak Alaska. Hamilton is 6' 7", quiet and annoyed by most of us, from Richfield or Parowan, I can't remember. 
Tuesday was hard for me, The devotional we had reminded me a lot about you, and then I got you Dear Elder after that. It was rough. but then a scripture in D&C 68 ( Hindi ko alam which verse ) that really helped me. I know that I am where I'm supposed to be, and that this is what I need to be doing. 
We have ( on a normal day) 2 three hour blocks of class, and one three hour block of PCL. Personal, Companion, and Language study. 
Will you please also send my patriarchal blessing to me? It's in that little green dresser, in the envelope I got it in. 
I love you all, and miss you so much. I've got to run to get my clothes dried, before my machine gets stolen. The gospel is true, I know that. Jesus loves us all. 

With Love,
Elder Potter.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

MTC day 2

Hey, Thursdays will be our P-day, but we don't really get one this first week because we are running to and from meetings all the time. I just wanted to take this time and talk to you real fast. I knew I was forgetting something, and realized today that I'm missing my exercise shoes. If you could get those sent to me somehow that would be awesome! This isn't really supposed to be a long letter, just a quick thing, but I promise I'll write you more on Thursday, a longer letter. I love you all and love it here, it's very majbuti. Magandang amanga, write you soon. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

1st Email - 45 minutes after we dropped him off!

What a crazy way to start off my stay here. I haven't even unpacked yet, I've just been run from building to building. I got my tag, but it just has "Elder Potter" on it, no Tagalog yet. My teacher, however, will only speak Tagalog to me, so going through the online assessment was a little confusing. I'm headed back to class right after this, and don't want to be late. I love you all so much, let everyone know they can email me as much as they want to, I will talk to you again soon. I don't know my P Day yet, but I'm sure I will soon. Love you all,