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.