Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Mom,

They do the plastic so they don't have to wash the plates, just throw the plastic away and put a new one on! It helps make sure they don't run out of plates during fiesta!

This week was good, just like every other week!... No super awesome miracles, except we did get 17 New Investigators this week, which is a new record for me! 

That thing you posted makes me so happy and sad at the same time! I wish I could be there... Cookies, turkey steaks, cheesy potatoes, sounds soooo good right now... But I also know this is were I need to be. I hope that I can be the man the Lord needs me to be here!

Congratulations on your promotion at work! That's awesome! What does that really mean, what is your real work now?

I'm excited to see my new car 😎😂 just kidding! Haha!

That sounds like an awesome game for Sydni! Haha, but I'm sorry she got hit!

Crazy to think about Tyson starting in basketball... He's going to be a Senior now, huh? I feel so old...

A new suit? That's awesome! I never thought about it, but he does only have that one old one, doesn't he... Cool!

Ahhh! I miss the little kids so much! Will they be there when we get to call home?

Next Monday is our call day. We are still trying to find a place with web cameras... But I will do my best to be online at 9 here, about 7 in the evening at home I think. If you can just be ready by then, I'll do whatever I need to to get it to work!

Thank you so much for everything! I love you, and miss home! Can't wait to call!

Elder Kobe Potter

Fiesta! - May

Mom,

My week was good! Long, hot, tiring, a little disappointing, but good!
     Our average temperature here this last couple of weeks is about 40 degrees Celsius... Which comes out to about 110 degrees Fahrenheit! Add that to constant humidity that we have here, about 80% or up, and walking around for a minimum of 7 hours a day adds up to a whole lot of fun! A really good sun tan, tired legs, thirsty, and sometimes a little chaffing... But it is fun, and do it for the Lord!
     A little disappointing, because only 1 of the 3 or 4 investigators that we hoped for came to church this week... Coming to church is one of the requirements here for baptism, it has to be 4 weeks, with only a couple of absences allowed. It's a really big part of conversion too, but it's also kind of against Filipino culture. The people here think that it is enough to just stay at home and pray, and that God will understand that they are too busy, or don't have enough money to come to church... That's part of our struggle here! Love it!

This week we did have a really special experience though. We were walking back to the Church, for a meeting, coming from a far area, and trying to decide if we wanted to spend the money to ride a trike, or just walk instead. It had been a pretty rough day; hot and dry, we were punted from all our new investigator's return appointments... While we were walking to the trike waiting shed, a little ways down the road, a man walked up and said that if we were walking to town he would walk with us, so we could all go together. As we starting walking with him, and talking to him, an amazing thing happened. We found out that this Brother had been searching for the truth about religion for a long time. He told us that right now he didn't have a church, because all the other ones he had been too "just didn't feel right", but that we was hoping to try Born Again next. We asked if he had tried our church, and he admitted that he knew very little about the church. As we walked into town, we had the great opportunity to share with him a short message about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and answer some of the questions that he had for us. He was very excited, seemed to be really interested. While we could not return to his home, (he is living on a private factory as a security guard), he did promise to come to church as soon as his schedule allowed. I know that God is preparing people to be placed in our lives, and that blessings come after the trial of our faith! 

Training is going good, Elder Olsen is awesome! We just study a lot in the mornings, because it's cooler, so we can live inside. When it's this hot, it's way better to be out in the wind than inside. Even though it's protected from the sun, the heat seeps in through the concrete...

Last night I just had "Pusit", or Squid! It was something I've always wanted to try since I've seen it here. It's not bad, a really salty flavor. But super chewy, like clams but doubled.

I have no idea what to do for my birthday... We will still have to work and everything... Maybe I will get some cake and ice cream and we will have a little missionary party at the house, haha! Grandma told me she had you put money on my card, so I will go get it tomorrow.  Thank you for the package, I will be looking for it!

Nathan Wallace... That's cool, a Paris France mission... I can't imagine what the work is like there...  I haven't been talking to them as much as I should... I will reach out to them again later!

Thank you Mom! I hasn't been easy, but you all have been a really big inspiration and support for me! I love you all! 

We have a lunch appointment right now (because it is fiesta!), but I will be back to finish up my email time later!

Love you tons! Miss you! 

Spring Break - April

Mom,

My week was good! But it is getting SUPER hot here...

One of my miracles that I saw this week, was we were able to reach 6 New Investigators this week. We only really had like 3 real working days (E. Olsen got sick, and we had meetings), so our stats were supposed to be really low. But with Elder Olsen's confidence, and a lot of hard work, we got 6! 6 is the most that I have gotten in one week so far, so we tied with my personal best. Pretty crazy!

Elder Olsen is doing great, other than the sickness. He just has a little skin condition, and a cough left. He has got me on this diet, so we can try and loose the "rice fat" I heard you and his Mom are now friends on Facebook?

Crazy to think about Spring Break... Time has gone so fast! I hope Easter was fun, and that St. George was good, I wish I could have gone, haha! Summer is right around the corner, do you have any senior trip plans?

The members here try and tell me about how good the Jazz is doing this year, but I don't know enough about the NBA to really be interested... Haha!

I'm glad your lesson in Relief Society went good. I also had to teach in Elder's Quorum, and was only asked to prepare a lesson right after sacrament!  I'm glad so much good is going on at home, and hope and pray for all of you!


Love you all! Miss you! 

Elder Kobe PotterSS

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter

Mom,

Happy Easter too! Crazy to think!

I did just get a package, and love my Hawaiian Shirt! It is super awesome! And all the stuff from Bailey was great!

This transfer, I stayed in Cabcaben. But I got a new companion. I mean really new, because I am training a new Missionary. His name is Elder Olsen, from Victor Idaho. He is super awesome, and has been really prepared for his mission. His mom is actually Filipino, so is way ahead on the language and culture than I was when I first got here. He is a little sick right now, but other than that he is doing great!

This week, I saw a miracle in becoming way more confident in my finding. I used to be really shy, and didn't really want to talk to anyone else. But after an interview with President Dahle, and he mentioned that I looked more confident, later on it was super easy to reach out to people. It might not be much, but that was something that helped me this week.

It did rain yesterday, which was weird because we are still supposed to be in the middle of the dry season... But it was good, it let Elder Olsen sleep a little better while he had a fever.

This Easter week is called "Holy Week" here in the Philippines. It involves a whole lot of Catholic extremism, that was very interesting... I couldn't help but think that you all would be down at the Condo, finding Easter Eggs and swimming! I miss everyone! Have fun at Bryce Canyon, take pictures for me!

I just got released as District Leader, so I could focus on being a Trainer, but I will try and tell you what I learned. 
In the Preach My Gospel Manual, it has an awesome quote; 

“I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work! If a missionary works, he will get the Spirit; if he gets the Spirit, he will teach by the Spirit; and if he teaches by the Spirit, he will touch the hearts of the people and he will be happy. There will be no homesickness, no worrying about families, for all time and talents and interests are centered on the work of the ministry. Work, work, work—there is no satisfactory substitute, especially in missionary work.” – PRESIDENT EZRA TAFT BENSON 

I know that this is a little bit specific towards Misisonary work, but I think it also applies to normal jobs too. There is no satisfactory substitute for real, hard work. I've also heard the quote, "The sled dogs love the harness." Most dogs would cringe and complain if made to wear a harness, and pull a load. But the sled dog has found joy in the work, and found a way to be happy. That was the hardest thing for me at the beginning of the mission, finding joy in the work. I was just here to get it over with, I lacked energy and enthusiasm. Like some of your workers, I was just there to "get it over with". They need money, I needed to serve a mission. I didn't need to like it...
But, as time went bye, I found that if you do have fun, if you can find the joy in the work, it makes it a lot easier to go through. I makes the day's go faster, and the hard things become a little easier. I don't know how to help your other nurses see that, but I hope this helps a little.

Love you all! Miss you! 

Elder Kobe Potter

April 9

Mom,

My week was great, just another day in Paradise!

Conference was good, we got to watch in our church here. We didn't get to finish though... The USB wasn't working like it should have. Halfway through the Sunday Afternoon session, it quit working. But I got them all downloaded on my MP3 Player, so I can listen to them now!

Yes, putting the money on the card will be the easiest thing, and I can just withdraw it on our Support Day.

I heard, that's crazy! That's where Carsen wanted to go, right? Awesome!

Exciting with the car, can't wait to hear more!

Congratulations with your lesson! Here we have to teach Gospel Essential Classes, if our Investigators come to church... 

I can't believe it's Easter either, and there are supposed to be some interesting traditions here... Someone told me that people actually Crucify themselves here... We'll see if those are any true.

It has been ridiculously hot here, with the high at 90 and the low at 70 everyday. It's dry season, so we get very little rain, just a whole lot of sun... But my tan has gotten really good! Haha!

This area is really good! But, the members are a little distant from missionary work. Even though there are about 140 members every week, our new Branch President says that 'He cant find a good BML'... But we are trying our best! We should be having a baptism this week! 

Transfer day is on Wednesday, so I will let you know next week what happened! 

Great job with the Family Scripture Study! It takes about 21 days to make a habit, but 66 to make sure its not going to go away! That's about two months of the same routine.

Love you all! Thank you! 

Elder Kobe Potter

April

Mom,
My week was good, time has been flying here! We had a Zone Conference, and I got to see my Trainer, Elder Sudweeks again! He is training, so I have a "Brother" in the mission! Haha! 
As for the shoes, I bought a pair of tennis shoes here last week or so. But, they are about to fall apart already... I guess I'm a little to rough on the Filipino quality of stuff... They might last me another week or two before I wear a hole out the bottom rubber part.
Engaged!? Holy cow... That's crazy! I feel like we are way to young to be doing stuff like that...
I'm super excited for Carsen to get his mission call! We just had a Sister here get her mission call, to the San Pablo mission here in the Philippines. She is super excited, and said that she would like to try and work with us sometimes, to practice her teaching. Fun!!
Haha, 5-buck! What I would give for a good pizza... They have pizza here, but it's not very good. Their cheese is fake, and their sauce is really plain. And they only put a little bit of meat on it...
We haven't had conference yet, we do it this Sunday, so we can download it in Tagalog if they want... But I'm super excited! To think that I have been here for two conferences... Crazy!
It's weird to even think that we have cars... Only like, super rich people here have cars, people who work abroad, or out of the Philippines, and send money home. That's awesome, I want pictures when you get the new one!
Sydni told me that you would be coaching, that's awesome! Good luck, I know you will all do great! You can ask Dad for all his advice on yelling at people and good workouts! 😉😂
I love you all too! This week has been awesome! Miss you!
Elder Kobe Potter

March 26

Mom,
Woohoo! How exciting about Carsen's papers! That's crazy! Did you get that big map out again?
This week I had an email from 17 people. I know that I don't have to answer every one, but I like to try my best to get to every body. I can imagine how hard it is to write and not hear anything back.
This week has been good, but I always feel like we should be doing more. Miracles...
Last week on P-day we had a miracle. Right after emailing, Elder Boota told me that he had gotten an email from a bunch of his friends and family. He told me that he hasn't gotten a single email in the whole time that he has been here, on the mission. He said that he prayed super hard, that he would get an email. If he didn't get an email, he was going to stop writing home... When he was done, he had 15 emails, and one person even stayed up till midnight(Kirabati time) to chat with him.
Another Miracle, is the awesome number of referrals we have been getting. Even though the majority of them go to the other Elders here, we still have gotten a lot of referrals this past week. Referrals are the number one, almost guaranteed to get baptized convert in missionary work. Some one told me that the statistics is; Missionary found, 1 in about 30 will be baptized here. If Referral, 1 in about 10 will be baptized. That's 3 times a better chance! The only problem now is trying to track everybody down, in a place without real addresses... The addresses here are very vague. For example; "The house under the mango tree, with a dog, down the street from the shop". Which would be great, if there wasn't a shop on every street, and a dog at every other house...

Elder Palacio, the Fillipino Elder who was my housemate last transfer, says that he is in the Utah Provo West Stake right now.
Crazy how much is happening back home! Time has gone bye super fast! Still seems like forever though... I'm excited for the packages, I will let you know right away! Love you!

Elder Kobe Potter

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The ocean!


March 12

Google says that this is the adress right in front of the street that leads into our house. We live down the street, to the left. The owner of the land, has two houses that they rent out here.
Pinag-apugan St
Mariveles, Bataan
14.458701, 120.594773

Yes, he was transferred last Wednesday, his replacement is Elder McKammerman. He is from Kerns, Utah. Weird to me that Yingling would be super allergic to seafood, but live so close to the ocean his whole life...

Sister Pangilinan, is a little crazy... You can always tell her to stop, haha, but the missionaries there probably appreciate the help! Jasmine was my first baptism here, so their family is a little special to me, even thought Sister never would come to church for us...

Cabcaben is a good area, very big. No bikes, but they do have a lot more jeepnies and trikes than San Juan did. But the investigators here are a little lacking... In our lists, it says there are 15 Investigators who have accepted a BGD, but its going to be more like 3... We only have the one investigator who will come to church, the others are busy or can't/won't pay the travel fee.

The food here is mostly the same, hopefully I will be able to have some more seafood here though. We are so close to the ocean, and the 2nd Councilor is a fisherman. The kind who goes diving with a wooden-spear gun. Cool! We ate at his house, giant shrimps in a vinegary sauce. Really good! 

When we get really tired, me and Elder Boota go to the pier and talk. He was basically raised in the sea, and knows everything about it. He talks about the tides, the wind. He knows where there will be fish, the seasons of the month when the jellyfish will be close to the shore, and what days are best for fishing. He told me right before he came to the mission, they spent 3 days strait at sea. Just a small, wooden boat, maybe 10 feet long and 4 feet wide. Said it was the best time of his life. He is the only member, the oldest of five. He has 7 Older adopted siblings though, and one of them served a mission. 
We will baptize at the church, unless the investigator really wants it to be in the ocean. 

His name sounds familiar... Butuan is down on one of the other islands, he might have to learn two languages for his call. Here on Luzon, the main language is Tagalog, but on the other islands they have their own languages.

That's awesome, Carsen deserves it! Congratulations to the both of you for making it through wrestling! 

Love you, miss everyone!

Elder Potter

March 5 Transfer!

I got transferred to Cabcaban. It is the 2nd to furthest south area in the entire mission! We got here by bus, three buses actually. It took about 6 hours all in all, without stopping to eat or anything. Our house is really close to the ocean, but our area is a little farther away. We actually went and cleaned up the beach as a service project this last week, with all the youth. Really dirty here...

My companion is Elder Boota, he is from Kiribati. He is really cool, and fun to be around. He has only been in the mission for 3 months, so his Tagalog is not very good yet. He is the only member in his family, but his 4 younger siblings are investigators right now, and one of his adopted brothers served a mission in Australia.

The house is different too; two stories! I will try and take pictures this week. We have two Filipino companions in the house, Elder Aquino (really cool, older than me in the mission) and Elder Lavantes (i think that's how you spell it, he's only been here for 3 months too). 

I have also been called as District Leader here in the Cabcaben district... Woohoo... Its just a lot of statistics, and calling the district to make sure everything is alright with their companionship. The other two companionships I have in my District are both training, and Elder Wilcox is on his last transfer. Every time I call him, he likes to remind me " 5 weeks na lang!" or " Just 5 weeks!"

Prom? Seems so weird to me that it's time for Prom... That means the school year is beginning to wrap up! Crazy, crazy, crazy...
Sydni needs glasses? I've been thinking about getting a pair here, but we are just busy all the time, I never have. 
Border League... It feels like I was just playing border league basketball a month or two ago. I remember we had to do a ladder in 13 seconds, and if we didn't make it in time we would have to go again until we did. Chad was on the team, and would run into the walls because he was running so hard!
Who bought that land behind the house again? Is it still the same people, or is someone else going to move in?

Love you too! Miss everyone more and more every day! 
Elder Kobe Potter

February 28

Yes transfers this week! I can't wait either! 😉😂 I will let you know as soon as possible.

Elder Spring was sick with Denge; as mosquito borne disease that makes your blood really thin and gives you a really wierd rash. Dangerous, because if you get cut you might bleed out...
Elder Kalo had some interesting sores under his armpit... Yum... He took some anti-biotics and they went away in 3 days. 
I have a little cough and runny nose that I don't think will ever go away...
But every one has been getting better, healthy for the new transfer!

Elder Palacio, our house-mate and District Leader, has finally recieved his Visa. He has really been called to serve in THE UTAH PROVO MISSION, but as been serving here while waiting on his Visa. He will probably leave on the 8th of March, and then be serving there! I know it's super small chances that he meets any of the family in their wards... But if they do, I would ask you all to help him, and talk to him! He's super excited, but a little scared too. 

Yes, Sister Pangilinan! She is funny, two of her children are members, and she is now taking the discussions. Hopefully she will progress well! No, the shoe store that I thought they had in the mall here closed or something... I can't find any were that I can trust that the shoes aren't fake...

Congratulations on your calling! Exciting! Another cousin! Wow! The Mellings, Lee, and Spencer! That's a lot of little babies that I won't get to know for a while...

This week has been good, busy with Elder Palacio running around getting his papers taken care of. All the members keep asking us who is going to leave, and where we are going, they want to write and get letters from everyone who is leaving. It's funny to me, they will go through so many missionaries in their life, why would they want a letter from us?...

Our investigators here have been progressing, but slowly. We are especially having a hard time getting people to church... Hopefully we can be more effective with our time this week, and help them to feel the spirit more powerfully.

Love you all, miss you! 



Elder Kobe Potter

February 19



Happy Anniversary! Crazy! 

We talked about Pioneers this week too, during Elders Quarom. They all just wanted me to tell stories about Utah, and about the Pioneers that I know in my family. While that was fun, and we plan on showing 17 Miracles later this week to the youth, we tried to change the topic back to them, how they really are Pioneers here in the Philippines. They don't even have a real chapel yet, they are just renting a building and lot... Crazy to think about. Makes me really grateful for the Pioneers that sacrificed so much so that the Church has progressed so much, that we have so many blessings back at home. 

That's really cool! Yeah, find out where she is from in the Philippines, that's really fun! One thing my teacher in the MTC said is; "The number one export from the Philippines is Filipinos". That's super true, people here want super bad to go to other countries... The money transfer here is really low, and so if they get jobs in other places of the world, and send even a little money home, it helps a lot. A normal meal here might cost about 30 pesos, which is less than 1 dollar ( about 47 pesos). 

No, I didn't get the new shoes, I forgot to bring the personal money that I withdrew... Later today I hope to go look, and see if they have anything my size. 

Yes, our baptism is still scheduled for March 3, but Transfer day is March 1. I'm a little nervous, and also excited. I would be fine staying, or going. I love this place, and want to see the progression here, but I've been in this house for over 6 months now... That's a really long time for this mission, we usually get transferred about now. 

I think with the Temple back at home going up, it's a great time to talk to Grandma about it. As we teach the Plan of Salvation, we try and keep it very simple for investigators. But as we re-teach Recent Converts, we make sure to emphasize the doctrine of Missionary work in the Spirit world. It is a motivating factor for temple attendance, family history, and mission work. I think that with some prayerful preparation, Grandma will definitely be ready for that. I would hope to be there when it happens... But I also don't think it can wait!

I know you will get a calling soon! Our Relief Society and Primary were re-arraigned this week, and our Branch President didn't tell any of the 1st or 2nd councilors that they were going to have callings. As they stood up with surprised and confused looks on their faces, our President talked about the importance of callings and service in the church. I thought that was a little odd... Another thing I am grateful for in Utah, the Bishop will probably let you know before you get a calling!

This week has been slow, we have been dealing with a lot of sickness in the house. Because of that, and the situation with us being so far away from the area, we haven't been able to work as much as we needed to... Hopefully this last week of the transfer we can refocus and devote our time for fully to the Lord. 

Thank you for all the love and support! Love you all, miss you! 

Elder Kobe Potter

February 12

Mom,

I just checked earlier today, and was just under 190 #. That's about 5 pounds less than I was when I entered the MTC. But I'm afraid I've put on a lot of fat here, rice is really fattening I've found out... And I don't like working out without shoes, and we didn't have time to go find new ones today. 

We got the package from Aunt Tammy just this last week. It was awesome thank you so much! My Filipino house-mate was a little shocked and amazed by Styrofoam packing peanuts. 

No baptisms this week... The next closest scheduled ones are for March 5, but it might have to be moved back...

What are the names of the people who have friend requested you? The youth love Facebook here, and creepily stalk me when I tell them I have one...

I heard about basketball and wrestling. How exciting! Super fun for State Basketball, and I told Carsen that he is the only person I know who can say he was in the top 10 wrestlers in his state. Even though he didn't get a medal, we all know how much work and effort he put into it. A medal is to show other people your good. All of us already know.

I get Chaz's weekly letter, he sounds like he is doing great. Shared a letter in French last week, and whatever little French I used to know is completely gone... I can only think in two languages at a time I guess!

I hope it is a good quality hammock... There are a lot of people who will try and rip me off just because I'm "American and Rich". But I am excited for it, hehe.

I did not hear anything about an earthquake, we don't get to listen to the News or TV... Where was it at?

Sorry I'm so late this week, we spent all morning in the Hospital. Elder Spring has Denge... Fun!

Love you too! Miss everyone! Take care!

Elder Potter

Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 8

I just got a package. It was the one that had socks, stuff from Ms. Truman and the Hunts. I didn't see a flash drive in that one, was there supposed to be? I haven't gotten Tammy's package yet, but I'm sure it's on it's way!

Our investigator, did make it! The family, well; Brother is working in Manila, and Sister took the kids to Santa Cruz for a family reunion. Then she got sick, so they couldn't make it back in time. We will probably visit tomorrow. 

My testimony of Joseph Smith and the Restoration... It's such a simple doctrine. We believe that God is our Heavenly Father. He loves us so much. He gives us prophets to teach us how to be able to return to live with him and our families forever. Jesus Christ is one of our prophets, and he suffered and died for our sins. That brought about the Great Apostasy. But because God does not change, he called another Prophet. A young boy, had a desire to know the truth. He did what we all can do, ask God through prayer. And God answered him, just as he will answer us. The Book of Mormon testifies that Joseph Smith is a Prophet. The Spirit that can be felt at the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints testifies of it. The Holy Ghost testifies of it every time we pray with a real intent and true heart. I know that he was the Prophet of the Restoration. He, and the pioneers, suffered so much in order to establish Truth again on the Planet. No unhallowed hand can stop the work. It rings true with every living thing. I know it is true.

I'm glad everything went good! Say hello to Laith for me too! Love you all! Miss everyone! 

Elder Potter

January 1 2017

New Years here, they make as much noise a possible up till Midnight, then everyone eats at 2. As missionaries, we had a curfew at dark. So we sat out on the front porch and watched. People took the mufflers off their already trashy motorcycles and drove around, dragged pieces of metal, and blared their speakers. Anything to be loud. Then, at Midnight, some cheap fireworks, (technically illegal here), and one more round of noise. Then everyone brought us food, because we couldn't leave the house.

Our investigator family did great! They, and the young man were baptized on the 28th, I'll try and send the pictures! ( The internet is terrible today) 

The best thing that happened this week... Probably our branch Christmas Party! It was so fun to see everyone get together and just have fun. Sometimes i get really stressed out, and it was nice to relax a little bit. 

Thank you for always worrying about me. I know that I'm where I should be, but I still am just having a hard time "enjoying the work", and being motivated. Thank you for the advice and encouragement! That always does help me. I talked to Elder Sudweeks (my District Leader), and President Dahle in our transfer interview. Elder Sudweeks told me just to wait untill Elder Jumagdao leaves, that our chemistry doesn't work very well right now. President Dahle told me that sometimes we need to accept some of our other feelings, and use them to help us reflect on what we can change and do better. An interesting combination of advice... but I'm trying to do the best I can. 

I will pray for you! Fun stuff, jobs. Not looking forward to big decisions like that when I get back... Because I'm going on 6 months now! Wohoo! Crazy!

I'm also glad that you can be doing missionary work at home too! Sometimes I feel guilty that I never did much missionary work at home, and now ask for help from the members here... but it's such a different culture here. Missionaries are very close to the branch.

Thank you, I love you too! Miss everyone! 

Elder Kobe Potter

Dec 26th Christmas!




We had some blueberry muffins! Went to church, and then we had a Christmas lunch at Nanay Ebyang's house. We came home, exchanged some gifts, and then went out to work. 

December 18

Our Zone Christmas party is on the 22nd, and I have no idea what the plan is for that... But I'm excited! The senior couples have told me that I have THREE PACKAGES waiting for me!! Woohoo! I'll get them on tomorrow.

For Christmas day, our plans are go to church, and then we will have dinner at Nanay Ebyang's house. She is an older Sister, about 75, and the mother of the Branch President. (She reminds me a lot of Grandma Laurie) She lives alone, but loves having the missionaries over. She has a lot of kids in America who send her American things! Weird to see the things she has that I forgot about...

On the 26, we will get to Skype. Elder Sudweeks says you should try and be ready by 4 on the 25 there, and we will try and start around that time. If you are ready by then, we can find a computer for that time. I have no idea how to Skype though... I need to make one here, and have Carsen figure it out there! 

Me and Elder Jumagdao... Rarely laugh. If we do, it's because he is showing people his magic tricks (instead of teaching...) I laugh at Nanay Ebyang's bad English jokes. "Who was the only prophet to enter the MTC? Moses! (empty sea)" And me and Elder Sudweeks laugh, we joke about the things we see, and what happened through out the day. Me and Elder Jumagdao have a hard time really communicating... I like that he tries to be funny with the members, and that he tries really hard in English. 

Miracles... I don't know. I can't recognize any miracles in my life right now. I'm sure they are there, but I can't really see them.  Maybe that I can understand most Tagalog, so long as they talk about Church stuff. I can't recognize words about fishing and other stuff like that.

In San Juan, there are a lot of different jobs. Nanay Ebyang grows Nata de Coco, which is a healthy bacteria. Weird, but actually really good. She's trying to go international, and have her children sell it in other countries. Some people will work at her factory. Some people are teachers, trike and jeepnee drivers, construction workers, and police. But often, families send out children and fathers to work in the big Cities, to send money home to the little kids and mothers.

I think the residents will like that too! Here, when they go caroling, it's more like Halloween, and they want money or candy in return. As missionaries, we are not really allowed to give things away. People will join the Church just because one American Elder gives them a little money every day. So we just have to tell them we don't have anything, and then they don't visit our house anymore. They sing some English Christmas songs, but mostly just the one Tagalog Song talking about how grateful they are for the things you are about to give them.



I love you too, and miss everyone so much! 

December 11

Our week was good, with no change at the Transfer. Hopefully me and Elder Jumagdao can get a long a little better, my first companionship with a Tagalog speaker has been a little rough... But I think we have worked out some of our differences, and hopefully we can move forwards and focus on the work here.

Our P-days typically consist of just shopping and email, we have to go out of our area to find a real grocery store. I wanted to go to a small zoo they have in San Juan, but everyone else said it wasn't really that cool, and was expensive... Maybe I can convince them to go on a hike this next week, there is a massive tree on a hill between San Juan and Taugtog that I've wanted to visit ever since I've gotten here.

The package I got last week was the one with the Santa Hat and pajamas in it, and then I got an other one with the cans of soup in it. Thank you so much for them! It makes me so happy to get a package! I will probably never wear the pajama pants because it's so hot, but I love them anyways! Christmas!!

The garments are doing okay, I ordered some new tops that got here two weeks ago, just to try a different style. I found that I really do like the round neck ones... 

Our investigators... are few. The family Baptism that we were supposed to have this last week fell through, the Brother relapsed into a drinking addiction. But he has really repented, and hopefully he and his wife will be worthy enough to be baptized on the 30th, and confirmed on the 31st, and start a new year, and a new life! We also have a teen-age boy getting ready to be baptized, hopefully he will continue to be consistent, and be baptized this weekend. 

Elder Sudweeks is still here, and so is Elder Palacio. Because Elder Palacio is just waiting on his visa, they can't leave him in an area to lead it, because he might leave any week and then the new Elder wouldn't know the area yet. So Elder Sudweeks will have to stay at least one transfer longer than Elder Palacio is here. The same way, I will have to stay in San Juan for at least one more transfer after Elder Jumagdao leaves, in order to show my new companion the area. 

I always love hearing from home, and what everyone is up to. Thank you for sharing that experience with me, the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation is vital to our happiness in this life. We attended a funeral service here just last night, for the sister of Nanay Kastro in Taugtog. It was an interesting experience, the non-member side of the family smoking, gambling, and morning, while the LDS side singing and smiling. 

This week, we got to watch the Christmas Devotional from the First Presidency. What a powerful experience. President Eyerings talk on peace was huge for me. I've been having a really hard time finding motivation to work this week. It's hard, when I have a Filipino companion, they only talk to him, expect him to translate what I say, even if I said it right, and just laugh at me because I'm white. It's hard to want to go out and do that every day... But I know that the reason I'm here, is because Jesus and Heavenly Father love me, and because I love them, I'm willing to follow their commandments. One of their commandments is to go out and share the gospel, so that all of their other children that they love can keep their commandments and return to live with them. Because of that, I'm willing to endure the hardships of the mission, and try and do my best.

A story from this week... actually this week has been pretty boring. It's hard to remember what has happened, the day all seem the same. I will try and get a really good story to tell next week though!

For Christmas, we will Skype on the 26th here, anytime from 10-5 I think... Christmas day there, evening. They are being really vague about it, I'll try and figure out more.

Thank you again, love you so much! Miss you!

Elder Kobe Potter