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