Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January 25

"It is not fair that you (America) enjoy a good life while our brothers in Gaza endure the worst standard of living. Therefore, God willing, our attacks against you will continue as long as you maintain your support to Israel."
-Osama Bin Laden

I'm begining to see why people think religion ruins the world. I opened the internet and this popped up on yahoo.ph.com and I couldn't help but read the article..apparently Bin Ladens at it again? What a joke. It's interesting to see how the envy of someone makes them want to terrorize and kill. I've read some of the Quoran, I've studied Islam, I've read what Mohammad has written, and I still don't understand how these people can be consistant in what they believe and do the things they do, it's agrivating and pathetic. I just hope to God nothing will happen to any of my loved ones. But at the same time I see this wrapping things up in a sense. It's recorded in the scriptures that before the end of the world, the Abomination of Desolation will take place, which is really just Jerusalem being destroyed completely, if my knowledge of the end of the world is right...I could be very wrong..at anyrate it's evident, there are signs, and there are idiots like Osama to be blunt. I don't really fill like talking about this so I will change the subject.

I have to confess something to you Mom...Last email you said "I am proud of you even when he frustrated you beside tearing up doorknobs you maintained yourself."
That however proved otherwise Friday night. I finally lost my patience with Casuga.
It was Friday night, he had 2 days left, and I told him. "Elder Casuga make sure you go the the Family Home Evening tonight, it's important. You set the appointment and the Relief Society(the group of woman in the church after you're married you join it) is there to, if you don't show it will look VERY BAD. That's the only thing you have to do okay? I even texted the person he was working with twice and told him 6:00 DON'T BE LATE! So JayJay and I went working, and we had appointments until 6:15. During the lesson we got a text from the RS and they said "Where are you, your late" So then we texted Casuga...Where are you? and he replied "Aalis Kami alas 7" We'll leave at 7.---

that's when I was pissed, I came home and saw him washing his clothes and hadn't worked ALL DAY. Just sat in the house and made a member sit with him too. So I lost it completely. I said a few words I shouldn't have said, I yelled, and scared at him beyond belief. I slammed doors, I told him he was NEVER A MISSIONARY, and I should take him to Alaminos so he can go home. I asked him why he was here, he replied to preach the gospel and I said "BUT YOU DOn'T TEACH! YOU JUST WASTE TIME"---the most amazing thing out of this all or I suppose the thing I realized is how "gone" he really is. The whole time I yelled at him the only emotion I saw was FEAR. That's it. I didn't see sadness I didn't see regret I didn't see anything, just FEAR. Even Animals fear when they see me. After everything was done, after I yelled at him...nothing changed, no emotion. What happened later is I couldn't stand it I went to the church and called President to vent. To which is reply was something like this "Elder, I wish I was there Yelling at him with you! We knew this would probably happen, of course we were hoping it didn't but it did, if you're looking at me to yell at you or tell you you did something wrong, you're looking for the wrong guy, if I was in your shoes I'd a probably hit em" Of course this made me feel good to have president on my back, but I still feel bad for yelling at him. President sent the AP's to our house, E. Park and I went to a Cafe, had ice cream and just had fun and hung out till I calmed down. E. Gaerlan (other AP) and E. Casuga were at home and I believe Gaerlan gave him a talking to, because every time Gaerlan was a District Leader, Zone Leader, and AP he has had to talk and deal with Casuga. At anyrate I tell you this story to tell you that your son failed. I still haven't completely conquered my anger, but it's helping honestly I've changed so much I'm more patient but I'm not perfect and it sucks, but that's life I suppose.

Right now I'm companions with E. Cabatuando, the ZL from Lipa, he's my buddy so we get a long well. Transfer day is on Friday and I know that I'll have an amazing companion.

So I suppose I'll tell you about teaching. I've been becoming friends with an less active member named Walley who is the husband of the Primary President (Class for Kids) and I've been teaching him and teaching him. She always laments to me about the condition of her marriage and how the church makes him mad. He would even slam the door or turn of the CD player when there is church music. So I sat down with him and taught a lesson about miracles. We read from the Book of Mormon in Ether Chapter 12. I explained that Miracles only come when one shows enough faith, and God can only make miracles happen if people have faith. I then asked him if he wanted to see a miracle? he of course said yes. I then said Okay but I need your help walley. I said here is your miracle and read Ether 12:11 outloud
11 Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. But in the gift of his Son hath God prepared a more excellent way; and it is by faith that it hath been fulfilled.

I said if you want to see a miracle in your life, heres how. The more excellent way or Mabuting Paradaan---Walley, if you go back to church,if you love your wife, if you read the scriptures,and do the things you know you should do, I promise you that your life, marriage ,and family will change. that will be your miracle..
We talked more and he opened up about his problem which is the problem with everyone. He's afraid because he's done something and doesn't feel he belongs in church he doens't want to repent because he's prideful---is what he said. I replied by opening the 9th chapterof Luke verse 62
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

or in other words, yeah we all screw up. I'm by no means perfect, I yell, I get angry, I soldomley swear, I'm an ungrateful son, I still battle with sin, I judge people,I'm prideful, I've done stupid things in my life. but If we contiually look back at the stupid things we've done...how on earth do we ever move forward. I like to use this scripture because people are very familiar with Calabao's or water buffalos and I ask if the farmer keeps looking behind himself where will the water buffalo go? Siempre! he'll go off course.

So I suppose my lesson today for you all is. Yeah we've messed up, yeah we all have guilt and regret. but to quote my mtc teacher bro. LEslie. "That's the cool thing about repentance"--It works. If you honestly want to get rid of guilt and sadness of the stuff you've done it's easy.... repent. Tell God what you've done and try your hardest to NEVER do it again and when you do, KEEP TRYING.

at anyrate I don't want to preach to you, I do that enough every day, I want to tell you Mom, Curt, Dad, Jessica, Tiffany, Zach, Nanay, Papa, and whoever else reads these crazy letters that I love you and care for you.. I don't act like it all the time, sometimes I say rude things in my letters, sometimes before my mission I'm sure I offended you. But please listen to my words in this next line.

In the last 6 months there hasn't been a day where I haven't thought of you, each and every one of you. There hasn't been a prayer were I havent pleaded with God to protect you and bless and thank him for you. Theres been many times where my body physically ached because of the seperation between us, yeah emails are nice, letters are cool, packages are amazing, but it doesn't compare seeing you, hugging you, having a conversation---and that will be the burden I will carry for the next 18 months as a disciple of our Lord and Savior. and I am honored to wear my nametag each and everyday.

Know that I love you and think the world of you, you don't compare to anyone or anything, and it would be a shame if I didn't tell you that in every email so please forgive me for not doing that.

With all my love, support, bad humor, and prayers

Your Son,


Monday, January 18, 2010

January 18, 2010


I received some good emails this week and took a lot of time to read them so I suppose this letter maybe a little short if it is I apoligize but I'm sure you'll forgive me, last weeks letter I really put my heart and soul into it and if you didn't get anything out of it--- well that's a shame.

At anyrate, I've calm down a bit and I took your advice Mom, I decided to "Breathe" I also took the advice of Craig Steele, without knowing it. Wednesday, Elder Casuga got into our first argument--I can't explain how GREAT it felt. Now I know that contention is wrong and I shouldn't delight in yelling at him and telling him he's not a missionary but that's what took place---and it actually helped! This week I had to have two serious conversations. One was with Casuga, I layed out the knew rules told him what he will do or he'll go home, and it seems our whole companionship has change...I attribute that to prayer and fasting, I've fasted 2 or 3 times for Casuga and prayed many times. The tender mercies of the Lord is now all around me and in my companionship, we are becoming friends it's great. And there are no more locked doors! but that is on account of me breaking off the door handles, so I will have to buy some new ones next week sorry-- So everything is good with me and Casuga and the work is moving! I love this work.

The second serious discussion I had to have was with a ward missionary of ours, he is from a different ward, but worked with us almost everyday---I won't lie the kid was a little strange, but I loved and enjoyed him nonetheless. So news came from my AP's and Zone Leaders that he's "Bawal" or forbidden to work with--because awhile ago I guess he stole from Missionaries and some other charges of who knows what. So following the council of my leaders, I sat him down and told him. I thought it was odd that he always told me not to tell the Darasa Missionaries (Where he's from) that I was working with him, I suppose I didn't take much thought. But I told him the knews, I told him that they said I can't work with you and that I don't really know the reason but I'm going to follow their council. Well after I had said that--lies filled his mouth, and he spit out his venomous lies to me, I really tried to stay patient he used almost every excuse he could think of and then even asked me if he could work today with me. I replied I'm sorry I said no. and Let me tell you something--you and I both know why your bawal--So save the crap don't lie to me--Huwag Kang Magsinugaling talaga--alam mo iyen--I told him if he wanted to work with us he should take his problem to our mission pres. and ask him and if allows it then I will work with them, but don't lie to me you and I know the truth cut the crap. I noticed from his frantic excuses how pathetic and lonely a liar really looks. When we justify and make excuses and try to lie our way out of things our emotions really show on our faces. It was interesting, I've noticed a change in myself, I was very patient with him and I felt bad for him---I told him that I enjoyed working with him, but from my point of view what is better...listening to the Council of the Lord and his annointed or lie to them and work with you...my backs against a wall so thank you for your work but it's overnow. I suppose I had an effect on him, he came back that night around 9:30 and apologized for lying and said his goodbyes, so I suppose I will never see him again. So is the life in missionary work.

I'm glad to hear you are enjoying those missionary get togethers, they sound like a lot of fun! and If I can remember well which I think I do, Sister Steele is a great cook--but Chili? That's wack! She didn't even feed you Indonesian food tsk tsk tsk! I'm sure I will cook Filipino food when I get home it's getting easier and easier to cook, and I absolutely love it! Something I developed a taste for I never thought I would was Sardines, Dried Fish, and 2 day old rice.--yeah what is happening to me,
I'm so excited for Zach to start Varsity, I'm a bit afraid I'll have to come home and live next to this monster who I used to tease when we were growing up--aisha! Maybe I won't come home for sake of my life.

I'm sorry for taking so much $ out this week, E. Casuga ran out of $ and I've been having to pay for everything--I'm really trying not to rob you all--sorry.

update I'm not going to send Christmas presents home, yeah I bought them but it's honestly waaaay to expensive to send them and they aren't that great next year na lang!

Regarding Rasa,
It was really interesting to hear about this, and knowing a few friends of mine and their opinion they really won't care, I had the very same concious at first, but then I really began to think about it. I was never really close to her, I still talked to her in classes and knew her from school but we were only really aquantinces, but when I was reflecting this week after the member you texted showed me the news, it brought the words of the english poet John Donne to my mind:
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
I felt bad for the way I had thought, and althought I wasn't close, I still feel bad for the family and her in general 19 years is merely a scratch on the surface of life. So I hope and pray for her family and for all those around the world who have to deal with the fatal tragedy of life, which is death, but I believe that is not merely the end. God did not create us to perish that is not his design--but that's a whole nother letter and a nother time. I love you all very much and you wouldn't believe the joy I've found out here. So remember my beloved family

never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee

With all my love, support, bad humor, insecurity, lack of understanding, pride, and prejudice

Elder Gonzalez

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

January 11, 2010

Ang Minamahal Kong Pamilya,

I believe I understand how you feel about house work mom, this week has been beyond challenging and I'll tell you why, so it seems E. Casuga is done working, 2 times this week he hasn't left the house before 2:00pm, teaches quick lessons only 8 minutes long and we wasted a total of 6 hours waiting for him so that he could find a member to work with him while JayJay and I worked in another area. and if I don't clean the house it won't be done, he didn't even have weekly planning with me this week and planned 1 day our numbers are 28 last week and 35 lessons this week because Jayjay and I have been teaching 7-10 lessons as a day and he pulls a measly 2-4...so today it changes I've been patient, loving, and understanding...so the gloves come off today. Jayjay(ward mission leader) and I are speaking to him tonight about his accountability in this work and if he does not labor dilligently the blood of these people will come upon him and he will not stand blameless before God at the last day he will come forth in the ressurection with stand garments because of his laziness. I'm taking the action of becoming Senior Companion and there are new rules in our companionship---We have companionship study everyday at 8:30-9:30, we leave the house at 8am do not return until 8pm, we are not returning home for lunch so that we can sleep we will eat outside on the street and only for 30min not the normal 1hour, we will only have splits on saturday and sunday, we will not hang out with the missionaries on tuesday after district meeting, and we are no longer having P-days we will go to work on monday at 10pm after we email and shop for 2 hours. If he does not want to work with JayJay and I...He has two options, he will go stay at the bishops house or umiwi maaga (Go Home Early) I have patience for him I truly do, but it irks me when he wastes time here in the mission field, it's not his time it's the Lords--if you don't want to work go home. So that is my mentalility from now on, I gave him the privelage of working with other members...but he's not pulling his wait, I gave him the privelage of sleeping in but now he doesn't plan--like I said before the gloves come off and so there are new rules. I talked to my AP's and they just said---you have immunity with planning he's got 2 weeks just deal with it, Pres and Us have great trust in you you can do it. I believe that if you're not a missionary you shouldn't be in the missionfield something my mtc teacher inspired me with, so I'm going to teach him in his last 13 days what it means to be a missionary, how it feels to be rejected hour after hour, how it feels to work 12 hour days only to do it the next day.

But I am so glad for the opportunity honestly, I pray everynight and thank the Lord for this trial it's such a great learning opportunity I also pray for E. Casuga everynight and I get to learn about myself and change myself-- I'm now waking up almost everyday at 4:30-5:30 and studying language reading and filling my mind with crazy ideas of life and it's people. I'm so pleased to hear about you all---

Tiffany: the N means Neutral meaning the car will roll down hill next time don't crawl under it haha ;) But I'm happy your going to China that will be such a great experience and ASU should be so much fun
Jessica: So good to hear that you're still working hard
Zach: BE CAREFUL ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET, I always made it appoint to wear a helmet when I skated, wala akong pakialam--I don't care if it's cool or not--your head will enable you to skate/board/shred longer do the important thing
Mom: Relax! Don't go overload try and see the goodside of things! :)
Curt: Keep working hard! :) I'm glad to hear your still doing well and happy

Tell the steeles, I'm sorry for not responding to their email I've been rather busy I hope they understand but I love them very much and hope Brett is safe!!! I haven't heard much more about his problems hope he is still ahead in the mission and happy--he inspired me while I was in the MTC for that I am greatful!

I'm happy here and the work of the Lord continually moves forward, whether we work or not. I'm so thankful for all those who email and I will eventually email you back please forgive me if I've been short with you or haven't even emailed you...be patient ;) that's what I tell my self everyday!

THANKS FOR THE BOXES! she loved her gift...but now she's ashamed because she thinks it's too nice so that's why she doesn't talk much when you text her, she's shy ahah she's great!

Something I realized this week, through personal experience, a talk, and a scriptures. According to Luke, Christ said nearly 2000 years ago "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it." I've come to know that this little confusing parable is true---whosoever lives unto himself only and only cares about his desires doesn't progress at all. I know that a man must live with principals to be happy, a man must live with tesimony alone, a man if he has faith has to carry the burden alone, like christ when he pleaded with the father in the Garden of Gethsamene, before he took the lonely and long road to Golgotha with a cross on his shoulder. If a man lives to himself alone and doesn't reach out and help others or is interested in others, if a man only thinks of himself first, if a man never learns to love his brethren.... he has noone to blame but himself and he is miserable as hell, excuse me but I believe it. I have come to know who I am through others, I have come to know what's important in this life in the service of my fellow man, I've sweated, bled, and cried here for my fellowman...but not for my glory or reward--but for the sweet companionship of the Holy Ghost and for the world to be brought to the Truth of the only true and living God, who is full of grace and truth to who I owe everything, and I consider it an honor to bow my knees each morning and night and for my tongue to confess that Jesus is the Christ to all those I have the privelage of teaching.

I seem to have gotten carried away in thought, I don't apologize for that I truly believe every word I have typed. To those who read my letters, my family, my friends, my internet stalkers, my beloved brothers and sisters of the world, I wish to convey one message to you all. The love you feel in your family is eternal, theres a reason why we are so close to them and why we hurt when they hurt, cry when they cry, and mourn when they mourn. I consider it blasphemy before God when men speak the words "Till Death Do Us Part"---There is a plan given us and there are Eternal Ordinances admistered in the Holy Temples of God by those who have authority to seal familes together forever, to take upon covenants to love and cherish your family, to stop at nothing to protect and care for your family but my one plead is that you do not have to believe me, I'm just a 20 year old who knows nothing about the world or it's people, for all you know I could have never read a page of the bible, for all you know I could be laying in Boracay right now sipping on a Mango smoothy and not laboring among the people of the philipines, for all I know all the "Spiritual Experiences" I've had could be fake , for all you know I could be making EVERYTHING up...And that's a valid thought--here is a question...What if I am right? What If everything I spoke and declared is true---families can be sealed together, Christ Lives and died for us to enable us to return to the heavenly courts of our Eternal God, what if there is so much more happiness, peace, and understanding that you are now missing because you do not know where to find it...

Here is my plead, pray about everything I have talked about, pray and ask for yourself to God if he does exist, ask if what I've said is right, ask if there is something you should do more for your family or your self--it's really not that difficult it may take 5 or 10 minutes and if you find the joy that I have you'd be beyond greatful.. So that is my plea, that is my challenge if you sincerely pray and ask if what this crazy derranged 20 year old confesses everyday in this foreingh land he inhabits is true, if you ask why there are 53,000 20 year olds a year living in almost every country in the world, struggling through languages to teach on simple truth---God lives and he doesn't change and he still calls prophets today because he loves you just as much as he did in the time of Noah, Ezekiel, Moses, Paul, and Daniel---Ask him if what I have said is true...and I promise you on my honor, my life, my soul, all that I possess and will possess in this world, that you will recieve an answer if you have a sincere in heart. There is no Logic, Bible Debating, Secret Answers, Science, Payment, or Suscription, I firmly believe and delcare that Salvation is found and obtained when one goes before the feet of the Almighty in might supplication and Prayer, I can't give it to you, I can only point you in one direction and you must walk the lonely path of Faith by yourself.

Your Eternal Son and Friend,

Elder Gonzalez

Monday, January 4, 2010

January 4, 2010


This week has been quite an interesting one, I couldn't help but notice the grief and sorrow that were in your last letters mom, Don't worry I'm fine I'm going through quite a refining process right now and it's good for me...I'd really wouldn't have it any other way. It's good to hear from Nana and Papa and I'll try to return their email after I right this one, I have a feeling it will be another rant letter, but I'm happy and joyful. To cheer up some misconceptions---I'm not senior companion (I feel like it though) --especially this week.

So I'll start Wed. We went to District Meeting and came home around 1:30-Elder Casuga wanted to sleep so I said fine you can sleep for 20 min I'll wake you up because we have an appointment at 2:00 with Jimmy. (Really awesome guy and is excited about us teaching him) So I was reading a book and then lost track of time so it was 1:50 and ran upstairs woke up Elder and told him we had to go because the house is 10-15 minutes away walking/jeepney, to which he replied hindi, hintay natin sila--or in english no were waiting for them..I asked who? and he said we were going to wait for the ward missionaries to get her at 2:30--to which I said no we are not we have to go the appointment is at 2:00 comeon elder get dressed. okay okay he replied and went into the other room. I went down stairs and waited with jay-Jay a member who's also the Ward Mission Leader (He served a mission in Mindanao) 20 minutes pass and I walked upstairs and to my surprise the door was locked...(I was fearing this was the case because after it was announced Elder Casuga's was going to be my companion... his last companion Elder Brag and Elder Bondoc told me he would probably do this) I knocked on the door and said elder "tara huli na tayo" which is lets go were now late. and there was no reply. I went back downstairs--I'll be honest I was getting extremely angry but the book I was just reading had a quote from U.S.S Grant from the Civil war that said something to the fact of this "No one can humiliate me or disturb me...I won't let him" So I continued to be peaceful and prayed for strength---30minutes pass and I was at the bottom of the stairs saying ELDER! Your called to SERVE NOT TO SLEEP. Anyways he finally came downstairs at 2:30--everyone was waiting for him and we finally left the house at 3:00 because he moped around. I was angry but I didn't show it--Me and Jay Jay went on a split him and I were both upset because one I have to really step it up and Jay Jay hates to see lazy missionaries. Then the next day happened this one is funnier.
We have weekly planning on the 31st and everything is fine, we decide to go to 3 appointments to Loida(we are suppose to give her a baptismal goal date, Don(we're just working out some things to get him baptized, then S. Donna( she cooked lunch for me because I've been working with her husband who stopped going to church) so it turns 1:45 and we're getting ready to leave and my companion says "We're going to Don first, then donna then Loida...to which I said...can you explain to me why? we have an appointment at 2:00 she won't be home at 4:00 and if she is she'll be mad we are late 2 hours.
Elder C. replies: well she lives in san roque and don in san Pedro it's a waste of "energy" and I said I don't care about energy it's appointments that's how we work--then he ignored me and bowed his head and started praying for us before we left and I interrupted him in his prayer and said "please help me understand the logic behind punting our investigators who are close to baptism?"--he then replied in illakono or tagalog I didn't understand and I said unfortunately "You're so lucky I am patient with you" we finally left the house and I was silent trying to control my anger--then on the way to Don's house I said this little spill to him "let me tell you one thing E. Casuga--I don't care if your my senior companion, my district leader, my zone leader, or junior companion---You will never disrespect me like you did yesterday and earlier today---you're called of God as am I--you're a missionary start acting like it you have 4 weeks left" to which he said "yeah okay" this made me even more mad however I swallowed my pride and just kept my cool and sung a hymn and kept repeating the quote from Uss grant in my head ha-ha. I'm going to be honest I wanted to hit him in the face...but did I? No. I wanted to shout and yell...but did I? No. I wanted to take him to the mission home and tell him to go home...but did I? No. Because I was afraid? Not at all. Because I was shy? Not at all. I've gained a new perspective on human relation and people in general--I see no reason in getting angry anymore--because you lose the spirit when you're angry and if you don't have the spirit you shouldn't teach.

^^Doesn't sound much like your son does it? Oh there's more!

So the last few days have just been complete silence in the house--he doesn't talk to me, and he avoids me now--whenever I go downstairs he goes up, or if I go into our study room he goes into the bedroom and locks the door. We don't have companionship study and I plan with jay jay because he's been working with me almost every day so I don't have to work with Casuga.--It's as if he has lost all desire to be a missionary because he goes home on Jan. 24. Does it make me sick? Absolutely. Is it hard? Absolutely. But I'm trying to fix it...Last Sunday was fast Sunday and as members of this church we believe that if we fast or not drink food or water for 24 hours and pray and study the scriptures the Lord is pleased and it's a great way to get answers for prayers.---So I prayed so that my pride would be killed, I'd be more patient, and I'd learn to love Casuga. and Suprisely our relationship is getting better I speak to him and make jokes and just be me, he however sometimes speaks sometimes ignores me as usually but that's life. I'm trying not to be biased in this story--because I can't stand biased testimonies--but I honestly cannot think of what I did to make him change.

I talked to one of our Assistance-Elder Cheney he went to church in Tanauan and we share a building with them so I was lamenting to him about my situation and asking his input to which he replied. "Yeah President has had trouble with him, it seems every time he's transferred we have trouble placing him, until we were all sitting around "working the board" and we were deciding who could stand Casuga for his last transfer and deal with the problems, and make it a good last transfer for him, and we all decide you would be best--so I mean you were "chosen"

I may seem down or upset or lamenting to you all, however I'm glad I'm experiencing this. Do I feel defeated? Yes. Do I feel angry? Somewhat. Do I feel like I could raise hell and make him change? Of course I could...but what does criticism do? It would just lead him to justify his actions and then be offended. I realized that dealing with people they are not logical creatures, but emotional and all throughout history whenever some is corrected--they justify or say "I don't know how I could do it any other way" and perhaps that's what I'm doing by saying "I've done nothing wrong"---

But I'm happy this experience is quite funny I've learned to laugh things off and my angry is cooling off, it's his last 20 days I have no desire to complain to president or my district leader--of course I'll tell him in my interview but that's on the 19th and I knew this coming in, So I am fine. The members are more excited than I am to see him leave...I have to hear about it almost every time at church---what's wrong with your companion, he did this this and this...and blah blah blah--but I'm getting so close to these people here I absolutely love them and I have so much fun at church with everyone.

Other than that I'm happy here, I'm learning not to stress or worry everything is really in God's hand and I'm very happy, I'm still finding out who I am and who I should be, but I've realized it's smarter to take one day at a time, instead of worrying about if I didn't work that hard yesterday or if I wasn't obedient.--so last letter was upset because I was full of worry and mad, but now all my troubles have gone everything is clear ha-ha if that makes sense.

In other news, the work is slowing down a bit here, probably because my companionship is weak, but I'm learning a ton from Jay Jay and I work hard everyday...I'm making friendships that will last a lifetime, I think I've grown closer to you guys the longer I've been out here because I realized how important you all are and how much you've helped me so much. I'm coming up on my 6th month? that's ridiculous! I'm forgetting some of the faces of people, I think it would be weird to be able to drive and to sleep into till 2:00am ha-ha.

New Years was so great! we went to Lipa with the Zone Leaders and watched the fireworks...The Philippines is CRAZY during new years-they start at 10pm with fireworks and don't end until 1:30am--At 12:00 My Zone leaders Elder Nuezca and Cabatuando and Casuga and I went out into the street outside their house, which is the highway (if you can call it that) and the sky was lit up with fireworks and I felt as if I was in a war with all the explosions and colors--we even had to dodge some of the falling debris it was such a good experience we then had lunch at nanay Bello's house the day after--our recent convert who was catholic for 55 years. we ate laughed and enjoyed the new year.

I'm so excited for what this next year has to offer and I'm excited for you..tiff will go to China, Zach another year of high school, Jessy still working hard I'm sure, and I'm sure Mom will find a new hobby to become obsessed with, while I find out who I am and become closer to the Lord.

I love you all so much and am honored to be a part of our family,

You're Eternal Friend and Son,