I cannot tell how amazing this week has been. Even though the Bagiuo season has started (Hurricane), now I am wet all the time, all is well. I took a lot of money out this week because when the first bagiuo hit it knocked out the power for a few days and there was no atm working near me, go figure! And our house flooded a bit but it's all well, our landlord is way nice and said she would take care of it, I think she came in and fixed our leaks however I'm not sure I'll have to ask. So, Elder Painagan was transferred this week. In all honestly I am happy, it was a bit of a challenge because he is a new member of the church and getting him to work was hard sometimes, however we had a great companionship, bonded well, and I tried to teach him all I could. Now I am officially a New Father. Don't worry I have no illegitamate child, but I am training now. Thats the mission lingo atleast I have my first Anak (Trainee) Elder Dioso, from Caguayan De Oro (A beautiful Island town in Mindanao that sits on 2 volcanoes). We've been together now for about 4 days now, and I absolutely love it and love him! He's way hardworking, humble, and easy to teach. I'm also begining to see the fruits of our labors here in Calaca. Besides the Branch being AMAZING! We have a ton of investigators we are teaching. Funny story, yesterday we had an appointment with a really interested family, it was raining hard but we still worked in the rain! haha it was fun we got totally soaked, my planner got destroyed however its okay! New transfer! new planner yeah! So the family we are teaching live in a Bukid (rice farm) and they are a little mahirap (poor), so I told them last time that we were going to watch a DVD so they agreed to borrow a DVD player from there neighbor. I found out they went to Manila to borrow a DVD player. As soon as I saw it on the floor I said...."uhhh, we will be right back! I promise!" and then my companion said "We are we goin?" And I said we are going for a jog! and my companion and I ran back to our apartment, I suppose it would be a funny sight to see a huge american in a necktie polo, and a bag jogging through the Municipial and Town square in the middle of a hurricane. So we ran back and forth in about 10 minutes, it's about 1/2 mile away, and as we get there we say! Now we're gonna watch this awesome movie! and they were like yeah! I'm so excited ! but....
earlier our Dog entered the house and chewed the CD drive so it's broken now.
I said to my companion "Did you hear that.....it's broken! and then we started laughing hard for about 5 minutes. Despite our defeat the lesson we taught about Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the Gospel was filled with the spirit of God, I couldn't have asked for a better lesson, they were quiet and I really felt the spirit as we taught them words of truth and eternal life. I love my new companion, and we are getting along great. He's speaks Visayan so we both aren't too amazing at tagalog, but I'm grateful now we have alot of time to study so hopefully I'll be a tagalog pro by the time our times over. I cannot believe it's been a year, I hit it this Thursday. and i've already arrange alittle party, haha Elder Centeno(my old companion from Sto. Tomas) and I are going on a split in Calaca, and we invited the Couple Missionaries Elder/Sister Messamer to work with us on Thursday, so it will be great and hopefully they will treat us for lunch when we tell them it's our year mark hey ho! In all seriousness, wow 1 year. It's too fast! I still don't know what I'm doing! I feel I'm just begining to learn how to teach and be a missionary and now I am half way done...what a shame! I'm begining to feel how Jacob did when he said "and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream,"This time I've had here has been more than I could ask for, the growth and miraculous that I've experiences are beyond price or value. If I were sent home tomorrow, I would be extremely depressed but at the same time so grateful for the things I've learned here. I love my mission, the wonderful people here I am called to serve, all my companions (yeah even the one with Autism), I love my family, my mission president, the way the Lord uses me as a tool and works through me, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I cannot explain the love and strength I receive from on high everyday. The good news about the Gospel and this life is that we are expected to fail. We are expected to feel inadequate, so that we may be humbled and call upon him who is so good. But I promise you, and I know this to be true, because I've experienced this in my own life, if we put our trust in him, do his will, admit to ourselves we aren't as great as we think we are, try our hardest each day, continually try and improve ourselves, it happens. God is so good! I know at times I sound like a broken record and perhaps you have no idea what I'm talking about, of course not! you'll have to figure it out on your own, you have to try it out for yourself, all the success i've had here, is because people were willing to change. As a missionary I help people recieve the Gospel by giving them a good example and teaching in a way that the spirit can be conveyed to them and they make the changes in their lives. I think we all have some changes to do, especially me! So family, heres my homework for you this week, take some time out of the week, sit down and think about all the affairs and relationships in your life, Think about what you can do to improve yourself to be better, to be a better son, mother, father,sister, brother, employee, etc. Think about if you've caused anyone pain in the last week, by an unkind deed, or something dumb that you said. Then make a goal, start small say I will stop doing this. and work your goal! If you want to quit cigerettes start small. 3 a day for 1 week, then 2, then 1. If you want to start going to the gym, say I will go to the gym 3 times a week and If I don't go 3 times a week, I don't get to use facebook this week. and when you fail, because I know you will...you start again. You get back up, repent, and start again. Let us continually try and be better. I read something from Aristotle while on my mission he said "Don't listen to men who tell you to think mortal thoughts, to do mortal things, but let us strain every nerve we have to put on immortality" This is what I've lived by for the last 7 months, trying to put on immortality, trying to be the best I possible can be, even when I'm tired, defeated, sad, 7,000miles away from home, and lonely. Don't think I am lecturing you or thinking that I know more, I know that you Mom and Dad have so much more experience and knowledge than me, but this is what I'm focusing on. I've been finding out how to really have a happy life. I've learned to be patient with myself, strive to be humble and teachable, and love the Lord. I cannot tell you how much I love you and care for you all, the prayers I've said for you are innumerable, my heart is still torn in pieces, but the Lord is filling the holes and keeping me busy over here. and thats my advice for you always, stay busy, work work work that is the secret! Start a new hobby, volunteer, fill your days with activities that are rewarding and give back, how I regret all the hours I spent wasting away in front of a TV and playing video games. I know this 2nd year will go by even faster, and before you know it will be in Mindoro at Puerto Galleria chilling on the beach. Just know that I am so grateful for you and love you all.