Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sick with LBM?

Hey Guys!

This week was alright! I was actually sick Monday to Thursday with LBM. I'll let you guys look that one up ;) Anyways work wasn't the best this week, but at the same time it was, haha. I'll explain!

So on Tuesday I got really sick. It actually started the night before but it pretty much went on Tuesday too. We left late so we only had time to contact someone we had an appointment with that was an hour away from where we lived, and she couldn't see us at that time. BUT! On our way there we met this awesome Sister who used to be a member. She was a stake missionary and worked with the missionaries as a translator. Her english is the best I have heard any Filipino speak. We plan on getting to her next week because this week she is out of town, but she is way nice. We just found her on the street on the way to our appointment. It was soooooo cool! She's really nice. After that we did a bit of magfinding! We didn't have a whole lot of success but we went back to this one house that we went to before, they were too busy to hear our message before though. Anyways we shared with them the plan of salvation because Brothers baby died when he was an infant. What's really kool about this is there were quite a few people there. So we spent time getting to know some of them and while Elder Nye was speaking to the Father, I was speaking to this older woman. And guess what? I found out that she has a sister whose Mormon! What's even cooler is she lives in MONTREAL! So if you ever see Sister Rodolf, please tell her we are teaching her sister! :) She seemed interested and wanted us to come back, we did but she hasn't been there.... We plan on going back tomorrow night! Anyways that was it for Tuesday!

Wednesday we had splits because Elder Nye is district leader. So I worked with Elder Cardova, from Bacolad. He doesn't speak any english and he doesn't slow down when he speaks Tagalog. Haha! I think the language is coming along pretty well because we didn't have any problems. We taught a few lessons that day. There was one in particular I really enjoyed. I contacted these two ladies on the street, one of them said "Sure, come in". So we went through this gate to her house and we're greeted by like 20 people! Haha! So I taught the lesson and everyone seemed really interested and loved us. They asked when we would come back. And I did with Elder Nye on Friday, but I'll get there later. Later on we taught a new investigator named Randy, whose kool, He wants to know about why we're here, and what's our purpose on earth, so we're teaching him the Plan of Salvation.

Thursday. Still being sick, we got out late that day again. I was still working with Elder Cardova. We went finding for a while, found some people who were interested and heard a small message from us. We taught Melanie, the woman who read up to 2 Nephi. She wanted to know what she should do because she feels bad when she smokes, and drinks. We taught her about repentance, because she was pretty much asking how. When she asked me, I kind of asked her that question. I love doing that! People ask "what should I do?" After that I usually ask them, "Well what do you think you should do." They always give a good answer too :) It was a good lesson, I never taught that one before. I love teaching Melanie she's doing great, she's even marking her Book of Mormon now. She highlighted verses she likes and verses she has questions about. She's doing GREAT! Anyways then we taught one of our old investigators for an hour and 20 minutes only to find out that she wasn't interested. Later on there was a huge ulan! So we also had to go home early because the appointments we had were all outside kind of.... So yea, probably one of the worst days of my mission...LBM is not good! I hated getting out late those three days....

Friday Elder Nye came back and Elder Cardova went back to his area. We went finding on Friday, and taught that big family again. This time there were even more people listening. There were actually tons.... We taught them, they said they loved us and told us we're sooo real and stuff. It was nice to hear. They also asked me how many years I had been in the Philippines. I told them I was only there for 2 months and they were really surprised! Haha. I have been hearing that a lot more lately. I don't think I'm fluent in Tagalog yet though. I have a goal to be fully fluent by the end of next transfer though. :) After that we did more finding. Then Elder Nye and I both felt that we should go to visit Sister Canada, even though we didn't really know why. We got there and she was telling us about how her daughter left Thursday and didn't call or anything and didn't come back, so she said she was tired because she didn't get any sleep or anything the night before and she was worried. She was actually crying. It was sad. I gave her a blessing of comfort which was just so good. I said it in Tagalog too. It was good. She thanked us. We have a FHE night with her on Friday.

Saturday. Another good day. We taught Theresa, she said she might be leaving this week. It's not for sure. We gave her the invitation to come to church. Then we taught Melanie and Pacita (she's always been there, doesn't participate as much as Melanie, but progressing.) about faith which went great. We invited them to church too. Then we taught that large group that we first contacted on Wednesday. I brought a bag of Book of Mormons and as soon as I opened my bag everyone crowded around and wanted one. We gave away 9 after that lesson. Of course we invited them to church. Oh and all of those lessons we set up family home evening nights, so we have one every night this week from Tuesday to Friday. I'm really excited for all of them! We have one with Juliet and her family and another family that is friends with her family! GREAT!

Sunday came along. Reminded a few people about church, like Melanie, Pacita and Theresa. Theresa came with us which was great! We got one investigator to church, But she might be leaving. So this is the best part of the week for sure. We're sitting down in sacrament, and then 4 investigators from that big group came. It was so amazing. So this week we had 5 investigators at sacrament! I was soooo happy! So was the ward. Brother Yang got really excited. He said it's been a while since so many investigators were there. That same day, Elder Nye finally organized the date for our fireside for giving away a Book of Mormon. It's going to be on June 12th. We're going to teach 3 wards how to give away a Book of Mormon. And why it's important and stuff. Then right before we left the Bishop stopped us and asked us if we could give a talk this week in sacrament. So we are! Exciting! It's on missionary work of course. I'm going to be the closing speaker too. I have to figure out which part about missionary work I'm going to be doing too. It should go well!

Anyways there was more on Sunday, but I don't really have time to write everything. There's so much I dont have time to write! haha!

Anyways I'm doing great! Crazy busy! No longer sick!

I'm so happy. I really am! I love being on my mission! We bought Dorian, which is a fruit that is really expensive. I'll take a picture of it. It's really kool! I gotta get off the comp now! I hope everyone is doing great! Thanks for everything guys! I love you!

Elder Chris Gagnon

Monday, May 16, 2011

I Love Being On a Mission!

Kamusta pamilya!

This week was the best and the worst...haha! It was really busy...Elder Nye and I have been working really hard! We have even bigger goals for next week. That's something that I have found really important here. Planning your time is soooooo important because there really aren't enough hours in the day to get done what you want to get done! As Elder Guarino always said "mabilis talaga ang panahon." He probably said that like everyday.... It's soooo true though. Planning is HUGE out here! Anyways enough of that! I'm going to tell you how my week went!

Last Tuesday was a good day. We got to our area late though because Elder Nye had to do a baptismal interview for a kid that I actually taught when I was working with Elder Samson during splits a few weeks ago. It went well. Haha. Then we went back to our area and we found one new family who speaks Taglish really well. Normally people just speak Tagalog and will throw in English words every now and then.... I started doing that now, one example is makipagshare which means to share with someone. Haha. It's confusing because makipag is a confusing conjugation to explain. Anyways the family we started teaching is the Villenueva family (family of ten!!!). We didn't get to see them the rest of the week though. They are very nice people, just weird talking to them though because they switch from english to tagalog all the time. After that we went to Juliet's who said she believes the chuch is true and wants to get baptized. She told us that day about her brother who committed suicide and heard that he would be in a state of nothing kinda thing...... So we taught her about after this life from the plan of salvation, and that lasted about an hour and a half. It's great teaching her. She asks so many questions. Which is great! After her we taught Brother Anakta and Sister Daisy about why God gives us trials because they asked why is life so hard even though we are good people and didn't do anything wrong. It went well. After that we went finding! And that was about it!

Wednesday was great! People in the Philippines, whenever they see me or my companion they always say "Hey Joe!" or "Amerikano!" which is funny, but I made it a goal to talk to those people, because they don't usually expect me to do so! So last Wednesday I got "Hey Joed" by a women sitting on a bench with an older women. So I went up to them, started talking to them, then kids came around us, then next thing I knew there were like 25-30 adults and teenagers and then a bunch of other kids! There were sooooooooo many people! So since we were outside, we taught all of them! We gave them a short lesson about the plan of salvation. It was soooo good to teach so many people. After we were done we gave out a bunch of pamphlets, and one women said where is this book? And she pointed to a picture of the B.O.M which is on the back of the pamphlet. So we told her. And she said she wanted one. So we gave her one! This story gets cooler. But the rest of the day we taught one of our investigators Lori and Teresa. Lori left though because she had something..... So we taught Teresa! She's doing amazing! She reads the Book of Mormon everyday. Her story also gets cooler... haha. After all that we taught a tatay for about 1 hour, who wouldn't understand a need for a prophet.... BUT he thought he was a prophet... I don't even know....!

Then THURSDAY! We worked with the Teaching Assistants, so Elder Nye worked with Elder Whetman, and I worked with a Filippino missionary, Elder Perez! I never met him before but I understand why he's a T.A. He is a great teacher, and great at loving everyone! He met Juliet on the street(we bumped into her) and she wanted him to come to the next lesson which was on Friday because he was so funny. Haha. We found a few other people, taught brother Anakta, and another investigator of ours Tatay Lito. Tatay Lito has a little bit different theories about stuff, he doesn't want to pray for some reason. We had to teach both of them together, which was weird because they have completely different concerns. I learned a lot working with Elder Perez. I learned that Filippinos will laugh at anything! haha. It was a good day!

Friday we had zone conference. We got to listen to Jeffrey R. Hollands talk that he gave in the MTC the week before I got there. It was such an amazing talk! If you can find it somewhere do it! It's amazing! Then President Howard spoke to us. Gave us an update on Sister Howard, she has been recovering. Then we had a zone activity then left! Elder Comish was there. We had a choir practice because there was a Musical fireside that coming Sunday! After Z.C we had some pretty bad news.... We taught Juliet about the Book of Mormon. Which went great! BUT! She is leaving for 2 weeks..... So we won't get to teach her for a while.....:( Then even worse...we went to teach Teresa and Lori, and Lori is like super sad and Teresa is super happy, but told us she was going back to her province on Monday! So that's 2 really strong investigators leaving... I was sad about Teresa. She said we could come back on Saturday to visit her though. While we were walking that day one of the ladies we had taught with that big crew (the one we gave the book of mormon to) stopped us, confirmed our appointment for Saturday at 2 then said that she couldn't stop reading the book! She said it's amazing and she was at 2 Nephi!!! So we were really excited to teach her the next day!

Saturday! This day we taught Teresa and she gave us great news that she might not go to the province. So she said if she doesn't, then she wants to be baptized! So we gave her a date! (June 11th). And that's the plan for now! We taught her more about baptism that day which was nice! She really gets it and understands everything. We ask her to read one chapter in the Book of Mormon and she reads 5! And then shares what she read with us and what verses she likes! Teresa is awesome, she also said that her and Lori would come to church! Then we visited the other women from the other day,(I can't remember the name....) She has been reading and said she would some to church with her friend that we also taught. Then we visited an inactive family who at first we tried looking for in a town outside of where we have investigators and they weren't home, so we started to go back. Then I said no, there's someone in this town, so I knocked on 2 doors across the street and neither were interested, but as I did that, Elder Nye oymed(open your mouth) someone on the street who showed him where the inactive family lived which was close to the house where we thought they lived! So we found and taught them and they said they would come to church and would have FHE at there house on Monday! YAY!

Sunday! No one came to church..... ugh! After church we had the musical fireside which went really well! Look for it on Youtube! haha! That's about it for Sunday. All the missionaries were at the fireside except a few.... It was really good! We just sang a bunch of songs for people. That was about it for that day. The musical fireside was in Makati which takes 1 hour and a half to get to! So yea. Far away....

Then there was today....we bought groceries and had zone conference and did laundry and now I'm here! Awesome!

So about the temple. I really enjoyed getting to go every week at the MTC. Everytime you go you learn something new because there is so much to learn by going. It was really the greatest thing getting up at 6:00 a.m. and getting there about 7:00 a.m. to do work. I loved it a lot because I got to do work for Elder Andrus' ancestors. It was the perfect way to start P-day because you would just be happy for the whole rest of the day. Going there just makes you want to be happy. I can't really explain it! haha!

I'm glad you guys had a good Mothers Day last week! That's good to hear! It's also good to hear that Justin's show went well! Survivor sounds amazing. That's also really good. Haha!

Anyways here things are going great! Elder Nye and I are trying to organize a fireside for our ward about the Book of Mormon and we are going to try and have every member give a away a Book of Mormon and find someone that we can teach! One thing I liked that Elder Nye said this week was that missionaries should be the full time teachers and members should be the full time finders! So that's about it for this week guys! I'm soooo happy! I haven't gotten your package and I probably won't till either next week or 3 weeks from now. But that's alright! I love it here! The language is great! Everything is! I love being on a mission!

Love you guys!

Elder Chris Gagnon

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Phone Call home for Mother's Day!

We had a great phone call home from Chris for Mother's Day! He called home on the Saturday night (Sunday morning for him) and we talked for almost 2 hours! It was so great to hear his voice and hear how well he's doing despite the constant crowing of a rooster in the background and lots of noise from out in the street outside his house. He really likes his new companion and he's loving his mission. Despite what seems to be some challenges from our eyes, when asked what has been the most difficult thing about his mission so far he answered "Nothing Mom. I love everything about it!" So glad to hear it....He sends his love to all and is very grateful for the letters and Dear Elders he received from his family and friends. So now on to his letter this week which we received Monday morning...

Hey guys!

Happy mothers day! Haha! We just finished getting pagkain for the week. We got a lot...haha...
Today we also went to a music store just to see what they had. I played a bass there, which was good. This week was really good....Elder Nye is a great companion. It's really great working with him, he is fluent in tagalog and can teach anything. He has been out for a year more than me. He reported like January 5th to the MTC. He is from Utah and we're getting along really well.

So 2 Sundays ago as I told you we had area conference because it has been 50 years that the church has been in the Philippines. John U Teh (area authority), Quentin L Cook and Boyd K Packer all spoke. President Packer and Elder Cook were both in Utah though.... They were all great talks, Elder Teh's was really great. He expressed the importance of reading the scriptures everyday. He said we should always ask 3 questions: 1. Am I reading the scriptures? 2. If no, then what is my excuse? and 3. Is my excuse good enough? It was a really good talk. After that, Elder Guarino and I went out finding in our area and we found some new people who are interested.

There is a family Elder Nye and I have really been working with now, they don't necessarily get everything the first shot, but we ask a lot of questions to make sure they understand everything we are teaching them. There's a lot of children there, but it is mostly Sister Lori and Sister Teresa we teach.

Then Monday and Tuesday I worked in Elder Jimenez' (Zone leader) area, so I won't talk about that. We went finding, and visited some less actives in his area. Iyan lang.

Then Wednesday was transfers. Elder Samson got transfered to Pasig which will become part of the new Quezon city mission next transfer so I will not see Elder Samson again unless he gets transferred to somewhere in the Manila mission, but I doubt it.... Then Elder Eduria, from our zone became the new zone leader replacing Elder Gamolo who finished his mission. So now I am living with Elder Eduria, who is a great cook, Elder Nye, my companion, and Elder Jimenez who was there last transfer. It's great! I love it!

Thursday we worked in our area, went finding and taught some families. We taught Sister Juliet and her son for 1 hour and 30 minutes. It was a long lesson but she had a lot of good questions about everything we taught. We taught her some of lesson 1 some of lesson three. It was more of a discussion, more than just us giving a lesson. It was weird though because she speaks english to us, and then she would speak tagalog. It gets confusing because if she asks me in english I will answer in english but if she asks me in tagalog I will answer in tagalog. haha. I taught half the Joseph Smith story in english and the other half in tagalog haha. It was a really great lesson. She and her son are both really interesting.

Friday we had zone planning, which means me and my comp plan for goals we want for this transfer. One of them we thought real hard about and we both said we are going to get 5 baptisms, and it will happen, a lot of people are making progress. We also plan on working with a lot of less actives too. That night we visited one and nanay was there and said she wanted us to teach her son and his nobia. Then tatay (also a recent convert but less active, we were trying to get him to come back to church...) came in and starting yelling and stuff, soooooo he was drunk. The kids were crying, tatay hit them, it wasn't the best setting at all. So we shared a message with him, and he said he would come to church with his wife on Sunday. He didn't though because of the Paqiuo (Filippino boxer a national hero here) fight.... No one really came to church there were a lot of people watching the Paqiuo fight....

Saturday we went finding in a different part of our area, there wasn't much though we only found a few new people to teach..... Not much to say for that day. We tried looking for people who were closer to the church, but we got nothing.

Then yesterday I called you guys. And we had a lesson right after that. We taught brother AnakTa and his nobia sister Daisy. They have 5 kids. It did not stop raining yesterday. I was soaked the whole time. It was bad.... After church we visited Sister Lori and she said she would come to church next week with Sister Teresa. Which is good of course! We are going to work with them a lot this week. They are both really nice. Then we had a DA at the Canadas and that was it for Sunday!

By the way I don't know if I mentioned this in my last blog but the fruit here is amaaaaazing! The mangoes the bananas, the pineapples. Its soooooo good! I'm addicted to it! I tried this other fruit called Dragon fruit and it was also amazing and looks really awesome! I'm sending pictures soon, I promise!!! About Brother Yang, he is almost 50 i think. He has a son on a mission now. Really nice guy haha!

Anyways I'm really happy! Everything is going great! And yea! Please thank the stake presidency for their b-day card and please thank Justin L.V for his Dear elder.... I just got his first one. I don't know if he sent more or not.....Anyways about the temple thing I'm going to organize my thoughts a bit, so I'm not just throwing random thoughts here, so yea! I will write down some blessings of the temple and send them to you next week!

I have to go now unfortunately, so I'll talk to you guys next week! Take Care! Love you!

Elder Chris Gagnon

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Transfers, a new companion and Jubilee week....

Hey Guys!

Last Week was great! Elder Guarino was going home so we had a few DAs. Haha. Transfer day was today by the way, and so is our P-day. I worked on Monday. Last week was also the Jubilee, which we got tickets for, but ended up not being allowed to go because the assistants said no. It was at a colliseum in Quezon city and they didn't want missionaries going there. It would have been cool to be there though. The acts that performed were really kool. We got to watch it on a video screen at the stake center in Las Pinas. Anyways I'll describe my week now!

So Monday night last week was horrible. It was about 12 at night and like 7 dogs a cat and a chicken were all yelling at each other. It was the worst thing in the world. I got like no sleep that night. Dad would have went crazy! Anyways I think I wrote about that Monday last week, so I just thought that I should share that. Animals here are crazy. Dogs are also really gross...haha

Tuesday we taught Sister Magarso, whose boyfriend served a mission in '91. They are living together. We only taught her that day about the law of chastity and how her and brother need to be married....Brother already knows this. Sister Magarso really wants to come to church but Brother works on Sundays though. He really wants to repent though. We dropped by Jomars house again. He wasn't home but Sister Jenny was. We taught her the introduction page about the Book of Mormon, I gave the lesson, which was hard. I emphasized that it's important to read and to pray to know that it is true. I'm getting better at teaching. People are starting to say I'm fluent and stuff. It's not true though. Haha. After Jenny we dropped by her neighbors house, Sister Reo. We taught her about obedience from 1 Nephi 3:7. Elder Guarino taught. Then dropped by 2 recent converts houses. Then we went finding, then Elder Guarino and I both felt sick..... So we called it a day at about 7. It was soooooo hot that day I think we both got dehydrated.... We got bananas and made banana shakes. It tasted great!

Wednesday was mostly finding. We dropped by Sister Daisy's (one of our investigators) house and her husband who was never there, was there! This family has 6 kids. They're awesome! Anyways we taught Tatay about God, His plan for families and prophets, which is what we usually teach the first time we meet someone. He seemed sooooo interested. We're going to visit him tomorrow, and I'm pretty excited for that! Later on, we went to brother and sister Fabia (recent converts) and her sister was there, so we taught the whole family about family prayer. I shared with them about the time at young men's camp when it was raining hard, then Justin prayed for the rain to stop and it did instantly! This went really well.....I never shared that experience with anyone, either in Tagalog or English. Sister Fabia's sister seemed interested. We're trying to get her to come to church now. They are a great family and they teach me a lot about the language. Last week they said a word that I had no idea what it meant. Sister said "Nangangalay" so I asked what that was. No one could explain it to me in english so they did in tagalog. "Nangangalay" means numb... Haha. After that we went to Shakeys and had pizza. Then bought mangoes and went home and made shakes. The Mangoes (and all other fruits) here are amazing!!! I love them!

Thursday we had a DA at the Yangs. Brother Yang is awesome. I love him. Elder Guarino shared about obedience and Brother Yang shared about his mission and his life after the mission. It was kool. He said to not worry about everything because the Lord will provide. When he got back from his mission he had nothing. Then he got a job at a new bank that opened in Manila over a bunch of people who were more qualified. The reason he got the job was because the test asked the people to write a story in english without using I or me. So he wrote the Joseph Smith story in English, which he learned while he was on his mission! I learned a lot from Brother Yang. He's sooooo enthusiastic about everything, especially the gospel. Which is how everyone should be talaga!

Friday I worked with Elder Jimenez(ZL, Filipino) in his area, we went finding there. Taught a few lessons. His area is also pretty far. While we were finding it rained for like 3 minutes, which was kool. It doesn't get dark when it rains. It's like really sunny and stuff, so yea! It's really nice when it rains. After all that we dropped by Brother Boyd, who is a recent convert who is gay. Crazy nice though. Fed us a ton of food. Hamburgers, chocolate, drinks. Crazy nice guy. Funny too..... We went to shopwise because we needed food, for the next few days. Getting there was nuts because it was palengke(market) day, so there was a ton of people in the streets. So crowded. It's market day every Friday. There's a lot of stuff, just everywhere. Anyways we looked at a few things and Elder Jimenez and I were talking to this guy about what we do as missionaries, the guy was working, but wanted to know more. Somewhere in the conversation we mentioned the Book of Mormon and the guy was interested so we gave him one. He lives in Elder Jimenez's area though so I won't see him. BUT! There was an older man listening to our conversation and said that I was really good in tagalog, the weird thing was he said that in english.... He is fluent in both english and tagalog and was wondering if we could give him an english Book of Mormon. I took down his name and address and we're going to stop by there tomorrow! He also wants to be taught in English, so it will be great! haha!

Saturday, I'll just skip to the Jubilee. It was a celebration of 50 years of missionary work in the Philippines. Super kool. We saw people from our ward in it. It was a bunch of singing and dancing acts. Really kool. The primary children of the Philippines sang too. It's funny because for Filipinos there is no V or F, so instead of V they say it like B and F they say it like P. So instead of follow it is "pollow" or love is "lobe". Kids make that mistake the most when singing....

Anyways this email was waaaay long. And I'm over time so I gotta go. I'll finish what I did this week next week! My comps new name is Elder Nye. He is suuuuuuper mabait, which means nice. He is from Utah and is fluent, he has been out a long time. I'll talk more about him on the phone call this week.

So about the call! I'm going to call home Saturday morning here, so make sure someone is home Friday night to set up the call for Sunday.

Anyways Love you guys! Bye!

Elder Chris Gagnon