Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hey guys!

Last week was great! As you're probably wondering, I stayed here in Roxas and I am super happy I got to. I was worried that maybe Elder Glodo and I would get transferred. Unfortunately this email is probably going to be a little short because I don't remember much of what happened last week. So I'm going to just write some really awesome things that happened.

So last Monday we had district meeting, it was the last time we would see Elder Hart, one of our zone leaders. He is now home, which is kool. He was a really good zone leader. After that we had our last zone lunch at Jollibee, which is like the Pinoy version of Mcdo. I don't like it too much. Haha. After that we went to a mall, bought food for the week and I also got a shirt...And that's about it.

Tuesday I honestly cannot remember what we did. I didn't write it anywhere. I was not diligent in keeping my journal last week:(

Wednesday we worked with the Teaching Assistants. I got to work with Elder Taylor, it was really kool. He is such a great missionary. I learned a ton from him. We taught Larry that day about the law of chastity. His baptism is being pushed back till the 13th of August because he was sick and couldn't go to church last week. Then we taught Lee and Alfred who is back but left last Sunday to work again. We taught the restoration and we set a date for both of them to be married and baptized. It will be on the 13th of August along with April. We were not able to visit her parents. We're are going the next Saturday. She is really ready though. She's awesome. After we taught them we visited Tatay Guillermo and Marlinda to see how they were doing and I shared from 2 Nep 5. That's my favorite scripture to share from. It's about happiness. Actually can you guys find all the things that Nephi and his family did to live after the manner of happiness? Let's see how many things you guys can find. Read the whole chapter and try to find all the things :P. So we shared with them, Elder Taylor was impressed, he thought I had been out 4 transfers and he was talking about how good my Tagalog was, then I told him I was only on my third and he was really surprised. We found 2 more investigators. They both went really well. It was a really great day.

Thursday and Friday we found a new investigator who has a ton of questions. His name is Alejandro and his parents were actually the first people baptized in Taytay. I like teaching him a lot. We taught him with Sister Rose. She is great. She answers his questions for us which is like the perfect situation. It should be members answering the investigators questions. It was really great. She has a really strong testimony of the church. Anyways he came to church last week. He had questions there too. I can't remember anything else from those days.....

Saturday there was a youth activity. We went there and then after we went to Sister Lee's with Mel, and Chris. Mel is awesome, he wants to go on a mission so bad and he is always asking us when he can work with us. It's hard sometimes though. The members here are amazing. Elder Glodo worked with other youth and they went to see Jeffrey, Caren and Cricel. They all came to church too. We plan on giving them a baptism date this week or next.

Sunday was Elder Glodo's last Sunday. We found out in the morning that he was transferring but we didn't know where. So we just visited a few members that day and everything went well. He has been here for a while now. I think about 4 months. That night we had a party for the Thomas' because they are leaving on Thursday. So we went to Puerto and had transfer announcements. Elder Glodo found out that he was going to Las Pinas which is my old zone. Then Monday night, President Stucki congratulated him on becoming a new zone leader. So not only is he going to my old zone, but his is going to be in the same house that I stayed in and in the same chapel I was in. He is nervous. He didn't think he would be a zone leader. He was surprised.

Monday and Tuesday I cleaned in Puerto, the zone leaders are moving so we had to get everything out of their apartment, so Elder Staples, Elder Baltazar and I did that. I had to wait till Wednesday to come back to Roxas. Later on we went to a dinner appointment at a restaurant with Puerto's investigators. The next day we taught a lesson to an investigator in the zone leaders area. It went well. I worked with Elder Staples both days.

Then today, I said goodbye to Elder Glodo. I'm going to miss him. He was a good companion. Then I said hello to Elder Chiong! He is from Mindanao and he is actually Elder Morris' last companion. He is a district leader here. He seems really kool. We're still getting to know each other. He has been on his mission for almost 9 months now. I think this transfer is going be great!

I spoke to President Bayaras and he has an idea for an area that should be opened up. So we're going over there tonight to figure things out and whatnot. It's going to be a great transfer here in Roxas!

I love you all so much! And thanks for all your support. I have to go know! Gotta get to Pres Bayaras' tonight. I'll send pics next week, I promise and sorry this email is really scattered!

Love you!

Elder Chris Gagnon

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Really, really great week!

Elder Gagnon eating a chicken head:) The Puerto Zone, from left to right starting at the top(Elder Hart, Sister Duncan, Sister Martinez, Sister Barra, Sister Terrano, Elder Staples) then on bottom (Elder Glodo, Elder Baltazar, Elder Quintana, Elder Hernando, Elder Bagahansol and Elder Gagnon) Elder Glodo and Elder Gagnon with the new mission president and his wife, President and Sister Stucki This is at the Baptism, from left to right: Elder Glodo, Tatay Guillermo, Mel, John Paul, Marlinda, Erlinda, Rocel, Caren, Stephanie, and Elder Gagnon Hey Family! Had a great/busy week last week! It was great! Really,really great! Haha. I know I looked a little scruffy. I didn't shave that day because we left Roxas and it was our P-day. And yes, I did need a haircut and I got one last week! Don't worry, everything is great! So on Tuesday we started our day getting back to Roxas. We went to our investigators and asked them if they would be ready on Saturday for the baptism. A lot of them said yes, there are a few that did have to wait though. We went over the baptismal interview questions with them that day. It went really well. It's cool reading something in English and saying it out loud in Tagalog. I've been doing it a lot lately. But there were not any problems. Oh and it turns out we only have 12 baptisms comming. Jericho Bonbon is actually 8 so he counts as a branch baptism, but his older brother, John Paul is 12 so we had to teach him. That day went really well. None of our investigators had any problems. Except Nanay Erlinda forgot who Thomas S. Monson was! We just taught her really fast and everything went well:) Wednesday we had the interviews. So the Zone leaders, Elder Hart and Elder Staples came down to Roxas and interviewed Guillermo, Marlinda, Erlinda, Stephanie, Caren, April, Rocel, Mel, and John Paul. Sister Lee still has to wait for her husband Alfred to come back so she did not get interviewed. We're going to wait for August for her to get baptized hopefully with Alfred. Alfred is great though. Everyone interviewed that day passed. They all did great! That night we dropped by an inactive members who had his daughters birthday that day, so we had a bit to eat there, then we went to Sister Lee's house and ate again. We had wild boar, which was great! Thursday we dropped by to see Marilou, who hasn't come to church in a while. She still really wants to get baptized but it looks like she might have to wait till August too. She didn't come to church this week either because she was really sick. Other than the fact that she is sick, she is doing great and still really wants to be baptized. She has been taking the discussions for a long time now. She is doing very good though. Please pray that she will feel better. We also received a referral from the Assistants in ILoILo. So we contacted her and we taught her with 2 nanays in our ward. We taught a small lesson, and the nanays both bore their testimonies and it was really powerful! Working with members can be really effective, especially when they tell how they were converted to the church. That night we dropped by all our investigators who were going to be baptized on Saturday. Unfortunately April could not be baptized because we still haven't spoken to her parents (they live in Dumaran, which is about an hour and a half away). We are going to do that this week though. But the investigators we schedualed for Saturday were Tatay Guillermo, Erlinda, Marlinda, Rocel, Stephanie, Caren, John Paul and Mel. We got all their information last night for the Baptism/Confirmation record. Friday we had interviews with President Stucki. So we left the house at about 8 and got to the chapel in Puerto at 10. We got there, had pizza a little while later, we got interviewed by Sister Stucki first, then we had to wait a little while for President because he was still interviewing Elders from the Narra zone. We had our shuttle at about 3, so we had to leave at 2:30. I finally got interviewed at like 2:20ish. My interview was like 5 minutes and I had to leave. Haha. It was really short. Our new Mission President seems really nice. Sister Stucki is also really nice. That night we went to the chapel and made a program for the baptism the next day. Elder Glodo and I were both really excited. That night we cleaned our apartment because Pres and Sis Stucki, The APs, President and Sister Thomas (2nd councillor in the mission presidency) and the zone leaders were going to be at our apartment the next day, so we had to make sure it was really clean! Saturday was the big day. We went to our investigators house early in the morning just to let them know to bring extra undergarments. Then we went to the chapel to fill the baptismal font. The water was green..... Haha. It also took forever to fill up. Anyways we pretty much just cleaned the chapel until the baptism started. It went really well. First we all took pictures, then we started. Sister Ada gave a really good talk on faith and repentance and President Reyes(2nd councilor in the branch presidency) also gave a good talk on baptism. After that we proceeded with the baptismal service. First Elder Glodo and I showed a demonstration, then we went to the font. I baptized Mel, then John Paul, then Stephanie, then Marlinda, then Erlinda. It was really amazing! They were all really happy when they came out of the water. It was a really spiritual experience for me. It was my first time baptizing someone. After that, Elder Glodo baptized Tatay Guillermo, Caren and Rocel. They were all super happy! After we all got changed we invited all the new converts to bear their testimonies. They all did great! I was amazed to see all of them talk in front of everyone. It was amazing. After that President Stucki spoke for a little bit. He welcomed everyone and then said that they need to focus on the temple and that the 2 new young men can start focusing on becoming missionaries. After we closed, President Stucki spoke to Tatay Guillermo (I translated) and he gave him a picture of the temple in Manila. It was really nice. After that we got our apartment checked. Then we all went out for dinner. Sunday we only had 2 investigators at church. But they were both new! Alfred(Lee's husband) came back from work and he went to church. Lee couldn't come because she was sick and the same with Marilou (her baptism now has to be pushed back till August.) She also could not come because she was sick. We also had Gerald come, he is a kid that we have been teaching and he also goes to seminary. Sacrament took a while to get to because we had to confirm 8 new people. The speakers only really spoke for about 4-5 mins each. Haha. It was a great day though. After that we went to work. I worked with Chris that day and also, Mel, who was baptized the day before, worked with us too. So it was good to see them both come and work with us. We didn't get a whole lot of lessons but we spoke to a lot of people and have some return appointments. That night we ate at President Bayaras. Monday was yesterday. I didn't get to email because the computer shop here was full. So yesterday we had our last district meeting this transfer. Elder Hart (one of our zone leaders) goes home this transfer so next transfer we will have a new zone leader. Odds are I am probably going to stay here in Roxas. Elder Glodo thinks he is going to transfer next week. There is a lot going to happen next transfer, they are announcing new APs because the current APs go home in September, there's a ton of new areas opening up because there's a lot of new missionaries coming in. It will be interesting to see what happens! They are opening up Quron next transfer which is an island off of Palawan. They are sending 4 missionaries there. It will be cool to see who gets exiled there :P. They have to take a boat from Palawan to get there. There's going to be a lot of changes next transfer. I just hope I stay. haha. We had dinner at President Bayaras' last night. Again. It was good, he enjoys feeding the missionaries. So that's about it for last week. It went really great! I'm going to send some pictures now! Hope you enjoy! Please tell Elder Bell I said Hi again! I love you guys so much! Thanks for everything! Love Elder Chris Gagnon

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

13 upcoming baptisms!

On the fort (Fuerte de Santa Isabela) in Taytay

Dinner in Taytay(left to right)Elder Gagnon, Elder Baltazar, Elder Glodo, Elder Bagahansol

Hey guys!

Another great week here in Roxas! I'm going to start this email by answering all your questions so I don't forget to do it later. One, I am in the Roxas branch. Two, I would actually prefer it if you didn't send me anything. There really isn't anything that I want or have to share with my investigators. Toothpaste and deodorant are fine here. Thanks though! Three, there is no area in my mission with a bike, there are only 3 missionary companionships with cars; the Assistants to the President, the teaching assistants, and the office Elders. They are all in Manila though. It is all walking or taking a trike. And to get to District meetings we take a shuttle ride, which is like a big van. It takes us 2 hours to get to district meetings every Monday. Yes I will get to perform some of those baptisms. The only hand sign I can think of is the one with my thumb and index finger. It means Gwapo, which is handsome in English. And finally no, there really isn't service. Of course we try and offer our service as much as we can, but most of the time there isn't anything. It's rare. And the reason nobody is around during the weekdays is because they are all working now, school started about a month ago, so kids aren't home and parents are all working. I don't know how to describe what town/city it is like.... It's like Chateauguay, but Filippino style. Haha. I can't really describe it. My area is also huge. It takes about 3 hours if we were to go right through it. I love it though! So I hope I answered your questions well enough! :)

Last Tuesday I actually worked with Elder Bagahansol for exchanges. He was the first missionary in his area, Taytay. It's amazing there. I got to go there yesterday(Monday). We worked pretty hard. We found a pastor and taught him. There were also other people there that we shared with. Their family name is Estoce. They are very nice. We also taught Sister Lee, April, Caren, Stephanie, Rocel, and Erlinda about the importance of reading scriptures. They are doing amazing. Stephanie is only 11 and she goes to seminary and does all the work. We also taught Mhel that night also about studying the scriptures, he also goes to seminary. He is also excited for baptism!

Wednesday, I was still working with Elder Bagahansol. We taught Tatay Guillermo, and Sister Marlinda about the law of chastity, which went well. We followed up on their word of wisdom and Nay and Tay both stopped drinking coffee! Sister is really excited for her baptism. Later on we taught Amor about part of the plan of salvation. We don't get to see her as often because she moves back and forth from here and Puerto, which is 2 hours away. We also taught Larry that day about the Book of Mormon. It was a really long lesson. He doesn't know how to read, so things are a little bit more difficult for him. He is still good for the 30th of July though. That night we had a dinner appointment at President Bayaras, which was great...we had Pork Adobo.

Thursday, Elder Glodo came back. We did groceries that day, then taught Lee and everyone about the law of chastity. Later on that night we visited a less active, then after that we got invited over to President Bayaras' for dinner again. So we went and I cannot remember what I ate..... Haha.

Friday. We taught Guillermo and Marlinda about tithing and they said they would pay it. Then we taught Marilou, and Larry. We taught Larry about the Word of Wisdom and with Marilou we just followed up on how she was doing and stuff and we shared a message with her, which went well. Later on we went to a ward activity, played basketball and met a few more people who want to be taught. So that was it for that day.

Saturday, we went to Dumaraw because we had to speak with Rocel's parents to make sure they were ok with her being baptized. They said it was all good, which is great. Things are also good for Stephanie and Caren. It took us 2 and a half hours to get to Rocel's house. It was forever! Haha. We also shared with them about the restoration. While there we also found an old investigator who is Sister Lee's sister! Her name is Veronica. She can't get to church because it is so far for her:( Starting next transfer I want to start going out to Dumaraw more often. I want to see if maybe we could get a small meeting house out there or something starting next transfer. I will get to ask President Stucki this Friday because this Friday is interviews with the mission president. Which I am excited for. Apparently he is a lot different than President Howard. There is going to be a new training program for trainers in the mission and it's like a day to day schedule. The idea is that the trainee will be as good as the trainer after 12 weeks in the mission. That night we also taught John Paul, who is ready for his baptism on the 23rd.

Sunday was another great day! We went to church and had 14 investigators there! We had Guillermo, Marlinda, Rocel, Stephanie, Caren, April, Mhel, Larry, Veronica(Lee's sister!) with her daughters, Anamie and Evalyn, Erlinda, and John Paul. Lee couldn't come because she was sick, and Marilou could not some either because her kids were sick. Great day though, we went on splits, I was with Chris and Sam, the 2 ward missionaries. We dropped by a few less actives, we dropped by Mhel and taught him the Word of Wisdom, we also taught John Paul the Word of wisdom, we went to Jeffrey, Cricel, Marise, and Caren, and taught them the word of wisdom, and then we taught Larry the Plan of salvation. All lessons went very well. Our investigators are really great! They understand everything very fine. We will be giving a baptismal date to Jeffry, Caren, Marise, and Cricel next week for August 14th. That night we had another DA at President Bayaras'.

Monday we had to go to Taytay for a baptismal interview that Elder Glodo had to do. It is nice over there in Taytay. We played basketball that night and just relaxed. There isn't a computer shop out there though, so that is why I am emailing on Tuesday. We left to come back home this morning at 7.

I'm really happy here. Everything is going great. The zone leaders also called us yesterday and wanted to know if we could have the baptisms on the 16th because President Stucki will be here and he wants to see the baptisms. So this week, Marilou, April, Caren, Stephanie, Rocel, Guillermo, Marlinda, Erlinda, and Mhel will be getting baptized on the 16th, then the next week, on the 23rd, John Paul, his younger brother Jericho, and Sister Lee will be baptized, then on the 30th Larry will be baptized. So we're really happy for all of them because they are really ready and are excited and they all really want to go to the temple. It's great to see them all enthusiastic!

Sorry if this letter was a bit scattered and short, I'm actually feeling a bit sick right now and we have like a million and a half things to do to prepare for the baptisms this Saturday. I love you guys so much! Thanks for everything!

Mahal ko kayo!


Elder Chris Gagnon

Monday, July 4, 2011

We have 12 committed to baptism!

Chris with his monkey friend

On top of the castle in Roxas

The castle in Roxas

Hey guys!

This week was amazing! We had a ton of successes! It really went great! We found some new great investigators and our progressing investigators are really starting to progress very well! Elder Glodo and I are both really excited for all of them! By the way, Happy Canada day!

Monday was great, we had a FHE at Sister Lee's, a lot of our investigators were there and the kids even attended seminary that night and continued to for the rest of the week! There's 4 of them, Rocel, Stephanie, April and Caren.

Tuesday! I think I wrote more last Tuesday in my journal than any other day on my whole mission. It was a really good day! First Sister Anne came to our apartment because she wanted a blessing of comfort because she was leaving that day to Manila. So Elder Glodo gave her a blessing, then we said good-bye and that was it. Then we went to the palengke to buy food, and over there we met Sister Aurino who ended up having us over for lunch. While at the palengke we got a referral from President Bayaras. So we went to Nanay Aurino's house and she fed us lunch which was really good, we shared a small message with her and spoke for a bit. She knew Brother May (my MTC teacher), he had actually been to her house when he was an A.P here in the Manila mission with Brother Perry(one of the MTC tutors.) She said they were both really smart and great at Tagalog. So after that we went to Marilou's and went over the baptismal interview questions with her and she did great. While we were teaching her, a neighbor of hers named Larry (who was at church last week)was there. He was taught by the missionaries a long time ago, but left to Puerto and now he is back in Roxas and wants to be taught again. He was so excited he asked if he could be baptized with Marilou on the 9th. Of course that cannot happen because we have to make sure he is prepared and everything. So after that we went to Tatay Guillermo's house and set a return appointment for the next day. While walking away from his house, I saw a kid about my age and he was carrying 2 huge things of water, so I offered to help. I took one and brought it to his house. His name is Marc Joseph. We shared a message with him, his cousin, and his parents. It went great, we shared a message about families. Then right when we left and I shook his hand he said (in Tagalog) "Come back". So that was great! I was happy:) After that we went finding and only taught one lesson. Then we taught one more lesson to 5 teenagers whose grandmother is a member. They are all about 15-16. At the end of the lesson one of them prayed and they already knew how and they understood the lesson perfectly. It was a really great day!

Wednesday was another great day. We taught Tatay Guillermo, his wife and his granddaughter, Rocel and 2 of her friends about faith and repentance. Then we taught Brother Alfred, Sister Lee and her mom, Erlinda, about faith and repentance. Both lessons went really well. After that we went finding and found one new investigator named Amor. Later on we went with a few of our investigators to seminary but when we got to the church we found out it was cancelled! :( That night we had a DA at the Cordero family. Brother Cordero used to be the branch president. We had fried chicken and rice and a bunch of other stuff I cannot even remember..... Haha after we ate we shared a message about faith!

Thursday, we taught Marilou about the law of fast and asked her if she was ready for her baptismal interview next week. She said she was! Which is great, we were really excited for her. After we taught Marilou, we taught Brother Larry about prophets. I asked him to read something and that was when we found out, he cannot read. So I read it for him and we continued teaching. He still really wants to be baptized. After Larry we went and taught Marc Joseph and his family. His family wasn't there but he was, so we taught him about prophets and that also went really really well. He really listens, our lessons with him are great. After that we went with our investigators to seminary and there were more investigators there then there were members! Haha. We had 5 of our investigators there and there were 3 members :P Haha. After that we went to Mhel, he is 14 has been to church a few times and is the grandson of Sister Arcenas. He wanted to learn about the Gospel so we taught him the message of the restoration, and committed him to baptism on the 23rd of July! We're super excited for him also, he already has a lot of friends at church and already goes to all the activities. He's a really smart guy.

Friday! Marilou had her interview with the Zone leaders and it went great! She passed of course and everything was great for next week on the 9th! After we taught her we went to Tatay Guillermo, Merlinda and Rocel taught them about baptism and the Holy Ghost. They were really excited about it. It was a very good lesson. We gave them a date also on the 23rd of July and we are really excited for them. They are all really amazing investigators who just love the Church. Again, we're really excited for them and their decision, Tatay wants his kids to be baptized too, but they are not in Roxas. After that we taught Amor again, it went alright, she is very nice but doesn't really say much. After that we went to seminary again with our investigators, and our next appointment was supposed to be at John Paul(his mother is a member but he isn't baptized, his mother wants him to be baptized so we have to start teaching him.) We spoke to his mother that night and we set a date for John Paul also, on the 23rd of July. After seminary, we went to those 5 kids that we had taught the other night. We taught them about prophets, but this time there were only 4 of the kids, which was alright, the lesson went very well and they all said they would come to church on Saturday.

Saturday was another great day! In the morning we went to Sister Lee's, and we found out that Alfred actually left and he is gone for 2 weeks. So that is really too bad. But we did teach her, her mother Erlinda, Stephanie, April, and Caren. We taught them about Baptism and the Holy Ghost and committed them all for the 23rd of July! So we're really excited for them, they have all been great, they went to seminary every day and they are all good friends with the members in the branch. After them we went to Marc Joseph's. He wasn't there but his brother was and we taught him a small lesson about the plan of salvation. We found out that their Sister had died a few years ago. So that is why we taught that lesson. After that we taught Tatay Guillermo, Rocel and Nanay about enduring to the end and again, that went great! They are really excited for the 23rd. We went finding for a little while and taught a few lessons. Later on we went to the house with 5 investigators and there were only 2 there. I should probably say their names haha. There is Jeffrey, Marise, Cricel, and Caren. We taught them about Christ's earthly ministry, and it went really well. And that was about it for that day.

Sunday. We went to church and 13 of our investigators were there! There was Anthony, the husband of a member of our church, who we didn't even get to visit that week, Lee, April, Erlinda, Guillermo, Marlinda, Rocel, Stephanie, John Paul, Marise, Jeffrey, Cricel and Mhel. It was great! We were happy to see them there! BUT! Marilou wasn't there. So we have to postpone her baptism till July 23rd, which is pretty unfortunate. We went on splits that day, I worked with Chris. I went to Marilou's house and told her it had to be postponed. Unfortunatly, Larry also didn't go to church. We did teach him that day though. He now has a baptismal date on the 30th. After that we visited some inactive members and taught Mel about the Book of Mormon. All in all it was a great week. We have 12 commited to baptism, 11 on the
23rd and we're really excited for all of them!

So yea! Things are pretty busy here! But I am really happy especially for our investigators, they are all really excited. I'm happy for all of them. Things sound like they are going great at home. Please congratulate Patrick and Anik on their wedding. Sister Howard is home now. Last I heard she was doing great! There are a ton of changes taking place here with the new mission president that I learned about today at district meeting. I don't have time to talk about them all though. The mission is really changing though.

Anyways that is about it for this week. I love you all so much! Thank you so much for all of your support! Till next week!


Elder Chris Gagnon!