Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Monday, March 26, 2012

This week I hit my year mark in the Philippines! (from week of March 19th, 2012)

Elder Duero, Elder Buasen, Elder Smith, Elder Wong and I at the top of our apartment after going on exchanges.

Me and My BATCH! We were all at the training meeting last week. Elder Comish is a Zone leader in Cavite and Elder Morris is a district leader in San Gabriel.

Then this my batch in the field. All of us came to the mission field at the same time. That's Elder Morris, Elder Antonio (District leader in Narra) Elder Teodoro (District leader in Cavite), Elder Comish and Me!

Hello Family!

This week was another great one! We had so little time to work though, we only had a total of like 18 lessons or something this week, which isn't very good we usually get in between 25-30, so yea.... Anyways besides that though it was a good week! Unfortunately, April did not get baptized yet. She had her baby last week. We are going to be seeing her this week to see how she is doing and stuff though. :)

Last week, we had a huge 2 day training meeting with all the District leaders and Zone leaders. It was definitely the longest meeting ever. It was really good though, President Stucki made a really cool comment that I liked, he said there are a million books on being leaders and stuff and he said there is no better books than the scriptures. It's so true. I love the scriptures so much. :) Also we had practices on teaching doctrine but it was weird because I had different companions, and we were teaching in english which made me realize how easy teaching really is in english. Haha. After the first day of the meeting we got to work with Province Elders, who also slept at our house. So yea, in our mission there our 6 province zones (Narra, Puerto Princesa, Naic, San Gabriel, Cavite, Dasmarinas) and 6 city zones (Makati, Makati east, Las Pinas, Paranaque, Manila, and Pasay) and the province Elders worked with the city elders. I got to work with Elder Wong, who just took Elder Comish's place in Taytay and Elder Smith who is in the Narra zone on Palawan. They are both district leaders. Wong is a really cool guy. We had fun working together. They said it was weird to work in the city though. Haha. I can't believe how lucky the district leaders are though, they got to fly from Palawan to come here. Haha.

Last Tuesday we did an exchange. I worked with Elder Malit in his area. I actually took his place here in Makati as zone leader, but he just stayed in his area, became a district leader and trained. Then zone leaders area moved from his area to Makati 2nd. He is a really good teacher. He is from Quezon City which is super close and his dad was a mission president in the Tacloban mission. Actually his dad released Elder Guarino almost a year ago. So that's pretty cool. It was fun working with Elder Malit. We taught really well together and had a fun day. He goes home next transfer so he will probably finish in the area he is in now.

Last week we also had an FHE at the Chua familys house and it went really well. Our investigator Kennedy showed up and he looked like he had such a fun time. Elder Duero and I did games. And we had so much fun. Kennedy really wants to be taught but we didn't get to him once this week which was too bad.

Also last week I got to give a talk in sacrament. I was asked to speak about finding people to teach. So I just used a few personal experiences and a few references in PMG and a bunch of stuff like that. It went really well. :)

I don't have a whole lot more to write about. The training meeting took up a lot of the week..... It was really good and I learned a lot. :)

That's really cool about all the heat back at home. And about Jason being in the same class at Danny! Tell them both I said Hi. And I will try and get out some letters in the next few weeks. I've been really busy though.

I love being a missionary. It's going by so fast though and I don't really want it to end. This week I hit my year mark in the Philippines, which is really weird because this is the mark where everyone says is their peak in the mission, where you're really good at everything and have everything really down. I don't feel exactly like there. There's still a million things I have to improve on and get better at. I've learned almost everything I need to learn it's just really applying everything.

Well, everything is going really fine though. The Makati zone has had 8 baptisms so far this month! Elder Duero and I are really happy for the zone and next month looks like it might be another really good one. :)

Well that is about it for this week. I love doing the Lord's work. It's the best thing ever and I would encourage everyone who is preparing to go back from home to just GO! It's the greatest thing they will ever do! Thank you so much for supporting me! And I love you all so much! Have a great week!


Elder Chris Gagnon

Friday, March 16, 2012

It's nothing what I expected but more than anything I've hoped for!

Hey Everyone!

We had a great week here in Makati! Elder Duero and I got quite a bit of work and we are really starting to see success in our area. To let you know, Everything went as planned last week. Sister Rose-Mar and brother Zaldy were both baptized last week and it was just really amazing. The 1st Councillor, Brother Art in the welcome speech said that he saw a physical change in Brother Zaldy when he was baptized. In fact, I specifically remember him saying that he looked like he was baptized in water full of Tide. Haha. It was kinda funny. Brother Zaldy is gonna be such an amazing future leader. He already wants to start working with us and he has a bunch of different ideas for finding people. He is awesome! This week we might have a baptism or we might not.....It depends if April can or not because she is pregnant and is due this week. So yea. We don't necessarily think that she will be fully 100% ready. Haha. She was intervied last week though and passed but yea. Well. We will just see what happens...

Last week we also taught the Saberola family and they have been taught for a really long time. They haven't been to church once yet. They are really receptive though and yea. Anyways. Last week we had a lesson about the word of wisdom and we found out they have a bit of a problem with that. But they committed to it and I think they will do good. About 3 days after we taught them we had another appointment with them. They weren't there but I felt that I should write them a note. So I did and just left it there. The next day we saw all 3 of them at church! I was super happy! It was just a little note. I think it was a nice note though. haha. Elder Duero and I were both really happy to see them there. :)

We also began teaching someone new who is the boyfriend of an inactive member, his name is Kennedy. He is also really kool and he also came to church, With his girlfriend. We were really happy to see that. We have our second appointment with him on Thursday so we will see how things go! :D

Something that was kinda disappointing though was we had been working with this inactive family, the Morales' and we had a really spiritual lesson about the Book of Mormon and it was super amazing. We thought for sure we would see them there on Sunday. But we didn't so yea. Hopefully this week. We're going to keep working with them. They have really strong testimonies and I know they want to come back. We have been working with a few less actives here. This week we should have 2 coming back to activity, which means they have come to church 4 times in a row after being inactive. Actually this person we're teaching gave us a few people to teach who we plan on visiting this week and she might even work with us. So hopefully all that goes well. :)

Oh yea, I also went on exchanges this week. Every week we have to go on exchanges, last week I worked in the Mandaluyong 1B area. I worked with Elder Koochin who is a district leader. He is also one of the 4 Canadians in the Manila mission! It was a good exchange. He seems to be doing alright. We did some finding, I did a baptismal interview and we taught a family who is getting ready to be baptized soon. And that was it. :)

Elder Duero is one of my favorite companions, we are getting along great, the Makati zone is also doing great. For the last 3 months I think we averaged about 3 baptisms for month for the whole zone and so far this month in March we have 6. So things are going good with that. Also there's this new thing called the green zone and what it is, is it's the standard of excellence for the key indicators listed in chapter 8 of PMG+4 more made by the area presidency of the Philippines. So we have 11 key indicators that we can have standard of excellence on and of course the goal is to have all of them green, or to achieve all of them. It's pretty hard. The week before ZLC we had 24% in the green zone. But last week the zone went 38% Green which is really good. This means as a zone we achieved 38% of all the standards of excellence. It's a bit harder for Makati zone because we have the APs and the Office elders and they don't get to work a whole lot. But we're really happy about going 38%green. We just have to keep going up and up. :)

Oh yea, and also to answer your question, Cebuano is also going good. It's just a bit different. :) I'm still learning though.

And that is about it for this week. I don't really need a whole lot. Everything I need I can get for way cheaper here in the Philippines. I guess if there is anything it would just be Ringolos. I miss those. I don't really need a whole lot of candy. I get enough of that at members houses actually haha. But yea. I can get almost anything I want here and for a lot cheaper... So yea. I plan on buying shoes soon. Because both the pairs I got at home are wrecked. I left one of my pairs on Palawan and actually I had a pair of rubber shoes that a going home missionary gave to me. So I used those for a while but then I gave them to Mike in STA Monica because his shoes got wrecked from working with us everyday. So now I only have one pair of shoes. But I can buy shoes here for really cheap and they are good. All in all I don't really need anything. (Maybe money?) I don't know how my accounts are doing. So yea. I'm probably going to buy shoes next week.

So yea. For my birthday, all in all, maybe just a few letters with pictures. That's really all I want. I don't really want a package. Just pics with letters. That is all! :D

Speaking of letters I'm actually sending one out to Ben today. That's cool that he also just became a Zone leader. I thing he will do great!

Anyways, that's about it for this week. I hope everything is going great at home. How is Justin doing with his mission prep? How is Derek doing with his mission prep? Who is is preparing to leave? It would be cool if someone from home got to serve here. Philippines Manila Mission is the Best! I love my mission so much! It's nothing what I expected but more than anything I've hoped for! I Hope you guys have a great week!

Mahal ko kayo!

Elder Chris Gagnon

Only 4 Canadians in the mission...

We had a great week in Makati! Things are going great!
Elder Duerro and I just got back from SM which is a really
big mall. We went to their department store and there's a bunch
of stuff. I'm pretty sure that was one of the malls that your
friend was talking about. Haha. We spent a really long time
looking at ties because they have so many nice ties. We both
bought one. It's nice to be in Makati because everything is so
fast and convenient. I also bought a new dictionary today
because the one they gave us in the MTC is too small and I
know most of the words in it. So today I bought a big
dictionary and a little Cebuano dictionary. Elder Duero
is from Cebu so I thought I would start learning Cebuano
this transfer! Haha.

Last week was really good. We got to teach district meeting
which was on "To begin teaching." We really emphasized
not just starting the lesson but actually introducing the
lesson to the investigator to show them how it will have
a personnel relevance for them. It was pretty good. What
I usually like to do for practice in district meetings is have
missionaries give me their planners then I pick a name in
there and have them practice what they will be teaching
later on that day so then later that day they can teach
what they practiced. It was a pretty good meeting. Next
week we're going to be going to Mandaluyong district for
Elder Koochins (who is also from Canada) District meeting.
Then on Wednesday I get to work with Elder Koochin in his
area. That will be kool because I've never worked with
another Canadian before. There are only 4 of us in the mission.

Last week we also had zone leaders conference, or ZLC.
It was really cool. It's just a really big discussion about
everything that is going on in the mission and it's with
all the zone leaders. I got to see Elder Comish again. Haha.
His companion is really cool. His name is Elder Labinpuno
and he actually took my place when Elder Nye trained in
San Pedro. He is 2 transfers younger than me and he is
really talented. Him and I were in a group that had to think
of ways where we can help all the missionaries in the
mission become Preach My Gospel Missionaries. How we did
that was the zone leaders went into groups of 4 then we
just discussed concerns and questions that President Stucki
has and then we presented ideas and things to the rest
of the zone leaders and President. The whole mission right
now is really focused on going to the rescue and finding less
active members. We have a mission goal to re-activate 1700
less active members by the end of this year, which is
the equivalent of a strong stake. So far we have a few
people coming back here in Makati. So far I think the
whole mission is at 400 or something... It's going pretty well. :)

Oh, my ward here in Makati is Makati 2nd. These last 2
weeks everyone has been asking what happened to the sisters,
because it was been sisters in this area for 5 or 6 years.
so yea. Haha. I love this area though. We have a lot of
potential. We now have 2 baptisms that are happening this
week on Saturday and then one more the next Saturday on
March 17th! So we are really excited for that. Also, this
tatay, Brother Suva who we have been working with, whose
wife and part of his family are members came to church
last week for the first time ever! We were super happy
about that. Missionaries have worked with him forever!
And he finally came to church. His wife was really happy
and told Elder Duero and I that she is really happy that
we are teaching him. Getting baptized this week is Sister
Rose Mar and Tatay Zaldy. Tatay Zaldy is one of the coolest
people ever. I don't have a lot of time to write everything.
But I love this guy and he is going to be a really strong
member and future leader of the church.

I don't have a lot more to write about or a whole lot more
time. I have so many things to fill out here on the computer.
I had exchanges with Elder Pasqual last week who actually
isn't even assigned in our mission. He is from Mindanao but
he will be serving in Utah Salt Lake City mission. He is a
funny guy. Haha. He will do great in Utah. It's just weird
because he leaves half way through this transfer. So yea.
I'm not sure what's going to happen to his companion,
Elder Malit. We will just know what we just know when we
get to that point. Also, the stake president does not own
that hotel. Actually when we were there it was with the
1st councillor of the bishopric and he just works there
but is like a boss I believe. He is a really nice guy.
We had a family home evening there last weekend. I didn't
get any pictures though. I'm sorry! :(

Actually I didn't take a whole lot of pics last week.
It's been super busy. I will try to send some though. :)
Thank you so much for all your prayers. I hope this week
will be a good one. There's a few baptisms happening and
I have a baptismal interview. So hopefully everything is
going great! Thank you so much for everything! I love all
of you so much! Have a great week!

Love you!

Elder Chris Gagnon!