Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Monday, June 25, 2012

Farewell Elder Berse and Welcome Elder Kunzler!

Carlos Baptism Elder Berse's last Sunday Missionaries from old Puerto district Palawan Makati missionaries Elder Berse, Sister Lilly, Carlos, Justin, Reyna and Elder Gagnon Little boy who wanted his picture taken :) Saying farewell to Elder Berse Hello Family! Last week was super great! It ended perfectly with Carlo being baptized! It was a great experience for everyone who attended. :) We also had a ton of other things to attend and stuff but the week was really great! Elder Berse and I worked really hard for our last week together and we went 91% green on the standards of excellence! That was the highest I've ever gotten since being here in Makati. We also taught a ton of lessons last week. Which was great. We had a really great, busy and hard working week! Last week on Wednesday, we got to go to the temple and we get to go again next week. It was great. Then after that, we had MTC exchanges. I worked with Elder Oquaman. We taught a lot of lessons that day and it was really good. Elder Oquaman will be a great missionary. He started off really shy but once he got going it was really good and we had a really great exchange. Last Thursday we had a training meeting with President Stucki. It was super amazing! We got to hear great instruction from him and from our APs. I learned a lot. I think the biggest thing I got out of it was that I need to really do my best at being more obedient. I'm not really bad or anything but sometimes with the morning schedule I don't do my best. I don't sleep in or anything but it's just with the morning studies sometimes, and exercise. I've made it a goal to really do my best this transfer at being 100% obedient to the morning schedule. It was a really good training meeting. Last Friday was the only day where we actually got a full day of work. We taught a lot of lessons to less actives and to new investigators. We have a pretty good teaching pool as of now. We also contacted three referrals that day, who were not very interested. But other than that it was a good day! :D Last Saturday we had the temple tour, which was really cool. It was my first time. We took Sister Lilly, who is a member, Carlo, his younger brother Justin and Reyna, who is a new investigator, who is also awesome! We went and toured the temple and saw other missionaries and it was just a great day! The spirit was really strong. Later that night, Carlo was baptized! We made the program for the baptism and sang I am a Child of God. Elder Berse did the baptism because it would be his last baptism of his mission. It was a good service because Carlos dad came. He was going to come to church too the next day but something came up so he couldn't come. After that we had a dinner appointment at the Nellas family and had fish and fried chicken. Last Sunday we had 8 investigators at church! It was really awesome! We have had good sacrament attendence for the last few weeks too. The rescue mission has been really good too. We rescued 3 people last month, which was great! Tatay Moises, who went inactive for about a month and a half came back to activity this week. We're just trying to get him the priesthood now. That night Elder Anderson slept at our house, he came from Coron and we had a dinner appointment at the Mutuc family. It was a good night. Then today I said good bye to Elder Berse. It was funny as we were in the mission office, Elder Berse saw the transfer board and saw that Elder Kunzler was going to be my new companion, which is kool! :D Last week was crazy too. We were asked if we had to close an area in the zone which one would we close, so I told President to close Manda 1b(Elder Bueno and Elder Fisher) because they were doing ok and their area was really small. So he replied the next day and told me that he would close Manda 1A(Sister Mohrmon and Sister Roofi), which doing really well, and the Manda 1B elders would just take over their area. I told sister Mohrmon that night and she pleaded that it wouldn't close, so I text back President asking if there was anything else he could do. Then the next morning he texted me and told me that he pondered and prayed about what I asked him and decided to close Manda 1B and the Manda 1A Sisters would take over their area. It was really cool. Anyways, so Makati zone is getting smaller. Hehe. There will now only been 7 companionships, 1 being the APs and 1 being the office elders. Then there's us, the Manda 2A elders, Manda 1 sisters, Makati 3 sisters and Manda 3 sisters. One of the office elders this transfer will be a district leader as well. And that's about it! I don't know who is coming into the zone yet but we will know on Thursday which is transfer day. Until then, I don't get to work in my area. I will work in Manda 1B with Elder Fisher. And that is it! :D Well, things are pretty crazy. It's transfer week again... I'm happy Elder Kunzler will be my new companion. I saw him last temple tour and joked with him saying he is going to be my companion. Well, I guess it wasn't a joke! :) Our investigators are doing amazing. We're going to go for 5 baptisms this transfer, hopefully 3 in July and 2 in August. Right now we have sister Elaine, who was a referral from my batch, Elder Antonio, she came to church last week and loved it. We haven't taught her a full lesson yet but we have visited with her 2ce. She is super awesome and loved coming to church last week. We also have sister Reyna, who is Carlos aunt, She is doing great, she has a baptismal date for the 21st of July. She came to church last week and to the temple tour and to the baptism. She is doing awesome! Her Brother, Tata, is also doing great. He wasn't able to come to church, but he is interested and also doing really well. Then we also have Elonia, who is a referral from the Mutuc family. She also loved church and we will be teaching her a lesson on Friday. We have a plan to baptize her on July 21st. Then we also have Albert, who came to church and is slowly quitting smoking, he has a goal date for the 21st as well. We are praying that he can quit smoking though. He is doing great though. And that is about it for everyone! Thank you so much for your email, even though I haven't received it yet. I love you guys so much and pray for all of you everyday. I love my mission so much! :D Have a great week! Mahal ko po kayo! :D Elder Chris Gagnon

Week of June 18th, 2012

Hello Family! This week was really good. We found a bunch of new people and we're really increasing our investigator pool which is really what we wanted to do. It's going really well. Last week though Elder Berse got sick so there was one day where we were not able to get as much work done as we wanted to, which was too bad. :( Last week, we had Elder Querubin sleep at our house. He is the zone leader in Puerto and he had to go back home to Ireland because he had a problem with his Visa. So we met him at the mission office last Monday and then he slept at our house that night, came to district meeting the next day, then went home. Haha. He came back last Saturday though. Last Saturday night after stake conference, we went to a place called Burger avenue and they have this challenge where if you can eat this burger in under 5 minutes, you get the burger for free. The burger was HUGE though. I almost finished it, Elder Berse didn't come close, and Elder Querubin ate the whole thing in like 3 minutes. So he got the burger for free, and he got his picture taken, which they will post on a wall. Haha. Anyways, Elder Querubin is a really cool missionary, he was born and grew up here, but moved to Ireland when he was like 10 then came back to serve a mission. When he speaks english though he has an Irish accent, but in Tagalog it's like Filipino, so it's funny. haha. Last week we had stake conference. Last Saturday we had the Adult and Priesthood session and then on Sunday we had a broadcast from Salt Lake which was really good. It was to everyone who lives in Luzon Philippines. Elder Tom Perry spoke about the role of fathers and how important it is and stuff. It was a really good conference. Last week we were able to teach Albert and he is doing really well and will be baptized in July if he can work out his problems with the word of wisdom. :) We also have Carlo getting baptized this Saturday! It will be a good baptism. We are also teaching people who live near to Carlo who are also doing really well. We were not able to teach Sheila last week though which was too bad. Hopefully this week we will be able to teach her. She has been really busy though. Also, last week, we had a new Elder come into the zone. He is in a threesome with Elder Fisher and Elder Bueno in Mandaluyong 1B. He has been really sick though. So they have to keep him near a hospital. His name is Elder Swainson and he is from CANADA! :D Hehe. I got to go on exchanges with him and Elder Fisher last week in their area. He was really sick though, which is too bad. Last week the work in that area was really low and it was because they weren't able to work because Elder Swainson was always sick... This is Elder Berse's last week this week. So next week, him and 3 others from the Makati zone will go home. Since Elder Fisher's companion, Elder Bueno and my companion are going home, I will probably be with him for a few days. Also, since Elder Bueno was the district leader and won't be there to teach District meeting, I will get to teach the district meeting in Mandaluyong on the Tuesday which I'm actually pretty excited for. I haven't taught a district meeting since I've been on Palawan. I've taught zone meetings, but district meeting is different because it's smaller and there are less people and no announcements from President or anything. It will be fun! :D Well that's about it for this week. I don't have a lot of time left to email. Happy Fathers Day Dad! I have a Fathers Day pic that I will need to pick up. I don't have it with me now but I will email it next week. I love you Dad! I love all of you and hope you have an amazing week! :D Elder Chris Gagnon!

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 11th, 2012

Hello Everyone! This email is going to be a little short, I don't have a lot of time to email today. Actually, right now I'm in the Manila zone. Elder Berse wanted to go to a mall where everything is really cheap because he is going home soon. This place is called Di Hello Everyone, this email is going to be a little short, I don't have a lot of time to email today. Actually, right now I'm in the Manila zone. Elder Berse wanted to go to a mall where everything is really cheap because he is going home soon. This place is called Di Visoria and everything here is really really cheap. I bought a few things today. It's a really cool mall. It's super different and there are a lot of things you can buy for really cheap. It's a cool place though. Kinda hard to describe though. I bought a 16G USB for 700P. So now I finally have something to save all my pictures on which is great. I also bought a nice neck tie for 125P. A pair of shorts for 200P and a nice new belt for 250P. Everything looks really new but it's all fake stuff. It's cool though. Anyways, so I spent a bit of money. I will probably come back here when I'm going home to buy some stuff because its really cheap here. Last week was a really good week, we taught a lot of lessons and found a lot of new people to teach. The focus of the mission right now is finding and we're doing a pretty good job at that right now. Last week we found 14 new investigators and had 7 investigators at church. Carlo is doing really good. He will be our only baptism for the month of June. We have a few other potentials in July though, which is good. I can't believe how fast this transfer went by. Elder Berse goes home in 16 days. Hehe. He's pretty excited. It's really weird for me. He has a pretty good idea for what he's going to do when he goes home and I still have no idea what I'm going to do... I'm not too nervous about it though. I know things will work out. Oh yea, last week 2 of our really progressing investigators left and are not coming back. So we referred them to the other mission and hopefully they will get taught where they live. It was too bad though. We're working really hard in our area though. Things are going really well. We didn't get 73% of the standards of excellence last week but we got 62% I think. The zone improved a lot last week too. Things are going really well for the zone. We have only had 1 baptism so far for June and this Saturday and Sunday there will not be any at all because there is stake conference. But for the last week we are looking to have 8 baptisms for the whole zone so that is good. Things went really well with our zone meeting last Tuesday too. We still have our goal to get 100% percent priesthood ordination. And since we made the goal when Elder Duero and I were companions the percentage has gone from 68% to 82%, so we're getting there. :) This week we have plans to give out a lot of baptismal dates for July so hopefully everything goes perfect this week. Last week we also got to go on 2 exchanges. I got to go on exchanges with Elder Young in my area. He was Elder Christie's companion in the MTC. He is a good elder. And we had a good day. We were able to teach Zaldy, who is finally feeling better and is able to get taught again. We taught a good lesson on scripture study because that is the focus of the whole Philippines. It was a good lesson and it was also really good to teach Zaldy again. Later that week I got to go on exchanges with Elder Gadberry, he is also a really good elder. He works in the office so him and his companion don't have a lot of time to go to their area. But we were able to go for a little bit and work. It was also a really good day. Last Sunday we had a really good talk by Sister Corry, she teaches institute and she was asked to speak about the seminary program. It was such an amazing talk. She even had some of her old Sunday school students come up(during the talk) and talk and bear testimony of the seminary program. It was really amazing! One of her students was from Makati east, one now lives in Cavite and one other one lives in Florida and she came here to speak and talk about the seminary program. It was really cool and something that I've never seen anyone do. It definitely made me want to take seminary though. It's a really important program of the church. Anyways I really liked her talk. That was about it for last week. Sorry if this email is short. I gotta go. I'm going to try and send some pictures though. I hope you have a great week! Mahal ko kayo! Elder Chris Gagnon

June 4th, 2012

Dinner Appointment we had at the Dimacali home! :D This is the Makati zone, without the office elders...(I was the only one who didn't know we weren't doing wacky faces or poses. Hehe.) This pic is of the elders on Coron, Elder Anderson and Elder Partridge who slept at our apartment one night. This is Elder Munk and I (with the office elders, Elder Gadberry and Elder Pugmire) at zone conference. We have the same birthday and we got called to celebrate our birthday during the zone conference. Hello Family! This week was really great, we had 2 big meetings, a zone conference and Zone leaders council. Both were really great. We also got a ton of rain last week. There was a day where it was kind of a flood. It was a small flood but still a flood. We ended up going home because it was close and we took our flip flops, rolled up our pants and got to work. There was a lot of rain. It went down after a while though. :) We weren't able to teach a whole lot of lessons last week because of all the meetings and stuff. We still had 8 investigators at church though. Which was awesome! :D Sheilla is still doing really great, we weren't able to teach her but we were able to talk with her over the phone and she is doing awesome! We were also able to speak with Albert and he really wants to get baptized, but he has to stop smoking, so that is where we are with him. We actually have an appointment with him later and hopefully it will go really well. Oh yea, about Steve Martin. We aren't sure what happened. He was really on fire when we first met him and was doing amazing. He actually just disappeared and we don't know where he is. His store is no longer around and we never see him on the corner of our street.... :( Last Tuesday we had our zone meeting. It went really well. We discussed one of my favorite lines in PMG "You cannot convert someone beyond your own conversion" P.182 I think of PMG the last sentence of the 1st paragraph. One of the thoughts I had about that when I was in my first transfer that I wrote down was that "the first convert of your mission should be yourself". So we kind of dicussed that for a while and then we taught about how we can better understand things so that we could teach about things more clearly. Then we had the zone split into 2 groups and identify the "What" and "Why" of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and The Principle of Repentence. Then they shared what they wrote down and I will make a typed copy of what they wrote and give it to the zone. I had a drawing for how we can understand things more clearly, I will show it when I get home. It was a good lesson though. We also discussed the Priesthood for the zone that hasn't yet been ordained. We set a goal that all 1 year converts that can have the priesthood will be ordained by the end of this month. When we made the goal there were a few who said that there are some 1 year converts, that can be priesthood holders, who don't want to be taught or come back to church. So we decided as a zone to fast for them. I really want to make this goal and I know that Makati is definitely able to do it! Well, the other meetings we had were really great. At zone conference, President Stucki spoke about how we need to be always finding new people to teach and we need to be more balanced with finding and teaching. Finding is actually going to be the focus for this whole month of June. So for the practices we did, we practiced a few different finding situations, but we had to do it in English! It was really weird, because I'm not used to teaching or talking or doing any missionary work in English. It was super weird. For the first practice we just had to talk with someone we met on the street, find common ground and get a return appointment. There were 3 other zones at this conference and this practice was a one on one thing. So the cool thing was I ended up getting paired with.....Elder Glodo! Hehe. He's such an awesome missionary. He also goes home really soon, not this transfer, but the next transfer. He is doing great though. I love Elder Glodo. Then for the other practices, it was done in companionships. I got paired with Elder Meyer, he is pretty new in the mission and he is from Indonesia! He's a great missionary. We just practiced talking with less actives and trying to share a message with them for the first time. :D At the end of the conference, the missionaries going home either this transfer or next transfer bore their testimony. There were so many! Elder Berse, Sister Gupta, and Elder Glodo and a lot of others who I know bore their testimony. I was surprised. There's a lot of missionaries going home this transfer... Makati will actually be losing an area because of all the missionaries going home. :( Then last Friday was ZLC. It was really good. President showed a video about football. It's in the movie Facing the Giants and it's when the coach makes the captain do a death crawl. Anyways, he showed that, which was awesome, then at the end President said, "Elders you are the most influential missionaries on the team." It was really epic and the spirit was so strong. Anyways it was a great zone conference and President now expects the zone leaders to baptize every month and hit 73% of the standards of excellence. We're doing pretty good. The last week of the month we were one of the only zone leaders to hit 73% of the standards of excellence. President asked us to stand and then he shook our hands and congratulated us. There were only 4 that got 73%, Cavite(Elder Comish and Duero), Dasmarinas, Makati(Us), and Puerto. I felt so motivated to work really hard and really do my best. It was a great ZLC. Something new though that Elder Comish and I suggested during the ZLC was that the zone meetings should be the week after ZLC instead of the week before so we can share what we learned with the zone right away. Anyways, we now have another zone meeting which we have to prepare for tomorrow so that will be awesome! It's going to be more focused on finding people to teach. Anyways I love my mission! I love everything about it. It's really amazing! I'm really excited for Justin to send in his papers. Just make sure he reads a chapter from the Book Of Mormon, A Chapter from the New testament and a little bit of Preach My Gospel everyday and he will be great! I'm actually going to try and send him an email today. President said it was actually ok for us to email all of our family. So I'm going to try and get an email out to Justin. Anyways, that is about it for this week. I hope you're all doing amazing and I hope you have an amazing week. Take care! Love you! Elder Chris Gagnon

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Special zone conference with Elder Nelson...

Mark's baptism
April's baptism
Elder Fisher and I after Friday night exchanges
Merlita Tort, Brother Art, Elder Berse and I at the restaurant in the hotel Brother Art works at.
Hello Family! We had a really amazing week in Makati. Before I get going on that though, Happy Birthday Justin! I hope you're doing great and have an amazing day! I was really sad to hear the news about the Alois. Please tell them I will be praying for them and thinking about them. I am really sorry about the news. To start off, last week we had a special zone conference with Elder Nelson. We were unfortunately, not allowed to take pictures though. Sorry! It was really great though! He invited people up to the stand and asked them questions and tested them on a few things. He asked someone how they would just start talking to someone on the streets, so they practiced and he mentioned that when we introduce ourselves, do not put our hand on the name time. That is something I do sometimes, I'm not sure why but he is right, so now I have stopped doing it! :) He was also able to explain things very clearly and some of the practices they did were really good and funny. I got a lot of notes from the conference. It was definitely a highlight of my mission! Last week we were also able to visit the temple which was great! I love going there. Last week Mark was also baptized. That was also a great experience. He is a really smart kid and really understood everything we taught him. His mom, who is a recent convert, spoke at the baptism and his grandfather was the one to baptize him. It was a great experience for everyone who attended. I will be sending pictures later. Last week we also found a new investigator, her name is Sheilla. She is super awesome! She has quite a few problems in her life right now, but after teaching her for the first time, she said that what we were teaching her was what she needed. The 2 lessons we had were really spiritual and she is really recognizing that she is feeling the spirit. She is doing really well and loves being taught. She also read more than what we left her to read and then had a bunch of questions so I love it when investigators are like that because it makes the lessons more interesting. She was also the second person I have met on my mission who asked what the Urim and Thummim! :D Kennedy wasn't able to be taught last week because he has a new job and has no time anymore. We're not sure what we're going to do. We need to find time to be able to teach him. Carlo is doing well. If everything goes perfect he will be baptized on June 16th. We have a few other new and good investigators too that could be potentials for July. That is about it for this week though. It was a good week. This week we have zone conference and zone meeting. So tomorrow we will meet as a zone and discuss how the Makati zone is doing. Then we will also have a lesson that we will teach about Repentence and the Atonement. For Zone conference we also have to sing a hymn about the Savior, so we will also talk about that during our zone meeting. And that is about it! I hope you guys are doing great! I love my mission so much. It's the greatest thing ever. I hope you guys have an awesome week! :D Love Ya! Elder Chris Gagnon