Missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 26th, 2012

Hello Family! Last week was another really great week! Things are going really great with everything. The missionary spirit in the Branch has gone up soooo much! Last week there was almost not enough space in the building to fit everyone. Bishop said it was the most he had seen attend in a really really long time. It was really a great Sunday. We had 11 investigators come and 10 less actives that we have been working with come as well. It was really awesome! Last week the whole Rojas family came for the 4th time in a row meaning they have returned to activity! And this week Brother Arnie is going to be baptized completing that family! :D We also had brother Don's baptism. I ended up doing the baptism...it was really great. Brother Don didn't know he was supposed to give his testimony but he still did it and really did a great job. I really see him as a future leader. We're just doing everything to make sure he stays active. Then we also gave 2 more baptismal dates...Brother Biocus, who is the dad of 2 kids that are members(not sure how that happened.) But Brother Biocus is really ready. He has been to church 3 times now and really wants to get baptized. He is doing great. Then we also gave a baptismal date to Brother Chris who has been going to church for a year with his wife and kid but never wanted to get baptized. UNTIL NOW! haha. His goal date is for the 5th of January so we are hoping and praying that it goes through. He is actually someone I have been praying for since I got here and he finally decided to accept a date:) Then finally we have the Albao family, still doing awesome. They will be ready this December 15 and we are going to make sure they know everyone in the ward and have home teachers and everything so they can get to the temple in about 1 year from now. We really love that family and hope everything goes great with them. Then we also had a mission tour last week with Elder Neilson of the 70. He spoke about receiving revelation and establishing the church here in the Philippines. He made sure that we weren't just focusing on baptizing but also on re-activation and retaining those baptized. So far I think we have a pretty good balance. We just need to keep finding more people to rescue and to baptize. It's ok. Don't worry about sending a Christmas package. I don't really need one. I will be home in about 60 days. (weird.) Time goes by so fast. I'm excited to come home but at the same time I'm not because I'm going to miss this place a lot. I really love this last area too. I love the people here in General Trias. I'm going to miss this area a lot. Anyways. I gotta go. I hope you guys have a great week! Take care! :D Elder Gagnon

November 19th, 2012

In his new area, General Trias
Hello family! We had a really busy but great week in General Trias last week. It went really well. As you know last Wednesday was temple day and that went really great and we had a great time. Last Thursday was a good day we taught the Albao family, who are doing really amazing. Sister Albao even came with us for the temple tour that happened on Saturday. They are doing so amazing. Actually last Thursday, we had to teach them at 6:30am because brother had work at 8:00am till 9pm. We got up earlier and then went to teach them. We're currently teaching the plan of salvation. We just taught the first three principles of the gospel. Things are going great with them though. We also have still been teaching brother Arnie. His family will be counted as re-activated this week, then the next week Brother Arnie will be baptized completing the whole Rojas family. Brother Arnie really loves church and I know he is going to be a strong member. Also, this Saturday, Brother Don is going to be baptized. He has been doing great and the ward is really excited because it's the first baptism since the beginning of May. We are all really excited for Brother Don. He is really great. Last week we had a recent convert family come with us to the temple tour and so did Sister Albao. They all really enjoyed it and I would send pictures but I do not have my card reader on me now. Sister Albao said she was really curious to know what was inside the temple. I know that the time will come when her and her husband will both go in and get sealed. They are a really great family. We had a missionary fireside last night and it was in Imus which is far away from Gen.Trias, so we ended up sleeping at the zone leaders house last night. That's why I don't have my card reader. I'm really really sorry. Anyways I know this is a really short email, but everything is doing really great and I don't have much else to say. Don't worry about me getting trunky. It won't happen. :) I'm going to die strong. :) I will admit though, I'm starting to get a little excited to go home. It's really all mixed emotions. This week is my last zone conference and I will be giving my going home testimony. It's really sad. I really have loved my mission so much. It's really been the best thing for me so far for my life. That's about it though for this week. I hope you guys have a great week! I love you! Elder Gagnon P.S: Don't worry about Christmas... haha. I go home like a month later. Thank you though! :D

November 13th, 2012

Hello Family! Today was temple day so it was also our P-day. I'm here in Mega Mall in Makati zone with the Zone leaders and 2 other elders in our zone. Last week was super amazing. We had so much success and we are really seeing the missionary work go up in General Trias. Brother Don is going to get interviewed this Sunday for his baptism. We taught him the plan of salvation last Sunday and it went really well. He is really ready to be baptized. Last Tuesday we had our zone meeting which went well. Something that the whole mission is focusing on is finding. We had a really good experience last week finding. Actually we found this family 2 Fridays ago and taught them last Thursday for the first time. It started 2 Fridays ago when me and Elder Woolsey were lost looking for an address and I actually have a trick to do finding. I talk to everyone and ask them if they know where a certain address is to try and start a conversation. We did it to one sister last week, Sister Shirley and she agreed to have us over the next week to meet her and her husband. We taught them the restoration last week, extended baptismal dates on the first lesson and then taught about the Book Of Mormon Introduction 2 days later. That Sunday the husband, Brother Joelan came to church and loved it! I'm sure both of them are going to be baptized this coming December 15th. They are both really ready people and love listening to us. They are the Albao family. We also have been teaching Brother Arnie Rojas. I think 2 weeks ago we extended him a baptismal date for the 1st of December. At that time he wasn't really sure if he was ready, but last week we taught about the Book Of Mormon and he had read it himself and said that his faith in Christ increased so much and all he read was 3 Nephi 11 and the B.O.M Introduction. It's just really cool to see where he was a few weeks ago where he wasn't sure if he wanted to leave his old church because he was a teacher there and everything. But he really wants to be baptized. He shared to us last night how much he really loves the church and everything. It was another great spiritual experience for both Elder Woolsey and I. Also last Monday, we found 10 new investigators, some that I really think have great potential. We found another family of 4 where we were only able to share a 5 minute lesson about God and prayer. It was great though. I have a really great feeling about them. We are going back to them tomorrow. I'm really excited for everything that is happening in General Trias. That's about it though for now. I'm really tired because we had to get up at 3:30 a.m. this morning to come to the temple. But we had a great session and everything went well. Things a going good with Elder Woolsey. His Tagalog is coming along. He is a bit quiet in lessons and everything but it's all good. He's a hard worker. Training is really fun! :D That's about it though for this week. I forgot my card reader so I will unfortunatly not be able to send pics... But I will send some next week! I hope you guys have an amazing week though! I love you! :D Elder Gagnon

Thursday, November 8, 2012

November 5th, 2012

Me And Elder Gadberry right before I left to go to General Trias.
Elder Navalta and I in our area.
The Rosario District. (Elder Fernando, Elder Reyes, Elder Navalta, Sisters Richardson & Stromberg, and Joice, who is a ward missionary for the sisters)
All the trainers with their trainees this transfer
Me and Elder Woolsey with President Stucki!
This is Me, Elder Villa(my first anak), Elder Woolsey(my second anak) and Elder Acosta (my apo!)
Hello Family! Last week was really great. I said goodbye to a lot of members with Elder Navalta and got to know the area just a little before I got my new companion. I really like this area a lot, actually this is the same area where Elder Glodo finished his mission, so people know him a little bit. He was only here the last six weeks of his mission. And now the big news! My new companions name is..... Elder Woolsey. He is from Beaver Utah and is HUGE! He's a big guy, but loves to work hard! It's really cool training again. I'm really happy to be with Elder Woolsey. The members already love him! Last Tuesday we had district meeting. I really really want to focus on becoming Preach My Gospel missionaries. So we played a game last week where I said random phrases in Preach My Gospel and had the district find them and talk about them a little bit. It was a fun game. Then we also discussed finding through your own efforts and decided that we are going to set up english classes as a district. The district here is really small. It's just us in Gen.Trias, the Elders in Rosario, Elder Reyes and Elder Meyer and then the sisters in Noveleta, Sister Richardson and Sister Stromberg. Then on Wednesday we said goodbye to a lot of members, Elder Navalta packed, and they had a small goodbye party for him. It was an FHE. It was fun. I really like the members here a lot. They all seem really nice. The only problem really is that we don't really have any investigators. It's changed a bit but we still have to do a ton of finding.... But Elder Woolsey and I had a good day last Friday in our area. We taught Arnie Rojas and were able to give him a baptismal date for this coming December 1st. He really wants to know the truth and we really have high hopes for him. We also found a lot of less actives and found one who hadn't been to church in 8 years. After talking to her for a while I felt impressed to share from Jacob 5. It was a really spiritual lesson. We thought for sure the sister would come that Sunday... but she didn't. So it was kinda sad. We also taught a few other really great lessons that day to quite a few less actives and recent converts. Then on Saturday we did a whole day of just finding people. We found 2 familes, one that we have an appointment with later tonight. We are really excited for them. And we also found another family that we plan to go back to later this week. They all really seem interested too. Then On Sunday we taught someone who had been an investigator for 2 years and finally wants to be baptized! :D So we taught him about the qualifications and about a few of the things he needs to do before he is baptized and it went really really great. His name is Brother Don. We set his date for November 24th. So were going to have a baptism! :D The ward was really happy about that when we reported it in our ward council meeting. Oh, I'm going to stay in Lasalle ward when I come back. I don't plan on going to the singles ward. It's too far. Haha. Just kiddin'! But I really do want to stay in Lasalle. Also that will be fine, I could do my homecoming talk on the 27th. Please don't tell anyone though. I don't want it to be some kind of big event, or have even have anyone there. Haha. That's about it for this week though. I'm going to be able to send quite a few pics today. So that's really good. I have to go now though. I hope your week is awesome! I love you guys! Love, Elder Gagnon

Friday, November 2, 2012

October 29th, 2012

Hello Family! It's been a crazy week! I got here to my new area last Tuesday night and it's really awesome here. I already met quite a few of the members and they all seem really excited. My companion's name right now is Elder Navalta, he is from Pangasinan. My anak gets here on Thursday, which is transfer day. Right now Elder Navalta is showing me the area and who the members are and stuff. We actually had a pretty good week even though we were only able to work for half of the week. Elder Navalta is a really awesome missionary. General Trias seems like a pretty hard area. I think it might be one of the biggest areas besides the ones on Palawan. It is a lot like Naic. It's actually really close to Naic as well. We don't really have a lot of investigators but we will change that around soon. Actually something that was kinda sad was that I didn't really get to say good bye to the members in Naic. I'm really gonna miss them, even though I was only 5 weeks with them. Last week, here in this area, we contacted 2 referrals. We contacted one family, the Dosa family and shared to them about God and how the Gospel blesses families. It went really really well. I really have high hopes for that family. We also contacted a husband of a member who isn't a member yet but is really curious. He is really active in his church, but I also have really high hopes for him. He was away from home working abroad for a while and now he's back. We even committed him to come to church last week and he came with his whole family. It was really good! :D Something that was also really kool was last Thursday we had a trainers meeting, so all the missionaries who will be training this coming transfer went to this meeting. I was really happy because guess who I saw there?.....Elder Villa! :D So my anak is going to have an anak, I'm pretty excited for him. President said that was the first time he saw a trainor and a trainee at the same trainers meeting. It was cool. :D We have had a dinner almost ever night here in General Trias. The members here are really awesome and seem to really want to help. I'm really excited to be working with them. I also can't believe I'm coming home really soon. Time really does fly by. Part of training is this 12 week program and it kinda weird to think once I'm done this twelve week program that I'm going to be done my mission. It's kinda sad really. That is about it though for this week. I'm going to try sending pictures, but I still won't be able to get the ones of the baptism in the ocean from a few weeks ago. I will try getting it to you guys soon though. I hope you guys have a great week! :D Mahal ko po kayo! :D Elder Gagnon P.S. Actually I'm really sorry, I will not be able to send any pics this week. My card reader is broken and they don't have one here. I'm going to buy one today. I'm really sorry! I love you guys!

October 22nd, 2012 - NEWS!!

HEY!!! I just got some really big news... So big that I had to come back to the email shop just to tell you guys. We were at the house cleaning and about an hour after I finished emailing, President Stucki calls.... Elder Griffin answered the phone and President told him there was an emergency and that we needed to find a ward missionary in our area in Naic to be with Elder Griffin for a week. Elder Griffin said we would try, and President said that it would be because I will be leaving Naic TOMORROW to go to my new area, where I will be training!!! Then President asked if he could speak to me. I had told him in an email that I wanted to train again because it was my favorite part of my mission. I did say though that it would be up to him. He said he prayed about it and said that that's what he is feeling I should do, so I will be shotgunning in General Trias and training. I will also be district leader again. So I'm really excited and nervous at the same time. I just thought I should let you guys know. President told me this would for sure be my last area. I'm kinda disappointed that I have to leave Naic so soon though. I just started getting close with the members and we really started having great success.... It's ok though. I leave tomorrow to be with Elder Navalta who is assigned there and we will be companions for a few days, then I get my anak! Anyways, that's just the new news! I now have to go home and pack and wash clothes and finish cleaning the house... I love you guys! :D Elder Gagnon!

October 22nd, 2012

Hello Everybody! I hope your having a great time in Utah. I can't believe Justin goes into the MTC this Wednesday. It really went by so fast. Next week will be transfer week and a lot of good friends that I have met in the mission are going home. After this transfer day I only have 2 left! Time goes by so fast it's crazy. Things have been getting better here in Naic. We had a harder week last night. We both worked in Tanza last week because they were really struggling with the work. I got to work with Elder Tietiewa. He is from Kirbati. He has been out for about 5 months now and he is really awesome. He came into the mission not knowing and English or Tagalog, but now he is doing alright. We had a really good day and were even able to extend a baptismal date. Their work this week was really amazing and we were really happy for them. We also were able to go on splits last week and I worked with Patrick, our branch mission leader. It was a pretty good day. We visited this one less active, named Imy Jean. We shared a message with her then we even brought her to an appointment we had with another less active, the Duazo family. It was great because both Imy Jean and almost that whole family came to church that week. It was great. Unfortunatly we really got punted this week from a lot of our investigators. We weren't able to teach the Manuel family or the Linas family... BUT! We were able to teach the Alano family last week which went great. Sister Vangie Alano hasn't been to churh for about 7 years and her husband is not yet a member, we found them last week and taught them again yesterday. It was a really great lesson, both committed to come to church this week and Tatay Alano even committed to be baptized this coming November 24. So we are really excited for him and his wife. We are really still in the progress of finding. We have a lot of baptismal dates that we gave out, but a lot of them don't look like they will end up going through. But we are pretty sure Tatay Alano will go though this coming November. Other than that, we really need to help our investigators come to church. It's been the hardest thing for us so far. Then again, we did have 9 less actives at church. The Ambubuyog family came for the second time in a row. We are hoping to have them fully active again and on the way to the temple. We actually had a really spiritual lesson that I tried with them for the first time. It was on faith. Their big concern is that Tatay just doesn't have enough money to come to church every week because he doesn't have enough money. We committed them to come one week, they came and then that week Tatay found a job and was able to get money so he could keep coming! It was really really great. We're really happy for them. Oh! Last Saturday there was a baptism. Someone from Mandaluyong, who lives in the sisters area requested to be baptized in the ocean. So they coordinated with us and we were able to rent a place at a beach for them to do their baptism. It was cool seeing people from Makati again. I ended up conducting the baptism. Five were baptized that day and before I left there was this chinese investigator that the sisters had been teaching who was also baptized yesterday which is really great! I would send pictures but I cannot today.. I will try next week.... Promise! :D Well, that's about it though for this week. This is the last full week of this transfer. It went by really fast. I hope you guys have a great week. I hope Justin has a great time on his mission. I really do love him and am so proud of him for wanting to serve. Well I love you guys! Have a great week! :D Elder Gagnon

October 15th, 2012

Hello Everybody! Last week was another good and tiring week here in Naic. It's only been since Wednesday since I last emailed so I will start from there. We had our temple day and preparation day last Wednesday and man, it was the craziest P-day ever!!! We left from the computer shop to go to the temple, spent about 2 hours on the bus, I got my going home Xray at the area office next to the temple, did a session, then spent another 5 hours on the bus. And that was our preparation day! Haha! We were really tired after being on a bus for 7 hours, but at least we got to go to the temple which was really great! Hopefully next time though our temple session isn't at 3 in the afternoon though. Thursday was a good day. We visited the Duazo family. Part of the family is inactive and part is active and one of the sons wife is not yet a member. So we taught the son, Don Jon and his wife Mirasol. They are a really great family. Don Jon is actually a returned missionary who served in Angeles mission. We really want to see him come back and have his wife come into the church. We also taught the Manuel family that day, who are doing really great. When we saw them that day we were able to teach them about prophets. We had a really good lesson with them. We were even able to give them a baptismal date that lesson in November. We really want them to come to church this week. Brother Manuel has been really reading everything we have given him and finds it pretty interesting. We have a return appointment with them this week. Brother Joseph is doing really great too. He is only going to be baptized in November though because he smoked once. He also needs to start coming to church again too. He really has a desire to be baptized though. Then we also have the Novero family. They are all doing really good. We were not able to teach them this week, but we're going to really focus on them and get them to church this week. We seem to be doing pretty good with finding. We only were able to get a few investigators at church last week. One of them though was very interesting. We talked with someone on a trike who was driving us to the church for the Saturday session of General Conference. He said he knew a few people that were members and after talking to him for a bit we finally got to the chapel, and he said our church to him always looked really nice, so I asked if he wanted to come inside to see what it looked like. We brought him in showed him around showed him the sacrament hall, the tabernacle choir was singing at the time for Gen.Con and then we walked outside. He was really happy and said that he felt like he was in heaven. We invited him to come to church tomorrow and guess what? 20 minutes into general conference during President Eyrings talk, I see him standing way in the back, so I went to him and brought him to sit with us at the front. He stayed for the whole session and loved it. I even noticed tears when he was listening to Elder Hollands talk! He lives in Trece, which is an area in the Naic zone so the sisters assigned to that area are going to teach him this week! We're really excited for him. I unfortunately will not be able to send pictures this week. Have you guys been getting the ones that I have been sending? Because I have been sending pictures. Also if I had any advice for Justin, it would be to really study and apply everything in Preach My Gospel, especially Chapter 3. A great thing would be to always work. In Chapter 6 under diligence there is a quote by Ezra Taft Benson that says the secret to missionary work is WORK! If he always works then he won't have any problems, even if things aren't going well in the work or with his companions or just about anything he will always feel better when he works! Also one more, this is really just loving everything about the work. He will do great though. OH Something else, that I wish I knew is that ALWAYS finding is very important. It's something that our mission has been struggling with, but there really shouldn't be a time on his mission where he isn't finding some new people to teach. I'm really excited for him though. I hope Andrew doesn't get too lonely though. It will be weird to only have one boy at the house. As for General conference I thought it was really good. I was actually talking about it with Elder Gadberry, one of the district leaders here and we both thought that everything was more directed to the whole world instead of just our church. I loved Hollands talk it was a lot like a talk that he gave at the MTC that we watched for a zone conference once here in the mission. Really great talk, I think that was my favorite one. I also loved Elder Nelsons talk and President Uchtdorfs talk. I really loved his last line where he said, "I pray that we will not wait until we are ready to die before we truly learn to live". It was a great talk. That was about it for last week though. I'm out of time now. I hope you all have another great week! Have a great time in Salt Lake! Also I hope Justin has an amazing time on his mission. I know he will do great and have a fantastic time! I love you guys and have a great week! :D Love Elder Gagnon

October 9th, 2012

Hello Family! It was another great week here in Naic! I will start by answering your question... My companion is from Utah. Acually he lives in the boundaries of the Ogden mission and says that he knows Elder Kaufman. So that's pretty cool. I'm only emailing today because today is our temple day and starting now temple day is going to be Pday. Our time at the temple is 3pm so were going to do our email first then go to the temple. Last week was another really good week. We have been having pretty good success in finding. We have found quite a few families that are really good, but everyone we're teaching seems to have a hard time coming to church. None of our investigators came last week which was really unfortunate. It doesn't look like we will have a baptism for this month, but there are quite a few for November. The Linas family that we found just over a week ago is doing really good, they really have a desire to grow closer to God, which is just great! Then we also have Brother Joseph who is doing really good except that we had to move his baptismal date to November because he wasn't able to attend church. Then we also have the Solero family who have baptismal dates but have a hard time with work. A cool experience though was we went to their house last week and we weren't able to teach them because Brother Solero wasn't there so we asked Sister for a referral and she said, "teach them" and pointed to her neighbors. So we went there and taught them as a family and they accepted the message and even committed to being baptized on a specific date! So we have a lot of people with goal baptismal dates we just really need to help them progress so they can be baptized on their date. Then we also had ZLC last week, which was great. We had a great discussion on the desires of our heart and why it's so important in everything. It's really a simple subject but I learned so much about it last ZLC. It was really great. We also talked about finding all the time because it's so important to always be finding even if your teaching a lot of people. It was a really great ZLC. Also, I got to go there early and sleep at the mission home because it takes about 3 hours to get from Naic to the mission home so we went there the night before and slept there in an air conditioned room with hot showers the next day! It was great! The zone leaders from Palawan were also there that night. It turns our my old area Roxas isn't doing too well.... apparently they are having problems in the leadership, and then things in Taytay are going even worse and they might even close the Taytay area. It was really sad. :( On another good note though, I got to see my batch, Elder Comish and Elder Morris! :D We also had interviews last week which was great. President reminded me that my time here in the mission isn't much longer and he wants me to go out strong. It's really my goal to do that. I still have a lot of things that I could improve on but I've made it a goal to not be trunky and to love the Lord and serve him the best I can till the end. We also had our zone meeting yesterday which was great. We have good goals in Naic. We really want to develop a culture of finding because it's something we should be doing all the time. So we had a lesson on that and practiced different finding situations. It went really really well. And that's about it for this week. I hope you guys have a great week! I love you all! Take care! :D Love Elder Gagnon

October 1st, 2012

Naic branch activity last Saturday
Nicole's baptism last Friday
This is me in my new area...NAIC! :D
This is me and my brothers in the mission, Elder Olongayo and Elder Munk. They both go home this transfer...
This is us at the Stake President's house for the last time in Makati...the Arzaga family.
Hello family! Another great week here in Naic. We were really busy last week, I even got to go on 2 exchanges! Nicoles baptism also went through last week and it went really great. I also got to do an interview for the elders in the Punta branch. Oh yea, I guess I didn't say this in the last few emails... I'm still a zone leader here in Naic. My companion, Elder Griffin is batch with Elder Kunzler, so he has been out for about 14 months now. Actually my other batch, Elder Antonio, was his last companion so I hear quite a lot about Elder Antonio in this area. Something else that is pretty cool in this area is that it has been an elders area for a really long time, unlike STA Monica and Makati where all I heard about was sisters. Haha. I really love this branch so far. The members are really cool. The only thing we are really working on is finding people to teach. We have a pretty big teaching pool of less-actives, but we don't really have a lot of investigators... So we have been finding a lot. Last week we found a family, the Manuel family and they are really interested, their boss at work is a member, we have only taught them one lesson but they are really interested. We also found another tatay, his name is Tatay Linas. He is 77 years old, is on his 7th wife and has 17 kids. His youngest 2 kids are 9 and they are twins. Tatay really has a desire to change. We taught him a first lesson and he accepted to be baptized on a specific date. We are going to be going back to him sometime this week. Then we have Sister Emma, I think I mentioned her last week. She is blind and we have members go to her house and read the Book Of Mormon out loud for her. She was doing really good, but now she had some trials and is worried she won't be able to be taught... We are still trying with her though and her son Eric. Then we have the Solero family. They are a family of 4 who were old investigators, we visited them and they told us they really want to come to church. They were not able to last week but they will this week. We also gave them baptismal dates for the beginning of November. Then we also have Brother Joseph. He didn't come to church last week but he has stopped smoking and really wants to get baptized. His date is on the 27th of October. That's about all the investigators we are working with. We have like 100000 less actives that we are also working with. It's really hard for a lot of them to come to church because they all live so far away, but we are still going to be working with a lot of them! :D Time really does fly. I can't believe about Chris Morales! I am soooo excited for him. He is gonna do amazing in the Philippines. It's too bad that I won't get to see him though. It's actually funny, I was talking to someone the other day who said they were assigned in the Laoag mission and I was just telling him that I never met anyone who served there. Well I guess this week I know 2 people who were assigned there. That's also really exciting for Patrick and Jonathan and Ben. Nothing is gonna look the same when I go home. Haha. I'm really excited! :D Anyways, that is about it for this week. I hope you all have another amazing week! Take Care! :D Love ya! Elder Gagnon