Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 6&7 - 1st Baptisms for my Birthday

Benito Soliven

Sep. 21, 2014
This week I got to baptize the first investigator. His name is Mark Elmo Yakkitan Hermoso. It was way fun. For my birthday I withdrew the money grandma gave me and we bought stuff to make cakes, a soccer ball, and a sweet hat. Then we had a ninja fight and a bunch of other stuff, but it was a fun time.

Sep 29, 2014
Mark Elmo, the person I baptized is a 17 year old that used to be from the Church of Christ. He's awesome and has gone out with us twice now. He's an amazing fellowshipper and he's planning for a mission too. He's a real strong guy. We had another baptism last week. Brother Ashley Naval. He's a 12 year old. He lives with his Grandma and Grandpa who are both active members. Both Ashley and Mark are great examples. Our next baptism is planned for October 18th. Sister Princess Cacayuran. The language is coming quick. I can now actually converse with people normally. Everything else is going great.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Week 5 - 1st Typhoon in the Philippines - Luis

Benito Soliven

Shout out to myself for my birthday.

Also shout out to my Grandma, Britt and Cam, and Hadley who all sent me Dear Elders this week. 

Had typhoon Luis this week. It wasn't too bad, but we still weren't allowed to leave the apartment. So after church we just sat on our porch and watched the wind and the rain. It was pretty cool. The church was also open all night for the families who didn't feel safe in there house, but from what we saw this morning it doesn't look like there was much damage. It sucks though, because even if there was damages, we wouldn't be able to help, because of safety reasons. Like if there was a fallen power line or something.

So I'm going to try to upload some more pictures. Mostly of the kids that live around our apartment. They always come over and hang out with us after work, or on p-days. 

This week we will have our first baptism. Next week we will have another and then another one the week after. So It's a pretty exciting time. 

My spiritual thought for this week doesn't come from the scriptures, but is important just the same. Everyone always looks at the world and themselves through the eyes of other people. People are more concerned with how they look, how they appear, or how they can make themselves look better to someone else. Not only is this a completely and utterly incorrect way of thinking, but it is inevitable destructive. When you are trying to impress someone by changing yourself you will be working your whole life. When you do something right most people won't notice, but when you mess up people will tell you that you are dumb, that you are stupid, or that you have no idea what you are doing. In Mosiah 4:30 we read 'But this much I can tell you, that if ye do not watch yourselves, and your thoughts... ye must perish.' We must watch our thoughts. We must be continually watching our thoughts, watching ourselves. We must always be lifting ourselves up. We must learn how to find our way back, because someones not always going to be someone there to lift you up, but if you can learn how to lift yourself up. If you can learn how to use the scriptures, learn how to effectively pray, and forget what others think of you, and "continue in the faith in what ye have heard concerning the coming of the lord even unto the ends of your lives." It's so important to watch our thoughts and what we are thinking. When you start thinking negative thoughts, remember what you have heard about our savior. Remember what he did for us. Remember that he knows how we feel, and remember how completely pointless it is to impress these people, but remember who we really need to impress. "O man, REMEMBER and perish not."


Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 4 - The Ber-months

Benito Soliven

This week Tanner just answered questions in his email.

Mom: So I hear that the Filipino's start celebrating Christmas early?  That is where I need to live!  haha  Ashley Raymundo said they start celebrating Christmas as soon as Halloween is over.

Tanner: Of course the Raymundos would say that XD Nah they actually start in the 'ber' months. So starting in September. This month people started saying merry Christmas and the ZLs allow Christmas music. So yeah it's been pretty exciting. It pretty cool outside 90 degrees and only 80% humidity.

Mom: Are you guys doing anything fun for P-day? How's the language ? Are you teaching anyone?

Tanner:  Today we are going to go play football with some Ilagan ward members, the ZLs, our DL and his comp. The language is great. I'm not stressed about it. At Bonito Soliven it's real hard to get appointments past six and we're not allowed to be out past 8 since it gets super dark at 7 and there are no street lights here.

Mom:  Football sounds like fun. I'm glad the language is going well.  Well that sucks that you have to be in so early. What the heck do you guys do for the rest of the night?

Tanner:  Well sometimes we stay at members houses near our apartment other times we just prepare for tomorrow. Could you send a pic of the family every keeps asking to see one.

Mom:  It sounds like you're in a tough area, so hang in there.

Tanner:  I love my area. My area is probably the hardest in Cauayan right now, but we are turning it we've doubled the attending members since we've been here.

Mom:  That's awesome about the members attendance! I'm sure they love you.  Are your clothes
holding up ok?

Tanner:  yeah I had to get new shoes, but everything else is fine.

Mom: Good. What kind of shoes? Do you ever wear shoes or do you just wear crocs and sandals?

Tanner:  I wear sandals sometimes, but you need slip on rubber shoes here, because whenever you go into someone's house you have to take your shoes off, so its much easier if you can just slip into them and then the rubber is water proof, so that helps.

Mom:  Do you need extra money?

Tanner:  Yeah I just need to buy some new books, because I have to learn another language.

Mom:  What other language do you have to learn?

Tanner:  Ilocano it's similar, but different enough that you can't understand a single thing they are saying.
Mom:  Sounds like fun. Haha. Are you getting yourself any souvenirs? Are things very expensive there?
Tanner:  Yeah I'm getting a few things. Things are super cheap over here. Like before I leave I'm just going to give away all my missionary clothes and stock up on stuff.
Mom:  Hahahaha. Sounds like a plan. I can't imagine you wanting to wear those clothes when you get back. Do you still have those investigators? Anyone interested in baptism?
Tanner:  yeah we have 5 Baptismal dates atm. plus 2 other progressing investigators. 
Mom: Holy cow! That's awesome! Are you guys going to be doing the baptisms? How do you find these people?
Tanner: yeah of course. Just from tracting, referrals, and oyming
Mom:  Well keep working hard. You don't have to write a huge email every week but let us know one thing that happened that week, please.  your Family needs to hear about it. You're awesome, we love you. Have a great day!

Ilagan District
Elder Bautista, Sister Dela Torre, Sister Vaelua, Sister Lange, Sister Nambengu, Elder Marcelino, Elder Taer
Elder Sison, Elder Indino, Elder Thorpe, Elder Swensen, Elder Tuiloma


Monday, September 1, 2014

3rd week - Working hard in Benito Soliven

Benito Soliven

So when I'm  in street clothes a lot more people ask me for money. Kinda weird. This week its still been raining everyday. Also I'm pretty used to the heat now. It feels weird to go into an air conditioned room. 
This week was pretty exciting, because we have been working pretty hard in this area for awhile now, and it's been awhile since Benito Soliven has seen a baptism, but this week we had one of our investigators who we thought was ready and we got him his Baptismal date, but then after we taught 4 new investigators for the first time all four of them said they wanted to be baptized and we got them dates as well. So great things are happening here! I love it.
My spiritual thought for this week is about how God always puts us through faith tests before we receive blessings. Like Job, who lost everything, but stayed faithful. God won't bless you right off the bat it takes that constant showing of faith before he really shows you his power, So keep pushing. 
Love y'all
     Elder Swensen
P.S. I got Britt and Cade thier b-day present, but I don't know if I want to send it or just keep it till I get back.