Friday, December 26, 2014

Week 20 - Christmas Call 2014

Benito Soliven

We were able to video call Tanner on Christmas night (the day after Christmas in the Philippines).  It was great to see him and for some reason it was very comforting to talk to him in person.  He is having a great time in the Philippines and has grown very attached to his branch in Benito Soliven.  A copy of our video call with him can be found at
We had to work out some technical difficulties so the real fun starts at about 9:30.

Tanner Christmas 2014 Video Call

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 19 - 6 month mark

Benito Soliven

So I have some bad news. The people I let borrow my camera they kind of deleted all my photos so I don't have any pictures today. I have 1 or 2 that members emailed me I can upload those. Besides that we finally got a progressing investigator. We are going to give her a baptismal date this coming week so that should be good. We also just reactivated another member so that's good. We're going HAM on the less-actives. Besides that people tell me all the time that my Tagalog is fluent. I don't really believe them, but I haven't really had any problems for a long time. I've officially hit and passed my 6 month mark. It's going so fast I can't believe it. Tomorrow we have the Christmas devotional. So we are allowed to skype any day this week. This Friday we'll go down to Ilagan so I can skype then. I'll try to go early, but bear with me travel here is kind of frustrating at times.
Me and Domingo have really stepped up our games this last week. We teach 6+ lessons a day and we are just killing it. Unfortunately we only have one dinner appointment for Christmas, but the best part is its with the one girl that I took pictures with before. Her family is awesome and her mom was allowed to come home for the Christmas season. Her mom works abroad in Qatar. I also am really serious about coming back here after my mission, but since tickets are so expensive we should probably start planning for that now. I plan to start working the minute I get back.
This week has been really nice. It's been a cool 60 all week. I actually want a jacket. I should have brought one, but I don't have money to buy one.
That's all I have this week. Thanks for the support.
Elder Swensen
Who was transferred in your area?
My district leader, zone leader, and the threesome in San Mariano got transferred.
Do you visit different barangays in Benito Soliven?
We don't go to different Barangays just the same 3 D.1, D.2, and San Carlos. We decided it's pointless to convert people if we don't have a ward. We area already having trouble with my recent converts so that's why we focus on the LA's in the areas close to the church. 
Have you eaten any interesting foods yet?
I've had grasshopper, pig feat, balut, and snail. It was all good. 
How are your living conditions?
We got lucky with our apartment. It's actually really nice compared to other elders apartments. Some elders have air conditioning though which is outrageous and stupid. Luckily though we are kind of up in the mountain so it's cooler up by us.
Do you ever have dinner appointments?
Here we basically have 0 Dinner appointments. We had 1 the entire last cycle and we only have 1 for Christmas with that same family.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Week 18 - Staying in Benito Soliven

Benito Soliven

This week I swore I was going to get transferred but it turns out that I'm not getting transferred. So that's awesome. I seriously was so worried about the members here.  I'm also really worried about all of our recent converts, because they really need that extra help from the missionaries, so if I wasn't here I know that they wouldn't get that help. So I let some of the members borrow my camera for their wedding so again I don't have pictures. Other than that, not much has happened. We are helping plan the Christmas party here in Benito and my best friend got transferred. When I told the bishops wife that we had the transfer lists she called me and when I told her that I wasn't getting transferred she started screaming and saying 'YES'! Pretty funny.

We still can't get progressing investigators, we are trying to reactivate families and finish teaching our RCs. The biggest news here is the Christmas parties.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 17 - Bringing members back into the fold.

Benito Soliven

Sorry we had a power outage last Monday so I couldn't send more. Basically every time it storms we have a power outage. Especially recently because they have been working on the power cables so it's pretty normal to go a whole day without seeing power. This week was good. None of the members want me to leave so they have all been calling President Rahlf and telling him to let me stay one more cycle. If I do get transferred it will be on the 17th of this month, but we won't know until the 15th of this month. If I don't get transferred I will probably stay here until January 28th. This week has been awesome, because we just reactivated another member. Over this entire cycle we have reactivated 3 members which is really hard and the standards of excellence are 1 per month. So we basically tripled that. We are also on track to reactivate 2 more next week and also if we do reactivate them (they are a part member family) we have the chance to baptize the whole rest of the family. Elder Domingo has been fun though. Of course we had and have our struggles, but overall we've changed a lot this cycle. I now know how to control and help my companions who have struggles like this. Of course I can't force them to do anything, but there are things I can control.

The shop that we are at is pretty sketchy so I'm a little hesitant to hook up my card so next week I'll send pictures. I have a lot.  Can you send me pictures of our family, our house, and just a bunch of things like that? maybe some American food or something?  Yeah I got the package. The kids loved the toys and the muffins thanks a ton. Also we get a ton of Tagalog Liahona's here. I also gave away all the CTR rings, those were cool next time all English! They don't like the Tagalog ones. what else.... Oh yeah thanks a ton for the packages. Also next package Real Jerseys!
As for everything else, I didn't come into my mission with the right mindset. I came in here thinking, "I did some wrong things and now I need to make up for it", but after serving these less active families and seeing these people literally beg for me to stay here I see my real purpose. This isn't for me. These 2 years aren't mine. I gave up these 2 years to help the people that are here. With my calling I was of course passively doing this, but now that I know this I've magnified my calling, been there for my companion, and I've been able to bless and help the people here a lot more.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Week 16 - Christmas getting bigger and bigger.

Benito Soliven
Sorry my camera cord broke. I couldn't find one for a while they didn't have any at any of the cell phone stores, but we found a Kodak store that will probably have them so we'll check up on that. I'm also going to lend my camera to the bishops wife for their temple trip on December 12th. Other than that, this week was fun. We have just been focusing on LAs this week because our retention with our investigators is awful. Whenever we tract or follow up on an OYM we can never get a return appointment, or we do set a return appointment, but they aren't 'there'. Christmas has just been getting bigger and bigger everyday. All the school have these giant cardboard statues that the little kids make. It's pretty cool. If I can find that cord I'll take pictures of them to send to you. This week I have been getting weird rashes probably from mosquitoes again. It's basically impossible to wear bug repellent here though. It get super sticky out in the sun.