Landon with local farmers

Landon with local farmers

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tear bringing, Soul shaking, Heart changing

Hey all!!!

Wow. 6 weeks here in the field! Time sure does fly. That is for sure. I have already learned so much, and I have a lot more to learn, and to go even...I can already see how this mission is going to change me. It’s kind of scary, but I love it here! All the members are so nice to me and always willing to help out if I need something! -So great. 

Two major things happened to me this week, that I will get to shortly. This whole week we focused mainly on the less active members and trying to get them back to church. There is a ton of them! I never knew how many people just gave up on going to church. We committed all of them (8 families) to come back to church, and they all said yes! But, sadly only 3 of them came. My companion and I are thinking of ways we can get them all back there. I think we are going to go pick them all up Sunday morning next week.
--Which is a lot of work because they all live way far apart, like 30 minutes walking for each family! It’s a ton, but it will be worth it in the end!! That’s what keeps me going everyday even though I am so dead tired. I love this work!

Two main things:

1. I finished the Book of Mormon for the second time on my mission!! So cool, right?? The goal for me is 6 times, and I will mark different verses or words each time I read it. I know this will help me gain a better understanding of the Book of Mormon and help me teach with greater power because of my understanding in the Book of Mormon. I feel like I am more converted in the gospel as well- which is absolutely needed because the Golden Missionary Rule is "you can only convert someone up to your own conversion" and that is totally true! I am learning so much and I feel so much better as an individual because of it!! 

Elder Jeffery R. Holland
2. Michael’s baptism… was incredible! He asked that I be the one to baptize him! I have just helped someone come closer to Christ in way of baptism. He has made that first covenant and first step in being able to return into the Kingdom of God again! It’s like... amazing. I can’t even describe it. When we were changing after the baptism, he said to me, in ENGLISH "Thank you Elder Garner... I feel so... clean... I feel....happy... thank you" -all that while he was struggling not to cry. That really hit me in my heart. That’s what a mission is all about! It reminds me of what Jeffery R. Holland had to say in Conference a month ago in his tear bringing, soul shaking, heart changing, bold talk that he usually gives... "I include in that call to fixed faithfulness every returned missionary who ever stood in a baptismal font and with arm to the square said, 'Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ.' That commission was to have changed your convert forever, but it was surely supposed to have changed you forever as well."... Those words will stick with me forever! He is right though. Being able to take part in that really does change you. I can feel it.

I love this work! I love you all! I am so grateful to have you all in my lives! You all are such a blessing to me. Thank you for everything you all do for me. Every one of you. You know who you are! You have been such great examples to me. :) thank you so much. Until next week! Halong!!! 

Elder Garner

P.S. Hey mom and dad, for Christmas, if I could ask for just one thing, and one thing only, it would be books that Jeffery R. Holland has written. I love his stuff.  All of it. Let me know if that is possible! I have already read the Book by President Monson by the way. I also started a book by Gordan B. Hinckley called "Discourses of Gordan B. Hinckley Volume 1." It’s way good! I love the words of the prophets along with the scriptures, I really don’t do anything else in my free time! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Let the good times roll...Zone nurse?

Hello family!

So two things happened this week that really made this week special for me.

Jeepney in the Philippines
First, I got the chance on Saturday to do "Exchanges" for the first time! Guess who my companion was??? Elder Hong! One of the APs! How cool is that? We got on a Jeepny, and started preaching to everyone on it. I passed out pamphlets and taught too!  Way cool! We taught a family how to have FHE too! Man…what a day! At the end of the day, he told me I was very sagad (means very good) in Illongo for only being here one month… way sweet! Confidence booster right there! I feel so happy and better about my language now. :) Doesn’t mean I am going to stop working, just that AN AP THINKS I AM REALLY GOOD FOR BEING HERE FOR ONLY ONE MONTH. Let the good times roll on I guess! I have high expectations of myself. He also told me I could become AP if I keep progressing like this.  I would love for that to happen! Guess we will see how I do.

Second, during the Mission Tour, the Zone Leaders were asking if anyone had any "medical experience" so that they could be the Zone Nurse… meaning that person would help all the missionaries who are sick in the zone. I showed them my First Aid / Emergency Response card certificate I got my sophomore year.  They said alright! You are the Zone Nurse my friend! So,  I am officially the one who takes care of all sick missionaries in my zone that I am in. Cool right?  I have already helped Elders with LBM get the medication that they need and given advice to elders that have fevers and sisters that have other stuff going on. Haha. I feel so good helping them when they need it! This might make me rethink the whole cop thing when I get home. Who knows?  I could follow in Papa’s and Mom’s footsteps!  I am pretty sure everyone who reads this is thinking I am crazy, but I really am considering it! Let me know what you all think.

And lastly, Michael passed his interview! And as far as I know, I am the one who gets to baptize him on Saturday! It’s ultimately his choice, but for now, I think it could be me. That’s what the Bishopric wants anyway… I will let you know next Monday. :) That would be a way cool experience too now that I think about it. I would be helping him come that much closer to the Celestial Kingdom…wow! I wonder what will happen.

Thank you all for your love and support through your letters, emails, and prayers. They are definitely all felt! I couldn’t go on without your love and support. It really helps, and I am so grateful to have you all as family, friends, and more.

I love you all!

More next week. :) 

-Elder Garner

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Hot as Death

Dear family and friends,

Yes Dad I do get all your emails. I responded to the one earlier! First off, Heather I wrote you a letter so expect that soon-ish.

Thanks for all your emails and I look forward to reading more weekly. 
I said last week we had a tropical storm right?? Well this week, nothing but sun and heat! It has been hot as death! Man oh man what a week. Makes for fun when we go out and teach! We walk a ton so I pretty much just drip in sweat all the time -- good thing I asked mom for handkerchiefs!  I would be in deep trouble if I didn't have them! 

So, the Philippines does not have Halloween here. On November 1st they have what’s called ‘All Saints Day’.  Not sure what that is supposed to mean really but all I know is everyone cooks a TON of food all day, gathers together as a family, and  when it gets dark, they all go to a cemetery and eat the feast on the graves of the deceased and get hammered drunk… like big time. So it’s like Halloween and Thanksgiving combined - Filipino style. Haha. Oh its two days actually: November 1st and 2nd. Back to back days of straight up weirdness! During the day its calm though. It’s hard to teach though because everyone has food... tons of it. And they offer food to us when we come by. I can honestly say I had more rice in those two days than I have ever had in my life. Yay for rice! 

I finally met some Elders in my zone that love basketball as much as I do --if not more. There are two of them. One’s name is Elder Garlick. He is from Centerville Utah and played for Viewmont High. The other is Elder Kaufusi. He played for a high school in California in the Bay area, and before he came here he played for BYU Hawaii. Kind of cool right? He’s really good so it’s fun competition. Sad thing is that they both go home after this transfer.  I made really cool friends as they are about to go home.  Go team! Haha. We play every
P-day though right after we email so now you know what I will be doing by the time you read this! 

Typical sugar cane field in Negros
Cool experience of the week: I got to try sugar canes! The family whose daughter is dating the non member asked me if I wanted to try it. So, of course I said yes! You have to peel it with your teeth, take a bite, suck the juice out, and don’t swallow! You spit it out after you can tell that there is no sugar left. So ya, straight sugar! Wahoo! 

Harvesting the sugar cane

And by the way, about the investigator who is dating the daughter, his name is Michael by the way, and he came to church yesterday! All investigators have to come for 4 weeks straight before they can be considered for baptism. So he qualifies! We are shooting for the 17th. I’ll give further details how his interview goes next week! 

Songs I heard this week: Huey Lewis-If This is It, Bryan Adams- Everything I do I do it for you, Guns N Roses-Paradise City, and Taylor Swift-Love Story. It just crazy how random their radio stations are! 

Thanks for all your love, support, and examples to me in my life.
 I love you all so much! Until next week!

-Elder Garner

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sweet Filipino Fruits

  Here are some interesting photos of the fruits of the Filipino Islands.  Mmmmm DELICIOUS! 

Cornucopia of Filipino fruit

lanzones - no English name

atis aka sugar apples

langka aka jack fruit

mangga aka mango

guyabano aka soursop