Landon with local farmers

Landon with local farmers

Sunday, December 23, 2012

God has a plan for everyone

Hello everyone!

First off, I just want to say that I will be calling around 9 PM your Christmas Eve. So 11am my time here on Christmas day. That is the earliest I can call. Does that work? 

SO this week was pretty much normal as far as mission life goes. Our Christmas conference is tonight by the way mom and dad…and tomorrow. So be looking for pictures sometime in that time frame!  I was actually asked to give the Spiritual thought tonight… yay? Oh well. I welcome the opportunity! I chose to talk about 2 Nephi 25:26. Its missionary work baby! I also memorized a quote from Jeffery R. Holland to use too. So I guess you could say I did my homework. :) I will let you know how that goes next week!

Elder Garner sharing a spiritual thought in
Hiligaynon language during Christmas Conference 2012

Elder Garner center, Elder Ellis 2nd from left,
Bacolod Mission Home Christmas Conference 2012

So Tuesday, we had district meeting, and right after, I found out that Elder Ellis was having exchanges with the Manapla Elders... and I live with them.  Meaning... he stayed over that night.  It was so much fun. We cooked eggs, drank water, and had a good time -- All 4 of us. Good ol' Filipino campfire! Minus the language... so almost!   It’s just so crazy to me. As we all were talking, I thought about the late night basketball games where we stayed over the night in St. George for tournaments.  And now we are doing the same thing, on a mission in the Philippines! How nuts is that? I am not sure why we got the same mission call being as close as we were before the mission, but I am sure he and I will figure it out as time goes on. God has a plan for everyone! 

Anyway, the next day on Wednesday, we worked with all the branch missionaries. Well, some of them. 4 of the 9 I believe. One of them is Michael R! The 19 year old I baptized a month ago! He was newly called as a Branch Missionary and goes with us every day, despite the parents’ wishes (they are Baptist). He has such a strong testimony of the church. It is amazing how much he has changed in the 2 and a half months I have known him. Love that kid! Its a blessing to have him there, being a convert and all. He brings that kind of spirit with him that as a new convert, really helps in lessons--especially with investigators.

Speaking of, Elder DLS and I decided to start talking to EVERYONE we saw. Handing out pamphlets left and right! BOOM! We got 4 new investigators this week alone. Which is a new record for me personally.... 3 of them live in the same area.  And let me tell ya, we can’t take a tricycle out there because it would be 100 pesos. What a rip! So instead, we walked like an hour. It took forever! But we finally got there, taught all three of them, and they seem interested. We are going to invite them to baptism this week next time we visit! As for the 4th, haven't found her yet.  There isn’t such thing as an address here so... we just ask people if they know who the person is, then they tell us how to get there. Its nuts! And I must learn how to do that quickly or I will be so toast when I train someday... soon. 
Filipino chili peppers

This little memory is for Heather, but I think you all will get a kick out of it. :) My companion really loves hot and spicy foods. So, whenever he cooks, he puts those hot little peppers in it --All the time. The same ones you had at PF Changs on my birthday over a year ago! Let’s just say I have received your pay back through him. I cry because it is so hot! Good-ness!

I heard through Elder Ellis that Rob M. got his mission call! Mexico! --Couldn't be happier for the kid. Everyone I knew in High School is either on a mission, just getting their calls, or now coming home! What the fruit! Time sure does fly man...! 

Anyway, in closing I just want to say that I love you all. I sent home "special letters" to my own family, Heather, and Nana and Papa for Christmas this week. It won’t get there by Christmas sadly... but, I just pray that you actually get them. It kills me that some of the letters haven’t gotten home yet.  :/ But, know that I send one every 1 or two weeks to you all. I love you and miss you all so much.

I love you. 
Until we meet again! 
-Elder Garner

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pablo & Pigaw

Hey all! 

So this week was way quick. I honestly cannot believe that I am already back emailing you all again. Oh how the time flies! I forgot my planner at our apartment that has everything I needed to write in this email... so hopefully I remember everything I wanted to say! First off, I need to ask for your preference. Should I start all my emails with how my week was spiritually, then go into fun memories, then go into stuff I need if anything at all? Let me know what you think! Whatever you all want, honestly.

Well, this week Elder Garlick went back home to his family. I only knew him for 8 weeks, but honestly he was like an older brother to me. He helped me with so much! Not only was he a great missionary and helped members and investigators strengthen their faith, but missionaries too. I can’t wait to see that kid in Utah again! We have plans to hang out already.  He is attending U of U as of now. So while I wait for that long awaited day for Heather to come home (sometime after me), I will be spending most of my time doing whatever my family wants to do, and I will most likely be at Maeser helping Nate Marshall, and Coach Watabe  THEN, SLC with Elder Garlick. But for now, I am here, doing the Lords work! :) I love it here. 

I have honestly improved so much. Elder Delos Santos quizzes me on new words every day. Our thing is when I hear a word I don’t know, I write it down. I usually get like 10-15 words a day. At the end of the day when we close and plan for the next day, I tell him what I heard, and he gives me the translation. Then the next day, he helps me learn everything I have written down. He is so awesome! I love my companion. 

We kind of did have a lot of "pigaw" (meaning bad, not so good, crap) days this week… a lot of people weren't home. I am not sure where they went with the typhoon and all. Which by the way, was nothing. It barely rained. It was cloudy sure, no sun, but no rain as well. It like sprinkled… Texas rain laughs at the Philippines rain brought by Pablo now... It was mostly just windy. That's all. But ya, anyways a lot of people weren't home this week - or went to bed at 7:30, or were drinking... I think the Lord is trying to teach me patience right now. Cause this week wasn’t so awesome.

I do though, have a freaking odd, kind of creepy, cause I like this sort of thing you know, story. In our area, there was a ton of cop cars all week. I didn't know why. But every day I heard sirens. I won’t go into too much detail because I don’t know how much you can handle but... ya there was a rape and murder. Honestly? Wow. It’s insane here. It's taken care of now, and the men responsible are behind bars now. I don’t know what will happen to them cause I am not sure if they have the death penalty here. I was a little worried for my own safety… But all is well! The dumb men are gone. You are probably wondering how I heard all this? Well, a lady that lives in that certain area is the Primary President in our Branch. We went to visit her and as soon as she saw us, she told us everything. I mean EVERYTHING. She’s one of those talkative types you know? She’s so funny though. Her name is ‘Sister G’. OH! She also asked me, ME, for advice... I didn't know how to tell her that the Branch President would be better for this.

That's all I have this week!

I am getting excited for Christmas time though!  Skype!  Who is all going to be there by the way?? Mom, Dad, Gabrielle, Garrison, Gavin, Grant, Nana, Papa, and Heather? Anyone else?

And the members here are throwing a huge Christmas party which is awesome! Oh wait, I tried Casava the other day.. which is Root? Filipinos cook it, and it tasted just like sweet potatoes! Pretty good! 

I love you all so much! Can’t wait to hear from you all. 

-Elder Garner

ps. I need another journal by the way. I am almost done with the one I brought. Send a large, blue, hardback one. Like the huge one mom has for her journal.

pss. Hey dad look on Utah's roster for... shoot. I only know his last name. His last name is Vatu. Or that’s what we called him at least. He just went home as well from his mission here. He is 6'4, 300 lbs and is the D End for Utah this next season. He is massive --biggest Tongan missionary I have met. He could eat a whole barn. Sheesh…also, when did Jackson Hill leave on his mission?

Have a fantastic week everyone!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chicken on a leash...?

Hey all! 

So this last week was pretty crazy. 

I got my first real taste of visiting every single less active in our area. And 90% of them I had no idea where they lived, or who they were at all. But we visited all of them, got to know them, set appointments to come back THIS week, and invited them back to church. And guess what? Wouldn't you know it, some of them did! Without a full lesson even. It’s kind of cool what a friendly visit from the missionaries can do to people! It was like "ya hey, we didn’t forget about you! We still love and care for you so come back!" type of thing --with a smile of course. 

With one of those less actives, they had a ton of chickens, like so much. My companion asked to buy one, and they said sure! So, yes, we walked home with a live chicken- literally on a leash.  I asked "what are we supposed to do with him? We can’t have pets…" And my companion said "I know bro, I am going to kill and cook it tomorrow for our lunch" Kind of gruesome but way cool to experience in a way. Only in the Philippines right?!?! We then ate it a few hours later for lunch… kind of odd thinking that a few hours earlier that bird was squawking and then it's in our stomachs. BOOM!

So I had Zone Nurse training last week, and it was cool and all, but let me tell ya, most of the stuff he told us, I already knew honestly. I am not in any means trying to brag. I just knew all that stuff from hearing mom or Heather tell me. I guess that’s what I get for dating a girl and having a mom who both love medical stuff and either have or soon will have professions in that field. But, I still took notes though! Don’t worry.

Oh, and yesterday we were out teaching and there was a basketball tournament going on in that same neighborhood we were in which made me miss competitive basketball so much by the way! Goodness. Anyway, while they were playing I saw chickens, dogs, cats, and caribou (water buffalo-like a giant cow) on the court while they were playing! Again, only in the Philippines! Man…plus basketball isn’t the same here as in America. All they do is cherry pick here. Seriously, it bothers me so much! No defense. All lay ups because they cherry pick. Basketball is so different here – can’t wait to play indoors again someday! In due time I know...

Anyway that was my week! Pretty exciting, right?! Oh, few reminders. Send me a USB and SD card, and Lubriderm Lotion in your next package, and yes those books are fine, the Jeffery R. Holland ones. I just can’t read them during study time, which I won’t. I did get your Thanksgiving package by the way! Thank you so much! I really loved it. I decided also that I will bring home gifts for everyone for birthdays and Christmases that I am missing. It will be cheaper that way anyway. Is that ok? I am sending home a letter for you all and Heather though. These letters will be extra special so I am excited for you to get them around Christmas time. 

I love you all so much! Thank you for all you do for me. I look forward to hearing from you in the future! :) Have a great week all of you! 

Elder Garner