Landon with local farmers

Landon with local farmers

Sunday, May 19, 2013

No effort is wasted


04.28.13
Hey!

So this week was incredibly boring in a few ways. There was a fiesta this whole last
 week so like no one was home. Its called the Huba Huba festival. I have no idea 
what that means, but all I needed to know is every single house that we went to, 
there was nobody home at all. Kept getting responses like "oh the person 
you are looking for is at the festival!"  Haha so we just just kinda drooped our 
heads, and walked to the next house only to find the same thing. Sad thing is, 
the festival is a two week deal. There are booths everywhere loaded with stuff!
Food ! Bags!  Jewelry!  Clothes!  TV's!  Movies!  Music!  And anything else you
can find at Wal-Mart really. Only in the Philippines. Gotta love it!

Also, elections for this part of the island are this upcoming May 13th. So its pretty
close. Can I just say that people here are so gung-ho about elections?  Elder 
Newton and I just cannot catch a break over here. I say that, because three 
of our investigators are involved in the race in some way or another, so no one 
is home. I texted President Lopez about the matter and he told me "Elders,
I am glad to hear that you are having a hard time in your area. Struggling is what 
makes the best Elders! Just push through and keep going. No effort is wasted." 
I just read that and was like... "well, I  guess whatever he says goes!" Can't argue 
with that. He does have a good point though. I guess just like half way through
the week Elder Newton and I just felt so down cause we weren't getting a whole
ton of lessons and a lot of people were not receiving us and listening to us. It 
was like a lot a verbal "door slams" to be short. Because really, there are not 
any doors to really slam down here.. Hahaha.  But ya you all get the point. 
President Lopez is right! If this wasn't hard, this would not be missionary work. 
And to be honest, it probably would not feel quite the same to me. Guess
 the only thing I can say is, ONWARD! 

As far as our investigators goes, we have made no luck with L & M. They 
still are pretty dead set on not committing to a date to be baptized. They accept 
our invitation, just not a date. We keep going back to their house almost everyday,
but they won't budge at all.  Maybe its just not their time? That is what I thought 
until L asked us yesterday "what is not allowed in your church if we get 
baptized?" So... hopefully after we teach the Word of Wisdom, he will have 
more questions that will help him open up more. Guess we will just see! We
also have J too. I think I have mentioned her a few times. She comes to
church everyweek, reads every day, and even goes to youth conferences with
our youth here. I guess ithelps that her step sister has been a member for a
year. So we have an automatic fellow shipper for her right there. She has been
taught the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. She is one of those investigators
that will be baptized while I am still here in Hinoba-an. She is all ready. 

Well, sad to say it but that is all I have for this week. Hopefully this next week picks up 
but honestly, I doubt it. Stinking elections and festival. 

Oh well. NO EFFORT IS WASTED!   No better way to end than that! 

Rey.  "The best branch missionary -- ever".
 He left for his mission to Africa last week.

P.S. God is winning



04.21.13 
Hey all! This week just scooted right on by! I can hardly believe it. Let me get right on to it..We had two doses of exchanges this past week. Oh man what that fun and a ride at the same time. First was on Tuesday this last week. I went with Elder Torres our District Leader and we worked in his area. Elder Newton took Elder Magbual back to our area and worked there for the day. Elder Torres and I had a great day! 8 lessons in one day. Goodness. We had a lot of success. Elder Newton and Elder Magbual did not however. They did get three lessons which was good. They are both really new still and still in the training program. When President told us that he wanted the two Seniors to work together and have the Juniors work, I asked "won't they struggle though?" He laughed and said "Let them struggle Elder. That is what the mission is all about." So.... that is what happened. I think it was a good experience though. The next day the Zone Leaders came and we swapped again. I went with Elder Mata'utia back to his area and worked with him again. He is always a lot of fun to be with. He is straight from the island of Samoa, so his English is kinda choppy sounding, but he is really good. He is a great teacher too. I learned a lot of new words, and teaching skills to use when I teach too. That is kind of the point of exchanges anyway... to learn from your Seniors! 

Other than that, we had two investigators move yesterday. Sister V, and Brother M. They both moved over to the Negros Oriental side of the island. In the Cebu East mission.... so we lost two investigators right there. Sad day but... what can you do right? On the other hand, we have 2 new investigators on hand. S S , and Brother Valence. They both were referred to us by members so we have begun teaching them. They are progressing quickly so Elder Newton and I are planning on inviting them to be baptized this week. We are excited about it! We also taught J yesterday in the chapel. We finished lesson one with her, and she has accepted to be baptized on June 15th. Little far out, but due to the fact that she lives so far away, President Lopez said that he wants us to focus around the church where its closer. So teach her once a week is what he told us. That is why her date is a little way out there. 

We did have Presidents Training this last week though. Man what a fun day. I always love when he comes down to train us. My dad always tells me how lucky we are to have a President that will travel from Zone to Zone to train them in a day. I can see how right that is. President Lopez trained us mostly on the Restoration. I will never forget what he told us. He said "Elders, when you teach the first vision, I want you to bring the Sacred Grove into the home you are teaching" And my mind was just blown. I mean we all try to do things like that when we teach, but the way he put that phrase, and delivered it was amazing.
President Lopez instructing the missionaries.

Elder Garner and Newton learning from the President
and staying hydrated.

Elder Garner giving the spiritual thought.

Elder Garner sending me the message that
 'Yes mom.  I am staying hydrated.'

receiving more instruction

Elder Garner and Elder Newton &
The First Vision
He did a few Q and A with us too. He went so deep doctrine on us that I still can't believe how much knowledge he has. Man oh man. He said not to quote him or he will deny it. Hahaha. He did all that for our benefit, not to use when we teach. He did shed some light about the pre earth life that I did not know. If you want to know, ask me in an email so I can tell you. All in all, I left that training uplifted. 

This week we have one more batch of exchanges! Looking forward to that! I love you all so much. I pray for you all daily. Have a great week! 

P.S. God is winning.  
Feasting on the food after feasting on the word.

Working to contain his enthusiasm for American Hot Dogs!


Amen, Elder Holland. I Believe!


04.14.13
"What was once a tiny seed of belief for me has grown into the tree of life, so if your faith is a little tested in this or any season, I invite you to lean on mine."

Those are the words that I left Conference with yesterday. Amen Elder Holland. I believe. 
Elder Jeffery R. Holland


Hello all! 

This week again, went by super quick. Topped off by an amazing General Conference. Wouldn't you all agree? I think for me, Elder Holland was my personal favorite. I find myself doubting whether I can do this or not, whether I can press forward and really do what I need to do. But I heard what I needed to hear from him. I have everything I need to help others come closer to Him and His Son. I want others to feel what we as members feel everyday. Lord, I believe that through You, I can do anything. I can climb the biggest mountains, I can swim the largest seas, I can find people to bring your message to. I can teach with power enough to affirm to their souls that this is the right path for them. Lord, I believe. 

This week though, Elder Newton and I have been working on some Less Active members. The C Family. They were the first members in this whole area. So in reality, they are the pioneers of this area. They haven't been to church in who knows how long. All I know is they are less active.. But! Elder Newton and I have visited them a ton this week, and we have gotten to be pretty close with them. Its really great. They came to General Conference too. They invited us over Thursday for dinner (this coming one) as well!  Making progress with them. The mom of them, is like 60 years old. She reminds me so much of Nana its insane. Height, hair, and the way she talks to me. Even though it is in a different language.. Haha. But still. I see and talk to her, and I think NANA (yes nana I miss you and papa!). 

As far as investigators go, Brother M has not been to church in 5 weeks. He tells us that he wants to come, and we keep inviting him, but he doesn't show up. Even with his ALREADY MEMBER WIFE. Hard to explain. I flat out asked him last week "Brother, do you have the desire to be baptized into this church?" And he responded with a resounding "yes elder, I really do." Then I told him in the most loving way that he needs to come to church.. Its really the only way. I hope he follows through this upcoming week. L & M are on our spot light to be invited to be baptized this week. They read every single night from the Book of Mormon, together! I mean come on... Can you just say they are prepared or what??? They totally are. Then lastly, J. She is a part member, and has the date of June 15. Only because she lives so far away and we can only teach her one time a week (Presidents orders). But she has come to church 4 weeks straight. She is ready and just needs to be taught all the lessons. I'll update you all on that as time goes on..

That is all I have for this week. But, this week we have exchanges with Sipalay, and Cauayan. Two straight days of fun! That is next weeks email though. I love you all so much. Thank you all for everything that you do for me. Until next week! 

Love From The Philippines!

-Elder Garner

This mission is proving to be the best and hardest thing I have ever done in my life...

03.24.13

Hey everyone who may have the opportunity to read this!

How is everyone doing at home? Swell I hope! This week was insane. Lets just get started here..

So in the mission field, the last week of the transfer is generally called "trunky week". I am not sure if that is how it is in other missions in the world, but that is how it is here! That is the mission joke though. I wasn't really trunky at all. In fact, we worked way hard this week. It was insane how much work we did. We got 7 new investigators this week! 7! How about that. We have 10 overall now. SO much better than what the situation was when I got here 6 weeks ago. Elder Inlayo and I have turned this place upside down. 

Tuesday we had exchanges within our District. Since there is only two companionship's in the district, I went to Sipalay for the day. Right after District meeting we made the swap, and went our separate ways. I was with Elder Magbual that day. He is a brand new Elder from the very top of the Philippines called Laog. He speaks Tagalog, Ilocano, and that is all. Elder Inlayo told me that every Filipino can learn a new Filipino language in 3 weeks to 4, and be fluent in it. I mean its way cool for them, but for me? Makes me wish I was Filipino for two years. The funny thing was, he didn't know Ilonggo very well at all. Like hardly. I knew way more than he did. And he knows little little bits of English.. The day went pretty good too though. I did however, want to DIE when we did our companionship study. It was pretty hard to communicate some ideas back and forth to each other since I speak no Tagalog  and he speaks little Ilonggo. We got stuck at some parts but hey, I am living, and he learned from me. So I am happy. We visited some less active members in their branch, and I led all the lessons. In the lessons he taught in mixed Ilonggo and Tagalog.  So I understood like 65 percent of what he was saying. Haha its all good though cause the people we were teaching that day all understood him and that is all that really matters right? I just testified and said this "I don't know Tagalog, but I know that what he said is true."  Humor is usually the key to less active's hearts. 

Wednesday we had exchanges with the Zone Leaders! Oh boy was that an adventure. We all met in Sipalay because its the middle of our area, and the Zone Leaders area. I took Elder Matatutia back with me for the day. He's been out for a year now, and he is from Samoa. He is seriously so funny, too. Even though he has never set foot in the area I am in, he still managed to become friends with all the members we saw that day. He taught me a few things to use when I teach too.  Especially using the Book of Mormon. It was a great day to say the least. We did a lot of contacting referalls, and OYMing. Which lead to 2 new investigators that day. Elder Inlayo and Elder Torres the day before got 2 new ones themselves as well. So that is 4 in 2 days! 

One of them, is a Branch Missionary's mom, that just got home from work in Manilla. She has been gone for 5 years. Her daughter was converted 3 years ago. So her daughter, D, has been all over Elder Inlayo and me -- making sure that we teach her mom. Which is understandable, she wants her mom to join the church! And Elder Inlayo and I have the best way to help her do it. We have taught her all of lesson 1 so far. This is the cool part. We got a text from D the night we finished all of the lesson and invited her to pray about our message, and about the Book of Mormon. She told us that her mom prayed very sincerely, and went to bed. About an hour later, she woke up and told D that she had a dream (brace yourselves for this). She told us that she was at the beach, all dressed in white. A man came up behind her, and guided her into the ocean, about waste high. She asked "who are you?" And the man responded "I am Joseph Smith" and then proceeded to baptize her. CRAZY. She asked that we meet with her the next day. So Elder Inlayo and I decided "LETS TEACH HER IN THE CHURCH!" And that is exactly what we did. Gave her the general tour, and taught her by the baptismal font. I can't even describe the feeling that was in that room.. Truly incredible. D's mom told us that she knows this church is the true church, so we invited her to be baptized. Her date is April 13th. 

And, that was my week. There is no better way to end an email other than how I just did! This mission is proving to be the best, and hardest thing I have ever done so far in my life by far. But I can see how I am changing into the Returned Missionary that God wants me to be. It truly is amazing to be able to feel Heavenly Fathers love for all of His children as we teach them about His Restored Gospel. 

I love you all so much! More next week. I will update you on transfer day next week if there is any changes in my companionship. Have a fantastic week! I pray for all of you daily.

...like a dad would care for his child


03.17.13

Hey all! How is everyone today (or tonight for you all I guess)?
So this week was kinda really boring. Haha in fact, there was two days where we didn't even get to work. At all. Elder Inlayo woke up one morning and couldn't walk like at all. He was in some serious pain. We still have no idea how he did it. He just did... It was weird. We talked to the mission doctor Sister Chin and she told us that since he and I are too far away south from any type of doctor, to just stay home and ice it on and off and take medicine. Luckily for him, I had bought ice a few days earlier, I had zip lock bags from nana and papa, and Ibuprofen from my family. Haha he was all set because he had none of that stuff at all. I pretty much just played doctor for a few days. We would ice his foot for 20 minutes, then take it off for 10. Did that for about 2 days straight. It was a lot of ice, but it worked and did the trick he needed. We finally got out and worked. He was able to endure the pain, but it was still hard to move for him. We just took it slow and stuck around the house for the next 2 days after that. Things happen, I was patient and just did what he needed. Haha I felt like he was a child in a way though. Like the way a dad would take care of his children. He is a great Elder though. I love him to death and this transfer was awesome (ends next week). So ya I was happy to help him out and let him rest up since he had WWII going on inside his body.

2 quick things! First off, we found a house. Last P-day after we emailed actually. I had an idea to go to City Hall and ask them for a list of houses. Genius right? They actually had one house left! I wish I could show you pictures of it, but I am still working on that part to send over email. No luck. BUT! The Adams Couple came and looked at the house to make sure that it would be worth living in. The Church will only pay for the rent if it is 8000 pesos or less. We got it for 5000. But in order to get the final say, we need one persons permission. Yup. You guessed it, President Lopez. So the Couple took pictures of everything to show him to save him a 4 hour car ride down here. If he says its ok, he will let us move out.. when there is time. 
Second! Due to my companions own battle with himself, we were not able to go on exchanges last week. So we have 3 consecutive days of exchanges this week. Tomorrow I will be in Sipalay with Elder Mabual. He is brand new this transfer. From... Laog I believe. The highest point in the Philippines. Then we will all meet and switch back on Wednesday, then we will meet with the Zone Leaders from Inayuan. I will go back to my area with one of them. Elder... I don't know how to spell his name. Its long. And Tongan. Like Matutatea or something like that. More on that next week! Gonna be an adventure for sure. 

We also had a Philippines Wide Area Broadcast for all the Districts, and Stakes in the Philippines yesterday. It was broadcasted straight from Salt Lake. Elder Hales presided, and Elder Holland was a speak. So was Sister Cook, and Elder David F. Evans of the Seventy. It was way good! I feel bad though. It wasn't translated in any of the Filipino languages, so we are not sure how much of it they District understood. You know how Elder Holland is! He used so many big words that my companion and I KNEW for a fact they didn't get. You know what I mean?? But I got everything though. Haha of course. I think I was the only one besides my companion. They all talked about things that these Districts need to do in order to become a stake, and to never give up. Elder Hales talked mostly about Tithing too. Haha it was a lot, but for me, I get everything they spoke about.
Lastly, our investigators. We finally taught Larry and Miles yesterday! We found them at a better time to teach them. Miles has been reading the Book of Mormon even though we can never find a good time to teach them! How great is that?! We were so happy. She started the Book of Mormon over like a week and a half ago, and now is in 2 Nephi! Cool stuff indeed. :) We taught them about the Plan of Salvation and kind of ended the lesson when we start talking about "why we are here on earth" just cause the whole lesson all at once would confuse them to death.

Next, WE FOUND SISTER BAYLON! She lives so far away now though. I mean holy smokes. Far away enough that we can only teach her once a week. We don't have any other reason to go out to that place except for her. That is how far away it is. President Lopez told us to just stick to the 10 pesos a person ride thing. Where she lives, it is 35 pesos a person. SO... ya. Once a week! Lastly, Brother Mondiola. He came to the broadcast yesterday with his "partner" Sister Daisy. I don't think he understood a thing that was said.. I hope the spirit taught him something though. Elder Inlayo and Elder Torres (from Sipalay) will follow up with him tomorrow.
Anyways, that was my week! I will update you again next week! Last P-day of the transfer! Time sure does fly. I love all of you so much! Have a fantastic week everyone! Be safe! The Lord is with all of you!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

100 degrees and my feet don't sweat


03.03.13
Dear.... Everyone! 
So just so you all know, I keep forgetting to mention this but there is no ATM for our credit cards anywhere in our Zone. The closest one is 3 hours away in the closest Zone to us. So every two weeks, we have to hop on a bus and ride over here to withdraw money. President Lopez gives us special permission to stay here for the P-day and do all of our shopping and P-day activities. The city is called Kabankalan. It is right in the middle of our area that I am in now. But, it does have a huge mall in it. So we email, shop for food, print pictures, eat lunch, and do all that kind of stuff here. It is pretty nice even though this shop has sketchy email. Oh well. I think it is ok right now. 
I thought it was hot in my last area. But because I am farther south now, it got even hotter. I looked at my thermometer the other day, and it was 100 F -not including humidity. Holy smokes! I felt like I was gonna die the other day. Actually, President Lopez sent a text out to all of the companionships in the mission and told us "Elders, even though it is fast Sunday right now, I want you all to drink water. That might sound odd, but with the work you are all out doing, in this heat, I need you all to be drinking water." Haha so we hopped all over that. But yes, it is super hot. I want to see Gavin or Gabrielle assigned here in a mission like this. I even sweat through my shirts. But, want to hear something funny? I have not had a problem with my feet since I got out here in the field.... Not a bit. My feet don't even sweat. My socks are always dry. It is so hard to explain and I don't understand it. But, I see it as a blessing!
Siplay Zone Conference
We do have Zone Conference this Wednesday and Thursday. And.... it’s a 6 hour bus ride! Stoked for that let me tell ya... Not! I wish we had a car... but I guess a bus that stops every 50 feet will have to do. I was asked by President Lopez himself to sing a duet with another Elder in my Zone as well. “Special musical number”... yikes! I love to sing and all but I have never done more than ONE note by myself in front of people... If anyone that reads this remembers "I need somebody to love" in Extreme Choir last year... now that was a memory. But, we are singing’Secret Prayer’. Maybe Sister Lopez can record it instead of taking pictures so you all can hear and see. I will ask, but no promises. Don't ask me to sing at home. I am shy.

Filipino village
I had an interesting experience this past week. We found a kid that is 19 that wants to listen to us. He told us to come back on Saturday at 1. He gave us his name and ‘address’. So my companion and I go back there and try to find him. We call it "hunting" here in our mission. Since nobody here has a set address. You just have to ask around to find people-- it is a load of fun! So we find the area he is supposed to be in, and his friend, relative, or parent told ME to get lost, that they are Iglesia Ni Cristo and want nothing to do with us. Anyway, they have churches in like every part of the Philippines. They just barely built one in our area actually. It's built like a temple to be honest. They are so mean to us, too. They teach their members that The Mormon church is the most incorrect church. They all act like they HATE us. How can you hate a short Filipino kid, a tall white American, wearing shirts and ties, while smiling and 
SINGING HYMNS OF GOD? I will never understand. But yes, we continue to go and teach.
Investigators! So… this week kind of stunk. Remember L and M? They were not home at all this week -work, or just plain not home. It stunk. So we weren't able to teach them really at all. BUT! We did teach Brother FM -the one with the sad situation. He is progressing really well. We taught him last on Friday last week. Before we left, we made sure to commit him to come to church. He told us that his "partner" wouldn't be home this Sunday. She is a member and has helped Felipe so much. We were expecting him to say that he wouldn't be able to come because she wasn't home. BUT! He then proceeded to say that he would come BY HIMSELF! How cool is that?  And he did come! Oh man, were we ever happy about that. He has come so far in the short time that I have been here in this area. I love that man. As far as other investigators, the other one, Sister B moved without telling us. So now we have to go find her again. She moved within our area, so we just go "hunting" again in order to find her. More on that next week!
Elder "I" and Elder Garner
(knowing that his mother would see
this photo on Pres. Lopez' FaceBook page,
Landon is showing me that, yes,
he IS DRINKING LOTS of water)
As far as my companionship goes, we are still awesome. I love Elder I. He is so cool! And, so helpful! Plus, we decided to start reading the Cebuano Book of Mormon, too along with the Ilonggo one. So he is teaching me two languages at once! -Something else cool, I am getting used to hearing the languages now, so even when someone is talking in Tagalog or Cebuano to me, I can understand most of what they are saying, and respond in Ilonggo! Now I want to learn those two languages. I am going to come home having learned 1 language with 2 dialects under it. That is my goal! I already got a Book of Mormon in all three languages. I want to learn more! It is awesome. As time goes on, the better I will get!

That is all I have this week. More on this week, next week! I love you all so much! -Until next week everyone. 

Love From The Philippines!
-Elder Garner

Saturday, March 9, 2013

You only have two years to do this...


02.24.13
Monday
Hey all! How is everyone doing?  Swell I hope! 
So this week was.... SO BORING! NOT! Haha. A lot has happened. A few things that I want to make sure to say. So I will get right on to it.
First off, my new companion, Elder I, is an amazing! I feel like I teach so well with him! I think that is because we get along really well and he understands me. He was born in Manila, but he grew up in Vancouver, Canada. Our Zone Leaders even refer to him as a "foreigner" Hahah! He's totally non-native though. He says "oh yeah" to me all the time. Not in Hilagaynon either. The kid is too funny for words. He might even be one of the companions that I will keep in contact with after my mission. Canada road trip (oh and as I write this, all the little Filipino kids that are here in the computer shop are all gathered around me and my computer as I type… like as of right now. Haha they can't understand English so... when they read this as I type, they won't get it.)! 




So a few things about church yesterday - they only have one priest in this Branch. He was in Bacolod with his parents yesterday so there was nobody to bless the sacrament. Guess who the Branch President asked to bless the sacrament? Us. Luckily, he told us to do it in English, which was nice I guess. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to read the prayer in the language, but when I opened my Libro Ni Mormon to the verses in Moroni chapters 4 and 5, I realized there were so many big words that I would totally butcher. So, I went with English. Maybe in a year’s time I can do it in the language if I get asked to again.
Oh! As we finished the opening prayer, and older man walked in. And by older, I mean he is like old. I found out that he is 95 years old. 95! He still works as a fisherman, all by himself. He still walks without a cane or help! It's nuts. 
new area, Hinoba-an
-So this area that I am in now.... holy smokes. It is like 15 times bigger than my last area. And since President Lopez wants us to have as many lessons with investigators with a member with us, we bring 1 or 2 with us. But since they are poor and cannot afford to take a tricycle as far as we go, we pay for them. And because that is part of what our support money from the church is for. But.... it adds up fast because our area is like enormous. President told us that he will most likely adjust our support money so we can meet the needs of this area without any restrictions. Still no word yet, so we will see. I don't worry about getting fed dinner so much anymore. We had a dinner appointment every single day last week. 


old area, Cadiz












Fish market in the Philippines
Guess what else? Because this area is right on the ocean, they get fish for so cheap. So, every meal I have eaten since the minute I got here 11 days ago, I have eaten fish. I hate fish. Anyone who knows me will know that if I had a choice between beef, chicken, or pork, and fish, I would throw the fish to the dog and eat everything else. Here I can't do that. Well, it is like President says "you only have 2 years to do this. So, don't mess it up." Haha- honest quote. So I eat it anyway. I have had maybe 5 different kinds of fish lately... and I can't remember the names of them. But 2 types of fish I do like a little…enough that I don't have to choke it down. I am getting used to it though. 


OK-- onto our investigators!  We have like 4 that are willing to listen and learn. First off, we have Sister B. She was investigating the church like 2 years ago but the missionaries stopped visiting her because she was a live in with her boyfriend. But, there was a mass wedding here in our area and anyone who had 100 pesos, the Mayor married legally. So we began teaching her again! She is still really interested. Her husband however, is not. We found out that he is a really active Pastor in another church here in this area. Kind of a problem you'd think, but he allows us to teach his wife. He just wants no part of it. I thought it would cause tension but he is totally cool with it. Maybe after we baptize her, he will soften up. You know what they say!  Next, we have L and M. They are in same situation as Sister B. Investigated, weren't married and then discontinued. But now they are married and they both listen and learn. Brother L’s brother is actually the 2nd counselor in the Bishopric here and ironically their house is right in front of the church, as in 25 steps from the front of their house, to the church. Those three investigators have all been taught the Restoration only so far. We will invite them to be baptized this week. More on that next Monday!
Our last investigator deserves his own paragraph. It is kind of sad so get ready. His name is Brother M. He is a fisherman, and works nights. He has a girlfriend/wife?  -Hard to explain that. Her name is D. She was married in the past and had one son. Her husband left her and the child in the dust for another girl in Manila. That was 10 years ago. Now she is with Brother M. But since she is poor, she can't legally divorce her old husband. So her situation is called "Co Inhabitants". And here, it’s the closest thing to marriage. The Church however, has come out with something regarding this. Since they can't legally be married, but they are "committed" to each other, they can be baptized. That is the only good news. Bad news is, he can't hold any callings, or receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. On top of all that, they can't have a temple recommend. Meaning.... they can't be sealed together for eternity.  We just found this out yesterday. President Lopez would also like to interview F before his baptism. Good grief man. It is such a hard situation. We haven't told him or D yet. We will have to soon though. President will instruct us on what to do. -More on that next week.
Well family, friends, and loved ones, that is all for this week. All I can say now is, have a great week. Thank you for all your prayers in my behalf. I feel them every day. I love you all so much.

Love From The Philippines!

-Elder Garner

Legit English and Mondragon, How sick is that?


02.18.13
Monday

HEY MOM! HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! 

Sorry I am getting on a little late, I had some things to get figured out and such so... It is all a work in progress. I will explain further in my email now.
I think you all may know that I did get transferred. I am no longer in Caduha-an. I am in Hinoba-an, Sipalay Zone. Here is how you can tell where it is, look at a map of Negros Occidental, and look at the border between Occidental and ORIENTAL, and I am the last area on that border. NEGROS ORIENTAL is where the Cebu Mission officially starts. Don't ask how the boundaries work- I have no idea. Let’s just put it this way, I know I am in the farthest area south in the mission. It is about 7 hours on a bus south of Bacolod. So ya. very far. I will go through the big events that happened this week though now.

So on Wednesday, we got a text from our mission secretary about paying your share of the bill if you end up getting transferred. We asked around the Zone to see if anyone else got it and only 2 other companionships did… so we figured it was a sign that either Elder DLS or I was going to be leaving. So we spent the day teaching until around 6, then we went to visit some members that we are close with, just in case. So we did just that. At around 9:30 we came home, closed the day, and planned for the next day. We hadn't received a call from the President or the AP's yet so we figured we jumped the gun or something, right? I had just finished writing in my journal, brushing my teeth, and I was about to go to sleep when one of the AP's called. He told my companion that I would be leaving tomorrow and that we need to be in Bacolod by 8 the next morning. Meaning I had to start packing right then. And I was all comfortable and had a system with all my stuff, too! Haha dang it! Oh well. The entire time I was packing, I could only think about where I was going (the AP told my companion that we would find out tomorrow), and who my new companion would be. I finally got to bed around midnight after packing for an hour and a half (man I am so bad at packing..... I needed so much help. But, I got it done. So, that was that.)
 We woke up and left for the Mission Office at 6:45 am, and got there around 8:15. I found the one of the AP's and asked him where he wanted me to wait. 
Bacolod LDS church building
He told me to go into the Chapel in the church and just wait for my companion to come. So, I went in and found most of my batch in the chapel, too. They ALL are training right now. I asked, "How do you all know that?" They told me that the AP's told them when they called. So I asked the AP "Am I training or no?" He told me "No, Elder Garner, President Lopez has something special for you." SO.... ya I got nervous because I knew nothing. My companion finally got there around 9:30 am. His name is 'Elder I'. Sounds Filipino right? Because he is. But when he opened his mouth to talk to me, English came out! And not just Filipino English, it was like legit English. No accent at all. I asked "Where are you from????" and he replied "Vancouver, Canada".  I have a Filipino/Canadian companion! He is about 5'4, and weighs just as much as I do right now which is like 183 now! He has a scale at our apartment…so yes I have lost an additional 5 pounds since December.
Anyways! More about that day. I asked him where our area is, and he told me that is "the farthest south in our mission you can possibly get." And was he ever right! I said goodbye to my old comp and Elder Ellis, then we left to get on a bus with my luggage. The bus ride was a full 7 hours from Bacolod. All the way down to the tip of the island. A little oasis called Hinoba-an. And by oasis, I mean it. It is right on the beach. Lets just put it this way, our chapel is right in front of the beach. Like 20 steps. And by beach, I mean white sand beach. I have been taking a ton more pictures so don't worry. Oh, and before I forget, one side of our area is the beach, and the other side is the mountains. It's like I am getting the white sandy beaches of California and the mountains of Utah all in one area! Except the mountains are not near as big, but they are more green for sure and still just as beautiful. 
When we got to our area, I stepped foot into our apartment, and thought ‘we live here’?  Hmmm, it’s like the people building the house didn't bother finishing the floor or the roof. The floor is like what an unfinished basement would look like (cement), and the roof isn't totally sealed all the way. Meaning birds and insects fly in all the time. Last night we had a bat fly into the house actually.  I won't complain though. Actually, Elder I tells me that President Lopez might want us to find another apartment soon anyway because next transfer he might split our area and put 4 elders in one house, just to lighten the load in our area. It is pretty huge. Plus we are getting like 24 new missionaries next transfer so why not? 
Anyway, we have spent the last few days meeting members and trying to get me accustomed to the area and all the new people. He knows I am still sort of new, so he helps me out (Elder I). Oh, and just for your information, I will not get any letters for like 6 weeks if you send any. Apparently, since the area is so far away, the couple missionaries only make the trip down here once a transfer - which is understandable because it is like driving to St. George and back from our home in Lehi. Ridiculous. We do, however, have a post office in our area. So I can send letters regularly still. The last thing I am trying to find is a place to print pictures, so you all can see what I am living in.
Hinoba-an beach


YOU ALL HAVE TO SEE THIS AREA! Every time we drive by the beach or the mountains I just fall over in complete aw... it's incredible. It is actually like a big tourist spot here. I see non-native people all the time actually.



Hinoba-an mountain range
As for yesterday, I was asked by our Branch (yes I am in another Branch, in a District, not a Stake) President to be the first speaker. I had just arrived at the chapel. I did ok though I think. I didn't get too many confused looks as I spoke so it was good. Oh, our President's name is President Mondragon. How sick is that???  
That is what I have so far. I would tell you names of places and such, but I am still trying to learn them. I will continue to look for a place to print pictures. I think we may have found one actually, just the only thing is-  they only print out wallet sized ones and one size bigger. I hope that is ok. I love you all so much! Thank you for all your prayers. Keep doing the righteous actions I know you are all doing! -Until next week everyone. 

Love From The Philippines!

-Elder Garner

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Don't allow Satan to make you his meal...


02.10.13
Hello to all who may read this! How is everyone this fine day? Good I hope!

Garrison 'pinching out' the last candle!
First off, I would just like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BRO BACK HOME THIS COMING WEDNESDAY! HAPPY BIRHDAY GARRISON!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great day lil' bro. I love you. On top of that, your birthday is on our transfer day. Congratulations!  Your birthday is on the most suspenseful day of each six week period of time.

Speaking of transfer day, We will find out tomorrow who stays and who goes. I think I told you all that President Lopez told me that I will stay and so will Elder Delos Santos, but he used the words "most likely" and "I don't expect a change" so...... maybe he could have received new revelation since then? Haha who knows? You all will find out next week!

Ok, so an update on our two investigator families… two major things happened this week that will be a major setback. It is kind of frustrating. One major thing happened with each family. First, the P family. The ones who need to be married. Umm, so we went to their house to teach them last week and when we got there, the dad wasn't home. We asked his "live in partner" where he is and she said he will be back in 10 minutes… so, we waited for him. So this is where I got irritated. He showed up...... DRUNK! Hammered. He couldn't have walked in a straight line even if he had been holding onto a rod. This is the same dad that we have already taught the Word Of Wisdom to. He totally knows better. He tells us that he wants to get married in the temple and stuff but then he goes and does that... goodness. We haven’t seen them since that night. We go back on Wednesday if none of us transfer. But, one of us will be here for sure.

Now onto the D family, the rule in this misson, and the rest of the missions in the Philippines is you need to make sure your investigators are confirmed the following week after their baptism or they need to be baptized again. I am not sure how it is in the rest of the world, but that is how it is here. And... ya you guessed it. They didn't make it to church on the Sunday after they were baptized. We went and visited them on Saturday and before we left we made sure to tell them what would happen if they didn't make it to sacrament meeting on Sunday. So they did know!  But something happened and they didn't come... who knows what will happen. I will let you know how it goes in my email next week. I am quite sad about it....

So other than that, this week was great. I had a few experiences that I want to share quickly. First, remember that RM that just came home in our Branch this last week? He worked with us a few days back. That was cool! He is still like way fresh off the mission boat for sure!  You could tell he was still new to being home too. His name is RM by the way. In our teachings though, he like made me nervous in a way.  I had not ever taught with someone like him before so it kind of threw me off the first few lessons but I finally just put it behind me and did what I needed to do. I think it was just harder at first because he spoke different languages in his mission so he was struggling to speak Ilonggo that day. So a lot of the words that he said I had no clue what they were. It wasn't until more than halfway through the day that I realized he was speaking words from another dialect. That whole time I thought it was Ilonggo and I didn't know any of the words.. it was discouraging at first, until I realized that it wasn't our language here! It was such a relief. So with that, everyone we taught understood him except for me. Talk about being the odd man out -- totally unfair. But it's all good. J  

Second! Oddly, this happened at the same house where RM lives. We were eating with his family for lunch and randomly his mom is like "Elder Garner how many temples can you see from your house?" My first thought was "they don’t even have a temple on this whole island.... when I tell them, they might tell me to leave…" I replied by telling them that I have been to the temple more times from the time I got my mission call, to when I entered the MTC, than these members have been in their entire lives. It is really sad actually. It is so expensive for them to take a trip to Cebu as well so that is why I feel bad. But, I continued and said "There are 7 temples close enough to my house that I can go to..." and they all looked at me and yelled "lucky!!!"  Our branch is trying to go on a temple trip this April so hopefully they can go! 


Mount Timpanogos Temple
Provo Temple
Jordan River Temple
Draper Temple
Salt Lake City Temple
Bountiful Temple
Oquirrh Mountain Temple
Illustration of the 'Fox and the Bird'
OK, to end, I just want to share a story that RM shared to a less active family as we taught them. It goes like this. "In this story there is a bird, and a fox. Both looking for food before the winter comes. As the bird is flying, he sees the fox on the ground and decides to ask if there is anything that he has found.  The fox replies 'no I have nothing, but I tell you what. You give me two of your feathers every day, and I will look for you’. The bird gets excited and replies 'ok!' So every day this goes on. The bird finds the fox, and gives him two of his feathers. This pattern continues until the bird has no feathers left.  He cannot fly anymore-- making him the fox’ meal.”  In the end, who is the fox? Who is the bird?  Open up to 2 Nephi 28:21.  You will see that the fox is Satan. And the bird represents the people that are willing to listen to him, and fall slowly but surely off the path that would have eventually led back to the kingdom of God. In your lives everyone, be careful of what you do and say. It is so important to realize and think about what you are doing before you do it. As members of this great church, we know what is right and wrong. Just remember that Satan doesn't want you to return to our Heavenly Father and obtain eternal life. "Satan does not have the power to take a life, that is one of the many things he cannot do. But apparently he will take down with him as many as he can to the pit of endless woe." - Jeffery R. Holland





Know how much I love you all. Until next week everyone! Thanks for all you do for me.

Love From The Philippines!
-Elder Garner