Landon with local farmers

Landon with local farmers

Sunday, May 19, 2013

No effort is wasted


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

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!

"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...


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. a dad would care for his child


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!