Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy New Year from India!!

Hello everyone!! 
Merry late Christmas and a Happy New Year!! (Just in case I forgot to wish you all last week..) 

How was Christmas? Did you all have a good time? Christmas here was a little bit boring. Haha that WAS one thing that I was a little bit sad about for leaving the Philippines.. Christmas is so big there and everyone was so excited and we had like three dinner appointments set up so it was kind of a bummer to leave there RIGHT before Christmas, but that's okay. 

So not too much went on this week.. We had our branch Christmas Activity on Tuesday night. We went to a school for mentally handicapped children and put on a few skits and all. It was a pretty good idea, but the execution wasn't so hot. But the desire was there and I'm sure that the kids had a really good time. 

Christmas day was spent Skyping home (YAY) and then the rest of the day was spent with the members and such for dinner and lunch appointments. Not too much goes on on Christmas because it is one of the few days that the entire family will have off and usually they don't want to spend their Christmas holiday with the missionaries.. Haha but we did go to a few members houses for lunch and dinner. 

The rest of the week was spent doing what missionaries do. We tracted a lot, we tried to find new investigators, and we tried to locate all the members in the branch living in our area. It is really painstaking work, but we don't have anything else going on here. The area is really weak and so we just have to do all the menial things to build it up.. 

Other than that everything is great! I'm just happy to be back in India and hanging out with all my peeps and stuff! I'm grateful to be back and serving here and I know that this is where I'm supposed to be. 

Love you! 

Elder Head

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas from India!!

Hello everyone! 
Greetings from the glorious land of India!! :) Merry Christmas!!! Remember the true meaning of Christmas.. :) I arrived here safely on Wednesday night, spent Thursday in Bangalore, and then Friday morning I flew out to my new area in......VISAKHAPTNAM 1st Branch! 

My companion's name is Elder Sharma. He is an OCI from Utah. He has been on his mission for about 4 months now and he is still pretty new. He is a good guy. He really likes movies and video games. He is way big. He's like 6'3". He is a big teddy bear. He is pretty cool, just new. 

The area that I am in is a good area. Lots of missionaries that serve here get lots of baptisms, but when I get here it is in a down time where they have no investigators and they just split the branch and so all of our leadership is new and the missionaries that were serving here were also pretty new still so they didn't really know how to handle the situation.. But it's all good! I'm just happy to be here! :) 

I'm sorry to say mom, but I did NOT receive my Christmas package. So.. Yeah haha we just missed each other I guess! 

Other than that.. I don't really have much to say. We are pretty busy trying to learn the area. It isn't a whitewash, but Elder Sharma and his last companion didn't do very much and so we don't have too much to do, but we are just working to get this area back up to it's former glory...

I love India and I'm so happy to be back serving here for the remainder of my mission. Thanks for all the love and support! 


Elder Head

Elder Head is once again on the east coast of India approximately 100 miles north of Kakinada.  While the distance appears relatively close if you were to travel by car from Kakinada to Visak (pronounced Vice-ak), you would enjoy a two and a half hour drive. Visak is a larger city but reminds him of Kakinada. The beach is in his area and there was some sort of festival there today that they were going to go see. He was also making a trip to a fabric store to buy some material so he can get a new suit made because his other one is so dang big now. We hope that his choice in a tailor is a good one!  As far as the christmas package did indeed show up after Elder Head left the Philippines :)  We are now in contact with the mission home there and are making arrangements to have it forwarded on to India. The christmas package debacle will continue to be a slightly funny/expensive story this holiday season :) The week before thanksgiving we emailed the mission president in India to see if he thought the elders would be back in India for Christmas. He emailed us back and said that they would most likely still be in the Philippines. So we put the package together. The christmas package is only 3 pounds 9 ounces.  

Michelle:  "I know it's expensive but lets send the package via DHL or Fed Ex as it will   arrive to him in three days. So if by some Christmas miracle he gets his visa....he can easily transport it back with him to India."  

So on Wednesday, December 4th, Jeff goes to the various mailing facilities and finds out that expedited shipping is costly (we knew this to be the case as we had to send Ryan his new debit card earlier this year but it arrived safe and sound in 3 days)  Send it via Fed Ex or DHL Express the cost would be $154 !! Crazy!!  The USPostalService international priority (supposed delivery date 6-10 business days) $70. Ryan's cute dad decided to send it that is after all less expensive :)  So as instructed by Ryan, Jeff put religious (Jesus) stickers on the package and sent it off into the wild, blue yonder....halfway around the world! 

Jeff:  "Ok....the Christmas package is on its way to the Philippines! You know what  is going to happen now.....Ryan's visa will get renewed!"  

Of course that is exactly what happened! Ryan seemed to think that his dad was some sort of psychic!! Oh brother!!

So now we are paying to forward the package to India.....most likely another $70 plus (hopefully that's all)  Now I get to tease Jeff about the shipping decision.....

DHL or Fed EX  $154.00  (3 days)

Priority International $70.00 (6-10 days)  PLUS  forward package to India $70 plus and so maybe Ryan will get his package in 3-4 more weeks.......haha PRICELESS :)  Sometimes I think I may psychic too!

Ryan said that Christmas isn't about getting presents....haha..hopefully he thinks that way in a couple of days.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Where's Elder Head? Returning to India

Hello everyone!! 
So my mom says that she already told everyone, but..... I GOT MY VISA AND I'M GOING BACK TO INDIA TOMORROW! 
My flight leaves at 3:05pm from the Manila International Airport and we arrive in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia at about 7ish and then continue on our next flight to Bangalore arriving in India at about... 11:30pm ish. Haha so it's going to be another LONG day of flights and what not. I counted and I have spent almost 60 hours of my mission flying around and stuff. 

I'm really excited to go back to India, but its kind of a bittersweet feeling. I always talk about the hard times and stuff (probably because that is the stuff that sticks out most) but my overall experience here in the Philippines has been an absolutely AMAZING experience. I have been able to hang out with and become friends with so many different people all over the world and it is just really exciting to be here. The mission was going to make some changes that will really improve the mission and right before it changed, we leave. But that's okay. I know that the time and effort that I gave here was not in vain and I gained so much more out of this experience than I gave. It's weird how the Lord blesses, but I'm grateful for this blessing. 

This week was the craziest week of my mission. 

Monday: Preparation day and we also had some last minute things that we had to get ready for our Christmas Conference. 
Tuesday: Philippines Quezon City Mission Christmas Conference. We hung out with President and Sister Revillo and half of the mission. We performed Christmas Tagalog songs and skits presented by each Zone. I have videos, but they are too big to send so you can all see them when I get home. That took the entire day. 
Wednesday: Mission Leadership Council. We discussed changes in the mission and they are implementing some new things here that will really improve the mission in a lot of ways. That took the whole day. 
Thursday: We were on District Leader exchanges with one of the DL's in our zone and that was fun. 
Friday: I got my visa and so the day was spent proselyting and saying some goodbyes. 
Saturday: Work day and we had a ward activity that we attended. 
Sunday: Church, First Presidency Devotional, and a Ward Missionary Training. I had to bear my testimony in Sacrament because I was leaving. 

That was my week! It is a brief oration of what transpired this week, but there was a lot more that went into it than that! I'm grateful to my Heavenly Father that He allowed me to come to the Philippines and be tested and tried. I know that everything that has happened is for my good and I'm excited to continue serving back in India. 

Love you all!

Elder Head

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hello!! from the Philippines 12-8-13

I like to think Ryan's saying "Hi" real loud to all of us in this photo :)
Hello everyone! 
This week was a pretty good week. I came to appreciate the Atonement of Jesus Christ again and how encompassing it really is in my life. I wish I could say that everyday I was perfect and did everything perfectly, but I can't. I'm only human. I still make mistakes, I still have problems and trials and temptations and all that bad stuff. But even though sometimes I slip, the Savior is always there to pick us up, dust us off, give us a pat on the butt and tell us to do better next time. (maybe not the last part, but in my mind, the Savior is like the perfect football coach.. haha) I'm grateful for my mission. I was reflecting last night and I realized that after this transfer finishes, I will only have 4.5 transfers left.. That is so crazy! Just over 6 months. Where has the time gone? It still feels like yesterday that I was walking around the MTC thinking I was all that because I was delayed 3 weeks and I knew everything there was to know about the gospel and about teaching and about missionary work. Oh how naive I was... Haha. 

This week was okay. We didn't work as hard as we could have and I will definitely take some responsibility for it, but my companion only has two transfers left and he is starting to get trunky and it really affects our work and relationship. I find that in those moments that he doesn't want to work, that I lose patience and get frustrated and then we lose the Spirit and don't work as effectively as we could. That's something that I have been working on. It's difficult, but not impossible. He isn't like disobedient, but just lax on the schedule and with wasting time with the members. 

We didn't really have anything that cool happen this week, but this week will be crazy! We have Christmas Conference tomorrow and then on Wednesday we have Mission Leadership Council. Thursday we continue to go on exchanges with the missionaries in our Zone and then Friday and Saturday we have to work. Sunday we have meetings all day and then next week is transfers so these next two weeks will be crazy busy! But that's okay! 

I am so grateful for the Christmas season and all that it brings. Each year, we receive gifts and give gifts as a tradition and something that we have been inviting people to do is to give gifts to the Savior by following the direction given in John 14:15 and also in Mosiah 2:17. Remember, when we serve others that we are only serving God and we are also keeping the commandment to love one another. I know this Church is true! 


Elder Head

Demonstrating how to teach about the gospel for ward missionary training

Monday, December 2, 2013

The work continues in the Philippines :)

Hello everyone!! 
This week was much less exciting as last week was! We were trying our best to be busy, but Satan had other plans because we had a real problem this week with cancelled appointments and all that jazz.. Speaking of Jazz, how are the Jazz doing this year? I heard that they are undefeated! Haha just kidding I know that they are sucking... That's okay though. Thanks for the sports update this week!! I am always grateful to know what is going on in the real world! 
Yeah.. Other than cancelled appointments, we spent a lot of our time trying to find the lost sheep in our ward. That is something that I have experienced on my mission that is very productive for us and also for the ward. So we tried to find I think like 6 families, but one whole family died and the rest moved.. Haha so it felt unproductive, but we managed to find a few other less-active families while trying to find the other families... 
That's about it for this week. I'm excited for the next few weeks. We have Christmas coming up and so we have all that Christmas stuff to prepare for and Christmas Conferences and Ward Parties and we have another MLC so the next few weeks will be pretty busy! We also are hoping to have a baptism in our area for the 28th! It will be the first one since June and so we are pretty excited! 
Thanks for everything! Love you!

Elder Head 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Busy week in the Philippines

Hello everyone! 
This week was a really good week. It was one of the busiest and craziest weeks of my mission, but it was fun and so that makes it all worth it! For this week I'll give a day-by-day recap: 

Monday: P-DAY!! And then we had to get ready for our Zone Training because we had a TON of information to cover in 1.5 hours. 

Tuesday: We had a big service project with half of the mission (Elders only) to help repack relief goods for the people in Tacloban. We partnered with a tv company here that is called ABS-CBN, which is the second biggest tv company here in Manila. One of the actors for the network's name is Eruption and he is a returned missionary/ cousin to one of the ZL's here and so they invited us to come work with them. It was really cool to do the service and be on tv, but we also got to meet a bunch of celebrities and some really really pretty Filipina's (actresses.. :)) Haha and then later that day we had our Zone Training which worked out well. 

Wednesday: Zone Conference with President Revillo, which took almost the whole day and then my companion and I travelled with one of our DL's so we could do a baptismal interview for their investigator. That was my first interview! 

Thursday: We worked for most of the day, but at the end we were working in a dark area of our area and I couldn't see anything and we didn't have a light and I accidently fell into a gutter and if you know anything about the gutters here, they are gross. So I had to go wash off at a member's house (the bottoms of my pant legs, socks, and new shoes) but they smelled so bad that we had to travel like an hour back to our apartment so I could change.. 

Friday: Weekly Planning and then we had a working day and it was really good. 

Saturday: Service project with the Sister's in our zone to help one of their investigators rebuild a part of their house and then a Ward Missionary activity in the evening to train our ward missionaries (put on by us). 

Sunday: We had 14 investigators at church, including 10 YW age girls and so that was stressful trying to find people to fellowship.. Then we had a Stake meeting that took forever and we have another one this Sunday. 

Crazy week! 

Love you all! 

Elder Head

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A good week in the Philippines :)

Hello everyone! 
This week was a pretty good week! Monday and Tuesday were normal proselyting days because of P-Day/Temple Day on Wednesday. The temple was good and P-Day is always good and so that was fun. Thursday was a good day because we had MLC (mission leadership council). 

The meeting was good. We talked a lot about the mission obviously and the things that need to be improved. The big topic was about obedience (who would have thought that?). Haha it was good though because obedience is so important. One of my favorite scriptures I rediscovered this week was D&C 82:10. " I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." I really love what the Lord says here. As missionaries, and Church members in general, we have so many promised blessings if we will just be obedient. The Lord Himself has stated that He is "bound" to give to us the blessings and promises that have been declared unto us. What more reason to be obedient than that? 

A cool experience happened this week after MLC. The meeting lasted almost the whole day and at 7:00, my companion and another couple of Zone Leaders were walking together from the Mission Home to the Manila Temple because it is easier to catch a taxi from there. As we were walking down the road, a van stopped and asked us if we wanted a ride. They looked friendly and so we decided to get in the car. Sitting there in the seat in front of us was none other than Elder Ian S. Ardern of the Philippines Area Presidency and also of the First Quorum of the Seventy. (That's why didn't hesitate to take a ride from a stranger. Don't worry Mom, I still remember the phrase "stranger danger".) 

It was a really cool experience. He asked who were new Zone Leaders and me and the other ZL said that we were and then he proceeded to give us some advice and counsel. It was SO cool. As soon as he opened his mouth, the Spirit filled the van. I know that he is called of God. 

As he was talking and telling us a little bit about what happened in Tacloban -- he and the Area Presidency had just arrived back from Tacloban -- he stated that all the missionaries coming to the missions off the mainland Philippines would have to learn a new language because the language spoken in that part of the country is different than where I am. Then Elder Holden, the other new ZL, said something to me about having to learn a new language in the middle of your mission. President Ardern asked what he meant and then I told him that this wasn't my assigned mission. He was surprised!! Haha and he gave me some advice and then asked some questions about India. Then he dropped us off. 

It was so cool! Then on Saturday was the Adult Session of the Marikina Stake Conference and President Revillo was speaking and after the meeting he came up and asked about our experience on Thursday and he laughed and then told me that I had obviously said the right things because earlier on Saturday Elder Ardern called President Revillo about some business and he told him about our experience and that I had made a good impression on him. I was so happy! 

The Stake Conference was good. It was long, but the messages were good. We heard from the Manila Philippines Temple Presidency, among other speakers. Other than that, the week was pretty boring. We were expecting to receive Sister missionaries from the Tacloban mission in our Zone, but we are only getting 16 Elders from the Tacloban mission. Their experiences are really touching to hear first hand. It must have been so traumatizing because every time they talk about it they begin to cry. 

I'm so grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ. All of the people who are affected by the typhoon here are not alone, because the Savior has felt their pain. I testify that as the people in Tacloban, especially the Saints there, accept the Atonement in their lives and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, all of the unfair things about life can be made fair. 

Elder Head

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yay!! Finally an email from the Philippines :) :) :)

Hello everyone! 
First things first, we are fine up here in Sumulong. On Friday night, the mission president had all of us in the Quezon City Mission stay inside because the storm was supposed to land that day. It did "land" and brought with it a nice drizzle and a few sprinkles. Haha that was all that happened up here. It really was so crazy down south though. The area it hit is called the Tacloban mission and all the missionaries in that mission were evacuated from all the areas to the main city in the mission and then yesterday they took a boat and then a bus ride and they are now staying in the MTC and the Temple Patron House. It's crazy. Most likely, all will be reassigned here in the three missions in the Metro Manila area. However, a lot of missionaries serving in our mission were affected by it. One of the missionaries in my house is from a place called Laete, which received the worst part of the storm. His family is not able to be contacted because the phones are all down there -- cell and landline. His family is still unaccounted for and so PLEASE keep him in your prayers. His name is Elder Gam. 

We had another Sister in our zone whose family was affected by the storm. Her house and all the family's possessions were lost in the storm. Her family is okay and safe though, which was good. 

Sorry that I'm emailing so late in the week. We had temple day this week and so we were able to go to the temple again and that was amazing like usual! I love the temple! 

This week was pretty uneventful other than that. Nothing too special went on. The ward here is cool. They all speak pretty good English so I can communicate with the people here which is nice. We are teaching an investigator who has a member boyfriend in California and she speaks PERFECT English so that's cool. The ward missionaries all speak in English, so its fun. My companion is pretty cool. He is weird, but I can deal with weird haha. 

Thanks for all you do! Be safe! Love you!

Elder Head

Here is some of our exchanges with Ryan tonight:

Well you have a lot of experience helping out trunky comps :) Have you seen any pictures of the typhoon affected areas? Unbelievable!! We will continue to pray for the Filipinos and especially the elder/sister in your area. What else do you have planned for today?

We are going to buy new clothes, because I donated some pants, new garments, and some shirts to the missionaries from Tacloban mission. They had to leave suddenly and so they were not able to bring their luggage and so most of it they assume is either gone from the storm or stolen. So will you make sure that I have some money in my account? 

I talked to some missionaries from the Tacloban mission today. Many will be reassigned here.

I'm surprised they don't temporarily assign the missionaries in the Tacloban mission to serve a service missionaries.  

It is really really bad and unsafe there right now. For the safety of the missionaries, they will reassign them for a time until things settle down. It still is a really low pressure area there because of the storm and so they are afraid that there will be more storms and so they don't want to risk the safety for the missionaries or the sanity of their families. 

We are so happy and relieved to finally hear from Elder Head :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Big News this week :)

Hello everyone! 
Big news this week!! Probably the most unexpected and crazy news of my mission haha.. 
I got transferred to a new area....... AS A ZONE LEADER. 
Hahaha it was so funny because this isn't even my mission, I don't speak the native language, and I'm still considered "new" in this mission. It was a really funny way that it happened too. Sunday was fast Sunday and it was super hot here and way humid and we worked like dogs all day and so I was just beat. We had a dinner appointment with a family and then went home and planned. I was just beat so I wrote in my journal and then went upstairs to take a shower and right as I was soaping up, all the Elder's in my house ran upstairs saying that President Revillo was on the phone and wanted to speak to me. I thought for sure that my visa had come and that I would be going back and then he told me that the Lord wanted me to serve as a Zone Leader. It was so crazy. I could hardly believe it. 
I feel really blessed though. I feel like the Lord really does know me and my heart. I never wanted to be a Zone Leader -- especially not here... But I know that the Lord has His hand in all things. I will do whatever He wants me to do. I just hope that I can pull it all together and be somewhat effective as a ZL. 
Other than that, the week was pretty average. There was a lot of drama in the ward with other missionaries in a different zone, so that made it a really interesting and long week. But we all knew transfers were coming up so it wasn't too bad. I will be going to an area called Sumulong. My companion here in Antipolo just served in that same ward (different area) but says it is an awesome ward and they speak pretty good English. I'm so happy!!! :) Haha I can actually do things now and be effective! (hopefully) 
I'm so grateful for missionary work and everything that it makes me. 
Love you all! 
Elder Head

Monday, October 28, 2013

Philippines 10-27-13

Hello everyone! 
This week was a little bit of an uneventful week for us.. A lot of hard work and we had Zone Interviews with President Revillo!

On Thursday we had Zone Interviews with President Carlos Revillo. President and Sister Revillo are both from the Philippines and they are the first native Filipino's to preside over the Philippines Quezon City Mission, which is usually done by a foreigner. President worked abroad in Hong Kong and so his family all speaks really good English. He is actually younger than Dad which is pretty crazy that he is serving as a mission president. It is really cool. I like him. 

My interview was pretty standard. He told me that the reason our visas are taking so long is because the Indian government just switched their procedures for visas and so the most ineffiecient government in the whole world has to try to implement a whole new system.. President said that they were expecting us to leave three weeks ago, but they are just taking us day to day. Because of the new system, they aren't sure when we will get our visas.. yay.. 

Haha so that's all the big news! We worked hard this weekend and had 3 investigators at church and 8 less-actives. It was really good. A few weeks ago they made the Ward Mission Plan for the 2013 year (in October) haha and so the Bishopric has been going on visits and so they have been crucial in helping people come back to church. 

That's it for this week. Keep up the good work everyone! The church is true! 

Elder Head

Monday, October 21, 2013

Philippines still :)

Hello everyone! 
I forgot to write a few things last week that I'll include in this weeks. Conference was awesome. There were a lot of technical difficulties, which doesn't surprise me at all, but other than that it was awesome. I really loved the talks in the Priesthood session and my favorite talk was by Richard G. Scott about the fathers of the Stripling Warriors and the power of the Atonement. That is one thing that I have really come to appreciate is the power of the Atonement. 
This has been a really tough time for me waiting here in the Philippines. I have had more struggles and trials than I ever have had in my life and it has been tough. But even through all those times, there have been two constants that have really helped me to overcome the trials -- my family and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As I have the opportunity to study each morning, my latest studies have been marking scriptures that refer to the Atonement of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon, and learning from Preach My Gospel on things that I need to do to improve and become better.
I'm grateful for the refining moments I've had. Is it hard? Yes. Is it a struggle? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. I have felt the love of my Savior on my mission and I know that this work is true. I know that the Savior has stood in my place, has felt my pains and the weight of the troubles of my soul, and that gives me solace. I don't worry about when I go back anymore. I try to focus on why I'm here. I try to refine and improve in hopes of returning, but that is not the driving factor for me anymore. I do the things I do for the Savior and because I want one day to hear Heavenly Father tell me, "Behold my son, in whom I am well pleased." 
I'm grateful for this gospel and the healing power that it has. I have seen tormented souls and troubled pasts washed away and made clean as they accept the healing of the Savior's Atonement. For those who are struggling, for those who have trials and problems, for those who feel they have lost hope -- don't. Always remember that there is Someone there who understands, whose arms are always wide open to accept and comfort, to heal and bring peace. I know that my Redeemer lives and that He loves me. A lot. 
In the name of Jesus Christ, amen. 

Elder Head

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Still safe in the Philippines :) - he's officially been there 3 months!

Hello everyone! 
Sorry for the late email.. I know that Mom was having a heart-attack when I didn't email on Monday... But when Tuesday came around.. I thought for sure that she would be on a plane over here to Manila to come find me... Haha but luckily she doesn't know how to find me here, so... :) 
It has officially been three months since I first came here to wait for my visa. It took me about this much time the first time around, so it isn't unexpected, however it is inconvenient. I get emails from all my Indian friends and it makes me miss India! I like being here because I have met a LOT of really cool people and I have had unforgettable experiences, but I want to have more experiences like that in my assigned mission... :) 
This week was okay. Nothing too exciting happened this week. We are actually supposed to leave for India this week, but that is what they have said for two weeks in a row now, so we kind of don't really believe them anymore. I went on exchange with the ZL's this week and we tracted for like 5 hours. I don't like tracting. It isn't useful in India so we don't do it very often, but here they do it a lot. It is so awkward! But sometimes it is necessary... Well.. Not too much else happened this week... 
Pray for my visa! Fast if you want! Haha 
Love you! 

Elder Head

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Elder Head aka well digger.....the Philippines week 13 :)

Hello everyone! 
How was Conference? Any big news announcements? Any new temples? We get to watch Conference this week and so I don't know anything about what is going on! It was just a year ago that I was sitting in the little chapel in my very first area watching Conference with some of my converts... How I miss those days! 
I'm still here in the Philippines. That's okay. It has been a really fun and interesting experience. How many people can say that they legitimately served in two missions for more than a few months? That has been a really cool blessing. I have learned a lot by experience and also from differences that I have noticed between this mission and ours. I have learned a lot and I am very grateful for the blessings and experience that I have gained.
This week was an okay week. We are still trying to figure out how exactly to work the area. Our area is pretty small and only one out of the three of us knows Tagalog, so tracting is kind of out of the question. One thing that has worked so far has been working through our Area Book with former investigators and part-members. I am a firm believer in teaching part-member families because that is where I have seen a lot of success on my mission. We found 12 new investigators this week, so let's hope that things keep getting better! 
We did a service project for a family and we dug a well! But none of the 5 of us actually know how to dig wells, so it was like an hour of digging and then two hours of fixing what we had dug. Haha they wanted the well to be the width of two cement blocks, but we decided that it would look better at about the width of 5... Haha but it is their fault for asking missionaries to do it and not professionals! 
It has been fun. But I will be so happy to go back to India, especially because I miss Indian FOOD. 
Love you! 

Elder Head

Well Diggers??

No! They're missionaries :)



Monday, September 30, 2013

Greetings from the Philippines! Week 12 :)

Hello everyone! 
Greetings from the Asian side of the world over here in the Philippines! 
This week was an interesting week.. Wednesday I packed all up and took a taxi over to my new area in Antipolo 2nd Ward. It is only about twenty minutes away, and so it isn't super different than my first area here. My companions are Elder Schenk (greenie American) and Elder Algara (Filipino). It has been an interesting week proselyting-wise because Elder Schenk is the senior in the area, but he has only been on his mission for 6 weeks here in the Philippines, so things are kind of hectic. He doesn't know very much, so we are trying to learn on the fly. Elder Algara is quiet, but I like him.
Thursday and Friday were similar to Wednesday. Really awkward. Haha but Saturday was awesome! I got permission from President Revillo to go back to Taytay to show the Sisters around the area and also to attend the baptism of some of our investigators. The Sisters there are really cool (and pretty) haha so that was pretty fun to go back around and see all my friends back in Taytay. Then the baptism was awesome. I baptized Benz and my companion baptized his cousin, Jammil. It was a really good service and it was really fun to go back. I am sad that I was transferred, but it's okay. 
Sunday was okay. The ward is kinda weird. They just want us to do our own thing, so we don't really have too much connection with them. The WML in ward council said that we needed more referrals and the YOung Men's President sighed and said that we have finding ideas in our planners that we could try... Haha so things here will be interesting.
I'm really excited to go back to India. I am praying that I can go back quickly and get on with the next phase of my mission. I'm tired of this transition phase haha I just want to get on with it! 
Thanks for all the support! 
Love you!

Elder Head

PS. Happy Birthday to Ian on Tuesday :)

Baptisms in the TayTay Ward in the Philippines

Elder Head and his new companions Antipolo 2nd Ward

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Things are good, I miss India, but the Philippines is good too -week 11

Hello everyone!
Well, this week was a really good week. It was hectic and crazy, but that is what makes missionary work fun! :) 
We had mission tour this week with Elder Ian S. Ardern from the First Quorum of the Seventy and that was really cool. His wife did a really cool thing where she had the pianist play hymn #26, Joseph Smith's First Prayer and #27, Praise to the Man and then read the account of the First Vision and also D&C 135. I felt the Spirit so strongly and I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God! 
Another interesting thing is that I am getting transferred from Taytay 2nd Ward to a new area called Cogeo-Antipolo 2nd Ward. I'll be in a threesome... I'm not very excited because threesomes usually suck, but I'll do whatever! I am really sad to get transferred though. I got really close to a lot of the members here and we have the best investigators, but I'll go where He wants me to go! A cool thing is that they are replacing us both with Sister missionaries and so President Revillo wants us to come back and show them around the area and we can come for our baptism this Saturday so we are pretty excited! :) 
Things are good. I miss India, but the Philippines is good too. I love you all! 
Elder Head

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Philippines week 10!

Hello everyone!
This week was a good week for my companion and I! We worked SO HARD. Every morning I woke up and looked at my watch and just groaned. 6:30 comes way too fast and it never feels like enough sleep. 
Haha but the week was really good. Our focus as a companionship has been to work with less-active, part-member families and so far that has been really successful for us! We found two families this week that were less-active and they also had children who are not members and so we get to kill two birds with one stone! But it is really successful because the children really like us and the parents know the blessings of the Church, but sometimes lose sight of the ultimate goal. It is so fun to work with these families and help bring the gospel light back to these families lives. 
One of the families is the Genoso family. One of their daughters is a ward missionary and is active, but the rest of the family is inactive and they have a 12-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter who are not members. We have been teaching them for a couple of weeks and on Saturday night, they asked us when they could be baptized. That is the golden question that we love to hear! Haha so we set them with a date for October 19th. Then, their mother came to church on Sunday! That was really surprising because she hasn't been to church for at least 2 years. We are working slowly on her husband, but we are seeing progress. 
Things here are good. I love this ward and I am grateful for all the lessons that I have learned so far on my mission, especially the lessons that I have learned here in the Philippines. 
Love you!
Elder Head

Monday, September 9, 2013

A musical week in the Philippines - week 9 :)

Hello everyone!
This week was a pretty good week! I had a really interesting experience that is really kind of funny!
We worked hard this week. We have two investigators that are especially progressing well. A 12-year-old boy named Jammil and an 8-year-old boy named Benz. Their grandmother is a member and she encouraged us to teach them and so we did! They really like us coming over and they keep all their commitments and so we are really happy with them! They really like me, even though I can't speak Tagalog and they don't speak English. But I'm going to try to change that. The ZL's are getting Elder Aydelott and I Tagalog learning books so we can try to learn while we are here. But I got word this week that Elder Taylor's batch is back in India now so hopefully we'll go soon! 
The interesting part this week was that I taught a piano lesson! Haha it is funny because I didn't really play the piano too much before I left on my mission and when I tried to pick it back up again, my mom told me to stop "banging around on the piano." Haha just kidding mom :) But it was a really good, but tough experience. The youth wanted to learn and so they asked me to teach them and when we showed up for the lesson, there were 26 students there ready to be taught how to play. The problem was that there are only two pianos in our chapel -- one in the chapel and the other in the Relief Society room. The stake was using the Relief Society room and they said no to using the chapel so.... We didn't have a piano. But eventually they relented and we were able to use the chapel. It was a really cool experience and I am very grateful that I know how to play and can share that with others! 
Other than that, the week was pretty average. My last companion in India sent me some pictures of a family that we taught getting baptized and I was really excited to see that they are still reaping over there in India. I can't wait to go back, but I will miss this ward! Oh and I also ate blood yesterday that the Ward Mission Leader fed us. He didn't tell me what it was until after I finished. It didn't taste bad, but the thought that it was blood was really upsetting to my stomach...
Haha love you! Have a great week!
Elder Head

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Philippines - week 8

Hello everyone! 
Sorry that this is a day late. We had temple day today and I was able to visit the Manila temple for the second time in my time here in the Philippines. The temple is such a special place and I can't wait to get one in India. Speaking of India, I got an email from one of my converts today and they are good and happy! That made my day! :)
Well this week was a good week for my companion and I. Last week was a weird week with all of the typhoons and what not and so this week we were able to focus entirely on the work. We worked super hard. We met a lot of less-active families and part-member families and so we were able to hit a lot of "two-birds-with-one-stone." The members are really supportive and I think that they like me because we get fed a lot! Almost everyday this week a member fed us and every appointment we get some kind of snack. Which is really nice of them but I'm gaining weight! 
Heavenly Father doesn't want me to gain weight so He put his personal humidifier over the Philippines and turned it on full blast and then turned off the AC on the Philippines. It is so hot and humid here! Haha everyday we just sweat like crazy. It reminds me a lot of Kakinada, my first area. Things are good. I'm really happy and that is just a testimony building experience for me because last transfer was so miserable when we were doing trunky things and this transfer is so much better because we are obedient and working hard.
The highlight for the week was one of our Ward Missionaries here that works with us a lot got his mission call! He will be serving in the Philippines so he is really excited and wants to work with us everyday which is fine with me! He helps a lot with the teaching because not too many of our investigators understand enough English for me to teach. He will be an awesome missionary. 
Well. Keep up the good work on the homefront. I love and miss all of you and you are all in my prayers. Especially Holden (you got a battle scar!) and Grandma Alice! 

Love you!
Elder Head


Also a special shout-out to the best Dad in the whole world! Happy birthday! I tried to send a package, but it is so freaking expensive that I'll just buy something for you on the way home and I'll give it to you when I see you haha. Love you! 

Monday, August 26, 2013

7th week in the Philippines already??

It is hard to believe that Elder Head is beginning his 7th week in the Philippines! They say time flies when you're having least these last couple of weeks he has been having fun :)  Ryan emailed us last night at 11:58....and when I asked why they get to the Internet cafe so late he told us that he has to do all of his laundry by hand and it takes 3 hours!! Good times :)  It appears that 14 months into your mission your emails get even shorter :)
Maybe when he get back to India and uses washing machines again we'll get more info from him. The batch of missionaries that left before Ryan for visa renewal returned to India last week.....we hope this means Ryan and his batch mates will follow, shortly thereafter :)
He's his brief update:

Hello everyone! 
Well, things here in the Philippines are good.. I just really miss my mission. I really want to go back to India. 
We had stake conference this week and that was good. It was all about missionary work and how important that it is that the members and missionaries work together to reach the Lord's goal and expectations. 
The interesting part of this week was that a typhoon hit the Philippines and everything got super flooded! Our area was soaked and so Tuesday we had to stay inside because of the flood and Wednesday and Thursday we were out helping those members and investigators that were affected by the flood. That was pretty cool!
Sorry that this week's letter is short. But things are good here. I still don't know Tagalog. Haha. 
Elder Head

Monday, August 19, 2013

Happier in the Philippines!!

Hello everyone!! 
Well.. The Philippines ain't so bad after all!!! Haha! 
    My companion is Elder Olbes from Duvao!  He speaks English so we have nothing to worry about! Haha he has been out for about 11 months and will hit his year mark next month. He just finished training an American Elder so it isn't too weird for him to have to speak English a lot and do a lot of translating, which is good for me. He is a super awesome companion. He is really quiet, but he is very obedient. And that makes me more happy than anything. I love that he just wants to work. 
    This week was a way good week! I was a little bit nervous that it would be a disastrous first week for the transfer because I didn't know the area at all, but it turns out that I knew more than I gave myself credit for because I got us around the area just fine! We talked about it and we decided that the best way for us to go forward is to work through the ward council and the members. Tracting isn't a good thing for us because my companion is super shy and I don't know Tagalog so working through the members is super important.. Does anyone have some good ideas as to an effective way to get referrals? I think the best way to learn how to get referrals is to ask some members, so if any one can help that would be awesome! 
    My companion and I were able to go to Ward Council Meeting and talk with the ward council about the missionary work that is going on and we took about twenty minutes giving a detailed report from our side about what was going on in the ward. One of the ward missionaries turned to me after we sat down and said that the ward is excited that they have missionaries that are taking things serious. The past missionaries had good relationships with the ward, but weren't doing anything serious for about a year now. So we gained their trust and we hope to run with it! 
    It's amazing the turn-around that has happened for me. I was so miserable last week, but now I think that I might actually miss serving here in the Philippines! Our new chapel for my ward opens this week and that makes us very excited because before it took about an hour to get to church, so it was hard for our less-actives and investigators to come to church, but now it will only take about twenty minutes to get to, so we are really hoping to get some serious work going on up in here! 
    Well, that's all for my weekly report this week. Love you! 
Elder Head

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Week 5 Philippines -Part 2 - He's still alive :) Monday 11:18 pm!!

Hello everyone! 
This was one of the longest and hardest weeks of my mission. 
My companion was going home and so him and my district leader were just being totally trunky. It was really hard and I wouldn't have cared if it didn't have anything to do with me. But it did and so I had to do something to make it right. I was doing my best to be obedient, but those kind of situations just kind of drag you into the middle of it so I found myself stuck in the mire. 
After thinking about it and praying about it I decided that the best thing that I could do for myself, and for the other two, would be to tell the mission president. So that's what I did last Monday. And I felt better and consigned myself to endless woe again for the next week until my companion left on Tuesday. Well that all changed when the mission president assigned the Zone Leader's to investigate if what I was saying was true...
On Saturday morning, my companion and the District Leader got up at 7:00 and went to the internet cafe. At 8:15, the Zone Leader's showed up asking where everyone was... Haha it was super awkward and they just sat with me while the other two were gone and the District Leader's companion was still sleeping. When they all came back, they were shocked. And as you can imagine, very upset with me. They said that I stabbed them in the back and didn't even give them a warning. The funny thing is is that I have spoken with BOTH of them multiple times about the things that were going on and nothing changed. What else was I do to? 
Well, needless to say, they didn't want to speak with me. So I just went about my business as usual. My companion called and spoke to the mission president and then went to his room for an hour or so and then came down and forgave me. He was really cool. The District Leader wasn't so good about it though. He still isn't talking to me. It's okay though. He is getting transferred tomorrow so I only have to endure another day. The sad thing is is that I have to stay in this area and only Filipinos are coming and I heard that they don't speak too much English.. We'll see how things go.. 
We did have a baptism this week which was exciting. The service was good and we had a fun activity after. The thing that I learned this week is that we must always be on guard. If we are being obedient and doing what is right, we have nothing to fear. There is no threat of getting "stabbed in the back." I am grateful for the way that I was raised. I have never been a rule-breaker and I have always been pretty cautious and I can see those blessings now on my mission. Thanks Mom and Dad! 
Love you all!
Elder Head

Thank goodness for technology and smartphones :)  Last night about 11:30pm I get an email saying, Hello?? Aww....what a relief! Ryan was still alive :) We asked if he'd been transferred and he said no but his companion had gone home. He laughed (well... as good as you can laugh through typing) and said "I'm the senior companion, but I don't know the area very well or the language...."
They are hoping to get back to India by the first week in September but we'll see. The batch of Americans that came before Ryan's batch was supposed to be back in India the first week in August but are not....  Ryan's new comp is Filipino and he said he heard he doesn't speak English really.....He said, "if he doesn't speak English I don't know what I will do. I literally might go insane. I even thought of trying to learn the language like John Groberg did in the movie,The Other Side of Heaven. Just reading and cross-referencing the Book of Mormon in Tagalog and English.....haha!!  It was so great to email with him back and forth! As always, Jeff was able to give him great advice and was a great sounding board as he too had some similar missionary experiences. We are grateful to be able to email back and forth with him as it gives us all that extra boost needed to push through a difficult situation. We love you Elder Head!!!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Week 4 -Philippines

Hello everyone! 
    This week was a pretty boring week! My companion and I got into a few spats this week and so he decided that he can't go out if he doesn't have the Spirit, so needless to say we spent a lot of time in the apartment this week. I am just so excited for him to finish his mission. He finishes next week and Monday will be our last day together. I like him as a person, but he is just too much for me. 
Haha I'm sorry that this week is going to be a boring letter... Just not too much went on! 
    We were able to go to the temple this past week and I am super happy because I didn't realize how much I missed it! You guys at home are super lucky and I'm jealous of you! In the session, the three missionaries that I was sitting next to just slept and it made me so angry! The people in India would give anything to have a temple and here they have one, but the missionaries don't even appreciate what they have. It was super frustrating and made me realize how blessed we are in the U.S. 
    It's been a little bit of a roller coaster time here in the Philippines and I can't wait to get back to India and work! 
Love you! 
Elder Head

Monday, July 29, 2013

Week 3 in the Philippines....2 p-days this week :)

Hello everyone! 
Thanks for all the emails of love and support! It makes me happy and I feel blessed knowing that so many people are rooting for me on the other side of the world! 
    This week was a much better week for me. At the same time it was still a very good learning experience. I don't know if I told you, but my companion is going home in three weeks and so he kind of has no desire to do the work. Monday through Thursday, all we did was go to the internet cafe. All he wants to do is play World of Warcraft. So I can't let him go alone and so I would follow him there and watch him play. It was the worst 4 days of my entire mission. I didn't do anything wrong, but I knew that we were wasting our time and were not doing the things that we should be doing. 
    Each day I would study from the Doctrine and Covenants afterward to try and feel better towards my companion and the things that he wanted to do and I would feel some peace, but none that would keep the guilty feelings away. Thursday night I finally decided that something needed to be said. I knelt down and prayed that he would understand and then I went to talk to my companion. To my amazement, he totally agreed that what he was doing was wrong and expressed a desire to change. We talked and set some goals and made some plans as to what we could do to change and I felt really good! 
    The next day he had his exit temple trip and so he was gone the whole day, but Saturday he woke up and told me that it was not going to happen, that he was too tired. I was so sad and disappointed. We really bonded and I felt close to him on Thursday night and I thought we made a lot of progress. I decided to read the D&C again.. I've become quite the D&C scholar.. ;) haha but I had the opportunity to read D&C 76. That inspired me so much and I felt the Spirit so strongly and that made me feel better. I decided that after I finish the D&C that I will start to read the Old Testament. I figured that over the next three weeks I would have lots of free time. Right after that my companion came downstairs and apologized and started to get ready to go outside. 
    I was so happy! It's not a perfect or even ideal situation that I am in right now, but I am eternally grateful for the lessons that I have learned the last three weeks. It's interesting that the hardest times lead to the most blessings! ;) haha but I have learned a lot about the Law of Consecration. My district leader assigned me to give the training in District Meeting and that is what I talked about. Consecrating ourselves to the Lord should be each of our goals in life. That is what will lead us to eternal life. It's the only sure shot. My favorite example of that is Nephi and Lehi in Helaman 3:35. And the blessings are in Helaman 5:18-19. 
    I'm grateful for the opportunities that I have each day to learn and grow. My time here in the Philippines is the time that I have to personally learn and grow and I try each day to do just that. 
Love you!
Elder Head

We finally were able to email back and forth with Ryan last night :). He indicated that he forced his companion to go earlier to the Internet cafe.....we were so grateful! They get 2 p-days this week! They are going to the temple on Tuesday which will be so great for him. I can't wait chat with him tomorrow too :)  He is really working hard to find the positives from his time spent waiting for his visa renewal and said that this is the first time that he's really felt homesickness. I'm sure that this is because of his time watching his companion at the Internet cafe all week. He kept reassuring us that his companion was a good guy but just not focused on missionary work. We continue to pray for a speedy renewal process for him so he can return to India and do the work that he was sent there to do :)  We love you Elder Head!! ❤❤❤