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!! ❤❤❤

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ugh....the Philippines!!

One thing that we were excited about Ryan going to the Philippines was that they are 14 hours ahead of us here in Utah. We thought this would mean that we would get his emails earlier on Sunday evening and we could email back and forth with him more awake :) This hasn't happened in the 2 weeks that he's been there.....he sends them at 3:30am instead. We just thought that perhaps they wait until p-day is almost over before they hit the Internet cafe.....until we got his letter at 3:30 this morning. I looked over at my phone on the nightstand and saw that he'd emailed and quickly read it. Needless to say my heart was just aching and I just wished that I would have seen it earlier so I could have chatted a bit with him. What a helpless feeling it is to have read his letter and wishing that I could call or better yet fly over to there and comfort him. Neither option was available so the next best thing was to shed tears and offer prayers in his behalf, which I did for the next couple of hours :)  What a blessing it is to have the knowledge that our Heavenly Father is always there for us! I am grateful that Ryan is obedient and loves sharing the gospel with those eager to listen. We pray that his visa renewal process goes quickly.....or he gets different companions too :) 
I loved the scripture that he made reference to in his letter in Alma 17:11
"And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands onto the salvation of many souls."
Here's his latest letter.....

Hello everyone! 
Thanks so much for all the emails and letters! It's those things that really keep us going. 
    Uh.. I really don't like being here. The Philippines is a cool place, but I am an India Bangalore missionary and not a Philippine Quezon City Missionary. I am just not cut out for the type of work that they do here. The people in my house just have no desire to do missionary work and the schedule is just stupid. They don't start proselyting until 1:00 PM. So I have really developed a love of the scriptures. I still wake up at 6:30 even though no one else in my house gets up and I get ready by 8:00, still alone. I do my studies alone until about 10:30 and that's when they get up and begin to make lunch. After they prepare, we eat at about 11:00 and then they all sleep again until about 12:00 and then they start to slowly get ready. We don't end up leaving until about 2:00 and proselyte for a few hours before my companion gets trunky and then our day is finished usually around 6:00. I have never been so frustrated in my entire life. Yet I just bottle it up and do my best to be obedient and do what I can.
    Yesterday was a bad day for me. Church was in Tagalog and so I don't understand anything. Everyone tries to tell me to learn but my companion has no desire to teach me and so that is not an option. And I just had a feeling of despair. Why was I here? Why did Heavenly Father send me to this mission? I had so much doubt and I was just really frustrated. I could not think of a purpose for my being here, until I looked through my study journal and I found that I had found an answer a few days before in my daily Book of Mormon reading. It is Alma 17:11. That brought some peace to me. After that I had this feeling to read the scriptures and so that's what I did. 
     Lately in my abundant free time I have been studying the Doctrine and Covenants and while I was reading I just had this sick feeling like I was unsure if God was there. Why would He send me somewhere that I was incapable of doing His work. Why would He intentionally send me somewhere that I would struggle and have such a hard time? In this moment of doubt, a little question that my companion had asked me earlier popped into my head. "Have you taken it to the Lord?" This really struck me. I never had. I had never had any doubt. But I knew that that was what I needed to do. So that's what I did. In my moment of despair, I dropped to my knees and just poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father. And after I finished I just knelt there at my study table, waiting for an answer. It never came. 
    At this point I just decided to continue studying my scriptures and as I did so I just had this amazing feeling of peace and warmth spread all over my body. I know that God is there and the He loves me. I know that I am never alone that He is always there for us. I am so grateful for the trials that I am facing. I don't know why I am facing them, but I know that they are for my own good and I will continue to do my best and leave the rest to Him. 
Elder Head

Monday, July 15, 2013

Greetings from the Philippines!

Hello everyone! 
Greetings from the Philippines! 
I made it here safe and sound. The first flight wasn't all that great. but the second flight was really sweet! We met up with Elder Averett in Kuala Lumpur (he was my favorite person in my MTC batch) and that was super fun! I stole another Elder's seat just so I could sit next to him! After a 3 hour flight, we arrived in the Philippines. It is a cool place... It's a lot like America, but there is a lot of stuff that I'm not used to anymore... Like short shorts and skirts, American music, and the like. I never realized how sheltered (and blessed) I am in India. I don't like any of that stuff :) It feels wrong.... Haha! 
My companion is pretty cool. I'm serving in the Philippines Quezon City Mission, which unfortunately is not the same as Ed's mission, but they are super close! That was a bummer but I can't have everything that I want in the mission! My companion's name is Elder Panopio. He is from the Philippines and he is a pretty cool guy. My district leader is Elder Scanlan from Alaska! He is originally from Samoa but his family moved to Alaska when he was young. The problem with him as that he has been speaking Tagalog for so long that he doesn't like speaking English very much.. My companion does speak English, but it isn't his native language and so he doesn't like it that much. The other Elder is weird and speaks no English so... I don't care about him very much :)
My experience here hasn't been what I expected. Most of the Elder's aren't totally obedient and the work here sucks. I don't speak their language and not many here speak English so I am kind of stuck. My companion has 5 weeks left on his mission and so he is doing all he can to get some baptisms at the end of his mission so I am kind of stuck doing nothing. I miss India a lot. I know how everything works there and it is really awesome. Elder Alosias baptized the investigators that we were teaching and I am so happy for him! 
I can't wait to get back to India! I know that it is totally revelation that that is where I am supposed to be and that is where I WANT to be. Pray that I get my visa soon! 
Love you!
Elder Head

Monday, July 8, 2013

Heading to the Philippines.....A great Sunday surprise too :)

Hello everyone! 
This past week was really good! My companion and I are getting along really well and the work is going really well and we are sad that it is coming to an end, but tomorrow evening (Tuesday) I will be flying out from Bengaluru International at 12:45 AM to Kuala Lumpur International airport in Malaysia and then taking another flight to the Manila Airport in the Philippines. I'm sad that I have to go, but I'm excited for the next chapter in my mission and the challenges that will come with it. 
This week was a really good week here in Bangalore. Elder Alosias and I had two baptisms of a wonderful couple here in Bangalore. Their son Anand has been a member of the church for 3 years now and many different Elders have taught his parents, but they would never commit to being baptized. Something about our companionship was unique to this family and the Spirit touched their hearts and this last Sunday they finally entered the waters of baptism at the ripe old ages of 78 and 75. They have tremendous faith and we even had to have four of us in white for the baptism. They invited Elder Tiefenbach to give baptism, Elder Alosias and I also were able to help because of their age and weight. It was a really good experience and I was really happy to leave Bangalore on such a high note. 
Things here are going to go really well even after I leave. There are investigators that we have been teaching and we are expecting at least 4 more baptisms for this month. The Lord truly is hastening His work and I am so grateful that I get to be apart of His royal army. I love serving the Lord and know that He blesses me each day. 
Thanks for all the love and support!! 
Elder Head

Sunday night we got received an email with pictures of Elder Head from a nice gentleman, Shaun Stirland from Alpine, whom had been there on a business trip and had attended church in the Whitefield Branch in Bangalore.  He had called and left a message about his interaction with Elder Head at church. It was the sweetest message ever, as he told us that he could tell that Ryan loved the people in India and that the members in turn were fond of him. He then asked Ryan if he wanted him to take anything back to Utah for him and Ryan said no, but to just tell his parents that he loved them so much!  This sweet man was so emotional when telling us this part as he too has a daughter serving a mission in Puerto Rico! He said to call if we wanted to but to enjoy the pictures and know that our son was doing so good!!  We naturally called him back and talked with him.  He said that whenever he visits other countries for business he will seek out the missionaries and take pictures and send them to their families back home. What a great idea!! He told us of Elder Head and Elder Alosias  teaching the 5th Sunday combined lesson to the branch and investigators that day about finances and budgets. Jeff joked and said, "my son was teaching a lesson about finances and budget??"  It amazing the things that missionaries learn on their missions :) He asked Elder Head how long he'd been serving and said that he knew that he'd been out for quite a while as Elder Head has an Indian cadence to his voice. Well as you can imagine this visit with Brother Stirland was a wonderful Sunday surprise!!  We never thought we would have this happen as not many people get over to India very often :)  We also were looking at another missionary couple's blog.  Elder and Sister Tiefenbach are serving in the mission office and had all the missionaries from Bangalore over for an activity and dinner.  As we looked over the post, there we saw Elder Head.....another great Sunday surprise!  Here's a link to that post:

Tiefenbach India Mission Adventures: The Great Escape

Elder Head with Brother Stirland from Alpine, UT

Elder Head and Elder Alosias in the Whitefield Branch