Sunday, July 23, 2017

Baptisms and More Lasts

This week went a little more differently than I expected, but I'm happy with the result. This week we were a little more on the punted side (meaning a lot of our appointments fell through) which was a little on the downside, but that didn't get us down. We still had lots to do and plenty of places we could go. We had lots to prepare for too for the weeks end! 

One of the sad things (but good for him) that happened was that this was Elder Langeveld's last week! I've seen several missionaries go home and it was sad to see another good friend leave. He arrived with me in Claveria so I've gotten to know him pretty well. He was a really obedient and hard working missionary. During our last district meeting, he gave a training about obedience which was great. We've talked a lot about that these past couple months but it was a good refresher! On Saturday night, we had a little going away FHE for him, which was really fun and sentimental. He's really going home with Honor!

As for us, although there was some downsides, this Saturday we were really happy to see Jhesa and Mhaye go down into the waters of baptism! The feeling at a baptism is always so peaceful and happy, and I'm glad I got to see them be baptized. When we first met Mhaye, we were teaching Dae Shin (who happened to be her cousin) so we decided to share with her too. Little did we know how committed and smart she actually was! Once we realized Mhaye really actually did want to be baptized, she referred us to Jhesa, who was a part member but already wanted to go to church before we met her. It's great to see how far they've come, how much they've grown, and how much I've come to treat them as my own sisters! I'm very sad to have to leave again the people I've come to love.

Around 10:16 on Saturday night, I received a message I wasn't really expecting. I'm being transferred again. To be honest I wasn't prepared at all and my mind was pretty set on the fact that I was staying here in Claveria and what I had planned for next cycle. It didn't hit me how much I'd miss this place until I got the text. The fact that I would have to leave again the people I love hit me first, and it wasn't easy to accept. That Sunday was different than I expected, since 4 of the district (including Elder Langeveld) are leaving. Elder Arangali, Elder Langeveld, Sister Latu and I are moving on to different places! We bore our testimony, said goodbye to lots of people, went to some families for dinner who I've really gotten close to, and packed up.

No matter how many times you say goodbye to people you love, it never gets any easier. I am pretty sad too to not be able to be there for Dae Shin Keith or Sister Jhona's baptism, But I know it's what the Lord wants, and I know Elder Yranon and his companion will take good care of them. 

Now I am excited to be able to again help and meet more people here in the Philippines and come to love them too! Now I am being transferred to Vintar, which means I'm going back to Laoag zone, and I can't wait to see what's in store! Although unexpected, I am grateful for the chance to transfer again and am happy with what I did in Claveria. Time to see what the future has in store again! 


Taking a stroll 


Last picture with the Labii family




Last district meeting with the Claveria District 




Bye Bye Elder Langeveld


Last Picture with Rheinz our Branch Mission Leader


Baptism of Jhesamin Rose Balanay Pascua, Mhaye Mendoza Trinidad at Giezler Dalo









The Ramos sisters, Elder Yranon, Elder Arangali, and Sister Latu



Last pictures with Jhesa and Mhaye



Sunday, July 16, 2017

Rats and Baptismal Interviews

Alright, fun fact of the week: A rat tried to pull a loaf of bread out of a hole the size of a quarter, good fact: The members here are awesome, and extremely great fact: 2 of our investigators will be baptized this Saturday! 

Just for a little comic relief for all of you, we have had a rat problem for quite a while and randomly find stuff chewed on. This last week my backpack was the victim. One morning I woke up and was surprised to see the plastic that was holding my bread was sticking out of the side of my backpack with torn pieces of the plastic everywhere. After more examination I realized that the rat chewed a whole the size of a quarter through my backpack tried to pull out the entire loaf of bread, but he failed. 

Now for the good fact, I really love the members here, and I am really grateful for how many great ones we have here. There are several houses that we go to where they always feed us which is great after being really thirsty and hungry after walking for awhile. They are all so friendly and always want to give us food. We never ask they just give it to us! I love the people here and how friendly they are! I really enjoyed too the members that help us out in the work. We got our BML (Rheinz) and a good friend (Jet) to work with us and it was a blast. It's really nice since Jet has a motor with a side car so we don't have to walk. They are just really fun to hang around and we laughed a lot when we were together. But when they want to be spiritual they can really help too. I'm grateful for all the people that work with us.

So greatest fact now: last Saturday 2 of our investigators Mhaye and Jhesamin passed their baptismal interview and came to church on Sunday which means they will be baptized this Saturday! We were so happy after their interviews to see how happy they were, especially Jhesamin. On Wednesday we weren't able to teach her and a couple hours before her interview we asked if she felt she was ready and she felt like she wasn't at all. To be honest we were really worried but we just reviewed anything that was confusing to her until the Zone Leaders showed up. 

After the interview Elder Langeveld told me she was very confident in her interview and knew all the questions. Mhaye was awesome too, and knew she wouldn't have a problem. We are a little sad since Mhaye's cousin Dae shin Keith hasn't been able to come to church due to so many chores at her house, but hopefully next month we she will be able to enter the waters of baptism too!

I'm happy with how the work is going here, and Elder Yranon and I are getting along well. We have no major problems so it's great. We also have a good amount of possible baptisms next month, so we are just going to work hard every day! It is possible that I will be transferred next week. To be honest I would like to stay here another cycle but I would be fine with transferring. 

The zone leaders will be moving apartments next cycle due to opening an area so what I won't be excited for is that we might become a 2 man apartment only. But that's a small sacrifice for a great area with great people. Everything is going fine here, and we still have a lot of work to do! 

I love seeing the joy that this gospel brings to people, and love seeing how many younger people are accepting it so well! Hopefully after much "planting" we'll be able to "harvest" all those great souls soon! Love you all!

Elder Espiritu

**you can email Elder Espiritu at joseph.espiritu@myldsmail.net


Celebrating Sister Ascuncions birthday 





Working with Jet and his transformer 


Jhesamin, Mhaye, Elder Langeveld, and Elder Arangali after interviewing Mhaye and Jhes 



Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Things That Happen in The Philippines

Well for starters just wanted to say Happy 4th! Even though I’m a week late I apologize. But at the moment I'm away from you in another country I love: The Philippines. Alright pretty good week this week. Had a couple of cool experiences and random things happen so here it goes!

First I would like to start off with a small victory, and a fun fact. Our mission in every apartment has either water filters or water jugs for filtered water. We were told we should have at least 5. When they checked the apartment Sister Andrada told the mission that she told us that only the Sister Training Leaders in the mission and the CLAVERIA ELDERS (that's us) were obedient to that request. Small little random victory that's not super important, but hey it's a victory nonetheless. 

Other fun fact, we have lots of spiders that chill around the house and I always notice a particular one with 7 legs. One day we came home around 8, and around 10 I noticed something different on my desk, turns out he was chilling there for a while and was camouflaged. So why don't we kill him already? Because he keeps away/ eats cockroaches for us, so we prefer him over them. He doesn't bother us either so it's all fine. 

One more small random thing that happened this morning: I found a frog in my shoe. He was about the size of my heel. I can tell you it felt weird trying to put on my shoe and having something squishy inside, and when you try to see what's inside have water start pouring out. That doesn't happen every day.

So now for more of the mission/spiritual side of my week. Here's a cool start of what could be a really cool experience: One day we were exploring more of an area we haven't been to much, and after talking to some people we learned that there was a member close to their house. So we decided to go, and we discovered it was true. 

When we met her, we learned that she was baptized into the church back in the 1990's and all of her siblings are members. She's even had a couple that served missions too. Sadly she became inactive quite a while ago and her husband is Catholic (his parents are Jehovah's witnesses) so her kids aren't very religious. 

She does have a lot of kids and she told us she actually really wants them all to go to one church, and she want's it to be the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She has wanted to explain to them about the church but she doesn't know how and only now have Elders come to her after all these years. 

Here's a cool part: She told us she has a child that died awhile ago and the day before we came (July 3rd) she had a dream about her and she had 2 people with her in white. Then the next day (the daughter’s birthday) 2 Elders dressed in white show up. It was a very cool start and I hope we will be able to teach her. We weren't able to teach her because she had to go somewhere the day we wanted to come and her children are always in school until 5 which is a busy time for everyone. Hopefully we'll be able to teach her so we hope to go there this week!

As for our other investigators, it was a slower week. We only had 2 of them show up to church which made us a little sad. One that we have really been wanting to come to church (Sister Dae Shin Keith, 13) was busy again taking care of a small store they have and a small pool resort. but her cousin and friend came. We decided to move her baptism again to make sure she is really ready and active. It makes me sad because there's a chance I won't be there for her baptism, I might not be there for a lot of our investigators’ baptism, but there's a chance I could stay. 

I've come to realize it's not important if I am the one at their baptisms, but what is important is they're gaining a testimony that this church is true and they want to be baptized. So even if it's not me there, I'm glad I was able to help them on the way. Who knows, maybe I'll still be able to be there for a couple or all of our investigators that are progressing. 

We are praying for them every day and doing our best to help them gain a testimony that this church is true! I know it is, and I can help others know too! We are going to keep continuing to do our best to help others come unto Christ through this Gospel! I know it's true, and I know it can change lives for the better. Thank you again for everyone who supports me and hopefully I can continue to help others! Mahal ko kayong lahat! Tandaan niyo po lagi ang kahalagahan ng ebanghelyo ni Jesucristo! 

Elder Espiritu

**you can email Elder Espiritu at joseph.espiritu@myldsmail.net


Here's my monkey friend



This guy has been chilling at our apartment for a couple weeks now



Another shot of Mabnang


Just a tree a dirty fishpond and I (with some effects to hopefully keep you all entertained)




Sunday, July 2, 2017

Fast and Time

Well time certainly does fly doesn't it? At least that’s how it was this week with several things, such as traveling to and back from Laoag, zone conference, fasting, and seeing lots of good people I've met start to go home.

We had another zone conference this week which I was really looking forward to. The only downside about zone conference is it's 3 hours away and half of that trip is switchbacks through the winding mountains. I survive though. I do take some medicine every time and just deal with the head pain. The travel is worth it because the zone conferences are always very good.

This zone conference was quite a good one, and I learned a lot. We had lots of different topics that we talked about such as Obedience, the "crocodiles" in our lives and Fasting. The story of the crocodiles goes as follows (or a modified version): The crocodiles are very subtle and sneaky in Africa, and patiently hide in waterholes for thirsty animals to pass by. The point of the story is that they are extremely subtle and can really catch us off guard. We need to always be on guard even when something doesn't seem so bad or it can even help. Just be ready to use the Armor of God always!

The one that really helped me out though was fasting, because honestly I have struggled with fasting my whole life. I just really love eating so it's a bit of a struggle for me. I am quite proud of myself when I actually get myself to do it but I know it's a way to humble ourselves. We talked about a model fast and I decided to work on my attitude when I fast. 

So this last Friday through Saturday I managed to make it. I got off track and distracted a couple of times but I was fine. We talked about letting the spiritual man be stronger than the Physical, so that's what I was trying to focus on. I felt that even though my body was weak. It really did help me spiritually. I know fasting is a very good way to humble ourselves and become more connected with our Heavenly Father. Although 24 hours seems like a lot to go without food and water, I know it really helps. If we don't focus on the hunger or thirst and focus on the blessings, it really helps!

Speaking of time passing by, it's weird to see how much time has actually changed. During zone conference I got to talk to a lot of my missionary friends that are now on the verge of going home. As I come closer to my 1 year mark, I see more and more people going home. Sometimes it's sad to see them go home cause it's fun to hang around with them. Time goes on and we get to meet more cool people! This life is full of great people, so just do our best to meet them all! 

This week was great! We got 6 of our investigators to come to church. I was slightly bummed because 2 that I really wanted to come and fasted and prayed for didn't come but I am happy with our result and know that sometimes Heavenly Father’s Will isn't ours, and we just have to accept His Will and timing. It's not up to us. Although sometimes we may not like it, we just have to know that God knows what He is doing. Hopefully soon we shall see some success in our area!

As for the mission I love it and enjoy it! I learn so much every day and even though sometimes it feels repetitive, we are still just doing our best to stay positive. 

Elder Yranon and I have a great area so we're doing fine. We're celebrating the differences between each other always and we are both constantly working on being a better teacher and missionary in general! Day by day we learn and it's all going well! Thanks once again for all of your support, to all of you who are reading I love you all and hope for another good week! 

Elder Espiritu

**you can email Elder Espiritu at joseph.espiritu@myldsmail.net


Bangui zone June 29, 2017


My brothas Elder Ossola (one of the first Americans I met) and Elder Uele (one of my previous zone leaders)



Sister Eclavia, my "sister" here in the mission


Sister Persia, my STL


Elder Anderson and Elder Langeveld, My zone leader when I was in Laoag and my Zone leader now. They're both going home this July :(



Elder Yranon, Elder Odermott (my MTC companion) and his anak (child) Elder Santillan


Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Busy Mission Life

Life is busy here in Claveria with many places to go, and things to do, lots of questions to answer and just helping others come to church. But it's all great. Oh random side note we did get to see a monkey here.

Not really anything too exciting about the monkey. It wasn't very nice to us. It was in a cage at an investigator’s house who we have been teaching but it just kinda sat around and stared at us. It tried to grab us a couple of times but he was just a little weird monkey. So that's my newest addition to things I've seen here.

As for the work out here, it's great. We have lots of places to go every day so it's keeping us really busy. We have 5 different areas that we go to which we switch off every day and have some investigators that are progressing in each area. We were happy to able to have 5 of our investigators go to church!

We were really working on getting these 3 girls from our farthest area to get to church. Sister Dae shin (13), Sister Mhaye (16) and Sister Jhesamin (14). They are all interested so we talked to one of our member friends who has a tricee and so he could pick them up. Turns out he is related to Dae Shin (but a pretty far relation). I was so happy to see Dae Shin finally come. She's been wanting to come since May but has always had something she had to do. We also visited her this last Wednesday on June 21st to wish here a happy birthday. She seems happy and I'm happy with the result.

Her cousin Mhaye is progressing more than I thought she would at first glance, but she is really smart. She actually reads all the lessons that we give her and she actually highlights them too! So hey now her pamphlets are colorful but she is doing very well with reading and praying. It was great to see her at church too. 

A couple of other good things happened to me. We visited one of our investigators one day and they gave me a little watermelon. I don't know why but it made me pretty happy. With another group of families (the Delos Santosfamily and Pedronan) they always feed us every time we are over. I'm usually not a fan of fish, but the fish they feed us is good. We've gotten close to them. 

On a more spiritual side of the work, it's really interesting to see sometimes how unaware I am of feeling the Spirit in my life as a missionary. Sometimes it just hits me and makes me feel really happy. I know I should be more aware but sometimes I forget the most important factor in what I do. 

This week reminded me when I was reading in Alma about Lamoni and Ammon. It was basically about missionary work and it just made me happy. I also read in True to the Faith about prayer, and it says after we finish praying we should wait for a little and just listen. That makes a difference and I am grateful for prayer. 

In the lessons too with one man who was asking a lot of questions, we all knew what we needed to say to answer his questions. I am thankful for the Spirit helping me remember what I studied. 

With another investigator (Jolina), we've taught the lesson of the Restoration to her a couple of times, and I have felt the Spirit so strong. I hope she did too, but I know it's her choice to bring the Spirit in. 

As missionaries we can only bring the message unto their heart, not into. It's up to them to accept it. I hope she does. She is a little shy but she's smart. We'll just have to see how it goes!

Every day I come home and I feel exhausted, but it's a good feeling to me because I feel physically and spiritually drained, which means I am doing my job. 

Elder Yranon and I are blessed with a really nice area, and we're working on doing our best every day! Things are going well! Hope it stays that way! Love you all! 

Elder Espiritu

**you can email Elder Espiritu at joseph.espiritu@myldsmail.net


Working in Mabnang


Partying with Dae Shin and Mhaye on Dae Shins birthday







Got them mini melons and machetes