Sunday, February 18, 2018

More Changes

As I live longer throughout the mission, I realize I always need to expect the unexpected. I keep moving forward and make the most of the mission! But hey, Happy Valentines Day, and fun fact: I have now technically finished a Sister's mission (18 months worth)! Life goes fast, as did this week. What would you say happened this week? Well I'll tell ya!

The first thing I want to share is a cool spiritual experience we had last Tuesday. We went to district meeting, and since it was Sister Taumoeupeau's last week, she gave the last training for the cycle. 

As part of the training, she had each missionary bear their testimony of the Book of Mormon. I can tell you the Spirit really filled the room as each missionary bore his/her testimony. It was awesome seeing each and everyone's individual experience with the Book of Mormon. And we all know it's true. It was an awesome district meeting!

As for some other fun things that happened...I went on a date for Valentines day! Just kidding, it was an exchange this time with Elder Young. 

Elder Young is an American from Mapleton Utah! He actually knows a couple of people I know there. He's around 10 months in the mission, but we're the same age (I'm older by a month). He decided to go to college first and play soccer. We had a really good exchange and taught a bunch of lessons. He's a good teacher and has a lot of potential. He's a fun district leader too and we relate to each other's life stories. He's a cool missionary!

So as some of you know, this week was transfer week. It's always filled with excitement and some anxiety as to who is going to transfer. Usually they send the transfer Saturday night or early Sunday morning. As we were waiting we all guessed who's transferring. For my part, my guess is almost right except for one that I wasn't expecting: Me. 

Around 9:10 Elder Morehu texted while we were at Sacrament meeting telling me I was being transferred. I was pretty shocked, especially since I've only been here for 2 cycles (3 months) I told the Bishop and bore my last testimony to say goodbye. It was a lot of hard goodbyes and unexpected. 

The rest of the day I went around to some of the families who have been very good to me to say goodbye, such as the Domingo family, the Carpio family, the Ulits, the Yapos, and the De Leons. Although hard, I gotta move on. I know the Lord wants me in a different place. 

4 Cycles left and I gotta make the most of it! 

For my next and possibly final area I will now be returning to Cagayan, to Ballesteros zone! I'll be assigned in Allacapan with Elder Nichols, another Elder from my batch! I have heard nothing but good about Allacapan. 

It's a great area, awesome members, maybe a nice apartment and yellow water (literally). I'm ready for a new adventure and there are souls out there for me to help! I know this church and this work is true, and can't wait again to see what's in store for me! 

Elder Espiritu

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


Ethel's birthday party




The Batac District



Exchanges at the Domingo family with Elder Young



The De Leon family and Elder Young


Dinner with the Carpio family


Teaching Marvin how to tie a tie 


The Ulit family


The De Leon family again

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Diseases and Small Blessings

Good Morning to all, (or for most of you on the other side good evening) and happy almost Valentines day! Maybe next year I won't spend it being single, but hey, that's a long ways away. I got my eye single to the glory of God. Even so, I'm working on it while having a disease in my lungs. 

Right after we had a P-day last Tuesday, Sister Andrada texted us saying I should get a check up at the hospital. She noticed I'd been coughing a lot so decided to have me get a check up. I didn't think much about it, but still did it. 

If you've been following along I did say that I was sick last week too. Anyways we went about our week, and worked as usual. On Friday I had to get a check up again, and turns out, I have community associated pneumonia. Wasn't really expecting that, but guess that's what I got! So they put me on antibiotics and now next week I'll see how it goes. 

I had to take it a little slower this week. The doctors really wanted me to just stay in these past couple of days and not work at all, but I can't do it. 1) I feel like my time would be wasted and 2) I would get bored. 

So I rested as much as I could and went out to work. We did go to 2 other district meetings again, in San Nicolas and Paoay. The zone's doing good. We had a couple of baptisms this last week and lots of people at church.

Speaking of people at church, we had an awesome number of people actually come! We spent a lot of Saturday going around inviting people to church and a lot of them did! We had a total of 7 come, and 4 of them were member referrals. 3 of them were investigators before which consists of a single mom and her 2 daughters. 3 other were also brought by a family from our area who we taught on Saturday and invited to come. 1 of them was our investigator close to being baptized, CJ. Even though we were never able to make it to CJ this week, he still came! If all goes well, he will be baptized by the end of this month!

We had a couple of trials this week but several small blessings. Another small blessing/miracle I had was last week while riding in a Tricycle, my planner fell out of my bag. I lost all hope in finding it and it had a lot of information in it. 

This last Sunday a member came up to me and handed me the same planner I lost a week ago! She told me the tricycle it fell in actually was the driver that would always take them to and from school, so he gave it to her! 

The members here are so awesome and friendly, even the non members. We have so many people feeding us (including Sister Rose yesterday for lunch, who fed us REAL BROWNIES) and several other people. Once again, the people here in the Philippines area awesome and I love them. 

We have a busy week this week with some places to go, district meetings, exchanges with a district leader and the Assistants to the President in Laoag, attending more planning things and a baptism of the Sisters in our area. Last week of the cycle, and it looks to be busy.  

Once again, I know this church is true, and I know God is watching over us here in Batac. I am also grateful for all the prayers coming from all of you! I didn't realize that people were praying for me, until one of the members told me she was. 

Prayers can be felt and God does answer prayers. I know the gospel has the power to change lives and God wants the best for everyone! That's all for this week! Love you all! 

Elder Espiritu

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


Some of our new investigators that went to church, Farrah and Icah (they're not twins)



Another investigator at church, Roma



My "pinsan" (cousin) Edgar Espiritu


Ayah and I were kinda matching 


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Missionaries and Members and Councils

I know some of you may be thinking why is Elder Espiritu writing this not on a P-day? Except I guess for you all you're getting it all Tuesday, nevertheless it's a different day. Anyways Elder and I had another Missionary Leadership Council to attend. It was fun, but as for other highlights, we got some fun people working with us, and doing everything this week while I've been sick.

So yesterday as I stated last week we went back to Laoag for Missionary Leadership Coordination (MLC). We were excited because it's a chance for President Andrada to train us and help us improve our zones. I was also excited because it meant a hot shower :) You don't get much of that here, so it's nice to have one again. 

Alright although that is a nice bonus the MLC was really good. One thing I liked about President Andrada's training was keeping your spirituality up. He knows that a good study and good work ethic are correlated. We must not be spiritually lazy and be diligent throughout our whole mission! 

After that we talked about how our zone did and what our goals are for this month. Our zone actually tied with the highest number of baptisms hitting 13. The challenge was other key indicators went down. It seems like our zone doesn't have many souls prepared for this month, but we'll do our best! We also talked about what we can do to improve our zones and the culture of the zones. Caring for 11 other companionships other than yourself while maintaining a "model area" is nothing we can't handle with the Lord's help!

On Tuesday we went to a district meeting in Dingras and I started coughing. That is now still currently with me. Throughout the week it progressively got worse and I ended up getting a cold and fever for awhile. I tried to sleep it off and work in the afternoon, but it was a struggle. We still managed to teach people but just not as many. I'm almost back to my normal self except I still have a cough.

We did have 2 investigators at church. They were 2 little girls that a family brought. We've taught them before. Our other progressing investigators were all busy or gone. I'm happy and we're working hard.

I do wanna give another shoutout to how awesome the members are here in Batac. I love them all and they're all super nice. 

This last Saturday we took a safari trip to Africa and back (just kidding it was just super far) to the Bishop's house. We were informed last week they wanted to feed us so I jokingly told them I wanted pizza and brownies for lunch. Surprisingly they did their best and actually cooked that very thing! They're awesome! We do have a lot of great people working with us too, such as our friends Royal Burgos, Princess, Dave Sunga, and Edgar. They're all great fellow shippers and good friends. This ward is strong!

I know that this work is the work of the Lord and I'm doing my best to magnify my calling. Elder Ivie and I are loving life and getting along. 

We're excited for the month of February and feel we can get a lot done! Thanks for all your love and support and love you all! Goodbye till next week! 

Elder Espiritu

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


Me being sick


Adventures with Elder Ivie and I


Teaching little children



Missionary Leadership Council Feb. 5th, 2018


My house mate Elder Tabeti from my first area is going home


Got my office friend from Melbourne and my AP brotha from New Zealand

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Harvest is Great

As January ends, so does another week here in the mission. Now February approaches and Elder Ivie and I are having a blast here in Batac. The experiences we gain here are priceless. It may be extremely tiresome at times, but it's all worth it. 

So for all of you who are updated with last week, it did finally happen. The Ulit family was baptized! We were so happy to see all but one of the kids baptized last Saturday and confirmed as members. We were really happy with the result. 

They got to the chapel early, and everything went right on schedule. It was actually one of the most successful baptisms I've seen and definitely the most support I've seen at a baptism. 

Batac ward is surely a strong ward. The Ulit family will be quite a contribution to Batac ward. It's been great seeing their progression from not really interested to where they are now. Each one of them now has a personal testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the church. I love them all and love that I still get to teach them!

Elder Ivie and I are very happy here especially since it's been 4 months since Batac's last baptism, but we know we still have to keep working, and that's what we're doing! We actually had a successful week, and we're very grateful for the members here. 

Something that we did this week which ended up being really successful was we planned a couple of family home evenings with some strong member families. What we did too is told them that they need to bring someone that is not yet a member. So that's exactly what we did, and we now have several new investigators in our teaching pool. We'll update you next week on how those end up!

As for some other things that happened this week, we had another exchange again. This week I went with Elder Gesta, our district leader. He's actually a really good teacher! He's assigned in Paoay. Funny thing, when he came over he had to interview the whole Ulit family. We got there at 5:45, and ended up leaving around 9 due to how long each interview took. It was worth it! 

We also did have another zone conference this week at Paoay, which went very well. What we talked about was the importance of a ward mission plan and the do's and don'ts and the importance of planning. It was good, edifying and such.

Now I want to say within the 8 weeks I've been here I've already come to love so many of the members. They are such a big help with the mission and with life in general. 

The De Leon family is always a big help along with the Domingo family. The members here have gotten us out of a few tight spots, but mainly with food. 

One night we planned to go to the De Leon family, but they weren't home. So we texted one of them who told us they were at Robinsons mall. Jokingly I told them to buy us a pizza. So that's exactly what they did! We're very grateful for that. 

Then yesterday night Elder Ivie  and I had no more food at the house so we were trying to figure out what to do, when suddenly Sister Burgos randomly texted us saying she had something to give us, which ended up being food! I love these people and am very thankful for their kindness.

As this month wraps up I would say it was great. Now February approaches and Elder Ivie and I will head to Laoag on Sunday night for MLC on Monday

Our zone is still rocking it and last week every single area in our entire zone had someone at church! I'm pretty impressed with all of them. Love the mission and love being a zone leader. I love my companion and I love Batac! That's all for this week! Love you all!

Elder Espiritu

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


Family home evening with the Domingo family



Batac zone


Trying to be as tall as Elder Johnson



Sister Cotrell, Sister Galvez, Elder Mortenson and I



Family home evening with the De Leon family, Ulit family and friends




Baptism of the Ulit family


Sunday, January 21, 2018

More Adventures With Elder Espiritu

Well January is almost over, and it feels like yesterday 2018 just started. Technically it still is fairly recent, but hey, time goes fast. So here I am, sitting at a computer shop in the Philippines writing about my week of January 16th to January 21st. There were a couple of things that happened this week. So here's what went down:

Tuesday we went to attend the San Nicolas District meeting  in San Nicolas. Elder Ivie trained, and it was a good training. Weirdest part of the District meeting: Elder Ivie and I were the oldest ones there. I guess I'm pretty old in the mission. 

There were lots of people that we were able to teach this week, all from different places. We did have another family home evening on Tuesday at the Bulatou family house. At first when we got there it was only 4 of us, but as soon as it started we had a pretty good amount of people show up, mostly less actives and investigators. So it was successful. 

Elder Ivie and I have been trying to set up lots of family home evenings, so we do have a couple more coming up this week. 

Something and Elder Ivie and I have been doing lately is really trying to work with the members and get referrals from them. We go to them a lot, teach them and set up lunches or family home evenings with their non member friends. So far it's starting to work out. 

On Friday we had another exchange, this time from the Elders in Banna. Fun fact that I've probably already said before: the town of Banna used to be the town of Espiritu. It's cool. So I went with Elder Alaelua this time, the smallest (height) and most quiet polynesian Elder I've met. Most of the Polynesians I've met are loud and proud, so it's weird meeting a quiet one. He's awesome and it was fun working with him.

Alright I do have some really good news: The whole Ulit family came to church this week! Okay technically 5/6 but we have yet to teach the one. We  were really happy again to see them, especially as a family. Also, if everything goes right, they will ALL be baptized this Saturday night! I've been working with them since the first week I came to batac, and I really love seeing how people progress. Hopefully all goes well and I can't wait for this Saturday!

We have a pretty busy week this upcoming week and lots to do. We have some interviews, family home evenings, a zone conference and a baptism. Life is still busy, and for those of you interested to know, being a zone leader is awesome and busy. 

I am very excited for this week and so grateful for the gospel. I know it has the power to change lives. Till next week, keep the faith!

Elder Espiritu

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


Family Home Evening at the Crismar house
 

Finishing up an exchange with Elder Alaelua
  

Me in a little ditch thing and a tree 
that looks like the one from the Lion King




These little girls wanted to play missionary



The Domingo family decided they want to take a random photo shoot so here it is









Monday, January 15, 2018

Parks and President

I always feel like the first week of a new cycle can be such a fast and slow experience at the same time. It feels pretty long since I've last emailed and a lot has gone down. But now here I am, having a blast with my new companion Elder Ivie and working hard. We haven't gotten any less busy, with visiting all the districts, meetings and parks and such, but we did have a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with our mission President, President Andrada.

So first, lemme tell about my new companion. His name is Elder Ivie, from Emery county Utah, 20 years old and a pretty rocking companion. I've said this before but we have known each other since we were both really new in the mission, so we basically know each other really well. We've been working hard and that's the plan for our whole time together. He's got a lot of good ideas, and the way we work is pretty similar so that's good. 

Alright so here's what went down this week: Tuesday I picked Elder Ivie up and showed him around. Wednesday we worked hard, had someone work with us and such. Thursday we again went to 2 district meetings, one in Badoc and one in Paoay, which is the usual part of our ZL life. Everyones doing well so far.Friday we went and observed the weekly planning of the San Lorenzo Elders. 

Here's the good part: While we were planning, we suddenly got a text from President Andrada, saying he wanted to work with us the following day. So that's something I never saw coming, since he is a really busy person, and there are 74 companionships in the mission. It was pretty slim to none that he would choose us. But here we are. After that we headed to San Nicolas and had a meeting with the STL's then we had our normal day. 

So Saturday rolls around, and at 8 o'clock President Andrada shows up to our apartment. He attended our weekly planning, then around 10 o'clock he drove us to San Lorenzo for a baptismal interview. So I interviewed the candidate and passed them then President took us and the 2 San Lorenzo Elders out to eat. After we ate, we looked at a potential apartment for the San Lo elders and headed back to our area. Once we hit our area, basically almost our of our appointments fell through, but that's alright. We went to teach a member, and had a really good lesson. 

President Andrada talked to a member about giving referrals, and we practiced with him how he could invite his friends to a family home evening and such. He had a lot of people in mind to refer to us and President really enjoyed doing that. Afterwards, we decided to utilize the areas that we have (which we have been doing this whole week) and we headed over to a park with a bunch of teenagers or just people waiting and that's where we went to find new people to teach. 

So Elder Ivie and I split up (but still within sight and sound) and just talked to all the people we could for an hour. We've been doing that every day this week, and it proves effective so far.  President talked to a couple of people too. He did have to leave around 5, but he told us he really enjoyed the day. 

As Sunday rolled around, we were happy to see 5 of our progressing investigators come, and 4 new investigators that are classmates of Jared, a 14 year old in our area. 4 out of the 5 Ulits came this time and the Dad would've come, but he was driving a bus to Manila and back, so next time. Their baptism is approaching pretty quickly and if they can come to church as a family and have no problems, that date will approach faster. CJ is doing well too and as long as he keeps coming, there won't be any problem there. Batac ward is really progressing too, with a total of 211 attendance. It's a good life.

So in conclusion, the first week of this cycle was awesome. Elder Ivie and I get along really well, the zone is doing well, President Andrada had a good time working with us and said he was impressed, especially about using different ways to find, and our progressing investigators are continuing to progressing. This is going to continue to be a great cycle, and I'm excited. The future is looking bright, and I can't wait to see what happens!


Last FHE with Elder Havens 
(I think I look pretty good with a mustache)


Last pic with my homies Sister Altre and Sister Wikaira


Working with President Andrada