Sunday, June 17, 2018

Rain, Fathers and Such

Heyooo! How's everyone doing? You all staying dry over there? Or are you getting super soaked like we are here? It was quite an eventful week for us with a fun district meeting, 2 more exchanges and... lots of rain.

It was quite interesting this week, since every day except Sunday the weather was nothing but a downpour of rain. It wasn't the funnest thing to go through. Almost every day I spent swimming in my shoes. It doesn't help that my rubber shoes have holes in the bottom. But that's not a big issue for me. 

All my socks have holes in them too ha, but having wet socks the whole day I wasn't the biggest fan of. But it's all good, the work must go on. It's worth it for the work of souls! 

Anyways this last Tuesday was also a blast. We had the 2 Sister Training Leaders (Sister Agudo and Sister Fontanilla) come from Vigan to our district meeting! They gave us a fun training about planning (something that we can also improve on) and so forth. 

Afterwards Elder Bordeos gave his very last training at his very last district meeting here in the mission (he goes home June 27th). It's always cool to hear from the really experienced people (don't ask me though cause I don't feel like a veteran haha).

The following day was spent with us heading to Sinait for exchanges with the Zone Leaders! I got to go with Elder Petty, a missionary from Australia. He and I have been really good friends throughout my mission, so it was fun going with him. We taught some fun people, including a girl who paid for my lunch cause she works at this certain restaurant and it was a special day for me, and some other fun people. It wasn't easy tracting in the rain, but we managed to do it. It's always interesting who you'll find, like a woman who was taught by the missionaries 25 years ago. It was fun!

The next day we went home and took the other 2 Sinait Elders with us for exchanges, Elder Santillan and Elder Wells. I went with Elder Wells, a missionary from Idaho. He's a cool kid too. He's a triplet, a runner, and just really fun to talk to. 

Maybe it's cause he also liked the nerdy stuff like I do (like Pokemon and Overwatch) so we had plenty to talk about. The exchange itself wasn't the best to be honest, we tried to find walking around in the pouring rain but didn't find anyone, but we still taught 2 good lessons. All is well.

As for the rest of the week, it was pretty on and off. For the most part when it came to finding new people it was not the best because of how hard it rained the whole time. We still were teaching our progressing people, but we were scared the rain would cause a lot of people not to come to church. We prayed that it wouldn't rain hard.

Luckily for us our prayers were answered. We actually had 8 people come to church, 6 from the Salodez family (although 2 were only 7 years old) and 2 who came last week, also 2 that we're working with. There was a slight drizzle but there were so many more people at church. It was a blessing. 

We still had a couple we were hoping to come, but I guess we still got to keep building their faith. We were still really happy with all the people that came, and we feel that we can see that their faith is building. They seem to really enjoy it at the church too, members, lessons and all.

The members here continue to be awesome because I had my last day here.... As a 19 year old. So I'm now 20, and yup, don't feel like an adult at all or anything. But I had a lot of people great me and feed me yesterday so I was really happy. I'm just happy with where I am now. The members here are so supportive, and really help when new people come to church. They always make sure people have friends so they can feel as comfortable as possible. I'm happy here and all is good.

Last thing I want to add, is Happy Fathers day to all! This is a great day to reflect about how great fathers are. I'm so glad that I got the dad I did, and I know for a fact that my dad is the best dad in the world. He is so supportive and I wouldn't trade him for any other dad! 

I would also like to have you all reflect that aside from our amazing earthly father, we have a very loving Heavenly Father, who watches over us constantly and wants us to succeed. He is our creator and wants us all to be happy. And we can be happy, if we follow His plan. 

He rejoices when we follow his plan and sorrows when we make mistakes. But He's always there to cheer us on! I know He has been cheering me on while I've been here as a missionary, helping His other children come closer to Him. 

I know this church is true and I know that this is the right thing to do. I hope you all had a good Fathers Day, especially to all you fathers, and thanks everyone for the birthday wishes! That's all for this week! Love you all!

Elder Espiritu

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


Cabugao District plus the Sister Training Leaders


My homie Sister Training Leader, Sister Fontanilla


My homie Elder Wells and I 
(we didn't actually get to use those though. :()



Exchanges with Elder Petty



Getting some "dates" with Elder Wells  (look at the box)


Ice cream and bread


celebrating Dunkin doughnut dayyyyy

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Rain or Shine

Hello to all my family and friends! How y'all doing? I hope you're all swell. As for me, I'm doing swell too. It was a good week this week with a couple of ups and downs, but that's what makes life life. We got a lot of great people here that we get to teach, and even though we have millions of flies in our house and a couple of things breaking, life is all good.

So when I say that we have a lot of flies you probably think our house is dirty. But that's not the case.... Okay well maybe part. We are cleaning it later cause the Sister training leader missionaries are checking it tomorrow. Anyways at the front of our house there is a mango tree, and for some reason the flies love it. So it's been bad on the inside. They're constantly landing on all of us. We tried buying fly paper, except it was really weak (except it managed to catch a couple along with a cricket and lizard) and now we have an electric fly swatter. So we're working on getting rid of them. Here's the blessing in this, I've grown to not be as grossed out by bugs as much, (unless it's a large cockroach flying at your face and crawling all over you which happened to me Saturday night) but hey, you adjust.

Now that I told you a random fact here's the highlights of this week. We were still able to find lots of people to teach. We decided to find farther down this road that we usually go to, and ended up finding a cool family, and then upon our return we had another woman come up to us who was taught by the missionaries (one of them was my 2nd district leader in my first cycle) in 2015. It's awesome to see who the missionaries have been to before. Along with them we had plenty of other people to teach, and a lot who I can see their interest.

This last Thursday I went on exchanges with Elder Durbin, an American from Syracuse Utah, and we had a blast. He's almost 10 months in the mission and sgoing strong. We had a good day and were able to teach the Salodez family again, which is my favorite due to how well they listen. It makes me feel like I'm really doing my job. 

We had high hopes for people coming to church this Sunday except for the last couple days it's been really rainy (we found out it was a small storm) so that's been kinda gloomy, (my gloominess was added to cause the washing machine also broke so I did my clothes by hand and they're still not all the way dry). So because of the rain a lot of the people aren't able to come to church. This was the case for us. Except we did have 2 come. 

These two were two girls that we found last Sunday while working with our branch mission leader. To be honest we saw them as we were passing by and were planning on just heading to our appointment, but our branch mission leader decided we should talk to them. So we did, and this last week we ended up having several discussions with them. When they came to church they had a lot of questions since they are Catholic and noticed a lot of differences. So this upcoming week we plan to keep building their faith and helping them understand. 

So even though days can be gloomy, and things can happen like bad rainy days, washing machines breaking, lots of flies, burning a hole the size of a baseball in your shirt, life still continues to have small blessings, such as waiting for a bus for an hour and the moment we decide to try to hitch hike a car passes by that has 2 members from Pasuquin branch (which is 2 hours away) so we get safely home. Also our blessings are the people we have come to love and continue to help grow. 

I only have a little more time to do this and after that I won't ever have this type of chance again. I'm really grateful to be assigned in this area and I know this is where the Lord wants me to be. We're ready for another exciting week and can't wait to update you! That's all for this week! Love you all! 

Elder Espiritu

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


We went exploring on a beach with members :D









Sunday, June 3, 2018

As the Weeks Pass By

Would you look at that! It's already June! You know, back in Utah when you think of June you think of summer. No more school and vacationing time. Here in the good ol Philippines, it's a little different. June here means it's the rainy season, the start of school and everyone starting to be busy again. Nevertheless that is alright, and we can still work effectively. I mean we've been doing it for awhile. I'm not sure if the time I've spent here is catching up to me but I find it interesting how I feel during the afternoons. It's also fun meeting someone new every time we go to this one house full of relatives. 

It's been kinda weird this week cause every morning it's all bright and sunny, then around 1 or 2pm we start seeing dark gray clouds, and next thing you know it starts raining. It wasn't too bad for the most part, except Saturday

That day we legit had to take cover 2 or 3 times and wait out the rain so we didn't get soaked. It's surprising how long rain can last. We got stuck the first time under a shed for half an hour. But, our spirits are still high, even though our socks are soaked. I'm not sure why either. Maybe it's the almost 22 months catching up to me but I've been really tired around 1-4pm the past couple of weeks. 

I'm pushing through it though, and I've been studying diligence in Preach My Gospel so am really doing my best to work hard every day even though we're tired. Nothing we can't handle!

We kinda had switch off days this week, where one day we were pretty successful, and one day we had almost all of our appointments fall through. Whenever we have slow days, I always think to myself that to everything there is opposition, meaning there's a really good day coming because we had a slow day. 

So all is well! It's a lot of work opening an area. We're doing our best to keep planting seeds. 

We've found some rocking people while we've been here, and my favorite so far is the Salodez family. They are in a little compound of houses and are all related to each other. There are several children that really want to listen and every time we go there we have someone new that we meet. 

This last Saturday we were teaching around 13 kids and parents the Plan of Salvation. It was like we were teaching Primary. 

Afterwards we had another really cool lesson with one of the kids' mom, who really wanted to join in a couple days ago but her husband was drunk. Her husband is very nice though and we're actually teaching them both now. The wife was really curious to know how the Mormons started, and when we taught her we could tell she was really listening. So far she has much potential.

We also had some success Sunday when we were able to coordinate with the members to help provide transportation for some of that family. We had 4 of the kids come, and although a little at first, we can see the desire of the other family members. It's slowly growing. 

We're also really grateful for the members. We've only been here 3 weeks, but I already feel close to several of them and there's already a bond. It's awesome. I'm really glad to be assigned in Cabugao. 

Fun fact: one of my favorite families from Batac ward stopped by on their way to Baguio. My love for the people here is real and they are the best people. 

So there goes another week in Cabugao. It wasn't the fastest most interesting week, but it sure was a good week! 

I bore my testimony in Ilocano during fast and testimony meeting and all the members thought it was great even though I still don't know much. Whatever language we speak, I know that this work is true.

I'm grateful to help strengthen the saints here in Cabugao. Let's pray for more and more good weeks until it's over! 

Until next week, love you all!

Elder Espiritu

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


Just chillin on P-day


May May taken stolen shots



Rocking the Flower look and Glasses



Dinner with Mommy Sandra


Working with Vlad


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Sparking Testimonies and Refrigerators

Hey y'all it's Elder Espiritu here just living in the heat of the Philippines and doing the Lord's work. You know for having mostly the same schedule it's pretty amazing to see what interesting things can happen week by week and the weird things I can say that has happened to me while I've been here, such as my back drying up to the point where I feel like a lizard and our fridge having a firework show early in the morning. 

We are happy to report that I got to talk to an awesome 14 year old about how he came to know the Church was true and attend his baptism along with our baptism of Elizabeth!

I'm not sure how or why, but Monday night I just noticed my shoulder was really dry and it kinda hurt. I called the Sister missionaries who are in charge of medical stuff and they asked if it was just my shoulder. Turns out my whole back was just red and cracked. So I had to buy some random medicine and for the most part it's getting better. I'm just confused why this would be happening right before I go home. I mean I've been here for so long already and it only now starts to dry up. Oh well, it's all good.

Anyways here's a little fun story: On Wednesday from 6AM-6PM we had a scheduled black out (except here they call it a brown out). This isn't the first time I've experienced it so I'm used to that happening. You just endure the heat. It passes by fast and it's no big deal. But because there was no power the whole day all the ice in our fridge melted and leaked out.
 
Once we got back later that night we discovered a dead rat in the puddle that the fridge caused, so we threw it out, didn't think much of it. Turns out the rat was chewing on the chord the whole day so around 2:30 in the morning all 4 of us woke up to bright lights flashing downstairs and the sound of loud bangs. Once it stopped we went down to investigate and found out that the chord of the fridge got wet and because it was chewed on the chord basically blew up. The copper inside the chord was gone. 

We were not expecting anything like that to happen, but luckily for us, we got it fixed the following day. I never thought I would be able to say I've had a fridge blow up at 2:30 AM, but now I can!

Another fun story: As we were teaching a couple of kids we saw the mother come home and when she saw us she didn't really do anything, just kind of ignored us. So after the lesson we went over and tried to become friends with her. She didn't look happy at first and the first thing she said to us was "matigas ang kalooban nyo" which really confused us, because usually when you hear matigas (hard) said to you personally it's kind of an insult such as matigas ang ulo mo (you have a hard head) but what she was trying to say (but had a little harder time cause she is Ilocano and not Tagalog) was "Malakas ang kalooban nyo" which means we're strong willed. 

The woman was very nice and we learned to be friendly to everyone even though they may not seem nice at first. Just talk to and love everyone!

Alright now to the more spiritual side, because I'm now serving as a District leader, I get the opportunity to interview the other missionaries' candidates for baptism. The person I interviewed was named Christopher. 

Although only 14 years old, it was awesome to see how strong his testimony was. When I asked him why he says this church is true, it's because he prayed about it by himself and heard a voice tell him it was true. It was awesome and he was baptized and confirmed this last week.

Because of the hard work of the last 2 Elders in Cabugao, they left behind a wonderful woman named Elizabeth. She is an awesome 57 year old who has such a strong testimony. 

We were able to have her interviewed and baptized this last week with Christopher. She is so good and I already love her even though I've only known her for 2 weeks. You just come to love people so fast here on the mission and it's awesome.

The people here in Cabugao are awesome and I love it here. The work here is still a little slower because we're still building it up, but time flies fast. I'm lucky to be able to serve here in Cabugao and it's an awesome experience. 

I can't wait to meet more people that are ready to come closer to Christ! That's all for this week! Love you all!

Elder Espiritu

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

Baptism and Chopping wood :D







Sunday, May 20, 2018

Straight Into Ilocos Sur

To my family, friends, and whoever reads this:

Hi!!! It's Elder Espiritu straight outta Cagayan province and into the wonderous Ilocos Sur area. Lots of changes and lots of updates. Lots of things seen and remembered from past experiences, and lots of great people. It's been an interesting week and I'm gonna make it a little fun this time by telling you what's the difference in my last area vs now.

The apartment: I'm moving from a dusty half outside yellow water apartment to a lot nicer wood/concrete apartment in a little neighborhood. It's pretty nice being out of the other one, but just like always still as hot as ever.

The District: I'm now in a district of 8 Elders, 4 of us from Cabugao (Elder Durbin, his trainee Elder Estrella, Elder Cabasal and I) and 4 from Sinait (Elder Wells, Elder Santillan and my beloved zone leaders Elder Bordeos and Elder Petty), and it's the bomb. Everyone gets along and is super obedient. Being a district leader will be fine and dandy.

The area: This one was quite a change. First the enviornment's way different. I'm going from pretty small and humble concrete/ bamboo houses with dirt floors to several legit nice looking/big houses. A lot of people in our area are called "Balik-bayans" which means they've lived outside the country and eventually came back. We met someone from California the other day, and there are several like that.

Now when you're in the Cagayan province for the most part everyone is very friendly and lots of people are willing to talk to you. I totally forgot that in the nicer areas sometimes it's a little harder. The first time we went tracting here I had several people hide. How do I know that they were actually there? 

So in the Philippines when people are home, they leave the door wide open so you can see inside. So one time we went to a house with the TV on and when we knocked the TV mysteriously turned off and there was no one home. Another time we saw a woman and said hi, and she closed the door and walked away. Then with the other one I saw the person and asked if I could ask a question, and then they got up and just ignored me. To be honest every time that happened I just laugh. I know it's not them personally rejecting, and it's just not their time. So it'll be an interesting experience. 

What Elder Cabasal and I are doing is called an "open area" where both of us are new so we legit have no clue on where anyone is or where to go. Luckily we have a good resource.

The members: It's only been a week and I think the members here so far are awesome. Almost every day we have had people work with us so they could show us where the previous missionaries used to go. If it weren't for them we would've been lost. Not only are they helpful but they're all really fun to be with and I felt comfortable around them right away. 

It's really a blessing because usually when you are in a new area it can be slightly overwhelming when everything's new, but I feel fine which is great. Also one of the things that  Cabugao is famous for is feeding missionaries. One member says that every missionary is her "anak" (child) so she feeds us on a regular basis, and she's not the only one. The YSA (young single adults) are cool and everyone's just really friendly.

So that's the basis of the area, and like everyone told me I am enjoying it so far. The work is slower because we don't really have much to build off of, so we're almost starting from scratch. However, there is one amazing soul that the previous missionaries have prepared that we get to help reach the gate of baptism, which should be this week! It's going to be awesome!

We didn't even get to go to church in our own branch cause we had a district conference in Vigan! I never thought I was actually gonna go back to Vigan but now here I am in Vigan zone. 

Cool fact: After the Sunday session a member came up to me and said he wanted to talk to me. He was a middle aged gentleman who told me that when he was in Primary he had a missionary that he remembers would always come to his house on P-days and do activities like riding water buffalos and stuff. That missionary was Elder Espiritu, my dad! I'm so blessed to be serving so close to where my parents served and I love it.



Everyone tells me I'm nearing the finish line of my mission, and it's almost 100% positive that this will be my last area. So I gotta do everything I can to give it all I got before I leave. 

I get to paint my own picture here and though it'll take some work, we can do it. No matter where I am assigned, I know there are people ready to receive the message of the Restoration. If I don't give it my all I may never find them. 

This church is true and growing everywhere! That's all for this week! Love you all!

Elder Espiritu

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


Elder Cabasal and I with the Members









Pictures of the Apartment





Sunday, May 13, 2018

More Changes to the End

First off I will start by saying Happy Mother's Day! I'm 100% sure I have the best mom in the world! Love you Mom! 

Secondly, this week was another hectic week. But just like that it's over. We've been running around everywhere and that was my last time doing that here in Ballesteros zone. Almost every day was eventful and memorable, even though it seems the same, interviews, meetings and baptisms all have different experiences every time we have one.

Like life always is for Elder Ballan and I we had a missionary coordination meeting with President Credo in Ballesteros, so that's where we went on Tuesday. Another great meeting went down and the Spirit was strong. Shortly after that we got to interview 2 awesome candidates for baptism from Ballesteros. They passed and we got to see 2 more amazing souls get ready for baptism. The next day we went to Abulug for another interview, and all went well. 

This last Thursday we needed our district leader (Elder Willougby from Canada) to go interview in our area for one of our investigators who is ready for baptism. Elder Willougby and I went to our area first to teach lots of people. We taught a variety of people such as several cousins in one setting, or a mom and her daughter in an area 20 minutes from where we usually go. But they're all worth it. The day ended and our investigator was qualified for baptism! All good things.

On Friday we got to wake up bright and early to make it on time to zone conference in Aparri. Like always zone conference was pretty good, and the thing I really liked was about revelation. We are all capable of receiving revelation, even if it's just thoughts or feelings that come to you. We can also improve our spiritual capacity and capability. That's one thing I really want to do. This zone conference was the 2nd to last zone conference President and Sister Andrada will have. The next one will be quite special.

Then we hit Saturday, where we first had interviews with President and Sister Andrada, and then we had a baptism later that day for our awesome investigator Sister Olive! She has legit been so awesome from when she started to now. I still love the fact that the Book of Mormon is her best friend. She's going to be an awesome member. I'm so blessed every time I get to see the change in peoples lives. Missionary work is so awesome.

The next day we got an unexpected/expected text that I am now being transferred. Am I surprised? No. To be honest I had a pretty strong feeling that I would but I was hoping I would just have my last area here. Guess that's not what the Lord wants. But that's okay, I'm excited! This 7th area will for sure be my last. 

My next area is Cabugao, in Vigan zone with Elder Cabasal, the farthest zone south in the mission. It'll be my last adventure! It's also sad to say goodbye to the members again. I always grow so fond of them, and then I have to leave them. That's just part of the mission life. They will be perfectly fine without me. They're all awesome. 

Time just seems to be going so fast, yet at the same time I still have a lot of things to do here in my mission. I still have so many opportunities that I can do in the time I have left. I know that this Gospel has the power to change lives no matter where they are in the world. Whether it's here in the Philippines, Africa, or America, the message changes the lives of everyone. 

Although I'm leaving again, I get to help another group of amazing people. That's all for this week, life's all good, and here we go! Love you all! 

Elder Espiritu


Baptism of Olive, Maricon and Diane


Last Sunday in Allacapan


I really do have horns  haha

Sunday, May 6, 2018

#Dontwork

Ha you thought I didn't work at all huh? Nah I did, just not with Elder Ballan. This whole week I didn't work with Elder Ballan even once hahahaha. Every day I worked with someone different. But that's fun right? Gives life a twist. 

Because we had P-day on Wednesday, this week legit flew by. How did we spend it? Well what's a good week without exchanges and splits? It could probably still be good, but you know, you get it.

One thing I love about splits is to see how different missionaries work, especially when they come from a different country. I got a fun opportunity to go with a new Elder from Tonga named Elder Vaea (pronounced VAI-AH). It was a fun experience. I always love going with newer missionaries, cause there's so much you can teach them and things you can learn from them too. 

They're always really humble and willing to learn. Since he's knew he struggled speaking the language during the exchange, but it was alright. He's getting it down. For 2 months he's doing alright. 

Hearing the background of the missionary is pretty cool. I learned a lot about the culture of Tonga from him such as food, the way they treat others and cultural dances. It's quite different but they sound like really cool people. This mission has showed me how different every culture is. 

The following day we had splits with the other Allacapan Elders so Elder Ballan could interview one of their candidates for baptism. So I took Elder Dollano with me to my area. He's always a fun Elder to work with, and has a knack for making people laugh. He's also really good at magic and at teaching doctrine. It's a good mix. He's well loved. The exchange went well, people fed us and we had another good time.

The next day because we didn't have much work this week we decided to go on splits. Elder Ballan went to a farther area while I took 2 members with me to a different far area. It was a little more difficult because a lot of people were busy, but we managed to find people to teach. We taught a couple of members and investigators too. Something that's always hard to balance is teaching investigators, less actives, recent converts and members equally. Especially here. There are lots of recent converts and a few less actives. We're still working on finding more investigators.

Sunday rolled around fast and Olive cam to church again which means.... she's getting baptized this Saturday! I'm so happy to see yet another soul change because of the gospel. 

One thing she told us that I would like to share is her best friend is the Book of Mormon. It really helps her out in life. We couldn't be happier seeing how much she's come to love the gospel.

I'm always grateful to witness or take part in the conversion of others to the gospel, but I know it's not me doing it. No matter how good of a teacher I am, I am nothing without the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost can reach them if they don't decide to act for themselves. But when they do, he carries the message unto their hearts, and it's up to them to accept it. It's great when people accept it. 

We still have more possible people who will accept it, like a certain girl that we used to teach last March, but we never found her house. Now after a month of not teaching her we found her, and even though she has no contact with any LDS member, she is still reading the Book of Mormon and is now in Mosiah. There are little miracles everywhere here and I love being part of it.

It's interesting to see how the one thing constant to me in my mission is change. Change in people. Change of areas. Change is good though, at least the things I'm witnessing. I hope I've changed for the better too. 

I know my testimony of the gospel is definitely changing and growing and I hope to keep growing it my whole life. Seeds are also being planted in the lives of others I've met and it's great to see them grow. Time does wonders and God is loving and great. 

I know this work is true, and I'm excited for this week with interviews and zone conference! That's all for this week! Until next time, Love you all! 

Elder Espiritu

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


Grabbing some mangoes off the tree 



Eating at Sister Rosalinas house with Olive and Zyrinne