Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

Guess what??? I'm transferred!!!  I guess the Lord thought that 1 year in two areas is long enough for me.  I truly am going to miss Ragay, probably more than I did my first area.  I do love my first area, but I have grown so much here in Ragay as a missionary, but also as a man.  Well as my chapter in Ragay is coming to a close, a new chapter is just beginning in an unknown place (for right now).

We haven't had electricity here in Ragay for two weeks now and let's say that it's been rough.  We have had a curfew at 5:30 which makes teaching difficult sometimes due to the fact that some of our investigators have school during the day and they don't get home until 4:00.  It's been a fun experience trying to survive by candle light because the life on our emergency lights aren't very strong.  The city hall has a generator so we have to go there to charge our cellphone every two to three days.  But hey, we still have running water so I'm not going to complain.  As long as I can take my shower every day I'm okay.

President Saraus had me speak last minute yesterday about The Authority of the Priesthood and Keys of the Priesthood yesterday because the assigned speaker had decided not to show up.  Oh what fun!  I'm alright with giving talks, I just like a little more time than 5 minutes to prepare a 8 minute talk(which ended up being like 4 because I ran out of material to use and I didn't want to ramble).  But it was great because most of our investigators attended church yesterday for my last Sunday here.  

As you all know I like to put a little humor/or funny story in my email if I have one so here it is.  The other night while Elder San Pedro and I were charging our cellphone, we were talking and this girl came up to me and just started looking at me.  So naturally I put out my hand to introduce myself but she just gave me this weird look so I offered a fist bump instead.  Long story short, I was in her way of someone that she wanted to talk to and she wanted me to move.  Boy was that an embarrassing moment!!!  For all of you basketball fans "Shaqtin a Fool moment".  

Summer Break is almost over?????  Boy time sure does fly.  I remember when mom said that she was annoyed of the kids being home all the time because they were always fighting; and now Sam's officially in High school and everyone else is growing like a weed.  As for myself I'm only growing outward, not upward anymore.  Rice is killing my stomach but I can't stop eating it!  Well good luck with everything and I hope that things continue to go well for you guys at home.  Continue to be amazing and never give up in anything! "Missionary work (life) isn't easy because salvation isn't easy" -Elder Holland  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.  

                                           -Elder Cole

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

I know you were all anxious to hear from your studly missionary who just had his first really experience with the power of nature.  The typhoon was a pretty scary experience and isn't something that I would like to experience again.  We were evacuated to the meeting house because our apartment only has one floor.  There we spent the night with a few families as we awaited to see what Typhoon Glenda had to offer.  Let me just say that that was probably one of the worst nights of sleep that I have ever had in my life.  You could just hear the wind whipping and breaking branches and uprooting trees.  For most of the night I thought that the roof was going to be ripped off.  But thanks to the mercy of our Heavenly Father everything was all right.  As we walked to our apartment the next morning seeing the damage that Glenda had caused, my heart sunk lower and lower.  A lot of people lost their homes and two people even lost their lives.  But there is one word that describes these Filipinos... Perseverance.  Despite the fact that most people had a great deal ripped away from them in one night they still kept going.  They didn't sit and cry and say, "Why did this happen to me".  They said, "Let's get to work".  President Reeder related typhoons here in the Philippines to snow storms in Utah.  When it snows in Utah, we shovel it and keep moving on with our lives.  When a typhoon hits here, the Filipinos rebuild and move on with their lives.

Well as for the after effects, we haven't had electricity for a week now and shouldn't expect it for another month or two.  Oh joy!!  But thankfully enough we still have water pressure unlike some people here.  Right now I'm emailing from the SM (a really big mall) in Naga so I'm grateful that President Reeder gave us the opportunity to email.  But I can say that it's been a great pleasure being able to help serve the people here in Ragay.  My life has been changed through their example and their diligence to the Lord.  No longer will I complain about what I lack, but rather I will give gratitude for what I have, for I truly have been blessed.  The humility of the people is almost for me; a reflection of our Savior.  I truly am going to miss these wonderful Filipino people as my time here is halfway complete.  It's a weird thought thinking that I'm to this point in life, but I wouldn't trade these experiences for anything.  Not even for  an autograph of LeBron James.

Just to let you know Dad, Joselito and his family is just fine.  Their house is still standing but their yard is still flooded and their pig pen is destroyed.  Joy (his wife) is about to have a baby but I won't be here to see him/her.  But hey, at least if it's a boy their going to name him after me!!  That's not something everyone can say.  But I'm grateful for your support through this time and I love you all.  Take care.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo!!  Namismiss ko po kayong lahat at masaya ako para makita kayo sa SLC kapag uwi ako.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                         -Elder Cole

PS.  Just ask Sister Shultz or Google translate what I said.  I'm sure she would enjoy translating it for you guys ha ha.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Due to Typhoon Rammasun, (Glenda for the Philippines) we have not received any information from Elder Brycan Cole at this time. The particular area that he is in was hit pretty hard and it might take a few weeks before he will have any electricity or access to a computer to write. The church missionary department has been contacted and all missionaries in the Philippines were safe and accounted for as of July 17th, so there is not much more I can offer at this time.

Bill Cole (Brycan's father)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Magadang umaga po galing sa ung pinakang astig na gwapong missionary dito sa Naga Mission.  Just start off I would like to let you know that tomorrow a typhoon will hit the Bicol region so let's hope that it doesn't do too much damage here in Ragay.  It's fun coming from a place where I didn't need to worry about typhoons to a place where it's normal for them to happen.

This past week has been another average week for Elder San Pedro and I.  Due to school being in session right now and most of the males are working, it's been pretty difficult for us to be able to find new investigators or to teach in general.  But we've been doing our best to be patient.  Well I know that missionary work is a lot harder in other areas of the world so I'm grateful for this opportunity to be in a place where people are so kind and willing to listen to the gospel.  As transfer day is nearing, the members have started to express that they don't want me to leave and that when I leave that there won't be any more Pogi (handsome) missionaries.  I truly am going to miss the people here that I've grown to love.  I know I say it a lot but these people have become part of my life and all of them have helped me grow in the man that I'm becoming now.  

Well I've gotten a few updates that LeBron has returned to Cleveland and I don't know quite how I feel about that.  All I can say is that the NBA is going to be a lot different when I get home.  But on a different note, don't worry about me Mom, I'll be fine.  I know it's your motherly instinct to worry about me when there's a natural disaster, but I know everything will work out.  It's honestly quite the experience being in a typhoon, a little scary but kind of exciting at the same time for the fact that I'd never experienced that before.  Well I love you all and it sounds like things are going well for you guys.  Take care!!!  May God be with you till we meet again. 

Monday, July 7, 2014

Another week bites the dust and my official year mark in the mission is only 9 days away.  One year in the mission and only two areas so far; I must be one lucky missionary because that means I don't have to pack very often like a majority of my friends here.  Although it sure makes things rough when transfer day arrives because the area and the apartment (even if it's pangit) becomes a part of who you are.  

Well now about what glorious things happened this past week..... to be honest nothing really exciting happened this week.  Although Elder Bolombao stepped on a dead frog on the road while we were walking yesterday and that was pretty funny to see his reaction.  But anyway, life here in Ragay continues to go faster than I would like.  I almost 85.2689% that I will be leaving in only the matter of 22 days  I'm really starting to realize what parenthood is going to be like.  At first it seems  they won't grow up and then the next thing you know...skadoosh. They're in High School.  On a different note, last night we had Family Home Evening at Sister Neo's house and it was quite enjoyable. Quite a few members attended last night which only added to the fun.  All I can say is that games here in the Philippines are quite entertaining even if they make you feel a little weird at times.  But hey, life wouldn't be as much fun if you didn't feel stupid once in a while. 
 Last night they also made me teach the lesson for Family Home Evening so  I decided to teach about Family History Work and of actually how important it is.  I remember when our stake had a competition for the youth to see which ward could index the most names; and I remember seeing that our ward had.. well...0.  That's not the Oregon touchdown O. But a zero zero.  It really made me think of how many relatives that I have who are just waiting for me to find their name so they can have their ordinances finished so they too can have the opportunity to live with our Heavenly Father.  I don't know why I felt so strongly about teaching about Family History; maybe it is Heavenly Father's way of telling me again that once I'm finished with my mission that my missionary service in life has only just begun.  

Well I would like to thank you all again so much for that package!!!!  It was such a treat to experience the simple pleasures of home.  I also think my Filipino kabahay's (roommates) loved the beef jerky more than I did.  I don't think it lasted more than two days ha ha.  But again thank you for sending the clothes... just seeing the faces of the people of having a new piece of clothing is something I wish you could all experience.  It's so funny to see the expression on a little kids face when they're like.."This is from America!"
I love you all so very much and I am so grateful for all that you do for me in my life.  I couldn't have asked for a better family.  Ingat po kayo lagi (take care always).  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo!  May God be with you till we meet again.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Today is the day.... I'm old now!!!  This is going to be a pretty interesting letter I can already tell you guys that.  Well the birthday celebration that the Bordon family was going to host for me... isn't going to happen due to some jealousy in the branch and so we just thought that it would be better if there wasn't any conflict so.... wala nang birthday party.  But this past week has been a great one!!!!  On Saturday we had three baptisms and boy was it a great pleasure to see.  It's a quite the privilege getting to see these wonderful people and the progression that they have experienced over the time that we have taught them.  I think one of the greatest privileges as a missionary is to be able to be able to see a person come up out of the water after they have been baptized and to just see their smiles.

Another great thing that happened this week was that..... Joy (Joselito's Wife) finally attended church for the first time yesterday along with their whole family.  We also experienced the greatest sacrament attendance ever  in Ragay with 78 people.  I can just tell you this that there was almost literally no space left in the meeting house.. None.. Wala.  Zilch.  

Well to my great surprise.... I got my package on Saturday!!!!  I would just like to express my gratitude for you guys for all the wonderful things that were included in there.  And someone must have the ability to read minds because right after I had requested pop-tarts after you had sent the package, boom...bang.  There were pop-tarts in the package.  Also about the clothes; you guys have made some very happy Filipinos.  Even just a new shirt means so much to the people here.  Honestly I can't express how grateful I am for all you guys and the sacrifices that you put into that wonderful gift from home.  Thanks to you guys I have breakfast and snacks for the next 2-3 weeks (although the jerky is almost already gone due to Elder San Pedro ha ha).  But  I love you all so very much and I wish you the best in everything that you do.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.