Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family, 
Now let's play a game where I don't tell you of where I was transferred to, nah that's no fun.  Well I am now in the beautiful area of..... Calabanga.  For those of you who looked it up on the map I am still relatively close to Naga City.  Man I'm never getting out of here am I?  Three of my four areas have been close to Naga.  I want to go somewhere far and exotic, where I can finally wrestle with a python and make my appearance on Survivor man.  Ha ha, like that's ever going to happen. But hey, I'm close to the ocean so at least one dream came true.  My new companion is Elder Grospe and he in short, he's a basketball junky like me.  What a great companionship.  As the NBA season draws near, speculation of the new NBA champion team is the top topic in our free time.  Will LeBron make his come coming debut with a bang, or will the Spurs once again steal his thunder.  Okay Cole, snap out of it and back to the real world.
This past week for work was pretty rough.  Member present lessons are an issue here so it's hard for us to get fellow shippers for our investigators.  But on the other hand the ward members are awesome and I love them to pieces.  It was hard to leave Milaor Ward even though I was only there for three months but it won't be hard to adjust here.  We have two investigators Tatay Sisno, and his wife Maria who are awesome.  They are both almost 90 but yet they still try to do the work of younger people.  Oh man I really feel lazy compared to these Filipino people.  But at first Elder Grospe said that nanay Maria really didn't want to be baptized because she's a devoted Iglesia ni Cristo and on my first teaching appointment with them we extended the baptismal invitation and they both accepted.  Oh the power of the Lord never ceases to amaze me, that just shows me even more that every person has their time and we just need to be patient.  Even if we just plant the seed the Lord will help nurture that seed until they are baptized.
Mom, Dad, if you check my bank account it will show that there was a lot of money spent.  Yes that was me.  My luggage ripped (May it rest in peace) so I had to get a new one.  Unfortunately the guy who sold it to me was a very good salesman and I got the best one I could get so I know that it wouldn't rip on me.  Waterproof, it has a lock, lifetime warranty, yeah it's all there the whole package.  It's weird to think that Dad is going to be the bishop when I get home, that''ll definitely add a few things to his do list.  Also, it's kind of crazy that the some of the Jazz players actually came to play ball at Wilson; unless good ole Timothy is telling one of his "what I wish happened".  Well I hope you guys all continue to have a good time until this stud muffin goes riding on a jet plane over 8,000 miles overthe world back the land of Payson.  I love you all and I wish you the best with everything.  May God be with you till we meet again.
                                                 -Elder Cole  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

Thank you for tuning in to 98.7 "The Adventures of Elder Cole in the Philippines".  This week Elder Cole has just received devastating news that he will be transferred this week!  Yeah I was pretty surprised when the Zone Leaders called and said that I was transferred.  After being in only two areas for one year it's kind of weird to be one of those missionaries who moves a lot.  What makes it even more weird is that we were involved in an ET earlier this transfer so we were almost certain that I was going to stay for at least one more transfer.  I guess the Lord has different plans for me now.  I hope that I'm close to a beach so I can go running in the sand for my morning exercise!!!!  Boy now that would be the best!  

But this week has been pretty awesome for my last week in Minalabac.  First off, for the first time in my 12 weeks here we had an investigator attend church!!!  We started teaching the daughter of one of the less active members in our area and now she has a baptismal date for November 29th.  Too bad I won't be around to see it but at least I helped play a part in helping her come closer to Christ.  Things are also going pretty well with one our investigators Elmer (every time I hear his name I think of Elmer Fudd ha ha).  He has been reading the Book of Mormon a lot, especially about the Testimony of Joseph Smith which is awesome.  He said that he will be baptized if he knows the Book of Mormon is true.  Before Elmer told us that he's been searching for the truth for a long time and that he's attended a lot of different churches in order to do so.  But his only concern is that he doesn't want to pray to know if it's true. Elder Macaballug and I have been trying to help him realize that he won't receive his answer unless he prays.  He told us that he doesn't need to pray because if he does good things; good things will come back to him, or in other terms "Karma".  I hope that in due time that he will realize the importance of prayer so that he will be able to have the faith to ask our Father in Heaven if this is the true church.

Well things at home look pretty exciting!  I can't believe Jacob is already a teacher and Brandon is now a deacon.  Time sure does fly.  2014 is almost over and then I'll officially be in the last quarter of my mission.  What makes me even more weireded out is that Tim is going to be 12 when I get back too.  That's going to be a fine looking batch of missionary cousins in a few years ha ha.  Everyone is growing up so fast it makes it seem like I've been gone for forever.  Well I love you all so much and I can never express of how much gratitude I have for what everyone of you has done for me.  Every letter, every package, every email, and every time you say I love you has made an impact in my life.  I'm not the only one who has said and will say "Missions are hard, but they're worth it".  I would like to add "Missions are hard, but they're easier when you have family and friends behind you".  Thanks again for all the support. Take care around this Halloween season!  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                                      -Elder Cole

        Bro Eugene Vallencia and Neil Garribay (They always worked with us when they had time).

 "Mr. Pogster" (Me) and Elder Macaballug

Milaor Bishopric

The skates got stuck on a bridge so it was a perfect picture moment. 

                             The Brosula Family: They were baptized after I left my first area.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

"Only a Bible verse can explain of what happened next".  With the Gnashing and Gnarling of his teeth he howled".  Oh man how I love Elder Bednar.  That talk was easily one of my favorites from this last talks.  It's amazing to see how the prophecies in the Bible and Book of Mormon are coming to true, the gospel is truly spreading forth across the four corners of the earth as we have had the great opportunity to hear general authorities teach in their native tongue.  I am also proud to be one of those 88,000 missionaries across the world spreading the gospel among the children of our Heavenly Father.  It's a big responsibility considering of how many people there are on this world that don't know the gospel, but it is possible if we heed the council of President Monson in previous conferences and work together hand in hand with the missionaries.  

General Conference was easily the biggest highlight of the week as I was able to watch all of the sessions in a two day period.  Thank goodness for technology, I don't think that I would have been able to wait to watch all of it.  Work this week was still difficult but we managed to get 3 new investigators.  If you all remember my last letter I mentioned that I had a few girls trying to flirt with me..... yeah they are the new investigators.  But honestly they are all really interested and they all have a great desire to learn more.  Their understanding of the gospel is also pretty solid which is very helpful.  Some people here don't really have a strong understanding of who God really is and about other doctrinal terms so we have to make sure to use simple words to fit their vocabulary.  

Oh yeah, we also had interviews with President Reeder this past week.  I am really grateful to have him for a mission president because he really understands what it's like to be a foreigner missionary and the challenges that we face (he served in Hong Kong).  Minalabac is easily the hardest area that I have ever been in and sometimes it really is hard to keep myself confidence up.  But he told me to just always remember that through prayer I can receive the strength that I need to overcome the challenges that have come in the work. I know that eventually I will see the blessings of these trials because these are the experiences that I need to have in order for me to become the man that God is shaping me to become.  

Brendon Brendon, he really did pick Rick!!!  I can't say of how much I miss Killer Bunnies and peanut butter bars at the moment.  It really looks like you guys had a blast.  In due time I will be able to join you guys in that great fun once more; and maybe I'll actually win for once.  I love you guys so much and again I want to thank you for everything!!!  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

First off.... I can't wait to watch General Conference next week!!  I know you guys have already had the wonderful opportunity to listen to it but I am so excited for this coming week.  There's nothing quite like watching General Conference when you're a missionary.  I don't know if it's because I'm wearing a white shirt and tie but I have found that I pay a lot more attention now than when I was a kid.  It's weird to think that I only have one more General Conference in the mission and then after than.... I'll only have 1 1/2 transfers left.  Boy that's a weird thought.  

This week has been a little more difficult than last week.  I've had a lagging cold this week and so it's been kind of hard for people to understand me because I've been sneezing every 5 seconds.  Gotta love life as a missionary.  Also it's been kind of difficult to find people this week.  Unlike last week where we had a pretty time finding people, everyone just seemed to play "Let's hide from the Mormons". Every time that we went back for a return appoint they almost always had something going on or weren't interested anymore.  But just for a funny story.  On Saturday Elder Macaballug and I went tracting in Iryang Sulong and when we were heading back to the apartment, we came in contact with a few college students who started talking to us.  The first thing that this girl asked me was if I had a girlfriend; because of my past experiences with girls like that I told her that I did but that didn't help the situation any.  As you could have guessed she asked me to take her to America with me.  In the end we ended up giving them all pamphlets and we have a return appointment with all of them on Tuesday so I hope that that can be a good event for them.  But when we were giving them handshakes this same girl that asked  me to take her to America told me that she didn't want a handshake, she wanted a hug from "her babe".  I can't tell you of how awkward that is being a missionary but in the end she didn't get her hug.  

Now that I'm thinking about it there's another funny story that would be funny to share.  On Thursday we had exchanges with the District Leader and like always he decided to come work with me. While we were working in one one of our farther areas, we stopped for a second to buy some barbecue for a quick snack.  For your information, barbecue here in the Philippines is a lot different from barbecue back in America.  Barbecue here consists of Ulo ng Manok (Chicken Head).  Pritong Dugo (Fried Blood), Isaw (Chicken Intestines, that ones my favorite) and usually hot dogs. Before I start I would like to say that this is why I won't wear tight pants.  While Elder Hodge and I were waiting for our food to be cooked, he ended up taking a bad step backwards and falling of the road into a little stream and ended up ripping his pants from his crotch down to his knee area.  That was seriously one of the funniest moments that I have experienced on my mission.  I felt so bad for him but I couldn't help laughing.  The funny thing was that the next day was Zone Conference so he had to wear shorts to Zone Training until his companion showed up with his pants. 
Well Mom, my Sunday Shirt size is a 15 1/2 neck.  Please don't get me a long sleeve shirt, every time I wear one I feel like I'm going to die.  Then for the regular T-Shirt size I'm a medium (I think).  Sizes here are different so I'm not really sure any more.  But it's good to hear that everything is going well back at home.  I really can't believe that it's almost Christmas again.  Time moves by so fast that it's hard to keep track. With all the Christmas music playing I think I'm going to get burned out of Christmas before it arrives.  We have this neighbor who already has their lights set up and they play loud Christmas music everyday so the whole neighborhood can hear it ha ha.  I guess the Filipinos are really excited.  But I love you guys so much and I wish you the best. Continue to do what's right and always "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" -Pres. Uchtdorf.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                             -Elder Cole