Monday, March 31, 2014

Sorsogon 1C with Elder Vaki

Transfers went alright. Leaving Gubat sucked way bad. We decided to ride the Jeepney one last time on topload. As we were going out of Gubat I saw Tatay Pimentel on his bike going to work. He stopped and waved and gave me victory kisses haha I was starting to tear up. Then we got to the Pimentel's house down the road. As we were passing it I saw Sharmain, one of the daughters, our front washing. She looked at me, smiled and waved bye. Then I lost it haha. I hope someday I will see these people again, they so amazing! Well Transfer time came and we were all sitting in the church hall in Sorsogon. I was sitting behind Elder Haymond (MTC comp) and his comp...Elder Vaki. They started to read the names of the people leaving Sorsogon Zone. My name was not read. I thought I might have missed hearing my name. But then they read those coming into Sorsogon. Now me and Elder Vaki AKA Elder Haymonds last comp, are now together. It was the craziest thing. Also Elder Christopherson (other MTC comp) is now in my old house with Elder Wilcox, and they are with my old comp and this other white boy. Gubats in good hands I guess. After the Announcement I finally got my BDay package...and my Valentines. I've been waiting for that for awhile. Me and Vaki went to our area and he showed me around. We've got a pretty good area. Its mostly in the Subs of Sorsogon, which means people who can actually make it to church because they got money. We did a lot of tracting too this week, they got no new investigators here. We managed to find like 5 new ones, plus we contacted some Referrals. So hopefully we can get the ball rollin and get some good work done. I also found a Hotel in our area called Santa Clara. Its been 7 and a half months since I've seen a sign that says that haha. And just to make everyone laugh, I have finally changed my hairstyle...the Ronny one eyed barber gave me a chop of a haircut. So now I look Macklemore (old folks ask the young kids who that is) mixed with a Marine...its not to bad actually. I'll send some pics hopefully of it next week. I love you guys and hope life is going well back at home! Shoutout to "Kevin" Gubler who just made it home off of the Mish. Don't get married to fast buddy!
Elder Akins

The sign says, "It's okay to pee here, but only a little . . . thanks."

I also found a Hotel in our area called Santa Clara.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Transfer Announcement . . . Goodbye Gubat

Well this last week was pretty good...until on Saturday night when I found out that I won't be staying in Gubat anymore. I've spent my 6 months here, I wish it was longer, but the Lord knows what he is doing so I guess I just gotta follow. But anyways I'll start off on Tuesday, when I went on Exchanges with Elder Skeen who is actually from my Batch! So me and Skeen both are not amazing at Tagalog, but thankfully we do know enough and can understand to communicate effectively. We started the morning off with an awesome Comp. Study, I haven't had a good one like that for awhile. We talked about my investigators and how we could really help them on that day, it was really good. After our studies we went and started working. After working all day we ran out of appointments so we ended up tracting in an area I've never tracted here. We ended up getting 6 good return appointments and one of them was an entire family who was really interested in our message! So we were pretty stoked about that. At night we had planned to go to one of our Less-Actives house, who's nephew had just passed away. We got there and we sat down and talked to them and stuff. Then they introduced me to their Uncle who lives in Manila and he sat down next to me. Instantly he just started talking to me in English about why I was here and stuff. I explained that we were Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We ended up talking for about an hour and a half. It was the best discussion about the Gospel of my life! Every question he asked me I somehow managed to answer. And lets get things straight, I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed. But when he asked me about the Prophet Joseph Smith and who he was I just felt something stir inside me. I bore my testimony of him and the Book of Mormon and I could definitely see the Spirit work on him. Of course he talked about his religion too, Protestant. But he complimented me and thanked me for not attacking his religion when we were done. I got a kick when he talked about how Catholics always tried to attack him and he'd started talking about how they worship crosses and stuff which is clearly stated in the Bible as a no no. Haha it was awesome. He accepted a Book of Mormon and for the Elders in Manila to come to his house! It was freakin awesome, I'll never forget it. The Lord had definately prepared this man. Also that same day we tracted a house with some Beagles...I miss Duke, even if he is pretty much brain dead. The next morning before we switched comps again we went and taught this investigator family who aren't really progressing. We decided to teach about the Atonement and Faith in Jesus Christ. As Elder Wilcox has often told me,"When in doubt, teach about the Atonement and Jesus Christ." Which is very true, nothing can go wrong when you teach about our Savior. Anyways the lesson was awesome, the Spirit was there, and they definately felt it. Sister told us she was going to come to Church next week, and talked about how she was sorry for not coming and how she felt bad. Lets just hope and pray they act on their refound faith...because 'faith without works is dead' as we all know. Saturday night I got "the Text" from the ZLs...I was so ticked.  Also Elder Guitierrez is leaving too, he's gonna become a Trainer/Open a new area...and theres a chance he could become DL...poor kid haha. Sunday morning we both dressed up in our nice long-sleeves and prepared to give our goodbye speeches. But it started raining...and Filipinos don't like rain. About 40 members showed up total...counting kids. We still gave our Testimonies, I almost got to tears, which isn't easy for me. The best part of the whole meeting was when Nanay Pimentel, who hasn't come once since I've been here, showed up. She's really really shy, so it was a big step. The kids say that she said she would start coming again, so I was really happy! I talked to her on Saturday because her oldest daughter was speaking in Sacrament, so that was really good to see her. Anyways Sunday stunk cuz I had to say bye to beloved Gumang friends who I will never see again probably. The worst was when I went to the Pimentels, and Tatay wasn't there! I ended up saying bye to them without him. But this morning he came and found us, gave me a letter from him and the family, gave me this big ole short Filipino hug, and told me how happy he was that I was assigned here in Gubat. The Pimentels really are one of the biggest reasons I love this area so much, its kinda like leaving my family all over again. When I leave to go to Sorsogon tomorrow morning I will pass their house, hopefully it won't "rain on my face" or anything...I really hate goodbyes. So ya, thats pretty much all of the stuff thats gone on this week. Next week I'll be in my new area with a new comp...hopefully he actually wants to be here that would be nice. But what happens happens, its what the Lord wants and thats what I'll do! Hope everyone has a great week! Love y'all!
Elder Akins

Monday, March 17, 2014

Highlight of the Week: Exchanges with an American

This week was really awesome. I started the week out on Exchanges with Elder Wilcox. We worked in his area. The whole time while walking to appointments we just swapped stories back and forth about High School, Hunting, Fishing, Sports and all the normal stuff. I felt to good to finally talk to someone for awhile who was actually interested in my stories. We had some much fun! And our lessons were the bomb! Especially our lesson to a Less-Active Family about the Atonement! We both bore such strong Testimonies, it was awesome. The family actually gave us both these sick seashells after the lesson, so it was pretty great. At night we ran out of appointments so we just started Tracting. We came up with this awesome strategy too. So as we were walking around I noticed this lady sellling "Fishballs" (Deep Fried Batter Mix Stuff that are my favorite). I said to E. Wilcox,"Man, I'm kinda hungry." He told me we could get some but I just told him when we come back by we would. So we walked to this last appointment that fell through, then walked back by. He came up with this awesome idea, he said,"You break the ice by buying some Fishballs, then I'll OYM (Open Your Mouth) them." So I walked up, bought some, asked her which sauce was the best to put on it, complimented on how good her Fishballs were and just started talking to her. Then E. Wilcox came in and handled the rest. It went perfect! We talked with her for awhile about her and her family and stuff, then introduced the Gospel. By then like 12 other people were listening to us so it was pretty cool. We gave as many people as we could Pass-Along cards and stuff and then set up a return appointment for the lady. After, we just looked at each other and high-fived. We spread the Gospel, she got money, and I got my favorite snack, everyone won! But the next day we had something sad happen to us. We lost one of my favorite investigators who I've been trying so hard to get her to accept and follow our teachings over my whole 6 months here in Gubat. Sadly she wasn't progressing. Her husband lives in Manila, and one day he came home and found out that she was taking lessons from us. She had told us it was ok with him, but when he came home he got mad at her and told her we couldn't come back. Even though she wasn't really progressing, she was still sad to tell us we couldn't come back and teach her. Hopefully one day here husband will come around and something will happen. But on the good side we gained a couple of awesome new investigators. They all accepted the Baptismal Date we set for them, April 19, so I'm super stoked for that...even though I probably won't be here anymore haha. And to end this email on an even better note, I got hugged by a drunk guy this week, and he told me I was his best friend! I guess its my charm really, I don't even have to say things to people and they automatically become my best friend! Haha well I hope everyone is loving life! I love you all and I'm so grateful for this oppurtunity I have to serve the Lord and the wonderful people of the Philippines! Ingat kayo at mahal kita!
Elder Akins

Monday, March 10, 2014

Baptism of Alex Salvan!

The highlight of this week was our Baptism, but we will get to that later. I'll just start at the first of the week. On Tuesday I went on Exchanges with Elder Celiz. He is training an American/Filipino or Foreignoy as its called here. Elder Celiz is the exact opposite of me though. He is almost half of my height, probably like 225 lbs, and speaks no English. But he's the nicest kid I've meet out here so far! We talked the whole time, which was much different from my comp right now. We had a great time, and the Spirit was in our lessons for sure! That same day I saw a Filipino kid runnin around in a Dan Marino Dolphins Jersey...I didn't know they even made those any more?! On Wednesday the other Filipino in my apartment, E. Gutierrez, finally got his package (mine still hasn't come). Lets just say his parents have money to spare...I think I could have fit my self into his package and mailed myself home if I wanted to. It was huge to say the least. We spent the good portion of our time that night roasting marshmallows that were in his package. The next day I met an old Filipino guy who lived in Reno, Nevada for 42 years. He was pretty funny to talk to. He said that some Mormon guy from Utah was coming to do some business with him in June, to bad I more than likely won't be here. I referred him to the other Elders so hopefully they can get a hold of him soon. A lot of the "rich" people here have Turkeys, so I've been hearing some Toms gobblin hard sometimes when we are out working. Its kinda wierd though...wheres the sage brush? And the best thing that happened this week was our Baptism of Alex Salvan on saturday! He asked me to baptize him so I was pretty stoked! He was kinda nervous so the first thing he did when he got into the font was to try and baptize himself by "bending his knees" as we had gone over with him before the service. Haha luckily I had my hand on his back so he didn't go down. But all went well and we got him confirmed the next day and now he is an official member of the true church! He's definitely going to be a future church leader here in Gubat one day! And on Sunday we contacted some Referrals we had recieved from a member in a part of our area that I've never even been to! But we found them and they were super excited to hear from us so I'm way excited to begin teaching them! They aren't super dirt poor either so I think they should be able to make it to church regularly! Thats pretty much all the good stuff that happened this week. Also in my Personal Study this week I found the real reason why I decided to spend my time hunting and fishing in High School then on girls. I refer you to Proverbs 21:19. It really boosted my spirits. I'm grateful for all of your love and support and I love you all! All of you have a great week!

Elder Akins

Monday, March 3, 2014

To Family, Friends, and You Other Ronnys Out There in the Mission Field

Well sickness has finally struck me. I was hoping to make it the whole 2, but it wasn't so. Here we call it y'all back in the good ole US of A its the Common Cold. I'm fine during the day because its so warm here, but in the mornings and night its like I'm a dog yackin on a bone (Christman Vacation-Snots). Anyways I still manage to fall asleep so thats good. It takes me back to those days when I was sick and Dad got mad at me because I made so much noise at night haha! But its almost gone so I think I'ma be okay. On Wednesday we had the one of the 70's for our area come and speak to us, Elder Ian S. Ardern. He had a wonderfully difficult accent due to his upbringing in New Zealand. It was hard for some of the Filipinos to understand him haha so that was funny. When they did this section for some of the Missionaries to come up and share a favorite scripture and talk about it he pointed right at me. I froze, but then he said "That young sister there" so I was like whew that was a close one. She got up and talked and sat down. Then he looks out over us...then says "That Elder there" as he looks right at me. Crap, I go to stand up but the kid in front of me goes up so I was like "Shoot dang". Then he gets up and sits down. The last one I was like there is no way...but he looks at me...and then calls my companion from the MTC, Elder Haymond, who was sitting behind me too haha man it was close. I was scared to say the least haha. Anyways the talks were really good and I learned a lot from Elder Ardern. Hopefully some of the Missionaries in my mission listened too. On Thursday I was walking through my favorite part of my area, Gumang, when I heard some familiar sounds. Well I ended up walking up on some nice turkeys, right here in the Philippines. I even got the old Tom to gobble for me and my comp haha it was great. It took me back to last years hunt with Bunting and Trevor Moss haha! That same day we went to visit some of the older ladies in the ward and some of their friends. One of them is Sister Salvan, and Sister Salvan is also the mother of our investigator who will be baptized this Saturday, Alex. I'm very excited for that! Anyways Sister Salvan is pretty awesome and funny. She doesn't like Baka (cow meat) only Baboy (pig meat), and she is convinced that I am crazy because I was born in Febuary?...anyways the only sad thing about her is she has really bad Cataracts in her eyes. But everytime I see her she reminds me of the Roy D. Mercer bit about "Cadillacs" in his wifes eyes (if you don't know who that is I highly suggest you look him up). Haha but she is really awesome and I love talking with her. And the other big highlight of my week was yesterday. Yesterday I had the oppurtunity of going on splits with my recent convert into our Church, Emmanuel. He is very special to me, and is really progressing in the Church. We had so many appointments me and Elder Caguimbal split up. Me and Emmanuel went and taught his friend that we've been teaching, Kim. Before the lesson I assigned him to teach about the Atonement and to testify the best he could. The lesson was one of the most Spiritual of my Mission so far! He nailed it and I was able to talk without sounding to ghetto haha. We really did good so I was really proud of him! I love you all so much and want you all to know that I love this Gospel so much! We are so blessed to have this knowledge and happiness in our lives! Thanks for all of your support and love! Much love to you all! Mahal ko kayo! Kita kits sa susunod lingo!
Elder Akins