Week 69 – The True Spirit of Christmas

Mission Aprons

Mission Aprons

Family Picture with Grandpa

Family Picture with “Grandpa”

Santa

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

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Maligayang Pasko! (Merry Christmas!) I am a little short on time because we still have to send some reports to the assistants, but I’m so excited to talk to everyone for Christmas!

We are really enjoying all of the stuff from the packages. The mashed potatoes are almost gone and we have finished most of the cookies and cake mix from Jessi and Scott’s package, but so far the pistachios and jerky were a big hit.
I was going to have my pants re-sized, but the people at the tailoring shop told me they would have to remove too much and it won’t work! Success and not such a success at the same time. I’ll just have to get some new ones.
Brother Edgar is still doing great along with Brother Andrei! They both have baptismal dates for the 9th of January but we are going to push brother Andrei’s back a little.
We had a ward Christmas party this last Saturday. Before the party we visited a recent convert named Kirby (Edgar’s cousin) and he was struggling to put together his Santa costume so we helped him out. Thanks for teaching me to sew mom! He was really happy and the members loved his costume.
“On Wednesday we had a full day planned and were excited to have some new investigators from some of the return appointments we had set while OYMing. It didn’t quite go as planned and just about every single one of our appointments fell through. Our back ups weren’t home or were busy and we mainly spent the day OYMing other than one lesson with a less active family and one with an investigator we had taught a couple of times before. Even though we reached our goal of having 30 “testifying contacts,” we still weren’t able to get in and teach any of the people that we talked with. We spent a little longer planning that night and really did our best to follow the spirit in planning where we would go to find new investigators. Thursday was a testimony builder to me that Heavenly Father is really guiding us and leading us to people who will receive us. Elder Valdez and I first started OYMing on the way to our first appointment and spoke to a grandmother named Libby who was outside watching her grandchildren. She was very kind to us and told us that we could come back later on. We ended up returning to Sister Libby and teaching her after meeting up with a member. Next we had planned to OYM on a certain street close to the church before our next appointment. After a few people who weren’t interested, we talked to a woman at a tindahan (store) and she let us in to teach her, her son, and her nephew. We found out that her husband had already been visited by the missionaries a long time ago, but she and the others hadn’t been taught yet. The blessings continued with another man named Kenneth who gave us a return appointment. We taught him yesterday and he was even waiting for us outside his house right on time. It was a great day and really turned our week around. I am grateful for the guidance of the Spirit that Heavenly Father blessed us with.”
That’s all for this week since we’re out of time, but I love you and hope that you will   all do what you can to give this year. That is the true spirit of Christmas. Just as Heavenly Father gave His only begotten son, we should give. Not only physical gifts but giving of ourselves. I love you guys!
Ingat kayo palagi!
-Elder Beagley
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Week 68 – Church Leaders Are Truly Inspired

Christmas Tree

Elder Arninio Helped Decorate Our Christmas Tree

Christmas Cupcakes

Christmas Cupcakes

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Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat! It has been another great week, especially with Mission Leadership Council and the Zone Conference that we had this last Wednesday!

Elder Valdez’s name is Mark, he’s from Ilocos Norte, is the oldest of 2 children, and is a crazy good missionary. I’m learning a ton from him! He’ll go home in April.

Thanks again for the packages! Hope you like our decoration of the tree!

Brother Edgar and Brother Andrei are still doing great and Brother Edgar is really progressing toward his baptismal date on January 9th. I’m almost as excited as he is! He came to church and we also taught him afterwards yesterday. We also found quite a few new investigators this past week, so I’ll let you know about their progression next time.
We had a pretty amazing Leadership Council and Zone Conference this past week. The main speaker at both was Elder Shane Bowen from the Philippines Area Presidency. He talked about a ton of things and I wish you could have been here to hear it because it was absolutely amazing, but I’ll just share some of my favorite quotes:
“We use a lot of numbers and talk about a lot of different statistics in this work, but let’s not forget what it’s all about. (He had his wife stand next to him at this part). To me Sister Bowen represents the fullness of the gospel… It’s the plan of Happiness…We go back together (sealed as husband and wife) or we don’t go back.”
“Those [missionaries] in your stewardship look up to you. They deserve to see a sermon and not just hear one.”
“The best missionaries in the church were released last week, and if they’re not they did something wrong. Your best needs to get better every day, that’s what we call eternal progression.”
He talked a lot about the Abrahamic Covenant, the House of Israel, Baptismal Covenants, and the Priesthood. He tied it all in with who we are as members, priesthood holders, and missionaries. He said this: “When you know who you really are, you will act accordingly.” Another thing that struck me from Elder Bowen’s counsel to us was when he said, “If you go home and ever feel comfortable in the world, shame on you. Shame on you because you are not of this world” I want to do all that I can now to make the changes that I need to make in myself, and to make them permanent.
Lastly and one of my favorites, “Quit Judging and talk with everyone. When finding becomes a way of life and not a missionary activity, miracles will follow.”
There was so much more and the Spirit was so strong. It renewed my testimony of the sacredness of our calling as missionaries and what we can really accomplish.
 I wanted to share about something that happened this last week while Elder Valdez and I were OYMing. We had just knocked on the door of one of our investigators and, after realizing that there was nobody home, we started walking down the street toward our back-up. As we walked we saw a man just sitting on his moped. We walked up to him and started a conversation. After introducing ourselves we asked if he was waiting for someone and he told us that he was just getting some fresh air. He continued telling us that he was almost always inside of his house taking care of his wife who has Alzheimer’s. He said that it was nice to take a little rest outside. As he spoke, I could see the effect that his wife’s condition was having on him. He seemed tired, stressed, and worried. I felt the Spirit then, prompting me to ask him a question. I asked if he believed that he would be with his wife after this life. He said that he didn’t know, but he hoped so. We were then able to testify of the restored gospel and how, through priesthood power, he and his wife could live together again with no sickness, no sadness, and no worries. He seemed a little struck by this and even though he was saying that we might not fit in his house with how messy it was, he let us in to share a message. Elder Valdez and I have had multiple experiences like this over the past few days. Especially after listening to Elder Bowen speak, our consistency in opening our mouths to speak with everyone has increased.
I’m grateful for our leaders in the church and for the Spirit which guides and directs us. Make sure and share that spirit and that joy this Christmas season!
I love you all!
-Elder Beagley

Week 67 – Spiritual Experiences and New Friends

Elder Valdez

My New Companion, Elder Valdez

Elder Valdez and Petersen

Our New Kabahay, Elder Petersen From Rigby, Idaho

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Magandang tanghali sa inyong lahat! (Good afternoon everyone)

 I don’t know an Elder Heckle but if he’s on the mainland I’ll get to see him on Wednesday. We have a big zone conference with all of the missionaries because Elder Bowen from the Area Presidency is visiting.
I did get the packages! Thank you so much! We haven’t quite decorated the Christmas tree, but I’ll send you a picture of it all decked out next week. Thanks for all of the snacks and everything! Don’t worry, I shared the love with the kabahays.
Last Sunday, an investigator who we had never met before just showed up to church. His name is Brother Andrei. We talked to him and set up an appointment for Tuesday at the church. He arrived right on time this last Tuesday after our district meeting. We got a better idea of his background in that lesson. He actually chatted with someone named Joanne on Mormon.org. We’re not sure if she is a missionary or just a member, but apparently she lives in Utah. He became interested in reading the Book of Mormon from some of the scriptures that Sister Joanne shared with him and he accepted her invitation to come to church and get a copy. He also came this last week and is now really progressing! It was a real blessing to find someone who has been so prepared. It really is a blessing in our lives when we have the opportunity to serve.
This last Thursday, Elder Valdez and I had a few lessons that fell through and stopped for a moment to think about who we could visit. The second counselor in our bishopric came to my mind and his house was close so we headed over there. It turns out that we were guided by the Spirit because the Domingo family actually needed our help at that time. As they let us in we could tell that they were having some struggles of some sort. We shared a short message with them from the Book of Mormon about trials and how Heavenly Father can release us from physical and spiritual bondage through Christ’s Atonement. Brother Domingo actually got a little choked up after the lesson as he explained that they had been going through a lot of challenges and it had gotten even worse the past couple days when the car that Brother Domingo was driving as his side job was hit by some debris that fell off a truck and wouldn’t run. He shared that he was losing hope when we arrived and that it wasn’t the first time the missionaries had showed up when he was feeling that way. I remember him saying that it seems like whenever he can’t do it alone anymore, “heavenly father sends his angels to help him.” We might not be angels, but I’m glad that we were there at the right time.
The last highlight is one of the most spiritual experiences that I’ve had so far on my mission. When the Spirit testifies to those we teach and they recognize that,  it is absolutely incredible and we had a great experience with that this last week! “Brother Edgar, came to church last Sunday and we had an appointment scheduled with him for the next day. Elder Bengan, Elder Stratton, and I went to teach Brother Edgar on Monday night and he told us about his experience at church. We were happy that he had attended all three hours this time and he even shared in Gospel Principles class about his experience with listening to the missionaries. He told us in our lesson that he had once again felt the Spirit as he shared his experience the day before. That makes three times that he has told us this same thing: once when Elder Bengan and I first taught him together, once when our Bishop visited him, and this last time at church. Our lesson was about the Holy Ghost and we tried to help Brother Edgar understand what these impressions meant; that he was receiving his answer. I remember really clearly the end of the lesson, because before we even extended an invitation Brother Edgar had something to say. He took kind of a deep breath, then looked at each of us and said, “I will do it.” The room was full of the Spirit as he explained that he knew what we were teaching him was true and that he had made the decision to be baptized. I said a little prayer in my heart right then to thank Heavenly Father for blessing us with this miracle. There really isn’t anything like the miracle of conversion. It reminds me of what Jesus Christ said to Peter in Matthew 16, “for flesh and blood have not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” Nobody could give this spiritual witness to Brother Edgar but our Father in Heaven through the power of the Holy Ghost. I’m so grateful for the blessings that we are receiving at this time.”

I’m out of time, but I love you guys! Have a great week and keep on looking for those missionary opportunities, especially at this time of year.

Make sure and keep up the scripture reading and study some Preach My Gospel too!
Mahal namahal ko kayong lahat!
Ingat kayo palagi!
-Elder Beagley

Week 66 – A Time For Thanks

Frog eye salad

Our Attempt at Frog Eye Salad – Without the Tapioca

Mashed potatoes

These Mashed Potatoes are so Creamy

Monte cristo

Elder Bengan Made Us Monte Cristo’s

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We Also got a Lechon Manok (whole rotisserie chicken), Corn, Custard Cake, and Some Ice Cream

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Magandang Tanghali sa inyong lahat! It has been a great Thanksgiving week and last week with Elder Bengan, Elder Appleby, and even Elder Stratton. (He came back for his last interview and stuff and stayed in our apartment.)

We had a ton of good stuff for Thanksgiving.  That frog eye salad is fruit with cream and condensed milk and nata de coco instead of the tapioca. Not quite as good, but still pretty scrumptious. I was definitely thankful to have Elder Bengan in the bahay. He’s not as good of a cook as you Mom, but he nailed it with those monte cristo sandwich rolls.
Here are the highlights besides the Thanksgiving pictures:
Tatay Manolo, the guy that we found who came to church the next day, came again yesterday. He has already been reading the Book of Mormon and says that he feels the Spirit when he reads. He accepted a baptismal date for January 9th (that ones for you mom) and is already starting to prepare. Also Brother Edgar came to the Ward FHE on Saturday and to church on Sunday. We found out what his concern really was. He said that he didn’t really feel the Spirit the first time he came to church (he showed up late and had to sit in the back with the noisy kids). We talked to him yesterday and he had a much better experience.
This past weekend we really saw some good things happening in the ward. There was a baptism in Pasay 3A (Elder Nagal and Elder Bernard’s area) on Saturday from a less active family and now the whole family has started to come back to church. They are also excited for their sister to be baptized next month. It seemed like this and the Ward Family Home Evening that we had afterward really brought the members closer together. Our bishop got involved in the FHE and led the whole ward in a fun Christmas Singing game. We really saw everyone come together under his leadership. I’m excited to see what we can accomplish in this ward and stake in the next months.
This past week was Thanksgiving (at least it was in America) and so I’ve been thinking about what I’m most thankful for. The thing that kept coming back to me was the joy, peace, and security of living the gospel. Because of Christ’s Atonement, no trial that will come to us is too great. I know that this is one of the biggest blessings that I have received in my life. I am so thankful to be here serving and I feel Heavenly Father’s love so strongly. It’s my last little while with Elder Bengan right now and I’m going to miss him. It has only been one transfer, but he has taught me a lot and I want to follow his example of finishing strong. I’m also really proud of the zone for the work that they are doing. Pasay zone had 10 baptisms this month! There are so many things to be thankful for in this work and I know that Heavenly Father is blessing us with miracles. We saw one yesterday when a Brother whom we had never met before called the other Elders and asked if he could come to church and what time he should show up. His name is Brother Andrei and He lives in our area. We are scheduled to teach him on Tuesday. I’ll let you know how it goes!
I am so thankful and for all of you guys and for your love support and prayers! Have a great week!
Mahal namahal ko kayong lahat!
Ingat kayo palagi!
-Elder Beagley