My beloved family and friends! It's been another busy busy week. I will explain the pictures first...
1. The balcony. We sleep in the room right next to it and sometimes outside if it's too hot in the house. I like to sit there (facing the other way) and watch the ripples roll in.
2. What happened here is everyone was getting in the car to go off to pday activities, and I realized I didn't have a picture of how close we are to the water! So I ran outside and invited Elder Smith (zonemate) to work the camera. So.. there. We live on the beach.
3. Front of the house.. Truck (yes it needs a bath.. but it rains like every other day anyways).. And the random guy had just given us the electricity bill.
4. Best part of pday! We took a tiny little boat (called a bangka) out to a tiny little island off the coast. There a super awesome member (Noel.. guy) cooked us fried chicken and we hung out on the sandy shores of a little hidden cove. On the way back to our bigger island where we live I asked the dude driving the boat if I could try. He said, "yeah that's cool man". Well not really.. but it translates to something like that. Anyways I ended up standing on the back of the little boat holding the steering stick (left hand). I felt a lot like Captain Jack Sparrow in the first Pirates movie as he sailed his sinking ship in glorious humor. Pretty much the only thing I had on Captain Jack Sparrow in this case is my ship wasn't sinking. It also felt a little tiny bit like surfing because I stuck behind the boat ahead of us and rode its wake. I figure that's as close as I'll get in the next year.
5. This picture is awesome. It's the second boat we took out.. I'm not on it but I feel that was unavoidable seeing as I took the picture. I want y'alls to see the bangka. The colors aren't real; I magicked them in with my camera skills (is 'magicked' a real word? It's not showing as a typo on my spell check). It was still a very beautiful day.
So.. yeah! Go missionary work! Ha. I had to brag just a tiny bit about my new zone and pday activities. There is definitely still work to be done in Gasan (the area). And we're getting to that. The area is ready to harvest. We are reopening because both of the elders there before went home at the same time. So.. I will have much more about our investigators next week. This week we went back to the mainland for Zone Leaders Council. That was unreal. 19 of the finest missionaries I've seen met up in the mission home and I had the opportunity to be there as well (so there's 20 of us there). We discussed the strengths and weaknesses of each zone, sought and gave council, and were taught by President Peterson. He is amazing. The mission is about to change.. the focus for every mission in the Philippines for that matter. One of the greatest problems in this country is inactivity. For every 6 people baptized in the last 50 years, only 1 is active. There are currently half a million children of God baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ not receiving the full blessings of membership in His Church. That is devastating. So for 2012, the focus in no longer find, find, find. It is find, reclaim, and reactivate. I'm excited about this change. I felt the truth of the revelation as President Peterson explained our new focus. Just that Spirit made ZLC the best days of this week. We also had time to get to know President better, hang out with the other ZLs, and shoot some basketball in the rain. I still can't shoot. I've accepted that (:
This week I should be getting my pinoy (filipino) license, we have Zone Conference on the mainland, and we will finally get to reopening Gasan! OH! Mother I got your package!! I love the presents all wrapped up inside. I plugged in the Christmas lights and they were wonderful as we ate dinner Saturday night, but then they died because the power here is double the volts compared to home and I didn't think to use a converter.. ha.. but I still have them hung up and I love you so much!! and I forgot to mention this a few weeks ago but Katie I got your package too (: thank you thank you thank you! I realized I never send you a letter back after that.. sorry I'm going to do that this week! Thank you!
Welp, I love you lots. Lots and lots. Excited to see your faces on Christmas (yes, we can Skype still!) even if it's just for a few minutes (Pres wants us to stick under an hour). And I will definitely be giving you a call Gong Gong (:
Elder Trevor Todd Brown