I am very thankful for the opportunity I had to work with Elder Nielsen. I have never met someone that works harder or that laughs more than him. He is just like my older brother Thomas, and felt just like an older brother to me as we worked together in the San Rafael Ward. I was in a very dark time in my life and mission when he became my companion, and he helped pick me up and set me back on my feet and understand that a mission isn't too bad after all. I have learned so much from his obedient example, and hope to emulate him throughout the rest of my mission.It has been a great week here in the Bagong Silang 2nd Branch! The last two days in San Rafael were a bit hectic as Elder Nielsen and I prepared our area for the incoming Elders. We had to travel to every part of our area and jot down addresses, names, and phone numbers to give to them. One of the Elders that will take over the San Rafael Ward is Elder Frias, my trainer and first companion in the field! It was very sad to leave the last five months of my life behind and start afresh in a new area, but I have been enjoying the new area. I really hope the progressing investigators that Elder Nielsen and I taught will be baptized. We felt that many of them were very close to or on the verge of getting an answer to their prayers whether or not this church is true.
I have found one thing come to pass that was promised to me in my setting apart blessing. I was told that the people here need me, and that I need them. Throughout the past week, I have been having a hard time with missing my old area and companion. I felt really lonely and sad as I unpacked my bags in the new apartment here. But once I headed out proselyting on the first day, it was so fun to meet the new members and investigators here, and they have helped me feel more at home here. Also, I have seen several times when we are finding that my smiling and happy attitude has helped put a smile on the faces of those we teach, and given them hope. In sacrament meeting, one lady also told me, "I can see your smiling countenance: there will be lots of converts because of you." I really hope that comes true, and that I can help some of the people here feel the love of their Heavenly Father for them, and make changes in their lives to come unto him.
Elder PetersonOne of the first families that I met here is the Tan family. The mother is Sister Maria, and she has two children, Christian and Lorenzo, who were all three baptized in the last month. They are all full of faith and very excited to be members of the church. Lorenzo and Christian had drug addictions when they were younger, so they haven't fully mentally matured. They are a very kind family though, and Lorenzo worked with us all day on Thursday, and we had a fun time. We also taught Sister Maria's friend, Sara Erlanda, in one of our visits to them. She is not a member, and seemed very emotional from the message we shared about the Restoration. Hopefully the Tan family takes her to church next Sunday!We also taught the Garcia family, a Less Active family in our ward. The father and son in their family are the barbers at the MTC, and cut my hair two or three times during my stay there! They haven't attended church in a while because it is expensive to travel to the church and the youngest boy is a bit rowdy at church. We taught them on Saturday night, challenged to come to church, and they came! It was very fun to see them at church, and we'll hope to see them next week as well.My companion is also amazing and a really hard worker. He is on his last transfer, and told me he wants to work hard to the very end. He is Elder Salazar. He is from Bacolod, Philippines, and speaks Ilongo as his first language. (That is also where my second companion, Elder Mahinay, is from! They knew each other before the mission) He is a very kind and compassionate missionary and companion, and teaches from his heart and with the Spirit. We have been getting along great!Thanks for all the love and support!Love,