Monday, December 29, 2014

power of testimony and awesome flip-flops


I thought I would tell you about Brother R..., he is a very strong Catholic and likes to use scriptures in the Bible to prove that he is right, but he is slowly opening up to us, and starting to read the Book of Mormon. Right now he is reading 2 Nephi chapter 2 about the fall of Adam and the Atonement.

We had a hard time getting him to start reading the Book of Mormon because we wanted to introduce Joseph Smith first and he refused to believe that there was an apostasy because of Matthew 16:18 where He believes that Christ built his church on Peter and that the gates of hell will never prevail against it, that there was never an apostasy, so that we don't need a restoration. I found out this week that when facing doctrinal questions, you testify of the truth, because right now he sees the scriptures so differently then we do, any scripture about apostasy in the bible we use, he just says that that is about a few of the people not all of them, and I can't prove to him otherwise, I can however bear testimony of the truth I know, and that is beginning to change his answers, instead of there is no way that happened, its changing to that might have happened, its super cool to see the power of testimony

I get about 3-4 lessons every day, but some days I get 1 lesson, and some days I get 7 lessons, it depends on how much walking we do, and if there are parties for Christmas or new years.


I thought I would send you a picture of the furthest away home of members that are less active, we are trying to reactivate them but walking 12 kilometers (I think 6 miles?) is not the funnest idea, and then to walk back as well. 

The animals that I have seen are Tikis - small lizards that come out at night and like to climb near lights inside the houses here, and tukos which are a different kind of lizard that I am a little scared of. There are also spiders that are super big that the kids try to catch so they can have spider fights, but I haven't seen a spider fight yet.


These are my awesome shoes/ flip flops when I am walking around the inside of our house, because we always wear shoes in the house.


Also the scripture to Jacob 6:12 for trying to read bisayan fun
Elder Remer

Monday, December 22, 2014

awesome week, too many soft drinks and lucky flower



Guess what this week has been a record week of 24 lessons this week, It was an awesome week. I am learning tons of Boholonon from Elder Aquino who is 18 months in his mission. He lets me lead the lessons, and because of that I am learning even faster than before, its like I'm on a rocket and the thrusters kicked in.

This week has been interesting to say the least, we had the idea to go house to house near the simbahan, we wanted to find people to teach about the gospel that would easily be able to visit our church building with us, for a tour, or just to see it. However we found out the neighborhood of our Church Building is filled with other church buildings and as part of the rules, we are not allowed to go house to house/ teaching if the people are close to another church, it has been a struggle to find houses away from the other churches in Tejro, but we have gotten a few new investigators, so it was worth it in the end

We had a day this week, Thursday, where every visit we were offered a soft drinks, I am so done with them, I tried to refuse, but there's a point where it is rude here to refuse to take what someone offers, I need to make a strategy so that that doesn't happen again.

We also have one of my new favorite investigators, he is fairly wealthy and very smart. His name is Brother R..., and he can quote off Bible scriptures like any other, but since he is open, he is letting us, a 18 year old and a 21 year old teach him, and He really likes the lessons we teach him. He said he really likes how our we say our purpose is not to convert people but to give them the message that they can have the information so that they can ask God if it is true through prayers, because he too believes that prayers can be answered.


This week I found a 5 petal flower, lucky here, because normally the flowers only have 4 petals, its pretty much the same as a 3 leaf clover compared to a 4 leaf clover, so I took a picture of it, kay I am a lucky missionary this week.

We also have been teaching one lesson to our members, or less active members, about improving ourselves, that we should try to improve ourselves and become more Christlike, I have also taken this lesson to heart and this week have set some goals for better language study every day, and to help my mornings be more productive, to write what I am going to do in the morning the night before, like "Work out- 4 sets of Push-ups" and "Do the dishes" and things like that, so that I can wake up and start doing things to check them off my list.


Picture of all the Christmas lights here (or an attempted picture)

Love,
Elder Remer

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas party and long walk to church

Hey!

Guess what, I got your package with the camera along with all the Christmas mga gasa, It was fun this week to take pictures of the Christmas party, and basa all the scriptures on my gifts in order to try and find out what they are, some I have no idea, some I have guesses, and others I thought the scripture was clever and I am pretty sure I know what they are. Thanks so much! (note from Cindy: I put a tag on each little Christmas present with a scripture clue, for example: D&C 111:11 "wise as serpents"  for gummy worms)

Time went by very fast this week, we had our Christmas party and me and Elder Aquino are working really well together, although not perfectly in sync, we are doing pretty well. We have some fun plans this week and ideas that we really want to test.

One idea is making our teaching appointments into walking routes, and tracting in between, so that we will always have visits to do if one fails, Oh and we need to make our area book exciting, because of one of the talks by Sister Tanner, have any ideas?

The missionaries were all given instructions from our leaders, the zone leaders about what to bring to the Christmas party, our zone leaders told us to bring a gift and a new pair of flip-flops, so I bought a small coconut coin purse that only can be found in some places of Bohol, and some flipflops that I drew a mountain on, Elder Aqunio did the same thing but he drew a piano on his, and got a tarsier coin purse souvenir. Unfortunately we didn't use the gifts at the party, only the flip-flops, but hey, got a coin purse that I don't need.



For the Christmas party we all exchanged flipflops in a fun game, by all 198 missionaries of the Cebu East Mission passing flipflops around in a circle with a fun creative game, and the flip flops you ended with was your Christmas gift, I got some really cool ones, better then the ones I gave.

When we came back from the party we arrived late on Bohol, and all of the elders that live near Jagna, slept in one of the churches on the floor, took a picture of my "bed" for the night, using my bag as a pillow.

We also were able to make a difference in someones life yesterday, we took a 30 minute motorcycle ride into a barangay called Lonoy, so that we could walk a 17 year-old girl from her house to the church at 6 in the morning, so that we could get to the church at 9, it was exciting to see the other young girls so excited to see her, you could see the love that the church family has for her, I wasn't sure if it was going to be worth it, but now I would be willing to do it every week.



Elder Remer

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Hey!

So this week there was a super typhoon, luckly it didn't hit Jagna, but because there was a chance of it hitting us we evacuated to center Bohol, a valley called Pilar. It was kind of fun, having people try to give you directions for evacuating in a different language. We went up there Friday morning and just got back about 1 hour ago. Unfortunately the stories of this week are very short, and only have to do with the 4 other missionaries that me and my companion stayed with in a house, waiting for the storm to pass and for the all clear to sound.


I found out I am really bad at chess, I played so many games of chess with two of the Elders in the balay. I lost every one with them, always being fairly close games, but them always winning in the end. I had lost so many games, I don't even know, I kept playing and kept losing. I won two games total, and the best part about it was they were the last two games, and I did very well, I did so well the Elders thought that I must have been playing with them the entire time, and finding there weaknesses so that I could destroy them in the end. Its true I was trying to find weaknesses every game, but every time I found one, I used it the second I found it, and still lost, but hey its the last one that counts right?

It was pretty miserable at times being stuck in the balay, but I got cheered up when I did some basic magic tricks to the Filipinos and blew there minds, I mean if I did any of these tricks to you, you would catch me after the second time, but for them I could trick them over and over again, they even video taped me and couldn't figure it out, It was even better when I moved on to some of the more advanced tricks that I knew. I don't think I will forget the faces of amazement when I made a coin vanish or made there card appear.

Oh I almost forgot, Elder Aqunio, my new companion is amazing, I mean it blows my mind how good he is at piano, he plays piano without sheet music, by ear alone, he can just play any song with both hands on the piano, he is super smart and knows what he is doing. Also he likes to follow all of the mission rules, I think we are going to get along well, unfortunately I can't talk very well to him because I can't understand his accent in Visayan all the time, and he likes to shortcut words. He probably thinks I am super quiet right now because I have only taught 2 lessons with him, and other than that, I am pretty quiet because this language translation thing is hard work, so normally if it is just us I take a break and just sit quietly so I don't need to translate.

This week on Thursday we have a Christmas activity for all the missionaries, I have no idea what to expect, but we were told to bring a new pair of flip-flops, and a gift for a white elephant gift exchange. So sounds like it will be fun, I am excited to see the other missionaries in our mission!

Elder Remer

Friday, December 5, 2014

Typhoon Hagupit (known as Typhoon Ruby in the Philippines)

note from Cindy:
We received an email from Ryan's mission president this morning, reassuring us that plans were in place to keep the missionaries safe during Typhoon Ruby. Ryan is serving in an area that is on Bohol island, where the storm is classified as Category 1. Missionaries in areas where the storm is classified as Category 2 have been evacuated. On an ongoing basis, all missionaries are instructed to maintain a 72 kit, have an emergency fund of small denominations, keep extra food and water in their apartments, and keep their cell phones fully charged.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

bamboo pole dancing and typhoon cleanup

Kumusta ka?

So this week is Transfer Week! So Preparation Day is on Wednesday this week. Elder Creswell is leaving now, going to Baklayon, might be spelled wrong, I am getting a new companion named Elder Aquino, I don't know too much about him besides that he is Filipino, and amazing at piano, I am so excited to work with him for the next transfer or two. This week has been amazing.

bamboo pole dance (tinikling), picture from wikipedia

Last Monday, we went on an activity to relax with the other missionaries, It was great to take a break. We went on a boat that was a restaurant, that went down the river. I got to do this crazy dance. I would explain it as doing jump rope and dancing at the same time, but instead of jump rope it was two big pieces of bamboo under me being slammed together at the beat of the song, it was super cool.

This week hasn't been just fun though, We also had a typhoon on Wednesday, and even though it wasn't very strong, it did a lot of damage to the homes next to the ocean because the waves were super high. We had one of our investigators houses destroyed because of the waves. Her name is M..., and we saw the house destroyed, so we have been doing service around that area every day since Thursday.

A cool experience was that Thursday morning I felt that me and Elder Creswell needed to go in jeans and a t-shirt to help somebody out, At this point it was a very unclear why, because we live away from the ocean, so the damage was leaves everywhere, and a couple of trees that fell, nothing serious. Confused we went to the center of town, where two massive boats had been lifted out of the water onto some stores destroying them. We then went to M... 's house and found it destroyed, but that she was ok, and feeling pretty good despite what happened to her. It was cool to receive that prompting, because if we had ignored it, we were too far away from our house to go there and come back to really help her.

Funny experience, we have a broken plastic chair in our house with 3 legs, that if you sit on it you will fall to the floor, I did not sit in it once in the last 3 months, and was determined to not sit in it. Well I sat in it yesterday, the last possible day because I was so tired, Elder Creswell saw it, and we both fell to the floor laughing about it, Good times.

I found out our house is not very protected, normally we are at our apartment in the mornings for studying the scriptures, but this day me and Elder Creswell were out doing service, well some missionaries from a different area came to our house so that they could charge their phones and cameras because after the typhoon they still didn't have any power, so they climbed up our balcony and opened our door by reaching their hand through a window to unlock the balcony door, in order to get inside and charge their phones and cameras, I was so confused to find our house filled with cameras and phones charging, with the balcony door open

Have a great week!
Elder Remer

Monday, November 24, 2014

Funny things and learning lessons

I have started taking notes of what happens, The week happens so fast that I forget about
most of the funny things, Thanks for writing me by the way. As for how I am doing I am doing good, I am experiencing so many things, and the language depends on the day and who we are talking to or where we are, I laughed because some of the other missionaries think that I am really far in the language, but I think that's just because I look like I understand the people, but I really only understand half of what they say, and then comment on the half that I do understand.

Well, lets see what other things happened this week...So on Tuesday Elder Creswell dared me to eat a mango seed, he said he would pay me $10, well I ate it, turns out he was joking, so I didn't get the $10 that I wanted, The next day my tongue turned blue, we were trying to thing of anything blue I ate that day, we couldn't think of anything, so we concluded must be the mango seed, because there was nothing else that I ate recently that might have been bad for me. My tongue turned back normal again on Friday, so note to self. 1) don't eat mango seeds 2) make sure people are serious when they bet me $10 (here that's 400 Pecos, enough to eat out every day for the next week) Learning lessons on my mission.

I found out that the kids here have pet spiders, and they are huge. A kid, about 11 years old asked me if I wanted to see his pet, I was shocked to find out that his pet is a spider the size of a computer mouse, and he just let it climb on him, and put it back in the box when he was done. I found out that compared to the Filipino people, I am scared of spiders, I am ok with killing them, or seeing them, but I would never let it climb on my arm.

Wierdest food of the week. We went to distract meeting on Tuesday and then out to a restaurant together where someone bought cheese icecream for us all to try, it was actually pretty good.

Fun times with American Movie Quotes, We were at a Members home, and they were confused about a quote they heard on the TV, I told them to ask Elder Creswell, because my Boholonon is still small, Well I choked on my water went they asked about a quote with the f bomb in it, I remember seeing the shock on Elder Creswell's face as we looked at each other in shock, then we started laughing, because Sister P... (the member) had no idea what it meant.

Fun lesson for this week was teaching a boy named Quin the 10 commandments, we have been trying to make our lessons more entertaining for him, because sometimes he doesn't want to listen, so we tried something I learned from the MTC, by making remembering devices with our hands, for example the first commandment is to have no other gods before me, we hold up one finger on one hand to remember to only have 1 God, then for the 2nd commandment we hold up two fingers, one on each hand and bend them back and forth to look like they are people bowing to remind us of the second commandment, that we should not bow down to idols, and it continues until commandment 10, It was pretty fun.

I also bought a Cebuano Bible for Sister P..., because she has been trying to read the English version for as long as I have known her, as soon as I gave her the Cebuano Bible, her face lite up in excitement, 2 days later she had read though Genesis until Leviticus, crazy amount of reading. It made me happy that it really helped her.

Until next week,
Elder Remer

Monday, November 10, 2014

McDonalds, big spider and more

Bohol Quality mall has McDonalds, photo from tourism.bohol.gov.ph
You won't believe where I went last Monday, I went to McDonalds! It is in the big city here called Tagbilarin, or Tagbi for short. It was so weird, I didn't think that I would get to eat at McDonalds while I am in Jagna. It was amazing.

huntsman spider consuming a small beetle, from wikipedia
I thought I would tell you about some fun things this week.  Like this morning I found a spider on our wall about as big as the palm of my hand. Trying to kill it I quickly found out it was a huntsman spider because of how fast it moved, I would say that it is a blessing that we don't have those in America. I have decided that fast big spiders are not my favorite thing in the world.

Lets see, I think the highlight of my week is learning about the different folk stories of the Philippines, some of them are crazy, and some are just funny. There are a few of my favorite monsters in the Philippines, 1st the wak-wak, most likely inspired off of the spiders like the one this morning, basta the wak-wak is a witch like creature that jumps out from the trees of the forest at night, and then drinks your blood. 2nd The santilmo is a floating fireball thing that shoots lightning or fire, only comes out at night. 3rd The dwinda is a dwarf with elf ears that hide in the rocks until you come by I think in English we should call it a dwelf (a dwarf-elf) and my favorite that agta/kapray is a 7-9 foot black man that climbs to the top of the trees and ... smokes a cigarette, not sure why that one is scary.

As for the language, its going pretty good. Some days are better than others but overall they are getting better. I am getting better at understanding the people I see often. Like the family of our Branch President and his neighbors, where I can understand them most of the time. Like on Friday night, we were over at their house and I was understanding all of what they were saying, and talking to them too, They told me that I was much farther in the language then other missionaries that had started in Jagna. It made me pretty happy, but then Sunday I was humbled again, and understood very little of what people were saying, but overall I am still happy with the progress I am making, I am told by most people I will be fluent by my 6th month out here, not sure about that, but maybe so.

They don't ask a lot about Colorado, specifically, but they ask questions about America in general, our schooling system, how many hours do we work a week, what the culture is like, what the different trees and plants and mountains look like, as in there language mountain is the same word as jungle, because here the jungle is is hill like areas, so they don't really know what a real mountain looks like.

Good lessons this week, I was able to go on splits with Elder Orton, an american missionary who goes home in January, it was cool to teach with him, and teach different people while we tract, at the end of the day we went to a members home to teach a recent convert. The member gave us Lamow to have, it was coconut milk, with coconut slices, and crackers in it. It was the best thing I have ever had, it was so good.

Monday, November 3, 2014

about the branch and who we're teaching

Questions from Cindy's email to Elder Remer: 
Did you see H..... this week? and how is she doing?
Who did you teach and/or help this week?
Are there children in your branch? Will they do a primary program?

We have a pretty big branch, it fills are small church building, and would be a ward if there was a stake on Bohol.
We have lots of children (for the Philippines) and a primary, sunday school, and young/men womens program, unfortunately there are no activities because everyone is to busy for that here, but we have about 6 young men, 4 young women, and I'm not sure how many children. 

I did see H..... this week, but I'm not sure how she is doing, something seemed wrong but she didn't want to talk about it, and at the end of the lesson she refused to pray, her mom decided to pray instead, and looked as if H..... was going to get punished. If that happens I'm not sure if she will want to be taught, but maybe its not as big of a deal and things will be back to normal next week.

We are very blessed here to teach a lot of people, we get anywhere from 16-25 lessons a week. 
We walk 6 kilometers a day, at least, which takes up most of our time. 
A few families that are my favorite to teach are the P.....s and Brother N.... with his wife Sister T.... , the P........s are a all Mormon family with their dad being a recent convert, we see them often as there dad is a tryk driver and that their house is normally on the route we walk so we get to teach them 1-2 times every week. Brother N..... and Sister T..... are both recent converts with a little girl, and a very cute and entertaining baby.

Monday, October 27, 2014

thanks for the emails and letters

I really enjoyed General Conference. I liked Elder Hollands talk Are We Not All Beggars?. I liked how he said that "I have never been poor, I will never know how it feels" I remember that powerful statement. It is cool to see the people here giving up so much to come to church and to do their home teaching. They normally walk 5 miles to get to their home teaching assignment, and then another 5 miles back, just because of how far everyone lives from one another. I hope that I will be able to become as giving and caring as these people are.

One of the days this week I went on splits with my distract leader Elder Roskelley, It is super cool to see the strengths he has in missionary work compared to that of my trainer, he gave me advice about tracting and advice on learning the languages/dilects here.

I'm grateful when people send letters and emails, especially the pictures, I really like seeing Colorado again, its funny because my friends in Colorado dream of going on vacation to somewhere warm, topical, with different kinds of fruits and trees, next to the ocean, where the people here dream of going on vacation to the mountains where it is cold, to great rivers in a log cabin.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Baptism!

This week I got to baptize a girl named Heart. She might be the most shy person I have ever met, I am so glad she got baptized.

I wanted to tell everyone about the baptism. The baptism was planned on starting at 3, me and Elder Creswell got the the church at 11 to make sure that everything would be ready with plenty of time to spare.

At 11 we found the font was already filled with water, but the water was super dirty, so we drained it for the longest time, saw that it was completely dirty and decided to go to town so we could get cleaning supplies and also find a printer to print the baptismal program, who would be speaking, what hymns would be sung, and something for Heart to keep forever.

We went to town and got cleaning supplies, made and printed off the program, by now it was about 12, we decided we would eat lunch after everthing was ready for the Baptism, we came back to the church and started to really clean the font, we cleaned for 30 min, and then decided to start filling it, it was a slow tickle of water, an hour later it wasnt even a 1/4 of the way full, so we started to try and find ways to fill it faster, we found the right knob talking with a member on the phone, turned it, and the water came out faster, but also a lot of dirt came out, so by the time it was 3, we had returned the font to its original dirtiness, probably should have checked the water before we cleaned it, even with this dirty water the babtism turned out great.

Thanks for your time
Elder Remer

Monday, October 13, 2014

crazy holiday, sick companion


At the Remer house, we usually get an email from Elder Remer on Sunday night between 10 and 11 pm. Since the time in Cebu, Philippines is 14 hours ahead of us, it is close to lunch time on Monday for Elder Remer. This week, he emailed earlier, around 8 pm for us. We were gathered for family scripture study when I got his email, so I took this picture to email back to him so he could see us in the moment. Technology is great! His letter this week mainly answers my questions, so I'll include the questions...


Thanks Mom for the long letter, I'll admit when there is a lot of mail sometimes I don't get through it all, but on weeks like this one It is truely a blessing. Thanks so Much!

Has there been a holiday since you got there, or any holidays upcoming? For Holidays we have had one, and I am glad it has just been one. It was the biggest party I have ever seen in my life. These people, who didn't have food, somehow managed to put out 10 or 15 speakers and play music. The entire city was like this, in my house on the edge of the city, I could here the music as I woke up in the morning. I would describe it if everyone in Castle Rock played the same radio station on  huge speakers outside and took the day off just to party. It was crazy.

As for other Holidays the next one is Christmas, so people are putting up Christmas lights now, it seems very strange, because its not cold, and still months away until Christmas, but I guess not for the Philippines.

Did you have any good experiences teaching or helping people this week? Unfortunately because of the rain and my companion being sick we have only got to teach 5 lessons this week. I am so grateful that I am in an area that people open up the the gospel. I can't imagine going an entire week working and getting no lessons. I was so bored this week sitting around while waiting for Elder Creswell to get better.

Any requests for your Christmas package? Are there any snacks or treats that you miss? Any requests for my Christmas Package... I would like, maybe a board game for P-day, some jaw breakers, if that would be okay. And I might need a new camera, something broke inside of it, and I haven't been able to turn it on, but I feel like that is a huge request, I am sure that next time I am in the city I might be able to buy one, I want to try to make sure that I get one that charges on an outlet or something because electricity is so much less expensive than batteries. If you could send church magazines that would be the best thing ever!!

Thanks so So much Mom,
Elder Remer

Sunday, October 5, 2014

what makes me laugh?

I have found lots of things that have made me laugh in the Philippines. Here in Jagna it's mostly the signs, for example this one pointing away from the ocean.

Thank you so much for praying for me everyday, I can see the difference it makes, as for most people they say the hardest part for them was the first 2 transfers, while I am feeling pretty good, maybe my trials of my mission will come later, but just in case I am reading this book they gave all the new missionaries called Adjusting to Missionary Life, it has a bunch of techniques about relieving stress, I am trying to pick a few and try them out every day to twice a week, so that when the stress does start to come I will be able to get rid of it before it becomes bad.

I am finding Personal Study to be amazing, I can't believe that I am running out of time studying the gospel every day. Before my mission I found it hard to study for 20 minutes and now I find it hard to stop studying after an hour of study. I am wondering if after a year that I will find it hard to study that hour every day, or if I will value it even more.

I love it when people ask questions at the end of their emails, I never know what to write. 

So what am I eating? I eat tons of rice, almost every...if not every... lunch and dinner is with rice. Here they never eat rice plain, they always have a sauce to put on it and some kind of meat, normally fish, chicken, or pig. The hard thing is that you need to put a piece of meat and rice on your spoon. I have found out it is super weird to eat rice without putting meat on your spoon, sort of as weird if someone were to bring a 2 liter of soda to a party and just drink it out of the 2 liter instead of pouring it in a cup. The problem is you need to try to balance out your meat-to-rice ratio so that you eat all the meat and rice, its so confusing. Then fruit here is normally the desert I have eating mangoes as well as a lot of different kinds of fruit like tambis, langsat, and rambutan.

Its super cool to be given this fruit and have no idea how to eat it, do I eat it like an apple? peal it like an orange? peal like a potato? break the shell against a rock or with my fingers? I love it so much.

Where do I go to send and read emails? There are places called Internethans- bolohonon(the dialect of Cebuano I am using) for "the place of using the Internet" its a small shop where there are computers that you get on and then pay for each hour that you are online, last week we had a zone meeting so we needed to leave, and one of the Missionaries hadn't gotten to email because his computer didn't work, so I gave it to him.

What kinds of pets or animals are here? We see lizards all the time here called tikis. There are animals that I haven't seen yet, but I am hoping to see sometime while I'm in the Philippines, like a hambubukad aka flying lizard/dragon, and a tarsier (a tiny monkey thing)


tarsier photo from wikipedia

These are some other pictures I took:

my wallet/coin purse
the dock

the main form of transport a Tryk, they are 3 wheeled taxis, pretty cool


Monday, September 29, 2014

There is nothing else like it

I have been asked about who we are teaching and working with, so for missionary work we have 2 IBD's but one is 8 years old, so we actually can't teach her, since its the branches responsibility. We are teaching so many people, its kinda crazy, we have 3 progressing investigators, 27 investigators, with 9 of the investigators being close to being dropped, 14 inactive families that we are focusing on, and 5 recent converts.
it is so cool to be constantly walking and visiting people, I know it won't normally be this busy, so I am trying my best.

Like for example yesterday I was on splits with Jake, who is 26 and preparing to go on a mission, we went to go teach this Sister, we visited her and she was crying, I couldn't understand her, and didn't really know what to do, and Jake, I could see that he didn't know what to do, I wanted to help so bad. Then, then the Holy Ghost told me to share a scripture that I had studied. I was so worried and scared. I knew that the situation was serious, and I didn't understand it. I decided to trust that It was the Holy Ghost I shared a scripture 1 Ne 14:1 to her, this was it - "And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed, unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks." 

I explained that this was a Scripture directed to us, the Gentiles, that if we were to hearken unto the Lamb of God, or in other words, listen and obey the words of Jesus Christ (the commandments.) Then we would know that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real, because they will remove our obstacles. I testified that during the really hard times, when we are not sure what to do, if we follow the commandments with all our heart and just try our best to obey the simple things, like reading our scriptures and praying with our heart every day, listening for the feelings of comfort, and going to church every week, that our lives would become better, little by little, not all at once, but slowly. and that our lives would continue to better until we had overcome our trials. I could tell in her eyes this is what she needed to hear. I then felt like I should give her a blessing of comfort, so that is what I did, I felt the spirit in my heart, and I'm not even sure what I said, but I knew it was from God.

Later I found out that this Sisters husband left her a note that He was leaving her, and never returning. If that wasn't enough pain for her, here in the Philippines there is no divorce, so she can never get married again. I had no idea that this is what happened to her. I am not sure what I would have said to her, I mean... that is just so hard... but after that scripture and what I said, I knew, in my heart, that she knew that she would be okay, if she just tried her best to do these simple things that we had taught her.

It was so cool, and so sad, cool for the difference that I made,  I really like it out here making a difference in peoples' lives, whether teaching people that know about God how to be closer to him, and how to speak to him, and receive answers, or teaching someone that went to church but never knew that God was really there, and teaching them about faith, how they would not see God in this life on Earth, but that through prayer and reading the scriptures that they could know in their heart that he is there. I don't even know how to describe it, I am in a different country walking miles every day, not understanding the people most of the time, coming home completely sore and ready to pass out, and feeling so happy and good because I knew that I was asked of God to come here. There is nothing else like it.

Until next week,
Elder Remer

Monday, September 22, 2014

quick days and culture shock

(Ryan didn't write a group email this week, so here are a few excerpts from his letter to me.)

Hey Mom!

As for the best way to contact me, it doesn't matter too much if letters or emails. Emails are good because I get 2 hours of email/ internet time a week, so while it is limited, I think it is plenty of time to email people. Letters are great because they only come every 6 weeks, and is super exciting to get one. These are the downsides, Email time is limited so if a lot of people email me, then the time to read and write emails gets cut off, the downside to letters is I only get them at transfer times when we go to the mission office, and then I get transferred I go to my new area, read the letters, write them, and then mail them 6 weeks later, when I go to the mission office next. I guess a balance would be to send me letters with their email address so I can email them to reply. But yeah... that is the mail situation

Its weird that the days go by so quick, I am exhausted from walking every day, about 6-8 kilometers, whatever that is in miles. I am told I am in hard core culture shock. But I feel great. The side-effects of culture-shock that I am having are that I am just never really hungry, I mean I can still eat, but I could easily skip a meal and be fine, Also all the food tastes great, I kinda like being in culture-shock, that being said I am being careful and eating food when I am not hungry so that I won't get sick here.

Saturday Elder Creswell was sick, so we stayed in our apartment all day, and after my personal study I decided to see how much the scriptures have about the universe, Abraham 3 is super cool, i read through it and read the picture thing and the translations, it really is pretty cool, I drew a picture to my best understanding what this chapter was saying, I wonder how correct my picture is to the real thing, its pretty cool.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I am finally teaching!

I Am Here: Elder Remer points to Cebu on a map of the Philippines
Hey Everyone,

It is crazy here in the Philippines, I really want to adjust to there culture, it is so cool. A few examples that I find pretty cool, both simple and crazy things.

Simple Things: Rising your eyebrows twice means yes, nodding is saying that you don't know, shaking your head is the same as a no, you making a kissing face at something to point at it, and you always eat your meat with rice, by putting both on a spoon, if you don't people think you are really strange.

Crazy/Funny: The traffic is insane here, there is rarely a crash here but everyone is an aggressive driver, its like everyone has the same crazy mind and somehow it works, they also use there horns a lot better, to signal passing someone, or that they are about to come through. They also will not travel if it is raining, because it is bad luck. They believe some strange ghost stories, like a wak-wak - or witches/ghosts that walk on ceilings.

There are also a few things that are hard about teaching, that are good and bad. They are super open to talk about religion, and feel the spirit during our teaching, but rarely change churches. An example was that we taught someone, they prayed, felt the Book of Mormon was true, but gave the reason that they were Catholic to not join the Mormon Faith. It's a little weird. Because of the Rain belief, church attendance can be almost no one if it rains. And last, there is no divorce in the Philippines, so a lot of people don't get divorced and live with each other, and we need to ask them to get married, a HUGE commitment. Or worse they were married before and just left their spouse, and found someone else that they had a family with, in which case they can't go to the temple to be married because technically they are married to someone else

I love it here so much, despite the differences

It is so beautiful, I am teaching in the Bukid, aka Jungle/wilderness/mountain, where I almost can't believe how little some people can live off of. I can't believe how lucky we are. This area is said to be a hard area, and I think some missionaries think it is weird that I am so happy despite the lack of progress, I simply tell them that I do not know any different, it is my first area. But, I think its more than that, I feel that I am happy because the Lord is happy with the effort I am making to try and teach the gospel.

Here are some pictures of the area and temple, that are just amazing, along with my area, home, me and my companion and such. I wish best of luck to all of you

Elder Remer











Friday, September 12, 2014

President Tanner sent photo and letter

President Tanner, Ryan's mission president, sent this photo of Elder Remer with him and his wife. He also sent the following letter.


PHILIPPINES CEBU EAST MISSION


September 10, 2014

Brother and Sister David Lee Remer
2434 Northview Place
Castle Rock, CO 80104
United States
davidlremer@gmail.com

Dear Brother and Sister Remer,

Your missionary has arrived safely! He is here with us in the Philippines Cebu East Mission. My wife and I are excited about having him in our mission. He brought a great spirit, and we are looking forward to working with him. Enclosed is a welcome snapshot taken with Sister Tanner and me.

Our missionaries are encouraged to e-mail family once a week on their preparation day. Below are a few things you can do to keep your missionary happy and successful while on his mission.

1. Send letters and/or email regularly. News from home keeps spirits high and minimizes problems.

2. When sending packages, we recommend the U.S. Postal Service. Other carriers such as FedEX and DHL usually incur large customs fees ($40-$100) which the missionary must pay. Packages should be small enough to be easily carried on public transportation and long walks. Please do not send perishables or liquids, they do not travel well.

3. Try not to mention family problems that would worry your missionary.

4. Please do not visit or telephone your missionary without approval from the Mission President.

5. If you need to make "urgent" contact with your missionary, you may contact the mission office by using
the following telephone numbers: 011-6332-424-1012, or E-mail me at rltanner@ldschurch.org.

Although missionaries may require some money from home for shoes, clothing, or dental work, we encourage wisdom and prudence because additional money is often detrimental to learning the lessons of sacrifice and consecration. We recommend a major debit account with joint signatures of parent and missionary for international missionaries.

Thank you for preparing and sending us your fine missionary son. We'll love him and help him learn to take good care of himself and grow in the Gospel.

Warmest regards,
President Richard L Tanner

Philippines Cebu East Mission


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Greetings from Tomorrow!

This is a picture of rambutan from wikipedia. 

It is Wednesday the 10th, 3:58 pm, and we are 14 hours ahead here in Cebu.

Hey everyone, I am finding out that I will not have a lot of time to write emails about my missionary adventures, especially today, we are getting ready to go out into the field.

We have spent a week in the MTC in Manila because we left the Provo MTC on a Thursday, I guess that doesn't happen to often. So we stayed in the Manila MTC being retaught the lessons we already new. We are glad to finally be starting our mission.

There was one awesome part of the MTC in Manila, we got to go out with missionary's in that area for a day to get a taste of the missionary life. I got to teach 2 lessons in Cebuano, and 1 in English. I also got to eat this weird but delicious fruit called a rambuton. It looks like a Sea Urchine, but not spikey, but the inside tastes amazing.

It is so beautiful here, with really rich areas, and the exact opposite next to it.

Write More Next Week
Elder Remer

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hey got to the Phillipines Safely


Philippines MTC in Manila

Kumusta ang akong Pamilla?
 
I am emailing you on Sept. 6 and it is 11:25 AM
 
We got to the MTC safely, and the MTC is letting us send an email to our family but not anyone else, i think, all the instructions are in Cebuano.

We arrived late night at midnight to the MTC and they let us sleep in until 7:00. We all had a brief meeting and the switched around our companionships from our distract. I am now  compainions with Elder Schnoor, the canadian in our group. We are going to stay here for 5 days until Wednesday when we are going to go to our missions. We are waiting for our vistas until Tuesday. We are all super excited
 
Meanwhile we are going to be joining missionaries in the area for prosolyting (spelled bad). Us Cebauno Missionaries are very lucky because we will get to teach in english in the city while the Taglog Missionaries need to I teach in Taglog. While we are here, we will also be learning more Cebuano and trying to understand the fast speed in which they talk.
 
It is super beautiful here with tons of different kinds of trees and plants, but very hot and humid. We all have been given water bottles with filters so that we can be as healthy as possible. We also have alcholol for cleaning our hands often. I also found out that the hankerchief was a great idea.
 
Not to much to report right now, we haven't done anything but ride on planes, sleep, and eat breakfast. 
 
I love you all and will try to write often, we were told we will find out more about mail once we get to our mission next week, so I think that means that you will not be hearing from me for quiet some time, mabye next week but I am not sure. It depends on the area if I get email or just letters.
 
I am feeling very good right now. Its pretty perfect. The only thing that scares me is the cars here. It seems crazier than the bahamas were.
 
I love you all, and want to make you proud. I will try to write you next week once I get into the mission field.
 
They have a fun game here, Im not sure what it is called...
 
Two Parts
1)
You play rock paper sissors on the first "rock" not 1,2,3, go but just go
2)
The winner then points left right up or down. at the same time the loser looks left right up or down.
If the winner points the same direction as the loser looks, then the winner wins the round.
 
best 2 out of 3.
The best part is that every time you do something you say "Pshh"  And it is a fast pace game.
 
 
Time to go :D Best Wishes
Love
Elder Remer

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Hey Everyone Almost There!


Flight plans for the Philippines, Great moments speaking in Cebuano, and a great story about speaking by Skype to a Philippine. 

I am so thankful to all of you for the prayers given for me, and the letters I have received. Prayers are so much help when I am learning the language, I feel them as words are brought to my remembrance, it is super cool.
I have been asked what is the best way to contact me next week and beyond, when I am in the Philippines, I honestly don't know, when I get there I'll do my best to let everyone know. Thanks so much for caring about me so much :D

Last Friday Night we got our flight plans, we are to be ready at 6:00 AM on Sept. 4th and we leave from Utah at 11:15 AM for Tokyo, from there we have a 2 hour lay-over, then a flight to Manila, Philippines, and arrive at 10:20 PM ... on Sept. 5th. So a crazy long flight.

This week I had some great moments speaking Cebuano. Our distract has been going to choir every week practicing singing songs for the devotional and listening to great stories from the choir director (they are about how the Mormon Pioneers set up the church, and the crazy struggles that they faced, or about where the song we were singing comes from). They're awesome. Last week I didn't really want to sing, and choose to study in the same room as choir practice because my companion still wanted to sing in the choir. Well, I guess I wasn't supposed to be there if I wasn't singing, and was asked to leave by a security guard, who put me in a courtyard with a bunch of missionaries learning Spanish. They had done the same thing as me, and explained to me that the security didn't want us just roaming around. Then, I started talking with them for a while.

This is where the story gets good. I saw my teacher Bro. Johnson, in street clothes, as he said "Kumsta" to me. We had a conversation in Cebuano him asking what I was doing, and about my day, etc.. then said goodbye to each-other. Then I turned around. Those missionaries faces...priceless, I was was trying not to laugh at there faces, they looked in awe and super scared at the same time. They were scared, because every Spanish Missionaries fear is that the Spanish they are learning won't match to where they are going (Spain Spanish vs Mexican Spanish) And they thought I was speaking American Spanish because they heard "Como Estes" instead of "Kumusta" on top of that I have an English name-tag, instead of a Cebuano Name-tag. So they thought I must have already known Spanish before my mission.

It was so great, I was laughing all night about it, and the next day with Bro. Johnson. After I explained to them that it wasn't Spanish, Instant relief followed by confused looks, they were still surprised that I could speak Cebuano so well, and had been learning it for just as long. Then as we were walking into the devotional, some old man, asked if I wanted a front row seat, I of course said yes, and got a reserved seat, it was pretty cool, but I still don't know why I got it.

During weeks 5 and 6 at the MTC, if you are learning a language you get to Skype a person from where you will be going on your mission. Me and my Companion were skyping a philippine, and we were sharing favorite scriptures. He shared 1 Nephi 2:15 "He dwelt in a tent." I thought he was joking because he was a pretty cool dude, and I have never taken this scripture of much value before. After reading it, he then explained that it was his favorite scripture because Lehi had given up all his gold and silver to obey God, that he gave up everything and now was dwelling in a tent, in the middle of the wilderness, waiting for the next thing. It was such a cool testimony, and even cooler that me and my companion understood it. What a great guy, his name was Gurcov Wong.

I thank you again for the prayers you give me, I can't believe next week I will be in the Philippines.

Thanks,
Elder Remer 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hey everyone!

This week has been amazing at the MTC. There have been some funny moments in our room, some great teaching activities, and amazing stories from my teachers about their missions.

Lets start out with our apartment/dorm. When we go shower, usually someone forgets there key and needs to either knock, or wait for someone else. One of the days this week, our next door room had one of the funniest experiences, because they all forgot their keys, and wrapped in there towels, they of course didn't want to walk across campus to the main building to get another key, and my room was making fun of them for quiet some time. I laughed and smiled at first, but then I felt pretty bad for them, I mean anyone could make that mistake. However, our room kept being a little to mean to them.

Now, the best part. Later in the day, after gym. My room went to go shower, and I of course brought a key because I didn't want to be laughed at/embarrassed. I was the first of our room to get done showering, and closed the door to our room. I heard a knock at the door, but chose to ignore it as I was reorganizing my bag. I thought to myself, wouldn't it be funny if they all forgot their keys. Then I heard, a voice saying 'Hey do you have a key?" "No..." this repeated, until they realized that they were locked out. They all started panicking and calling "ELDER REMER!" trying to find me, because I had been quiet up to this point. A few minutes past, with me being quiet thinking of what I wanted to do, before I answered the door. I was deciding on a few, and choose to act like a Philippine. I spoke in Cebuano, asking "Who is it?" and "What do you want?" And other questions like that. I found out something, that none of them knew the word for open. The other room that they laughed at earlier will not give them the answer, so they start saying sentences like "We want you to not close the door." and other phrases that were good attempts, finally them found the word for open, and now know it by heart. :D

There are always great activities in our class, this week we were learning more Cebuano, and our attention was lacking. So the teacher stopped the lesson, which has never happened, and said "We are going to practice riding a Jeepney!" And walks outside the class and starts dragging chairs from all the classrooms, We were all so confused. Then the teacher asked us to go inside this small room, packed with two rows of chairs facing each other, that sitting down, our knee would touch the other chair. Then we all got crammed in this room, and the teacher turned on two loud fans and said that we needed to practice giving quick 2-3 min messages with lots of distraction, and so we did, the teacher choosing the topic each time. On the first run there was lots of yelling, a good message, and no spirit :( But by the end, it was yelling still, the same message, with testimony, and the spirit touching our hearts it was super cool

And last Brother Niki. Brother Niki is a man that My teacher baptized. Before the missionaries, Bro Niki had the worse reputation in the town, and Brother Johnson had doubt that he could convert him. Turns out he was the best investigator ever. After listening to all the lessons, and doing all the commitments, it was near time for him to get baptized, but He stuggled with the word of wisdom. Brother Johnson and his companain were debating dropping him, because there was no more to teach, and Brother Niki was not following the commitment. During the "last lesson" they decided they would give him one more chance, They sat in quite after he said he couldn't do it. Then to Brother Johnson's mind came the scripture Ether 12:30 30 For the brother of Jared said unto the mountain Zerin,Remove—and it was removedAnd if he had not had faith it wouldnot have moved; wherefore thou workest after men havfaith.  Then Brother Niki said "Brother Johnson, are you challenging my faith?" and Brother Johnson replied "Yes, I am."

Brother Niki did it, stopped all addictions he had, got baptized, and attended the temple. Then after that, people saw the change in him, and asked him what happened. This is when Brother Niki invited them to church. Brother Niki wanted to share the feeling he felt with these people. They tried the gospel, and to read the Book of Mormon, and found out it was true, by praying and feeling the spirit. In two Months Brother Niki baptized 80 people! And a short while after Baptized enough people himself to form a branch. It was crazy! I wouldn't believe it if Brother Johnson didn't show us the pictures. Just think, that he could have never been challenged, then all those people would have not come to church, or waited a long time, before ever hearing the gospel and feeling it in there hearts. The Lord truly knows what we need.

Thank you for the letters, It is so cool all of the things you are doing, and great to here about just everyday things that I relive when I read your letters. Please send me pictures, if you can, of all these great experiences, or everyday activities. Oh and any emails that you want me to add to the list.

Thanks Everyone For your Time, Prayers, and Love. I feel them all.

Elder Remer