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)

Elder Remer

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Christmas party and long walk to church


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


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