Monday, January 30, 2017

Again... What the Kwan?

As I said last week us missionaries have gotten a new schedule! Changes like this don't happen too often so it's VERY EXCITING! Anyway, we are now able to change our studies and our planning and all of that fun stuff to the less productive times of the day to be able to work the most into our days. We watched a broadcast from the Missionary Department which included 3 members of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles (Yes, the same kind of Apostles that Jesus Christ called himself!!) So it was very special. I know that this change is truly inspired and comes from the head of this church, Jesus Christ.

So, we had many miracles this week but there was one in particular that I would just like to share! Elder Baran, Elder Peni and I, have been working hard in our large area and with the members and Less-Actives the last 5 weeks. It says in the scriptures that "There is opposition in all things". Thats true with our hard work, Satan has been working just as hard or harder to stop us. There was just 1 instance out of a lot this week I would like to share before the "miracle" ;) We were teaching this new family that we just met in Iriron.  The lesson was going pretty well, they were asking a lot of questions and it was good. We started to teach about the Book of Mormon, when out of no where this random man that was very very drunk asked if he could listen. We said "Sure of course Brother!", and we kept going with the lesson.  Then out of no where he starts yelling and talking in gibberish.  I had no idea what was going on haha, long story short, he left and came back 4 times in the most crucial parts and doctrine of our lesson. It was ok, we kept teaching and it wasn't too much of a distraction, but I asked myself why Satan was trying so hard to interrupt the Spirit. After we finished it turns out the son of the family we were teaching and his friend wanted to work WITH US!!  It was so amazing to see something like that happen and have people be so receptive they wanted us to share the joy with others!! 

The miracle I'll share I'll make kind of quick because I'm running low on time. Our branch here in Mindoro is very small. Since I have been here, only about 50 people have attended church each week. So, like I said eariler, we have been working so hard and it paid off!! We had over 80 PEOPLE ATTEND church last week and we had 7 investigators come as well!!:) It was so great and such a miracle because I knew we were not the reason all those people came to church, but it was the Lord Jesus Christ.

To end, I know that Jesus Christ loves you and me, we are His brothers and sisters. I know that we have a loving Father in Heaven that knows and loves you more than you could EVER comprehend. He loves us so much He sent His only begotten Son to die for us and atone for our many sins (John 3:16). It is so humbling to know that God has a plan for each one of us and that is called the Plan of Salvation! 

Until next week,
Elder Aguiar

Day at the beach/caves with our zone and senior couples

Monday, January 23, 2017

What the Kwan?!

So Kwan... This kwan has nothing to do with my email, but I'd just like to tell you about this beautiful Tagalog word!! :) The amazing Filipinos made this word that means... Anything you want it to. Pretty cool right? ;) haha I remember learning this word in the MTC but I haven't heard it actually be used until I was here in Mindoro.

Anyway, it was a great week!! We had Zone Conference on Friday, and it was such a spiritual uplifter. One thing that I loved out of the many great things, was President Koster had the senior couples speak to us about Christlike attributes, and it was perfect because I was studying that for the last couple days without even knowing they were going to speak to speak to us, and it was the most heart touching thing to hear the couple missionaries talk about Christlike attributes and how important they are, and to be able to hear of the insights they had for us younger missionaries was great too. To see that no matter our age, we are all sons and daughters of God, trying everyday to become like Christ. He is our perfect example in each of our lives, and as we try to become like Him, He will help us along the way.

During Zone Conf, we heard that there will be BIG CHANGES IN THE MISSIONARY SCHEDULE! So we will have a broadcast by our beloved Prophet Thomas S. Monson and the Quorum of the 12 Apostles :) It will be a very interesting and fun broadcast where we will learn the new changes to all the missionaries ALL around the WORLD!!

After Zone Conf, Elder Peni and I had exchanges with our district leader Elder Sanft. He is from Oregon and a great leader. We got to teach some of his AMAZING investigators, and also we got to ride the FIRST BIKES IN THE MISSION. So, in our mission we don't have any bikes, so it was exciting to ride the very first bikes the first day they arrived at our District Leaders house.

So, this week January 28th, we have a baptism planned for Noreal! He is 13 and he and his mom have been taking the missionary lessons and are more than ready to be baptized!!:) Noreal is the coolest kid ever! He's kind of shy but is very funny.

I know this church to be true. I know that there is a life after this one and the Lord wants us to live with Him again as we did before. I asked myself why I was sent to the Philippines, why the Lord knew the Philippines would be the perfect mission for me. I was pondering on a long trike ride a thought came to me. "Because the Lord loves me." But then I said to myself of course he does, and then another thought came to my mind. "God sent me here because he loves me... And so I can share His love with those that don't know Him". What a wonderful thought right? 

"For God so loved the Philippines, he sent one of His beloved sons half way around the world to preach His Gospel" :)

-Elder Cody Louis Aguiar​

President and Sister Koster and our new zone t-shirts

Elder Peni on the first bikes on Mindoro

Jealous of my watch tan line?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Hangin' In

Hello! I hope this was a great last week for you!  Just to answer some questions, the language is coming along! Slowly but surely. I taught on Sunday, and it wasn't the best, but it ended better than it started. It's really hard because this branch relies on missionaries for everything and they never want to teach. I got an email from president last week with him saying he has hope and knows that we can strengthen this branch, which is so much work. All the missionaries in Mindoro know about our area because there are a lot of problems. We don't know how to fix everything but we are trying.
Some interesting facts about where I live: 
Our area is so beautiful, there are tons of beautiful sites to see always and the people are pretty nice.
And I hit my head on everything here!! On houses, boards, I'm not that tall but I always have to duck to get into peoples houses.

So, this computer I have right now can't upload any pictures, so hopefully next week.  Mindoro is great and I'm happy to be here and to be in such a great place. 

We have to go even though I just got on. I have been waiting for a computer for over and hour and now they are telling me we have to go.  Have a great week!

Love, Elder Aguiar

Sunday, January 8, 2017

First Full Week in Mindoro

Hello Beautiful People!! I'm not sure why but I'm in a great mood today!! JK (I KNOW WHY.. It's because I'm a missionary of Jesus Christ and sharing His TRUE gospel!!)

So its been a busy week! We have found out our area is absolutely HUGE! Maybe like 5 miles across!! Or even more! I know that does not sound like a lot but in the Philippines, houses are so much closer than back home. So, over 5 miles is amazingly huge. My last area was about maybe 1-2 across. 

But this last week I have gotten absolutely PRO at:
1. Taking a shower with a bucket and ladle
2. Eating whole coconuts or (Buko) with a spoon
3. Traveling.....

So, here are so many members and they are probably the kindest people I have ever met. They sit down and sit through lessons, listening to me in my broken Tagalog. 
There have been many times honestly, that I have told myself that I can't do it.  That I can't speak Tagalog.  Surprisingly, I've never felt really down on myself. As soon as thoughts like those enter into my mind, I feel a sense of motivation and wanting to speak the language even more. And I know for a FACT that it was the Lord helping me through my difficulties. When I feel alone, the Lord is always there for me. I found out that he won't always manifest Himself in obvious ways. But if you look closely and actively look for Him, He will be there for us:)

EXPERIENCE: So this week we decided to go to one of the farthest towns in our area. It's called Iririon. It was a long trike ride and also another long walk to get to the town, but well worth it. We got to talk with a less active who is also a recent convert. He is AMAZING! He is really nice. He cut down buko (coconut) from a tree and we got to eat it fresh! :) Also, he is a caretaker of an old resort that was built on a CORAL REEF. So, as we were looking for new people to teach, we got to see this beautiful beach. (pictures in my google drive). But we were blessed to find a new family who is so happy to know that FAMILIES CAN BE TOGETHER FOREVER. And they are the greatest ever.

That's it for this week! I'm happy to know that after this life, through the Restored Gospel, families can be together forever. And that we can live with not only our families after this life, but with Our Loving Father in Heaven:)

Until next week,
Love, Elder Cody Aguiar

Monday, January 2, 2017

Finally in Mindoro

So, this past week I had the opportunity to travel to Calintaan, Mindoro! It turned out to be a 3 day trip, but it was worth it! Instead of flying, all the missionaries going to Mindoro (the only island in our mission) got to take a boat! It was so beautiful to see the ocean and some dolphins along the way!  

It took 3 days to travel here so we didn't get in until Friday. Crazy huh? Wednesday I traveled all by myself with my luggage on a jeepney for about 2 hours. It was pretty boring until the little kid right next to me started to throw up.... So thankfully it was close to the end of the ride and only a little bit got on my shoe... When my stop came up to the mission office, there were so many people and other bags on the jeepney, I had to put my bags through the passenger side door and then proceed to crawl over the seat and get out.  I got to the office and waited for awhile and then I hung out with the ap's for a while and then went to sleep at an apartment close by.  Thursday, we got up at 4am and started to travel at 4:30am. The buses and planes were full for Mindoro, so all the missionaries going to Mindoro all got into 1 van and we drove all the way until 7am to a boat port. Once we got there, we waited until about 1 with literally 200 other people in the smallest building ever, for our boat! haha it was fun. One of the new missionaries is from Las Vegas. It was only his 2nd day in the Philippines so, I got to talk with him a lot. We finally got onto the boat which was the largest boat I have EVER been on. It was another 3 hour beautiful boat ride, over the ocean to the island. We got there and some missionary couples picked us up. We dropped the missionaries off at their areas but because our area was so far, we slept at the zone leaders house that night. So, we didnt get to our house until Friday! 

Here in our area, it is so huge. There are rice fields as far as you can see! I have seen tons of Caribou and White Cranes in the rice fields. The other day we got to travel by rice fields and believe it or not, all the way to a members house! Tha'ts when for the first time, I had fresh BUKO Juice (coconut). They climbed up the tree and cut it down for us, it was so tasty!! We are in a branch here in Calintaan. The people are so kind and fun. Our area is huge! We have to travel by trike most of the time because houses are so far apart. Our area actually is on the beach so, we get to tract and proselyte on the beach because there are so many houses!

So, I absolutely love it here, even though it is EVEN MORE humid here than the city believe it or not.