December 16, 2018


San Juan


Elder Armadillo

Week #13 Still in San Juan!

Hey my family,

Awh I miss you guys. I love you all and am sorry that this season is the hardest. It for sure is though. Its okay though because I get to talk to you soon!!! Im SUPER excited for that. I dont yet have details on our video call, but I will have them
next p day :)

Alrighty, what everyone was waiting for. Transfers. To answer dad's question, for transfers everyone meets tuesday morning as individual districts and the district leader announces the transfers. It is such a suspenseful couple days because everyone
has no idea if they are saying goodbye for the last time, if they have to pack, and who will be their new companion. There were a few changes to our district, which always makes me really sad. Elder Bickmore was transfered to Puerto Princessa, palawan.
It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to that guy. I seriously hate goodbyes. I care about my friends a lot and it sucks to say goodbye to them. Hahah its okay though, he says "Im preparing the way for you elder Dyches. Youre next to come to palawan." Tbh
I dont want to leave san juan. (oops now you know Im still here). Sister fukofuka also left to palawan. Elder Armadillo and I are still together. I was really happy but surprised at that! I was hoping to train, but that can wait. God is at the head of
this work. He knows the lessons I still need to learn and the timing of everything out here. Life here isnt about who can train the fastest, or about position at all. I'm happy to enjoy my time with my trainer. our area was split though! We have two new
elders in san juan. Elder Ladao (who spent his 3 months in san juan, before spending 10 in palawan) and his trainee Elder Davis. They are super fun, I really like them. The nice part is that we get to split the area. Our area was so huge and so its super
nice to focus on a smaller area. We are teaching so many more lessons now that we dont have to travel a ton. Our focus areas now are old santa mesa, west crame, and salapan. ITs been really fun to institute the "barangay system" and only work in one area
a day. we are spending way less money and time. its awesome. We also moved houses. The manda 5 elders lost their house to the new incoming sisters, so they got transferred into our house with the new san juan elders. meanwhile, elder Armadillo and myself
got moved to a house in sampoloc. Its a super nice place, so we are fine with it. Transfers were unexpected, but its so cool to watch the Lord's plan be put in action. Elder Ladao is seriously a burst of life. He is going to do a really good job in re
energizing the areas that we were never able to visit. That and I feel like there was a lesson for me to learn in all of this. It was a humbling experience and a patience building experience. This experience reminded me once again that the lord is at the
head. That it isnt about personal desires and "achievements". If anything, this showed me that the Lord is aware of my personal needs. He knew that I needed to wait. To learn to trust his will no matter what. To put aside my desires and follow HIS will.
How cool is it, that our heavenly father manages to both give us the experiences we need, while doing the EXACT right thing to progress the work? It is truly amazing. Im grateful for this testimony increasing experience.

3rd Transfer: I feel wonderful. Each transfer so far has seemed to bring a little more relief and joy. But oh man, I feel wonderful this transfer. Earlier this week I decided not to stress anymore. To just have faith and let heavenly father take care
of the rest. The biggest part of mission trial is the mental game. Out here its super easy to get caught up in stress over lack of progress, our own imperfections, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I was reading a liahona from october 2014, when I came
across a story about a jade cabbage carving. As I read I wondered, "why is a cabbage carving famous and expensive?" The passage explained that there was once a carver called "the master". he was selecting a piece of jade to make a masterpiece. In jade
work, the best material is a pure green color, with no cracks and blemishes. The master carver instead chose a jade piece with many flaws. one whose color was green on one end, but was white on the other. The author of the story commented how the jade must
have felt. How it must have said, "leave me! use another piece of jade, with less blemishes and a brighter color than me. I am worthless." The master carver replied "I want YOU. Trust me. I will make you a masterpiece." The cabbage carving is famous
because, through the skill of the master, he used the blemishes and color to enhance the beauty of the piece. He used the jade's weakness to create something beautiful. I feel so blessed to be in the hands of the master. Its comforting to know that although
i surely have as many blemishes as the jade did, he can use me to aid his work. I will try my hardest and just have faith that he will guide me through these two years.

Leaving visa waiters: This week we say goodbye to two awesome elders. Elder Daganasal and Elder Contado. They are leaving to missions in hawaii and korea. Man, those two are such happy people. They are going to effect so many lives over there. im
glad that they got to be a part of our district. They seriously are the best. i didnt know how to pronounce elder daganasal's name at first, so I nicknamed his elder mang inasal (a delicious fastfood restaurant here) he loved his nickname. It was sad to
say goodbye to my man elder mang inasal. (he left this morning) we had a big dinner at his uncles house last night. There were 7 of us missionaries over there. It was seriously so fun. We say goodbye to elder contado tomorrow I believe. What great guys.

Christmas party: The ward christmas party was absolutely awesome. Here, for the party each auxiliary group performs a prepared dance number. It was absolutely hilarious. I really enjoyed it. it was really fun to see our RC Jenny getting into it.
She was definitely one of the best dancers. Afterward, there were games and such. We had brother Jared and coquia as our "hosts" they are two of the funniest people I have ever met. I have a video of brother coquia singing too which was absolutely hilarious.
The people here are seriously just happy wonderful people. Its so easy to enjoy life here. I am super happy.

We are teaching a new family now. They were taught by the missionaries before but never got baptized. They kept reading the book of mormon though. The wife says that she has finished it 3 times. She showed us her completely marked us book of mormon.
They are super awesome. We are excited to teach them. They have concerns that we need to help them with, but I have faith that everything will work out in the lord's time. Their name is the reyes family. They are super kind. The first day they met us,
they gave us a ton of food and were really excited that we were visiting them.

Light the world: It was super fun because we got to work at the Light the world machine. It's super cool that the church is doing that. I took out some money and bought stuff "from you guys" because I know you wouldve loved to if you were here. We had
a giant group of temple workers who came and donated. It was fun because they all wanted pictures with us and were the super cute old people type. Love them. just looking at the type of things that we were paying support, its beautiful. A couple were "feed
a kid for a month", "drug counseling: help put a family back together again", and a bunch of other good ones. The drug counciling one especially hit home in my heart. I am seriously so grateful for the church and the freedom from addiction. Out here I have
seen the heartbreaking effect of alcohol and drugs. It seriously hurts my heart. Every kid deserves a momma and dad. Every kid deserves to be loved and a priority of his parents. The family is the most important thing for me. Im so grateful that the church
is trying to help free people from the pain of addiction. There truly is freedom in keeping the Lord's commandments.

I know this work is the work of God. Ive experienced too many personal miracles and watched too many hearts changed to think anything different. Every part of this plan testifies of the mercy and love of our father in heaven. I am seriously amazed at
his mercy. im amazed how they can love such imperfect people perfectly. I was reading the story of the prodical son the other day. It touches my heart to read the part when the father sees his son. He sees him "while he was still afar away" and RAN to
him. How his son fell on his knees and confessed his sin. How his father embraced him and rejoiced that HIS son was home. He is always there to run to us. All he asks is that we come unto him. He doesnt expect us to walk the long road to him alone. He
will run to us. The symbolism is seriously so beautiful. It is such a blessing to work in his vineyard for a while. To help him gather his lost sheep. I am so blessed. I see the lord's hand in all the changes in the church. one thing that I love is that
the doctrine of the church never changes. God is unchanging. But it is seriously exciting to watch policies change as his children become more and more ready. As his children hasten the work for his coming. i believe that the Lord is hastening his work
unlike any other time. How blessed am I to be in the mission at this specific time. Where missionary work is becoming better and better every day. I am grateful that I had such wonderful parents and family, that prepared me for this time.

A lesson from Elder Vicencio: Yesterday we had lunch with elder vicencio and his family. He is a newly released area 70, and is seriously such a great missionary and spiritual giant. He took us (the four san juan elders) to visit an inactive return
missionary who had served in manila. We went and visited him and another less active who was living there. We all talked for a bit with the return missionary (noel), when the other missionaries walked to the other side of the room to talk to the other less
active. Elder vicencio and I stayed back and talked to noel. Elder vicencio grasped him by the shoulder and said with such a quiet and loving voice, "noel. we are here to bring you back. Youve made some mistakes. its time to dust yourself off and come
back. You can do this. You were converted to christ on your mission. Its time for you to come back to him." noel began to tear up and nod his head. the spirit was seriously SO STRONG. I felt like crying. The love that elder vicencio felt for noel was
so real. His compassion was so evident. He was so bold and kind. It was seriously the best. I came away from that experience on a spiritual high. I want to be a missionary like that. Who humbly and lovingly testifies and invites to come unto christ.

I miss you all a ton. I wish I could talk with you every week instead of writing hahha. It kills me a little bit to always write about myself. I much prefer to talk about you guys and get excited about what you are doing. but I am happy that you get
to taste the mission life through me. I love you all. Enjoy this christmas time. Focus on the birth of the savior. Im so happy to hear about your giving spirit. That is truly the spirit of christmas. Jesus christ, the son of God, was born. Because he
was born, we can return to our heavenly father to live as families. Rejoice! Rejoice that Christ came! rejoice that he took upon him our pains. Spend a little extra time on your knees thanking heavenly father for our blessings. WE have so many :)

I love you all and cant wait to talk to you in a little over a week!!!

Big brother


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