Hey everybody!! Happy new years! I miss you all, but am really enjoying myself. This week was absolutely awesome. I also got my christmas package!! WOW OH MY GOODNESS you guys spoiled me. I was absolutely thrilled to get the calendar and the
pictures/letters. That was what I was hoping for most. That and I am really excited to try the computer thing. I love you guys so much. Thanks for the thoughtfulness of the gifts. My best present is all of you. Elder armadillo also says thank you. he
says that you guys spoiled him and he is really thankful. Thank you guys so much. I love you all.
Im so happy to hear about the effectiveness of the new program. Im so happy that you are all taking it to heart. That's the secret of all the new changes of the church. They are wonderful changes, only if we choose to act on them. The shortening of
church is a great blessing if we choose to actively study and teach in our homes. Thank you for all working hard on that. Thank you also for improving your own personal studies and conversion to the Lord. Im so proud of you for that. There may be times
that we slip into bad habits, but I promise that as you search the scriptures and pray more fervently, that you will feel the spirit more strongly. Its funny, I have had the best week of personal study ever this week. I decided to start another study journal.
I used to do that a lot at home, but I havent as much in the mission.
I studied conversion this week. As missionaries, we want to help our tinituruan become converted to the Lord Jesus Christ. We want to help their faith become something beautiful. We want them to develop a lifelong commitment to their redeemer. i studied
conversion a lot this week, on how I can better convert myself. I know that helping others achieve this love and conviction, that we must first strengthen our own. I was reminded of when Jesus spake unto peter. "when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren"
To help strengthen my brethren, I must find a way to strengthen my own love and conversion to my savior. While I was pondering conversion, I thought about the process of converting money. When a person converts american money into philipino pesos, The banker
doesnt return to them a mixture of american and philipino money, but converts it COMPLETELY. Conversion is a lifelong process, where we continually change ourselves and become more like our savior. part of the conversion process is being willing to give
up some of our worldly thoughts and habits. Being willing to give ourselves COMPLETELY to the will of the Lord. In mission life, it is so important to have christ not only as the focus, but the ONLY focus. It is so important to completely give up idle thoughts
and desires. To focus at all times on the Lord. This is a principal that I really want to live. To not only put him first, but for him to be the only thing in my heart. king benjamin encourages us to have the name of christ written on our hearts. That
there are no other names that can save us. (mosiah 5:12) But sometimes, we fill our hearts with so many other thoughts, concerns, and worries that we take space away from our savior. HIS name is the one that brings peace. HIS name is the one that saves.
and HIS name is the one i want to have. After reading and studying these principles, I drew two hearts. I drew one, with the name of christ in the center. There was nothing else in there. No other distractions, but just the savior. I then drew a heart
with the savior + my stresses, concerns, and idle thoughts. I noticed that in the second heart, the once clean and simple looking heart, now looked like a chaotic puzzle (and you know how much i like puzzles...) I compared this principle to myself. Do I
ever fill my heart with unnecessary thoughts and concerns? Absolutely. My goal is to attain the peace of the first heart. The purity and simplicity. Just having christ in my heart. I thought about how to go forth with this goal. I read in 2 nephi ch.
4. I read about nephi, and his struggle to keep his heart focused on the savior always. He says that he pondered the words of God continually. THis was his secret. When temptations "that so easily beset" him,surrounded him, he turned to the word of God.
He put his full faith in God and trusted that God would help him. He may have been imperfect, but he "knew in whom he trusted". I know that God will help us as we strive to become converted to his gospel. I know that as you all continue to put the Lord
first in your lives, that he will write his names permanently in your hearts. Keep up the good work. You guys are doing a great job. I love you and am so proud of your example to me. I hope someday to be the kind of parent that you two have been to me.
Your loving effort in rearing your children in the gospel shows your conversion to our Lord. Keep it up.
This week was quite fun. We are teaching a lot of new people and they are finally progressing. We have been blessed to find a few great new people, and they are going to church. we had 4 people come to church this week which was awesome!! We are teaching
a referral from our recent convert Cesar. Her name is Tessie. She and her daughter listened to our message and committed to church. it was so wonderful to watch our ward fellowship them. They came, and the relief society sisters were super friendly to
her. They helped her get to class and sat next to her and everything. It was absolutely awesome. They loved their church experience. I think that we are going to extend the baptismal invitation in a couple days. Cesar is seriously sso happy. We have been
taking him over to her house when we teach and having him share his testimony. He is thrilled to be working with the missionaries. He calls it "his mini mission" its so great. Our other tinituruan right now are Robert, the plurendo family, marian and mercy,
trixie conception, and the reyes family. I love them all so much. We are trying to find people every day and I feel like that has been blessing our efforts. One thing Ive been trying to work on is using my personality to my advantage out here. I am a very
spontaneous and outgoing person, but have been a little intimidated at being super outgoing because its easier to be witty and confident in english. I decided the other day to be completely myself. That i was called because of my personality, and I needed
to use it. I started being more outgoing and noticed immediate changes. We knocked at a house yesterday and originally were rejected. I felt prompted to keep talking and be spontaneous with the family. soon we were all laughing and friends. we were able
to share a message with them and get a return appt. As we were procelating down the street I heard the son of the family telling his friends, "my mom says that we are going to their church next week" pointing over at us. I went up to him and asked him if
his mom had really said that. He told me "yeah! As soon as you left, my mom turned to us and said. Okay, we are going to their church next week." It was so cool!! Im super excited to go back and teach their family. That was probably the highlight of my
week. It was such a great experience.
My favorite part of the mission has been my spiritual growth. I am trying my hardest to change and become a better person. I am LOVING the scriptures. Its been so fun to grow closer to my savior and feel his spirit more strongly. Ive spent a lot of
time these last few weeks reading about how to strengthen my spiritual power in lessons. I asked my district leader during our exchanges. He told me that my desires and my love of the savior put me in a place that I was ready to grow in spiritual power.
he told me to keep studying and praying, and that the Lord would give me the power I need. I have been doing that the last few weeks and have noticed the changes. One day, we were doing exchanges as San Juan elders, so elder ladao could show us his past
tinituruan. I was with his trainee Elder Davis the entire day. It was so great!! We went to teach Robert. As we were teaching, I felt the spirit stronger than ever before. I testified of jesus christ and Roberts eyes started to water. Elder Davis followed
with his powerful testimony as well. We left the lesson and I felt absolutely amazing. Elder Davis turned to me and said, "Elder Dyches, that was my favorite lesson I have been a part of. The spirit was so amazingly strong there" i felt so grateful that
the lord had heard my prayers and helped me to testify my love for my savior. But sheesh, Elder Davis is such a great elder. I love that dude. Im jealous that Ladao gets to be his trainer. Such a spiritual guy.
Im seriously enjoying myself. Our new years party was amazing. All the elders went over to mandaluyong and slept over. i learned a funny tradition that the filipinos do. They wake up at midnight and jump up and down. They believe that this tradition
will make them taller...which is not working at all hahaha! But its seriously such a fun tradition. All the kids do it. During new years, elder mulipola and I pulled our filipino DL out of his bed and jumped up and down with him. It was so fun. The rest
of the night we ate pizza and watched mormon messages on their TV. It was so fun!
These seriously are the best two years. i cant wait to just talk out all these memories with you. We had a district activity this morning where we all played bball. It was awesome. We have such a great district. Missions are the best. After, we all
went to biggy buggy (a restaurant with american ish food) and ate. It was awesome. I love these guys.
I love sharing the message of christ. I am so happy. I love his gospel. I have a testimony that he lives. He suffered so that we could be forgiven of our sins. His atonement is amazing to me. It is my motivation. I want, more than anything, to kneel
at his feet and tell him "I gave you my everything". He gave his life so that I can be free. SO that my path is made sure. so that I can enjoy the peace and joy of this life. I am so grateful to him. He is my song. i have started to sing more again.
I have been singing, "it is well with my soul", "redeemer of israel" and "i need thee every hour". I love these songs because they testify so powerfully of jesus christ. He is my savior. he is the reason I am out here. I am enjoying every minute of serving
Love you all! hopefully all my photos and videos send this week. Love ya!!!