Saturday, June 28, 2014


Well, hello family!

This week was a wee bit interesting!

Earlier in the week when me and my companion were walking to the jeepney station from our district meeting, we saw a market building with smoke pouring out of it because the entire building was on fire in the inside... holy cow. The street was way crowded with people, either running from the fire or running to see what was going on, and it took us more than an hour to get home when it should have taken like fifteen minutes, haha.

But, the most exciting thing was the igorot sombaw. On Saturday, we were teaching the grandmother of the entire purok beleng, kind of like one of their elders, and she invited us to something called a sombaw, to "see what real igorot culture is." Here in Baguio and especially in my area, the people are igorot, which is the Filipino version of a native American, like mountain tribal people. So, we accepted.

Holy Cow.

First of all, we had no idea what we were getting into, haha, we being American thought it couldn't last for more than two hours, and if it did we could just politely excuse ourselves. Haha. no. It lasted a full seven hours, and we were essentially told by our recent convert, Sister Rizal, "If you leave... just don't leave. You need to stay." So we stayed because if we did we would offend the entire family, haha. About fifty members of their family, or clan as they called it, showed up, and then the pigs came. The eldest of their clan does a lot of council and praying and then after, the eldest clan prays over a pig about the size of a man. I have a video of it, but (with four men holding it down) the killer makes a small incision on the pig with a machete, and then drives a wooden stake into the wound repeatedly, stabbing out the pigs heart while it screams. Coolest thing ever. Afterwards, still a little bit alive, the pig is blow torched in the face until dead, the entire body is also torched and the hair scraped off with a machete, and the whole pig is then butchered, boiled, salted and eaten. It's actually reeeeally good, haha.

Kind of a cool week. And we got a new investigator while we were there! Enjoy the pictures!

The guy with the wool is the eldest in the tribe. He recites a prayer in ilokano before they kill the pig.

Burning off the hair!

After the pig has been slaughtered, the elders of the clan "read the future of the clan" in its liver. This one is supposed to be lucky!

Feed your fire!



June 16, 2014

Being out here, I can't make a card or buy a gift card to Sportsman's Warehouse, but I can try to repay just a little of what my dad has done for me. I've heard it's Fathers Day! Here out on my mission, I have learned things about being a man. I'm not saying I'm becoming one, I'm still just a snot nosed punk with a name badge, but I have seen examples. Examples of men who I will never become. Men that don't care for and even abuse their families, who serve themselves before others, and who will answer for their actions at the last day. But, I've also seen men who give everything to their loved ones, who work themselves to the bone to feed their children, and who love and cherish their wives. That is the kind of man I want to become.

I want to become like my dads. Earthly and Heavenly.

From my dad here, I can learn to be unselfish, to always put the needs of others before my own, to serve my God even at the expense of my health and desires, and I can learn to become like a rock in the gospel. I can learn how to love and cherish my (very) future wife. I love you dad.

From my Heavenly dad, I can learn righteousness. I can learn to forgive others, to love others even as myself, and how to help my children exactly when, where, and how they need me. I can learn to always be there for them. I love my Heavenly Father.

Thank you and Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers, especially mine.


Elder Mikesell


June 8, 2008

This week has been hilarious! Here are some of the funnies:

- As we were looking for new investigators in our area, we started going down different paths we hadn't been down before... and they kept getting smaller and smaller until we were straight up in the jungle. We asked a man harvesting syote if the path we were on eventually got us to the highway, and he told us yes, which was a total lie. We ended up at a straight up tropical waterfall type place. We tried to climb up the sides of the valley, but it was too steep, and Elder Done fell and could have almost killed himself, so we decided to go back the way we came but accidentally went through "tiger grass" which is a long grass that cuts you up as you walk through it, haha. Fun stuff.

- We were riding a jeepney and had a fun conversation with an old nun who told us to keep being "good boys" in a super cute grandmotherly way. It was adorable.

- There is a missing dog in Tuding who's name is Obama.

- We were having a great spiritual moment with Sister Rizal, the Spirit was super strong... when a goat walked through the front door and pooped all over the floor and then refused to back outside.

- There is a sketchy house in a community called Baguio Gold who's selling cyanide for thirteen grand in pesos. The sign is made of cardboard, and it doesn't tell you the quantity of the cyanide... but it seems legit.

- The Magaling family was baptized this last week! And at the beginning of the baptism... only three members came, haha! Luckily everyone started filing in about fifteen minutes later.

- Filipino dogs are THE MOST ANNOYING creatures on earth. They bark at you ALL the time. So, I've started the wonderful habit of acting calm at first, and then chasing them and snarling like a wild animal, and it scares the crap out of them, hahaha!

That's all for this week! I love you all!


Elder Mikesell

Monday, June 2, 2014


Hello Friends and Family!

My new companion, Elder Done. I got to stay in Tuding!

I am doing great! It's been a bit rockier, though. I actually stayed here in Tuding! I have a new companion from Arizona. His name is Elder Done! He has huge desires to be obedient and work hard, and we've been doing those things as a companionship! He wrestled all through high-school and is one of the chillest people I've ever met, haha. I'll miss Elder Wilson, but we all have to stand on our own at some point! Me and Elder Done are actually co-senionrs, but he's been in the mission longer than me, about 7 months now. He's had some rough companions in the past, sadly, I'm not sure if it's like this elsewhere, but the Philippines has a sad history of extremely disobedient missionaries. Don't worry, I will NOT get sucked into it, though, haha.

The Rizal family was baptized! Just to illustrate how great they are, Sister Rizal is praying to be called as a ward missionary and Brother Rizal has dreams of going to the temple. I don't know what I ever did to be worthy to teach people like them!

Elder Wilson, the Rizal family and me at their baptism!

We are baptizing another family this coming weekend, the Magaling family! They are both a bit older, and when we met them Brother Magaling had serious foot problems, so it was hard for him to move around, but they have been awesome! Brother Magaling understands doctrine so well and so in depth! Here's an example: (in Tagalog)

Me: "So Brother, this is the gospel of Jesus Christ that we've talked about. It has five parts, but we've taught you about baptism and repentance. Will you live these parts of the gospel?"
Him: "Why only live two parts? I'll just live all five."
Me: "..... Why yes. Yes you can." Hahahaha!!!!

We are, indeed, on foot most of the time, but because our area is so steep, if we are going uphill, we sometimes just Jeepney up to the top. We usually have to find our own investigators. The Filipino culture makes it easy to talk and share to people, but sometimes it is difficult to find people who are actually interested rather than just being polite. I'm learning more and more each week that the commandments are huge. Living them really makes our lives better. I see again and again how messed up people's lives get through breaking the commandments. But, in the end, that's why there are missionaries!

My district up until last week.

Haha, American missionaries are spoiled! We just got a dinner appointment, too, but the investigator is cooking ox tail with peanut butter... tell your missionaries to count their blessings, haha!

I love everyone back home, I love it here in Baguio, and lastly, FEED YOU FIRE!

Elder Mikesell