Monday, December 15, 2014


My District
Hello fam and friends! First things first, the hurricane is like 500 miles away, so no need to fret :P Shout out to Kelly, dad and Kayla for emailing me and keeping me updated!

This week was one of the busiest weeks, evah! We had our tri-zone Christmas conference, and you will all be pleased to know that the mission president's wife chose me to wear the mission Santa Clause suite costume. This was probably because I am the fattest white guy in our tri-zone, but far from being offended I can sincerely say I was overjoyed. I believe I've found my new career. The only problem with the suit was its apparent lack of a beard, but you get away with what you can. The tri-zone conference was half dedicated to training and missionary matters and the other halt to food, gift exchanges, singing Christmas carols, meeting with friends in different districts, musical presentations, skits and watching a movie! We got to see How to Train Your Dragon 2! I was pretty dang excited. It was actually quite impressive from a writing standpoint. Kind of made me miss movies :P

Other than that in the pressing news, the news is actually quite scarce. Transfers will be announced tomorrow and my companion feels in his guty that he will be gone. You never know until you know, though. I certainly hope not because I love Elder Guiuo so darn much. The ward has been doing quite a wonderful job of making sure we are fed. I hardly have to buy groceries anymore.

In the latest investigator news flash, Brother and Sister Naghahanap are encountering difficulties. Because of problems with the birth, the price sky rocketed and Brother Naghahanap was forced to turn anywhere he could to find money. He also applied for church services but due to the discretion of the Bishop and the circumstances, he was denied. He hasn't been replying to us since and we're worried that he was offended. Please pray for him and his wife and their newborn, partially for their health and partially to soften their hearts!

Lastly, today is my 11th month mark. Just typing that sentence gave me this weird feeling in my stomach. All the cliche's because they are totally true: the mission goes by tooooo fassssst and the longer you've been out the faster it goes. I'll make sure to do everything possible so that there shan't be any regrets at the end of it!!!

Love you all :)

Feed you fire!

Elder Mikesell III

Brother Binyag's Baptism

Monday, December 8, 2014


This week went well! and not well... but mostly well!

As far as lessons and statistics went.. it was a little rough. Our mission president gave us quite a list of things to accomplish on a day we had our most lessons planned, so we were only able to get away with one lesson that day. The huge upside is that the members of Lingsat Ward feed us like allll the timmmmme, haha! I barely even have to buy groceries in this area. But it was a tad weird also. We had a woman stop us in the street, a Filipino, and in surprisingly fluent English demanded that we hand over the voice recorder my companion apparently had in his bag with a recording of her son's voice on it. We found out later she was some kind of doctor practicing in America but got traumatic brain damage and is now a bit off her rocker. She's harmless, though.

Brother Binyag was baptized!!! Regrettably, I forgot my camera this p-day, but I assure you pictures will arrive this coming p-day. It was verrry good to see his family kind of completed :) Also, Sister Naghahanap finally gave birth! But please pray for them because Brother Naghahanap is having financial difficulties and he's not sure how he'll pay the hospital bills.

Also, a few funny cultural notes about the Philippines!

-They begin celebrating Christmas in September because they do no have Halloween or Thanksgiving. It's definitely different to hear Christmas music in October.

-People go Christmas caroling here as well, but they demand money after they are done singing, haha.

-The traditional Christmas dinner here is spaghetti and fried chicken. I'm not kidding. They sell that meal in McDonalds here, too.

I love all of you dearly! This gospel is true. My sister needs to email me back.

That is all!

Feed your fire!

Elder Mikesell III



Hello all! I shall endeavor with zeal to keep you all updated as to my doings! This week has been rough, but also good. Some of the week's highlights are these:

-We saw our first drunken brawl in our area, haha! It was kind of scary but also kind of funny because both combatants were above the age of 60 and the weight of 250.

-I had to chase down a dog that got out of one of our investigators gates and I actually won! It's a Filipino breed and has really stubby legs, so even though the bugger was fast, I still managed to catch him by sheer virtue of leg length, haha. The funnest part was wrestling him back to the house.

-A less active family agreed to feed us on Sunday night... with steak, carrots, potatoes, peas and coke. I nearly cried. We eat rice day in and day out here, unless we get fast food. I haven't even seen a serrated steak knife until that night since I got here, haha. Me and the other American present feasted well because if the statistic holds, we won't be having another meal like that for the next 10 months.

-Brother Binyag also passed his interview! He is scheduled for baptism December 6th! Thank you all so much for the prayers on his behalf. Now that he's entering in the covenant, his family is one step closer to being eternal :) It's the kind of stuff that makes a missionary's eyes water.

-We also met another man who we found out has been less active for 40+ years but that wants to return. (!!!) He also wants us to teach his family. I shall dub them the Naghahanap family. (For those of you who are unaware, all these people's code names are Tagalog puns, haha). Please turn your prayers to them as well! His wife has accepted a baptismal date but is VERY pregnant, so it might be difficult for her to go to church.

-Lastly, (I hope the length of this letter is pleasing unto my earthly father :)) this week has been really good in one way and hard in another. The good side is that your prayers for my area were answered! We did much better this week than the previous, as far as finding new investigators and teaching goes. Please continue those prayers! The hard part: There's a sad history of disobedience in the Philippines missions. One of the elders I knew kind of closely is going home today early because of poor choices. Me and my companion had to report what was going on and what he was doing :/ I have NO desire to mess up anyone else's life but it was the kind of decision where you can choose to please the Lord or your apartment mate... not both.. sad day... please keep him in your prayers as well. It's quite common for missionaries that get sent home to become disengaged with the church and the blessings it provides.

I suppose that is all for this day. I love you all :)

Feed your fire!

Elder Mikesell III



Hello family!

I will endeavor to give much more detailed reports now and in the future. You can all thank my wonderful father for the change :P

I've begun to notice an increase in hilarious
signs since I transferred... 
So, covering all of the circumstantial things I've been talking about in the past, I am now in the big city of San Fernando! San Fernando is actually one of the three stakes in my mission and is also home to the mission president's home and the mission office. The city is right next to the ocean and parts of my area also go right next to the great big blue. I and my district attend the Lingsat ward, which is one of the best units in the entire mission! The chapel is literally next door to the mission office, so I see President Balledos (my mission president) much more often now, haha. The mission office is also where we get and receive mail, so mail will come to me and get to you all much faster while I'm serving in this area.

My companion is a 6'2" Filipino named Elder Guiuo, from Rizal, near Manila. Him being that tall is kind of worth mentioning since Filipinos are usually shorter than I am, haha. To be honest, our area is struggling. The attitude of people in the cities is VERY different than in the rural provinces. In my last area we could average five or six, sometimes seven lessons a day. Last week, me and Elder Guiuo in my area dedicated 6 hours to finding... and couldn't teach a single lesson, haha. The investigator I mentioned before has dropped their baptismal date because of conflicts with his wife... so, we have no baptisms scheduled. Except for last night we got an investigator that moved into our area from Luna! His name is Brother Binyag, and he's doing really really well as an investigator. His wife is already a member, and they have the cutest darn baby you have ever seen. He's scheduled for December 13th. If you pray for anyone, pray for him! Satan tries the investigators just before they are baptized.

There are 4 of us in the apartment, myself, an Australian and two Filipinos. I love them all as brothers! I would like all of you to remember how wonderful the cold is there while I am working in 90 degrees and 100% humidity here in the Phillies, haha. I love you all and I hope this is a better step than I've done in the past as far as keeping you all updated!

Feed your fire!

Elder Mikesell III

The funny signs continue. Tagalog is a completely phonetic language where everything is spelled exactly how it sounds. Sometimes they try to apply that principle to English and the results vary, haha.



In my mission we do a mini movie called 3 words. Every missionary takes a photo of themselves with their 3 words. This was mine. Later they put them together in a slide show.

Guiuo and Mikesell, Alma and Amulek type stuff. It's pretty legit. well, Alma and Amulek type stuff when they were in Ammonihah and no one wanted to listen to them, but it's still fun! haha

This was my face and excitement level upon receiving the package from Kelly. I cannot express how stoked I was for that package Kelly. It was truly what I needed.

-peanut butter SUCKS in the Philippines and buying the American stuff is expensive
-licorice is no where to be found
-I was on my last stick of deoderant, was out of floss, bar soap and mints
-those granola bars are the best thing ever when you're proselyting and get hungry
-my garments were downright torn up
-almost all my socks have holes in them, and the ones you bought are the perfect size and don't dig into my skin up at the top of the elastic
-the shoes are the BOMB.COM! my shoes before had holes in the soles so rocks would get in while I was proselyting and the tendons in the back of my ankles would get really stiff and pained and I in longer have to worry about that nonsense!

To keep the mosquitoes away, the Filipinos burn stuff to make smoke. I got a little carried away. 

I love the disclaimer on this advertisement, haha. 

My last district in a late 1800's family portrait pose. The award of "my favorite person ever" would go to whoever could send me back this picture in black and white, maybe with a little grainy, old timey look for effect.




My new companion, Elder Guiuo
I was indeed transferred! The call came early in the morning while I was in the shower, and I yelled quite a bit before answering pleasantly, "Hello President!" I have been transferred to a city named San Fernando, and it is my first time working in a legit city. While I was up in Baguio, I was really in the outskirts of the city, but this time I'm in the heart. This means ya'll will be receiving letters again! It is veeeery different than where I was in Aringay, but I do like it, haha. The only problem is that my apartment is about 2 and a half minute's walk from McDonald's and KFC... crap, I'm going to get fat again. It's also very different from a branch where the church is very new and they are still working out the kinks, it's a well organized efficient ward. Whoa. My companion's name is Elder Guiuo (it's pronounced gee-oh). He is 22 years old, he's been out for about a year,and he is from Rizal, which is close to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. My apartment mates are Elders' Gomez and Tucio, the first  from Australia the second from Cavite. I am excited to be here, and I'm excited to see what my new area is like! We have one investigator who is prepping for baptism, but it's veryyyyy difficult for him to stop smoking. He can't get past that last cigarette. Please pray for him! We'll use the name Brother Tagumpay. I love you all! More next week! Feed your fire!

Elder Mikesell III

My new apartment.

This is Chad, the goat, from my last area in Aringay. He was always chillin outside our apartment.
He has a righteous/gnarly surfer hair brah. 




Hello all! I am very close to transferring. In my interview with President a few weeks ago, he told me face to face that I would be transferred, but the last time he told me I wasn't going to transfer, and I did, sooooo, I give it a 3/4 chance because I've been here for quite a while, haha. But, I've grown to love Aringay, even though it's hotter than Africa. Sister Luzon will be baptized this Saturday :) I probably won't be here to see it, but it's not the missionary that matters, it's the message and the work of salvation. I'll also be hitting my 10 month mark really soon which is odd as well. I'm not counting days, but it's hard for me to forget because I became a missionary on the 15th of the month, so it's like every two weeks there's a "whoah, it's a new month already?" and then in the next two weeks it's like "whoa I'v been out another month already?" and then over and over again, haha. I know I've been neglecting pictures, so today is like picture blitzkrieg! I apologize if I've already sent some of these in the past, I can't remember which ones I have and haven't sent. Please pray for Brother Luzon who is working on overcoming the Word of Wisdom challenges he's having.

That's it! Love you all!

Elder Mikesell III

My area floods a lot. 

The branch mission leader in the front, a branch missionary in the back and the missionaries.

My zone.

I want to die in this country, haha!

We had some visitors in our local chapel... I guess the iron bars over the windows were bought from Savers or DI?