Tuesday, April 28, 2015


ang mga bata :) (the kids)

Hello comrades!

The first comment is: it is hot here :P

But, in other news, things are definitely improving! Elder Ian Bowen from the Philippines Area Presidency is visiting our mission right now, and I am heavily enjoying listening to a general authority. Something that he said while giving a hands on talk during the Saturday session of our stake conference about ward council really struck me: "in our ward council, we talk about PEOPLE." He was inferring that it's not about budgets or schedules or so forth. It hit me because he repeated it three times. Me and my companion thought a lot about it and started to try and apply that principle in our teaching and planning more, to not just plan lessons but to prepare to share with people. Not just teach lessons, but have a conversation with people and share with them what we have.

As soon as we started we've seen the impact :) things are going well.

In other news, I've started working out daily, it's freaking hot, me and Elder Macalaguim will be another transfer together, it's super duper hot here, I'm loving my mission and don't ever want to go home, and it is ridiculously hot here! Those are the feels this week!

I hope Justin has a safe flight home, and I have something special for him when I come home!

Love you all :)

Elder Mikesell III

Cows wandering in the graveyard, an unchaperoned herd of goats just making its way down the street (haha), a bunch of pictures from our early morning jog/nature walk early this morning with Brother Eugine (a prospective elder we are becoming way close with) and our favorite members in the ward, the Ruiz family! Also, in the Philippines, colonies of warrior ants also spin webs. Terrifying. I know.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


April 19, 2015

Well hello all! So, I had a revelation that you guys probably have no idea what my mission looks like. Most, if not all, of the pictures I send are things that I think are cool or unusual or funny, but what I see daily and don't think is that crazy is what you guys  have like no idea about. So, I decided for a day that I would just take pictures of my life! This is my area, my apartment, the view outside of my window, so on and so forth. Most of it is pretty self explanatory. Enjoy :P


April 19, 2015

So, we withdrew our support today, and rather than giving us four 1000 peso bills, the ATM gave me forty 100 peso bills. I felt richer than I actually am. These are the results:

1) me and mah thug homies in mah crib with dat cash money doh

2) me takin' a supah thugish power nap with mah cash munnyzz

Your welcome.


April 19, 2015

Hello family and friends! This week was downright good! Here is an excerpt from the weekly email I just sent my mission president:

hello president
several good things to report!: my companionship achieved three of the standards of excellence last week. maybe you remember from my last email that our companionship was really struggling with having members present in our lessons to investigators for the whole transfer ive been here. week one to four went like this: 0,1,0,1 LMP. so we sat down and really asked out ward mission leader for help.
we achieved 10 this week! 
and the people we teach have a much better reaction when we have native ilokanos with us.
thankyou president!
elder mikesell

So, that's good! I am also well pleased about the news about my family! Chase getting his Eagle, a diploma and a handsome guitar, Sam alive and healthy, and how awesome our house has become since I left :P An investigator came to church this week! His name is brother Wen and he speaks almost NO Tagalog, he only uses the native dialect from here in this region called Ilokano, which I'm only beginning to learn, let alone understand. But he's way good :P 

Also our district has become addicted to service. I am somehow able to spend at least five hours a day in the hot sun proselyting but not be pink in the slightest, and then I go to a service project for like 2 hours and suffer for the rest of the week with hellish red skin :P haha, funny stuff. I love you all! Hope you enjoyed the pictures!

Elder Mikesell III


April 5, 2015

We got locked out of our apartment for about an hour after proselyting. I entertained myself by exploring my camera and found several functions I had no idea existed. These are the results.


April 5, 2015

Brother Lakas and I

This week has actually been a bit lively! Neither Brother Lakas nor the Bitwin family came to church, so that's a bit rough. Please pray for them. The Bitwin family is having a rough time, and Brother Lakas is (a) really old and (b) one legged. It's quite a challenge for him to go to church, haha, but he's reading the Book of Mormon which is really good.

The other details of the week are "super typhoon chedeng" and holy week. The super typhoon was supposed to be a monster. Like bigger than the country I'm serving in, and the projected path was supposed to take the eye of the storm about half an hour from my current area, putting my area in the most dangerous place possible. It was so serious that we prepared 72 hour kits and all the Sister Missionaries were evacuated to San Fernando. Long story short, it rained mildly for about 20 minutes and has been a bit cloudy. That was the extent of the damage :P The storm completely missed us and has since then been down graded to a tropical storm rather than a super typhoon. I'm a little bit totally bummed out about it. I was looking forward to a good after mission story.

In other news, holy week is the Easter of Catholic nations in which from Friday to Sunday the city celebrates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The festivities include blasting two guys singing the bible from the speakers of the close-by cathedral for days on end, which has been a challenge for me :P but all is well! I hope everyone is good back home, and I love you all.

Take care!

Elder Mikesell III


March 30, 2015

This week has been at once fun and challenging, which is kind of a microcosm of a mission in itself. Above all else, this news have I for thee:

We have (possibly) a progressing investigator! I shall call him Brother Lakas. Brother Lakas is an ancient little man that lives in a barangay (village neighborhood type deal) named camarao in the middle of nowhere, the kind of place where the live stock easily outnumber the people, haha. He was being taught before by the missionaries before I got here, and he has been reading the Book of Mormon and has serious questions about what he's read! Especially the prophet Joseph Smith. However, he'll need your prayers. He actually only has one leg and gets around with the aid of a bamboo cane and a kind of peg leg type deal he made himself that ends in a rubber covered club. He doesn't let it stop him, but it understandably makes it a bit difficult to go to church when it's a half hour walk for US the young missionaries with both legs to the highway where he would have to wait for a bus in order to go. So, please keep Brother Lakas in your thoughts and prayers, along with the Bitwin family! We haven't been able to teach them since last week because of some health problems Brother Bitwin has been having and some recent deaths in their family.

Love you all :)
Elder Mikesell III


March 29, 2015

1) The result when you work an average of eight hours a day in the Philippines sun with your face and forearms uncovered but with your legs completely hidden for more than a year.

2) Say what ya like about the Catholics, but they know how to build a church :P

3) My stud of a companion, Elder Macalaguim!

4) The cemeteries here in the philies do it sepulcher style. They actually have a two day holiday here in the philies where everyone, and I mean EVERYONE just deserts the cities and camps out a the graveyards in family groups with their dead ancestors, called saints day and all souls day. 

5) Say yest to God and no to drugs :P I chuckled a bit at this one today.


March 22, 2015

Goat Riding... 

This week has been grand!

Bitwin Family
Me and my companion, Elder Macalaguim (pronounced ma-ka-la-geem) have been getting along swimmingly. He's one of the most humble, gentle spirits I've ever encountered in my sojourn here on earth. It makes missionary work a lot easier to have a great companion! Here in Narvacan is way fun as well. It's a lot more rural, which I prefer over the big cities because people are a lot more apt to listen. The family I'd ask you to pray for is the Bitwin family. They have been investigators for quite a while, and are so close to being baptized if they could overcome their problems with the Word of Wisdom! Pray to give them strength to be able to do that. I've been doing good all week and expect to do so or the next :) love you all!

Elder Mikesell

Me and my comrades! My companion is the tiny filipino, Elder Macalaguim. The big guy is Elder Smiler from New Zealand and the BIGGER guy is Elder Fanene from American Samoa. They're my new blood brothers here, haha! We had a sleepover at our tiny apartment here in Narvacan because they couldn't get transportation at Narvacan to their area in Santa. We bought 70 pesos worth of rolls (that's a lot), ten eggs, easy cheesy and two cans of corn beef and ate it on the floor because the tiny plastic chairs in my apartment can't support them without snapping, haha! Elder Fanene is with me in the black and white selfie. The pictures with the bridge is the absolute most northern point in our mission, which Elder Fanene took me to on an exchange. The side we are standing on is Baguio Mission, the other side is Laoag Mission. It was a weird feeling, like standing on the four corners, haha.

We all have great cause to rejoice! An elder showed me how to take down the quality of the pictures on my camera, so they are not so massive and upload a thousand times faster and can fit more in a single email. Hurrah for Israel! Grandma Bitwin is like my favorite grandma in all the Phillies. She's totes adorbs. The picture with me and her is her standing up. Filipinos are usually tiny folk, haha.

My new area here in Narvacan looks strikingly like Southern Utah.
Just with more rice fields, bamboo and water buffalo, haha.


March 16, 2015

  One of my best friends here in the mish, Elder Krutsch. Don't tell him I said that, though. :P

 Guess who I saw at the mission office in Manila! (For those who don't know, this is Elder Toro from my home ward.)

This is a statue we went and visited in my old area the day before I left. It stands at the top of a hill in San Fernando and can be seen from almost anywhere in the city. 

The Philippines Manila Temple! I couldn't go inside though, it's under maintenance. Awww.