Sunday, October 25, 2015


Hello there friends and fam!

Many mixed emotions have conflicted and collided with one another in my brain/heart this week. Dread and excitement about going home, finding out I got accepted into BYU-I which was surreal because my whole life college has been a distant concept, love for the people I serve, disappointments when none of them keep their commitments, endearment for the wonderful place in which I serve and clashing emotions of inadequacy and feeling the Spirit all over the place.


Elder Dougal's Birthday
Anywhoosies, neither Brother Wakas nor the Uwi family went to church which was difficult. I had very very high hopes for them, but somehow I'll manage to get them back up again by Sunday, mostly likely to have them thrown back down, but hey, that's a mission :P We're doing our best to help the families to keep their commitments. Please pray specifically that they'll find the desire to study the Book of Mormon.

Other fun highlights are that my companion Elder Dougal celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday night and that both Elder Renlund and Elder Anderson are coming to my mission in November! :D

It's been on my bucket list since senior year in high school to shake an apostle's hand. The hope is soon coming to fruition.

Thank you all :) I love you all dearly.

"Keep practicing!" - Brad Wilcox in the greatest talk of all time, "His Grace is Sufficient." Look it up. Find the one on you tube that he delivered to a batch of BYU students.

Elder Mikesell III

My swanky new apartment!

Monday, October 19, 2015


Ohhh my! What a week indeed!

First and foremost, about the work: we have two families that we're focusing on hard. The Wakas family I mentioned in my update last week and my new possibly even more beloved family, the Uwi family! Quick update: the Wakas family is made up of two kids and their parents, all of whom are active and church going members except the father, John John, who's been taught by a lot of missionaries in the past and just hasn't committed yet. The Uwi family is also the bomb. Brother Carlos and Amelia Uwi are about 50, and their kids are mostly grown up and gone. Brother Wakas left for a job up in Baguio City, about an hour's bus ride from my area here, and he won't be back for a few more days, but we just had an amazing lesson with the Uwi family on Friday, and I really really really felt the Spirit, to the point where I feel like the questions Brother Uwi was asking were given to him by the Spirit!

"What is the name of the church Christ restored in these days?"

"How do we act on your message? What can we do?"

It was the best. Ever. We extended a baptismal invitation to them in that lesson for November 28th which they accepted! :D I don't want to be overly excited, but they are the first investigators I've had who have accepted a serious "I will commit to prepare myself" IBD since October... of last year! I am overjoyed. They committed to go to church and even asked that we come to pick them up on that Sunday morning because they didn't know exactly where it was (which in Filipino culture means that they really intend to do what they're talking about.) My companion and I were ecstatic!

... and then the typhoon hit! Typhoon hit! I've experience two typhoons and a monsoon in my mission so far, but this one was a monster. We haven't had power for days and lots of poor little Filipino families have had lots of things destroyed. The Uwi family weren't able to get to church and actually the only people that did were us six missionaries in Damorits branch, the branch mission leader who presided and two men from the Elder's quorum. The typhoon has mostly passed by now, but we actually had to bus from Agoo to San Fernando, a much bigger city, in order to email and buy groceries. They eye of the storm and some of the most powerful bands of the storm were reported, this morning, to be directly over the little town of Santiago Ilocos Sur, the little town I just came from. Please pray for those folks, they'll need it.

We're safe and mostly dry. I love everyone back home. Please pray for the Wakas and Uwi families!

"Keep practicing!"

Elder Mikesell III

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Elder Dougal and Elder Mikesell in new area!
I am doing smashing! I was transferred! I have left the province of Ilocos Sur and am now in the extreme southern tip of the La Union province, brushing right up to the Pangasinan province and the very border of the Baguio mission. While I was in the Ilocos region up north, I was working hard on learning Ilokano, the regional dialect there which they speak better than Tagalog. Here, I've tried to use it, but with mixed success, due to me being this close to the region where the native dialect shifts to Pangasinanse, so cheers to learning the basics of a three languages but being actually good a none, haha. My companion is Elder Dougal, he was one of my district mates from the MTC. He is freakishly weird in all the right ways. He and I will have a wonderful companionship. He is from Washington State, and we will be having a "suicide pact" as missionaries call it when two missionaries are going home at the same time and are also companions.

Geographically, the area I'm in, called Damortis, looks pretty much identical to Santiago where I'm coming from. The vast majority of the Baguio Mission, except Baguio City itself, which is on the top of a big mountain, is all along a very long highway that goes up the coast. From west to east, my whole mission has looked like this: some mountains, then a lot of rice fields, some homes and businesses, a highway, the rest homes and businesses, more rice fields, the beach and then the ocean :P

I love the Wakas family!
I already found "my family" or the one family that I get really attached to in a given area, the Wakas family! Sister Wakas was baptized when she was about fourteen but married a wonderful nonmember, Brother Wakas. he's taken the missionary lessons off and on since about 2011, but he goes back and forth between here and Baguio City for his work as a painter, and many of the previous companionships weren't able to get him baptized because of it. They have two kids, age 7 and 11. Sister and the two kids are at church every week. Please pray for them!

I'm using denial as a coping mechanism and prefer not to think about the fact that I will be flying back home to America in two months! Every week is like whattt the heckkkk, how is this possibleeeee? It's moving very fast. Like light speed. I'm going to miss virtually everything about the Philippines but the heat, being looked at like a zoo animal everywhere I go and everyone telling me how America has no problems and that I'm filthy rich :P  I was recently asked if I dream in Tagalog... I have been told by four of my companions that I speak/yell in Tagalog while I sleep.

I love you all terribly. I'm off to save souls! :D

Elder Mikesell III