Week 15: Ano Baga Ire?!

Family, Friends, Fans, and Fellow Servants,

BREAKING NEWS: I got transferred to Batangas! I am currently serving in Tanauan City, Batangas and I just love it here. I got my transfer call on Tuesday night while my then companion and I were looking for stuff to buy at SM: The assistants told me that I would be serving my 2nd area in Tanauan. And I felt bittersweet to leave Lucena City and the members because it’s basically where I grew up in my mission (best 3 months thus far.) I did not get to say goodbyes on Wednesdaybecause everything was in a rush and I don’t want to make it seem like I get too attached to the members over there, so as usual I spent the whole Wednesday teaching lessons to less actives and investigators because I feel they need my time of teaching them more than my time of saying goodbyes.

Let me tell you some good stuff about Tanauan City and my companion. They call it City of Colours because the city is just truly colourful. They’re preparing for the city fiesta here which will happen in a few days. The people here are really kind. They love Americans, and that’s an advantage because that makes us easier to find new investigators haha. The ward is also functioning really well. I now serve with Elder Merrill who is from Idaho and he has 6 months left for his mission. This is his 3rd cycle in the area already so I guess there’s a pretty big chance that he will get transferred by the end of the year. We get along so well because we are both diligent and obedient and we share the same purpose in mind. Let’s just hope I’m not jinxing this companionship!

I think it’s pretty amazing how I’ve already had 3 companion in my first 3 cycles in the mission. If Elder Merrill gets transferred then I’m surely staying in Tanauan with another companion! Crazy! My progression in the mission has been great so far. I already got transferred at the end of my training cycles and now there’s some chance that I would train at the beginning of the coming year.

How is everybody doing? I hope you had fun at our city fiesta few days ago. I miss all the festivities we enjoy back home such as Halloween parties, fiestas, and most importantly Christmas. It’s already December in a week and then 25 days til Christmas. Times flies too fast! It felt like it was just yesterday when I opened my mission call that Monday night, and I still remember the feelings I had as I shuffle on the airline terminal, about to leave my previous life and family behind. As I stepped foot at the MTC, it was me burning bridges that linked my missionary life to my previous life. And I felt so blessed that I had been given this opportunity to serve the Most High God with all my heart, might, mind and strength.

It is in my hope and prayers that all of you will continue to press forward in Christ’s words, and feast upon the words of His everlasting gospel, and strive to live it every single day as He avails blessings for us. Continue to fast for each other, impart our goods to our brothers. I would like to close this letter with a verse I found in the Book of Mosiah:


15 Therefore, I would that ye should be steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works, that Christ, the LordGod Omnipotent, may seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternallife, through the wisdom, and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who isGod above all. Amen.

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 14: Good Measure, Pressed Down, and Shaken Together, and Running Over

Family, Friends, Fans, and Fellow Servants,

This week will end my 12-week training! My training will officially end on Thursday (end of cycle). There are chances that I will be transferred to another area or I will remain in Lucena City, but only the Lord knows what is the best for me. Even though my “training” will officially end in three days, I must admit the fact that my present companion hasn’t continued the second half of my training. What I did? I worked on my training by myself. I taught the fundamentals to myself by myself. I have to set the perfect example of a Lord’s missionaries to other missionaries, whom I expected most and looked upon. I fully utilized the supposed 2-hour companion study to catch up on what I have been missing out.

Sometimes there are days that you have stop for a moment and look inward and assess your experiences and commitments. Have I failed to progress to bring myself closer to Jesus Christ? Or in my case, have I failed to progress in being the Lord’s valiant missionary?

If there’s no help coming from other sources, then turn to the Lord for his tender mercy and grace. The Lord and his willingness to atone for our sins and shortcomings provide us comfort and strength to overcome whatever trials and challenges we experience right now. Think of the hymn that goes, “Oh, it is wonderful that He should care for me, enough to die for me, oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me.” The Lord’s infinite Atonement becomes available to us if we do our part in this marvelous blessing.

To my family and friends who are, under any circumstances, feel down, miserable and hopeless right now—don’t ever give up. Think of the Atonement. Think of the miracles you could do and the grace you could attain if we remember our Savior’s sacrifice for us. The Lord promised us that whosoever is poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven is theirs, and blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

So fear not. Strive to turn to that source of strength, which is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The Lord is with you in your sufferings. I am with you. (Elder Cagadoc, we are with you.)

In my case, in my first 3 months of my mission, I have learned to turn to the Lord in my anguish. He has helped me in the past and He has not ceased to help me now. I was weak and He made me strong. And everyday He makes me stronger as long as I turn to him. He has done it for me, and I want to bear testimony and assurance that He will do the same thing to you. Just believe.

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

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Elder Pelayo from Bogo! – Team Paolo (‪#‎PP2016‬)
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Elder Molesworth my batchmate. – Team Paolo (‪#‎PP2016‬)
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My ginger friend. – Team Paolo (‪#‎PP2016‬)
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2 Warays and 1 Pangasinense – Team Paolo (‪#‎PP2016‬)

Week 13: There’s a Mail

Family, Friends, Fans, and Fellow Servants,

Time flies so fast! It felt like it was just Monday yesterday. I suppose things went too fast for me because a lot of interesting things happened this week.

The funny one: on Wednesday evening we got locked out of the apartment! We somehow forgot to bring the key with us when we went out for work. The zone leaders would not be home until Thursday evening, and the landlord was out of town. We informed the zone leaders about the situation, and they called the assistants, and they subsequently told us to sleep over at another missionary apartment. Ultimately, we did not get to work on Thursday and I actually felt horrible on the inside.

What happened to the e-mails? I noticed a decrease in the numbers of e-mail I receive every week.

We missionaries love mail. Your letters and packages give us reassurance that you haven’t forgotten us while we are away from home serving the Lord. I remember I would receive this plenty of e-mails during my first weeks on my mission, and how I wish I would still receive the same support I once had! Ask the other returned missionaries in our ward, they can testify of the joy of receiving news from home, and please know that we always make time to read them no matter how busy we are.

If you are running out of ideas on what to write about, let me give you some suggestions I found in a New Era magazine 8 years ago.

Messages from Family and Friends

When you write to missionaries, tell them the important things that are happening in your life with school, family, and the gospel. Write as though you were talking to them face to face.

“I think it is very important to receive letters that are related to the gospel and the work of the missionary,” says Devin McCabe, who served in the Brazil Campinas Mission. “Keep your sense of humor, but stay focused on the true nature of missionary work. The more encouraged a missionary can be, the better the work will go.”

“Friends should write about spiritual or missionary experiences they’ve had in order to keep up the enthusiasm of their missionary,” says Elder Jesse Rock, serving in the Mexico Guadalajara South Mission. “They shouldn’t write about gossipy little things like who likes who or the party they went to last week. Those are a distraction.”

If you dated someone who is now serving a mission, make your letters friendly and encouraging, but not romantic. You can help missionaries focus on the work of the Lord with uplifting letters and reassurance that they are where they need to be. Avoid romantic allusions.

“Write about the blessings that you have received through his mission,” advises Eric Elggren, who served in the Brazil Londrina Mission. “Write about what you are doing to help the missionaries at home.”

Here are some more ideas.

Things to ask about

  • •The work, the schedule, the culture, and the experiences of your missionaries.
  • •Who your missionaries are teaching. When they tell you the names of their investigators, follow up in your next message and ask about them by name.

Things to share

  • Insights you’ve gained in seminary or Sunday lessons.
  • A scripture you’ve found meaningful.
  • Testimony-building experiences you have had.
  • News about mutual friends who are also serving missions.

Things to avoid

  • Don’t ask how many baptisms missionaries have had. The people in some missions are more receptive to the gospel than others. Encourage them in their work as they plant and spread the seeds of the gospel.
  • Don’t criticize missionaries, even if they haven’t written back to you.
  • Don’t mention every problem that arises at home. There are some problems they should know about, but there are many others that would only worry or distract them unnecessarily.
Here are also some tips on sending packages:

Missionaries love packages. But it’s especially nice when the family remembers to include a small item or two for the companion.

The New Era asked a few returned missionaries about items they appreciated receiving that were useful and still reminded them of home. Here are some suggestions:

  • Socks
  • Familiar-tasting toothpaste
  • Dry drink mix
  • Seasoning packets
  • Recipes for simple dishes
  • Gift certificates to chain restaurants (only if mailed in the same country)
  • Letters from younger siblings, cousins, or Primary children [Mom, you need to do this]
  • A favorite treat
When you think of sending letters and packages to your missionaries, please know of that joy we feel. We are away from home for 18 years to 24 months, and we need things that will remind us of home, especially during this holiday season.

In behalf of my fellow missionaries, we express gratitude to people who still remember us, who find time amidst their busy schedule at home, at church, and at work. We promise you that as you support missionaries, the Lord will shower you blessings.

Please continue to show your support to the missionaries. It will all be worth it at the end.

We love you, and know that we always pray for you.

Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 12: I’m A Little Drunk and I Need You Now

Family, Friends, Fans, and Fellow Servants,

How are you? Fear not, I come in peace. I think it’s amazing that I got a lot of e-mails this week. Thank you! Your love continues to support me in this missionary work.

How did Halloween 2014 go?! I’m so sad I didn’t get to attend college Halloween parties. Man, I miss those! To my college friends, I hope you enjoyed the parties without me! Hate you forever.

On the 28th of October we had Elder Lynn G. Robbins from the Presidency of the Seventy visit us together with his wife, along with Elder Tobias, an Area Seventy, and his wife. What was funny was that we actually came too early in San Pablo because we thought we would be late due to the traffic. But we were wrong!

So we stayed in the chapel for like 2 more hours. I was playing prelude music in the Sacrament Hall. When I went out, this happened.

Influx of missionaries! I think every missionary can relate. You know how we just swarm in a hall talking about our mission experiences? Crazy!

After the conference, Elder Robbins wanted to take a picture with all of us. So hundreds of missionaries just flocked to the back of the meetinghouse and it was crazy!

We wouldn’t fit in the picture, so they did this.

President drove the car to the bottom where they would get a good view for the picture.

I love missionary conferences. I think they’re very interesting. It’s literally like a royal army, like the hymn we sing “Behold! A Royal Army”.

I am so much grateful to be here in the mission field. I learn a lot in here. Lessons I will surely treasure for the rest of my life. I’m sober now.
Elder Poblete
Philippines San Pablo Mission

Week 11: Eye Single

Family, Friends, Fans, and Fellow Servants,

Thanks for the e-mail. I can’t believe more than 10 weeks have passed since I left home to embark on this marvelous and amazing work of God.

This week has been rough. I got into a huge fight with my companion, but don’t worry, everything is settled now. I think it was a very growing experience for both of us. “It does not matter who is right, but what is right.” I just have to think that what I do is in accordance to the Lord’s standards and I am not authorized to lower them down to please other people. One of the challenges I found in my mission is that you have the chance to meet and live with other people from different background and upbringing, and sometimes you just clash because it’s chaotic all over again.

Personal peace is very important to be receptive to the Spirit. Divine light does not develop in drastic places and in haste words. I am reminded of the hymn very close to me:

Where can I turn for peace?

Where is my solace

When other sources cease to make me whole?

When with a wounded heart, anger, or malice,

I draw myself apart,

Searching my soul?

He answers privately,

Reaches my reaching

In my Gethsemane, Savior and Friend.

Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.

Constant he is and kind,

Love without end.

Where, when my aching grows,

Where, when I languish,

Where, in my need to know, where can I run?

Where is the quiet hand to calm my anguish?

Who, who can understand?

He, only One.

Sometimes I encounter plenty of distractions in my mission. Distraction so great that it wavers the progress of missionary work. Sometimes I find myself uncomfortable in every situation I am put in. But God will never be contented to see us in our comfort zones. He will find a way to push us, to grow, to take a step forward for our eternal progression.

Sleepless nights. No appetite. Empty gazes to the window. Busy streets and traffic lights. Somehow the world is too busy to pause for a moment and look inward, to know if we are still have true happiness within ourselves.

May we always recognize the source of peace and comfort we need during times of trials and tribulations. The Atonement of Jesus Christ does not only make bad men good but also make good men better. I so testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Poblete

Philippines San Pablo Mission