Wednesday, April 25, 2012


This week has been good. We went to Legazpi, which is the main island for zone training. The trip going there takes about 7 hrs for us. We were there Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. 

The training was really good. It was about finding new investigators while walking from one appointment to another. They also talked about a new area book that we have that focuses on new members and less actives. An area book is just a folder where we track all the records and progress of the people were teaching. 

It was good. It was just a long trip and really hurt our work to be out of our area for 3 full days. But what was awesome is that I got to see Elder Taylor! My trainer. He's the assistant to the president so I see him at every zone conference/training. He actually stayed the night at the same place where I stayed. So that was cool to be able to talk with him.

Me, Elder Taylor, Elder Hurst, and Elder Shepardson. Elder Shepardson is the one in my district and we go home at the same time, him and I are really close. Elder Hurst is his trainer, who was in the mtc the same time that I was. Elder Hurst and Elder Taylor were companions in the mtc and Elder Allen and I would always talk and hang out with them. So that might be kinda confusing.
This is what's called the Mayon. It's a perfect cone shaped volcano. It's actually active and most of the time has smoke coming out of the top of it. It's pretty popular in the Philippines cause it's literally like the perfect shaped volcano.
This is while were on the boat going to Legazpi. I thought it was cool cause that's a tiny island with houses and people living on it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Spiritual Moment: "So yesterday in church I had to teach Sunday school and Gospel principles which was combined cause the branch president was about 30 min late so just combined the classes and asked me to teach. So I taught on temples and family history work. And while teaching I really felt the Spirit testify to me of the importance of both those things. While I was talking about eternal marriage and the fact that were all sealed as a family it was just such a good feeling and then while we were talking about family history I got such a strong desire to do family history. So when I get home we will definitely be doing that!"

So this pic is on the land of one of our investigators. I just really like their land. It's so cool looking. They have a garden too with lots of veggies.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Birthday Celebrations!

(Elder Salas celebrated his birthday in the last week of March, so he wrote about it in this email.)

Companion Talk: So my new companion is Elder Cawit! He's Filipino. I knew him back in Daet zone. When I was in Talisay he was in Panganiban, so we were in the same zone but different districts. But we knew each other. He's a good elder. The Lord continues to bless me with good companions.

Spiritual Moments: Conference was so so awesome! My favorite talks with the one by Richard G. Scott about receiving personal revelation and the one by M. Russell Ballard about making the families the focus of our life to achieve happiness. Conference was just so amazing. Just seeing Thomas S. Monson is an awesome experience. I'm really getting a greater appreciation for conference. The more I think about it and teach about it to investigators and less actives the more it seems like once every six months isn't enough. We only get 10 hours of prophetic council for 6 months. That's not very much, I guess that's where the scriptures come in though.

BIRTHDAY!!: Oh, so for my bday yesterday we kinda celebrated it. Cause Elder Shepardson's bday is in April and so what we did was just combined our bdays so it would be cheaper. And on Saturday we bought stuff to make burgers and fries and shakes! we don't have a blender so we kinda had to improvise and use a jug and spoon. But it was still pretty good. We just used vanilla ice cream, Oreos, and powdered milk. Cause they don't have real milk here. And of course we didn't use hamburger buns we just made 2 burgers with a piece of cheese in the middle and served it with rice. Cause if you're Filipino and there's no rice with the meal they literally think it's impossible to get full.

This is a lunch that Elder Shepardson and I had the other night while we were waiting for our new companions to show up. It was such a good Americanized meal!
This is of us making the shakes.
This is of us making the burgers. We're in the apartment in Masbate so that's not my apartment. We spent the weekend in Masbate to watch conference so we've been here for 3 days now. But last night was fun. It was a lot of work and dishes but worth it. And it wasn't too expensive. Elder Shepardson and I only spent 400 pesos each.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Playing Catch Up

It has been WAY too long since I updated this blog! Since it's been so long, I'm going to just do pictures that Steven sent, since there would be too much to cover. 

I'm going to do oldest to newest:

This is a picture of our apartment! It's pretty big. But it's still nothing like an apartment in the states. It's one of the nicer ones in the mission though so I really like it. (Feb 2)
This is of an FHE/bday party we had for Sis. Ambrona. She's a 77 year old widow. So we wanted to do something for her so she was happy on her bday. (Feb 2)
This is just us at a bridge and I thought it would be cool to take a pic there. (Feb 2)

Elder Salas and Elder Datu (Feb 6)
An "American-ized" restaurant called Catherine's (Feb 6)
This is us at the FHE we had last monday. We have another one tonight. FHEs are always really fun but hectic. (Feb 6)

This is when I went on exchanges in Vinzons. One of the investigators houses we went to had a pet snake!! It was way cool! It was a pretty nice snake, it didn't bite or anything. But the elder I was with, Elder Barker, is deathly afraid of snakes. He ran out of the room as soon as the members walked in with it. (Feb 13)
This is of the FHE that we had last Monday. (Feb 13)

This is me and my district earlier today eating at Alvinos. I'm the only American in my district. There's 7 missionaries there cause one is taking the pic, he's not in my district though. (Feb 20)
This is me and Elder Kornegay. He's in my zone. He's a really nice guy. He came into the mission a transfer after I did. I'm really gonna miss seeing him in the zone. (Feb 20)
This is this way sweet sign we saw at this restaurant. I figured I fit the requirements they were looking for so I took a pic with the sign. (Feb 20)

This is of us and the zone leaders at the beach!! (Feb 20)

This is me and the primary that came to church last Sunday. There's usually a lot more. (Feb 20)
This is of me and the youth. I'll really miss them. They had me speak to them my last Sunday and it was really fun. (Feb 20)
This is of me and Elder Cobing, my new companion. We were eating a coconut. (Mar 12)

This is just of this cool view that I liked. (Mar 12)

I'm with Elder Cobing my companion! (Mar 26)
I'm holding an actual turtle!! It was pretty heavy. (Mar 26)

Elder Fronk is the darker one and Elder Shepardson is the whiter one. Elder Shepardson and I came into the Philippines together so we will be leaving together also. (Mar 26)
Sorry I've slacked off! So Steven is now on a on an island called Cataingan, which is the farthest area south you can go in the mission. The mission president has never even been there! He also had a birthday this past week and turned 21. AND he has a baptism tomorrow! I will try to be better about posting! So sorry!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Elder Salas...a TRAINER?!

Nov 28th Email: 

Mission News: Ok now for the crazy CRAZY part. So this transfer is now over. So my companion was transferred to Daet to be a zone leader there, which is cool cause he's still in my zone so I'll see him all the time. I have been called on to train a new missionary coming from the MTC! I am very, very nervous and scared. It's not normal for an American who has only been here for 4.5 months to train. I don't feel ready at all with the language. I don't know yet if I'll be training a Filipino or an American but there's a very high chance it will be an American. Which means i will know more Tagalog than he will and will have to carry and control the lessons. Which i do not feel ready to do at all. I'm so so humbled to be called to do this, especially this early in my mission. Wednesday I go to Naga to pick up my new companion. The training program is 3 months which means I'll be in Talisay another 3 months which means I'll be there for a total of 7.5 months. Which is okay cause I really like that area. I'm just so so scared. This is a point in my life where i will literally rely wholly on the Lord cause i CANNOT do this by myself. I still struggle understanding what people say to me. It's just going to be very difficult.

This is the baptismal font. It's outside which is kinda crazy.
This is the church building here in Talisay.
This is of the my district and the zone leaders out to eat on Thanksgiving!
 Dec 5th Email:

Mission News: The Lord has blessed me a lot this week! Thanks for fasting for me mom. I fasted also the day before we picked up the new missionaries. So Wednesday we went to Naga for trainer's training. That was really good. Then Thursday we met our new trainees. I was so so nervous. So I got assigned to train Elder Datu! He's a Filipino and he's way nice. His desire to be obedient is very strong which is way good. His English isn't very good at all though so we only speak Tagalog. Which is helping my Tagalog progress a lot faster cause with Elder Ramos he was really good with English so we spoke English a lot. So now I'm the senior companion so I have to lead the lessons and carry them out. Which I didn't think I would be able to do at all. But the Lord blessed me so much and helped me understand just enough so that I can know how to respond and know what they're saying. I know some of those blessings are a result of our obedience. We're really trying to be exactly obedient. It's crazy to think I'll be here in Talisay for 3 more months. But that's okay cause I really like this area and I really like the Bishop here.

So we don't really have a Christmas dinner here. We do have a ward christmas party though!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Rain, rain, rain!

So this week it has rained a ton! The picture is of a bridge we cross to get to one of our investigator's house.This is the bridge covered with water and me crossing it! Even with our pants rolled up we got soaked! So so wet! Plus it was raining. It was a very enjoyable experience. To get to the bridge is about a 20 min walk so we weren't about to turn back. That's why we just crossed it. But we have been avoiding the route since that time. But we'll probably start going that way again cause it's so much more time effective to go that way. We have to sacrifice a lesson if we go the other way.
Companion Talk: I really really like my companion Elder Ramos. We went on exchanges this week the the Elders assigned in Vinzons so i was with Elder Sabala in Talisay for a day and Elder Ramos was in Vinzons with Elder Fernandez. Elder Sabala doesn't speak any English. Well, he can say a few things but that's it. But I laughed with him a lot. I loved being with him for a day. But I am always glad when I'm able to be back with my companion. Elder Ramos and I just laugh a lot and get a long really well. I really like him. I'll probably only be with him for one transfer though. This transfer ends Nov. 28th i think. It's somewhere around the end of November. Elder Ramos will probably become a zone leader after this transfer in a different zone.

Mission News: This week is what's called Jubilee here in the Philippines. It's the 50th anniversary of the Church here in the Philippines! It's an all week thing but Elder Ramos and I are only going one day, Saturday I think.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lovin' the Mission!

Language Improvement: Last night we went to a less active and she asked me if I had been here in the Philippines for a year! When i told her no I've only been here for 3 months she couldn't believe it. She said "You can speak Tagalog so well." So that was pretty encouraging.

Companion Talk: I love my new companion Elder Ramos! He's a really cool elder. He knows English pretty well so that's really good. I really like his style of teaching. He really teaches in a way that shows that we love the investigator. He speaks Tagalog really fast but I'm dong a pretty good job following the lesson and understanding what's going on.

Spiritual Moment: Yesterday I had a really awesome experience. We went to Cezar's with a member to start re-teaching him everything and we asked him what the greatest blessing in his life is and he said "You guys baptizing me." That was the first time I really felt the true joy from missionary service. In a very literal sense your entire soul is so happy when you hear something like that, happier than I've ever been before. The mission is all its cracked up to be!

Mission News: Elder Ramos and I have been more focusing on less actives this week. We will probably continue to do so cause Elder Nelson, who is the area 70 here, said that the first presidency wants to see real growth here in the Philippines. Last year we baptized 700 people here in the Philippines Naga mission and 80% of them our active, which is the highest active recent convert percentage in the Philippines. But our sacrament attendance did not increase. So that means that lots of people went inactive too. Elder Nelson said real growth is more active members. So a lot of the missions focus is being switched to less actives. There's a ton! In our ward we have 40 to 50 active members with around 350 members on the ward list. So there's lots of work to do. We still have investigators, we just don't do any tracking.

We got a new zone leader here too, His name is Elder Mckendrick. He's from Florida. He's a pretty cool guy. He's the only other American I ever have contact with now.