Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Last One...5-28-13

Mom, you should write a book.  Thanks for all the inspiring words everybody.  It really has been a great two years.  I think the best way to email you this week will be to simply answer your questions.  So here we go!

What's one of your favorite mission memories?
There are so many.  Seriously.  So many.  I can't even pull one out for you.

Describe one of your favorite places in the Philippines.
Pinamungajan!  This last area is by far my favorite.  We have seen so much progression in the branch and the members are amazing.  The sunsets are sweet and we live right next to an Angel's Burger and a Julies Bake shop.  It's great!  As for cool touristy stuff though, Bohol was awesome.

What have you most appreciated in a companion?  What could you have done without?
Obedience and vision.  A companion who is anxiously engaged and conducive of revelation.  My favorite companions have been the humble, driven servants of God who use all they have to further the work.  They don't fall into the rut of "just getting stats" or doing what everyone else does.  They are agents unto themselves, and answer to God above all else.  What could I have gone without?  Simply put, disobedience.  A companionship should be 2 strong horses pulling the load, but when one is disobedient, it falls on his companion to not only pull the load all by himself, but also drag his companion alongside with him.  Those are great learning opportunities for the obedient companion, but they aren't fun.

What do you hope to always remember?
I will always remember what I learn about the Gospel, but I also want to remember the effect that each member of this church can have on all those around him or her, for good or bad.

What do you wish you could forget?
Hahaha--mother's who shamelessly breastfeed in public, during lessons, during sacrament meeting, and anywhere else kids between the ages of 0-4 are found.

What Filipino traits do you wish Americans had?

What will you miss?
The dedicated, converted members who still need so much help to know how to magnify their callings.

What was the hardest lesson to learn?  What was the best?
Complete submission to the will of the Lord.  True conversion.  Interestingly enough, they were both the hardest, and best.

If you could go back to the Philippines after your mission, what would you do there?
Visit the members, and eat at Angels.  Swimming would be awesome too.

What has changed the most in you from your experiences as a missionary?
My change of heart.

I'm excited to see you all again next week!  I'll have plenty more stories to tell then.

I love you all!
Elder Garver

Tuesday, May 28, 2013



That's cool that Newel is serving in the Philippines too.  I feel like everyone and their mother is going to Tagalog speaking missions though.  I can understand Tagalog pretty well.  I used to be able to speak it alright too but I haven't spoken it now for at least 6 months so I think I've lost it.  I've forgotten when to double my syllables and when to use the other conjugations.  Tagalog is ridiculous.  It takes 15 minutes to say anything.  It's kinda like entish... only more fruity sounding.  Ouch haha that's so offensive.  I guess I've got a little bisaya pride in me.  I want to practice it more when I go home though since that is the national language.  If you speak that you can communicate with literally anyone in the entire country because it's taught in schools and all the TV is in Tagalog here.

So a couple cool successes of the past week: We baptized Mimi Ann and her Mom on Saturday, got more super awesome revelation for how to help these leaders, we saw a super cool rainbow sunset, and I got pooped on by a bat!  Very exciting.

The baptism went really well, and both Mimi and Nanay are super solid and ready for callings and whatever else the Lord wants for them.  Mimi is going to school in a week or so in the city so she'll be going to church in the Arlington ward, but after that she has already decided to serve a mission which is going to be really good for her.  Nanay is great and will be a big help to our branch here.

Not too much to explain about the bat poop...  Pretty self explanatory.  It was full of seeds...

The revelation we got this week was amazing though!  I'll start explaining it by citing your minds back to the previous week.  I spent 5 days planning a really awesome workshop for my district meeting on Monday, and started to get really strong impressions about what to prepare and teach about.  I planning a workshop on our existence in the premortal life and how our agency and diligence allowed us to win the war in heaven.  I based a lot of it off Revelations 12:7-11 because that is what the Spirit told me to do.  I was feeling super good about it Monday morning and we went to the church to have our district meeting.  When I stood up after the opening exercises however, I was prompted to basically toss my workshop out the window, which I did, and we went a completely different way.  We had a great discussion about how despite much success, there have also been many leaders who, after being trained, just refuse to do their duties.  They'll come to church but are not converted beyond those 3 hours each week.  I had no idea where any of this was going, and I didn't have answers to a lot of the elders questions but we continued with our discussion nonetheless as it was directed by the Spirit.  Then after a good hour or so of discussion, it hit us.  These leaders were throwing up walls when we tried to tell them how to magnify their callings.  We weren't telling them how to do their callings, but even so, the idea of us trying to train them on the programs of the church and their duties was rejected.  Their brains were recognizing foreign ideas, and rejecting them.  What we needed to do was to go deep enough in their minds through the Spirit so as to plant a foreign idea of what they should be doing without them realizing that it wasn't their idea.  If we went down enough levels through inspired questions about problems they were seeing in the branch and ways they could make a difference, the Spirit would be able to help us plant an idea that would be accessed later by that leader and accepted as their own original inspiration.  Does this sound familiar?  We call it... Inception!  If we can get these leaders to think it is them coming up with all these great ideas of how to help, they'll be so much more willing to do it.  They'll see how they really can make a difference and it's not just the Elders using them to do what they want.  We have implemented this and have been seeing amazing success.  Each night we become the "architects" as we plan for commitments and questions to maneuver deep enough into the minds of our leaders.  As we guide the discussion through the Spirit the next day and share scriptures as prompted, leaders have begun telling us exactly what we planned for them to think of.  The Holy Ghost is the perfect partner for these kind of "insertions''.  This has been a really fun way to teach and the success is truly amazing.  Previously difficult or prideful leaders are beginning to think of great ideas and implement them as their own.  Haha this is such a cool spin on teaching through the Spirit.  I'm loving it!

So anyway, that was the revelation of our district meeting and our success with that.  Because I didn't get to teach what I prepared though, I thought that I would just save my workshop for the next week and teach it at the next district meeting. Tuesday however was Zone interviews where President Schmutz came and taught a workshop.  The exact same workshop that the Spirit had so strongly prompted me to prepare.  He as well taught on the premortal life and how our agency and diligence allowed us to win the war in heaven.  He, too, based his workshop off of Revelations 12:7-11.  It was a great workshop!  Looks like I'm not going to be able to take the easy way out for my last district meeting next week after all.  Again, I testify that all true revelation comes from the same place.

I've got one more time to email you all next week before going home, so make sure you send me some good emails so I can get you some good replies.  I love you all!

Elder Garver

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Hi Fam,

(This is short since we just talked last night)

Filipino kids are so LOUD.  I'm really glad last night worked out as well as it did.  I would much rather that than how annoying these little teenagers are right now.  Aren't they supposed to be in school?  Anyway, I love you  It was awesome getting to talk to you.  Ugh this keyboard has no exclamation mark key.  That was a happy sentence about getting to talk to you.  So was that one.  haha oh man this email is so bland now.  Anyway, I love you.

Talk to you next week.

Elder Garver


Hey Everyone!

Don't worry about me getting trunky Dad.  It's not happening.  I definitely know why I'm out here.

This week has been another of magnificent strides.  As we really got into this training thing and started going deeper and deeper, Elder Steiner and I realized that teaching records and other forms for our area book just weren't cutting it.  We tried to imagine the next elders coming in and taking over and we realized that even though we were filling up our area book with dates when people were visited and what we trained them on, there was nowhere to record the "big picture" or vision of where we were going with the leaders.  We went through the handbooks of instructions and filled 4 pages with things that needed to happen in a well running church.  There was no way this was all going to be able to be planned for, remembered, and transferred and continued without something new to help.  We spent a couple days this last week creating a brand new form to use for the area books here which is going to streamline the training process, and allow the work to continue fluently from companionship to companionship.  It's beautiful!  I'm really happy with it.  The Spirit was so strong as were began the project and the result is going to benefit missionaries a ton.  I am so excited every day to wake up and work.  The work is so progressive here.

We also have 2 baptisms scheduled for next Saturday on the 18th.  Nanay and her 21 year old daughter Mimi Ann are super solid and are doing really well.  I'll have pictures for you in a couple weeks.

I'm excited to see you all on Mothers day as well.  Lets shoot for 8:30am my time.  If something comes up I'll let you know.  That is election day here and I hear that it can get a little crazy.  I'll find a way to let you know.

I love you all!

Elder Garver


Well, hello there!

I think technology has gotten a lot better since Chris' uncle served here.  We get gallons of purified water delivered to our house which we drink.  We just use regular water though if we are going to be boiling it for spaghetti or pasta or anything.  I feel like such an American with Elder Steiner.  I haven't eaten rice for months now unless it's at a member's house, and we set up a little gym in our house now so we can get HUGE!  We'll see what I can pull off in a month.  My diet consists now of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, eggs, and spaghetti.  Every day.  I'm thinking about buying some chicken to mix things up a bit this month.  That requires so much cooking and cleaning time though, which I don't know if I can afford.  Maybe I'll see if you can toast a chicken breast...  We do drink tons of soda though.  It's a typical thing here to get fed snacks before or after a lesson which is usually bread and a liter or 2 of soda.  I was super worried about it in my 3rd area when my companion and I were drinking at least 4 liters a day...  It's not so bad here.

I don't really have much to say this week besides the success is continuing to flow.  It seemed like I went to church in a completely different are last week.  We had so many more meetings and things implemented that it changed the whole Spirit in the church.  Priesthood Opening Exercises was a great success and we had 13 less actives that came to church for the first time, none of which were visited by us.  The members are catching the spirit of missionary work as we train them on their individual responsibilities and are fellow shipping and visiting their fellow brothers and sisters without having to be babysat by the missionaries, and the fruits are clearly apparent.

I did get my package by the way.  I told someone...  Anyway, I haven't taken a picture yet but my awesome 6 foot long birthday sign is hung up in our apartment right now.  Thank you!

That's a cool story Mom about Jacob 5.  I had a really cool experience with Jacob 6:12 in my 4th area that changed my life.  I got a prompting while studying to focus on that tiny little verse, and an hour later I was learning things about sacrifice and obedience that are going to end up being a big part of what gets me into the Celestial Kingdom.  There is truly no end to what the Spirit and the scriptures will teach you if you are diligent in studying them.  I am hearing back from a lot of my now RM companions that it is a huge challenge to jump back in to real life and continue feasting on the words of Christ everyday, but I am determined to not let a day go by that I don't study for at least 1 hour every day, and I'm going to wake up as early as I need to to do it.  I have no idea what I'm in for when I go home...

I love you all!  Life is great.

Elder Garver

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Hey Everyone!
This week was transfer week and it was an interesting one!  We had our two area mates pulled out so one could train and open a different area and the other could step up to Zone Leader on Bohol.  This leaves Elder Steiner and me to take care of the entire branch here in Tutay.  This is proving to be quite the undertaking.  I received amazing revelation for my district this past transfer that we needed to basically drop everything and completely focus on training our leaders.  We have been visiting every auxiliary leader for the past couple weeks and training them individually on each of their responsibilities.  They currently can't do this without us because the red and blue handbooks of instruction for the church are not in Bisaya and nobody here can understand English enough to study them and understand, and nobody knows what their doing in the first place so there isn't anybody with any clue on how to do anything more that attend church once a week for 3 hours.  We have been carrying the handbooks with us everywhere and teaching out of them, and we are seeing huge success.  I can honestly say that I have seen more success this last transfer than I have my entire mission.  It feels so good to have each entire day packed with crucial appointments, and then to see immediate success as the leaders begin to implement presidency meetings, PEC and branch councils, visiting and home teaching, calendaring, interviews, and more.  I am loving this area, and am excited to finish up strong.  We scheduled it out after we found out the other elders were leaving, and we found that with training Elder Steiner, visiting each auxiliary once a week, the presidents twice, and the branch president 3 times, we are left with 3 hours a WEEK to teach our progressing investigator, Mae Ann and her family.  We are slammed!  It is so fulfilling.  This place is going to be the best organized branch in the Philippines by the time I go home.  All the leaders are so willing to learn and want so bad to do their part, they just haven't known how.  I'm loving it.
Gosh these kids here are so loud!  ugh.  There is only one computer shop in my area and it's summer break so all the annoying little teenagers come and play DOTA (a video game) and just SCREAM and YELL at the top of their voices at each other.  Too bad there aren't any libraries in the Philippines.  Filipinos don't read...
Anyway, I've got some more pictures for you!  I hope they all make it.  

1. me on the front of a motor, taken by Elder Croxton next to me on their motor. 

2. me again on the front with our driver behind me. 

3. The Negros Valcano.

I love you!  Don't get too trunky Dad!  At least you're do a pretty good job of covering it up ;)
Elder Garver



Before I forget, this is important.  I need that waist size of both Dad and Papa. Don't forget to send that to me!

This week was great!  I received more awesome revelation and the work has just clicked.  We are finally doing lasting good.  We are visiting all our leaders and working with them to get their individual auxiliary meetings going, and the are all responding to the call.  We are also teaching in small 10-15 minute increments each day so they don't lose focus.  The people have very short attention spans here so instead of teaching all of lesson one in an hour, we are teaching them one principle like the Godhead for 10 minutes, leaving them a study assignment, and coming back the next day to review, and then move onto the next portion of the lesson.  It is working wonders.

To answer Dad's question, I am doing just fine physically.  I don't know how great of a shape my teeth are in, but we'll just have to worry about that when I get home.  I think I've got some pretty bad gum recession.  We don't have to walk at all in this area because we have a member that takes us literally everywhere we go.  It is so awesome.  He has a motorcycle that he drives right up to the door of every appointment we have.  We are so spoiled.

Elder Steiner is doing great, and we think that Elder Chamberlain is going to be training this transfer once Elder Croxton transfers so it'll be cool to have 2 kids in the apartment.  I included a picture of me and my goofy comp for you guys.

Love you all!

Elder Garver