Monday, December 29, 2014

Blog Letter 12/29/14

Dearest Family!

I'm not really sure what to tell you because we just talked a couple of days ago. I really enjoyed our skype call. It was good to see and hear all of you. I developed some pictures about a year back of Hailey newly born. It was great to both see and hear how much she has grown. She is very blessed to have born to such an amazing family with such a good looking uncle. 

The rest of Christmas day was good. We had a good district meeting and lunch and then another really good lunch at a members house. After that the work was kind of dismal and it was really rainy but all is well. We are grateful to be missionaries nonetheless. 

We went on exchanges with the missionaries in Basey on friday. I went with the District Leader in Basey and Elder V. worked in Tacloban with his Comp. Anyways, on the exchange I interviewed 7 people for baptism and a few of them were people that Elder V. and I started teaching while we were there a few months ago. It was a neat experience to interview them and see how they have progressed. There are a lot of issues with the branch in Basey that I can't really explain but they keep miraculously progressing. Elder V. and I were discussing how this is evidence that the Church is true. 

A member of the Stake Presidency spoke in sacrament meeting and gave a really good talk about New Years Resolutions. As we continually strive to improve ourselves let us remember that No man is born with fixed habits. Good habits, (and bad ones) are acquired and developed in the workplace of our daily lives.

I love you all. Keep the faith and may peace be the journey!

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, December 22, 2014

Wet Feet Blog Letter 12/22/2014

Maupay nga pasko ha inyo ngatanan! 

It has been a very short and eventful week. We had a Mission Conference and Stake Conference this past weekend. Here in Tacloban everyone is very grateful just to have electricity this Christmas. Stake Conference was packed. Every seat was filled as well as a few overflow rooms. 

Thank you much for the package. We had a zone activity this morning and so we made good use of the Frisbee. And I honestly felt a little bit like a house elf when I saw the socks. I love socks. Except for when they are wet which I have had to get used to because it is rainy season currently and our area is really swampy and so most days my socks get soaked. In any case, what a great blessing it is to have clothes. There are a few naked people in Tacloban that we see every now and then. Mark Twain once said, "Clothes make the man, Naked people have little or no influence in society."  

R. and M.J. are doing well. They had something come up again yesterday so they weren't able to come to Church but we know they have a sincere desire. I really enjoy teaching them. We have also been teaching R.'s little brother who is not yet baptized and he is being a little stubborn but we love him anyways. He has some sort of a concern but we are having a hard time resolving it. We had a good lesson with him last night though about how the spirit operates and so hopefully he will start to keep commitments. We witnessed the gift of healing with him last week as well. He was having back pains and we gave him a blessing and the pain decreased almost instantly and hasn't hurt as bad since that day. We found that out last night. What a great blessing it is to hold the Priesthood. 

I would love to say more but the time is far spent! I look forward to talking to you later this week. I will try to skype you between 9 and 10 am Christmas morning. I love you all and am grateful for your love and support. I know that Christ lives and we can overcome all things through his Atonement! Keep the Faith and may peace be the journey!

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, December 15, 2014

Like Ants Blog letter 12/15/2014

Maligayang Pasko sa aking pinakamamahal na Pamilya!

I'd say Merry Christmas but I can't believe it's Christmas already. December snuck up on me a little bit to be honest. It doesn't feel like Christmas here and Christmas is different as missionaries but I am focusing my studies on faith and recentering my focus on Christ. An Elder asked me a few weeks ago about some kind of deep doctrine (I don't remember what) and I looked at him and said "Elder, I'm still working on faith."  I mentioned being a little unmotivated and discouraged even in this new area. Fortunately things are starting to look up and we're starting to get things going. We were kind of banking on Elder V transferring but we will both be here for another transfer. This will be the longest companionship of my mission so far but it feels like we just became companions. I am grateful for the messages shared at the Christmas Devotional and also for your emails this morning in helping me fully come to that reminder to Focus on Christ. We tell people everyday that our message is centered in Jesus Christ but we need to make sure that we too are centered in Jesus Christ as his missionaries. As President Eyring spoke about the Light of Christ my thoughts were drawn to some Robert's comments after Hailey was born as well as the experiences I have had with Recent Converts. Though in different ways, they are both newly born and in both we can see and feel the light of Christ. 

I'm not really sure what to tell you about the Typhoon. It really wasn't that exciting. Everyone was a lot more prepared though. People started evacuating two days in advance. We were just stuck in the Office Elders Apartment with 34 elders for a few days. No running water, no lights and pretty stinky but we go through it. I hate that apartment... I pooped early on I think Saturday while there was still water and luckily I didn't have to poop again until we got back to our apartment on Monday. The 14 of us that aren't new missionaries had to take care of ourselves as far as food and so we bought some canned stuff and noodles a few days before. We all combined our food and put it all out on a table covered with banana leaves and then just went to town with our hands until all the rice and food was gone.
Then after the storm life just kept moving forward because if you're not dead you have to keep living. Sometimes we make fun of ants for frantically going back to work immediately after their ant hill has been destroyed but aren't we similar? When disaster strikes and passes, we get up, dust ourselves off, survey the damage, and rebuild. There were only minor damages in Tacloban and we haven't really heard much about Borongan. Only two area's in that zone were able to reopen though. The others are feeling other spaces in the mission until they can return. We have about 30 missionaries in our zone this transfer which is pretty huge but the more the merrier right? After all it is Christmas. 

I love you all and I wish you the best this Christmas Season. What better gift to give than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Keep the faith and may peace be the Journey!

Love Elder Lowe

Monday, December 8, 2014

Typhoon Ruby Update 4 12/8/2014

Tuesday Morning Update 4 for Ruby:

Dear Parents and Friends of Tacloban Missionaries,

The storm has passed and blue skies and radiant sunshine abound here in Tacloban. All missionaries have returned back to their areas, except Borongan Zone and the new arriving missionaries. We are still to effect the transfer to incorporate these new missionaries, but hope to do it this week. Relief efforts are being distributed to Borongan and we will also assess the conditions in that Zone before sending missionaries to return.


There is no power in most of the mission, and so it is unlikely that missionaries will find internet available to email home. We anticipate that power will be restored in a couple of days. Thanks for your willingness to send your sons and daughters as ambassadors of Jesus Christ.


Wayne E Maurer

Mission President

Philippines Tacloban Mission

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Typhoon Ruby Update 3

Dear Parents and Friends of Tacloban Missionaries,

Last night was a night of strong howling winds, battering rain and NO power. Needless to say it was a LOONG night. However as day dawned it was obvious  that the worst was over, and people  started to emerge to assess and fix up their homes. As we looked around the Mission Home there were trees down, flooding on the street in front of us (6-9 inches), debris which had been blown, and the lighter winds and rain still happening.

The Mission Home sustained some more damage, water leaking in thru windows as it was driven, and the shattered sliding door downstairs giving rain and glass all over the floor and furniture. We still do not know the extent of damage for missionary apartments, since they are all in Chapels in each Zone (except for Borongan).

We have kept in touch with each Zone of Missionaries ( since they are all together in safe locations) up until4.00am. At that point 3 Zones appear to have lost communication network. At that point they were ALL fine. We have since travelled to Tolosa Zone to establish they are great, and in fine spirits. Actually loving the experience. We are in the process of confirming Biliran and Carigara Zone.

Please be assured that this typhoon was NOT nearly as bad as the previous one (Yolanda) last year. It is unlikely that there is any major disruption to the work, however we will hold the missionaries in these locations at least until Monday. Thank you for your prayers of faith and hope. We felt them and thank our Heavenly Father for his bounteous mercy.

Warm Regards,

President and Sister Wayne Maurer

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Second Update

Attached is the second of two emails that we received from President Maurer regarding the current conditions in the Philippines.

Friday Night Update 2 for Ruby: Dec 5th, 2014

Dear Parents and Friends of Tacloban Missionaries, I think my initial email did not get sent, so you may receive two in a row!!! The wind has a gentle breeze blowing in Tacloban as I write to update you. It is calm and peaceful, and actually a little cooler...quite comfortable! I imagine that thru the night we will find stronger winds, and may even wake up to a little rain. As you may have guessed there is nothing much happening here, but we are preparing for the worst. The latest projection has Typhoon Ruby moving across the coast in Borongan about 24 hours from now. It's path appears to go west north west across Catbalogan. It has been down-graded and no longer a Super Typhoon.


The streets of Tacloban are bare. There is little transport available as early as last night. Most people are either moving to safer locations, or at home preparing for a typhoon that is approaching ( about 415 kms east or south east of Borongan). Our missionaries have each been gathered by their Zone Leaders to be together. We have had them do this to keep them together for morale, safety and ease of contact. They are all in fine spirits, safe and actually sharing the gospel in various locations. The people are actually very interested to talk about a gospel of peace and joy, whilst calamity approaches.


For those of you who know where your missionary is serving we already have them in these locations, before the transport shut down:

Catarman Zone - Elders in the Chapel; Sisters in the Catarman sisters apartment.

Catbalogan Zone - Elders in the Zone Leaders apartment in Calbayog; Sisters in the Calbayog apartment.

Boronogan Zone - All missionaries evacuated and living in Tacloban.

Tacloban Zone - Elders are in the Office apartment; Sisters in the Tacloban Sisters apartment.

Tolosa Zone - Elders in the Burauen Chapel (inland); Sisters in the apartment in Burauen.

Sogod Zone - Elders in the Zone Leader apartment in Sogod, and Sisters in their apartment.

Maasin Zone - Elders in the Maasin ZL apartment. Sisters in Ormoc Zone - Elders in the ZL Apartment in Ormoc, and Sisters in the STL apartment in Ormoc.

Biliran Zone - All missionaries in the Biliran Chapel Carigara Zone - All missionaries in the Carigara Stake Chapel.


The plan is to watch the development over night and move all missionaries into chapels in the morning. We have learnt much from Typhoon Yolanda and feel more prepared to keep them safe and facilitate a rescue should that be necessary. Please be assured that they are safe and our hope and prayer of faith is that there will not be a catastrophe. Thank you for your support, faith and prayers.


Wayne E Maurer

Mission President

Philippines Tacloban Mission

Current Conditions in Philippines

Attached is one of two emails that we received from President Maurer regarding the current conditions in the Philippines.

December 5, 2014


To the families of our missionaries!

This is a message of hope and notification about what we are doing to ensure the safety of your missionaries serving in the Philippines Tacloban Mission. As you may be aware there is a tropical typhoon (Ruby) heading towards the Philippines. We are closely watching the developments as the storm approaches from the east. The latest projection is that it will cross the coast at Borongan City Saturday night, and then go further West.

We have removed ALL missionaries from Borongan Zone, and have gathered each Zone's missionaries in their respective Zones in a location that is safe. If it gets worse, then we will move them to the Chapel, but at this stage we have no missionaries in Chapels. The weather is currently calm, with light cloud cover.

Your missionary has been alerted to prepare for a storm.  Their preparations will include but are not limited to preparing for possible flooding, checking their 72 hour kits, having emergency cash in small bills, food and water for 7 days and a reminder to ensure their cell phones are kept charged.

When the storm has passed and all missionaries are accounted for, we will let you know.  Thank you for your prayers.



President Maurer

Philippines Tacloban Mission

Monday, December 1, 2014

Oreo Balls. Blog letter 12/01/2014

Maupay nga aga Pamilya!
Paspas hin duro ine nga semana. We have finished our first week in our new area. I'll be honest, it was a bit difficult staying motivated in a new area the week before transfers but we managed alright. It's likely that Elder V will be transferring this week but anything could happen, especially with President Maurer so we'll see what this week brings. I am expecting/hoping to stay here for another transfer.
There isn't a ton to work right now in our area but we have enough to keep us going until we can find some new investigators and stuff like that. We are working with some part member families that will hopefully be able to baptize in the near future. 3 of our current investigators are family of a Mom and son that Elder V and I interviewed a couple of months ago. It is cool working with Recent Converts that we interviewed for Baptism. I am excited to keep working in this area, it has a lot of potential. We want to find and teach everyone that will receive the Gospel but we hope and pray that we may be able to convert professionals because they are the people that will help the Church grow. The Church in this part of the world really just needs good solid converts that can become strong leaders. Missionaries can only do so much. This work requires a combined effort.
We are loving our new apartment in the middle of Down town. I really didn't enjoy living with the Office Elders and AP's. Their great, don't get me wrong, We just didn't really like living with them. Our Kabahay's Elder S and Elder B are great. Elder B is a new missionary and he cracks me up. He a tall skinny kid from Virginia. This past week he made these oreo balls. They were delicious but I'm pretty sure they is enough sugar and fat to last you a life time. First he crushed up a whole sleave of oreo's in a bowl and then mixed it with cream cheese. Once this was all mixed into a kind of dough he rolled them into balls and put them on a plate and put them in the freezer. The next morning he took them out and covered them in Goya Chocolate spread(it's like nutella) and then put them back in the freezer. They were delicious but I was worried they might send me into a sugar induced Coma. This Elder though, is hilarious. It turns out we were both at the 2010 National Jamboree.
I started reading the 24 Days of Christmas booklet that you sent me this morning. The first story was enough to bring tears to my eyes. I love the Line where the little girl says, "I'm scared of him, but he can share my room, I just won't look at him!"
Some of our greatest joy truly does come from giving of ourselves. As a missionary, and as missionaries, what greater gift to give than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I love you all and I am so grateful for your love and support. I honestly forgot that it was Thanksgiving last thursday because we had a really crazy day but I did strive each day to be grateful in any Circumstance.
Keep the Faith and may peace be the Journey!
Love Elder Lowe