WEEK 38 (Panglao)

May 31, 2016

I am still in Panglao!!! And I'm still with Sister Samoya!! So no changes!! Which is awesome and I seriously think the best thing for our area and our investigators. We have 5 baptisms set for the month of June YAY!  Ya I'm actually having a hard time believing that it's already June!!! School is starting here and ending there-- Totally opposite haha! I am excited to have even more time in Panglao because these people are my family and I love how close I am to them..
I am not sure what to say except that I love it here.

Some things that have happened to me this past week...

We had a district activity in which the Panglao elders destroyed me... see pics, (hmm i wonder why...my neighbors)
We moved houses into a cute small apartment closer to our area!
Sister Cababahay had a break though and is finally ready to be baptized, so her and Brother Rollie and their oldest kid Jonx2 will be baptized on June 18th!  I am so stoked!!!  And so are all the members because it means another priesthood holder and first new family since the Macabanes here in Panglao.
We started teaching Momma of Brother Macabane and she is so beautiful!!  And wants to be baptized in the church that changed her son's life..  She always cries when she talks about how God answers her prayers for her son. It's beautiful!! Her and hopefully Jenebie Lofranco will be baptized on June 25th. We are still working on Jenebie not being as ulaw (shy) about coming to church.
We had a group activity at the most beautiful beach I swear I have ever seen, but I was just so happy to be with my family here in Panglao that I wasn't even sad that I couldn't swim... plus all the kids helped me find some sweet shells!!!  My collection is getting so big. haha

Sister Macabane is gonna give birth to their third kid in a few weeks and I am so happy that I'll be here !!!! My guess is a baby boy :)))
I taught the young women on Sunday and it was funny... somehow the conversation/lesson always came back to marriage..
I am plowing through the BOM for my president's 10 pages a day challenge and I seriously learn so much everyday from my reading, it's great. I seriously love that book!!! If you haven't read it --read it. haha

Also my language-- sometimes I feel great / sometimes I still cry.  It's a process. But I am hoping to really push myself this transfer with it.
I had my last interview with President Tanner this past week as well (new mission president arrives this transfer) and it was sad but he also gave some great advice for me and the rest of my life. (also talked about marriage... -__- hahah )
His biggest suggestion to me and now mine to all of you is to open the door for Christ into your life. He is there, he has great love for everyone of us- all you have to do is let him into your life. We all have or will have hard trials and problems in our lives.. sometimes we will have no idea what to do... but we never have to do it alone, he will always be there to help us through whatever comes our way. And if we face trials with him centered in our lives- there is nothing we can't do or overcome.  It's so simple and so beautiful. 

Well i love you and pray for you often- how lucky am i to have a family like you that loves and supports me so much.
love ry :)))) 

Group activity and me getting destroyed!

Beautiful beach!

Young women of Panglao

Young women of Panglao

Yum, lunch! hahaha

WEEK 37 (Panglao)

May 22, 2016

Hello Hello mga gwapos ug mga gwapas,
gimingaw jud ko sa inyo ...
My life is very much here now- it will be weird to ever leave the Philippines that's for sure. Good thing I still got time to enjoy it- enjoy the sweet people, the crazy and delicious food, and the depth of culture that is found in all aspects of life here.
We were able to have stake conference with Elder Shane Bowen of the Seventy yesterday. It was awesome! He is awesome!!! And it was so cool because Tagibilaran is a super new stake but there was a great attendance and great organization.
And then he met with all the missionaries for a meeting in our stake, and gave us the best tips on how to improve our missions and he said some things that directly helped me and answered my prayers... It was amazing and made me so grateful to my father in heaven who answers us!  
This is my last week probably in Panglao together with Sister Samoya- odds our one of us will be tranferred, which is super sad- honestly it has gone by so so fast! I can't believe it's almost June. I got to Panglao in March!!! woah.. and I have loved staying with one comp for awhile! Although our sweet recent convert Anna Marie really prayed in our closing prayer last night that we would both stay in Panglao for the rest of our missions so that was the cutest thing ever and God grants prayers soooo :)))  I wish honestly despite the struggle we are having with people progression. Although Elder Bowen promised us that there are thousands people here in Bohol waiting and that the time for this beautiful island to grow in the gospel is NOW. It has been a slow progression for the Tagbi stake the last 15 years.  However, lately it has been growing faster than before!! We as missionaries just need to have faith and take action on our faith by opening our mouths with everyone! The people are so prepared- the islands of the Philippines are centered on God and families and the people are so humble. God will continue to work his wonders here.

Also in the meeting he shared an experience where he went to this restaurant and started talking to the worker there who said she knew me and then he left her a pass-along card promising I'd bring her a Book of Mormon... so when he shared this in front of all the missionaries it was kinda awkward for me (I should have brought her one sooner) but it honestly didn't embarrass me at all haha it just made me realize I need to be better.. WE all need to be better about talking to everyone about this Gospel because its is true and can bless and help anyone if they let it. Something I have really seen while serving and something I will be better about the rest of my life.
Ok ok plz send me love (... love means pictures of your lives... ) that's better than American chocolate X)
Well we will see what is in store for me next week.. "should i stay or should i go"
luvvss u all

went out to dinner with dauis sisters :)) we ate seaweed salad and kwek-kwek
(fried quail eggs)  so yummy and the restaurant was a LEGIT shack on the side of roador like hole in the wall and it was so yummy and so good. and so not rice woah.

WEEK 36 (Panglao)

May 16, 2016

Wow halfway through May already...I hate how fast the transfers are going cause I just want to stay in Panglao forever... I just love the people here so much and I don't want to move again. (maybe I'll beg my mission pres to let me stay hehe)

Basta!!! Family! it was so good to hear your voices and see your faces... seems like life sucks there without me :)))  Joke. But seriously know that I'm always missing and loving ya. Shout out to all the moms out there! 

This week Cababahay family came to church again yay!  But sister still feels shes isn't ready to be baptized but she really wants to be-- slowly but surely. 

One day we had no where to go and didn't know what to do and said a prayer asking to be led.. jumped on our bikes for a little bit and we both stopped at the same time at this little road.. started walking and literally found ourselves at the door of the sweetest lady who had met with missionaries before. ya. it was so cool!

Election day here!  Wow, election week in the Philippines is a crazy place. It is so different than in America. You can see the people in the open giving money to their supporters. Pretty much everyone here takes bribes.. So the day after voting, everyone was rich #duterte
I took a nap on the beach.. (p-day) so niceee!!! just like home. 

I started a few weeks ago studying the Bible because I want to read it cover to cover.. and now our mission pres (who only has 1 month left) committed us to read the Book of Mormon before he leaves AND Sis. Samoya and I started teaching D&C seminary class (which I really haven't read thoroughly before)  and we teach gospel principals... soooooo even though I'm not in school it's a lot of studying.. I love it!!!!!  I am learning so much and I know that no other time in my life will I have this much time to study the gospel.  Even now I don't have enough time, because like the body needs to sleep ya know. 

Also a quick update on my Barbie bike... It's slowly dying.  The past few weeks I have lost a pedal, fender, chain covering, many bolts, have 1 mountain bike tire, makes a huge squeaking noise when I ride and have brakes tied together with a string... It's hilarious, but PANNY LIVES ... buhi pa siya.  and they continue to help us teach more lessons and work harder. 

welp that's all I got for now, love you all and grateful for the people who read my emails and write me!  I'm also loving life here despite the challenges. Panglao is one cool island. 

A few months ago Pres Neilson visited the Philippines Bacolad mission.. after having a huge conference with all the members there he said this : “Look at those happy faces. Whatever their living conditions are, they are smiling. They’re so dedicated and faithful. … You look at these dear people. You just want to love them. They have gone through so much.”

I couldn't say it any better.. I love the people I am serving so much and they continue to inspire me everyday. How great is my calling!


Our cute neighbor that always comes in during our planning

Sorry, I couldn't help myself

Helping Hands cleaning along Alona Beach

New bike?

P-day beach fun!

Me and Sis. Samoya

We found our new apartment!

WEEK 35 (Panglao)

 May 8, 2016 (Mother's Day!)

So fun talking to you guys today- it seems like time flies!!! But I ain't countin' the days just trying to make the days count :)  I promise to send a letter next week. But I'm happy even in the hard days- such a cool opportunity I have and such a blessing that I have the gospel in my life and your lives too. Forever grateful, and forever grateful for you guys!
love you!!!

Cababahay family!  Finally took picture!

funny story. so we aren't really supposed to as missionaries hold babies, which is sometimes hard cause kids crawl all over us all the time here.  But the other day we went to a less active family with a bunch of  young kids (oldest 9) and the mom was gone and it was just the young 9 year old with her 4 other younger sibling including this 3 month baby... and the mom was like gone... so all of a sudden she just handed me the baby and left to go find her mom. so it was just me and Sis. Samoya with this baby for like 15 mins and we felt so awkward... she's adorable right :)))

Picture of all the super moms/women in the Panglao group

Weekly selfie of Gabriel Lofranco