Monday, March 28, 2016

Week 39...Lasam Philippines

Holy Week...

So this week was real fast.  And sorta weak sauce. So this week is this week called Holy Week, where the Catholics keep the Sabbath day holy for the most part, except not on the Sabbath day, just on Wednesday and Thursday and Friday. The whole city is super quite and nobody is working and there are no trycees driving and they don't sell meat.  Everyone stays home and or goes to the Catholic church for Holy Thursday and Holy Friday. To my understanding they are remembering Jesus Christ and His Atonement, just like we do every Sunday when we partake of the sacrament. But yah. So the work wasn't too hot this week.

The two families that are really interested are still interested. They have some setbacks though. Ralph Mabaggu has a smoking problem. We taught the Word of Wisdom last week and they totally get it, and he wants to stop smoking.  We didn't however help them make a plan to stop. So that's what we did this week.  So we asked Ralph how much he smokes, and he said before we taught WoW, he smoked between 1 to 2 packs a day. But since we taught, he had reduced it all the way down to 5 or 6 sticks a day, and that is without setting a plan or goals or anything. That is a miracle.  He said he was already reading the BoM and pamphlets in order to resist temptation and his wife helps him a lot. We set goals and plans with him to be down to zero sometime next month. And he also said he would try to not go above 6 sticks in the coming days. We are going to keep trying to reduce every week until he can stop completely.  They were supposed to come to church yesterday but Ralph got surprised with work and couldn't come :(

Sherwin, the other dad of our other family, has also been taught the WoW.  He has no problems what so ever. The sitch is that when we taught him, his wife wasn't there. So when we came back the next time, we found out that his wife drinks 3 cups every day.  On Saturday, we planned on teaching the whole fam the WoW, but when we got there, the wife was drinking coffee and also made coffee for all the kids, which is okay because they haven't been taught the WoW yet. But Sherwin got embarrassed and he kinda snuck away cause he thought we wold be mad. And they were supposed to come to church yesterday, but they didn't so we think that he is kinda shy and embarrassed now.  So we gotta go and try and figure this one out with them in the coming days.

So we have some sticky WoW situations but its okay and we'll will help them haha.

Tuesday, we had zone con. It was good stuff. The APs gave a really good training on teaching with the Spirit and asking inspired questions and listening to investigators and discerning their needs so I am trying to apply it into the work.

But yah other than that, we struggled with the work this week. We had a good weekly planning though and have plans for this week and it will hopefully be a really good week.

I've been reading the Bom like crazy this transfer.  I have read the books of Mosiah, Alma, and Helaman in like a week and a half and now I am in third Nephi, when Christ comes. I love the BoM.

That's it. Thanks for everything everyone. Your prayers and support are much much appreciated.

-Elder Andersen

Monday, March 21, 2016

Week 38...Lasam Philippines

This is my favorite picture ever, idk why, just look at the baby, its just dope...

This was a very amazing week, and I am extremely excited to see what further transpires in the weeks to come.  So last week, me and Elder Roberto decided to stop doing straight up street contacting while finding, and instead, start looking for members, less actives, and part member families.  We want to find them, reactivate them, baptize their family members that aren't members of the church, baptize their friends, their neighbors, as well as their referrals. Cause street finding is way harder and the stats (as well as my own experience) show that the investigators we find randomly on the street or when we knock on doors don't stick around long.  SO that has been our plan this whole week.
We have only found  a couple members so far because while we were trying to find them, some other unexpected miracles happened.

So we have these 2 families that we have been teaching that we have found through our own efforts. Neither of them are the families I have previously mentioned in other emails.  The first family is the Canglay family.

So me and Elder Roberto found the Canglay family back in February, back in our first week together as a companionship. We found them by asking them where we could find the house of the 2 Recent Converts we were going to teach.  While we were asking them, we introduced ourselves and they let us in their house and allowed us to share a brief message with them.  There are 5 people in their family. The Brother Sherwin (the dad), his wife and their 3 sons. All three of their sons are very young. Brother Sherwin is just a humble rice farmer. They are relatively poor, (like most people in the Laoag mission) and their house is small and dark and the floor is just dirt. Their family is so nice and their little sons love to run circles around me and yell at me in Ilokano and mess with me and stuff.  But anyways, within the last 3 weeks we have gone back and taught them. Both me and Elder Roberto didn't really expect much from them, they didn't seem to have much potential and Brother Sherwin has struggle reading. Before this week we had considered dropping them because nothing was really happening  But this Tuesday was different. We were just passing by so we figured that we might as well just stop by and see if they would let us teach.  Brother Sherwin was more than happy to let me in and he had a different look about him. As we got into the lesson, we started by following up with them about their reading and prayer, and to our great astonishment, Sherwin told us that he read the first 3 chapters of the Book of Mormon. We asked him what his experience was like. He told us that before he read, he prayed to God first for understanding. While reading he said he felt so happy and light inside. He also told us that before, every night, he couldn't sleep until about 1 or 2 am. He just physically couldn't. He would just lay awake all night until he fell asleep. He said it really was hard for him because he was always so tired during the day while working in the rice fields.  But after he read the book of Mormon, he fell asleep easy peezy, and had the best sleep of his life. The when he awoke in the morning he was so happy and energized.  Me and Elder Roberto were shocked, and we had no idea how to respond or what to say or teach after  that.  I finally spoke and testified that this was a sign from God to him that the Book of Mormon is true and that are message is true. We invited him and his wife to be baptized and they accepted no complaints. They also said that they would be coming to church next Sunday and every Sunday after that. After the lesson, Brother Sherwin gave us all the names of his family members that live near, and we still haven't been able to contact them al yet. We have gone back to them a couple times and we can see the new light that the gospel has brought into their lives. I have thanked God for this miracle and am praying that everything will continue to go smoothly for them.

We also have another family, whom we came in first contact with last Saturday.  We found them also by asking them for directions.  Ralph and Ruth Mabaggu. They are a young couple and they have no children yet and they are even poorer than Sherwins family. They are Corn farmers.  We have gone back to teach them 3 times after that and they soak in everything we teach them.  They understand everything we teach perfectly and are very smart, and somewhat familiar with the stories in the Bible. They have tons of questions and they are astonished by all of our answers.  Last night we went and taught them and we followed up with their reading, as well as the Word of Wisdom which we felt inspired to share with them in the 2nd visit, because they had heard about all the things that Mormons cant do and they had questions. Because Ralph also has a smoking problem.  Ralph had read the first 3 chapters of the BOM, as well as the introduction, the testimony of the 3 and 8 witnesses, and the testimony of the prophet Joseph Smith, as well as the whole restoration pamphlet and the word of wisdom pamphlet. He also read all of that out loud so his wife could hear while she was doing stuff around the house.  He told us that he has less motivation to smoke and he wants to quit and also that while he read the Book of Mormon, he felt so focused, and he felt so light while he read, and while reading he forgot all his cares and burdens and felt so happy.  We went on to teach the first part of the plan of Salvation, and we mostly focused on the fall of Adam, because we wanted them to understand the premortal life and also the true nature of the fall.  I could see the light and the desire in their eyes as they listened and they seemed so happy and bright.  We read 2 Nephi 2:17-25 and they were so enlightened by what we read. They have also accepted to be baptized.   

These two families are very unexpected miracles and me and Elder Roberto are so so excited and prayerful that they will continue to progress and hopefully be baptized.  The Canglay family in particular because their referrals have created a chain reaction in their community and have opened some doors for or work and many people that live out near them have become curious about the missionaries because they see us out there all the time.  We hope to find many more people and families like these ones in the coming days and weeks.

I have felt a need to be a better and more consecrated missionary so I can be in the best condition so the Lord can use me to help these people.  The Spirit has also told me that these miracles are happening because of the prayers of faith of my family and friends back at home.  Thank you all and God bless you for your prayers and your faith concerning me and my companion and my area here in Lasam.  The Lord is also answering my prayers as well. Last week I prayed specifically for New investigators who really are interested that also will be willing to come to church.  The Lord is answering my prayers. I am trying not to get to excited though because their is still a long period of time before they get baptized and a lot we need to teach them. And that also is a lot of time for Satan to get in there and mess things up.  So I am hoping and praying that God will guide and protect them.

Also we had a baptism this week! Sister Joy Marie! Her husband is a member and he performed the baptism as well as the conferring of the gift of the Holy Ghost.  She is so solid and so sincere and really is converted. It was really easy for me and Elder Roberto to teach her, given we are just harvesting what Elder Whitrod and Elder Abonitalla planted last transfer. 

So that was this week. There are other stuff I could have said but I have been sitting here typing this for awhile so I think this all will suffice for this week.

Thank you and I love you all. I testify that the Book of Mormon is true and it has the power to change the hearts of men and point them back to their Creator. This is the work of the Lord and He is working along side us. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Andersen
My District Leader. He is a small fellow...

This is what we get around town in most of the time...

This is what happens when your apartment has no front door...

 Me and the wanderer...

We had a baptism! Sister Joymarie!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Week 37...Lasam Philippines

It's really hot and we get punted a lot...

Thisss weeeek. So  last pday, we were in Aparri. My MTC companion, Elder Langeveld, is training a Filipino haha. Sucker.  Also one of my batch mates from New Zealand, Elder Uele is training this Huge American guy from Houston Texas, who's name is Elder Hair. I only talk to Elder Hair for like 15 seconds and I was already laughing so hard. He was like, (Super deep Texas accent) " I'm Elder Hair, or Elder Buhok in Tagalog, I'm from Houston Texas. I know they make'em big...." HAHaH i laughed so hard I can't wait to get to know him more.

So it is really really hot right now in Lasam. I hate it. Even at night time it is ridiculously hot. And even if it is cloud cover, it is still really really really hot.  We also are getting punted a lot this week. We also haven't got a chance to revisit either of the families we found last week. That is usually how it goes though.  The very first appointment is always awesome and super exciting and you give them a book of Mormon and commit them to read and ask God if it is true and you get so excited because they say they will and its all uphill now they are just gonna get baptized easy peezy, right? Nah, the 2nd time and third time you see them, they hide, and they all the sudden stop watching there TV and they have somewhere to go now, or they act really uninterested or whatever. Most the time, in my experience with new investigators, the 2nd lesson rarely happens.  It is sad and frustrating and annoying and makes it hard to keep having faith to find.  It happened in my last area. There was one week where me and Elder Legaspi found 26 new investigators in one week. Guess how many let us in a 2nd time.... zero.  After that we got sorta down and didn't want to find as much.....But that is what Satan wants.  So I am not gonna make the same mistake I did in my last area and we are gonna KEEP LOOKING like good missionaries should.

On Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Harrold. I went to his area, Lasam B (which was my area last transfer ).

This week wasn't the best for me cause I some how got water in my left ear while showering early in the week. IDK how, but it got way deep and wont come out and it hurts a lot.  I couldn't get a good nights sleep for 3 nights straight, so that made the work hard. I am grateful for my companion, Elder Roberto because he sorta took the reigns this week and led the work, cause he new I wasn't having a good week haha.  Also our zone is way un-unified and stuff because our Zone leader and Sister leaders can't agree on anything and bicker at each other during ZTM on Thursday. So that is lame. Our zone is way KAWAWA.

Also...WE HAVE ANOTHER BAPTISM COMING THIS SATURDAY. She is Sister Joymarie, and she married a member. They have a brand new baby too. She is way awesome and shes way smart and nice and she understands and accepts everything we teach so easily. So we are excited for her. But she is our only progressing investigator right now so we have so many people to find. I have been praying alot that the Spirit will guide us to prepared people that will accept the message and be able to come to church as well.

ALSO... I just decided 2 days ago that I am gonna start learning Ilokano. Elder Ergiza is fluent so he will help me.

Mabalin kami agbinglay ti sao ni apo kanyiam?  

SO all those pictures are from this cool place called Sicaloa. We went with a bunch of the YSA and the branch pres. pretty fun.   

I read almost the whole book of Mosiah on Friday. Pretty ill. The Book of Mormon makes me miss America :(

That's this week. I love you all.

-Elder Andersen
SICALOA... we partied hard

 This Elder from St george. Elder Jones. Super duper amboy. He doesn't eat rice and bought a barbeque and has tons of guns at home daw and he works out a ton and he is pretty chill


Monday, March 7, 2016

Week 36...Lasam Philippines

This week was fast and busy.  My companion, Elder Roberto, is awesome. He is way chill and we get along really well.  He loves the people here in Lasam so we automatically get along well.  

So we found a couple families this week. We were walking to our new recent converts house, and there were these two 7 year old kids walking home from school and staring at me (because I am white).  I started talking to them and stuff and they are way chill. I told them to walk with us and I found out there names and where they lived. After they went home I told them I would come back and meet there parents.  Elder Roberto and our fellowshipper were ahead and so I got up to them. Then we taught our RCs and then we got punted by our next appointment, so I led them over to one of the houses of one of those kids. So we taught their family and they were way Catholic but way interested and way fun to teach and their 20 year old daughter had tons of questions about what the differences between Mormons and Catholics are. I told her we would answer those questions when we come back. It was supposed to be like a 5 minute lesson just to get to know them and give them a pamphlet but they kept changing the topic and and I had to keep reeling them back in haha.  They talked about Car wrecks and How God saved them for about 8 minutes and finally when I got a chance to get a word in I was like " God loves us and He wants to protect us from car wrecks and other dangerous, and He has shown His love to you by keeping you alive so we can come here and teach you about the Book of Mormon." hahahahaaha.

 Then we went to the house of the other 7 year old and met his fam. They were nice too but the Dad seemed a little weirded out that there was a tall white American speaking tagalog to him.  But we scheduled a return appointment with them. I hope they accept the gospel

Wednesday, I went on Exchanges with our crazy zone leader, Elder Hoopes. He is nuts.

Thursday I ate some really good pork Adobo.

We taught this girl named colleen and she really was interested in the message of the restoration and it all made sense to her, but then she got kinda scared when we invited her to be baptized if God told her the Book of Mormon is true, Cause her parents are super active in the Born Again church.  She said maybe to getting baptized and seemed a little more on the doubtful side.  We told her that it depends on her if she would like to be baptized or not, but then we said "So what if God tells you the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a Prophet? Will you answer still be maybe?"   She was still reluctant, but I think it was mostly because her mom was in the other room listening.  We will see what happens.

On Sunday our 2 RCs got the Aaronic Priesthood. SO COOL.  Our branch President went kind of nuts though because Elder Ergiza and Elder Harrold were late to church again and that made him mad.  He was kind of on one all day after that haha.

The branch is still way sick and the Branch Pres is awesome and we have tons of fellowshippers and lots of eating appointments. Also it is a bit colder in Lasam then the rest of the mission so I like that a lot.  It is cloudy almost everyday here.

But yah. That pretty much is this week.  We walk really far everyday cuz our area is huge, but I don't mind cuz I like walking and talking. 

Ask me questions.

I miss you all and thank you  for your support and prayers.

-Elder Andersen

Our service project

I stepped in something 

Me and my lama

 So we took a detour one time and saw some pretty ill stuff. It looks like the Philippines version of the shire.