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!

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