Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 61...Ilocos Philippines

Well its good to be in Ilocos again, I feel like I am in another country coming from Lasam.  There is Mcdonalds and American Pizza and fast internet and Ilocos empanadas and it is good to be back in civilization!  I went to the mission home to the trainer trainee meeting, and all of the missionaries except one are coming from the Provo MTC. They are all foreigners (Which means I am gonna be teaching my trainee how to speak Tagalog)!!! I am the only non Filipino that is training this batch, so they were all asking me if I was fluent in Tagalog and stuff. Haha they were funny. I loved hearing the MTC Tagalog and I was just imagining how weird it will be for them in their areas.  They were some pretty goofy Kanos. 2 of them are from St. George but from different high schools, and one of them was this tall kid who played doubles on Dixie's tennis team. He recognized me right when he saw me haha. So anyways, we all met each other and introduced ourselves, and then we got an envelope which said who are companions would be. So we opened it and I got Elder Puefua!! He is born in Samoa and he moved to Utah when he was 10! SO he is a Kano! His MTC companion said he is a party and that I will love him! But the crappy part is that I haven't met him yet and he is still in Manila right now haha. So my trainee still isn't here.... His visa was late so he didn't get to fly here with his batch. :( President told me that he should be getting here in Laoag tomorrow night...

 I have been here in Laoag working with the zone leaders for the past week. I AM SO BORED. And for some reason and cant sleep well and I am tired all the time, and I have another pigsa on my bum and it makes me cranky.  All the Filipinos keep asking me if I am okay and that I look like I am sad, and every time someone asks me it makes me wanna explode cuz I AM SAD CUZ I WANNA WORK IN VINTAR AND I HAVE NO COMPANION AND I HAVE ANOTHER PIGSA AND I CANT SLEEP.  But i will get through it I guess.  

I had a chance to go to Vintar though. I went with my ZL who used to be assigned there. We worked in the area with the branch President and the area looks fantastic. It's like Laoag mixed with Lasam. It has city and bukid (farm) and the people are nice and the branch is really young and it is just a perfect set up for me.  The branch president has just been called and he is only 24 years old, and he is so humble and works with the missionaries a lot and I am so excited!  The branch was organized in 2010 and only has about 40 to 50 members coming to church, and just over 100 total members. It is in a meeting house again, but the meeting house is right next to the apartment, and the apartment has AC!! LIKE WHAT!? I am so excited for this area! Plus Laoag is only about 15 minutes away!  There will only be 2 of us in the area, which I am excited about. The only thing is that I have no idea what i am gonna feed my companion. His batch said he eats an insane amount of food. But I seriously can't wait to get to work.

I have been reading PMG a lot and I am trying to spiritually prepare myself for training in this new area. I want this to be the best part of my mission so far, and I am trying to change some things and ensure that I am clean and pure and ready to be guided by the Spirit at all times and to be an instrument in God's hands. I see a big time opportunity to be able to train and open an area at the same time in this fairly new branch, and I am praying that we will see some miracles and that God's power will be made manifest here in the coming weeks. I have got some big plans for at least the next 12 weeks. I hope my trainee, Elder Puefua, is ready to work his tail off. We will see what happens.

Sorry I have no pics. These week has just been way boring and nothing has happened at all. I am literally just waiting for my companion to get here haha.

I love you all! Until next week!
-Elder Andersen

Monday, August 22, 2016

Week 60...Lasam Philippines

AWESOME WEEK. This week I had some personal spiritual experiences and got the energy and desire I was looking for. God answers prayers, especially if we open our hearts to Him, strip ourselves of our pride and selfish desires, repent in sackcloth and ashes, and truly say "Lord not my will, but thine be done.." The mish is hard but sometimes we have to just accept it and trust that the Lord will make it turn out for your good and you just need to say "Come what may and love it," because God loves a willing heart.  Elder Holland once quoted a great swimmer who was asked what the key to his success was. The Swimmer said, "When I don't want to kick, I kick. When I don't want to stroke, I stroke."   Even if we don't wanna do what the Lord asks, we should just forget our desire, do what the Lord wants us to do, not with a bad attitude and with resentment, but with the trust that God will make it work out for the good and that Going with what God wants is really the only intelligent thing to do in the end, especially if you are a missionary. 

The mission is 100 million times easier in the long run when we do it the Lords way. The only hard part is having the courage to give Him the only thing that doesn't belong to Him in the first place, which is our heart, or our will. Every thing we have was already His in the first place. The Lord will never be indebted to us. So we shouldn't do anything for God if we have the attitude of, "I am going to do this for you so I can have blessings..."  because God does not owe us blessings or anything at all for that matter. If we are thinking that way, it is like we are trying manipulate and control God.  "I am only gonna do this so this blessing will happen..."  Read Mosiah 2 and you know what I am trying to say. Instead, we should serve God with the attitude that 'Man is nothing,' and our own wants and wishes are nothing. 

This is from Elder Lawrence E Corbridge's sermon, called "The 4th Missionary," to his missionaries when he was a mission president in 2002 (Just google it if you wanna read it) : 

"Moses saw God face to face, experienced His presence, saw the workmanship of God's hands, felt and witnessed His greatness and glory, and when it was all over, he said: "Now; for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." (Moses 1:10).  Could it be that in comparison to the greatness and glory of God, Moses saw that man in his weakness is nothing?  Mormon described this same condition of spirit when he described many of the Nephite people living at the time of Christ's birth: "Behold, they do not desire that the Lord their God, who hath created them, should rule and reign over them; notwithstanding his great goodness and his mercy towards them, and they do set at naught his counsels, and they will not that he should be their guide. O how great is the nothingness of the children of men..." (Hel. 12:6-7). "  

In the end, your heart and your will is all that you have to give that the Lord does not already have. If you give your time, two years, and your strength, you give only that which He grants to you with each beat of your heart and each breath that you draw. If you dedicate your gifts and talents, you only return to Him what He already has given to you. If you pay tithing you only return to Him a tenth of what he has already given to you. Everything that you have to give to the Lord, has its origin in Him, except one thing: your will. He does not have your heart, nor your mind, unless you give them to Him. It is the only gift you have to offer that He does not already have. And so when you give yourself, you truly give everything to Him. Jesus spoke of this matter of giving or consecrating yourself in different words. He spoke of losing yourself. He said: 25. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:25, 26)

Just give it up. Surrender your will to Him. Unconditionally. Withhold nothing. Turn it all over to Him; all of your desires, wishes, dreams and hopes. Be true and faithful in your head and in your heart, not just in your behavior. Trust in Him. Trust Him who knows all things. Trust Him who has all power. Trust Him whose love for you is perfect. Trust Him, who alone suffered, paid and atoned for your sins, and for your weaknesses as well. Trust Him that He will make of you, immeasurably more, than what you will ever, ever, in all eternity, make of yourself. He will create of you a masterpiece. You will create of you only a smudge. You will create an ordinary man. He will create a God. 

I think that President David O. McKay once said something like this: "The greatest battles you will ever fight will be within the silent chambers of your heart" That is the battleground between what you want and what the Lord wants. If you surrender, if the Lord wins, you win also. If you win, if your will prevails, you and the Lord both lose. The only wav to win is to lose. Lose yourself in the Lord's work, and you will win beyond your wildest imaginations, for "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." 

And that sums up what I am trying to say haha. Couldn't be said better...

But anyways about what happened this week...

Omar Lazaro was baptized on Saturday!! and Confirmed On Sunday!! And will be receiving the priesthood next week!!  Man this dude is CONVERTED. He is definitely the most impressive convert I have had so far on the mission.  He was a member referral and came to church for the first time 6 weeks ago!  He is 18 years old and just as tall as me and a boss b-baller and he is just a boss.

He is already excited to serve a mission next year, and marry in the temple. Even before he was baptized, he would come with us to our other appointments so he could sit in and listen and learn more. He is now really excited to start fellow shipping and working with the missionaries here in Lasam. He texts me all the time about how he is constantly sharing his testimony to his family and friends and neighbors, bearing testimony of the BoM and of Joseph Smith and Thomas S Monson. Last night he told us about how one of his friends chided him for decided to become a Mormon and all this stuff, but he said he stayed firm and said that he knows that Thomas S Monson is a living prophet of God. I am so excited to see what his life will turn out to be as a member of this church and a disciple of Jesus Christ. Plus the girl that referred him to us, Angel Saragosa, has a thing with him and they are like kinda going out haha. The branch President keeps giving him crap saying that he just became a Mormon for her, but that isn't true cause Omar received an answer from the Holy Ghost that the true church of God was restored through the prophet Joseph Smith. He is about to Finish 2nd Nephi! This dude is the real deal. I am gonna miss him, and all my other recent converts as well, so much.

So yah, also......I AM TRANSFERRING!!!!! I AM SO EXCITED and sad...  I spoke in sacrament meeting and totally brought the heat and used some pretty vivid scripture in D&C 121 about using the priesthood in righteousness (because it is kinda a problem here in Lasam) and yah I just spit fire. Then I bore testimony and said goodbye to the Lasam Saints and cried and all that haha.  I probably gave away half of my ties as remembrances...So mom and dad and grandparents, make sure you send me some more ties in my birthday and Christmas packages :)  President Andrada called me Sunday morning to inform me that I AM TRAINING YESSSSSSSS! I am so excited. My new area is in Vintar, which is like the biggest geographical area in the mission, and it is also close to Laoag.  SO I have a bus ride later that is gonna be long and tiring haha.  

I am so grateful that I got to serve 8 months in Lasam. I learned SO MUCH and grew quite a bit, and I had 11 baptisms (Thanks to part member families and member referrals of course) and I am never ever going to forget these wonderful people. I love them and I pray I will see them again one day, either still in this life, or perhaps in the Celestial Kingdom, which I cant wait for... I love these people.

I am ready to kick some butt in Vintar and baptize everyone and train a new missionary and help him have a good start to his mission. Seriously whoever my trainee is, he's a lucky dude i mean elder, cause he is about to be immersed into this work and WE ARE GONNA GO SUPER SAYAN!!!  I hope he is American so I can make fun of him hahaha. (Cause the Filipinos are sensitive and don't understand sarcasm so I can't joke with them the way I want).  I will be in Laoag for most of this week waiting for my trainee, so I am gonna take a nice vaca and eat some fast food and catch up with other missionaries and I am excited haha.

I Love you all, and God be with you,
-Elder Andersen
Goodbye Lasam :(

Me and Omar :)


Monday, August 15, 2016

Week 59...Lasam Philippines

We worked and We have a baptism next week!

So as the title says, we worked and we have a baptism next week...haha. Omar Lazaro! He is 18 and is a boss and I will tell you guys about him after his baptism next week! I don't know what else to talk about... On Saturday we had a legendary day and taught 16 lessons and i tied my record for finding in a day with 25 new investigators, so that was pretty awesome. I slept real well that night haha. We are finding some promising investigators in the new area we opened. Some of the branch missionaries gave some referrals to from that area, and we connected them, and one of them seems really promising! Hoping for more progression this coming week. We had 2 new investigators come to church on Sunday so we are excited about that as well!

I learning a lot about myself this week. About my weaknesses, and how I react to certain situations. I am trying to really evaluate myself and try and fix some of my imperfections that I have come to find in myself this past week. 

Transfers is next week and I have been in Lasam since January so we will see what happens haha.

Sorry about another crappy email but at least I have pictures!

I love you all and thanks for the support!

-Elder Andersen

Monday, August 8, 2016

Week 58...Lasam Philippines

Hey guys, so I am a missionary in the Philippines and the technical difficulties are SO REAL.  Sorry about no pictures this week.  The computers here are filled with viruses and my sd cards are helpless against them.  Please forgive.

We had another baptism this week. Kashmir Ramos. She is also another 9 year old from a part member family, but she is the real deal.  Elder Sivo interviewed her for her baptism and was telling me how dope she is.  He asked her before the interview if she is smart,and she was like 'nah,' and then he asked her what her ranking is in her school for grades (that is a thing here) and she was like " I'm top 5'" and then Elder Sivo was like ohhhh snap.  Elder Sivo said that was one of the best interviews he has done on the mishh haha.  She totally understands everything we taught her and she is the best. There was this one time where she didn't come to church because it rained and I definitely wasn't gonna have any of that, so I went to her house later that day and you know I whipped out John 14:15 'If ye love me keep my commandments" even if it is rainy or muddy.  She came to church the next Sunday even though there was a TYPHOON!! That's what I am talking about.  I would love to send pics but yahhhhhh....

I am having a rough week. I wont say why but...just pray for me... cause there is more than one reason, I would really appreciate it. The mission is far from easy, in fact, if anyone says it is easy, don't believe it.  But don't be scared to go on a mission because it is so worth it.  Every mission is different as well, and they all have their own unique challenges.  There are a million things that I probably would never do nor have a chance to do if I wasn't a missionary. And about 75 percent of those things are hard and uncomfortable haha.  But that is one of the reasons why I need to be out here, so I can learn and get out of my comfort zone and grow and fall down and make mistakes and get back up and do it over and over again.  Its just hard. AND I WANT A HUG MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WORLD BUT THOSE ARE BAWAL (not allowed) in this mission and for very good reasons.  So maybe I will pray that I can have some hugs in my dreams tonight so I can feel better haha.

Sorry if this email is pretty lame. But I love and miss you all a great deal. I pray for you and you pray for
-Elder Andersen

Monday, August 1, 2016

Week 57...Lasam Philippines

This week was pretty weird. I had a bad week that started good and ended good but SUCKED in the middle.  Me and Elder Salazar started off real strong and we opened up a new barangay to go finding in. It hasn't been gone to by missionaries much in the past, which is why we decided to go there, because in Centro the missionaries are way to common place and I have street contacted the crap out of them all HAHA.  I have given away a gagillion pamphlets and a bunch of BoMs and gotten in a few debates with the feisty other christian sects of the Philippines.  But anyways we decided to open the new barangay and it has been really promising so far! We started there on Tuesday morning and we asked people if they new any Mormons in the barangay. We find some names to use to go finding while in the mean time street contacting and teaching everyone we came in contact with. We find out that there was this member named Miguel Tuzon who died when he was 86 about 20 years ago. We decided to find his fam even though he was the only Mormon. turns out he had 8 kids and tons of grand kids and tons of great grand kids all living here in the baranagay. On Wednesday I set my record for lessons taught in a day as well as new investigators in one day.  We taught 14 lessons and found 25 new investigators in the space of 4 hours in the morning and taught 4 more lessons to our progressing investigators in the afternoon for a total of 18 lessons and 25 investigators in one day :0  We plan on tracking down all these Tuzons and helping them come to the faith of their father Miguel. Miguel has probs been working his butt off in the spirit world for the last 20 years so his fam can be prepared to hear the Gospel.

So yah are week started out pretty DOPE. But on Thursday I got in a fight with the branch president over the location of our baptism this Saturday HAHA. SO dumb.  Our branch president is kind of a feisty fellow and a lot of members and missionaries have had and still have alot of problems with him. I wont go in to details. We will just say that he is one of the more stubborn people you will meet.  But anyways we got in an argument and rather than talk it out he just said I should take it to the mission president because he will tell me that I am wrong and that I need to learn to respect his authority as the BP.  SO after a day of feeling like absolute crap (because contention is from the devil) I decided to just call him up and apologize and ask for forgiveness.   He had just came from Manila and was way tired and he didn't really feel like talking so he kinda used it as an excuse to not say "its all good." Haha. But I just forgive and forget and pretended like nothing happened but he still acted weird around me this weekend haha.  But that is his problem with the Lord now, cause I feel fine and have no hard feelings  at all. :)

So the middle of the week suck but it ended good cause Sis Eleanor was baptized! She is our branch clerk's little sister! She has been an investigator for about 2 years off and on and she should have been baptized a long time ago when she was 14, but because of the lack of understanding of the rules, they allowed her to be interviewed for her baptism by the branch president (the same branch president) and not the District or zone leader like it is supposed to be. SO yah, the branch prez didn't pass her in the interview...... and ever since then she has struggled coming to church, and ever time it there came a chance for her to be baptized she always got scared to be interviewed and ignored the missionaries. But this time we made sure she was ready and that she would be confident going into the interview, and she got baptized this Saturday!

SO Sunday we had a storm and we couldn't leave the apartment and work cause it was dangerous so that was fun. The power went out because one of the electricity towers blew over from the wind, so it was dark and Elder Sivo told scary stories from when he grew up in Fiji. (Fiji is insane! the superstitions there are nuts!)  SOOOO Good week after all.

I am learning so much and growing up alot here in the mission and I just hit month 13, which is blowing my mind.  I am now starting to really study Ilokano so I can talk to the old people and wow everyone else haha.

My advice for you all this week is to just avoid contention. It sucks. It is better to just be humble and don't think about who is wrong and who is right and just apologize and ask forgiveness, forgive and forget and be happy. Read the Miracle of Forgiveness by President Spencer W Kimball and you will learn what I just learned.

I love you all! I pray for you all!
-Elder Andersen