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 :)


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