Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 65...Vintar Philippines

Yah guys. I woke up 20 years old today. I don't feel different to be honest. I still feel tired and sweaty, and like a missionary, and yah. But cool thought, I'll be in the states for my 21st... I'm not trunky though... But anyways all you should tell me happy birthday RIGHT NOW if you haven't yet.

 I'm super bumbed cuz I had cool pics to send you guys but idk what happened, I think the file I need to open got a virus. It's way sayang cuz I had videos of me and Elder Puefua tazing each other with our flash light tazers last night and they were funny. Plus we have this cool area in Vintar called Bucanna and its pretty cool and we took pics up there. But they gone. :(

This week was tight. So Me and Elder Puefua got punted one time and we didn't know what to do but we were hungry so we went to go get some empanadas, but we walked past this noodle place and the owner was like "hey guys eat here! Its free!" so we were like yah sure.  But the reason was because there was a news team there interviewing him about his noodles that he puts in a hot pot with flames coming out the middle. So the news team filmed me and asked me if it tastes good and I spoke Tagalog. Turns out I was on TV for the news in the whole Philippines a couple nights later haha.  People would see me in the street and be like, "HEY WE SAW YOU ON TV!" and I'm like, "COOL. DO YOU WANT THIS PAMPHLET?" Haha.  

We had a big fat zero investigators at church this week. But we did have some long time less actives that we have been visiting come back to church this week! Also a couple weeks ago, some one broke my finding record! It was my old zone leader! Which is dope! But this week me and Elder Puefua are gonna take it back haha. I'll let yall know how it goes next week!

This week, I have a lot of things I need to do better. I have a lot I need to repent of.  I am far from a perfect person\missionary. You guys probably read these emails and see these pics and think my mission is all full of roses and lilies and it is just a walk in the park and all, but these emails I send out are really filtered to be honest.  The mission is so hard. This is the refiners fire. Anyone who has served one of these knows what I am talking about.  Satan is real. And he really really doesn't want me to succeed, and to be happy, and to grow and progress, and he does not want God to answer my prayers. This week I realized how much damage Satan is doing to me. But I also realized that the only reason that is happening is because I let him. Satan only has as much power as we give him.  God was merciful to me this week and He sent His Spirit to open my eyes and he is helping me to wake up and see things clearer again. The Spirit showed me all of Satan's schemes and lies and his trickery that he is using to bring me down and hold me back and stop me from reaching my full potential and make me miserable as possible.

I have 10 months left out here and I know that I need to make it the best part of my mission thus far. I want to be happier, more patient, more grateful, more loving/charitable, more obedient. More everything haha. I need to be better. I will be better. 

Thank for your support and prayers and bday wishes. They are so much appreciated. I am giving my best out here! I need more prayers though haha.
-Elder Andersen

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Week 64....Vintar Philippines

Chill week. It rained a bunch, nothin new there.  We had a movie night at the meeting house on Saturday! We showed the Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration movie and like 50 kids came haha. They were super super noisy and out of control, especially when we brought out the free popcorn and drinks. We were gonna try to like bear testimony and invite them to church and ask if we could teach their fams but it was just to out of control. They all went crazy when the movie was over and ran for the door because it was really hot inside. So while they were all rushing out i just screamed "COME TO CHURCH TOMORROW MORNING!"  SO we had 14 little kids show up at church on Sunday! And we had 2 other new investigators come! SO we had 16 at church! The 14 were still really noisy and disruptive during church but I taught them about the Restoration and got all their names and gave them pamphlets and ask them if I could go teach their fams so we are hoping that can turn into something good!  They were pretty crazy though and they all just asked me to buy them food like the whole time.

We are finding a lot.  We don't have any real progressing yet. It is an open area after all. But we are trying to find the people that the Lord has prepared for us.

I started the Book of Mormon again. I only read a chapter a day and I just try to really ponder every verse and I write down anything that pops into my head in my study journal.  Haha. I read 1 Nephi 1:1 and ended up writing 2 pages about it.  It was about how Nephi has seen many afflictions through out his days yet he was still highly favored of the Lord and he had a great knowledge of the goodness of God. Now how can someone who has seen many afflictions know so much about God and His and goodness and mercy and Love for His Children? Look at the difference between Nephi and his elder brothers. They all abandoned their comfortable life in Jerusalem, lived in the wilderness for the space of many years, suffered all manners of affliction and trials, and crossed the ocean to America. They all went through the same stuff but they turned out so different. Nephi was given power of His brethren and became a ruler and a teacher over them, and his seed would be blessed and have power of the lamanites as long as they were righteous, and God promised to prosper him and his seed as long as they kept the commandments and so much more. Laman and Lamuel were cursed and became a degenerate and ferocious people and the cause of much evil among their seed. How did they turn out so different yet were brought up in and suffered the same trials in the wilderness, they all heard the voice of the Lord and saw angels and were guided by the Liahona in the wilderness, and they were all born of goodly parents.  The difference was that Nephi always trusted the Lord and looked to Him in every circumstance, easy or hard. He never looked at the negative nor complained or murmured like his brethren and even his father at one point. He was always finding a solution and going about doing good and walking under the light of prayer. He was always busy and productive. He was hunting and building and making tools out of ore and he was a savior for his family many times in the wilderness and his soul delighted in the scriptures and seeking the Lord in humble prayer, while his brethren were murmuring and feeling sorry for them selves and longing for their gold and their silver and their precious things and their comfortable life back home. Nephi was an optimist. I want to be more like Nephi. Maybe I need to make it past verse 1 so I can figure out how to be more like him haha.

There is my spiritual insight for you guys haha. Lets all be more like Nephi. Lets quit being lazy and pessimistic and murmuring and lusting for the things of the world. Lets be productive and busy and always abounding in good works and be problem solvers rather than problem finders. Lets let our souls delight in the scriptures and pray mightily before the Lord. Nephi is a beast. He was just a person, just like we are now. We can be like him!

Its my birthday next pday. Yall better not forget! September 26th! Shout out to Elder Winget in Mexico who is my brotha from anotha motha who also has the same birthday as me! 
Pray for me and I pray for you! Ay ayaten Kayo!
-Elder Andersen

Monday, September 12, 2016

Week 63...Vintar Philippines

It's Christmas time in the Philippines! Ber months equals Christmas here so that is pretty sick. I get three months of Christmas music and yall only get like just over one. HEHE.  Its still pretty hot though... We actually have air conditioning in our room...and we have been using it for the past three days... It's gonna cost us a ton in electricity but I haven't slept this good since America.. But it's actually kinda bad though cuz it has been really really hard to wake up the past few days cuz of how ridiculously good our sleep has been.

Me and Elder Puefua are like best friends already. He is awesome. He beats me up when I make fun of him and when I tell him what to do haha. Then I always tell him he is my child in the mission and he gets pretty ticked, and then I start yelling,"WHO'S YO DADDY! WHO'S YO DADDY!" And he trys to punch me, and tell me that he's my daddy and I just make fun of him in Tagalog cuz he can't understand yet. HAHA. Good times.

So I'm starting my third week here in Vintar and we had a BAPTISM! We baptized Sister Rosemarie Tolentino. She is a 17 year old girl, and has been taught for a long time but I guess Me and Elder Puefua have been the only ones brave enough to ask her parents if it is okay with them if she gets baptized (cuz catholic).  The first time we visited her, we planned on doing a practice interview to see if she is ready but she was sick and almost threw up like 10 times we we met with her haha. She insisted she was fine so we kept teaching her and I handed her my English BoM so she could read a verse and she almost threw up on it. So I decided to call it after that and told her to just rest and we will come back another time. She came to church that Sunday though! Then this Thursday we went to her and did a practice interview and she knows EVERYTHING. She is way way way ready to be baptized. She was just scared that here parents wouldn't let her get baptized.  But after the lesson we talked to her mom and her mom said they would discuss it as a family.  Later that night we were informed that her parents would let her be baptized, so we spent all of Friday running around to tell the members that there was a baptism. She was her interviewed Saturday morning, and then she was baptized that after noon and the chapel in Laoag (cuz there is no font in Vintar). After she was baptized by Elder Puefua she bore an awesome testimony and it was great!  The branch is full of young women and young single adult women so she was welcomed really warmly.

Elder Puefua is lucky. Hasn't even been in the Philippines a month and has a baptism. I had to wait 7 months before my first haha.

We are still getting a ton of referrals! We have so many! So we are trying to contact and teach them and get them to church so we can help Vintar become a ward!

Vintar is so beautiful! It is like a mix of Lasam and Laoag. It has city and also mountains and rivers and dams and it is so pretty. Lots of missionaries have told me they are jealous because Vintar is apparently the best. 

Elder Puefua is getting better every day at Tagalog. I pretty much spend all of study time working with him and helping him learn his stuff so I am not learning as much for my self as I want to. Other than PMG I am not reading anything, so I think I will just start the BoM again for the 3rd time on my mission.  

I try to get you guys some more Spiritual insights for next week. Maybe I need to do better at paying attention to spiritual things more, and learn to stop and smell the roses, and enjoy the Philippines while I am here, cuz I only have 10 months left.  There are a lot of things for an American can complain about out here, but It really is a wonderful place when you just look for the gems and not the germs.

 Sorry if I don't have many pics, I have another broken camera....
I love you all!
-Elder Andersen

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Week 62...Ilocos Philippines

It's September....which means it's my birthday soon, which means this will be my 2nd b-day on the mission, which means my next b-day I wont be a missionary anymore.... woah.  

I only have 10 months to go!! That creeps me out! Next month I will only be single digits away from going home. whaaaa???

Anyways, I am in Vintar now with my trainee Elder Puefua!  He is awesome! I love him already. He's a cool dude. He plays soccer and rugby and danced ballet and has a really good voice. He is from Payson Utah, and is Samoan. He eats a lot...and he eats anything... haha.  He loves being a missionary and he already loves the Philippines!  He can't say much in Tagalog yet, but I'm trying to teach him all I know and get him teaching the lessons as soon as possible. He carries around a note book to work, where he copied down what he is supposed to say when we teach haha. I try to get him not to using it, but he always resorts back to it haha. It is really fun though to teach him Tagalog. I can kinda understand now what it must feel like to have to be one of the MTC teachers teaching Tagalog.  Man its so hard cause nothing sticks for them haha.  But I remember what it was like to be new in the Philippines so I understand completely.

He was supposed to get here Tuesday night but there was a crazy rainstorm and his plane flew in circles around Laoag like 3 times trying to land but decided it was to dangerous so they just went back to Manila haha.  I had to wait until Wednesday night to meet him and go to Vintar. 

We had a really solid first week in Vintar. It's a pretty new branch, and is just ready to explode with baptisms. There are tons of YW and like no YM and so we defiantly need to find priesthood. All the pieces are there and all we need to do is follow the Spirit, exercise faith, pray continually, and thrust in our sickles with our might and let the Lord do wonders among us.  Yesterday we had our missionary coordination meeting with the branch leaders and we showed them our 12 week baptismal plan for Vintar branch. I'm not gonna tell you what our goal is, but let's just say the branch flipped out and they got real excited and sometimes scared and doubtful and I had to pump them up and stuff haha. I made them read Alma 22:26 and I reminded them of times in the scriptures like the day of Pentecost and stuff like that so they wouldn't think I am crazy (even though I still kinda am).  But they gave us 6 referrals just yesterday so we are excited about that.

I started planning out this baptismal plan in my last area over a month ago, and I didn't really tell anyone about it. But now my Zone leader and the branch knows about it so now I am feeling a ton of pressure and fear and doubt and Satan is definitely trying to bug me to death right now.  But I feel like God has prepared me and led me and suffered me to come to this point in my mission to this specific place and I just I have to trust Him and follow the Spirit, and let Him do His thing. Because if we rely on Him, and exercise faith and doubt not and fear not, He will do wonders among us, and make us instruments in bringing thousands of souls to repentance.

This week I have just been reading Preach My Gospel a ton and trying to be humble and responsive to the impressions of the Spirit. Because I know the only way anything gets done in the Lord's Vineyard is when we do it His way.  Which means we must repent continually, exercise faith, bring about good works, and pray continually without ceasing. (See Alma 26:22)

Here is Elder Puefua's favorite scripture which I thought was awesome. 
10 Be thou humbleand the Lorthy God shall lead thee by  the hand, and give thee answeto thy prayers.

Just be humble and receptive to the Spirit and let God do the dirty work. That's all I want to do right now, for the rest of my mission, and hopefully for the rest of my life haha.

Thank you all for the prayers, support, and everything! And also don't forget my birthday on the 26th! hehe.

-Elder Andersen