Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 70...Vintar Philippines

We got back to work this week. The Bagiyo is gone and the sun is out again and its the good old boiling hot Philippines.  We had a good week and next week should be better. We had our Nanay Norma come to church for the first time this Sunday! She wants to be baptized and she is feeling the Spirit alot. She told us that when ever we come to her house she feels something and that it leaves when we leave. We told her that was the gift of the Holy Ghost and that she can have it when she is baptized. The weird thing is that she doesn't want to be baptized until January, because her husband died awhile back and she wants to finish the Filipino tradition of wearing black for a whole year fin remembrance of his death. We are trying to convince her other wise at the moment so we will see what happens. especially since we will be going deep into the significance of baptism and the gospel.  So hopefully she will come through.

President Andrada came to my district meeting and that was awesome. i learned a ton and started applying what we learned immediately and the fruits definitely showed.  He taught us about how to help investigators turn in to progressing investigators, by helping them read pray and come to church, by keeping daily contact with them and nourishing them by the good word of God. He based his trainer on Moroni 6:4, which will turn into progressing investigators.  Its seems to be working so far.

Other stuff that happened this week...I started speaking a ton of English to Filipinos while street contacting haha. Its really fun and the Filipinos are super funny when they try to speak it.  I usually tell them I don't speak Tagalog and I just joke around with them and then surprise them by all the sudden speaking Tagalog and talking about the Restoration haha. Its really fun. Something my St. George homie Elder Jones taught me haha.

One of the investigators we found way back named Niel called me on the phone the other night and was asking me tons of questions about our beliefs. It didn't take long before I figured out that he was drunk because He was trying to speak English even though i was speaking Tagalog (you know they are usually drunk when they try to speak English) and he was having a hard time speaking so he asked me if I understand Ilokano and I said not really but then he started babbling off Ilocano anyway haha.  Yah. The Spirit told me to just not talk to him and catch him another time when he is not drunk, but I kinda ignored it and talked to him for like an hour and turns out he was trying to bible bash me and he kinda made me mad. He kept asking me if Mormons were the true church and I was trying to explain but he just wanted yes or no and i of course said yes, and so he was trying to tell me that it doesn't matter what church you are and all you have to do to be saved is say Jesus is Lord.  I kinda got mad cuz he got hysterical and he hung up on accident and didn't call back. 

But that was all so dumb because I was arguing with a drunk person. I am such a fool lemme tell ya haha.  Morale of the story is, don't argue with drunk people (cuz they are drunk) and follow the promptings of the Spirit.  I am hoping he wont remember anything cuz he was drunk but I hope he will still listen in the future because he actually has a lot of potential. So I may or may not have messed that up because I didn't follow the Spirit and talked to a drunk person for an hour on the phone. LOL. Yah I know i am dumb. XD

But overall it was a good week and hopefully next week will be even better.  We were hoping for a good turn out at church but Only Sister Norma came.  It may be because everyone is leaving and going to the cemeteries to celebrate all saints day which is kinda like Halloween I guess. Everyone just lives at the cemeteries for a couple days and hangs out.  The American Halloween is sorta kinda celebrated by whoever has enough money to celebrate it but mostly everyone just goes to the cemeteries.

Anyways, my email was kinda random this week but I hope y'all enjoy it. Happy Halloween and I love you all!
-Elder Andersen

Monday, October 24, 2016

Week 69....Vintar Philippines

Hi. We had a super huge typhoon :) It was a class 5 which is a higher rating than both hurricane Katrina and typhoon Yolanda. But it turned out to be all hype. The Typhoon hit Cagayan (where my last area was)  and messed things up over there but then it slowed down when it came to Ilocos where I am at.  Makes sense because there are some pretty wicked people in some parts of Cagayan haha. Oops is that bad for me to say? But President evacuated all the missionaries out of Cagayan so they are all fine.But anyways It wasn't super bad here in Ilocos. President evacuated us to Laoag a day before the typhoon hit just to be safe, so we stayed in the ZLs and APs apartment in Laoag which is this huge blue house with three stories on it.  It was pretty matibay so we weren't scared. We chilled on the third floor and watched the typhoon as you can see in the video I sent.  But yah WE WERE SO BORED. We kinda wanted the typhoon to be crazy like they hyped it up to be. I was expecting to be bucketing out water all day and swimming through a flood and scooping up little children and dogs on the way and stuff, but we actually just stayed inside and ate PB and Js for 3 and a half days haha. 

Our apartment in Vintar was fine and the area is all in tact. One of the members houses got blown over by the wind but they were already building a new one anyway haha. They are fine and happy.  Its already pretty much back to normal here and its back to work.  In Cagayan they wont have electricity for a couple weeks though I heard. My last area, Lasam, got hit pretty hard I heard. There were just a few people that died in the typhoon but that was because they didn't want evacuate from there house. PEOPLE IF THERE IS EVER A CATASTROPHIC EVENT, PLEASE JUST EVACUATE. DON'T BE DUMB AND WORRY ABOUT YOUR MATERIAL POSSESSIONS AND CRAP LIKE THAT. GET YOUR BUM AND YOUR FAMILY'S TO THE CHURCH! 90 percent of the time when people die is because they are dumb and don't follow instructions. Just putting that out there. 

Also don't forget about your 72 hour kits! 

That is my spiritual message for this week! 72 Hour kits are important. Haha.

But thank you all for the prayers! They worked cause we are all totally fine.  I love you all and I am looking forward to this week. We're all back to work as usual and the Filipinos are still smiling and laughing just despite the typhoons, as usual haha.  Oh and have a good Halloween :)
-Elder Andersen


Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 68...Vintar Philippines

Hey guys. There is a massive super typhoon coming in this week. It should hit around Wednesday or Thursday. Or tomorrow, not sure. But it is HUGE apparently. It is coming right over the top of us too. So I guess what I am saying is...Pray for us. I am actually really really excited but the Pinoys always get mad at us Americans when we say that haha. We will see what happens.

I learned this week that I need to simplify everything.  They talked about that sorta during conference too. About not looking beyond the mark. The mark is Jesus Christ.  All we need to do is just look to the Savior. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. No man cometh unto the Father except by Him.  Lately I've been letting less important things distract me. Even other aspects of missionary work can distract us if we focus on them too much when the center piece is missing, the center piece being the Savior. This week I am just gonna try to have some more real intent, and look the Savior and more like Him.

I learned a lot yesterday when the branch president made me teach Elders quorum class last minute. I taught from "The Teachings of President Howard W Hunter" from chapter 20. I learned a ton. Here's some.

In ancient times, one test of the purity of gold was performed with a smooth, black, siliceous stone called a touchstone. When rubbed across the touchstone, the gold produced a streak or mark on its surface. The goldsmith matched this mark to a color on his chart of graded colors. The mark was redder as the amount of copper or alloy increased or yellower as the percentage of gold increased. This process showed quite accurately the purity of the gold.
The touchstone method of testing the purity of gold was quick and was satisfactory for most practical purposes. But the goldsmith who still questioned the purity completed a more accurate test by using a process that involved fire.
I suggest to you that the Lord has prepared a touchstone for you and me, an outward measurement of inward discipleship that marks our faithfulness and will survive the fires yet to come.
On one occasion while Jesus was teaching the people, a certain lawyer approached him and posed this question: “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 

Jesus, the master teacher, replied to the man, who obviously was well-versed in the law, with a counter-question, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?”
The man replied with resolute summary the two great commandments: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.”
With approval Christ responded, “This do, and thou shalt live” (Luke 10:25–28).
Eternal life, God’s life, the life we are seeking, is rooted in two commandments. The scriptures say that “on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40). Love God and love your neighbor. The two work together; they are inseparable. In the highest sense they may be considered as synonymous. And they are commandments that each of us can live.
The answer of Jesus to the lawyer might be considered as the Lord’s touchstone. He said on another occasion, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:40). He will measure our devotion to him by how we love and serve our fellowmen. What kind of mark are we leaving on the Lord’s touchstone? Are we truly good neighbors? Does the test show us to be 24-karat gold, or can the trace of fool’s gold be detected?
Those 2 commandments really do sum everything up. I know all these things are super true. 
 This week was rough. We have a lot of investigators that are 'interested' and that have accepted baptismal dates, but they just aren't coming to church. It's frustrating cause a lot of them live within walking distance of the church haha.  We usually try to go and remind them to come to church before it starts in the morning but they still don't come haha. We are trying to figure it out. We are just in tough spot right now.
Well as I said, Pray for us. I have a feeling this is gonna be a really rainy week. And i'm not sure how much proselyting we will be able to do, because of the typhoon, so we will hope for the best.
I love you all and don't forget to pray!
-Elder Andersen

Monday, October 10, 2016

Week 67...Vintar Philippines

I haven't had a week like this in about 10 months. I'll explain. 
First off, conference was amazing like it always is.  There was a part from Elder Rasband's talk on Sunday afternoon, called 'Lest Thou Forget" that really spoke to me.
Last night, I was impressed to go back and read my journals from around a year ago, when I was in the MTC and my first area. When I did, something unexpected happened. I was overcome with emotion, and sorrow, and confusion.

  I was reading about the person I used to be at the start of my mission, and I found that I like myself much better back then. I used to be so close to God and I had profound Spiritual experiences daily and if not weekly. My mind used to be so clear and focused on the Lord. I strove every day to be like the Savior. I had so many trials and hard things I was going through, like learning a new language, adjusting to a new culture, learning to cope with the challenges of missionary life, homesickness, a difficult companion, and many other things. Yet despite my challenges, I often felt so much peace, joy, happiness, and comfort.  No matter what I went through, I always looked to my Savior, day in and day out.  Yes I suffered and but I also felt overwhelming peace and God filled me with so much hope and faith.  Then there was a personal event that I had about 10 months ago in December, that was a very hard thing. I suffered emotionally and spiritually and the it was probably the most intense spiritual pain I have probably felt in my whole life. But despite this event, I quickly turned to God in sincere prayer and I poured my soul out to Him for about an hour a day for a whole week. Each time I prayed, my anguish turned to peace and my despair turned into hope. God filled me with love and faith and I felt tender feelings toward my Savior and I was so committed to His work. What I thought were stumbling blocks turned into stepping stones that brought me closer to my Savior.  Despite my vulnerability to feel pain and sorrow, I also was able to feel great joy and peace and comfort.

When I was reading in my journal about these experiences, I was very confused, and I couldn't believe that I was reading about me. It felt like I was reading someone else's journal. Some other person who was far wiser, more spiritual, and stronger, and much closer to God than me.  I found my self looked at the sealing and verbally asking God, "What happened to me?"  As I did so, I soon became overwhelmed with tears, and I began to call upon God with a sense of humility and loneliness of heart that I hadn't in a long long time.  I asked Father to teach me and tell me what happened.  I wept as I realized that soon after that experience I had in my first area, when I transferred to Lasam, Satan exploited me and blinded me and has been tormenting me periodically for the past 10 months. I feel I have had a thick pair of ear muffs on that have impaired my hearing and a blind folds that have marred my vision. Satan could never get me to abandon my God, and never did I openly or consciously rebel against God, but it seemed that I had allowed Satan to deceive me and lure me away. I've never had any intention to leave God, I have always desired to be one with Him and to abide in His love and walk by His Spirit. I feel like I've been wrapped up and blind folded and spun around 100 times and then left to wander in the dark.  I realized how far I felt from God. And I longed to come back. I wept and asked God to forgive me, but I also asked Him why He never saved me. Despite my situation for the past while, I have still been constantly asking God to help me and guide me, and pull my out of the darkness that has been surrounding me. But I've always felt so far away.  

The past 10 months, I have never felt any intense manifestations of love nor sorrow. I have never felt extreme happiness nor extreme sadness. I just feel like I have been costing along. Despite my success in my last area, and the people we helped bring to Christ, I still never felt immense joy and happiness. I am not sure why.  Maybe I have become to casual about all this. Maybe everything became to routine.  Maybe I haven't been doing everything The Lord has commanded through His servants, being the direction and counsel from the quorum of the 12 and the missionary program. Perhaps I need to be more committed and serious about obeying with exactness.  All I know is that I feel like I have been gone along time. Almost like I have been checked out. And  all I know is that last night was the first time I have felt really close to God in about 10 months.

Last night while I prayed and wept, Elder Puefua came out of the bedroom and saw me weeping and made me tell him what was going on haha. So that was kinda funny, but kinda not cause he interrupted my moment haha. DUDE YOU THREW OFF MY GROOVE haha. He thinks him helping me by being there for me in that moment but all I really wanted to do was finish my tender moment that I had with me and my Savior haha. Oh well I'll just let him think he was helping me so he feels good about himself haha.  Bless his soul.

But I learned that I need to be like my old self. My old greenie happy go lucky emotionally unstable missionary self that I used to be. I used to search for Christ with my whole soul, and pour myself over the Holy Scriptures and seek for every good thing. I was like Nephi, who sought the Lord diligently with humility and lowliness of heart. I was always abounding in good works and i never wasted a moment. Now If I have the luxury of free time, I just sleep..haha. I'm turning into and old man.  

I am glad that God is merciful and taught me by the Spirit this general conference. I am glad that God reminded me to "Forget not" and to go back and read my journal.  I am also glad that I was keeping a good journal back then, which is also something I need to do better right now.  I feel somewhat rejuvenated and recommitted now. Last night I felt the sorrow and pain that I haven't felt in a long time, but like in times past the Lord did replace it and overcome it by filling me with peace and hope and joy.

This week we taught some new investigators that are referrals from the 2nd counselor of the branch. Sister Norma Villanueva and her grandson, Stephen. They have been meeting with the pastor of another church, and the 2nd counselor was like, "hey if you guys are reaching out to other religions, why don't you try and meet with the Elders of my church?" So we got to teach them. And they are so ready. Sister Norma ate up everything we taught and she understood the message so clearly. By the time we taught about the Great Apostasy, she stopped us and said, "Wait, so are you saying that there is no person on the earth that can baptize us in our day?" And I was like just hold on cause we ain't done with the lesson yet. We taught about the Restoration and I recited the first vision and afterward, I asked her what her feelings were like, and she was quite for a moment and then she began to touch her heart and she quietly said, "Ito na kaya.." which is is like saying, "So this is the truth.."  She committed to read the Book of Mormon everyday so she can receive a witness from the Holy Ghost that she should be baptized into the true church of God.  Hopefully we will be able to continue helping her so that she can be baptized in November!

It was an odd week. You guys are probably just as confused at this email as I was when I read my journal last night. So sorry about that haha. But I invite you all to get on your knees and pray with all the energy of your souls and ask God to teach you something.  At some point, we all need to realize that we are not yet exalted perfect beings living in the celestial and that we are all still far from perfect.  I guarantee we all have something we need to work on or change in our individual lives, and I promise all of you in the name of Jesus Christ, that if you get on your knees and ask God to teach you and lighten up your mind so that you can see clearly again, so that you can see clearly the plans of the evil one, so that you may know so that you will not be deceived further, God will do so as He did for me last night. Things things I leave with you all, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Andersen

Monday, October 3, 2016

Week 66...Vintar Philippines

Hey yall.  Remember how I said some one broke my finding record of 74?  Well, I took it back. Their record was like 102, but me and Elder Puefua found 131 this week.  WASSUP! But its not just about me being the top finder in the mission again. We actually did find a lot of potential and we plan on baptizing a lot by the end of this new transfer!  

Other than that, not much happened this week. We were just finding all day for the whole week. It was really tiring. I was stressed all weak too and I had to psych myself up to go out and talk to everyone everyday. The Book of Mormon kept gave me the strength I needed for the day and helped me be pumped up.  

I don't have a whole lot of time this week to write a long email, plus this is the only cool stuff that happened. Elder Puefua is growing a lot and getting better in the language. We still have a long way to go before I'm done with him but transfers just happened and were still together here in Vintar!  Were are hoping to see a lot of progression in these next six weeks.

My email next week will be better I promise. I love you all and thanks for the support and b-day wishes!
-Elder Andersen

P.S. I wish I still was this good looking...