Monday, January 30, 2017

Week 81...Laoag Philippines

Trust in God

"All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquities of us all." (Mosiah 14:6)

"O ye workers of iniquity; ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness nevertheless have gone astray, as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you and is still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice!" (Alma 5:37)

"Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind, and strength, then his grace is sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ..." (Moroni 10:32)

This past month I have grown so much closer to my Savior.  I have learned that through trials and tribulations we become so much stronger. If we hold on to the power of the Atonement while we go through the furnaces of the refiner's fire, we see that God works miracles in us, and he makes our weaknesses become stronger.  Like the scriptures above, we like sheep, have all gone astray. I have done that before. But Christ is always there with His arms wide open to receive us as soon as we decide to take the steps and come to Him. I challenge you all to put your trust in God, and not in the arm of flesh nor the vain things of this world. Trust in His plan. Trust in His wisdom. Trust in His commandments and in His words. Trust in His Atonement.  As soon as we truely learn to trust God and His plan and develop the faith to follow his counsels, the spirit of the world will begin to seep out of our hearts and the lust of the flesh will no longer appear to be pleasing, the the Spirit of Christ will take hold in us and we shall be filled with His light and His wisdom. Christ is the Light of the world, and only His light can fill the darkness in our lives, and in our families. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ will save us and the world from or own self destruction.

We had a great week! We had a baptism! Sister Jaime Advincula! She is a 10 year old part member, and she should have been baptized along with her cousin last month, but her mom, who isn't a member, wouldn't let her because Jaime had already been baptized in another church. But awhile back we went to talk to her mother to see if she would let Jaime get baptized, and we ended up teaching her the message of the Restoration, and she agreed to let her be baptized and even told us that she was thinking about getting baptized herself! Haha. We are still working with her mom to get her to church, because she has a job and works on Sunday but we feel she is close to being able to come to church soon!

Other good news! Elder Bednar is coming to my mission on Febuarey 18th! I"M SO EXCITED!

Also, this week I got an awesome package from the relief society in my home ward! Thank you so much! Especially for the Hi-chews because those are my favorite! So much appreciated!

This next week is transfer week so a lot of changes will probably coming in my zone so that is exciting. There are also alot of changes with the new year coming from the missionary department so there is laot of readjusting going on in the mission but I really like the new changes and I believe that they will help the work progress a ton!

Thank you all for your prayers! I need them more than any of you could ever know! They are so much appreciated! I love you all!
-Elder Andersen

Monday, January 23, 2017

Week 80....Laoag Philippines

The Law is Light

"For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light..."  (Proverbs 6:23)
Obedience=Confidence, Confidence=Unwavering faith, Unwavering faith=Blessings/answers to prayers. Obedience=Happiness. Obedience=Peace of Mind. Obedience=Safety. Obedience=Freedom. Obedience the the laws and ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ=Eternal life.
My zone had a tough week. A lot of not so fun stuff happened this week in my zone because of disobedience.  It wasn't fun for them and not fun for me either cause I had to reprove them and chasten them which really isn't fun. But I did the Lord expects me to do and I hope it will help the missionaries in the zone. People DISOBEDIENCE IS NOT FUN. IT SUCKS. WICKEDNESS NEVER WAS HAPPINESS! 
I know talking about Obedience is the most annoying topic for members and missionaries alike across the globe, but it's all true. The wicked take the truth to be hard. So whenever a prophet speaks, a scripture is read, or truth is taught, and you feel yourself shrink, and you feel ashamed, you know you've got an obedience problem. Fix it. It's happier in the end. Use the Atonement. Repent. People are always scared to repent because it hurts. I know from personal experience that repentance is hard. But we need to remember that it's not the repenting that's ugly. Repentance is a miracle; sinning is what's ugly. We must train ourselves to despise sin and to delight in righteousness. That's why God has decreed that we feel guilt when we sin, because He is teaching us that sin is bad.
Anyways enough on that subject.
This week we went SUPER SAYAN. It was flippin great. We had 7 investigators at church! But we were hoping on something like 18 uhhhggg. Haha that's how many people promised they would come to church.  We found 57 new investigators this week and we found SO MUCH scattered Israel everyday. We found like 3 or 4 families and a handful of individuals that seem very promising. President has been pushing us as a mission to get to the point where we baptize weekly, so we are trying to lead the way in the zone and we are really optimistic and hopeful that we will have at least one baptism and possibly many for every week for the month of February! We have a baptism coming up this Saturday, ad we plan on stringing together baptisms every week. We have a 4 month calendar with almost 50 names on it from the months of February to April, and we add names to it every day so it's super exciting!
We have this one area that is a beach town called Lapas and I love it out there! It is like party central and it reminds me of like a Filipino version of Santa Cruz California.  We found this guy named Arnel who lived in Virginia for 12 years. He was fluent in English and I got to teach the Restoration in English! The guy know a ton about history and tons of stuff so it was one of the most deep and detailed lessons I ever taught and t took like 2 hours haha (oops). But he really enjoyed the message and he said he is gonna dissect the Book of Mormon and learn everything he can from it. He plans on moving back to America and he asked for my address cause he wants to visit one day haha. Nice guy talaga.
The work is still exploding! Week by week we find more and more families and individuals! I'm sorry I have no pictures. My camera broke a while back! Sorry bout it!
Keep the commandments! Choose Obedience!
-Elder Andersen

Monday, January 16, 2017

Week 79...Laoag Philippines

Prepare to Meet God

"For Behold, this is the time for men to prepare to meet God; behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.  And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that you do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after the day of this life, which is given to us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed."               (Alma 34:32-33) 

Hey ya'll don't get to settled, and when life is good and easy and bliss, don't expect it to stay that way.  We came here to earth to learn, experience, grow, progress, and work our bums off. Here is another Brigham Young quote for ya! 

"Time and ability to labor are the capital stock of the whole world of mankind, and we are all indebted to God for the ability to use time to our advantage, and he will require of us a strict account of the disposition we make of this ability."

Throw out all the riches and gadgets and cars and big houses and all that stuff everyone in the world is out to obtain. The riches of the world have zero significance in the lives to come. The real riches of this life are given to us by God and every one has about the same amount. We all have been given 24 hours in a day, and 7 days in a week, and 12 months in a year. We all have  the same amount of time. Time is money. What will we do with our time? How will we use it? What can we get from it? We must use the time God has given us to improve ourselves, to improve our abilities, to strengthen our faith, and prepare for eternity.  We came here to labor and not to be idle.

LAZINESS NEVER WAS HAPPINESS! I have watched missionaries in my zone just sleep away their mornings and their studies and walk around the apartment undressed, un-showered, and with bed head and just waste away the time the Lord has given them to deposit eternal blessing in the spiritual bank account that surely awaits us after the mission, and in the next life!

"Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer." (D&C 42:42)

"The labour of the righteous tendeth to life..." (Proverbs 10:16)

"For thou shalt eat the labor of thine hands..." (Psalms 128:2)

"The sleep of a laboring man is sweet..." (Eccl 5:12)

Any ways that's my tip this week. Work work WORK and  labor not for that which is of no worth! Don't waste time. Be anxiously engaged in a good cause! 

This week was pretty dope. We had 5 investigators at church yesterday but we were expecting 15 so that was a bummer.  Scattered Israel seems to be coming out of their hiding places and we find some who seems very interested almost every day! I had exchanges this week with Elder Abonitalla in his area and we taught the Restoration to the land ladies of the old apartment of the AP's. They were scattered Israel for sure and they have been super prepared to receive the message. It was super funny because after the lesson, Eloisa actually kinda went off and seemed mad because the missionaries who use to live next door for like forever never offered to share the message. She said that all they ever said was hi and bye and they even argued one time with them because of how high the electric bill was.  I laughed super duper hard because The AP's are supposed to be the best missionaries and I even remember them given a training about how you should be proclaiming the gospel as soon as you step out the front door so.. HAHAH. Silly AP's.

I challenge you all to use your time wisely and labor for that which has eternal worth. The true currency of this life is time and the true riches are our talents, ability to labor and our knowledge.

The Church is true! God lives! He loves us! He knows better than us! He is watching over us and is super duper patient with all or mistakes and our silliness! Look to God and live!

I love you all 
-Elder Andersen

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Week 78...Laoag Philippines

Say Thanks for the Trials...

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

Do we believe these verses? If we do, do we understand them? I guess I have believed the Savior when He says this, but I have never truly understood these words until the past few days. Thanks to my friends Brigham Young and Gordon B Hinckley, I have come to more fully understand this comforting invitation from the Savior.

My boy Brigham put it this way... "As to trials, why bless your hearts, the man or woman who enjoys the spirit of our religion has no trials; but the man or woman who tries to live according to the Gospel of the Son of God, and at the same time clings to the spirit of the world, has trials and sorrows acute and keen, and that, too continually...Cast off the yoke of the enemy, and put on the yoke of Christ, and you will say that his yoke is easy and his burden light. This I know by experience."

So Brother Brigham, are you telling me that there are no such thing as trials? Not even when I lose my job, or my loved ones die, or my children suffer, or when I don't get what I want?   How absurd! But that's exactly what Brigham is telling us.  Basically, when we cling to the things of this world and to the selfish desires of our hearts, while at the same time we try to live the Gospel and serve the Lord, all we will feel is sadness, frustration, anger, and confusion, because we just want to do our time so God can give us the things the we think will make us happy. And then we beg and plead for God to just give us what we want because we think they will make us happy, and feel we are doing what He wants us to do. But God says no, that's not how this works. You don't know what makes you happy. I do. Just trust in Me and let me lead you! Stop thinking and dreaming with your finite mind and put this yoke on your neck and just let Me lead you! Don't fight Me anymore! I promise what I have in store is better and happier than anything of this world that you can dream up and fantasize about!

 Tell us more Brigham! 

"Now if you possess the light of the Holy Spirit, you can see clearly that the trials in the flesh are actually necessary... 

Every trial and experience you have passed through is necessary for your salvation...

If the Saints could realize things as they are when they are called to pass through trials, and to suffer what they call sacrifices, they would acknowledge them to be the greatest blessings that could be bestowed upon them...

We are the happiest people when we have what are called trials; for the Spirit of God is more abundantly bestowed upon the faithful..."

What? So trials are actually blessings? Yup. And we should actually rejoice in them. Say thanks for those trials, because they are actually some of the greatest blessings God can give us. Let's here from my boy Brigham again, " In everything the Saints may rejoice-in persecution, because it is necessary to purge sickness and in pain, though they are hard to bear, because we are thereby made aquainted with pain, with sorrow, and with every affliction that mortals can endure...I rejoice because I am afflicted. I rejoice because I am poor. I rejoice because I am cast down. Why? Because I shall be lifted up again. I rejoice that I am poor because I shall be made rich; that I am afflicted, because I shall be comforted, and prepared to enjoy the felicity of perfect happiness, for it is impossible to properly appreciate happiness except by enduring the opposite."

 If we claim to know and understand the Great Plan of Salvation, and the purpose of our short time here in what is called mortal life, we hopefully understand one of the simplest and most over used scriptures in all of missionary work, which reads, "For behold, this is the time for man to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors." (Alma 34:32)  God didn't send us here so we can get rich, get pretty, get buff, get a big house on the beach and just spend all the rest of our lives playing around and enjoying the company and comfort of our loved ones on the beach for all time and all eternity. Now doesn't that sound happy? But God has better things planned. He sent us here to perfect us.

It says in Hebrews chapter 5 verses 8 and 9, that Jesus was made perfect through suffering. Trials, and challenges, and sufferings, and heart breaks, and persecutions, and pain and death are all essential for our temporal progression here in mortal life and for our eternal salvation in the life to come. So maybe we oughta do as Jesus invites, and put on that yoke of His, and cast off the yoke of the enemy, and turn our thinking around, and put smiles on our faces, with a spirit of trust, humility and gratitude towards the Lord, along with some foresight for the eternal life and the fullness of joy that is surely to come, and tell ourselves, Come what may, and love it! So as Brigham says, " Have no fears, for if the word of the Lord is true, you shall yet be tried in all things..." because life will keep on changing as it always has, and the trials will never stop as long as we still draw breath and we can be assured that those trials are actually for the furthering of joy and progression, and as Gordon B Hinckley says, "...the trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride; and really, isn't it a wonderful ride? Enjoy it! Laugh about it! Sing about it!...In all of living have much of fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured."  

We must humble ourselves, and follow King Benjamin's counsel in Mosiah 3:19, and become humble and submissive and full of reverence and trust toward our Father in Heaven, willing to submit to anything the Lord seeth to inflict upon us, because it is for our good.  We should be like Paul, and rejoice that we are afflicted and that we suffer, because we are following in the foot steps of the Master, who also was made perfect through trials and suffering.

I don't know about you guys, but all the sudden I think trials are fun. I might be going insane, but really I almost want God to give me more. I see it as almost like a game. To see how many 'bad' things can happen to me and proof to the world that I can actually have joy and triumph in the very moment of the intense heat of the refiner's fire, because trials are actually blessings!  So if any of you happen to see me stub my toe or something, don't freak out if I look heavenward and say "Thank You!" HAHA

Sorry about the super long and deep spiritual shpeel and for all the quotes, but my mind was blown this week and i just really wanted to share it with you guys.

This week was dope. We had exchanges with both the A.P.s and the office elders and I learned a bunch from them. My brain feels like mush and I am forgetting how to speak English  and Tagalog and any other means of communication because my brain is constantly thinking a million miles per second because there is so much work to do in my area and in my zone and yah life is crazy as a missionary...but guess what I actually love it cause it makes me stronger. 
I do hard things; it makes me stronger. -my uncle Mathis

Love you all and thanks for the prayers!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Week 77...Sarrat Philippines

The Great Commandment...

  Bye Sarrat :(
"Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:36-38)

I don't know how many more times I have to learn and relearn this one lesson on my mission and through the rest of my life, but I pray I'm catching on. But I am so greatful that the Lord considers me worthy of His love and His reproof.  I have learned to "despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he recieveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" (Hebrews 12:6-8)

Sometimes we wonder when the Lord will stop taking away and start giving again. But as long as we have the attitude that we think the Lord is indebted to us to give, we will find ourselves to be whiners and complainers and as ungrateful children. Yes the Lord gives and bountifully, but He also takes away. There is nothing the we have that the Lord hasn't given us, and nothing He has given to us that He cant take away.

From the 4th missionary by Lawrence Colbridge:  Paraphrasing C.S. Lewis the Lord says to us: "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work: I want You. All of you. I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man. but to kill it. No half-measures will do. I don't want to only prune a branch here and another there; rather, I want the whole tree out. Hand it all over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them all over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart." (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis, p. 167)

God will make more of us than we could ever make of ourselves, and we just have to trust Him.

Well that's my spiritual schpeel for the week haha.

Sorry I couldn't write last week. Please forgive. A crap ton has happened over the past two weeks. We had a white Christmas in Sarrat and it was wonderful! We baptized Jhay R and Vilma! That's the good news. The bad news is that I'm part of Presidents  new year mission make over transfer plan and I'm transferring again. :( Its frustrating because I love Sarrat and I love the members and I love my companion and I was only there for just over a month. I'm transferring 10  minutes down the road and now I am the Zone Leader of the biggest zone in the entire mission with my new companion, Elder Costales, who just got released from his special assignment to be branch president for one of the weaker branches here in the mission. We are in charge of 36 missionaries and a lot of them are 'under observation so I kind of see my self as the the warden of the probation zone haha.

Yesterday we had MLC so my pday is today. I'm excited to train the zone on Thursday!

Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year everyone! I know its been good! I love you all and I promise I will be better at writing these weekly emails!