Sunday, April 30, 2017

Week 94...Cagayan Philippines

Hey y'all.  Our baptism got postponed to this coming Saturday. Another slow week. Every one has tons of money because they just harvested and sold all their crops, so now everyone is having weddings and parties of all sorts. We have barely taught at all this week and all of our progressing have been pretty busy. We still are planning on a good amount of baptisms for this month of May starting this Saturday so we will keep pushing for those.

Last Monday Elder Cabanus and I were looking for the beach and we found some tennis courts instead! So I borrowed someones racket and I got to hit for the first time in 21 months! It was a dream come true and I wasn't as rusty as I thought I would be. I forgot how much I love tennis haha. I was a little over excited tho because I was playing in rubber shoes and that resulted in the blister shown above...Haha i had trouble walking at work the next day but i still managed. 

On a side note lots of people our watching the NBA playoffs here because the Philippines loves basketball and my team the Jazz just won a game 7 against the Clippers! Man that makes me happy too I forgot how much i love the Jazz haha. That was my child hood!  On the down side though they play the Warriors in round 2 so that's not to fun...

Anyways...Spiritual stuff...Ummm...Hahahah its been a long week mentally. The work is probably at an all time slow for the past 2 weeks because of the cultures of the people in the area we are assigned in.  Seriously 100% of the people we teach are bukid farmers so they are all partying hard right now because the are finishing up the harvest.

I promise that I will work extra harder this week to get all these party people attention so we can teach them the gospel haha.  We should have Le Anne's baptism this Saturday of all goes to plan so that is exciting.

I know the church is true. God lives. His Son Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind. Agency is real. Its all up to us. What we do on a day to day basis is completely up to us. Jesus Christs Atonement and triumph over sin and death makes it so. We are blessed with agency and the capacity to create our own destinies. If we will choose wisely and follow the Spirit our agency will be enlarged.  The Book is blue. Its all true. Joe Smith is a prophet. So is Tommy Monson. I love you all.
-Elder Andersen

Sunday, April 23, 2017

week 93...Cagayan Philippines

Hey guys. This week was a little lower key than most. It consisted of lots of walking, lots of sweating, a few sun burnt faces, and not a lot of teaching etc. Its nothin a missionary of this church ain't familiar with though. Its summer in the Philippines and its also harvest time for the rice fields so there isn't a person any where that isn't busy as can be. On a side note... I have learned that 6 of the people Elder Costales and I were teaching back when I was in Laoag have now been baptized in my absence! Jesha May Fermin and her niece angel, Jerome and Jeremiah and Joseph Daquiaog, and Remy Dalos! As far as I know, 6 more of the people we were teaching could be baptized by the time i can ask Elder Costales at the next Missionary Leadership Counsel in two weeks!  This news makes me so happy!  Elder Cabanus and I are baptizing Leanne Gallema this weekend! So Though the work was a little slower this week, there is much to be excited about in the coming weeks!

So work was a little slower this week. On the contrary, I have learned profound spiritual principles that I still dont entirely understand. It's all just simply about faith. What is it? What on earth is it? A regular person with a regular understanding would perhaps just simply reply, "belief".  HAHAHA. Its so much more than a man's mere beliefs. There is also an idea that floats around that faith or belief in something ends with the obtaining of a sure knowledge of something, perhaps assuming that that knowledge is obtained through sight. So to put it simply, there is an idea (that I too once had) that believing is seeing, but that believing will end once you see, because faith or believe will them become knowledge... I guess this would be true if the definition of faith was merely belief in something. But that is not what faith is. Faith is so much more.  And I would like to say that knowledge, obtained through sight or by any other means (like study or experience etc), will never terminate faith. Faith does not and never will end with knowledge...

So I gotta give a little credit (actually all of it) to "Lectures on Faith" that was primarily written by Joseph Smith while teaching in the 1835 School of the Prophets in Kirtland Ohio. I highly recommend it to any Latter Saint and I promise that the way you see the gospel of Jesus Christ will never be the same. I'm re-reading it a second time and I still don't fully understand the doctrine being taught because the doctrine and definition of faith, or better said, faith in God, is just to big for a finite mind to comprehend. But as it has done for me, I am sure the Holy Ghost will teach you and help you understand that portion that you are able to presently understand. 

So I dont want to spoil faith in God for anyone cause none of you will learn from me as well as you could from actually reading the lectures. But I just want to talk a little about what I understand from faith's simple definition given by Paul in the eleventh book of Hebrews in the first verse.  'Now faith is the substance (assurance) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)  So... faith is the assurance (or hope, or belief) in the evidence (or existence) in unseen things.  And so... naturally, faith is the principle of action in all intelligent beings... How so? Because we see from the following verses that "through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear" (verse 3) and that "by faith, Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith."  So not just in those verses, but many of the verse in the chapter use action words or verbs, and associating them with faith.  Faith is not only the assurance of the evidence of unseen things and the principle of action in all intelligent beings in spiritual or religious matters, but also in simple every day life... Joseph Smith beautifully explains it in the lectures themselves like this"If men were duly to consider themselves, and turn their thoughts and reflections to the operations of their own minds, they would readily discover that it is faith, and faith only, which is the moving cause of all action, in them; that without it, both mind and body would be in a state of inactivity, and all their exertions would cease, both physical and mental.

 Were this class to go back and reflect upon the history of their lives, from the period of their first recollection, and ask themselves, what principle excited them to action, or what gave them energy and activity, in all their lawful avocations, callings and pursuits, what would be the answer? Would it not be that it was the assurance which we had of the existence of things which we had not seen, as yet?—Was it not the hope which you had, in consequence of your belief in the existence of unseen things, which stimulated you to action and exertion, in order to obtain them? Are you not dependent on your faith, or belief, for the acquisition of all knowledge, wisdom and intelligence? Would you exert yourselves to obtain wisdom and intelligence, unless you did believe that you could obtain them? Would you have ever sown if you had not believed that you would reap? Would you have ever planted if you had not believed that you would gather? Would you have ever asked unless you had believed that you would receive? Would you have ever sought unless you had believed that you would have found? Or would you have ever knocked unless you had believed that it would have been opened unto you? In a word, is there any thing that you would have done, either physical or mental, if you had not previously believed? Are not all your exertions, of every kind, dependent on your faith? Or may we not ask, what have you, or what do you possess, which you have not obtained by reason of your faith? Your food, your raiment, your lodgings, are they not all by reason of your faith? Reflect, and ask yourselves, if these things are not so. Turn your thoughts on your own minds, and see if faith is not the moving cause of all action in yourselves; and if the moving cause in you, is it not in all other intelligent beings?"

I would add, what man every managed to build a house before first imagining it up in his mind, and planning and scheming on how he will do it step by step? And as the man initiates action based on the assurance ( or hope) of the yet unseen house, that action produces evidence as the once unseen house comes to life before his eyes. So what does these principles have to do with faith (in its longer definition) in God? Well I will let you guys read the lectures for themselves haha.

Well that is my spiritual rant for the week. I love you all!
-Elder Andersen

Sunday, April 16, 2017

week 92...Cagayan Philippines

Good week!

We baptized Irene Urian, Genelyn Flores and Vhia FLores! Irene and Genelyn are Sisters and Vhia is Genelyn's daughter!  These are saints! They were found by the missionaries that we replaced. When we transferred in, they had come to church for the first time the Sunday before. We tracked them on our 2nd day in the area,there house is way up in the hills and mountains When we first taught them, both Irene and Genelyn hadn't yet considered baptism and weren't even sure they would come back to church the next Sunday.  Irene did tell us that she liked the doctrine of the plan of salvation which helped her cope with the death of her husband last October. Regardless of what was taught by the previous elders, we taught all of them about baptism. We taught them the what and the why and the how and we covered every possible thing we could about it so that they could not misunderstand it.  We had to tear down some false beliefs and concepts that they have adapted because of the Filipino and Catholic cultures to do so but we did it none the less. The effect was immediate.  The Spirit testified to their hearts that they needed to be re baptized, this time by immersion for the remission of sins and by priesthood authority only found in this church. You could see it in there eyes. We extended all three of them an invitation to be baptized and they all accepted. We invited them to come to church again as well, but they still seemed unsure they would be able because of travel and distance purposes.  The next day on Sunday, they did come to church, and to our surprise, they brought 5 others with them.  Grandpa, Aunts and nieces and nephews.  Haha we were so pleasantly surprised!

These experiences have increased my testimony in the simple and pure doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All we did was teach baptism. nothing else. like Elder Packer says, true doctrine understood changes behavior.  It worked for these three ladies, and they were so effected that they invited all their family members to church the next day without us even asking them!  We are currently focusing on teaching many people in that same compound that they live in that they have been inviting and the future seems bright for these people. We are expecting more success in the weeks to follow! 
Thanks especially to God and also our "Amulek" which is Irene, who is still invited more and more people in her compound each week to learn about the restored gospel!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Week 90...Cagayan Philippines

Busy I Is....

Sorry everyone! We've been real busy. Monday we had Missionary Leadership Counsel at the mission home and then Tuesday we had exchanges with the Assistants in Laoag and then we took a 6 hour bus ride home in the middle of the night. So we are doing a mini Pday right now but I don't have time to tell you all the details about my week.  We haven't seen conference yet but we will see it this weekend, and I am so excited!. This last Sunday we had 14 investigators at church! The work is exploding and I fill my faith growing as I help strengthen the members and investigators here in the area as well as helping the other missionaries to be more effective in the work!

I got to take pictures last Tuesday during our exchanges with the Santa Ana elders last Tuesday, at the very tip top of the Philippines!  Also this week I ate Shark, and a cat sized rat climbed on me in the middle of the night, and I slept on the floor.  

I promise I'll have a good email for y'all next week!

I wanted to share with you what I learned about the difference between God's plan and Satan's plan pre-mortally, and how his plan still hasn't change here on earth. And also how here on earth most of us ignorantly are fooled into following his plan to take away or inhibit our agency. Some of us ignorantly would prefer his plan over God's. Most of this might not make much sense but I hope I will have some time and remember to share with you next week!

Jesus lives and He loves us, but He also expects a lot from us!  Be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And from small things proceedeth that which is great!  

Also in the new edition of the Liahona about Elder Bednar's visit to the Philippines, you can see me and my companion's picture in the top right corner of the right hand page! I'm famous!

Next week na lang!
-Elder Andersen