Sunday, November 20, 2016

A note from mom, November 13, 2016

Hi Luke,

I am sorry you are getting transferred. That can be difficult when you don't get to witness the fruits of your labors as you would like to. Take comfort in knowing that you made a difference and the best seeds planted are those in your own heart. At the end of each area and eventually your mission, the real value of the experience is the growth within yourself and your testimony. I can tell from your letters you have had tremendous experiences and growth in this area, that is a success. Turn to the Lord and ask for confirmation that your work is done in this area (at least for now) and ask for a feeling of peace. I know you will receive it. I love you!

Hi Mom,
I did receive that peace.  The night I found out I was transferring, I couldn't sleep.  The idea came into my head I should ask for peace and guidance.  I prayed, and instantly this warm, comforting sensation and a voice came into my head saying, "everything will be alright."  It was fantastic, and I know this is the plan of the Lord for me.

Hi Luke,

That is awesome, thanks for sharing that experience. I had a similar experience when I was in the field. I was called to be a trainer immediately after I was trained, 8 weeks in. I was terrified and overwhelmed. I went into the next room and poured out my heart and felt that same peace. Later, when I doubted again, I prayed again and didn't feel anything but read in my scriptures later in D&C when the Lord is talking to Oliver Cowdry and says remember when you sought me "did I not speak peace to your soul? What further witness do you need?" I have reflected often on that experience.

That is a fantastic experience.  I met another Elder here (He's from Houston actually) and he was called to be a trainer immediately after his training as well. I was worried I was going to be the same way, this was the last week of my training. However, when I found out I didn't have a calling, I was disappointed.  For some reason, I wanted to train or be a mission leader because I felt like I would do a good job at it.  I realized, however, that the Lord knows what I'm ready for, even if I don't feel like it's what I'm ready for.

Hi Luke,

You will be called to train or lead soon enough. Enjoy this time of learning and try to learn as much as you can, from your companion, leaders and members. You will be blessed. I'm glad you had that experience, it's always good to get a reminder that the Lord is aware of you. I am sure proud of you.

Also, just because you weren't called to be a trainer doesn't mean you wouldn't have done a good job or couldn't do it. You just have different things to learn. The missionary that was called to train right after training has things to learn that you may not. I know one of the reasons I was called to train so early is I needed to get out of my comfort zone faster. It was really easy for me to hang back and let my trainer take the lead. I know the rug had to be pulled out or I would have continued like that for a few more months. I was able to come up with the confidence I was lacking and progressed much quicker in my mission experience than I would have otherwise. You likely don't need that lesson:)

November 13, 2016

Magandang umaga, hapon, o gabi!

Kumusta kayo lahat?  I'm doing good.  This week has been extremely busy, so I'll try to fill you in on as much as I can.  

First off, Novelyn had her baptismal interview last Saturday and she was found to be ready for baptism!  She's being baptized this Saturday and I'm super excited for her!  This is the first baptism in Cabugao in over six months! The branch is really excited and they're happy to see the missionaries start to have success due to their hard work.

Next, we had one of our investigators, Vladimir, text us on Tuesday saying "Elders, gusto gusto ko magmisyon sana. Tulungan ninyo ako no ihanda ang sarili mo para sa baptism." Which means "Elders, I really really REALLY want to serve a mission.  Help me prepare myself for baptism."  Elder Anuat and I were extremely excited to hear this.  Vladimir has a testimony of the truthfulness of this gospel. He has shared his testimony with us and has started sharing the gospel with his friends.  He's an awesome guy, and I'm excited to see him progress.  His baptism is scheduled for December 10. It's been an awesome experience to witness his conversion to the gospel.

We also had two new investigators this week from referrals, and they are very interested in the gospel. Both have a close relative who referred them to us, and their relatives join in on our lessons with them and share their testimony with the investigators. It's extremely powerful, and both of them (Shane and James) accepted the invitation to be baptized on December 10!  If everything goes to plan, we'll have three baptisms on December 10!

I just wish I'd be there to witness them all.  That's right, I'm being transferred again.  After having a very strong transfer in Cabugao, I'm being transferred to the farthest area in the mission on the opposite side of the island: Santa Ana.  Apparently I'm opening an area again, so we'll see how it goes.  I know the Lord has a plan for me, but I'm not ashamed to admit I was very excited to witness my first baptism in the mission.  Oh well, I'm sure there will be more people to accept the gospel in my new area, I'm just not looking forward to the ten hour bus ride to my new area.  

Spiritual thought time :)
This week, I was reading David A. Bednar's book "The Power To Become".  It's all about becoming Christlike and strengthening those attributes that help us truly take His name upon ourselves as members of the Church.  He gives a discourse on obedience, and one sentence really stuck out to me that I never realized, "True obedience is aligning our will with God's." I realized the truthfulness of this sentence this week more than ever. I really didn't want to transfer, my companion and I were having a lot of success and we were learning a lot from each other.  However, I realize now that this is the Lord's will, and I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded me.  I'm going to follow the mantra of Joseph Smith, "When the Lord commands, do it."  

That's all for this week,
Thank you for all the prayers and support!
Mahal ko kayo lahat,
-Elder Anderson

November 6, 2016

Magandang umaga, hapon, o gabi pamilya ko at mga kaibigan ko!

Kumusta kayo lahat?

Ayos lang ako, masaya palagi kasi ako ay nagmimisyon.

Anyway, sorry for the Tagalog. I'm just loving this crazy, broken language more and more everyday.  I have made leaps and bounds in this language, I can testify that the gift of tongues is real.  I've just had a good week working and learning. I don't really have any exciting news this week, but I can report that I'm happy and well.

This week I had exchanges with the elders in my district because my companion is the district leader.  Elder Anuat worked in Sinait while I stayed in Cabugao and worked with Elder Hair (Americano siya).  Elder Hair is from Houston, Texas and has been on the mission for almost a year now.  He's pretty great in Tagalog and we had a good time working together.  What I learned from our exchanges is how to better use Ang Aklat Ni Mormon in my language study. I'd been using it before, but I had been simply stopping at every word I didn't know and checking the English Scriptures to determine what the word really was.  This slowed my progress because it didn't help me understand how to use the word in the correct context.  In Tagalog, there are many, many different types of conjugations for verbs, and their context determines what type of conjugation is used.  Simply looking up the words I didn't know just caused me to learn the word, but take it out of context. Now, I read the whole verse in Tagalog, the verse in English, and then the verse in Tagalog again to learn how the word is used in context. It has seriously helped me understand how to construct much better sentences in my speaking and increased my vocabulary by an extremely large amount.  One member, extremely nice, actually told me that I was now fluent in Tagalog (Which is not true at all, I am EXTREMELY far from perfect) which really boosted my confidence in the language.

Spiritual Thought time:
 I read "The Continuous Atonement" this week, which is a phenomenal read that I highly recommend, and I gained a lot of insights on the atonement.  In one experience, the author shares about a missionary who began to feel guilty of past sins that he didn't fully confess for. The missionary had assumed that the sins were not necessary to confess, and had given half confessions.  The missionary was a hard-working, successful missionary, and his progress had brought him closer to Christ, also causing some guilt to eat into his mind as he became even more spiritual. He confessed them to his mission president and his mission president told him that, the sins should have been confessed, but they would not cause him to be sent home.  The missionary thanked the president for the relief he felt, but the memories of the past still haunted him.  The mission president then showed the missionary a polished marble egg.  He explained to the missionary that what made the marble beautiful were the dark veins of imperfection.  If the marble was spotless and perfectly white, it would look fake and cheap, but the veins of darkness were reminders of the metamorphic process the rock had been through and they were what caused the polished marble to be so beautiful.  

We are all like marble.  We've all made mistakes in the past and many times those mistakes haunt us in our memories.  We all bear veins of darkness.  However, as we apply the atonement in our life, our marble becomes polished and the marble shines and becomes beautiful.  The polishing process doesn't remove the dark veins, just as the Atonement specifically doesn't remove our memories of the sin, to do so would destroy the lesson we learned from our mistake.  Those lessons we learn from our mistakes are what truly help us become Christ like. Those veins of darkness are the evidence that we have made mistakes, but we've learned from them too.  They are evidence of the application of the Atonement we made in our life.  If we've truly applied the Atonement in our life, we will be able to face God and be perfect. Not perfect because we're spotless, but perfect because we've been polished.

Mahal ko kayo lahat. Mahal tayo ng Diyos.
-Elder Anderson

Pictures from October 30, 2016

October 30, 2016

Magandang Umaga, Hapon, o Gabi lahat na pamilya ko at mga kaibigan ko!

Kumusta kayo lahat?

This week was pretty fantastic :)

We had exchanges this week with the Zone Leaders and my companion and I learned a lot on our exchanges on how to do better finding.  Our Zone goal this transfer is to increase our findings and baptismal dates.  Our Zone Leaders taught Elder Anuat and I how to find more investigators and how to extend the baptismal invitation more effectively and naturally in the first or second lesson.  We applied their teachings and found... 33 New Investigators!!!!!  This is pretty impressive considering in our mission we only count people as "new investigators" if they give us a return appointment.  Our teaching pool gained a HUGE boost from this week, and we're going to continue to apply these teachings to bring the gospel to as many people as possible!  Also, we now have 7 investigators with a baptismal date, and we will be doing everything we can to help them progress and enter the gate on the pathway of salvation that is baptism.

We continue to have progress with Novelyn. She seriously loves the gospel and is always so happy to learn from us and come to church!  She's always so excited to come and let us know that she was able to read her assignment and explain what she learned.  We're going to be finishing up her lessons this week and preparing her for the baptismal interview. 

One of our new investigators this week was also very receptive. Her name is Rena, and she's 14 years old.  We found her while teaching another one of our investigators Rena happened to be visiting.  We taught Rena a majority of the first lesson and then taught our other investigator (Stephanie) the first part of the Plan of Salvation.  Stephanie was participating in the lesson, but Rena really became interested about what we were teaching Stephanie and started asking questions of her own.  We took down her address and gave her a Restoration pamphlet, Plan of Salvation pamphlet, and a Book of Mormon.  She was super excited to have us come visit her and told us exactly how to get to her house.  I have a seriously good feeling about her!

That was our week. Overall I'd say it was pretty successful.

Now for a spiritual thought.  I was studying Preach My Gospel, Chapter 6 (You missionaries know what I'm talking about), and was reading about humility. I had a sudden thought come into my head that I wrote in the 'notes' section of Preach My Gospel.  It said, essentially, "Pride is one of the greatest tools the adversary has in his arsenal to catch us into the habits of the natural man.  Therefore, if we want to avoid the natural man, we must strengthen our strongest weapon against pride: humility.  As we are gracious in accepting instruction, recognize God's will more than our own, and be quick to apologize when pride does inevitably creep into our lives, we will have that much more strength to resist the lure of the adversary that we fall for all too often."  Let us all strive to be humble and avoid pride in all our doings.  I know that as we do so, we will gain so much more strength against the adversary than we can imagine!

I love you all and I thank you for your prayers and support!
-Elder Anderson

October 23, 2016

Hello everyone! 

First off, I want you all to know that I am safe and I have no injuries from the Hurricane :)

It was a pretty crazy, but pretty boring as well.  You'd think that the hurricane would make things interesting... but it caused a power outage and we were stuck inside all day... Needless to say, I did finish Jesus The Christ so that was good (read about 300 pages that day...). For those who have not read Jesus The Christ, I would highly recommend it.  Talmage has fantastic insights on the life of Christ and all that He did for us.  I learned so much from Jesus The Christ that I can apply in my own teaching and for the rest of my life. I'm so grateful for the Savior's sacrifice for us and His plain and simple teachings that allow us to understand our purpose in life.  I am amazed at how much I simply didn't know/comprehend about Christ's life and ministry. The significance of His sacrifice for us is truly incomprehensible. 

Other than the storm, the rest of the week was spent teaching and finding :)  We now have five investigators with baptismal dates, all scheduled for either the 12 or 19 of November.  I'm so happy to witness the joy the gospel brings in the lives of these children of God.  I'm so grateful for my opportunity and privilege to serve the Lord, whom I love. 

Novelyn came to church again this week, and she was as excited as ever to be there and learn about the gospel.  She's always so happy to learn about the gospel, and she constantly tells us that she is so happy for our teaching her.  I love watching the gospel enlighten her mind and life.  I've never seen someone gain so much joy from anything else in the world.

The storm wasn't too bad.  Hurricanes are pretty terrifying and the wind was quite merciless on our windows, but at least it cooled down a little bit here :)  However, lots of trees were blown down and many houses took damage. Thankfully, our house was in the safer area, so nothing too crazy happened to us or our area. From what I understand, all of the missionaries are safe.  I thank you all for the prayers you may have offered, they definitely were felt and made a difference.  

That's really all I have, sorry that this one is pretty short.

Mahal ko kayo!
-Elder Anderson

Pictures, October 16, 2016

October 16, 2016

Magandang Umaga o Hapon o Gabi!

What a fantastic week!  I seriously love missionary work! There is no greater work nor joy that can be felt except through this great and marvelous work!

First off, let me explain about the picture I sent last week with me feeding the tiger.  Last transfer, our zone went to a zoo for a zone activity, and the zoo offered a walk with tigers experience for 500 pisos (about ten dollars).  Obviously, I paid the 500 pisos and got to participate in this once in a lifetime experience.  Yes the tiger is real and yes I was feeding it from a baby bottle.  It was pretty fantastic.

Anyway, back to the more important matters.

I seriously love my companion and area!  My companion, Elder Anuat, is our District Leader and is a fantastic example to me.  We work really well together and we're becoming good friends. 

Last week was our first week of complete proselyting.We opened the area and spent the first full week finding the members and becoming acquainted with the members who would be willing to work with us.  It was a good way to gain the trust of the members and to lay a good foundation for our work.

This week, however, was very successful. Earlier in the week, we were contacted by a man, Brother Abe, as we were eating dinner at Bigmak, and he was super curious about the gospel and we gave him a Book of Mormon.  We went to his home earlier this week and taught him all of the First Lesson.  He had a lot of questions and we wrote them down so that we could answer them next time.  We also extended the commitment to baptism and he accepted.  He is scheduled to be baptized on November 12.  

Next, we contacted a referral from a member to teach his younger sister who just returned home from Cagayan (a far area of the Philippines) and she's super excited to learn the gospel.  We extended an invitation to be baptized and she accepted! She is scheduled for November 19, which is actually her birthday.  She came to church yesterday and was so excited to show us that she was there that after sacrament meeting she came up to us and said, "Elders! I'm here!" I'm so excited for her and she's so happy that the gospel came into her life.  Her older brother, a super active member, teaches her with us and his testimony really helps her understand the joy of the gospel.

Now, for something of a different tune... There is a super typhoon scheduled to hit our mission this week on Wednesday named Typhoon Lawin.. We'll see how it will affect the mission, but I would appreciate your prayers for me and all the missionaries in my mission to stay safe during this time. And a heads up, I may not be able to email on Monday if there's power loss.

Also, my condolences go to the Giacolone Family.  You guys are amazing and are in my prayers.

That's all I have for this week, until next time! (hopefully next week)
-Elder Anderson