Sunday, December 18, 2016

November 20, 2016 (I know it's out of order but I don't know how to fix it)

Magandang umaga, hapon, o gabi!

So, this week was pretty crazy, so sit tight and buckle up because it's gonna be a wild ride. (Ok, maybe not THAT wild).

Anyway, as you all know I was transferred to the farthest area from the mission home, Santa Ana.  I share an apartment with the Zone Leaders, and my new companion is Elder Torion.  He's Filipino and from Leyte, which is in the Tacloban mission.  We are opening an area, and this is my third time doing so, so I guess you could say I'm experienced at opening areas.  The Elders before us didn't keep any records, so we're literally starting from scratch, but that's ok. This week we found 18 new investigators in about four days, so that's pretty exciting.

I'm still doing ok, but my new area is very different from my first two.  My first two areas were located in the Ilocos Sur province, while my area now is in Cagayan province.  Cagayan is the poorest province in my mission, and it's a lot colder here than in Ilocos, it also is more of what you think the Philippines to be like, Buko trees, Kubo huts, and eating lots of fish and rice.  I love it here.  The people here are a lot nicer and more receptive.  The members in the area will rush out to meet the Elders as we're walking along the street.  It's fantastic!

We had a pretty cool experience the other day.  As Elder Torion and I were working, we found a Tatay (literally father, but used like Brother) carrying wood to his house. He stopped for a rest and we went up to him and introduced ourselves to him.  He was really receptive, and we were able to hold a lesson while he was taking a break about the Plan of Salvation.  He was really excited about it.  We then offered to carry the wood to his house and he accepted.  After getting to his house, he introduced us to his family and they asked if we could come back and teach them about the gospel. They also referred us to their family members that live all around them.  I asked him why he was so receptive and he told me that he had a relative in the next area over that was converted and he saw a huge change in her life and she received a lot of help from the missionaries and the members.  I can't wait to see if they progress.

Anyway, that's all I've got for this week, nothing much happened.  
I won't be sending pictures at all this transfer, the internet here is extremely slow and it takes way too long to send pictures. If I can find a place that has fast internet, I'll try to send them (Even though I know I've been terrible at it).

Mahal ko kayo lahat!
-Elder Anderson

December 11, 2016

Naimbag nga bigad, malim, o rabi!

That's right, that was Ilocano, the other crazy language in my mission that I'm supposed to learn even though I have no learning materials for it!  I'm picking it up little by little, hopefully I'll be able to speak it as well as Tagalog by the end of my mission.  

Anyway, this week was ok.  I had a great time working and my companion and I continue to strengthen our companionship, but none of our progressing investigators came to church yesterday.  I was pretty sad because they had been so excited to accept the gospel.  We weren't able to visit them yesterday either, so we have no idea why they suddenly stopped.  I was almost discouraged, but I remembered that we all have agency, and even though others may exercise it poorly, we are able to exercise our own by choosing how to react to setbacks.  I realized that the only thing I can do is my best. It's what the Lord expects of me and what I expect of myself. If I do that, then I know that I couldn't have done something better, because I did my best.

Sorry if that was a little confusing, there have been a lot of thoughts going through my head this week.  We had some trouble with our Zone Leaders getting along this week, and our District Leader is having trouble with his companion as well. I'm not sure why drama exists in the mission, its disappointing that missionaries can't be united in this work because of petty arguments. Oh well, like I said, we all have agency.

Next week is Christmas Conference for the whole mission, so my next email will be sent from Laoag! I'm so excited! The missionaries in my zone will be staying in a hotel for the duration of the conference! I'll actually have a comfortable bed!  Hopefully they'll have hot water too... We'll see.

Now for my spiritual thought.  In this Christmas season, we do tend to focus on material things, whether they be for ourselves or for others.  This time of year really should not be one of stress, but of joy, love, and peace. This is the time we celebrate the most important birth in the history of the whole world.  Jesus Christ, our Savior, is the reason we celebrate.  Remember Him. He is the reason why we can have peace in this life. Through Him, we can become worthy to live with God again.

Always remember Christ, and seek to represent Him.

Mahal ko kayo,
-Elder Anderson

December 4, 2016

Hello everybody!

This week was pretty busy, but fantastic as always.

First off, Elder Torion and I had a great time teaching and working together.  He's seriously a hilarious guy.  He's from Leyte, which is in the Visayas region of the Philippines.  The Visayan people are known for their sense of humor, and let me tell you, the reputation is deserving.  One night, he had all of us in the apartment crying we were laughing so hard.  I love our companionship!

Anyway, the Anchetas weren't able to come to church yesterday, so we visited them and asked why they weren't able to come.  They explained they had to go to a different city for some medicine, but they were really sorry they weren't able to make it to church.  We were able to teach them all of lesson two and they committed to read the Book of Mormon as a family! They are truly amazing!

Next, we had Jelica come to church. She's twelve years old and lives with her aunt. Her aunt is a member, but has been less-active for a long time.  We've been asking her to help her niece come to church and progress towards baptism. Last week, not yesterday, they did not come to church, but yesterday they did! The branch president pulled us aside and asked what we did, Sister Ramirez (Jelica's aunt) hasn't been to church for a LONG time.  It was great to see them come to church and feel the spirit.  They were happy that they were able to come to church and said they'd come next week as well!! 

We now have three progressing investigators in our area, and they really look like they'll continue to progress until baptism!

Now, spiritual thought time: 
This week, I've been studying Christlike attributes (I try to take one week out of every month and dedicate my studies to Chapter 6 in Preach My Gospel) and it's always interesting how every time I start studying the chapter again, I learn something new.
The attribute I want to share with you now is Hope.  It's hard for us sometimes to understand what Hope really is. Many times, we think it's synonymous with faith, but that is not the case. It is true, that faith and hope are undeniably linked together, but faith precedes hope. When we have faith, we hope for things which are not seen which are true.  That hope we have is an expectation and assurance that the things we are promised through the gospel will be given us. Hope can be likened unto a knowledge, a personal testimony, that the blessings we have been promised will come. Whether it be a remission of sins through repentance, being resurrected, or living together with our families forever, we can receive an assurance that these things will come to pass through our hope.  I know that our hope, if based on faith in correct principles, can bring us comfort in times of hardship, for we know that everything will be alright in the end.

Mahal ko kayo!
Ingat kayo!
-Elder Anderson

November 27, 2016

Hello po kayo lahat!

I'm doing fine just so you all know.  It was a great week as usual, lot's of hard work and lots of spiritual thoughts. I'll be sharing two today because I forgot to share one last week.

However, first off I'll talk about my progressing investigators! That's right, I have two progressing investigators in my second week in the open area.  Their names are Brother and Sister Ancieta, they are a married couple with a one year old son. It's a pretty awesome experience how we met them, so I'll share it with you. Brother Ancieta was carrying wood to his house, but had stopped to take a break. We could tell the load was heavy and he was struggling, so we offered to help him.  At first, he turned us down, so we just introduced ourselves as missionaries and what our message was.  He asked us to share with him. We gave an overview of The Plan of Salvation and he was super interested and receptive. We closed with a prayer and insisted on carrying the wood to his house. He obliged, and we eventually came to his house, and his whole family was there!  We introduced ourselves to them and they were really happy to meet us.  They asked us to come back and we've met with them several times now.  They're scheduled for baptism on December 31.  They came to church yesterday and loved it, they are keeping our commitments, and asking how else they can prepare to be baptized.  They're amazing!  I can't wait to see them progress!

Spiritual thought time:
1. I was reading the Bible Dictionary, and I read about prayer.  I had never really realized how deep the connection prayer has with our Heavenly Father, my favorite thing the BD explained was this: "As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings."
I know it's long, but it's all true. Sometimes we take for granted the power of prayer and our true relationship with Heavenly Father.

2. I finished the Old Testament yesterday, so I've now read the entire Standard Works while on my mission. It was amazing to witness and connect all of the prophecies of the Savior to His life and ministry here on earth.  It just goes to show that the Lord really does reveal His will through His prophets, and even if we don't understand the true meaning behind their words, we need to follow them.  The Lord does not lie, and all things He has said will come to pass WILL come to pass in His own due time.

That's it for this week, until next time!
-Elder Anderson