Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 9, 2017

Magandang araw mga kaibigan at kamag-anak ko!

Well, this week was super busy.  We had three different exchanges this week and have two more coming this week.  We had a lot of great lessons this week, even though our investigators got a little confused why my companion kept changing every time we came to teach them.  However, I think the change in companions was really helpful for the investigators because each missionary teaches and testifies in his own special way, and it was a great experience for the investigators to have so many unique testimonies shared with them.  As a result of our hard work, we were able to have 6 investigators come to church, which was definitely a blessing.

However, the best experience I had this week was while I was on exchanges with Elder Vincent, the companion of our district leader.  We went to teach this group of investigators who are progressing. In total they are 8, but one was absent when we taught them.  Anyway, we were able to teach them the entire Restoration of the Gospel and committed them to pray and read the Book of Mormon to come to know of its truthfulness.  They willingly accepted those commitments.  After that, we then extended a Baptismal Date to all of them and they...
... Rejected it.

So, we hopefully would have had 7 more baptisms scheduled for August, but I'm actually grateful that they rejected it because it helped me understand that they are true investigators and they want to understand for themselves if this is the right decision for them.  I know over time, if they really put in the effort to come to understand, they will receive that witness. 

Other than that nothing else really happened this week.

I hope you all have a great week and a fantastic day!

Mahal ko kayong lahat! 

Elder Anderson

July 3, 2017

Naimbag nga aldaw dagitit kakabsatko!

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!!!!  I hope you all celebrate this beautiful day of freedom and remember the price that was paid for this amazing country!

This week was pretty busy.  We held exchanges with the District Leader in Lal-lo and I was with his junior companion in our area.  I had a plan already to go and then Elder Saplan (My exchanges companion) tells me he has never, in his four months as a missionary in the field, done a solid finding activity, causing me to move some of our appointments and have some good tracting and street contacting that day.  Here in the Philippines, tracting is actually pretty effective because most people here are very friendly and will always let you have a first lesson with them.  We did all the finding activities and came up with 15 new investigators that day!  At the end of the exchanges, Elder Saplan told me he was so exhausted, but also so happy with our experiences that day.

Later in the week we were able to teach Josh, he finally came back from his trips in Manila and Tuguegaro.  We asked him about his scripture study and he told us he had brought his scriptures with him and studied them as much as he could while out of town! It was so great to hear!  We continued following up with him and we discovered his concern on why he was reluctant to be baptized.  He told us that he is someone who likes to analyze and comprehend all aspects of something before acting upon it.  He told us he loves reading and studying the word, he just has a hard time applying it in his life because he hasn't examined every possible aspect of it.

After this, we shared an analogy with him to help him understand the difference between simple belief and knowledge with faith, action, and application.  Josh loves basketball, so we used that to show how we need to apply things rather than simply studying about them.  We shared how someone who wanted to improve their basketball game could spend all of their time and energy studying about basketball, different shooting techniques, different plays, different ways to handle the ball, and different formations.  However, all that time and energy would simply be wasted if he didn't apply the knowledge.  That someone needed to practice, use his new knowledge and act on it based on what experts say is the best way to shoot, the best formation, the best way to handle the ball.  After acting on his knowledge and practicing the things he studied, he has improved.  He now can say that knowledge he has is true and good, because his game got better.  (Sorry if the analogy doesn't make sense, it's easier to talk about it than type it).  After this analogy, Josh said he was enlightened and said he felt like he understood more about faith and applying knowledge to himself.  We invited him to read Alma 32 and we will be returning to him tomorrow to follow up on the assignment.

That's all for this week, I hope you all have a great linggo!

Mahal ko kayong lahat! 

Elder Anderson

Sunday, July 2, 2017

June 25, 2017

Magandang araw mga kamaganak at kaibigan ko!

This week was a pretty busy week. We had exchanges with our District Leader and I was able to work in their area, which is just in the other branch in Camalaniugan, but I was surprised at how different the people were just across the street haha.  I realized that I am so blessed in my area, even though it's the farthest area in Camalaniugan.  The people in our area are so humble and so friendly. Next week we have exchanges with another District Leader in our zone. Hopefully we will be able to see the weaknesses in our zone so we can help them become strengths as we continue to work in the other areas in the zone.

We were able to extend three more baptismal dates this week and found thirty-six new investigators! The three baptismal dates are all part-member investigators and they are lined up for baptism in three weeks.  We are excited to see them progress. Josh wasn't able to come to church this week because he was still out of town. This week we are going to try our best to teach him so he can be baptized soon.  

One of our new investigators shared a great experience with us.  All of her life she had been told by her aunt to just pray and God would give her anything if it was His will.  So she wrote down all of the things she would pray for, and when the blessing came into her life she would put a check next to the blessing on the list.  Then, after she got married, the doctor said she could not have kids. However, she prayed and fasted for a whole week, and after that week she found out she was pregnant.  Her son is now 7 months old and he is the happiest kid I have ever met.  

The power found in prayer and fasting really works.  If any of you are going through a trial or seeking after a specific blessing, I would challenge you to study about fasting and prayer, and then fast and pray based on what you've learned.  If it be the will of the Lord and if your faith is great enough, the blessings that will come will be greater than anything you have ever experienced.

Mahal ko kayong lahat!

Until next week! 

June 18, 2017

Hello everyone!

This week was extremely busy, so I don't have any pictures this week. However, this has also probably been one of the best weeks in my mission.

Elder Andon and I arrived in Camalaniugan last Tuesday and as soon as we drop our stuff off at the apartment we went out and worked.  We found some members and we contacted the investigator of the previous elders who turns out to be an American from Washington D.C. who is here for college. His name is Josh Anderson, and he is great! However, he doesn't speak any Tagalog, so I get to teach in English which is quite refreshing but also a different challenge because my companion doesn't speak too much English.  But, the lessons we have had with him have been THE BEST lessons I have ever had on my mission.  I always come away from those lessons refreshed and energized with the Spirit.  He is scheduled for baptism on July 1 and we are both confident that he will be getting baptized on that date!

So the people here in my new area are quite possibly the nicest people I have ever met.  Also, one of the Elders in my apartment is Elder Anuat, who was my second companion! It's been cool to catch up with him.  He's also my District Leader. 

Oh, and our apartment is pretty gross.  I'll have pictures next week but it's nasty. Our water is yellow and we have to get our drinking water from a filtering station.  It's infested with cockroaches as big as my palm. 

That's all for this week!
Mahal ko kayong lahat!

June 11, 2017 Pictures

June 11, 2017

Magandang araw!
This week was pretty great, but a rollercoaster of emotion.
First off, transfer texts came this last Saturday and I am being transferred.  This was pretty hard for me, I have come to love this area and the people here so much that I don't want to leave.  However, I know that God has a plan for me and He knows better than I.  I am ready to perform His will and know that I can accomplish all things with His help.
My new area is Camalaniugan, which is in Aparri Zone. My companion is Elder Andon and I have actually met him before.  If I remember right, he is from Micronesia and he is quite possibly the happiest Elder I have ever met!  I'm so excited for this new area, even though we are both new to the area.  Also, I have been called as a zone leader, which is what the subject line is referring to.  I am extremely nervous but also very excited for this upcoming assignment and I know that, no matter what my weaknesses may be, if I trust in the Lord everything will work out.
This week was pretty alright in the work though.  We had exchanges this week with the District Leader and I worked in his area with his trainee.  We had a good time, and some great lessons! We found one sister who had been an investigator a long time ago, and half of her family got baptized.  We taught her about the Book of Mormon and how important it is for all of our lives.  After we testified, she promised she would read the Book of Mormon and we set a time for us to return.
It really is true how important and vital the Scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, is for all of us.  I always feel the Spirit so strongly as I study the Scriptures, and I'm so grateful for the guidance and knowledge they give me everyday.  I hope all of us will make time to read the Scriptures everyday.  I know they are what give us true direction and knowledge in our lives!
Have a great week!
Mahal ko kayong lahat!

May 28, 2017

A letter to James for his birthday:

Hey Dad,

So, this letter is going to be in a bigger font because I know you don't like to read small words haha.  But I know it's your birthday, and I felt like I should write to you personally.

First off, I want to say that I love you.  I'm proud of you.  You are the greatest example to me and the kids.  You have always sought out what is best for me, and I thank you for that.  And even though I was pretty hard-headed sometimes, you still loved me.  Thank you for always supporting me and helping me become a better man and priesthood holder. 

Thank you for always magnifying your calling and also taking time to help the family.  Here on the mission, I've really learned the importance of priesthood duty and family.  They are inseparable, and you have done a tremendous job in balancing both of those vital roles as a father and priesthood holder.  I know that sometimes you feel like you aren't quite doing as good as you think you should be, but let me tell you that you are the greatest dad a son could ask for.  

You are a mentor, a teacher, a leader, but most importantly you are a father.  You take on so many roles, but you never forget that the most important is that of being a dad.  You care deeply for every one of us kids.   Here on the mission, I've definitely realized the many times where you have shown your love for me.  I've realized the time you taught me how to drive a manual, the many times you tried to teach me how to be patient, or whenever you made time to come to my band concerts, those were all instances where you did something because you loved me.

Now, I'm sorry if my English wasn't too great in this letter (speaking a different language with a completely different grammar structure kind of erases all of the things learned in AP English) but I hope you got the message that I love you.  You are the greatest example to me.  I am so lucky that you are the father that the Father has blessed me with.  Thank you for all that you do for me and the family.

You are amazing Dad,
I love you,

May 21, 2017

I'm not sure what happened to the group letter Luke sent us on this week, here is one he sent me:

Hey Mom,

It was great to talk to you, and yeah... the internet cut out here. But it was probably easier for us than to say goodbye. 

Your week sounds nice.  I'm glad you got to go to the temple. I really miss the temple, and I can't wait to go back and attend after the mission.  It's amazing to me that people become less active after going to the temple. It's such an amazing experience and the Spirit is poured out from Heaven when you attend the temple, how can people turn away from that?

Anyway, this week was pretty great in the work, you'll be able to read about it in the group email. But the baptism went well :) She gave a great testimony and she is going to do all that she can to help her family accept the gospel too :)

That's really kind of it for this week.

In the package, I could use more airheads, sour patch kids, and some nice ties (Hopefully Jerry Garcia ties) But other than that I don't have anything I need.

I love you so much Mom,

May 14, 2017-- Mother's Day

Our second phone call with Elder Anderson came on Mother's Day.  He told us he would be calling at 8:00 pm our time.  Our excitement crescendoed as the time approached, but we were disappointed when 8:00 came and went, then 9:00, then 10:00 pm.  Around 11:00 pm, I started to panic a little bit as I had visions of a car accident, or something worse, happening to the elders as they were going to the internet cafe.  I wasn't sure what to do other than pray for comfort.

Finally, at around midnight, Luke made contact with us.  The internet on the entire island had gone out that day.  We woke up all of the kids and gathered around the computer anticipating the call.  Our connection this time, as opposed to Christmastime, was much clearer.  It was so good to hear his voice and see his face.  We had a great chat for nearly an hour and a half.  As the time came to say goodbye, the internet cut out again.  I counted that as a tender mercy.  I've realized that the goodbyes are always bittersweet.  It was easier to just have the internet hang up on us all.

Talking with Luke was such a blessing.  It was apparent from his stories, his mannerisms, and his spirit that he has given himself to the work and is growing in ways that only the Lord can help him grow.  I am so grateful to be a part of his life and this experience.

May 7, 2017 Pictures

Batac Zone

Investigator Family

May 7, 2017

Hello everyone! 

So, this week was pretty great. we had a great week of serving others and teaching.

First off, we had an awesome experience with an investigator this week.  His name is John Mark and we had met him a couple of weeks ago through finding. We found him at his aunt's house though, so we weren't able to return to teach him at his home (in the Philippines, there aren't any addresses). However, while we were walking to one of our appointments, he stepped out of a house which, believe it or not, was his, and called us over. At first we were a little scared, most people don't call two teenage boys in white shirts and ties just to chat, nevertheless, we approached him. He smiled and asked us to share with him. We sat down, opened the lesson with a prayer, and began talking about Christ and His love for him.  We asked him how Christ had helped him in his life and he relayed a story about a motorcycle accident he had.  He told us how he thought he was going to die, but he woke up in the hospital. After he woke up, he resolved to follow Christ, for he believed Christ had given him his life to give him a chance to change.  He told us how he knew the message we had would help him come unto Christ, and he was excited to hear more about it.  We felt prompted to extend a baptismal date and he accepted for June 3.  We set a return appointment for this week and we are excited to see him progress.

Now, for the service. This last Saturday was the National Day of Service here in the Philippines, and our ward decided to go to an elementary school and repaint the desks and chairs of the students. It was a fantastic experience and I'm so grateful for it. However, my body hurts. The reason why is because of a stance called the Filipino Squat (you can probably look it up). Anyway, I was in that position all day while painting and, afterwards, my body wanted to kill me for it.  But, hey, a small price to pay for service right?  

I hope you all look for opportunities to serve this week.  Even if it may be painful, or you may be sore afterwards, remember that serving others also serves God. We are all brothers and sisters, so show your love for your siblings through some service this week! There is no better way to help others feel God's love!

Mahal ko kayong lahat!

April 30, 2017 Pictures

This is a gagamba fight, it's like pokemon here in the philippines. Me and my companion looked for some nice big spiders while walking home from our last appointment and we had a battle in our apartment.

San Lorenzo Missionaries

April 30, 2017

Magandang araw mga kapamilya at kaibigan ko! 
Time flies so fast in the mission.  That's right, another transfer gone, just like that.  It feels like yesterday my companion and I entered San Lorenzo for the first time. It's hard to believe we've already spent six weeks there.
Anyway, this week was pretty alright.  We had more appointments cancel on us because it's school vacation right now, but we had some solid lessons as well. First off, we had a great teaching experience with our investigator, Norlene.  She has been praying for a while to find out whether or not the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet of God.  We had already taught her about prayer and how to receive an answer to her prayers, but she had never felt like she had gotten one.  Then, in our lesson this week we followed up on her prayers (PMG chapter 11 to all my missionaries out there) and she told us she knew that The Book of Mormon is true and she knew Joseph Smith was called of God to restore the gospel here on the earth in our time.  We told her that was great and shared our testimonies as well. Then something amazing happened, she asked to be baptized! We set her a date on May 27 and she is looking great to progress.  I can't wait to see the changes that will happen in her life.

Also, Nanay Selly is doing great. She came to church again this week and she is on track for baptism on the 20th. She is so excited about the gospel and we feel that she is converted and ready for baptism.
That's really all for this week. Keep studying the scriptures everyone, especially the Book of Mormon. It really is the key for continuing conversion (thanks for helping me understand that Dad :) ) Even if you are an active member of the Church, your testimony will become dull if you do not continually sharpen it with the Word of God. Daily, strive to feast upon the words of Christ, for they truly tell you all things that you must do.
Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April 23, 2017

Naimbag nga aldaw iti kakabsatko,

I honestly have no idea if that was write because that was Ilocano, but I feel like it was good.  

This week wasn't very eventful.  We had many many appointments fall through. But we had a great experience with one of our investigators.

So we have an investigator named Sister Valdez. She was the one I talked about with the "points system" that will get her baptized.  She has been meeting with the missionaries for a while now, but she has been avoiding a baptismal date because she simply isn't ready to make a decision. She keeps telling us that "everything has it's right time."  Well, with this in mind we looked for a scripture that would help resolve her concern. We came across Alma 34:31
31 Yea, would that ye would come forth and harden notyour hearts any longer; for behold, now is the time and theday of your salvationand therefore, if ye will repent andharden not your hearts, immediately shall the great plan ofredemption be brought about unto you.
We shared this and told her that we knew this was her time. She knew the doctrine, she was reading the Book of Mormon and praying everyday, she had a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel, she just needed a push to 
help her make a decision.  We extended a baptismal date for May 20 and she was a little surprised at the date. We asked her why, and it turns out that May 20 is her birthday! So... we found that her right time was now, and the scripture was just for her.  She attended church yesterday and she has committed to prepare herself for baptism on the 20th. I'm so excited to see her progress and I know that the Lord helped us find that scripture verse to help her realize that her time is now.

I would also like to testify that the scriptures are meant for all of us.  Find that scripture verse that speaks to you, find the verse that will guide you in your decisions, help you in your trials, and strengthen your faith.  I love the scriptures, especially The Book of Mormon, and I know they can help us in all aspects of life.

Have a great week everybody,

April 16, 2017

Hello everyone!
This week was pretty great and busy. We had interviews with the mission president, which is always uplifting and inspiring. I really do appreciate President Andrada and all that he does for us in the mission.  We also had a ward activity this week where we updated the membership records (so we essentially had a ward census haha), which gave us a lot of referrals. I don't have any pictures from the activity because I accidentally left my camera at home (sorry Mom). 
So, Eric was not able to meet with us this week because of Holy Week. He traveled to Cagayan with his family, but we are setting up appointments with him this week and hopefully we will see some progress.
Speaking of Holy Week, here in the Philippines Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday are national holidays, everything is closed on those days.  However, they give more emphasis on Good Friday rather than Easter Sunday.  One of the churches next to our house also had an interesting tradition for Good Friday.  From what I understand, the members of the church all dress in white, and as a church they make three statues of Christ dressed in red and three statues of Mary dressed in white. They place the statues on a float that is attached to a sidecar of a motorcycle, and the congregation follows the statues while holding candles and singing hymns.... Definitely a new experience.
Anyway, I gave a talk in sacrament about the Eternal Ministry of Christ, which focused on all that He did to help accomplish the plan of salvation.  Starting with His premortal responsibilities and ending with the anticipation of His Second Coming.  I also shared about the importance of His Atoning Sacrifice.  Afterwards, I asked, referring to the question of Pilate, "What should we do with this Jesus who is called Christ?"  My answer was found in Alma 36:24, which you can all look up ;)  The joy that we can all feel from the Atonement of Jesus Christ is so powerful.  No joy is so exquisite as that found through the grace and virtue of God's Beloved Son.  I would invite you all to study the life of Christ and ponder what you will do because of what He did.
I love you all, and have a great week,

Pictures - April 9, 2017

April 9, 2017

Hello everyone, what a great week :)
Conference was fantastic! My companion and I were super excited throughout the whole week waiting for conference to come.  We are truly so blessed to live in a time where living apostles and prophets are here on the earth, with priesthood keys to administer the true church of Christ and to receive revelation to guide us in all that we do. 
We had an investigator attend conference too! He is a former investigator taught back in January, and we had been trying to contact him and teach him but he was always away from his home or busy.  On Saturday we tried to contact him but he wasn't home, so we texted him to remind him about conference the next day and he showed up! (on time too, which is really hard for people here to do). After the session, he told us to come to his house the next day and teach.  This was the first time I have had an investigator set up his own appointment! We will be going to teach him later today and I am so excited!
Our other investigators this week were a little... difficult. We think one of our progressing investigators is hiding from us because she is never home when we go, even at times where we have been able to go before. Woo.  Another investigator decided to turn down her baptismal date because she said she wasn't quite ready to make a decision. She also devised some sort of "points" system, which we score when we "impress" her with our righteousness... what?  So... yeah. I'm not even sure where to go from that.
Conference was seriously great. One thing I noticed was "The Living Christ" was mentioned several times, and we were invited to study and learn about the life and teachings of Christ.  I definitely feel like this was a very specific and direct invitation to all of us. I personally have not really studied "The Living Christ", but this conference I felt a definite prompting to take special care to learn more about Christ and what He did for all of us.  I planned to make this a part of my studies in the upcoming weeks and I will let you know how it goes!
However, I know that Christ lives. He is our Savior, Redeemer, and closest friend. He brings hope in this increasingly discouraging world. He is the Light and the Life of the world, and if we will walk with Him, we will never be lost. We will become more than we ever though we could be.
I love you all, and I hope you have a great week!

Pictures, April 2, 2017

April 2, 2017

Hello everyone! 

So this week was pretty great. We were able to continue to find new investigators and extend two baptismal dates! We have been using the area book pretty heavily to find the investigators of the previous elders so their labors wouldn't go to waste and we found Sister Marisel and Sister Selly. Both of them had received all of the lessons, their only problem is they haven't attended church. This is quite common here in the Philippines.  However, they have been super receptive and we have tried to help them truly understand the teaching of the previous missionaries in order for them to realize how important church attendance is.  They weren't able come to church this week due to family occasions (graduation week kasi) but they promised to come next week and we will continue to visit them throughout this week in order to strengthen their faith and understand the importance of church.

Anyway, the rest of the week was pretty good too. It's been pretty hot because this is summer time here in Ilocos Norte, but we keep on working and drinking lots of fluids :)

I hope conference was great for all of you. It's such a great opportunity and a blessing we have to listen to living prophets to guide us in this life.  I haven't had an opportunity to watch it yet due to the time difference in the broadcast, but I am sure it will be fantastic :) it always is.

I would just like to share that I know that Thomas S. Monson is the current prophet and president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  I know that God loves us so much, and He has blessed us with prophets to guide us in these troubling times in life.  I know that this Church is the same Church that Christ established here on the earth, and it contains all of the Priesthood keys and ordinances necessary for salvation. I know that we will never go astray in this world if we follow the words of the prophets.  

Sorry this email was so short, I just don't have anything else to really add.
Mahal ko kayong lahat! Ingat kayo palaga!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Pictures- March 26, 2017

March 26, 2017

Magandang umaga, tanghali, hapon, o gabi mga kapitid, kaibigan, at mag-anak.

I absolutely love my new area!  Even though we are opening the area, I can see massive potential for progress in San Lorenzo!

First off, the ward is fantastic!  Our bishop is really organized and our ward mission leader is diligent in his calling!  This has been the first time where the members don't have to be forced to hold MCM or other council meetings! I love it!  In fact, President Andrada said the San Lorenzo Ward is the model ward of the mission! I'm so lucky to be serving here!

Next, my trainee is the BEST! His name is Elder Leduna. He is Filipino, from Negros Occidental (part of the Cebu mission). He has been a member since he was eight and he is super awesome at beatboxing. He likes electronic music, jokes, and basketball.  He love the gospel and has had experience working with missionaries in the past.  I absolutely love working with him! He is diligent, obedient, and humble. We have a great time working together and I can't wait to get this area going!

Anyway, yesterday in Priesthood class the one who was supposed to teach didn't show up. And, for some reason, every priesthood holder wanted me to teach the lesson (probably because I'm white, I don't know). I told them I didn't know what the lesson was and instantly I was handed a kindle fire with the lesson plan. Wow.  So, the lesson was just the First Presidency Message and it was about the blessings of obedience.  The lesson went pretty well actually. I talked about how all blessings are dependent upon obedience to the commandments, and we have a choice whether or not we want to be obedient in order to receive those blessings.  I especially emphasized the commandment to home teach and committed them all to perform their home teaching. Overall, it was pretty good.

After church, we had a body viewing.  That's right, first Sunday and we get to go see somebody who died.  It was actually pretty good. My companion shared a spiritual thought and we sang a couple of hymns as well.  Afterwards, we come to find out that the actual funeral will be held on Thursday and I was recommended by the Sunday School teacher to give the Spiritual thought. So, not even one week in the new area and I get to speak at a funeral for a person I didn't even know. Exciting :)

That's all for this week, I will try to send pictures more regularly from now on. The internet here in Ilocos Norte is WAY faster than Cagayan.  

Mahal ko kayong lahat!