Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 15, 2017

Magandang Umaga, Tanghali, Hapon, o Gabi!

Hello Everyone! 
This week was another great week in the work. We found a lot of new investigators with high potential, but we also had a really sad experience.

First off, the good news. This week we decided to build up our investigator pool so we hit the pavement (or more properly, dirt) and spent a lot of time finding.  We went to a barangay called Racat, where we're pretty sure no missionaries had been for a long time.  In fact, everyone we talked to had never even seen the missionaries before, which is quite rare here in the Philippines.

We found 44 new investigators this week, and a majority had huge potential.  The two we found that we're almost certain will be baptized are Norma and Romi. They're both senior citizens and very concerned about religion. They have investigated many churches, but none of them had felt 'right'. Our first contact with them was awesome, Norma asked many questions and we shared a brief overview of the plan of salvation and gave her the plan of salvation pamphlet to read for our next visit and the Book of Mormon to help with her study. We visited her again and she had already read the entire pamphlet, and answered all of the questions in the back of the pamphlet after studying the answers in the Book of Mormon! This is the first time I've ever met someone who has seriously 'investigated' the church through such careful study! We then shared with them the purpose of the Book of Mormon and the First Vision. The Spirit was so strong that Elder Torion and I both cried as I shared the First Vision. We extended a baptismal date, but they said they wanted to investigate further before committing to anything. However, we know they will progress.

Now, for the sad stuff. Our two progressing investigators who were set to be baptized in two weeks moved. That's right, they moved to another area four hours away.  We shared with them one last time and gave our testimonies. I hope they continue to progress in their new area. We told them to seek out the missionaries and continue to go to church.  I never knew how much you could love someone who you've known for less than a month, but I felt true love for these two as they progressed in the gospel. I pray that they will eventually be baptized.

Now, Spiritual thought time!
This week I started the war chapters in Alma, and I was reading in chapter 46 about the division among the Nephites starting with Amalickiah. Amalickiah wanted to destroy the Church of those who believed in Christ. Those belonging to this church were called Christians, go figure ;). What really stuck out to me was what it says in verse 15 where it talks about how the people "took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ".
Sometimes, I feel like we are embarrassed about our faith. Sometimes we don't like to stand up for our standards or let them slack because others might think we're stiff or boring. However, we cannot think this way. Like the Christians among the Nephites, let us gladly take upon ourselves the name of our Savior and represent Him by our actions.  As members of His church, we bear His name. We follow His example. We strive to represent Him in word and in deed. 
Let us not be ashamed of our belief. Let us not lower our standards for any reason. Let us remember that we are to become what God expects us to become, not what the world expects us to become.

Mahal ko kayo!
-Elder Anderson 

January 8, 2017

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

Kumusta po kayo lahat?  I'm doing really well. This week was quite honestly.... amazing!  I know now without a doubt that God does hear and answer our prayers and will send miracles if you are willing to bear your afflictions with patience and hope.

So, as most of you might have noticed from my previous emails, I've been having companionship problems that have been hindering the work here in Santa Ana. Thank you all for the advice you have given me and the prayers I've felt. I've felt strength and guidance from the Lord helping me understand what course I should take with my companion.  I had been praying for my companion to receive a prompting to change his behavior so that we could hasten the work here in Santa Ana. At the same time, I've been trying extra hard to remain diligent and not be discouraged with my companion's decisions.

Finally, last Thursday, I noticed a change. Elder Torion was super eager to go out and work. He was excited to evaluate the lessons for the day and he offered great advice that has helped me tremendously in the work. He told me that he had felt a prompting from the Holy Ghost to step up and help me. He said that he realized he didn't want to leave the mission with memories of laziness. Consequently, we were able to work really hard this week and finished with 48 lessons and 39 new investigators, leading the zone and breaking the mission standard! It was seriously a fantastic experience and we saw the fruits of our labors on sunday with several less-actives and investigators coming to church from our area!

That's all of the news I have this week about the work. I'll be more detailed next week!

Now for my spiritual thought, even though I already kind of gave one in the body of my email.
This week I was reading about the people of Ammon (aka, Anti-Nephi-Lehis) and their decision to bury their weapons deep into the earth because they feared that they would not be able to repent if they shed blood again. Even when the wicked Lamanites came upon them and began to slay them while they prayed in submission they decided they'd rather die than risk sinning again. They had become truly converted to the gospel and those who perished that day were accepted into the arms of God. This is quite possibly the greatest example of true conversion in the Scriptures.
Let us follow their example and bury our sins deep into the earth, never to touch them again no matter how hard the trials or temptations may be in our life. Let us trust in God and remember that He has a plan for us, and we will always be blessed if we decide to follow His counsel regardless of the circumstances we may face.
-Elder Anderson 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

January 1, 2017

Happy New Year Friends and Family!
I hope your New Year's experience was a lot more exciting than mine! We had a lockdown from the Area President telling all missionaries had to go to their apartment at 6:00pm and remain there for the rest of the night, following the sleeping schedule for missionaries.  Consequently, I ended up going to bed at 10:30 after reading the scriptures for four and a half hours.  I'm not complaining, it was a really awesome experience to feast upon the words of Christ, just not what you normally expect on a New Year's Eve.
This week was alright. The new Elders coming to our apartment showed up a day late based on a Typhoon that delayed travel times.  The problem was, they didn't inform us that they would be late, so we waited outside in the Typhoon for 4 hours looking for their bus, only to return home soaking wet at 10:30.  The next morning we were then informed that the other Elders would be arriving on Wednesday rather than Tuesday. So we had to wait the rest of Wednesday morning for them to show up by Jeep-ney.  It was a pretty nice experience.
The rest of the week wasn't very eventful.  New Year's is pretty big here and people we talked to were simply not interested in taking time away from their festivities, so we focused mainly on Less-Actives and Member Training lessons because they were willing to listen. We had some awesome lessons to some of the less-actives in our area.  The spirit was felt so strongly and they committed to come back to church the next Sunday. They didn't. But that's OK, I know they felt the Spirit because we felt the Spirit, which lets me know that I did my job as a missionary.
My companionship is still... interesting.  I've essentially become the Senior Companion in planning/evaluating/updating the Area Book, but my companion decides to not follow the plan I created and shared with him, so we're kind of in an interesting situation. 
Now for the Spiritual Thought.  I was reading in Mosiah this week about Abinadi and his words before the priests of King Noah.  He rebukes them for preaching the Law of Moses but not keeping it themselves.  This is a warning to all of us to not become hypocritical.  If we preach something, we need to teach it.  In other words, if we say we're going to do something, we need to really do it.  Words mean nothing if actions do not follow.  This new year, I hope all of us have made goals on how to help ourselves become more like Christ. I know I have.  However, how many times have people made new year's resolutions and simply forget them by February?  We say we're going to change, but we hardly do.  In Tagalog, that characteristic is "Parang Salita," meaning "Just Words."
I'm sure all of us have been "Parang Salita" at times in our life. However, we can always repent and change.  This year, let's try to do our very best to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.  Do not be like the wicked priests who are righteous in words but not actions.  Let us all truly strive to accomplish the goals we have to become more like Christ.
Until next week,
Mahal ko kayo! 

December 25, 2016

Hello everybody! Maligayang Pasko!

This week was pretty great. I had Christmas Conference with the whole mission, which was way fun.  Last Sunday we traveled to Laoag and went to our sleeping arrangements.  We got to stay in a hotel, which was pretty great because we had air conditioning, a showerhead (even though the water was cold), and a flushing toilet.  It was amazing.

On Monday morning, we traveled to the mission home and played games as a mission. We had trivia on PMG, water games, and other fun shenanigans. After that, we had three hours to "have P-Day", which consisted of emailing, eating lunch, and traveling to the place where we would be holding the evening session of Christmas Conference.  The evening session consisted of cultural dances and songs that each zone was assigned to prepare.  We performed a Samoan Slap Dance, and everyone said we were the best.  It was a blast. Everyone was happy and relaxed.

On Tuesday Morning, we had the speaking part of Christmas Conference at the chapel in Laoag.  The APs, President, and Sister Andrada all spoke to us.  All of the talks were focused on the vision of the mission for the next year.  They talked about obedience, new mission standards of excellence, and worldwide changes to the missionary schedule. I'm really excited for this next year and I hope to see a lot of progress as a mission.

After the speaking, we ate lunch and then traveled back to our areas and slept.

The rest of the week was alright, my companion is super trunky and doesn't want to work, so I just study all day while he sleeps. I ask him to work and he just replies that he has a headache, even though 20 minutes earlier he was just fine.

Transfers came and we're still companions for this next transfer so I need to figure out a way to help him change without causing contention.  However, our zone leaders got transferred and we have two new elders coming into our apartment. Hopefully the two new elders in our apartment will be able to help me with my companion because I'm out of ideas on what to do.

Anyway, that's it for this week, I hope you all had a nice, white Christmas!
-Elder Anderson

December 18, 2017

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!

Hello everyone! I'm here in Laoag City, having a great time. I hope you're all feeling the Spirit of Christmas at this wonderful time of the year!

Anyway, this last week was ok. I had some things happen with my companion that kind of hindered the work, so I don't have anything to report for you guys work-wise. Church was good, it was our Branch Conference so the district presidency came and spake along with our branch presidency. They all gave really good talks that addressed some problems in the branch.  Hopefully their words will improve our branch.

Yesterday we traveled eight hours by bus to Laoag. We got in around 8:30 and we immediately went to McDonalds.  I know that sounds so extremely American, but it was the best food I've had in a while.  I nearly cried when I bit into that Big Mac.  It was seriously amazing.

This morning we played games with the whole mission.  It was really fun and nice to relax a little bit.  I'm glad our mission president is willing to organize this mission conference for us.  There's a lot more to do for the Conference, so I'll let you know how the rest goes next week.

Have a great week everyone!  Remember to Light the World with acts of kindness towards others!  Become selfless towards others.  In the words of King Benjamin "When ye are in the service of your fellow beings, ye are only in the service of your God." Serve God by serving others this Christmas season and throughout your life by seeking out opportunities to give random acts of kindness.

Until next week everyone!
-Elder Anderson