Monday, November 29, 2010

Hello Family! Well I can't believe it's transfer announcements again next week! This transfer has gone by really fast. I'm not sure whether I'll get transferred or stay in La Castellana again, but I'll be happy either way. Although I would like to see some new stuff. This week definitely didn't feel like thanksgiving to me, but thats ok. Everyone is all excited about Christmas here, but it's hard for me to feel the Christmas spirit when it's 90 degrees or so with probably 98% humidity haha. Mainit gid! This week has been good though. We've just continued working hard, and always are trying to find the elect. And not just elect. We're trying to find people that are going to build the Church, because thats what the Church needs here. We're especially focusing on finding men, because while baptizing women is great and adds to the number of members, they are not going to build the Church. We need future priesthood leaders. So that is always going to be one of our main focuses. So the work is going well as usual. We have 2 more baptisms on December 11, and then 2 more scheduled for January 1st. And hopefully that number just continues to grow. If I get transferred, transfer day is December 10, so I will miss them all, but thats ok. Also if I get transferred I'll be spending my Christmas in a new area! So thats kind of exciting. You all sound like you are doing well, and are happy. Cold, but happy. I wouldn't mind a little bit of cold right now, maybe just 10 degrees cooler ha. So Rachel has found a new love huh? Well tell her she does not have permission to marry him until I get home and approve him myself. So I met an American this week! It was really weird speaking full out English, and not just the simple English I've been using for the past 4 months. He was a really nice guy, he's married to a Filipino lady, and she is originally from La Castellana. They are just staying till February. Apparently she used to work for the former Canadian prime minister or whatever who was a Filipino. Anyway we had a really good conversation about religion and our church and everything. Haha E. Ventigan was a little lost, so he got to see what it's like in my shoes! But yeah he was very appreciative of our church and all our standards and all the work we do and especially missionaries how they give up 2 years of their life to serve God and what not. He said he knew a few Mormons and they were all good people, and he said he is aware of how much the Church does for people. Also he said he even believed that God could have appeared to Joseph Smith! I invited him to listen to our message but he didn't want to. He is one of those people that doesn't believe we need religion to be saved.. A really good guy, just a little confused. I asked him if I gave him something if he would read it, and he said he'd read anything in English, sadly I didn't have an English Book of Mormon with me, so I gave him a pamphlet about the Plan of Salvation. And if I ever see him again I'll give him an English Book of Mormon. So anyway, that was my week! I'm attaching some pictures I took this week of some of the stuff I saw. I'll explain more about them in the next email. I have to send 2 for all the pictures to fit.

OK so I will explain about the pictures a little bit.. Sorry 2 of them are basically the same, I didn't mean to do that. Anyway the landscape ones are just of a little bit of what it looks like here in La Castellana. The one is with a karabaw pulling a cart of sugar cane. Thats basically mostly what they grow in this region. There are so many sugar cane fields. And the sugar cane is really tall. Anywhere from 10 to 14 feet high. And it tastes good too! The big volcano in the background is Mount Kanla-on. And it is huge! I'm not sure how big, but you can see it from miles away. Unless its rainy. Somedays it looks like it doesn't even exist. It's amazing. Very gorgeous here. The ones with the pig are just that. The Villanueva family made Lechon baboy to sell because brother Noel is in the meat business. So what they do is just kill a pig, empty out it's organs and stuff, stuff it with spices and whatever, put it on a big bamboo stick and roast it on a fire. And it is especially delicious! It was my "Thanksgiving Feast" haha. So yeah, that's just a little glimpse of what I get to see everyday. So thats all for me for this week, Thank you all for your prayers, emails, and everything. Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, November 22, 2010

Well hello family! I guess first off I should say Happy Birthday to Rachel today! and to Mom on Saturday! And Happy Thanksgiving! Wow I can't believe it's Thanksgiving already! Definitely doesn't feel like it here. Time continues to go fast. This week has been more successful than the past couple, as far as teaching lessons and having new investigators. And we had baptisms this week! Sister Jona and Brother Noel. I can honestly say, I have never seen anyone so ready to be baptized and confirmed as sister Johna, and I'm pretty sure I won't see many more like that throughout my whole mission. Don't get me wrong, her husband Noel was very ready to, but wow. Johna just blows you out of the water with her spirituality. But it's so great to have the whole family baptized now! And I had the privilege of baptizing them. All I can say is that scripture in D&C 18 that says "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!".." And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!" That is basically what I feel like when I get to see these people's lives change when they receive the gospel. I feel so honored and blessed to be able to experience all of the things that I am. In other news, I was groped by a gay man this week hahaha. That was a new experience. My first thought was to punch him in the face, but then I remembered I have learned to be more Christlike here on the mission, and that was not something Christ would do, so I just told him to never do that again. Ha Mother, I'm not being a ba hambug about Christmas, but I don't really need anything, and I don't want to be selfish, and I know shipping is way expensive here. So anyway, things are going well, my language is getting better, it just takes some time. At least I can understand most of what people say to me now, and even have a decent conversation. But I've still got a long way to go. Well I guess thats about all for me this week, thank you all for everything, love you all! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, November 15, 2010

Well hello fans! This week has been..... long to say the least haha. Basically we've just been trying to find people tp teach and walking and walking and talking LOTS. We haven't really found too many people though yet. Well, I mean we have, but they don't want to investigate the gospel haha. But I am confident that our efforts will yield success. Even if we don't see it immediately. I didn't see any more dead dogs this week though so no pictures.. sorry. I don't know things are starting to get to the point where everything that is so crazy in America is so normal to me here now, that I don't even think to take pictures of it haha. But oh well. Our church attendance this sunday was about 20 less than normal. Why you might ask? Well because Manny Pacquiao had a fight yesterday of course! Haha and he won in 12 rounds by unanimous decision. Just in case you were wondering. As for things I want or need... Umm basically I've already told you stuffs I want. Mom, basically they have everything here that they have in America so just send me whatever recipes. Chicken and Pork is readily available and beef is sometimes but it's kinda expensive. Other than that they have most everything. Including Potatoes! Yum! And they're not even pathetically small! Ha. So yeah recipes, pictures, and I'm not sure quite what else. Whatever you feel like sending I guess. Things are going well though. My language is getting better, though not by any means great, and I'm loving life here. I'm excited cause today we're going to play basketball, which I haven't done for a while. You all sound pretty busy doing stuff though. When are they reorganizing the stake presidency? Bishopric? They've been in there a while haven't they? Well it is most definitely not winter here! Not even close. Although people do have Christmas lights up and listen to Christmas music all the time. Filipino Christmas music is interesting. I actually like the most famous christmas album. I don't know the names of the people so I guess you can't look it up, but I have the whole album memorized because our neighbor listens to it every morning while I'm eating breakfast haha. It's going to be interesting having Christmas here. I don't think it's really even gonna feel like Christmas, but thats ok. The time is going by fast though, I just realized that I have been out 4 months now. and after Christmas nearly 6. Grabe! Time flies when you're working hard! I'm excited this week because the parents of the Villanueva family are getting baptized this week! Finally the whole family will be members! OK well I guess thats about it for me this week. Love you all! Love, Elder Andersen

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hello again, sorry I am writing a day late, yesterday we had to go to Bacolod so I could withdraw money cause the bank in La Carlota was broken. Talk about culture shock when going to Bacolod! That place is nuts! It's Huuuge and they have basically everything there. They have this mall/movie theater/grocery store called SM and it is a massive building with tons of stores. It's nicer than a lot of the malls in America. And at least as big. But it was cool cause I got a lot of stuff I wanted for cheaper there and what not. It was fun. So this week has been good, but hard at the same time cause we've just been trying to find people all week long. It wears you out pretty good, but it helps me with my language, trying to talk to people and stuff. Elder Ventigan is really good and he helps me learn new things about the language every companion study, and is just really good about helping me with it, for which I am very grateful. Time is going fast, everyone here is in a Christmas frenzy, but at the same time it doesn't feel like Christmas time when it's super warm and sunny outside and you are sweating and stuff ha. But thats ok. Things have been going good, Uncle Doug and Aunt Debbie and their family sent me a halloween letter yesterday, well technically they sent it like October 19, but I just got it yesterday, and it was really thoughtful of them. I'm attaching a picture of my new best friend I found this week: Yes, that is a dead dog. And yes, the people were going to eat it. They thought it was hilarious when I took a picture with it. It basically is though haha. I love the people here, they are amazing. I don't know if you can put this picture on my blog or whatever but if you can that would be cool. Doesn't it just look tasty? I actually do want to eat dog before I leave, and some other stuff too. I feel like my emails just get shorter and shorter every week because I don't know what to say.. The work is good, I'm good, and disease free! I'm learning to cook Filipino foods, and really be "Filipino". I'll let you know how that goes. So until next time- Love always, Elder Andersen

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hello again! It's November! Crazy! Doesn't feel like it here.. ha not quite the same on a tropical island.So this week has been good/long/hard but great nonetheless. I have a new companion! His name is Elder Ventigan, he's from somewhere in the Baguio mission. Not that that means anything to any of you.. anyway, he is pretty cool and fun, his english isn't quite as good as elder sanchez's but its ok I can understand his Illongish haha. Actually these first couple days he's been struggling a little speaking Illongo cause he just got transfered from a Cebuano speaking area, but he's good now. He speaks like 5 different languages it's amazing.But yeah the work is going to get harder for us this transfer because we "harvested" all our investigators the past couple transfers, so now we gotta find new people, and tracting just isn't as effective. Hopefully we can get the members to help us out with referrals and stuff, they are way more effective. So yes, they do have "halloween" here, but it's completely different than our halloweens. Here it's called all saints day, and basically they just make a ton of amazing traditional Filipino foods, and then in the evening go to the cemetery and light candles and stuff on their dead relatives graves. Apparently it's a big deal though. I'm just excited for the food haha. So Mom, I still would like those recipies, and some pictures of everyone in the family, and maybe one of the rexburg temple, and our house and surrounding areas and stuff, if thats at all possible. Just so I can show people what it's like where I live. The Villanueva family I'm always telling you about is particularly interested haha, they have all our families' names memorized! And they've never even seen pictures cause I don't have pictures of everyone. Anyway things have been going good. The Illongo is coming along slowly but surely. I can't wait for the day I can speak it fluently! Hopefully that day comes.. So do you guys have snow already? I'm gonna miss having a white Christmas. Welllllll I can't really think of anything cool to write about now, so till next week! Love, Elder Andersen