Monday, October 31, 2011

Hello everyone, and Happy Halloween! this week has been all right. We didn't get to work a lot due to meetings, and we transferred houses and just a lot of other things. We're struggling with our investigators a little bit, in trying to get them to commit themselves to living the gospel. Again, the problem is the parents don't want to change and the children do. If the parents keep that up we're going to have to drop them and find people that do want to change their lives instead of spending a lot of time making people elect, rather than finding elect people right off the bat. We did get a referral this week though. We talked to the dad and he was super nice. The mom of the family wasn't there, so we set up an appointment for this week, and we are constantly talking to other people we meet as we walk places, etc.. We had our zone conference this week. It was pretty good. It's always a good thing to receive more training and mold yourself into a better missionary. President Tobias wasn't able to speak to us because he had an emergency, so that was a little disappointing, but it's all right. This week we also moved into our actual area! We've been going home to Manapla, which is about a 15-20 ride from Caduha-an. Unless there is traffic due to construction. One time we waited for over an hour. It was a real hassle to not live in our area, so we were happy to move to our area! Our house is pretty nice. It even has a working shower! Thats only my second one on the whole mission! The only problem is we don't have anything else haha. They left us with our beds, desks, a fridge, and a rice cooker. So today we went and bought a lot of the other stuff we needed (they'll reimburse us) and then they'll bring stuff hopefully later this week that we need, like a stove and and iron. We're getting along all right though. You'd be surprised what you can cook in a rice cooker! I didn't know those things even existed until I got here. So hopefully this move will help the work move along here. Now we can work in the morning, and later into the night as well. Although it is a little more boring with only 2 of us in the house now. I don't know if I told you what they do for "Halloween" here. Here it's called All souls day, and all saints day. Technically it's a Catholic holiday, but pretty much everyone participates in it. The Catholics go to the cemeteries and light candles and say prayers of sorts or something and then leave food offerings on the graves and stuff like that. Members of the Church just visit the graves of their loved ones and leave flowers and things. The best part is though, everyone cooks all this amazing food and invites you to come over and eat it! That's tomorrow, and I can't count how many members told us to stop by their house and eat! We're excited for it. Sad to say there's not really anything you can do to help Monique. There would be no way to transfer money, and I'm not even allowed to do stuff like that.. It's sad, but that is life here. I've decided if I ever get rich one day I'm going to come here and help people whose lives could be changed with just a simple surgery such as cleft palette/lip and things like that. Christmas package huh. Hmm all right well I've been thinking about it. I would really like some new socks. Mine are nearly a year and a half old by now and have about had it, and socks here are not good quality. I don't need anything fancy, just some black socks. I would also like some deodorant from America. Old spice as usual. Some tooth whitening stuff would be great so I can get those pearly off whites to change to pearly whites! I could really use a good jump rope so I can exercise in the morning and not get fat. And I think it would be neat if you guys could send me some things that I could give away to people. You know, little dinky things like key chains, and whatever. Nothing fancy or expensive. I just want to give them something. Other than that I can't think of anything, unless Mom wants to throw in some of her famous candy and other Christmas treats. Christmas is my favorite holiday! All righty, well that's all for me this week. Want you all to know I love you, the Church is true, and this is the best decision I have ever made. Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hello Family, friends? Fans? Sounds like you all have been having lots of fun with those little chillins! It's a bummer I'm probably not the favorite uncle anymore, seeing as I don't even know some of them very well at all! It's all right, when I get back I'll become the favorite again. I'm glad Lara did well and is choosing to run again. Cross country was probably one of the better decisions I made in high school. I had a lot of good friends and learned a lot and had a lot of fun. Well things haven't been as rainy this week. It's pretty much just back to normal weather here now. The work is going well. We are teaching several families, and they are doing well. The problem is, they wanted to listen to us so that their kids would change. They have problems with their teenagers and stuff and so they want us to teach them so that they will change their lives and become good kids. We explained to them that they as parents need to set the example for them and change as well. Change isn't as easy for older people I think, but they'll come around :) The preaching of the word of God, after all, has a more powerful affect upon people than the sword, or anything else. They also have some really good fellowshippers, so it's only a matter of time. It has been really neat though. A mother from one of the family's we are teaching has already given us two referrals! The work is so much easier for us when you teach people that really have an interest to listen! So that has been really good. We're continually trying to find new investigators and new people to teach, reactivate members, get active members to qualify themselves to go to the temple, etc.. The list goes on and on. I love my job! Probably the best one I'll ever have! I wish you all could experience what living in the Philippines is like. It's really just a wonderful place. Last night we rode home on a 40 ton sugarcane truck! We were just standing there waiting for a bus, but this truck came and stopped and told us to get in, so we did! Just another experience to add to the list! It's kinda bad though cause things don't even phase me anymore cause I'm so used to it. The other day we just saw all these guys driving around on mopeds in the middle of nowhere, and each one of them had an m16 strapped to them. Apparently they were chasing some guys through the sugarcane that had just robbed a bunch of people. Pretty much just an everyday thing here. Ok mother, I'll have a list of stuff I want for Christmas next week. Can you wait that long? Well I suppose that is all for me this week. Thanks to you all for your love, prayers, and thoughtfulness on my behalf. Love you all. Love, Elder Andersen             Oh, P.S. I decided to send a few pictures. The first one is just the four of us in our house right now. Four 'Canos! Well, 3 'Canos and one Austrailian. But we're all white. The second one is a picture of Monique. She's a members daughter, and is super cute. She has a congenital cataract and will go blind unless it is removed. But, of course the family doesn't have enough money to get that surgery done. It's one of the saddest things I've seen here. The sad thing is, this is everyday life for the people here. I don't send things like this to make you all feel sad, but to help you realized how blessed we all are for living where we do and for everything we enjoy. It has definitely opened my eyes. The third is a picture of us at stake conference. It's just a lot of members from the branch I'm serving in right now. All right, well now I'm done. Love you all!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Hello everyone. Sounds like you are all having a great time doing
everything you are doing! Is it getting cold there now? Still super
hot here as always! Well actually this week there was supposed to be a
big baguio come and hit us, but it went across our island without
raining a single drop! It was a signal one storm, and hit mindanao,
cebu, and was supposed to dump here on negros, but just crossed it and
dumped on panay instead. I guess you could say we lucked out, but I
really want to experience one. Not a bad one, but a signal one isn't
that bad, just a lot of rain. Other than that things have been going
well. Our investigators are doing well, and we are finding more people
to listen to us. Pretty exciting. Oh we had stake conference on Sunday
and that was good. The 2nd counselor of the Cebu temple came and
spoke, it was pretty neat. I don't know why, but everyone that spoke,
spoke in English. I mean, I know the Church really encourages people
to study English, I just think realistically they should speak in a
mix of English and Illongo so that people actually understand the
message they are trying to deliver to. It's not right that only people
that can understand English should benefit. Oh well, at least they
could still feel the spirit. As far as work, well we just keep on
keepin on! I don't have any investigators specifically to talk about
right now cause none have gone to church the past 2 weeks cause it was
way far away. So hopefully they exercise their faith and come to
church this sunday! It's always frustrating when investigators don't
keep their commitments. But things are going well, and I'm excited for
our investigators and the work in general. I guess I'll tell a quick
story. Earlier today we were eating at this place and the owner came
and talked to us and was just talking about the Philippines and the
Filipino people, and he was telling us how hard it is for Filipinos to
get to America cause he's been trying for 20 years or something.
Anyway, he was telling us how the Philippines is kind of a joke and
how unorganized and there is no unity. He said only 7% of the
population controls the whole nation and that is why it is such a
mess. He was like. "there are 90 million people in the Philippines and
only 7% percent is in control!" Really, he's right. I love this
country, but it is really sad to see some of the things that happen to
it. The rich people run everything and there are few rich. Nothing
benefits the poor. The rich only get more wealthy, while the poor
remain in poverty. If you want to get anywhere in this country you
have to be educated, but they can't become educated because they have
no money to do so! Everyone is just stuck in a cycle. That is exactly
what this man was saying. He said that the Philippines should be like
a state of the U.S. like Guam, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. He said back
in the day, most of the people wanted that, but this one guy, Manuel
Quezon, said, "I would rather have a country run like hell by
Filipinos than a country run like heaven by Americans." And the man
talking to us said that this is exactly what has happened to the
country. It was a really interesting conversation. I still love this
country, and always will. So, things are going well. I'm becoming a
pro at climbing coconut trees, cause we have about 5 of them at our
house and I always climb up and get 'em. They are way tasty! Real
bummer that we don't have them in America! Sorry I don't have a really
exciting email for you all! I'll try to repent and do better next
time! Welp, love you all! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hello family! Well this week has been a pretty good one. We watched general conference this week, and it was awesome! It strengthens my testimony every time that Jesus Christ is at the head of this church and guides us through living prophets and apostles. Their messages are truly inspired and I have learned so much. I was a little shocked to see how old Robert D. Hales and Richard G. Scott have gotten though. I can't believe President Monson has been an apostle for 48 years now! Holy cow! Time flies when you're doing the Lord's work, I can testify of that. Well our investigators are doing well, except none of them came to general conference. Real bummer. We are so blessed in America to watch it in our homes, or even just go to a close by church to watch it. Here the stake borders are large, and from the farthest point in the stake it takes a good hour by bus to get to the stake center, and a large amount of money to pay if you have a family. If it's just one person, it's not too bad, but still a good sum of money for these people. I am touched by the faith of the members here, and all their sacrifices they make to spread the gospel and live the gospel. There are times when it makes me sick with how blessed I am in my life. I had to fight back tears the other night when we visited our elders quorum president because of the condition of his home. It's made of some 1/8 inch plywood, rusted metal, bamboo, and some random other materials to make what we would call a shack and probably would demolish the thing. But it is their home. It was raining hard, and water was pouring in through the "roof", which is no more than rusty 1/4 inch sheets of metal with large holes, allowing water to pour in. The back wall of the house is pretty much just styrofaom and some kind of fabric, so the house behind can't see in. But no matter how bad their situation is, they are happy and full of faith. When it started raining he just kind of laughed and said, "Sorry Elders my house is a little bit broken. I've been meaning to fix it, but we don't have the money yet." Then he continued to talk to us about what he had read in a church book earlier during his lunch break. It was about Joseph F. Smith when those ruffians were coming through and said they would kill any Mormon. Well you know the rest of the story. Anyway, brother commented something like this," The early members of the church had some pretty rough trials didn't they?" and here he is with rain pouring into his house that is falling apart and his wife and 3 little kids. My heart always breaks with people like that. The Requirons are kind of the same. Their house is just really tiny though, it doesn't leak water. But there are 5 of them in a room about the size of our entry room. I always just want to like drop money or something when I meet such people. They help strengthen my testimony and want to work harder, and to be grateful for all the blessings I enjoy in my life. Also this week I found out that zombies are real! And I'm not joking! We were at a members house and she was telling us about where she grew up. She grew up on panay (the island next to us), and lived in a place a 14 hour walk to the closest city. No cars, motorcycles, or anything else could get in there cause it is so mountainous. So you had to walk. Anyway, she said no one owned the land, they just lived off the land and enjoyed their lives. It actually sounded a lot like the law of consecration until she told us about the zombies. She was just explaining the life of people and then she was talking about when people die and then they come alive again. And I was like, wait what?? And she was like, "yeah, they died and then then get up again and are alive, but not at the same time." So I continued to ask her about these things and she said that when people die, they would mourn for them, and then they would get up and walk out of the house and then just continue to walk around for however long. They can't bend their arms or legs or anything, and nothing can "kill" them except water. I didn't think she was serious, but she was! She said they won't hurt you if they know you, but if they don't know you they will chase you and kill you and eat your nose and ears. She said they can't talk but make noises. If someone killed them, they will get revenge on the person. If they just died a natural death, they just walk around for however long I guess. She said sometimes they are like "alive" for more than a year. They only eat these certain weed things, and when they are hungry they can't talk, so they just come up to the door and scratch on it and make these really creepy noises. I asked her what happened if you didn't give them food, and she was just like, "you always give them food." I asked her how/why that happened when people died, and she said it's because they didn't have a church there, believe in God, or even know who he is really. She was converted when she went to Manila for work as a teenager. It was way weird. I never thought zombies were real, but they are! She was like, "Why are you so curious about them, don't they have them in America?", and I was like, "Umm, no way!" and she was like, "But I always see them on t.v. so I just thought they had them everywhere." Haha. So yeah, zombies are real. Well I guess that is it for me this week! Thank you all for your thoughts and love and everything else! Love you all! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hey Fam. It's me again! So I'll be staying here in Caduha-an again with Elder Groves.   almost no one in our zone of 16 missionaries left except for the other missionary in our apartment and one in Cadiz. The new missionary in our apartment is Elder Newman, from Australia. We went bowling, played pool earlier, and had some really expensive dinner (200 pesos or $4.55), it was pretty fun. Also good news: we may have found a house to rent in Caduha-an. The owner is an inactive member who's coming back to Church, and he wants to move his family out closer to his relatives. The main reason is that they have a 7 year-old daughter who basically grew up with her cousins and aunts and uncles out there because her mom worked out of the country. So the girl goes home from school with her cousins, and when her parents come to pick her up she refuses to come home because all her friends are out there. As in, there are week stretches where she never goes home, which is understandably sad for her mom who just wants to spend time with her daughter. So everyone wins: they build a house out there and live with their relatives in the meantime, and we get to live inside our area, which would be a great help to our work.
No general conference for us this week, the Philippines is on a one week delay for conference so we're getting ready for conference this week, inviting everyone we can to come hear the words of the living prophets. So the best news from last week is the baptism of the Requiron family. Well, the baptisms of the two parents, the daughter will be baptized in a few weeks. She was all ready and waiting, we were going to baptize her father first, then her mother, and then her, but the second Elder Groves immersed the dad the poor girl starts screaming: she thought he was gonna drown. The reason being that, even though these people are surrounded by water, not many people except the rich and the fishermen are comfortable around water. So this little girl thought Elder was drowning her dad and she was next. She sprinted into the bathroom and even with the entire attendance trying to calm her down, she wouldn't have it. So we'll have her father do it in a few weeks (general conference and stake conference take up the next couple of weekends), and explain to her that she won't drown. The whole thing was a lesson about teaching to people's needs and adapting the lesson to everyone, not just the parents. (That girl had quite a pair of lungs. Elder Groves was standing in the font still, trying to figure out what to do, and I walked over and leaned on the glass barrier. Elder Groves looked up and asked me, "Can I ask if the Spirit's gone?" "It might be." But He came back when the parents bore their testimonies after they had come back in).So this week also had a weird coincidence, we were working near the branch president's house, and we stopped by a part-member family. The member working with us (son of the branch president, and a returned missionary) and the guy knew each other pretty well and were chatting. He wasks the wife where she's from, and she says "Pandanan." I perked up a bit and asked, "Pandanan near Himoga-an Baybay?" we kept talking, and it turns out that her parents were his next door neighbors in my 2nd area! And not just that, her parents joined the Church a couple of years ago, after she'd moved out. A really weird coincidence, considering these two families are way far away from each other, and live in some really back country, middle-of-nowhere places. But they are listening and hopefully she will be baptized too! Ok well gotta go! Love ya all! Elder Andersen