Monday, November 28, 2011

Kamusta family? Things are going well here. It was good to hear about
your thanksgiving and other adventures. So it's starting to get cold
there huh? I'm gonna miss skiing again this year. Oh well, There will
still be winters to come. Well this week we've had a bit going on as
well. On Thursday we had this big training, and they announced to us
what the new 2012 Philippines Area Presidency's focus and expectations
are. A lot is changing! But it's all for good. Well first off, the
Philippines is pretty much a miracle! It's one of the smallest
countries, the Church has only been here for 50 years, but it has the
4th highest population of members in the Church! Whereas if you
compare it to Finland for example, the Church has been there for 70
years, and there are only 6,000 members! The only problem is, out of
those 645,000 in the Philippines, only 114,000 are active. That's
531,000 souls that are lost! In the last 5 years the Church has seen
tremendous growth here. There have been 77,000 converts. Again the
problem; Only 14,000 are active! That means that there are 63,000
souls that are lost just from the last 5 years! It was a really
painful and sad experience. They had us think about our recent
converts, and then, for example, if you had 30, they said only 5 or 6
would remain active in the Church. The other 25 would just add to that
enormous statistic of inactives. So the Presidency's focuses all
revolve around 2 Nephi 32:3. I'll be a little disappointed if you
don't all know that one.. They have 4 major focuses, and they are as
follows:(1) Strengthen Families. (2) Establish the Church. (3) Save
the Rising Generation. (4) Rescue the One. Then we had some training
about how we are to do that. The biggest one for me was using the Book
of Mormon effectively. Here especially in the Philippines, it's so
important for converts to have a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and
to be reading it! Because I've seen, from sad experience, that as soon
as they stop they start down "forbidden paths and are lost". People
here are really shy/ashamed so if they do something wrong they won't
come to Church cause they are too ashamed or afraid. They encouraged
us to visit as many members possible, especially the inactive, less
active, and recent converts, and teach them the lessons again, and
teach them as if they are investigators, because for some people, they
pretty much are. This puts a lot of weight on our shoulders, but I am
really excited for it. They told us there is now NO TRACTING. Rather
than tracting, we are to use all the time we would have spent
tracting, in visiting and teaching these people. It definitely added
to my testimony that the Lord is at the head of this church, and that
he has a great work in store. This is just the beginning. In January
the Area Presidency is going to have a satellite broadcast about this
as well for everyone here. It's just like Elder Teh said back in May,
that the work here is going to explode. It's a good feeling knowing
you are serving the Lord and to participate in such a great work. I
love you all and thank you all for your prayers and everything else
you have all done/are doing for me. Love Elder Andersen

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