Monday, July 9, 2012

Hey there Family. Wow, I can't believe this is my last week. Lots of mixed emotions, and a lot of thoughts on my mind. Things have been good this past week. This last transfer for me has been a bit difficult and I've had to work really hard, but now we are starting to see the fruits of our labors. Next transfer they should have about 6 baptisms. On Saturday we had one, Mike. He is 9 years old, and the son of the 1st counselor, they just forgot to have him baptized or something? Haha yeah, that's how the church is here sometimes. But it was good. He and his little sister were baptized together so it was neat. I really don't know too much of what to say, especially since we'll be seeing each other so soon. I probably won't email next week, but we'll see. I'm so grateful for this opportunity I have had to come and serve here. I know this is the place I was supposed to be. I've definitely changed a lot, (hopefully all for the better!) but I'm still my goofy self. Maybe even a little goofier, since I can't speak English correctly anymore. I just want to thank you all for the support and love you have given me since I've been here in the mission. I love you all and will see you all soon. Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hey Fam! Thanks for all the birthday wishes! I'm surprised you all remembered my birthday, I barely did! Watch out world, Elder Andersen can now purchase hand guns and alcohol! Woohoo! This past week has been pretty good. We were in Bacolod for 2 days for meetings and stuff. Turns out President Tobias is being extended for a week haha. He was supposed to go home today, but President Lopez is sick in the MTC in Provo, so they want to give him some more time to get rested up before he takes office. Well it's super rainy right now, there's another baguio rollin in. I swear it's been raining for 24 hours straight. Yesterday at church was a little emotional for me seeing as it was my last fast and testimony sunday on the mission. I have to admit, there might of been some tears leaking out of my face when I bore my testimony. It's going to be hard for me to leave this life and start a new one. But thanks to everything I have learned here I will be able to do that. I can't imagine trying to live my life without going on a mission. How do other people do it? Well it sounds like everything back home is going all right except J Bieb's head! Cripes! He probably should have made up a cooler story, instead of admitting the hammer bounced off the printer and hit him in the head.. haha oh well. He'll probably have a cool scar. Well I just wanna thank you all for everything you have done to get me here where I am right now. I couldn't have done it without you! I love you all! Have a good 4th of July this week. Maybe don't let J Bieb play with the fireworks, one might bounce off the ground and burn his hair off. OK well see you all in a few. Love, Greg

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hello Family. Long week this week. I have never walked so long or far in my life. Or at least on my mission. But I really enjoy it cause it's like hiking. The only downside is you're in your church clothes. Too bad we don't have bikes or it'd be like mountain biking! Well i have no more worries about that science foundations class cause I switched it to an online one. Now I don't even have to go to class. Sweet. Well some good things have happened this week. Our attendance went up from last week, but of course still not as much as I want it to be. You can never be fully satisfied in this work because if you do you become stagnant. Anyway, so we had a leadership training this last week. It was really good, and for a lot of the elders there, their last time to see President Tobias, cause they are going home on July 1st. But I will see him again this week cause we have another meeting to go to. Also he said he and Sister Tobias are going to meet us in Manila and go to the temple and stuff and maybe even take us out to eat! What a swell guy. I really like him, and he has done miracles in this mission. When I first got here, the Bacolod mission was not a very high performing mission, and other missions would kind of make fun of it, but now, out of the 17 missions in the Philippines, we are a steady 1st and 2nd in all the numbers, overall making us probably the best performing mission in the Philippines. It's really amazing. Well I'm really just trying to give my all these past 3 weeks. I get real sad sometimes thinking about leaving here and not seeing these people, and having to go back and face reality. I could be happy staying here for the rest of my life. But life must go on, and so it does. I think it would be really cool to get some kind of job where I can come back here and master Tagalog and Cebuano. Then I could get around anywhere in this country. Well I only have a few weeks to go. I have a lot of mixed feelings. I'm not too excited about my 4 hour layover in Seattle, but that's life. I tried to send you a picture, but this ancient computer wouldn't let me. But it was a picture of a magnum bar and the stick. I discovered they now have those in the Philippines! Who would have thought? Ok well I gotta go. I love you all tons. Love Elder Andersen

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hey Fam. This week has been all right. There's a Baguio right now, sow it's been pretty rainy all week. But today the sun is out and it's as hot as always. The work this week has gone ok. We've been going out to some really far places this week to try and find some of the members on our CMIS list. We've done LOTS of walking. I'd say on average 7-10 miles a day. It actually feels like hiking for the most part since we're up in the mountains/jungle. I'm not really sure how some of these people were found and taught by missionaries/went to church long enough to be baptized. We have had some success with it though. This one old man that lives way out in the boonies came to church yesterday for the first time in probably like 10 years. Maybe longer. Attendance was low yesterday cause of the rain. Filipinos are scared of rain, and don't leave their houses if it's raining. One of those culture things that needs to change. We've just continued to do a lot of work with our less actives. Things are going well. I can't believe I only have 1 month left. It just doesn't seem real to me. Well still no requests of what you people want, so I'll probably bring you all some back scratchers. Well my classes don't seem like they're going to be too hard.. I'm only worried about the science foundations one. And a little bit about the first aid one. But mostly the science foundations one. I have not heard good things about the teacher. Things like, "Key in on this! DO NOT take this class from Bro wall. He does not prepare you for the tests at all, he talks about things that don't even pertain to science, and he teaches solely from power points which is not helpful. Avoid him at all costs." "Bro. Wall is a nice guy but his teaching is not very helpful! I feel like he doesn't know the material himself and the questions on the test don't have anything to do with what he teaches or what is in the book. I would not recommend him for science foundations." "He's one of those power point teachers. He's a nice guy and means well, but he just reads off the power point and doesn't explain things. I found his teaching method frustrating." So I don't know how I feel about that one. I might be able to survive it haha. Also where am I going to get a guitar? It's funny, I was just thinking last week, "If Mom still has those dining room chairs that squeak and creak every time you move when I get back, I'm going to kill myself." Haha cause my chair at my study desk is the exact same way and it drives me CRAZY! I cannot concentrate at all. Also if we still have the same internet I might kill myself as well. So hopefully Larj gets those things all fixed up. Well President Tobias goes home in a couple weeks, so we're gonna be having all these trainings and conferences and things. Busy last month! Also, I still didn't get your package... So it might be in neverland by now. Was there anything valuable in it? But my companion told me his package took 4 months to get to him once. The only problem is I don't have 4 months left. Oh well. Ok well thanks for getting all my stuff ready for school and everything else. It's kinda fun trusting your life and decisions into somebody else's hands haha. Ok well I better get going. Love you all! Love Elder Andersen

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hey all, well there have been a few things that have happened this week. I now have a new companion, Elder Phelps, who is from Arizona as well. He's also my last companion, and now I'm in my last transfer. Crazy. Well this past week has been really busy with transfers and everything, but it's gone well. On sunday we had stake conference. Elder Ian S. Ardern of the first quorum of the seventy, and second counselor in the Philippines area presidency visited. We had quite a good turnout, even though Manny the pacman Pacquiao was fighting at the exact same time. Elder Ardern spoke about paying tithing. He said there is too much poverty in this country. The Lord has given us a way to escape it and that is through paying our tithing. He was pretty bold with them. I'm just afraid that the people that needed to hear it the most were not able to understand him. But I guess that's what we're for. He also touched a little bit about reading the scriptures. He said, "We're not asking you to study 2 hours a day like the missionaries, or even 1 hour. Even 15 minutes a day is 15 times better than no minutes." So that was really good. That's the first time I've ever had a 70 come to stake conference on my mission. President and Sister Tobias also came. It was their last stake conference. They're going home July 1st. So I'll get a new mission president for a little over two weeks. The work has been going ok. Not as well as I would like, but I can't force people to make good decisions. Well I hope everything has been going well for you all. Dad's trip sounded really neat. I wonder if I'll ever get to come back here. I'd really like to. So I guess that's everything for me. Last call for souveniers! Tell me what you want people, or you're not getting anything! OK well love you all. I attached a couple pictures. One is my zone with Elder Ardern, and the other is just a view of what I see everyday. Love, Elder Andersen

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hey family. Well first off, yes I need you to register for me if that's ok. I have no idea what I want to take, I've been trying for nearly an hour now to look at the course catalog and stuff but the stinkin computer won't load it! Needless to say, I am REALLY frustrated! So basically I just need at least 14 credits. I still need to take a lot of foundations classes and stuff, so yeah. But I don't want my first semester back to be too hard, cause I have forgotten a lot about pretty much everything, so I don't want to kill myself that first semester. Just use your best judgement in some classes I need to take and also ones I would find interesting and enjoy. Thank you, you're all the best. Also one of my friends from the mission emailed me and wants me to live with him, and he's trying to get it taken care of this week before all the apartments get taken. I would really appreciate it if you could work something out with him. He's the one from Salmon. His name is Nathan Stokes. His email address is I don't know how it's all gonna work out, but it's ok if everything doesn't go perfectly I will forgive you haha. Well I've used up pretty much all my internet time trying to get that stinkin thing to work, but this week was ok. We didn't get to work very much cause we had meetings for like 2 days straight and other stuff. Attendance dropped a little bit, but it was still good and we had a lot of less active folks come out to church. Well transfers are this wednesday, so my companion Elder Winfield will probably be transferring cause he's been here a real long time. This will also be my last transfer, and last companion. I can't believe it's almost over. I'm just trying to work hard and give it my best these last 6 weeks. I know I don't give too much information, but I can give you all you want in 6 weeks. I just hope you guys can see the change that has taken place in my life and that you can see I am a better person. I love you all and thank you for all your support. Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hey Family! Well another one bites the dust. I can't believe another week has flown by! I only have 8 weeks left. Well we've had some good things going this week. We had a really good fireside that will hopefully really help this ward progress, a couple investigators are doing well and will be baptized in June. I'm loving the work. Today Elder Winfield and I got to go with a senior couple all over our zone and do apartment checks. It was cool just to talk to them and learn from them and what life in America is like (they've only been out like 2 months) They said that I had a little bit of an accent but nothing too bad. We talked about cool things though and I learned a lot. The Elder had an Ipad and he let us play with it for a little. It was like being a little boy in a candy shop! I forgot what technology is like! well i've got about 0 time left to email, so I"m afraid i have to leave you here. well i love you all and thank you all for your support. if you vote for me all of your wildest dreams will come true! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hey there family. Well it was good to talk to Mom and LJ last week. Sorry if I seemed boring! Or talked weird, or looked fat! Anyway, this last week has been pretty good here in Dian-ay ward. On Sunday, we had 20 more people at church than we have the past 3 weeks! Hopefully it just continues to stay that way. One of the problems we have is that people come in groups. So like one sunday a big group of people from one place will come, but then the next sunday they aren't there and a different group from a different place comes. We're really trying to help them come every sunday. Some cool things that have happened lately. A former branch president that hasn't come to church for around 7 years started coming back with his family! One of the neatest things I have seen from the rescue effort. And a huge help to the ward, because he can now help a lot of the people that became members during his time come back to church. Another thing is about this old woman we are teaching. We just call her Nanay. She is 77 years old, and her son and his family were baptized a couple months ago. She's been listening to the missionaries for a while, but never went to church or anything cause she's had a stroke before, and it's really hard for her to walk. Well for the past 2 weeks in a row she has come to church! She lives relatively close, but it still takes her a while to very very slowly walk to the church. But she has such great faith that she just continues, and she wants to be baptized! We taught her this past week and we taught about the restoration and Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, and then we gave her a commitment to ask God if everything we taught her is true, and then she just started praying right then and there! It was kinda funny, but really cool at the same time. She has a lot of faith. Another cool thing. We bought 2 kilos of fresh mangoes for 120 pesos (around $3) and 4 pineapples for 50 pesos (around $1.10)! Fruit is way cheap and way delicious! I'm really going to miss it when I go home.. Well we've had a lot of other cool stuff happen too. For the first time we know of, we were able to have a priests quorum! There were 5 of them that came to church, and they brought a non member friend. Then we talked about the priesthood, what it means, and what the responsibilities are, and how we can help get the other young men that are less active to church. Way cool. Then on Sunday, we are having a missionary fireside about the goals of the area presidency and how we can apply it in this ward. Things are moving along. There are still a lot of problems, a lot of members offended and what not for whatever reason, but things are continuing forward. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing! Not even the fiesta and the plaza next to out house where they play annoying techno music from speakers bigger than a car all night long for 3 nights in a row! We're just a little on the sleepy side :) Right now we're in Bacolod cause I had to get a chest x ray. Don't worry, all departing missonaries have to get them. Ok well I gotta go, but I love you all and hope you're all doing well! Love Elder Andersen!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Hey Fam. Soo next week is Mother's day unless I'm mistaken. Is Mom even going to be in America? If not I guess I will just enjoy skyping with whoever is home. I'm not sure what's gonna go down. I'll probably just call you and let you know I'm on like I did last year or something. And if all else fails, I'll see you guys in two months anyway. Well this week has been.. busy! This is probably the busiest time in my whole mission. So I was only with my companion until Thursday this week, and then some elders were having some problems, so I've been working in a different area since then, but hopefully it'll all get worked out early this week. We had 2 baptisms this past weeks. Two brothers. One is 9 and the other 11. Their parents and older siblings were baptized like a month ago, but for some reason the two kids didn't get baptized with them. So that was good. Pretty much I'm just tired all the time. We get up at 6:30 and study, eat, and then we are out of the house by 11 or 12 and we don't get back until 10 sometimes cause there is no mode of transportation back to our house so we walk about 5 miles home. Then we get home, plan, shower, and if we have enough energy, eat. If not, we just sleep, and the process repeats. It's crazy but I love it. I can definitely tell the Lord helps us be able to continue and work like that. Things are getting better here in the ward. It's really cool to just have all this experience now that I can apply to the work here. I wish I knew everything I know now, before my mission! Oh well. I can't imagine not going on mission. I would be real lost I think. I've met some really hard hearted people the past couple weeks, and they've told us that they are never coming back to the church, and if we keep visiting them they will not let us in. It's really sad. I feel kind of like Mormon sometimes when he tried to help the Nephites but they were too hard. Sometimes I feel like standing on top of a mountain and shouting, "O ye fair ones.." But I know we have done our best to try and help these people and their blood is upon their own garments now. It still makes you feel really sad though. It's sad that the hardest hearted people I've met are members. Other Filipinos would never be like that. It's crazy. Well I guess that's it for me right now. Talk to you all next week! Love, Greg

Monday, April 30, 2012

Well hey all. So, I transferred again, and am now up in the mountains in a place called Dian-ay! And when I say mountains, I mean mountains, holy cow! It's way cool though, I'll have to see if I can send ya'll some pictures next week or somethin. Also, a lot of the people are Cebuano here, so it's exciting to try and learn. I hope I can get it down by the time I get home! My companion is Elder Winfield from Tuscon, Arizona. He's real cool and we get along well and have a lot in common. I always seem to find weird connections with my American companions, and this one is that two of his older siblings worked at Jacob lake. Russell and
Hilary Winfield. So Miriam and Andrea, do you know either of them? Weird huh? I didn't think anyone else knew that place existed. But this week was good and I'm really enjoying the work here. I definitely don't feel like I'm going home in 3 months, other than the fact I am always tired, which might have something to do with all the mountain climbing we've been doing. This place is kinda what I thought of when I thought Philippines. I'm trying to adjust to Cebuano. It's not too hard, cause it's close to Illongo, but there are differences. If the people are speaking pure Cebuano, I can probably only understand about 50% of the conversation. My companion doesn't know Cebuano either, but it's all right cause people here understand Illongo too. Just understanding them is the problem sometimes haha. Well, I suppose that it for me this week. Love you all! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hey Family, what's kickin? Well this week has been good. We had zone conference this past week. It was really good. I was able to talk with President Tobias about some of the problems and challenges in the branch I'm serving in. And just got some good motivation to sprint to the finish of my mission. Only 2 transfers left! I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. I just try to avoid thinking about it too much. Well our work has been about the same. We get around to about 90% of the members each week, or at least to their houses. One of the biggest challenges in this area, is that no one is home from about 1 to 5, so we get punted a lot from out appointments, cause everyone is out working in the sugarcane and rice fields. But at least we get to stop by and let people know we care about them. Another challenge is that we can't teach if there are no males in the home. So even if there are some people home, and no males, you still can't teach them. Our attendance was at 23 this sunday. I was hoping for a lot more, but you know that's life. I taught the youth book of mormon sunday school class. There was only 3 of them, and I was teaching and explaining about mosiah 7-9 and everything that happened there. How the people of King Limhi discovered the civilization of the Jaredites. Then I asked them if they knew who the Jaredites were. They didn't. So then I had to go off and explain the story of the Jaredites. They also didn't know the story of the Tower of Babel. Haha. Spiritual babies. But it's ok, I'm glad I could help them grow in a knowledge of the gospel. Transfers are on Wednesday. I'm not sure if I'll transfer or not. I won't find out until tomorrow. If I don't, I'll most likely be in this area until the end of my mission. So I sent you some pictures finally! We went to a mini zoo today for p-day. It was actually really cool! And, as you can see, we got to hold big snakes! That one we're holding weighs 100 pounds, and they said it ate 3 chickens last night! A couple other elders came with us and the senior couple. They are the Adams couple from Bountiful, Utah. They are way cool and we love having them here. Anyway, I guess that is all for me right now. Love you all and hope that all is well. Love, Greg

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hey Fam. Welp, this week has been all right. Hard to believe it's P-day again! I don't know where the time goes! This week we've just continued in trying to help this branch. One of the problems though, is that the district doesn't really do anything to help this branch. You have to remember all of these people have been members for less than 5 years and have never gone to church anywhere else except the small little meetinghouse, and have no idea how the church is supposed to run. The district has never sent a high councilman or anything to help them out to know what they need to do. The branch president here was like, "We always have meetings, and they always tell me to do things, and I tell them I don't know how, and they say "Don't worry, we'll help you" and then they never do. So then I just try to figure things out on my own." I also discovered this branch has never had Liahonas. How are they supposed to do their home and visiting teaching if they don't have the message they're supposed to share? How are they supposed to study the words of the living prophets?? It's ridiculous. But we have zone conference tomorrow so I'll talk to President Tobias about it. Hopefully he can do something about it. The members here are really all spiritual babies, so when we teach them we can only feed them milk and honey, cause they aren't ready for the meat yet. Someday........ but at least our attendance went up to 25 yesterday. That's the highest it's been since I've been here. The problem is, where are the other 55 members? So it's making progress, slowly, but surely. It's been ridiculously hot lately. I think this is the hottest it's been my whole mission! I'm pretty much constantly sweating. Ok well, I think thats all for me this week! Love you all! Love, Greg

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hey all! Sounds like you all had a good easter. Mom, you seemed to have enjoyed hiding the eggs haha. I'll get some good snake pictures for you all in a couple weeks! Well everyone seems to be becoming world travelers! The Arctic, Europe, Yugoslavia! Why doesn't anyone want to come to the Philippines? It's a great place! Only our family huh? Well I might still have to be anti social. It's hard talking to white people that aren't missionaries. What exactly are the dates for this family reunion? Anywho they don't really celebrate easter here.. well they do, just in a really strange way. The have Good Friday or Holy Friday, and they all parade around chanting stuff and worshipping statues of Jesus and Mama Mary and other weird stuff. When I saw it last year I thought it was like the Ku Klux Klan or something cause all these priests were dressed up in these robes that looked like kkk robes and had torches cause it was like 3 in the morning and were carrying a cross. I thought they were gonna go burn it or something. But they didn't. Crazy Catholics. Well we watched general conference this week. It was way awesome, and I felt like all they're messages were centered on to what I'm trying to help these people here and the issues they're facing. Especially about families and forgiving others. And being a worthy priesthood holder. Elder Packer and Elder Hales weren't lookin too great. I don't know if they're going to be at the next general conference. But anyway, it was really good. Except it was only in English so most our members didn't really understand it. So we're gonna help them with that. Things have been getting better with the work. I mean, we're not seeing huge, rapid changes, but we are seeing some. Attendance went up last week so that was good. We even had 3 investigators at church! We also got a referral and we visited the family, and they seem really cool. They have 8 kids and live in a house the size of our living room. Thats how it is for a lot of people. So this week should actually be able to teach them. And now we know where most people live so we're really starting to do some real work. Things are going well. I had a sad, but neat experience this week. On sunday we were out working and we passed by these people and there was this drunk guy and he was only wearing briefs, and all the people were teasing him and stuff, and they had got him to carry this big heavy piece of wood on his shoulder and run around with it, and then they saw me and they were like run to the cano! Run to the Cano! So the guy, stumbling all over is trying to run to me but before he got to me he fell over into the sugar cane field and the big piece of wood was on his neck and he was just lying there and all the people were laughing and pointing at him, so I went over to him and picked the wood off of his neck and helped him up, and at that time I was blessed with just a feeling of true charity for this man. It was just a cool little experience where the Lord let me see through his eyes for a couple of minutes. After that I just told the guy not to drink anymore. I'm gonna go back and try and teach him this week and see if he'll receive us. But yeah, that's pretty much it for me this week. Thank you all very much for your prayers and everything you do for me. I need them, so keep em coming! Well I love you all! Until next week, Love Elder Andersen

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hey family. Well this week has proven just as challenging as last. This week there was a big fiesta, so that did not help at all cause everyone was out partying and watching everything at the fiesta. Also this week was graduation week, and it was on Sunday, so only 11 people came to church! 3 out of 26 recent converts, one of which went back to church at the bible baptist church! I don't know how these people were baptized, or why the elders before us even baptized them! So yeah.. But it's good we're still working hard and just doing everything we can to help out the branch. The problem is most of them won't help themselves. They are kinda way lazy.. so we're working on them to get their little tails in order! It's hard in working with a new branch cause there aren't really any strong members that have good solid testimonies and can help the newer members get through their problems. They're all kinda in the same boat.. But yeah things are good in the barnyard.. We get to watch general conference next week so I'm excited for that. My last one on the mission! WOW! OK well I guess that's all for me this week! Love you all! Love, Greg

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hey what up family. Well sounds like everything is going well in Idaho. Yes Mom, I'm pretty positive I get home the 18th. They should be sending you something in the mail, or emailing you or something sometime. I don't know. So family reunion huh? Sweeeeeeet. Is this the big one where I don't know anyone so I just have to be anti-social? This week has been.... good, but challenging. Since my companion and I are new to the area we spent all our time trying to find members, and trying to figure out the place. So at least now, for the most part we know where we're going. This branch is a baby branch though. We only had 16 people at church on sunday! And the only other male besides us and the branch president was a 12 year old deacon. The total membership is just 80+ but still, where were all those people? And the sad thing is, that is how the membership has been mostly this year. It has times when it jumps to around 40, but then it goes down the next sunday. One of the biggest challenges I've seen with the members here is work. If they didn't have work, they would come to church. The problem is, most of them have work cause they live on hacienda's, and don't get to choose their schedules or anything. The boss just tells them what their work is for the day, and if they don't do it, then they don't get work the next week. And since the church is way new here still, the members' faith isn't too strong yet. Another thing we're working on. I feel a little overwhelmed since me, my companion, and the branch president do everything here. I played the piano, blessed the sacrament, and gave a talk! The branch president taught relief society, sunday school, and also gave a talk. His name is President Samolde. He is 60 years old, and has been a member since 2007, and the branch president since 2009, when this branch was created. He is way funny and cracks me up. Also he has no teeth. But he has a good positive attitude, even in the face of so many problems. So at least we have that going for us. This branch also has 26 recent converts, and I think all of them but 2 are women and children. Not exactly a help to the branch..  We're really going to focus on the men in this branch because that is what it needs desperately. This week it has also been pouring rain! That didn't help much with the work. Well actually, in the morning it's super hot and humid until about 1:00 and then the rain pours up to 4 or 5. Our house is one of the worst I've seen in the mission haha. Makes you feel like you're getting the real Philippines experience. But it does have running water. The biggest problem is we just have a metal roof, no insulation or anything, so when it gets super hot and humid in the morning, our house turns into a toaster oven! It's really hard to concentrate during studies sometimes haha. One more thing is, I feel like I live on a farm haha. ALL our neighbors have chickens, turkeys, goats, pigs, cats, and dogs! It's quite the place here in Moises Padilla! It's really pretty here though. Everything is so green and the mountains are awesome. Kinda reminds me of home a little bit. I'm afraid I'm gonna have to bring an oxygen tank with me if I climb any mountains when I get home! All righty, well I think that is it for me this week! Thanks for all your support and encouragement! Oh I forgot, they announced a few weeks who my new mission president will be for the last 18 days of my mission. His name is Marlo O. Lopez. I think he is a Filipino but lives in Hawaii. He might not be filipino I'm not sure, but he is coming from Hawaii. He was in charge of the CES or something there. Ok, well thats all folks! Love you! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hey family. Well there's been a lot that has happened this week. First off, my Samoan companion Elder Mariner transferred, and then I was supposed to stay in Magsungay and my new companion was Elder Malit! My Filipino American companion from Lehi that I had before! So that was way cool, but then we were only together for 5 days and we both got transferred out. There are more missionaries leaving in the mission than there are coming in, so there were 4 of us in Magsungay, so they needed 2 of us. So now I am in a place called Moises Padilla. It's pretty close to my first area La Castellana. I'm way excited to be back here though! The Moises Padilla branch has a total of 81 members, and only 1 Melchezidek Priesthood holder, the branch president. They meet in a little house. The average attendance is about 45 so they have 55% attendance, sadly, one of, if not the highest percentage in the Philippines. President Tobias interviewed me before he transferred me and told me this was going to be a challenge. So I'm really going to try and help this place out. It won't be a walk in the park, but I can do it with some help from above. My new companion is Elder Macapugas. We've only been together since yesterday, but so far I like him. I haven't had a chance to work yet, but I got my walkin shoes on cause this place is in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. Way cool. All right, well I think that is pretty much all for me right now. Thanks for everything! Love you all! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hello family! Idaho sounds pretty normal. Well I'm glad the house will be in good shape when I get home! Is my weight bench still there? I need to get in shape.. So about school. Well before I left I applied for a deferment and so as far as I know I'm starting in September already.. But just in case I'm not, yes I would like to go to school in September I think. Yikes school. Has march madness started yet? So Rachel and Justin are moving to Washington huh? Darn, I wanted to visit Boston! Oh well... Well for me this week was pretty good. This week is transfers again. I most likely will not be transferring since it's almost positive Elder Mariner is, which is fine with me cause I've only been here for 6 weeks, and it's no good to have a 1 transfer area. We had quite a bit of success with our teachings this week. We have one investigator, Vilmar, who is doing really well. He is an unbaptized member, meaning he was blessed as a baby but never baptized. His parents were baptized quite a few years ago in one of the other wards here in Bacolod, and then they moved here to Magsungay ward and never went to church. But Vilmar is 18 and wants to be baptized. He's read the whole Book of Mormon and is way good. Things are also going all right with the rescue. We had some really cool lessons this week with some, and one of them even came to church for the first time in 12 years! Way cool. It was good to finally see some success in that area, cause a lot of the less actives we visit are way hard and some won't even let us teach them. Then there are ones that are not quite as hard, and will let us teach them, but still don't repent and come to church or read their scriptures or anything. But this week we found some good ones that actually have a desire to change and come back. Really cool. Pretty much that is the most exciting thing that happened this week. We ate a lot of food since Elder Mariner will be transferring haha. I'm addicted to this native food called alupe, it's like coconut milk and shredded coconut mixed with this stuff called kamote kahoy, which is like a root lookin thing they eat here. Anyway it's sweet and way tasty and I'm gonna be way sad when I get home and can't eat it anymore. I guess thats all for me this week. If anyone wants specific souvenirs let me know cause I'm running out of time haha. Mom, I got your tablecloth, so no worries there. Maybe you want 2 just in case? I dunno. All right well thanks for everything, love you all! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hey everyone. Well this has been another fast week. The time is ticking! Things are going all right here. This past week we only worked 4 days because we had all these trainings and meetings and fun stuff like that. The work... well it's getting there. It's just harder working with inactive members cause they're a lot harder than investigators, but I like it. We're really just going hard and getting out there and visiting as many members as we can and teach them. Luckily, this area is not very big so it won't take too long to get to all the members. The hard part is teaching them all and getting them all active again. Elder Mariner and I are doing just great so no problems there. I've been able to have some cool experiences this week interviewing people for baptism, it's just so cool to see when people are truly converted and have so much faith. I interviewed a woman yesterday and we were talking about keeping the sabbath day holy and she said she has been coming to church every sunday even though she and her child don't have enough to eat and things because she believes that if she keeps the commandments, Heavenly Father will give her extra work throughout the week so she can have enough money. Way awesome. If only every member here had faith like that. That's what we're trying to do here. But one of the things I've learned on my mission is you can't help people get more faith than you have, so I'm really trying to work on mine, and everything else as well. I'm sorry this email is short, I just don't have much else new to tell you all this week! Love you all! Thanks for everything! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hello everyone. Well sounds like I'm not even going to recognize the house when I get home! But I don't remember reading anything about you doing anything to the basement, so I'll still have my lair hahaha. Andrea's pregnant? Since when? Dogs can be overweight? Lot's of new things are happening with you all. As for me, nothing really new happened. Still just working hard on the rescue and really trying to get people to come back to church and everything. We had stake conference yesterday, it was pretty good. The stake center was stuffed to the max, which I didn't know could happen with Filipinos! So that's a good thing though, but there were a lot of people that weren't there so I wonder what's going to happen when they all become active again! I encountered something new this week. Last night we were at this members house visiting them and some guy walked by the house and the member called him in and was like Elders this guy loves to read the Book of Mormon, but he's not a member. So the guy came in and sat down and we talked to him. He has read the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price and whatever else, and of course the Bible. He goes to the public plaza and preaches to people and debates with pastors and stuff using the Book of Mormon! He said sometimes people ask him to baptize them and he says, "I can't, I don't have the authority. You have to go to the Mormons, that's the true church." Also he had such an amazing understanding of the scriptures and like prophecies and the great apostasy and everything. He was going off about how there is only one true church and the reformists and then he kept referring to the Jews and Gentiles, it blew me away! This guy has a better understanding of our church than 95% of the Members in it here, and he's not even a member! He said he knows the Book of Mormon is true, the Church is true, Joseph Smith was a true prophet, everything. He even mentioned Joseph Smith was shot because he was running for President, and people didn't want him to etc, and so he was persecuted and eventually murdered. I can count on my two hands the number of members I've met on my mission that know that. I asked him why he wasn't a member, and why he is denying himself essentially candidacy for the Celestial Kingdom. He replied he's still a little tough but he's working on it. Cause he was already baptized into his former religion that has now fallen apart, but he said he's just not ready yet. Way crazy. So we're gonna try and really help him out. He's never been to church before so we just want him to try that first. But yeah, that's my cool experience for the week. Things are going well with the work. It's still just as hot as ever. Mom, whats your recipe for chocolate pudding, I lost it? OK thanks for everything, love you all! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hey Family, this week has been all right. Good things are starting to happen here in Magsungay. Elder Mariner and I are doing great and it's a lot of fun. President Monson's daughter, and sister Wixom of the Primary general presidency, along with Elder Jon U. Michael Teh of the seventy came and did a fireside in Bacolod, but we weren't allowed to attend. Bummer. Oh well. The work this week was fine. We're just really pushing the rescue. The are presidency said they don't care if we get any baptisms as long as we are bringing people back to church. I think it's awesome. It's a lot harder working with them though cause they hearts are harder, but I can feel and see how much the Lord wants those of his children to come back. It's been a little frustrating the past couple of weeks cause people keep promising us they will come to church and then they don't. Way lame. But it's all right, we are just going to keep on working with them and help resolve their concerns. A lot of them are shy because they have been inactive for so long, it's hard for them to come back. Especially if they have returned to word of wisdom problems and other things. A lot really depends on us to let them see we really care about them, and we love them no matter what their problems are. Despise the sin not the sinner. We found a couple new investigators this week. The mom's name is Vicky. We met her cause we bought some stuff from her store. She has a little store and then a carinderia ( "The Carinderia is a local eatery selling and serving and viands with wooden benches. It's also known as a "turo-turo" wherein customers literally point what they want to eat from an array of cauldrons.The carinderia was considered as a respite of travelers having originated as a quick food service in busy crossroads. Today, carinderias have evolved according to the needs to Filipinos there are now variations including the travelling carinderia and the high-class carinderia.") She is way nice. She has a little brother that is a member in Manila, so she said she was interested in listening to us. We taught her a quick lesson and it was pretty good. We have another appointment with her tomorrow, with free food :) Can't beat that! All right well hope things are all going well with you. All is well in Zion? Joke. Ok well love you ALL. Go hard. Love Elder Andersen

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hey family, this week has been pretty good. Elder Mariner and I are having a good time, he's a lot of fun and he makes me laugh  way hard when he tells me about Samoa and everything he did back home. He's way good at rugby! He's way shy to talk about it and wouldn't tell me anything, but I found out he was on the Samoan national rugby team (under 19 years age) But still way good! The work is slowly getting better. We don't even try to find new investigators, since we're focusing so hard on the rescue. Investigators just sort of come to us from using the cmis list and stuff cause there are a lot of part member families and stuff like that. So it's getting better. Still got a lot of work to do though. Yeah apparently that earthquake caused some major damage over in Negros Occidental. There was like a landslide and stuff. More than 40+ people died. Some of our missionaries got pulled out of their areas for a while too, but everything is fine. That side of the island has really been getting hit hard by stuff lately. earlier in the year they had terrible floods that destroyed so much and a lot of people died, then this earthquake. I feel really lucky to be on this side! So things are going well though. Sorry I don't have much time to write, I  always say that but time is short, only 5 months left! But I really do read your emails and thanks for them. love you all. Love, Elder Andersen

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hey family. Well first off, Yes I am in a new area! I'm in a place called Magsungay. Right in the city! It's been weird having to ride in jeepneys and going to malls and stuff to do shopping, and having places to eat like Mcdonalds and stuff haha. But things are good here in this area, it's part of Bacolod, but it's not right downtown so it's not all nasty and dirty and stuff. There are four of us assigned to this ward. My companion is Elder Mariner. He's from Samoa, and he's big. One of his thighs is as big as both of mine put together. I really like him a lot, but he's having a really hard time and might go home early.. We've been trying to do everything we can to get him to stay. He only has 4 months left. He doesn't really want to go home early, and President Tobias doesn't really want to send him home, but I dunno. Elder Mariner is super funny though. He always tells me these way hilarious stories about Samoa and I die laughing. If he trusts you and likes you he's just like a big teddy bear, but if he doesn't like you, he is way mean and wants to kill you. He broke his hand a couple weeks ago cause he got really mad and punched a wall haha. But we get along just great. I just really want to help him. Like I said, there are four of us assigned to this ward, which makes it the smallest area in the mission. Definitely a switch up from my last area. Also people are way good at English here. We've been doing a lot of work with less actives and part members, as well as unordained members. In our side of the area there are only two active members, and the rest of them are all inactives/less actives. The other two elders in the ward have the side with all the active members. It's all right though, we'll get the ones on our side active so that the ward will be strong. Thanks Dad, for what you told me it is so true. I have seen it happen. Just don't ever get up on them, you never know what effect you can have on them. But I'm trying to work hard and do work here in Magsungay, which literally means "to horn" because sungay is horns, like on a cow or a bull and stuff and Magsungay is the verb form of that. Cool language lesson. All right well I better get going before Elder Mariner starves to death, that guy eats like no one I have ever seen before! Two nights ago he ate at least 15 cups of rice! All right well I love you all and am thankful for all that you do. Oh P.S. if you could send this to Bishop Huntsman (that's weird) for me that'd be cool. He emailed me a really nice, encouraging email. P.s.s. it is earthquaking right now! Based on my internal richter scale I'd say it's about a 4.5. Don't worry, the building is not falling down, and no one is screaming... yet.  Ok well gotta go, Love you all! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, January 30, 2012

Hey family! No I haven't transferred yet, on Wednesday I will. Just finishing up my last couple days here in Caduha-an. I have mixed feelings about leaving. SInce I've been here for 6 months I've really gotten attached to the people here, not just the members, just like everyone! The neighborhood kids we play basketball with, the little neighbor girl that always draws me pictures and I give her candy, the deaf guy next door that fixes peoples' tires, etc.. But I am exited to go to a new place and meet new people, and it seems that every time I transfer, I have learned and grown so much more. I really love it here. This week we had zone conference. It was based on D&C 88:119 about organizing a house of order, prayer, etc.. We had 3 trainings. One about organizing our apartments and keeping them clean, one about organizing our area book, which is where we keep and update all the information for our investigators and stuff like that. The third was about organizing our planning. Pretty self explanatory. It was a good conference, probably one of the best on my mission. The Bacolod Mission is doing great! Last quarter it was the top baptizing mission in the Philippines, and the 3 quarters before that it was 2nd. Pretty darn good for having 16 missions! President Tobias was pretty happy about it. He goes home in June! Time flies! Well I don't have much else to write this week. Next week will have a lot cause I'll be in a new area. Today Elder Capinpin and I went to a white sand island. Way cool, and way gorgeous! The water was so clear and blue, and the sand was so.... white! Haha. Well fam I guess that's it for me this week, thanks for everything! Love, Elder Andersen

Never saw anything like this in America!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hey everyone, wow a new bishopric huh? Well Wade will make a great bishop, and Alan a great 1st counselor. I never really got to work with Clint, but I'm sure he'll do awesome as well. As for me, this week has been pretty good. We're just focusing on all that stuff I explained last week. It's been going well. We had at least 5 inactives come to church, just by teaching them this week. The problem is getting them to keep coming to church. We're doing our best to help the branch get organized and be unified and fulfill their callings, which includes home and visiting teaching. All I can say is I'm grateful for how smoothly the Church runs in America. Sometimes I just get tired of having to do the job of everyone else haha. But it's good. This week will probably be my last here in Caduha-an. It's been a good 6 months and I love the people and have learned a lot of things, but I'm excited to get a new start somewhere else and get to know and love those people too. It's kinda crazy for me to think that my next area could be my last! But you never know what will happen. Did you guys find me an awesome high paying job yet? haha. Our investigators are doing well. Jun-jun couldn't come to church this week cause his wife had a seminar in Bacolod, but they said they would go to church there. He will be baptized in a few weeks, too bad I won't be there! That's mission life. This week I went on exchanges with Elder Tu'ikolavatu. He's a Tongan-American and grew up in Tonga until he was 9, then moved to Salt Lake. He plays defensive tackle for the Utes. Big guy haha. Right now he's skinny and has lost about a hundred pounds since the mtc. Right now he weighs 275, but when he plays football he weighs 312. I wouldn't want him angry at me haha. But he's a good guy, and it was fun to go on exchanges with him. All the little kids were scared of him. But yeah, we're just continuing to work with the less actives and inactives, with a focus on priesthood holders. The weather here is just the same as usual. Blazing hot, and then rainy. Some days it doesn't rain though. If it does rain, it's only usually for a couple hours, and then it's blazing hot again, unless there's a baguio, then in just rains all week. We're gonna go play basketball later so I can work off my rice belly. Well I guess that is it for me this week. Thanks for everything, you're all number 1! Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hey Fam. Nope, I'm still here in Caduha-an. I have been here a long time, nearly 6 months now. But I should transfer probably on the 1st of next month. My how time flies. Well things this week were good. The Area Presidency gave a broadcast for all ward and branch councils on their goals for 2012. It was pretty amazing. I could definitely see that these men are inspired and are doing the work of the Lord. First off they just gave all the statistics of the Philippines area, which are a little pathetic and shocking. Like how only 150,000 of the 600,000 + members here are active. or how in 2010 only 600 + young men accepted mission calls while 20,000 did not. They compared the Church to the allegory of the olive tree in Jacob 5 how the servant notes that the branches have grown beyond the trunk(Strong Priesthood holders) and roots (Church Leaders) , so that when the storms of trials or whatever come, they cannot withstand, and souls are lost. But then they explained on how they expect us to change here. Their goals are 1 Strengthen Families: Every Family has daily prayer, scripture study, and weekly family home evening. Each member has his/her own scriptures. Increase number of temple recommend holders. 2 Daily scripture reading (2 Nephi 32:3) 3 Save the Rising Generation. Increase the number of young men serving missons. Incease YSA attendance. 4 Establish the Church. Increase the number of active Melchezidek Priesthood holders. Increase Sacrament Meeting attendance. 5 Rescue the One. Each member rescues someone this year. Every ward council prepares and maintains 15 names for acitvation for members and missionaries to teach. So thats it. They stressed that they are not after the numbers, but the souls. They also stressed how we need to be united under one vision for the work here to be effective. President Teh restated what he said last year during the jubilee celebration. "We have seen nothing yet and the best is yet to come." But he also added this will not happen if the people do not work for it and strive their best to rescue their brothers and sisters here in the Philippines. That is why the whole process of our missionary work has changed here. So we have our work cut out for us. It feels just as good to help someone come back to activity in the Church as it does to baptize someone into the Church. We have one member we have been working with the whole time I've been in this area. It's been so cool to see how the gospel has changed his life. again. When I first got here, he and his family never came to church, he had problems with the word of wisdom, and smoked, and was a drinker. We'd stop by his house and he'd hide his cigarettes and stuff. But after a while he let us in to teach his family. He is now fully reactivated, smoke and drink free, comes to church every sunday, and reads the scriptures everyday. He said to us yesterday when we were teaching him that because of his reading it makes him want to come to church every sunday and do more. His wife and kids can only come sometimes cause they live far away from the church and their children are still young. 4 boys all under the age of 7, the youngest being only a couple months old. But they still come sometimes. So this is the work we're doing, and I'm sure here not too long there will be hundreds of more stories like his, because that is what all 16 missions here in the Philippines are doing. The area presidency said one day Filipino missionaries will be the ones teaching their asian brothers and sisters, because the Philippines is the doorway to Asia. I can only imagine what the next 50 years will bring. So I guess that's it for me this week. Hope everything is going well for you! Really sad you don't have any snow. We don't either haha. Love, Elder Andersen

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hello family. Wow, Dad's packin some heat now! Well this week has been good. Only rained a little bit this week. For the most part hot and sunny. We have seen some progression this week in the area, since we've had a chance to really get out in work. The best thing we have seen is some inactives start coming back to church, since they are who we are really focusing on. I don't know what changed, because I've got to these people before and they wouldn't let us teach them, but now, they've let us teach them, and are starting to come back to church! They aren't coming every sunday, but it's a start. Really all we are teaching these people are the missionary lessons, especially focusing on the Book of Mormon. It's a little unnerving to go to some members that have been members for 10+ years, and come to church, but don't have a testimony of the Book of Mormon! I don't know why they keep coming to church every sunday! So a lot of the people we are working with are "active" on paper, but in reality, don't have the attributes an active member should have. They come to church, but they don't read the scriptures, or pray, or just other simple things we need to do everyday. When I get home I know how important it is to keep up my study of the scriptures everyday! I think last April General Conference President Monson spoke about that. We really just gotta do the simple primary answers and we'll be ok. But if not, thats when things start to go downhill. We also are working with investigators as well. We have a couple that are doing pretty well so far. The first is Mamerto "Jun-Jun" He is the husband of a member. One of the members that is technically active but really isn't. So it's good because we get to teach them both. They are both really nice and have one child. He is a member of the Barangay kagawad, which is kinda like city council or something like that. We taught him about the plan of salvation last time and he got excited when he heard the families can be together. The other is named Jonathan. He lives on a Hacienda and works in the sugarcane, just lik 90% of people in my area right now. We've only been able to teach him twice, and they were far in between visits, but he has read a lot from the Book of Mormon and understands a lot of it and really likes it. His wife was there last time as well, so we were able to teach them both. She also likes reading the Book of Mormon, which is way good, cause usually people don't really read when you ask them to, or they only read a little bit, but they are good at reading so that's exciting. So we're just keeping busy and working hard. February 1 is our next transfer day, so I'll probably transfer out of here cause I'll have been here for 6 months. Crazy how fast time goes. Well I love you all and am thankful for everything you do! Love, Greg

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Hey Family! Well this week has been good. The first part of this week was really rainy, and it flooded everywhere. The river in our area rose about 60 feet and flooded some places. The church in an area about 45 minutes away was flooded really badly. The water was about 6 inches from the ceiling. Lots of towns flooded cause they don't have good gutters and things here, they're full of garbage so the water doesn't flow out of them. But yeah, nothing too bad happened, and nobody died that I know of. I mean floods are bad, but not as bad as the floods that were in Cagayan De Oro that killed 1000+ people and destroyed everything. Here it just flooded, and the water flow was slow so people's homes weren't destroyed. But the last part of this week has been blazing hot. Thats how it is here. We did a service project this week, and helped a member cut down bamboo, carried it to his house, and made a fence. It was pretty intense work. It was about a half mile walk from his house to the river where the bamboo is, and it was just mud about knee deep. We didn't even bother wearing sandals or anything cause they would just get sucked off and be way slippery. So we cut it down, and then I carried 90 pounds of bamboo 1/2 mile in knee deep mud to the guys house. 4 times. Good exercise. My shoulders were pretty sore afterward! But it was a fun experience. Saturday of course was New Year. Filipinos like new year a lot more than they do Christmas, that's for sure. My companion, Elder Capinpin, said they spend about 20% percent of their budget on Christmas, and then the rest on New Years. They love fireworks, and things that make loud noises. They have these big bamboo cannon things and other cannon things they make out of cans taped together. Pretty thrifty. They also cooks tons of food! The fireworks here are way dangerous though. People are always getting fingers and hands blown off and other things injured. They have signs up everywhere with this bloody hand missing a couple of fingers that says be careful with fireworks and stuff like that. You'd think they'd learn after so many people getting hurt every year, but apparently not! We had to be in at 6 on New Years Eve. Pretty boring with just us two at the house! New Years is pretty crazy though. Once it hits 12:00 thousands of fireworks go off and they are so loud and you can't see more than 20 feet because of the smoke. This week wasn't very effective for missionary work however, since everyone was just busy preparing for New Years, or just drunk. So we're glad thats over so we can get some work done. Well, it was good talking to you last week! Thanks for all you do, and all your support, I couldn't do it without you! I love you all! Love, Greg