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