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