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

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