Wednesday, December 26, 2012

hello everyone

its close to christmas and i think ill start out talking of our mission christmas devotional we had this past  saturday for bambang and solano districts (i know those names dont mean anything to you) it was held in solano and man was it good. it was good for 2 reasons for me. first of all was president carlos spoke, and this was the first time ive heard him speak my whole mission to anyone other than missionarys. it makes you remember how good these mission presidents are at preaching the gospel. he talked about something that about ripped my heart in two. he started about talking about the life of jesus christ and then he talked about the circumstances of the saviors life, how he was born into a very poor humble family, and he didnt live a life of luxury... he didnt ride in chariots and horses rather he walked to where he was going.. and he eventually talked about the atonement. then he shared with us news about that 2 year old kid that went into an elementary school and killed 20 little children and his mother.this was probably the worst thing i have ever heard. he talked about how wonderful a thing the savior did for us and how even in the worst of circumstances like this tragedy... the savior made it okay when he accomplished the atonement. he then spoke to all the people and kind of boldly said now when you think about your lives and think why is this happening to me. why dont i have a good job or why do i have these trials or why am i not popular or why did this horrible thing happen to my family he said think of the savior, he experienced all of these things and he didnt do anything bad to anyone and ask yourself... am i better than him? 

what a question when your in a trial. am i better than him? 

next reason it was good was because during the closing song of i believe in christ they did something kind of cool where they had one sister missionary start the song by herself then slowly throughout the song as time one by one all the other missionaries (including me) stood up and starting singing with he. it was like one by one we were standing as witnesses and telling everyone there that we believe in christ. the spirit was very powerful and it was one of those moments where your mind races back through your whole life and every decision you have every made and then yu come back to reality and realize your on the other side of the world speaking a crazy language that used to sound like jibberish teaching and testifying about the savior and... well i think you get the point im trying to make.

im greatful for my mission, and for the savior, for a family that believes in christ and knows about the truth, that isnt blinded by the false doctrines of men, and for the heritage of faith that was willing to sacrifice all to follow the voice of a prophet. after reading moms email about when a prophet told all mothers to be at home im greatfull for parents that have the faith to follow the prophet. im greatful for grandparents and cousins that serve missions, and brothers that show me how to be a good man, and bishops that dont stop loving and counciling, for ward members cheering silently on the sidelines  and angels working on both sides of the veil, writing letters and helping when your weak. i could go on for a long time but i just wanted to say thank you for your love i feel your prayers, i think of you often and hope that in some way or another that the way the savior stepped into my life, the way he used all of you in the process, and the hope that i have because of it will have helped build your testimony in him. 

i want you all to know im not a better person because of what i decided to do in the past or what ive learned from it, im not a better person because i changed or stopped doing wrong things, and im not a better person from any decision ive ever made. im a better person because of the savior, because he made me better. because he changed me and because he loved me enough to send angels into my life to find me as one of his lost sheep.

i love you all.                                                                                                                    elder landeen

This week Allen sent some random thoughts to us again.  I took them and have pasted them in this email. 
its transfer day and im pretty sure my companion is getting transfered. thats kinda sad because hes been great. this has been such a rewarding 2 cycles starting with absolutely 0 and now,.. well were having much success more that i could have imagioned. i love it here im happy and i dont wanna come home ha im a missionary now inside and out.

i think the best feeling this week was i got a letter from sister deguzman from santiago and she told me her and larry and their kids are still active and they have a plan to go to the temple when they hit their 1 year which is in about 2 months. she told me that she doesnt doubt her decision or faith and she wrote her testimony in the letter. thats about the best thing you could ever hear as a missionary. dan mansiban is a priesthood holder and hes working with the missionarys. hes the miracle that confirmed past doubt that i was called here by a living prophet.
opening this area has been so great and its been a divine companionship. this past sunday was so great we had some less actives come for the first time as well as some investigators accept baptismal dates.
ive lost myself in the work to the best of my abilities and i've found myself in the process. its a great feeling to know who you want to be,.. what you want to be like how you want to treat others. and knowing you can do it.
we have banaue and thats cool but the rest is basically just bukids ( rice fields ) more bukids ha. and its exactly what i needed. i get to teach a humble hard working people that are straite out of joseph smiths time of religious confusing. i dono if you can imagine how it is here theres a different churst on every corner, with different missionaries from them stopping by confusing people, i cant even explain it just read josephg smith history and thats how it is. and im here telling them the truth with the spirit in the room telling them its true.

what more could i want?
He also send some pictures of the area he is in now.  I am attaching them to this email. He said they went hiking in the area and cooked their own meal - rice and hot dogs.  He said he's gone native - he hiked in flip flops!
Love you!
Mike and Paula

Allen's letter was very short this week.  Here's what he said:
this week was good im loving life. ah life is good. so good. i cant even say how things have been. i dont know how i will every come home...
im short on time so i wont be all that long with this email but just wanted you to know i was thinking of you.
Short and to the point, I guess. 
Love you all,
Mike and Paula
hello everyone here again.

im having a hard time remembering what happened this past week.. or remembering that there even was a past week ha its all a blur. i cant say how much im loving my area and companion. its so nice and refreshing to have a companion that wants to be obedient. not just to the big things but to the little things too. that wants to do more than hes asked, that wants to be 100 percent. 

i learned something kinda cool at a training meeting a few weeks ago about water that i wanna talk a little about i just remembered it. i dont remember if the numbers are right (i think they are wrong) but youll get the picture. at 211 degrees, water is really hot. at 212 degrees water boils. at the temperature of 211 degrees no matter what you do or how much you want you cannot make the water boil.... unless you increase the temperature. its interesting that its the increase of 1 degree... that makes the water boil. that 1 simple degree makes all the difference. remember... 211 is extremely hot. but 212 is boiling. 

they talked about how that little extra effort each day to bring about good in the world is like increasing the temperature 1 degree. if you really want to make things happen you have to be willing to go the extra mile like christ said to do. we had heard a lot lately about obedience because of the mission presidents seminar a couple weeks ago was all about obeying with exactness. ive come to know that gods willing to bless you. in the end... with all that he has. but in this life hes ready to pour out blessing like the scriptures say. to give you miracles in your life. but with our desire to recieve these blessings, is there an equal effort from us to obtain them? the relation of faith and active goes perfectly. and the different between hot water and boiling water (spiritually speaking) is basically experessed in the words of elder holland. "you tell me how obedient you will be and ill tell you how your mission will be" the same is with life. abraham wasnt blessed with a generation numberless as the stars until after he had tied up isaac and was ready to sacrifice him (even though he didnt want to, he had completely given himself to the lord) and i think the exact same thing goes for me here in the mission and every one in life. god is willing to open the windows of heaven. but how willing are we to let him do so if faithfullness is the requirement?

i heard a story from elder schmidt one of my favorite missionary friends (hes home now look him up on facebook tell him i said hi ha ha) he taught about the three kingdoms of glory... and asked this man which kingdom he would like to go to. when the man replied elder schmidt was taken aback, the man said... siguro... terestrial na lang... ( maybe just the terestrial ) elder sdked him what he answered that kingdom and the answer was well its not the lowest, not the highest, pero tama lang (its just right) then he asked well dont you want to go and live with heavenly father in the celestial kingdom? and he said well that will probably be hard.. you said its really beautiful in the terestrial kingdom so maybe ill just go there im okay with that.

we get what we work for.

its hard to imagine that kind of ideaology but well i think theres a lot of that in all of us. at least in me. so well our companionship goal.... is 212 degrees.

thats about all the time i have for now. thanks for the love and help ill talk to you next week. love elder landeen

Sunday, November 25, 2012

  hello family thanks for the happy birthday wishes. we went to banaue today and i got s couple pretty cool panoramic pictures ill attatch to this email. i love the whole culture of bartering for the things you buy. if i dont want to pay what they ask i totally dont have to i can work them down lower and well its like a fun game ha. it was nice going on a activity but im gonna be honst next week im just going to have a normal p day where i clean email wash clothes and get caught up on writing letters to people i worked with in past areas. those seem to be the most fulfilling p days. 
ive been really enjoying this area i know ive said that a lot but ill say it again, we are having a lot of great experiences. one is witht he gerenia family. i talked about them a little bit but this week sister seemed to really start investigating. we watched joseph smith the prophet of the restoration. talked about the book of mormon.. she has question after question and theyre all good questions sometimes here its hard to know if people are listening because theyre just so nice of becuse your white and they like having a white person at their house or if they are really interested. a great sign is if they are actually asking questions and she is asking a lot. its weird ha i get excited when investigators dont accept things all at once. like when we teach about joseph smith a lot of times people just say yeah hes a true prophet but they didnt even think about it they just believed you. but when they say well i need time to see if thats true.. thats when i get excited because that means they are actually listening and thinking about what we are teaching them. i think one of the hardest thing about being on a mission here is people just accept you into your house are really nice listen intently... even will let you come again and again and then just wont keep commitments and you find out weeks later they werent actually they just were too shy to tell you no... or they have something they always say... masama ne tanggihan ang mga salita ng dios... ( its bad to reject the word of god ) so its engrained in their culture they have to accept you in listen to you give you a marienda (snack)  but the thing mission is they arent interested in what your saying pala. 
         we had a pretty cool experience with one of our less active families. they came to church last week and then when we went to their house on friday the mother nimfa was very upset because one day while she was gone her next door neighbors ( her mother and father in law ) had gone to their house and told their kids a whole bunch of bad things about the church and told them they are catholic and they cant join the mormon church so she basically told us for now dont come back because they are having too many family problems. we gave her a priesthood blessing before we left and then did a special fast for their family. we were very greatful when we came to church on that sunday and they were the first ones sitting inside the chapel. we came to find out after the priesthood blessing she went to sleep feeling at peace about everything ( when we left her house she was crying ) and then on the saturday she was visited by the branch president and his companion (they are their home teachers) and they were also able to give them  emotional and spiritual support. and they all decided they were going to keep coming even though theres a lot of pagsuboks (trials) happening. special fasts are powerful.
         ive had oon my mind quite a bit lately christ like attributes. charity love and humility and all that good stuff. i never even considered those kinds of things before here but ive been thinking more and more how they are related to being a diciple of christ. i heard something in a conference talk i was listening to on my i pod about the elder from the tongan islands that they based the movie the other side of heaven from. he said while he was starving on the island and their chances of rescue were getting slimmer and slimmer he realized how much love for others, and our ability to love others was related to our salvation. and i thought about how perfectly christ loves us and how annoyed i get sometimes with other people, no matter if the reason is valid or not. and the whole sermon on the mount... love those that hate you, pray for thouse who despisefully use you... it sank in that that wasnt just philosophy of council... that was a commandment.. something we need to learn how to do in order to be worthy to be saved. i also thought about what joseph smith said about how salvation is lite a latter, and in order to climb a latter you have to take things step by step in order to make it to the top. im still working on the first step as far as loving my enemies it seems ha ha but i thought it would be a good thought to share. im still wworking on it.
anyways happy thanksgiving. love you all. take care.
love elder landeen

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

this was another good week. i havent had a bad week for a long time. thats good news,.

we had a very good problem in sacrament meeting yesterday. we ran out of sacramet water because there were so many people that came. in our branch there is a steady 80 or 90 attendance and then sometimes reaches 100. but yestaerday it jumped to over 130. and it was incredible to see. what a good feeling to see things growing... 

we had a family the deguzman family. they werent complete because the father is away on business and he brought his son with him.. but the parents are members and their 2 oldest daughters are members and they havent been to church in years. our beanch president is always convinced the people in my area are all inactive because they dont have any money to pay for a tricee because its too far.. and well they didnt have money for a tricee. but what they did have and used is a little faith and we met up with them early in the morning and walked the 30 minutes to church. its not terribly far but its also not terribly close. and seeing how they have little kids, the youngest was an 8 year old girl.. and range from 8 to 13... (they havent been baptised it was their first time going to church ever and their mother sister nimfa's first time in more than 5 years) it was pretty cool. they also walked home after and had a great experience. 

were pretty spoiled in utah with a church on every block ha ha but just like people here there are other obstacles that keep us from being there every week, each different and personal. sometimes its that great deer hunt or quading at the sand dunes, or havent been for a long time so why try itll be weird.. sometimes its sin. or work, or well i could list a whole bunch of them. but i saw a family that thought they couldnt... its too far, its too hard because we went back to catholic.. the kids dont want to go.. (all things elder pingol and i have heard the past several weeks) just decide to "go and do" and other familys every week going and doing it makes me smile inside and out. god is good. 

all my friends in the mission are going home. its kinda a bummer ha because there arent many. im not a very popular missionary which im greatful for. its cool how things change in school i liked having friends, and that was important to me. now its not. i love....... feeling the spirit and feeling worthy to feel the spirit. i like being quiet and knowing gods happy with me and not needing to hear it from anyone else. i hear from someone that im black and white ha which means its either right or wrong and theres no gray area. which is well i guess a good way of saying it. which is also why im terrified to come home because at least here your expected to obey with exactness and try to help others to do the same. at home your just a stuck up r.m. ha ha so when that day does come... understand me and help me ha ha.

well sorry letters kinda boring this week... oh yeah i hiked to a waterfall today. thats right above my house. and the scenery looked like strait out of tarzan. i didnt get any good pictures. sorry. just watch a movie with jungle and bamboo and lots of vines and thats what it looked like.  

love you elder landeen

Allen only sent a couple of short notes this week, but here is what he said:
our numbers are growing ha the active members when i got here was 2 that were active (meaning every sunday) 2 that are every month or 2 they will come, 1 that is maybe every three weeks, and well the rest have been inactive for 8 years or more. this week we had 6 from here. more than there have been for a long time! so i was pretty happy about that. theyre coming back slowly as they remember their testimonys. their fires just need a little stoking.
anyways things are great im happy and working hard
i on the other hand have a very exciting life. dupax del sur is the greatest area. i cant even explain it this is just different and i am not sure why. my companion is great the area is great my district is great were finding some great investigators (slowly but surely) and man it makes me wonder why i was so blessed to come to a place like this.
im so glad im here ha ha god sure seems to love and understand me. i have the greatest news ever. my favorite investigator, dan mansiban the one i wrote about so many times is getting baptised this saturday. he passed the interview with president carlos and well jorami his wife didnt feel ready but i cant even say how that makes me feel. hes one reason i know im here. if hes the only one who ever listened to me i would still be the happiest person in the world. he was one that understhood. sometimes philipinos dont really grasp the big picture. he understhood the plan, the mistakes hes made and had a desire to change. and struggled and wanted to give up many times but he didnt he gained faith and i was able to be a part of the process. (i didnt change him of course just part of the process) theres no better feeling i think.
hello everyone i just wanted to share with you something my mission president shared with us in his weekly letter..

mission applications since President Monson's announcement.  Prior to the announcement, the church receives around 700 new applications.  Since the announcement, that number has risen up to 4,000 per week.  That is an astonishing 471% increase!

Then on Tuesday, I received an email from the Missionary Department with the following information:
1.  The Philippines Area will receive an additional 804 missionaries.  There is an average of 188 missionaries per mission so that  number is more than the equivalent of 4 missions!  No mention of new missions being created as of yet, but you see the writing on the wall.
2.  The Philippines Cauayan Mission presently has a complement of 180 (that's how many we are supposed to have if all of our slots are used.  Right now, we have 150 missionaries).  Our new complement is now 250!.  That is 100 more than we have now.  While the missions around greater Manila (Manila, QC. QC North) maintains their current complement, our mission along with the other "provincial missions" are going to receive the bulk of these increase.

his last words were "the lord is truely hastening his work"

isnt that cool to see. missionary work is picking up. thats almost unbelievable that things increased by that much. its cool to think about that and then read the last part of the introduction of the book of mormon. 

anyways about this week. dad said something in his letter to me that ill go ahead and talk about. he asked if this area was more difficult that my other areas.. then he said how different every area was and well thats definately true.

opening an area is the greatest thing ever. looking at my planner and seeing absolutely nothing on the first weekly planning other than try to get to know the members (most all inactive for many years) and a few other goals as a companionship and personal goals. and now we have actually got a schedule going (not perfect yet but were working on it) and had an inactive come to church for the first time in about 10 years with his wife and having turn from just people met into actually investigating... (thats the hard part in the philippines.. you can teach most anybody,.. one lesson because theyre so nice then you go home feeling great like you have found some great people then you go back and theyre hiding from you because they werent really interested at all they were just being nice. that transition from someone you meet... to "how to begin teaching" , to having a return appointment... to being a progressing investigator, coming to church, having a baptismal date, then making that big switch in k-i's to baptised and becoming a recent convert, (and hopefully not going to the less active pool ha ha) its a big refining procress that is pretty nerve wracking sometimes. you become emotionally involved with these people.. their lives and problems and hopes and families and seeing to savior come in and changing them is the sweetest experience to be a part of.. and seeing the savior knocking on the outside if the door with no handle like that painting and them not answering is the hardest. 

this area is no harder or easier than any other area. and well i dont have a favorite area. santiago was the most fruitful as far as outword success.. cabagan probably more fruitful as far as inward success.. lamut was too short for me to realize or register that i am really on the other side of the world so everything there was great and new... and here being with a new missionary opening an area helping in actives regain testimonys and repent... theres nothing to really say that could explain it right. 

hearing missionary stories is a lot different than being a part of them. its almost like if you arent paying attention you would miss what was happening. ive told you of all sorts of cool experiences that have happened and a lot of things that are miracles in any way you could put it. hearing about those kind of things you think.... man thats cool why dont i get to see those kinds of things... i remember before coming here hearing missionary stories about the mtc and the field and getting here and wondering if they had made it all up or exagerated something that did happen but added their little writers liberty to make it sound more cool. but the longer ive been here and the stronger my testimony gets the more i start to feel like theres miracles and things that happen every day in everyone life who lives the gospel that are so amazing and unexplainable and... normal that of your not paying attention and looking for the hand of the lord in your life that you might miss the simple truth stated by president monson  "theres no such thing as a coincidence" this last conference president monson said something  like i am always amazed at the lords ability to be aware of everything happening everywhere and at the same time able to inspire an individual to do something that will effect the life of another individual (not a perfect quote) but when you think about it its impossible to understand but a real testimony that there is a god, and his ways are really higher than our ways, and his thoughts higher than our thoughts. 

i think onew lesson ive been trying to soak in is the lesson that we have the choice whether to have faith or fear, to believe or doubt, to be positive about life or negative.. happy or sad. that no matter what crap is happening we really have the choice to do what joseph smith says in the restoration dvd while they are suffering in liberty jail and one of his companions asks him "how do we endure well"? ( speaking of the revelation in doctrine and covenants, and joseph simply said "we trust in god and we go on"
thats one lesson im praying i can somehow sink into my soul. to CHOOSE faith. 

thanks again lagi for everything that you do and for your letters every week they give me strength and i always appreciate them and read them.  i love you all very deeply.....                                                     ingat                   elder landeen
ello again everyone :)

llifes good here and im enjoying things. i was walking looking and all the coconut trees with grooves cut into them for people to climb up with nothing but a itak (machete) to get the buko (coconut) and at the people all outside under tents gambling and drinking at a patay ( when someone dies here they have like a week long viewing where every family member neighbor and their dog comes to talk and stay up all night playing cards drinking and mingling, and people walking home from their bukid (rice field) with so often their carabao (water buffalo) walking behind them.. and it was one of those thoughts like im leaving this place some day and ill miss it. aside from all the spiritual things that ive learned and am learning.. there are also many life lessons that are really cool that come from l;iving in a foreign country that you just couldnt learn if you hadnt experienced it first hand. 

washing clothes by hand is terrible and thats the thing im looking forward to the most about america. a washer and dryer. man spoiled ha ha.  having to have money budgeted out and knowing how much you can spend and finding different wqays to make food last longer and seperating the wants from the needs.. then like earlier stoping by the farmacy to by paracetamol ( anti fever ) in case we get sick sometime. simple things like that that you dont have to even consider when your living at home. 

just being friendly and talking with people and saying magandang umaga po ( good morning) and asking how they are doing and hows their family and really caring about the answer ( that didnt come all at once you have to develop that love for people i guess ) 

being able to tell people you want to pay less than what they asked and them accepting. and buying ties for about 80 cents that are nicer quality than the ties i brought with me that were 20 dollars a piece.. and tindahans that have all sorts of candy and bread and different odds and ends you can buy that is just right next to your house.. having people going house to house selling fruit and pandesal ( fresh bakery bread hot in the morning ) and having poeple openly talk to you about financial problems ( which would never happen with american pride ha ha) 

i often think about how marvelous a work and a wonder this is that people are willing to talk about their problems, and their secrets, and their sins and their mistakes, their feelings and beliefs and somehow make the change in their life to sweitch to a different religion which is something i couldnt even imagine, ( and dont have to i guess because i grew up in the truth ) but i cant even imagine what a hard thing that would really be for someone to leave their familys traditions and teaching because some 20 year old kids got to know them and started sharing their testimony and asking them to do things. its really a wonderful thing and im greatful to be here.

out of time... until next week.... elder landeen

hello everyone i have about 10 minutes to get this done... so here goes.

dad asked about the new area and about the differences between this area and my last area. so ill tell you about them. my area is completely surrounded by bundok ( mountains ) theres lots and lots of rice fields. (cabagan wasnt close to any mountains and they all grew corn not rice) my house is right on the side of a small mountain, and its rained the past 2 days. since our water in our house comes directly from the mountain when it rains the watewr table gets filled with mud and all sorts of stuff and thus our water at our house for the past 2 days has been bro\wn and wow yesterday was raining so hard and we didnt have any umbrellas ( oh yeah i lost that umbrella you sent ha ha sorry ) busta we got soaked. there are 4 dialects here. mostly ilocano, but then there is sinnai, igarot, and a little ibanug. theres too many stinkin languages here ha ha. but luckily they mostly all understand how to speak tagalog. we have 3 active members in our area. one other family that comes to every month or so and the rest (about 21 on record) are inactive and busy ha ha. so this is going to be quite the rollercoaster ride. since being out here on the mission i enjoy reading the book of alma. ive read through it a few times lately chapters like alma 22 and 32, 34 and its crazy being able to understand to a point what they felt as they were teaching the zoramites about faith (who were at one point members of the church but for one reason or anouther they fell away and are now not worshoping the lord in the correct way) which is exactly what ive been doing for the past year now ha ha. i learned in cabagan what they meant in alma 32 when he said "after much laboring they began to have success" because it took about 5 months before we saw any outward success there but it was probably the most rewarding success of my mission. now im here at the biginning again,, almost starting from scratch. not completely because we at least have the help from the member here that is active. ( his name is cocino collantes hes old but hes still on fire as far as testimony and missionary work goes. ill talk about him in my next letter ) 
i love the scriptures and how in them you can find something for about anything thats going on in life. gods work is pretty incredible. 
my times up time to go so i love you all and ill write a better letter next week! mahal ko kayo elder landeen

Saturday, October 20, 2012

hello everyone garabee talaga ang general conference. general conference while on a mission is like thanksgiving dinner pr christmas morning. this was a good week we had zone conference and then general conference. ust a week full of excitement. 
i want to just share some of my thoughts with you after general conference. i hope you enjoy this weeks sermon ha ha. 
one theme i picked out for myself was connected to the talks by elder anderson and elder bednar about conversion, testimony, and trials of faith. and the theme i picked was the word duda. or in english "doubt" 
        funny how that is what i got from general conference. but i guess thats what the message that the spirit had for me. and i hope i dont bore you as i talk about some of the things i thought about as these apostles explained so clearly the concepts of faith and conversion. 
        doubt is something i think that all of us have at one point or another. and i think its just a part of being human. it often makes me laugh at how much i find myself doubting... in myself.. in other things. after all the spiritual experiences ive had here and before the mission.. why is there still doubt that creeps its way in? how is it that you can find yourself doubting things one day that one day you talked about knowing for certain....
        for me i think this is expecially hard because when anxiety comes... doubt follows. and that doubt turns into more anxiety. so i was left thinking during general conference.... why do i ever even doubt? why am i not like nephi or all those great prophets in the book of mormon?
        we all know that doubt and fear are the opposite of faith... but what is it that we need to do to have that faith to the extent that we no longer doubt? it was just circling round and round in my mind. you think about alma 32, ether 12 6, and all the other great scriptures about faith and think wow why am i so weak....
        faith really is a gift from god and its not something that comes at once or you can say one day,,,, yep i have faith now. its something at lest for me that ive found ive needed to really pray and ask for. and as i was thinking about the things that i do doubt about sometimes... and then neal l anderson said it perfectly. sometimes people let the short comings of church leaders or untrue things that they read on the internet or other sources let their faith weaken and loose testimony. but we have the ability to CHOOSE to believe, have faith, or doubt. i believe that the constant choosing of faith over fear and choosing to believe when that doubt comes into your mind is the only way to overcome the doubt that we all have. we just have to CHOOSE to put our trust in things we cant see. which is hard at times because you open yourself up to being hurt emotionally but as you CHOOSE to have that faith and belief despite what others say or what you hear or what that voice in your mind (the natural man) says and consistantly choose to believe, and act on that belief.. over a long period of time youll be able to look back and see the results and change in yourself. 
        ive had a lot of spiritual experiences. and some of them really strong. but none of them have done the same for my faith and testimony as has the consistancy in striving to make right decisions and believing in the promised blessing of obedience, even when i dont see the blessing in my time frame. i think thats why one of elder bednars favorite words is consistancy.. because thats what is required. one noble act wont erase a life time of doubt and sin... but a life time of constant striving and well failing in the process WILL make the changes necessary to become "a saint" like it says in mosiah 3:19
       ive got a long ways to go. and a lot of changes to make. but i am trying, every day to be consistant in my efforts to become a diciple of jesus christ. and i hope that someday ill be able to come to that point and have faith like the brother of jared... like peter AFTER he was converted. and like the sons of helaman that did not DOUBT in the words of their mothers. 
       mahal na mahal ko kayong lahat sana may sinabi ako na makakatulong sa inyo... hanggang sa susunod na linggo.. elder landeen

Allen just wrote individual letters this week, but here are exerpts from the letters he wrote to Mike and I:
as far as things here they are progressing slowly we have help from the funniest man in the world. cocino collantes hes 76 years old and the most active in missionary work ive seen in my life. he has a goal to literally take thousands of souls unto christ. he talks to everyone he sees, knows everyone and their dog here in dupax del sur and i free to come and work with us. sometimes the things he say (naturally) are kinda crazy like he told us the story of abraham and how right before he offered isaac the angel moroni came snd stopped his hand and thats why hes now on the steeple at the temple (the story is complete with actions, hand gestures and sound effects ) ha ha but hes great because hes dedicated and converted.
im really enjoying this part of my mission. my mission has been weird. but perfect. my weak things are slowly becoming strong like it says in ether 12 27. im workin my butt off and times flying. can you believe it... october na. almost my second birthday in the philippines. crazy.
lately ive been focusing on charity and have noticed that a lot of the reasons we get sad and upset or bothered is because well from focusing our thoughts on the bad things or little things other people do that arent fair towards us but dont really matter at all. and by choosing to not think badly towards others ( of course companions ) and stopping the train of thought when you start to be "bothered" by them ( when i say you i mean me or i ha ha ) that i am well just happy all the time even when our key indicators are terribler becuase noone wants to listen right now. its weird how remembering your purpose is the key to everything. remembering for me that god only asked me to be faithful and invite people and if i do that hes happy with my service, thats really cool to finally internalize because it takes away a lot of the stress.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

ha ha well first of all my area did split in two like i thought it would which was exciting. there are now 4 elders there. im not one of them ha im now in my 4th area. its a place very far away from cabagan. its called dupax del sur in the province of nueva vizcaya and its well up in the mountains! its absolutely beautiful here. it s nice and cool at night and very quiet as opposed to cabagan thats a million degrees always. it was hard leaving all those people we were teaching and being busy all the time. for 2 reasons. 1 reason... siyempre i love them all but another is because our area book is nice and clean. and empty ha were opening the area. it used to be part of area dupax but they split it in half, there hasnt been any missionaries here in a very long time. years if im correct. so the field is ripe already to harvest ha ha. 

my companions name is elder pingol. he is a philipino and its going to be a good companionship im very excited for this cycle! times already flying by and  the months are passing like weeks. weeks like days, days like hours, hours like minutes. etc....
he is from a place called laguna and he is definately a big change coming from elder hawlader. my companion knows the gospel and speaks tagalag! its crazy how that seems like a miracle to me right now. 

there is a tatay that lives here his name is tatay collantes man he is the most masipag ( means like hard working ) with missionary work that i have ever met! he knows like everyone and hes been trying to set up appoointments for us with everybody he meets ha ha. hes a little crazy but his heart is in the work and we are very blessed to have him as our branch mission leader here in dupax del sur. 

they have a whole bunch of dialects here. mostly ilocano, they also have some sinnay, igarot, and ibanug. (luckily they almost all speak tagalag also) it will be crazy coming home and only speaking one language after sacrament meeting being conducted in elglish, ilocano and tagalag all mixed together ha ha. 

i hope everything is good with you there. things are good for me here im happy and greatful for all these great opportunities that the lord is giving me. like how we are going to start a meeting group up there where we only hold sacrament meeting... probably in a bamboo hut , or under some trees or in a small house if we get lucky. i would just never get to experience those things if i wasnt here. its a testimony builder ya know why? because sometimes we think about investigators coming to church and it being perfect and they will like the church and be comfortable.,, and at first i was turned off by the idea about meeting under a tree. but then i realized. the church started with how many people in a small house? they had persecutions and all those sacrafices... why? well because the same spirit that is in a nice chapel will be in a small meeting house and a small group of people gathered under a tree to partake of the sacrament is just as important to god as a whole ward. petty cool when you think about it. 

well i love you all take care ill update you on things next week! mahal ko kayo ulit... elder landeen
 hello bishop heres my experience for the weekly missionary thing...
we have been teaching this family (les active) they are all members and all inactive (noon) theres only a father mother and son that live there right now but there are more members in the family that are living in manila that are members also. when elder aguila and i first went to their house they hid from us for almost 3 weeks. we cornered them a few times and the lessons were good, but tatay was NOT a low hanging fruit. he had all the problems i could think of, he worked on sundays, he was ofended back in the day and he was now drinking and smoking. members made jokes a lot that itll be a miracle if they come back. and ill admit at times i also wondered if he would ever make some progresion. ive been here a little over five months and every week 2 or three times we have been there. reading the book of mormon and doing all the things we could think of to get the spirit back in his life. i remember 1 time we had a lesson with nanay and gilbert( the 14 year old son) who hadnt been going to church for over a year and were sometimes attending a born again christian church. this was when brother chua was my companion. we had a lesson about what we can do to help tatay make the steps to be active again and we set goals for them to start praying for him every day and showing him a good example of reading the scriptures and so on... anyways on saturday a miracle happened. out of nowhere a letter arrived at his work, making him change schedule from weekends to weekdays. we had a appointment set but we both felt to just cancel it and go to the vinaraos,,, this was one of the most powerful lessons and times ive felt the spirit in my life. we were guided in everything to say with what schriptures to use and at the end they all comitted to come to church as a family. and they did. they had such a good experience at church that they all promised to come every week and start working towards... the temple. ( this was one of the key lessons in them deciding to come to church ) during the closing prayer of the lesson i felt a joy that almost took over my body it was not something ive felt before it had to be liike what happened to ammon when he ran into alma after their very long mission. i cant believe it still william vinarao came to church. promised to get rid of his vice and come as a family every week. i cant even express my grattitude that i was able to be like ammon said an instrument in the lords hands. this area has been well hard for me personally with a lot of things but now ive got the answer to the prayer i prayed about 4 months ago. yep i did do whats right and even though the members didnt like me for it gods proud of me. what an experience. 

hello that experience i sent you was the highlight of the week. so im feling pretty blessed right now. and also the work with dan and jorami mansiban. this couple is well this is one of them that grows your testimony that god called you through a prophet. i fel a special closenes with dan that i havent felt with other investigators. i love all of them of course but this is diferent. like i know him is the only description it really does sound corny and like its from an lds fiction book but well its how it is. yesterday we somehow comvinced the second councilor and bishop to go on splits with us... i went with bishop and the second councilor to the mansibans and elder hawlader went with marlon ( an rm in our ward ) i saw some true repentance and humility that just hit me deep inside with many memories of myself. he said something in our lesson that well... grows my testimony (like i said earlier) he said slowly and quietly while not really looking us in the eye... "i really want to change and i know i can, but i really need your help i cant do it alone" . if you knew dan.... hes a ladies man a cock fighter hes pretty well of financially has many friends and well like anyone living that life style./.. pretty full of the pride of the world... he wasnt just at the great and spacious building in lehis dream he was the owner... but i saw well true repentance. manifesting before the church that he is repenting of his sins and humbling himself before god. ah i cant even write these things my words are lacking. but anyways for anything not sure if they are going to go on a mission.... dont be an idiot. again i repeat dont be an idiot. 

i hope things are all good there in the wonderful place you live. this is gonna be a wek of change for me i dono if im staying here to see gilbertson be baptised on saturday, or if my area is really going to be split and what part of that area im going to be assigned in... what a cool experience. its like christmas... who am i going to spend every second o fhte next 6 to 12 weeks with? how exciting ha ha. well i love you all take care keep on truckin... elder landeen
kamusta po kayo mga minamahal kong kapatid, nais kong sabihin sa inyo na buhay pa rin ako, humihinga pa at mayroon na po kaming internet na medyo mabalis. bale sana maganda nd sulat ko sa inyo ngayon.

like the tagalag intro?
 sorry about last week man that was a pain in the ()(). i think ill give you all a few updates on how things are going here in cabagan. and what changes are going to be happening here in the next coming weeks. 

on transfer day my area is getting split in half, theyre adding 2 more elders into my beautiful castle of a house and cutting my area in half. this is exciting and stinks at the same time. excitng because the investigators we have in both halves will be able to be focused on better but stinks because well helf of them i wont be able to be teaching anymore. and then we will have to be starting from having jam pached days to ah crap what are we gonna do now... i havent been there in a while im not all that excited to go back ha but it will be great to experience it again. 

i wanna talk a little about dan and jorami. i dont think ill tell you everything about them bcause its long but long story short dan is a lot like me and jorami is a very nice but different and loud person. i love them very very much. i talked about dan before but i dont think i ever talked about jorami. its interesting being in a missionaries shoes teaching and counceling people almost twice your age about how to change their life. dan has had a long life of well sin. starting when he was a kid hes been there and done that. enough said ha. and some hard big choices have been made and ive seen in his eyes what a would describe as what alma must have felt (to a certain degree) after the angel appeared to him and he realized and acceptied how wicked he has been. i can see a real desire to change, but the helplessnes that satan so freely gives to us all after he has wrapped us in his chains. i remember something i once heard that the feling of being square with god is one of the best feelings in the world. i know thats true, i would like to add my testimony that the feeling of knowing your not square with god but not knowing how to change yourself is one of the worst. the feeling of hopelessness because for so long youve chose the wrong you end up believing the lies whispered in your ears that maybe you cant really ca\hange. and theres no way..... i can see it in his eyes and it makes you just sad inside. the pull of addiction, the peer pressure, the guilt of past transgressions is just weighing him down. yes you can hide it well but at night when your about to go to sleep theres the real you wondering if you have any hope. this is dan right now. 

im so greatful for the savior because if it werent for him poeple like dan and me wouldnt have any hope. im greatful that no matter what it is youve done you can make it right. and im glad im here. i got a text the other night and wow ive been in the field for a year now.. so that means 14 months in the mission. and im glad with where i am. no matter what kid of problems or discouragement we feel in life or while your out serving its a comfort to know that the savior has already felt it and made a way for you to do what he asked. training a bangladeshi has been stinkin hard. to be honest sometimes its like taking a little brother that doesnt speak your language out to teach people, but ive learned more from this companionship than i have from any other one. its a big world out there many cultures and many problems but one faith one lord and one baptism for them all. i think the best way to describe a mission, for me, is a big karma experience for all the bad things you did to other people. it helps you understand people. oh thats what mom and dad felt t\when i didnt go to school and i said i did, and thats why god said through a prophet dont steady date when your young, im really glad im here. 
anyways ive rambeled on with basicly no direction just a bunch of jumbled thought. just wanna say i love you! take care ill write again next week. elder landeen

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

well i timed it, i waited 48 minutes for my email to load. so i cant reply. the joys of the philippines, we looked for 20 minutes for a computer shop with internet, we finally found one and man  its given me a new test o fpatience. i love you all ill update you on things next week sorry! elder landeen

Monday, August 27, 2012

hello everybody



it was a great week. many successes that are hard to describe and some things that make you very sad inside. ill go ahead and shared a few of them with you.

first of all the investigator i talked about a few weeks ago karmencita. we had a great lesson with her on saturday and the spirit was strong and she comitted to tell her family she wanted to be baptised and she would come to church and she shared her testimony how she knows that its all true..... 
she came to church. after she attended church at catholic. she hadnt talked with her parents about her coming to church and she said she didnt know if she could. and then this morning she texted and said shes decided to started serving in her own church and shes sorry that she cant join.... which makes me think a lot about agency and choices. gods very intelligent and patient with us. i cant begin to understand how he can watch all of us screw things up so bad sometimes and just wait and watch patiently.. this lady knows its true felt it in her heart feels it when she reads the book of mormon and feels it when she comes to church.. but the family pressure is just not something she can handle,. the trial of the faith is hard... it makes you sad to watch people that you know feel the sirit and know the truth to turn away from it. 

next on a brighter note. we had sister maricel pelo come to church for the first time in over 4 years! ive been teaching this family for the whole time ive been here and marical when i first got here would leave the second we came. and then if she was there she wouldnt speak to us. wouldnt even look at us. then somehow one day soething just happened. she started listening. then slowly started reading the book of mormon. and then finally yesterday she came to church. bishop didnt really believe it happened he was very shocked. its a long slow process but wow its rewarding that first week they finally come to church. her and her 3 children only attended sacrament meeting but they said they would be back next week again. ive really learned one truth here. reading in the book of mormon is the most important thing anyone can do in order to stay on the strait and narrow,. thats why nephi and lehi saw in their vision the "rod of iron" and people "holding fast to it". what does this rod of iron represent? the word if god. the scriptures. ive been working with less actives for about 8 months now. and ive seen in every single situation that as soon as they started reading again in the book of mormon... they started to gain the desire to come back to church. i guess thats the blessing of "holding fast to the word of god" it really helps to keep you on the straite and narrow path. 

the next is dan and jorami. dan likes cock fighting and gambeling. thats his big trial now in batteling the natural man and having his desires changed. (mosiah 3 19) man satan does a good job on decieving the world. look at all the things that seem so harmless at first but turn into addictive habbits. hes very good at what he does. 

thing continue to progress here. in about to the 1 year in the field mark. ha. wow. crazy. hope you all are good and enjoying the weather! mahal ko kayong lahat.. elder landeen

Thursday, August 23, 2012

kumusta po tatay ( hi did how are you )

this week on newsroom philippines cabagan edition we have an exciting weather forecast of rain. diferent kinds of rain. in the words of forest gump we have big rain little rain big old fat rain, sometimes rain that comes in sideways, sometimes its basically just a mist that your walking into. not rain but litirall like your walking in a big mister . it floods up above our ankles at least 1 time a week. earlier we played volleyball in the rain that was fun. sometimes it is really rediculously hot in the morning and then thats how you know in the after noon it will rain really hard. and sure enough there comes the rain. 

as far as typhoons like whats happening in manila nothing like that has happened since the first of my mission last september. things in manila are very sad the new elder that came in talked about how when they left the airport it was all flooded even just right outside the airport doors. very sad. 

thats the weather report for this week ha. 

the work of the lord is going forward! always and then sometimes seems like its going backwards. sometimes i have like realizations as im walking around here in the philippines. like wow am i really on a mission? and about the book of mormon like what elder holland said. its hard to imagine how someone could really make up a book like that, its too good for a bad man to write it and theres really not an honest man that would do it unless it was true. its weird how sometimes in life your testimony seems to go up and down. but well i guess thats what the whole walking by faith is. 

theres a family here in cabagan thats such a great family temple cealed and everything they just have one thing that they just cant quite get their minds over, they have a little store that they sell all sorts of things at they just wont close it down on sundays. it makes you see what a blessing it is to have the day of rest the lord has given us. this family pays tithing and always helps members when they need it and thats thier justification for keeping it open on sundays but man they are missiong about on such a great blessing it makes me a little bit sad. im glad that i grew up in a house that we learned to keep the sabbath day holy. were not perfect but we did it. so once again thank you for that. 

 these are just some pictures. the big muscle man is gilbert,. he was supposed to be beptised on saturday but he started drinking again so we had to move his date. and the other is romel and my companion elder hawlader. anyways i llove you and talk to you next week keep me updated on the merit news... elder landeen

to start off yes heavy rain is a part of life. and its not something i
write about because it is normal ha and i dont htink about it any
more. as far as a baugio (typhoon) cabagan has flooded a few times but
that happens a lot. the baugio must have been farther north than us
here in cabagan. im glad that im not in manila mission they have had
some really bad flooding the past while (the members are saying from
the news) in tagalag kawawa sila ( like poor them they are having a
bad time )

its kinda late i wanna just share with you a little experience before
i go. yesterday at church there was a sister that we found a few weeks
ago karmencita. she is having a hard time with family problems they
are very catholic and they dont want her to come to church here. (she
is in her 30's by the way ) anyways every week she tells us she wont
be coming to church but every week somehow she ends up showing up. and
she always seems confused why. she says there is something that wakes
her up early sunday morning with some excited feeling that she
described as making her legs move and get herself ready to go to the
church. she almost seems upset when she gets there. why she says over
and over, and then finaly yesterday family problems were bad and even
neighbors were giving her a hard time. the members of her church were
texting her telling her they miss her in the choir, and they want her
to come back, and if you think about that that would be hard for
anyone to leave when your a part of something like that. sunday
morning she said i wont be there im going to catholic church and we
believed her this time and then towards the end of sacrament meeting
she arrived looking different. i went out into the fawyer and she
immediately asked me what is it about your church that makes me come
here, she said theres no band, no dancing and guitar ( thats the kind
of "worship" that she is used to and loves) and she said what is it
that you have here that makes me come every week i dont undewrstand.
she really wanted to know what it was. and so i said of course,,,, we
have the spirit and this is the true church, and you know that and
feel it in your heart., and she admitted that thats true, and then
its just another testimony about how christ is the good sheppard and
he is working in the hearts of the children of men. its helping them
to open the door and trust in him is the hard part. feeling the spirit
and knowing isnt enought. they have to act on it.l thats the hard
part. im just greatful to see that ive very feww times here seen the
spirit working on someone this strong and im greatful to be a
witrness. \

anyways out of time love you all talk to you next week elder landeen

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This Week

hey im a couplle days late sorry this will be short my companion has been too sick to leave the house the past few days. so thats why i wasnt able to respond on monday and now since its wednesday and havent been able to work for 2 days and my companion is just getting better and not completely well yet were very short on time. ill just share a little bit of my thoughts the past few days. first of all.... thank you mom for taking care of me all the times i have been sick. i never realized how hard that is until now because im always the one that is sick! 2 nights ago up at two helping him stumble to the bathroom to lbm and throw up then rubbing cold water on his head to try and get his fever to go down, then washing all of our clothes for the whole week (garments and all.... :/) by hand and trying to keep him constantly drinking and eating what he could and giving medicine... i had an apifany (i dono how to spell it) i was taking a step into the life of a mother. and i have an announcement to make,.. thank you mothers for all you do but im proud to be a man. ha ha ha ha ha ha. i guess thats where the whole "equal partnership" thing comes into play. 

i read all of elder ballards book mans search for happiness these past few days. man its already changed my perspective on things. if you ever get caught up in life and job and everything think about how little all of it really is and how lucky we are for the knowledge we have. its absolutely amazing all the knowledge we have about god that the rest of the world is lacking. now lets just show what it means to us by living the things that we are learning. ive found something this past few days about myself and most likely most other people that knda bothered me. i worked all of monday cleaning and doing laundry and updating records and cooking food and all these important things that well obviously needed to be done theres no other way around it than just doing it. but when i found myself at the end of the day trying to read the book of mormon and have a real prayer with my heavenly father it was hard for me to do so because i had exhausted all my strength with all the other things i was doing. do you ever find yourself in this category? so busy doing things that you find it too hard to pray (really pray) because your mentally exhausted with the daily tasks of life? i thought about it a lot and i mean im a missionary if i find myself in that trap then doubtless to say many of you have also. it made me think really... what are my priorities? what is most important to me? 

maybe take the time during the day of a messy house and renovation busy work and school papers and homework and friends and dishes and all these important things that need to be done, and try to "seek first the kingdom of god"          

 LUKE 10 38-42  martha or mary? is basically what i mean. i know each one of us pray every day but do we listen after we pray? i know i teach that to people almost every day to pray and then wait and give god the chance to answer but am i applying what im teaching? its a very interesting thought, and well...  i want to do better. 

love you all and take care.                                                                                                              elder landeen

Monday, July 30, 2012

hello everyone good news. imie got baptised ha :) nope her baby didnt have random seizures and infections the night before again. but she is not a baptised and confirmed member of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints.
ive been blessed to see in a short period of time the "bigger picture" of the lord/ and heres the story....
with imie i know i told you a couple weeks ago that she was scheduled to have a baptism and that it didnt happen because of her daughter that she had gotten sick. this placed us and the church in a very had situation! of course when a problem comes especially when we are making correct choices in our lives we first ask ourselves... why is this happening? am i doing something wrong? and so when you are deciding to change religions its very easy to pin point which choice it is that you could be making wrong. imie expressed to us that there were a few nights when she was sleeping in the hospital with her sick daughter ( sleeping in the crib sized bed with her daughter in a room with about 4 other sick children and their parents ) that she asked herself that question. she said she had made the decision at a couple points that she wasnt going to continue and be baptised. ( we definately were doing a lot of praying for her while all this was going on ) but somehow something happened... she chose faith. she was doing a lot of thinking and she remembered the feelings and the things she was taught and made the decision... no i will believe this is just a trial. and eventually she was released  from the hospital and allowed to take her daughter home. we began teaching her again amazed at the faith in jesus christ during such adversity and set a new date for her baptism. it wasnt untl last week we were able to see the real plan that god has for his daughter that had excersised so much faith in him. .  .  .
imies husband works in manila. from what we had known about him he was okay that imie wanted to be baptised but had no plan himself to follow in her footsteps. but for the reason that his daughter got sick.... he came home from manila to see her, while here we were able to share a message with him and her.. families can be together forever,.. and after that lesson he asked the greatest question ever... what do i need to do to be married in the temple so my family can be together forever.. ( rough translation from tagalag ha ha)    imie was beaming her face lit up like a christmas tree and the reality hit me and my companion. if nicole ( her daughter ) hadnt gotten sick then christopher ( her husband ) wouldnt have come home, we wouldnt have taught that lesson, he wouldnt have attended her baptism and confirmation and he wouldnt have asked how he can be taught by the missionaries and go to church while he is working there in manila. there would be no "seed of faith" planted in the hearts of this young couple that will hopefully grown into a forever family. 
ive thought about it a lot and how much time in my life ive spent questioning the things that are happening to me. ive thought about anxiety and why its been such a struggle to me my whole mission. i remember the hospital and probably the thoughts of my parents while i was making the decisions i was. im sure there were a lot of nights questioning to themselves "what did we do wrong"? this is a normal thing for us to think... this was one more testimony to me that god has a plan. hes mindful and knows us and our situations and in the long run all the trials and problems when you look back will be things you thin about and say " man i was an idiot for worrying so much ". i dont know how gods plan works but i believe theres a plan and that somehow thats very incomprehensible he is very involved in every one of our lives and is helping us as long as we have "faith in every footstep" 

im grateful for all of you, and most of all for a loving heavenly father that was willing to see the good in me when all i was showing was bad. im greatful for parents and teachers before and during the mission that were willing to hope and pray that the boy they "once knew" would come back. i'm grateful for bishops and young mens presidents that would keep coming when i was very entertaining and fun to be around and hope they know the efforts didnt go forgotten,  thank you all for all your support and i love each and every one of you. take care and "press forward with a steadfastness in christ with a perfect brightness of hope and a love of god and all men "                                                                                                       another week gone.. elder landeen