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