Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dear Family,
Allen talked about a CES Fireside he listened to that really touched him this week and he suggested we listen to it.  I have included a link to the website where you can view it on the computer.  Hopefully the link works!  The talk is called, "That We Might “Not . . . Shrink” (D&C 19:18)" and was given by David A. Bednar in March of this year.  We thought you might want to listen to it so you knew what Allen was talking about this week.  If the link doesn't work, just copy and paste it in the address bar of the internet.
Love you all!
Mike and Paula

Allen just sent a short note to Mike and I this week, but I cut and pasted parts of them together so you know his thoughts this week.
did you have a chance to read elder bednars talk to the young single adults?
those things have been on my mind ever since... do you have the faith not to be healed. and that out faith should be that the lord can heal us not that he will heal us. just like the savior in the garden of gethsemane didnt have his bitter cup taken away... sometimes we just have to endure... and hopefully well.
what a great talk right? i went on splits with some members yesterday and we were supposed to meet back at the church at 5 but he didnt get back until 6, (time doesnt exhist here) but anyways i was able to watch the broadcast while i was waiting. i never sees to be amazed with the wisdom and knolwledge of the leaders of the church and their way of taking a story and showing you the hand of the lord in all things. it makes you think about yourself doesnt it and getting your faith to be in the lord and not in the outcome. you wonder sometimes why thingsa like that happen... (the cancer of that man) but then you think also of how many thousands of people have now been inspired by the words of that man in his journal as a result of his cancer... and im sure that never even crossed their minds.
the rashes are just an eternal struggle im fighting ha but its part of the journey.
elder landeen
That's all we got this week, but he sounds happy and well.
Love you all!
Mike and Paula
okay everyone apparently wants to know the story of my hand so ill tell you.. 
i was working in mallig (a different area) on splits with elder dagal and as we were walking i felt something like a spider web brush across my arm. (of course because it felt like a spider web i assumed that it was.... a spider web) but then later my arm started itching and well after a day thats what it looked like. the rash went all over my body. so i went to the doctor got a hydrocortizone shot got some other things to take and now its about gone :) ive gotten very used to the monthly ailment thats why i wasnt all that excited to share about it ha thats just how things have gone for this short stay in paradise.

other than that what else is new... we had a great meeting with elder hallstrom and elder michael john u teh, two general authorities. theres 2 things (among many) that have impressed me each time i have listened to or met with a general authority. 1: how precisely and clearly they speak, and how carefully they seem to seach for the correct things to say. 2: without fail they have each talked about agency at 1 time or another and how important the principle of action is in every aspect of the gospel and of our life. 

one thing that was really cool was when elder hallstrom ended his teachings he bore his testimony and said if you ever find yourself doubting your testimony,, or wondering if you are doing the right thing, or questioning your faith... know that as a special witness of christ i know with perfect assurity ... and then bore his testimony. it wasnt any testimony different than is always born at general conference.. but as he spoke it was as if i could see the spirit carrying his words into our hearts.. it was one of those times that you feel like your faith has been made perfect and youve been lifted up into a higher plane.. like there was nothing but hope and knowledge inside me and i knew... that he knew what he was saying was true. i really felt the spirit there, ive felt the spirit countless times strehgthening my testimony, and i share my testimony often. but this was one of those times where you just really feel something. i feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to be taught by general authorities like that.

another thing that touched me was yesterday at nanay sorianos house (the one who cant walk and is so happy) she said the opening prayer, and i think my heart about melted. she has a hard time speaking also so when she talked everything sounds so forced like she is really struggling to get the sounds to come out. and her prayer was just so humble,. she thanked got for her many blessings, she told him how much she loves him and asked him to please give them food to eat every day, and then asked to please help her get better because shes sick, followed by more things shes greatful for and closed in the name of jesus christ. 
theres a few things that really touched me about her prayer. 1 please give us food to eat every day... thats something that we dont usually say in our prayers at home. we thank god for the food hes given us, but we dont ask him to give us food every to eat every day... here... she has to rely on the lord for that blessing because it wouldnt be abnormal to no know where they are going to get their food for dinner. it really touched me that she, someone with such health problems wasnt cursing god for her problems...  but seems to completely recognize her reliance on god for her daily needs. next was the was she said heavenly father i love you, we were a group but it was interesting that she said mahal ko kayou and not mahal namin kayo (ko means me and namin means we) of course normally in a group you would be expressing the love of the whole group but i just felt like this was a very personal expression of her love for him followed by a plee for help in her time of need. what a great example of how christ taught us to pray. i thought to my self man if all my prayers were like that i would be so much closer to my heavenly father than i am now. 

anyways other than that we need to go dedicate the house of the sister missionaries so i gota run.. but i love you all ! take care... love elder landeen
okay so that was the physical side of me for the week.. now its time for the spiritual side of me.
i would like to give this sermon a title,...    "THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD"

mathew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your balms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

this past saturday i had the amazing experience of being trained in our mission home by elder ardurn, a member of the area presidency in the philippines with the other missionaries that were invited. just so you know nothing i will write will quite capture what im trying to say, or pain the picture im trying to show you. but ill take as much artistic liberty as i can and see if i can get this out just right.

for anyone whos experienced training from general authorities you know how intense it is. the spirit just seems to fill the room as soon as the come in. we started off normal, had a great musical number that i was able to participate in "savior redeemer of my soul" and then elder Ardurn began to teach us. he started out by asking us to take some time and find a scripture that really impresses you, and be prepared to share with the group why it impresses you.. as we all started to search my thoughts ran through scripure references, favorite verses, different topics, i wanted to find one that would really impress him, that was really an impressive scripture. when he continued he talked about the importance of traditions, about music, and a number of other topics and then he called on eldr smith to share what scripture he had picked that really impressed him. i looked at elder smith and i thought man that would be terrifying to be up there, asked to teach a group of people in front of a general aug\thority.. then i thought could i do that? yeah i could probably do it. and then elder smith started reading his scriptures. it was found in 2 nephi chapter 4 when nephi is mourning for his failures and imperfections. and then elder smith shared how important being obedient is and how we all need to be lie nephi and i thought to myself yeah i have a lot of weaknesses i need to work on... but then at the same time i noticed i was kinda getting bothered by the things elder smith was saying about obedience and all that stuff i thought to myself thats the same stuff missionaries always say in front of their leaders, and then i noticed that deep down i wanted to be the one sharing the scritpure that really impressed me. i thought about my level of obedience and then thats where the spirit seemed to take over.. the first thought was... why are you obedient? why do you want to follow the schedule 100 percent, why do you want to improve your teaching skills and why are you sitting in a meeting with a general authority listening to your fellow missionary sharing something important to him and all your doing is thinking about yourself. and then i started thinking about the reasons why we do things and i remembered...  
Take heed that ye do not your balms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

 5 ¶And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hastbshut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly

i applied the lesson to all aspects of life and especially to me and i learned a great truth. for the first time i understhood what it means in ephesians 2 : 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

it is important that we are always doing the right things. it is imprtant that we follow the commandments and are "100 percent" but i know that thats not enough. i feel like it is more important to got that we are doing those out of a love for him and a desire to serve him and others than if we came to a state of perfection in actions and deeds but our inward self is no closer to god than if we hadnt been doing any of them. im so greatful that the spirit had a lesson for me. that i need to change. i believe that us doing the right thing is only half of the puzzle were trying to put together. true discipleship, or conversion is when we can find a way to overcome the pride, the natural man and the selfish desires that we all have and do good things because... we desire to do good things. that we are obedient to the commandments because we love the lord and we want to do what makes him happy, not for our own ego.

have you ever found yourself cleaning the house or picking up after other people, going the extra mile, and feeling like noone appreciates it? going out of your way to make things great for everyone butt not feeling the happiness that should come from being in the service of your fellow beings? or doing the dishes everyday and finding youself disappointed because you didnt hear a thank you, or later theres more dishes (ive been guilty most oif my life for not being very thankful by the way) well if you ever find yourself in that situation because i have found myself in that situation for a very long time... just do one thing. think to yourself. why am i doing this? why am i serving my companion? or always cleaning or whatever the situation is. and then read mathew 6. if we can serve others with a mindset that we are serving our god, even though others dont seem to see it, or dont appreciate what you are doing... "your father in heaven that seeth in secret will reward you openly"

in case you didnt realize, i had a great spiritual experience on saturday. i felt like i was recieving personal direction, and i feel it came from a loving heavenly father. i believe that he is there are knows us, and will help us. that he wants us to be happy and if were l\willing to learn he will send us that god given guidance every once of a while when we find ourself off course.

thanks for hearing the sermon of the week. thats whats been on my mind.! i love you all take care until next week... elder landeen
hello hello. its getting hot again! my polos (white shirts) are at the
can only get away with 1 day of wearing them stage again where as the
past few months ive been able to get away with two ha ha it was nice
while it lasted. its amazing how much you can sweat from just walking
ha i forgot about that while i was in dupax.. its been a great
reminder for me ha ha.

anyways i have a cool little experience this past week. well a bunch
ill share a few. first and foremost.. was an experience we had with
tatay gregorio manzano. this is the man who has had a stroke and cant
get around well and cant talk.. while we were visiting he we could
sense that he had something he really wanted to get across to us and
he was making hand gestures and pointing towards the church but well
he cant talk. so we gave him a pencil and a paper and he wrote this on
the paper.. gusto kong magpatotoo pero  hindi ako makapagsalita.. (i
want to share my testimony but im not able to speak...) i thought to
my self of all the things this poor old man could be thinking about...
of all the things that he could have written on that paper or tried to
get across to us... it was his desire to bear his testimony in church.
then i thought about how often in the first 18 years of my life i had
this burning desire to share my testimony (not very often) and how
many times i wanted to but i just didnt.. then theres this man who can
speaak but that is the thing he wants most. makes ya think and count
your blessings right?

next was with a less active man we are teaching. tatay anghel. hes
been inactive for years... he was offended pretty badly in the 1990's
and since then he hasnt been coming to church. hes come 1 time before
i got here but now since ive been here he hasnt come. every time he
plans on coming he thinks about what happened those many years ago and
it hurts still so much that he ends up going to the catholic church. .
. we've been teaching him the restoration for the past two weeks
trying to help him understand the doctrine of the apostasy and how
important the restoration is.... and yesterday he didnt come to church
again but while we were teaching him something lie seemed to click. he
said he had been thinking about what we were teaching.. and why there
are so many churches and how joseph smith restored the church that was
lost and i didnt understand that before but now it makes sense and i
thought to myself... why would i go to the catholic church if i know
where the true church is. and then he said he plans on being active
again. the thing that really impressed me was when he said i
understand. thats all that it was... a correct understanding of true
doctrine to change his heart. it makes me sad that for that many years
hes harbored hard feelings and missed so many blessings because of
something that would be very difficult but if he had understood the
doctrine.. and got a testimony of it he wouldnt have beeen lost.

sorry i had a lot the talk about but all the sudden i lost track of
where i was going and im low on time again... so maybe next week ill
remember. anyways love you all take care! elder landeen
hello everybody. i dont have any super inspiring words today... i have
something very sad to talk about so bear with me.

yesterday we were working in one of our areas called nueva era, its
super far away and we have to walk about 30 minutes after a 10 minute
ride in a van to get to our first appointment. as we were walking my
spirits were high. while we were in the van i was able to give a short
little "sermon" (haha) about the restoration to the people in the van
(side note when i say van, thats a public transportation that they do
here they push as many people into these vans as will fit and drop you
off when you need to go along the highway just like busses there) and
that was fun. anyways as we were walking we had just passed by a house
just a little ways away from the dirt road we were walking on when we
heard a big bang, followed by the shattering of glass. it was a little
starteling but we thought it might have just been a big firework or
something so we didnt think about it too much, when we got to the
house were were going to they were building a little awning out of
bamboo and kugol (that grass looking stuff they use for making huts on
movies ha ) so we sat down for a few minutes and the son of the mother
and father we were going to teach came running down the road and said
that their neighbod had just commited suicide,, he set off a grenade
inside his house with him inside. this was the father of 1 child and
his wife was away somewhere.

i dont know why it happened, what the concern was or the reason... but
we left nueva era with an empty feeling inside. it was weird to thing
that we were right outside his house for  the last few seconds of his

i only am sharing this because it made me thing of how greatful i am
for the knowledge i have.. for the hope that is in me. for the light
of the gospel... that many people dont have. im very greatful for my
testimony and that i know that no matter how tough life is... itll all
be okay. what a miracle it is that we have that kind of hope and
knowledge... that no matter what happens we are still lifted up
through the truth that through the savior and his atonement and
resurection all our wrongs will be made right and all things in the
end.. if we live the gospel will work out for our benefit. what a

anyways sorry that im the bearer of gloomy news.. but thats what has
been stuck in my mind today.....

love you all very much! elder landeen
hello everyone its time for a few short words of deep thought you ready for it????

i just want to share about 3 people we are working with or visiting...we will start with sister helen lopez..... 

helen lopez is a member of 2 years... she has had 3 strokes and has trouble walking and has very little movement in her left arm. she can walk but slowly and tires easily. she cant work and she is very very depressed. she has come back to church recently after a time period of not attending meetings.

next is sister soriano. she is also a stroke victem multiple times... she has no movement of her left arm... cant walk, has trouble speaking, has other health problems... has to be carried around by her husband (part member our investigator)... she is the happiest person ive met in a long time. she has come back to church also after a long period of not being able. our visits are full of joy and laughter...

next is tatay gregorio manzano. he is also a stroke victem. his last stoke left him unable to speak.. almost unable to walk or eat and just full of problems.... he came to churt for the first time in a long while due to medical problems. we often see him in his wheel chair ourside with his book of mormon or gospel principles manuel at his side. he cant communicate more than a nod up and down or side to side and pointing fingers. he is the only member in his family. he cries often in our visits... but to our surprise despite his difficulties walking and health pronblems... he found a way to push his wheel chair by himself to church this week the distance is maybe from our house to riverside elementary...

three different people,, 3 different but similar circumstances... and 3 different attitutes on life......

attitude is everything.. im completely convinced our own decision on what kind of an attitude we have on our challenges will greately determine not only our happiness in life but the things we will be able to achieve. sister soriano despite her challenges in communication and movement somehow is able to lift my spirits and encourage me to think positively and have more faith every time i visit her... tatay gregorios faith carried his crippled old body all the way to the church by himself... its just absolutely amazing to me.. . .  sister helen... is struggling( as we all do at times which is completely understandable especially with her circumstances ) and at church this sunday sister soriano and her were able to talk and sister soriano was even encouraging her to be more positive! 

when we have problems.... our attitude is a literal choice we make. noone can make our day bad or our hearts low, and noone can make a trial unbearable or problem un solvable. its all in our choice of how we look at it.....

i think about something in the scriptures... and its hope. i think if you have a good attitude or outlook on life a big part of it is the hope that is in you that things will get better and that it will all be alright. which is a result of the knowladge we have because of the gospel.... arent we a lucky people? 

anyways im going to do all i can to have a better attitude from now on.... i hope we can all live like sister soriano! 

love you elder landeen

area #5        ROXAS

yes i figure your understand what that means... i got transfered this past week to a new area. and yes its called roxas (pronounced rohas) 
transfer day is always exciting it doesnt matter how long you are in the mission its still terrifying to get transfered to a new area. you have to get to know a whole new branch of people and im terrible with names, new area new companion that your wondering how your companionship will be.. exciting ha ha.

its a lot different here im not showing in ice water anymore and theres no mountains for miles. my companions names is elder ballentos and its the first time since my first set of companions during my training that my companion wasnt either brand new or only 12 weeks or less in the mission. its definately a different perspective ha ha i have to remind myself that im not training my companion anymore. but its good because elder ballentos is a great missionary and has just about as much experience as i have in the field minus 12 weeks so hes great at teaching. 

its a big adjustment because here coming from such a small place like dupax roxas  is actually a fairly nice city and my area is right next to it and we can walk to the church where we have district meeting unstead of a 30 minute tricee ride. ill miss that place but i think ill get lost in the work here pretty quickly. (its not an open area so we actually have people to teach right off the bat its so nice ha ha)

its funny too now the 2 assistants to the president are both from my batch coming to the field one filipino elder ilagan and then elder needs. both studs so im happy about that. 
i dont have any deep thoughts this week because i have been so mentally involved with new things that i havent had the time to think too deep. but ill see if i can come up with something this week for you. no promises but we do have zone conference so i should be able to find something to share.

well i love you all hope all is well. take care!! until next week.... elder landeen