Thursday, May 30, 2013

hello dad.
weather update... its hot. and then it rains. then its hot then it rains.. then its hot and rains again. thats about it.
cultural bit...  whenever you pass by a house whether you know them or not if people are eating a meal or eating anything they will call out kain tayo! (wihich means lets eat) although i dont think they literally mean they want you to eat with them i think its just a curtural courtesy thing. just as an experiement a few times when people said it a actually said okay thats great thank you! and came and sat down and ate with them. they were a little shocked ha i got a laugh and thought to myself well they offered.
mission update.... nothing new still here in roxas dont know if it will be my last area or if i have 1 more. i feel like ill probably have 1 more but we will see. i would love to have this be my last area though.
spiritual thought....  ive thought a lot lately of how hard of a thing it must have been for nephi and laman and lemual and sam to go back to jerusalem after leaving to get the plates of brass. i read in the study manua\el for the book of mormon about the geography of the land they traveled from, that not only barren but there were constant threat of robbers and running out of food and all sorts of other things. and that after their first failed attempt and being threated that laban will kill laman, they go back to their house and get all their riches (im sure it was very tempting for laman and lemual to just stay home, without their dad they were now the heirs to all that gold and silver and stuff, but they didnt they got it all and tried again and again failed. thinking how discourging that must have been for them all including nephi but the faith of nephi that even not knowing how the heck hes going to get the plates he still went in again knowing his very life is in danger because he knows how important the scriptures are for his family. it had to be a completely overwhelming task for them especially after failing 2 times!.
the area presidency had taught us and missionary work here in the philippines has once again started to make an interesting change. we are to continue rescuing less actives.. but we are now to... start finding and teaching and baptising rich people. our directions are to start finding and teaching in english and focus your efforts on them. the doctrine is found in d and c 59 but basically whats happened is because of course the poorer people are more humble and teachable missionaries have been focusing on them and teaching them and the church had been overwhelmed with welfare needs, people not being able to hold callings or be leaders because they dont have an education, and not being able to help other members because they dont have the means to do so. ive realized in the past month how blessed ive ben here in the philippines. rich people dont seem to care all that much about what we have to say ha i cant imagine a stateside mission or a mission in europe anyone who serves there is my hero. but anyways trying to find how to find and get investigators that are wealthy has proven to be a very hard thing to do. we found some to teach but every return appointment has fallen through ha and they are only willing to listen on sunday evenings so when we wait all week excited to teach them then we set the appointment and go there and noones home they had urgent business your left wondering are they really just busy or are they just too nice to tell you they arent interested in listening (thats probably the hardest thing here people wont tell you they arent interested they act like they are super interested but will very rarely say to your face that they have no desire to listen so you never know what is really in their head.
anyways its been a pretty good experience for me to not have very much success here in roxas as far as that stuff goes you get to see things from a different perspective. when it comes down to it all the matters is that you do what is asked of you to do no matter what the outcome. and thats a peaceful thought.
anyways thats it for me! love you get better soon! elder landeen
hello everyone :) i just talked this past week and said all my news and nothing has really happened since last week so that will have to suffice for now. there was something that really impressed me in church this last week though. we had district conference so there was an area authority and president and sister carlos there and sister carlos's talk was about prrayer. she talked about an experience that they had at a mission presidents seminar where elder evans the head of the missionary department was the one who was teaching at the seminar. they had apparently held a question and answer session in the seminar and after that they had a small break before their dinner and elder evans had returned to his hotel room and was praying and in his prayer he had asked if he had done anything that day that was offensive to anyone or to his heavenly father, and asked for it to be brought back to his mind. and he remembered a mission president had asked a question and his answer and reaction to the question of this mission president, although he hadnt realized or considered it at the time was kind of short and the mission president was hurt by the was he was treated by the general authority. so later that evening he found that mission president and apologized to him for how he had treated him. sister carlos then proceded to give a formula that can help inrease the sincerity of our prayers. she said set aside 10 minutes, start off by expressing to your heavenly father your love for him and his son and your desire to know them more, to learn more about them, and to feel more of their presence in your life. this will naturally lead to thoughts of things that you are greatful for in your life. next ask if you have done anything that day that was offensive to anyone or to him, and for him to bring that to your mind. then ask for the strength to avoid the sin in the future and make any corrections necessary for restitution of the sin. 

it had never occured to me before to ask him what i had done that day that offended him or others. i knew to ask forgiveness for what i had done but i never considered to take the next step and find out from his side what i had really done since hes the one who knows who i may have offended or what i did to offend him. i tried it. i dont need to go into detail of what the specific thing was that happened but there was something that was brough to mind that i also never even considered at the time. it was only a thought that i had had earlier that day about a member of the church that was offensive to the lord and i asked for the strength to not be so judgemental of people because i have no right to do so. i felt great peace and thought about what a great blessing it is to be able to repent. taking this extra step made a big difference in my day, in being sensative to the promptings of the spirit. 

try it. if anyone has any cool experiences i would LOVE to hear about them! 

anyways i love you all, until next week.... elder landeen
first of all my release date is july 31, i dont have travel plans yet but if i uderstand correctly they will be sent to you at the same time they are sent to me so youll know as soon as i know. yes its crazy how close it is now i cant believe it. but ive accepted it so all is well. 

things seem exciting there at home weve got surgeries and cruises and finals and crt's all coming up quick. life ha. 

we had an amazing meeting with elder nielson from the area presidency here in the philippines this past week, his topic was a talk by elder bednar titled "in the strength of the lord" man it was good. once again im always amazed by the general authorities that visit and how they teach. 

the just of it was the strengthening power of the atonement. we talked about how the atonement is not only for sinners bu for saints also (or the good people striving to become like saints) it ended up being a lot about changing the way we pray. he talked about how a lot of prayers are about having circumstances changed, but how we should pray is to be given the strength to change our circumstances. (theres a whole bunch of great examples in the talk by elder bednar) i thought about my prayers before serving a mission and how things have changed while i have been here and how they are now changing as i continue to learn more and more about scriptures and how things actually work and i noticed a few things that i didn't really understand before and i am beginning to maybe scratch the surface i guess you could say. Elder Neilson kept using the example of its super hot in the philipines but you all still go out every day and work even though its hot how do you do that? then he said if you prayed and asked got to take away the sun for a few hours from northern Luzon because its hotter than  you can handle do you think he will answer that prayer? (no was his answer of course) he said we dont ask got to change our circumstances. we ask got to strenghthen us so that we can work in the heat, and because of the atonement the lord is able to strenghthen us to do things that we could not normally do. 

i thought of 2 nephi 4: 35 "yea my god will give me if i aask not amiss," how often have i asked for god to change my circumstances. i think back on the mtc many times praying that i will stop being so anxious all the  time. i wish that then i had understhood that what i should have asked for was strength that i can learn how to deal with the anxiety that i had effectively. or when i was praying for nanay gonzales that her heart will soften and she will accept the message, this is true and necessary, but what i should have also been praying for was that the lord would strengthen me to know what I need to do or say in order to help her to accept the message. it came down to i guess the thought of if god wants us to become like him, how can i expect to do that if i expect him to do everything for me. What i should be doing is relying on him to strengthen me to overcome what comes across my pass and when i have done all in MY power, i can trust that he will either strengthen me to do what i cant do on my own, or by his own means after i have done ALL that i can do will make up the difference for my weaknesses. 

an even longer story short... i learned a lot from our meeting with elder nielson. 

anyways other than that i have one more weird experience. elder samar and i went to a far barangay the other day called simimbaan to try to contact a referral of a member. when we got there it was like the picture perfect of when i expected to see in the philippines. mga bahay cubo ( bamboo huts ) and other houses made out of cinderblocks with dirt streets banana trees all over the place calabows (waterbuffalo) in the irregation canal and super hot and humid. so as we were lost at this point because i have only been to the house of this member once at nighttime for the service of his wife that died and we were with members that knew where it was we started to ask around if they knew tatay biagtan. we met a man that said he knew him and then he began to introduce himself as a member of the rlds church. (now called community of christ) and he started telling us about our church history, talking about the book of mormon doctrine and covenants and at this point i had one of those what in the world is happening moments. i thought here i am in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the world talking to a guy drinking beer in a weird language  thats telling me about the history of the church(he was right on with most of the things he was saying too) and hes a member of the rlds church! what a crazy world we live in. how the rlds church got here or whats going on with that i dont know but it was a very interesting experience.

anyways thats all for now! love you all take care! love elder landeen
hello again. 

i have a few things on my mind that i would like to talk about if its okay with you (you dont have a choice but ill be polite anyways ha ha)

in the philippines there are somewhere around 661,000 members of the church in the philippines. this is amazing when you think about it since there has only been missionaries here for about 50 years. this was (and if im not mistaken still is) one of the fastest growing areas for the church in the world. theres many good things happening here every day. most branches have their own concerns and things like that, but i dont need to go into that. as you know we have been doing a lot of work with helping to bring back less active members to activity. this past sunday i saw something that made me a little sad. theres a family we have been working with for a while. the uy family. nanay is in ther 60's and she comes to church most of the time, before i got here she wasnt attending but right before i got here she started on the road to activity. her husband still wont attend, hes got his own reasons. and her grandchildren wont go with her so most sundays she ends up going by herself. she has lived the life of a farmer, working in the bukid and other things. to make a long story short she has lived a long life of manual labor. 

on sunday as we were waiting for sacrament to start i noticed that she was sitting by herself. noone was even sharing the row with her. she didnt have family next to her because noone will come, and didnt have anyone sitting next to her because noone seemed to notice. i went and sat by her but i got called on to speak because the assigned speaker didnt end up coming to church. so i spent that sacrament looking down, and thinking about nanay. sitting there among friends with noone acting very friendly.

i dont believe anyone deliberately lets things like that happen. its just one of those things where we get into our routines and involved with our familys and friends that sometime we forget to notice. we forget to notice that theres a new face, or a person thats alone, or that feeling to invite someone to sit on "your row" but you seem to brush it off reasoning that someone else will surely invite them or maybe even that they are waiting for somebody.

i was very sad and amazed at the fact that 1 she was there alone, and 2 that she was still there. us as people want and deserve to be noticed. deserve to be loved and appreciated and feel like we are wanted and needed. but beyond the fact that we need want and even deserve these things, this nanay was sitting alone and has many times before but she still keeps coming back.. it made me wonder about myself. how would i feel if i came home and after the years found myself attending a singles ward where i was more than single, i felt alone. if i found myself at church on sundays after a vacation or absence of a few weeks and when i came back it didnt seem like anyone noticed that i was even missing. these kinds of things i think happen quite a bit, so what is it that we need in order to carry us through those times of feeling very un important in a very important meeting. 

i think the only answer is our testimony. if we are doing things because we have a testimony of the savior, that he suffered and died for us and no matter what happens or how we are feeling we never really are alone. i think thats how this nanay and the rest of us that have experienced that feeling but keep going back because the testimony that is inside us is stronger than the natural man telling you that they dont even care if your here why bother. if we find ourselves in the position of discouragement because of the weaknesses of members ( we are all people and have weaknesses ), we could remember the "why" that carries us through or trials and afflictions. why do i go to church? why do i pray or do the things i do? if the answer to those questions are centered on our testimony of the savior and the gospel, then those things that are hard wont be a reason for us to fall away.

when i find myself struggling i always like to take a travel in time. i sometimes close my eyes and travel back to life 3 years ago, and think of how ive been changed because of the savior. i think about how he must have felt. when he was coming to the hardest nights of his life and his best friends were not not noticing, but actually fleeing from him and he was left completely alone. i think about how he might have felt when judas walked up and kissed him as a sign of who the roman soldiers were to take prisoner, even though he knew it was coming how might that feel to see someone you love so much sell you for so little. and i think about how he might feel if after all that suffering for me, that beause im too busy thinking about myself i wasnt able to do the things he asked me to where in return for obedience i will have blessings added to all the things i already have. after my little visit back in time, and my visit to my testimony i can do a little better than i did before and walk a little taller. 

anyways my point in all of this is 1 i hope we can all be a little more sensative to those around us. hopefully we wont wait to tell someone that we appreciate them and that we are glad that they are there. and 2 if we find ourself in that point where we are lonely, if we remember why we are there and there was one who truely was left alone that will always be there to comfort us, we wont fall away even if we are un noticed of seem to be forgotten.

again i love this gospel, i believe its true....                                                                                                                              love elder landeen
a little culture fact in the philippines... election time is noisy.
due to the lack of noise pollution laws and copyright laws here, they have an interesting way of campaigning for office. what they do is the different parties hire artists (singers and bands) to do remakes of some of the most popular songs on the radio. in these remakes they change the words into their campaign songs ha. then they hire people with trucks that have huge speakers and sounds systems piled in the back to drive around all day playing these songs over and over and over again. (remember theres multiple people runing for office so that means multiple people have hired multiple people to play multiple songs as lound as they can all day every day. i think it will end up that the person that made the best election song will be the one to win ha ha. next for the higher political offices such as president or vice or senators things like that, people are so corrupt they just send people out with a whole bunch of envelopes and pay you to vote for them. straite to the point ha, thats part of the reason the philippines is struggling with so much poverty for so long they have had a corrupt government.

general conference was great of course! its always amazing how clearly and directly the brethren teach. its so clear you cant really mis understand them. im feeling very blessed that we have prophets and apostles to keep us on the right track. and if you want to feel blessed too come here and see how confused people are as to how to worship god theres sooooooooooooooooooooooo many different churches all over the place its like joseph smiths era to the max.

so i keep hearing americas going to war with north korea. that stinks. i figured you wouldnt add anything in your letters about that but just so you know everybody is talking about it here.

anyways i was really (as always) impressed with elder bednars talk about the law of chastity. not so much for the part about chastity but about the natural man. after reading and listening t many talks of elder bednar ive noticed that he almost always makes a reference to wither mosiah chapter 3 or 2 nephi chapter 2. the natural man, and overcoming the natural man is the great battle of life. i remember one of my favorite talks from him that talks about the character of Christ and he shares some examples of people who were placed in various heart breaking circumstances such as the tragic death of a daughter in a car accident but in the midst of these trials the good in then had triumphed and they instead of giving into the natural man inside of them they decided to turn outward and give head to the promptings of the holy spirit and at a point in their life where they had every right to think of themselves and sink into despair, they didnt because their character had been changed through the atonement of Jesus Christ. if i remember correctly the mother of one of the 3 girls in the accident immediately after she found out that it was actually her daughter involved and killed in the accident (she had not previously known this) without hesitation she immediately began working on how they can inform the other mothers about the situation of their daughters and how what they can do for them, and then at a later time while she was on the way to the funeral of her own daughter she recieved a phone call from an irritated sister in the ward that she had not been taken breakfast that morning as she was told would happen, and so on the way to the funeral of her daughter unstead of doing what any normal person would do, ( loose their mind at the thoughtlessness of this sister and say im on the way to the funeral of my daughter you have a lot of nerve!!!! ) she didnt, she stopped at kentucky fried chicken and went to this sisters house before the funeral to bring her food.

i find myself thinking about that often. how have i changed lately? who do i find myself thinking about the most, myself? or others? when im sick or have problems do i find myself needing or even worse expecting attention of help from others or can i press forward serving others and forgetting about myself. (as the savior has asked us to do, and most importantly as he did) ednar so skillfully portrays the "natural man" in us and then presents how no matter what our circumstances are we can choose to "act and not be acted upon" through the atonement of christ and the promptings of the spirit we can be changed. our very nature can be changed. our selfishness and inward intentions can and need to be changed. its hard isnt it? to get over ourselves.. to learn that lesson that yes we are important but not more important that anybody else.. i hope that i can somehow someday gain that christlike attribute of ALWAYS turning outward and not making excuses of why at this time and in this situation its okay for me to pitty myself or on this day i need this for myself. imagine the world if people spent more thime thinking about other people than their selves, , isnt that a great thought? imagine what could be accomplished. its a long shot ha, but it can start right here with me.
i love you all theres my weekly sermon, just coppied from the thoughts of others ha ha anyways but thats okay. anyways take care all of you until next week... elder landeen
hello let me begin by clearing up one thing about the scorpion i was holding in that picture. i dont want you thinking im cooler than i really am ha ha. that is owned by a member here that owns a pet shop here. ive only seen 1 scorpion here other than that on splits in aurora. other than that i havent seen any others. ive seen a couple of snakes, some monkeys, lots of bugs of all shapes sizes and colors, lizards, all sorts of birds, but remember im in the middle of the bukid here in the cauayan mission not on the beaches and resorts ha ha (: 

and number 2 we dont get to watch general conference until this saturday. thanks for all the spoiliers ha ha joke. but the satalite broadcast here is a week late (i dont know why probably for translation purposes) but im very excited for conference this weekend. 

i just was thinking about a couple that we met this past week. we were walking down the road and this husband and wife well into their 60 's pulled into their little front yard on their motorcycle with a side car (tricycle or this specific style is called a kulokulong) they just got home from selling watermelon, and they had one left over. watermellons here arent as big as they are at home and they arent oblong they are all round. they imediately called us in the eat the watermelon with them (philipino hospitality that ill miss very much calling strangers to come eat your food ha) as we were eating and talking we introduces ourselves and asked them if we could come by some time and share our message with them. they agreed and said... wala naman masama dayan salita ng dios naman iyan. meaning theres nothing wrong with that, your sharing the word of god ha weird to translate. anyways we didnt think all that much about it until we went back to their house a few days later. when we actually started to share tatay opened up right away. he told us about how hes made a lot of mistakes in his life... and shared a lot of them the most tragic of which was an accident in which his shoulder was broken and his son who was riding with him was killed. Im not completely positive but i think he was drunk at that time, and for these many years hes been carrying the weight of his sons death on his shoulders. he said he feels like god is mad at him for what hes done and he cant forgive himself because his son was punished for his own mistakes and sins... he then said that many missionaries from other churches had been to their house, and he always said he has no time or he has work even though it wasnt true, then he said but with you for some reason i just felt like i need to listen to you. he said he doesnt know why because for all the other ones he just denied but for us he just felt to listen.

i was thinking all this time about the  joy and hope the gospel brings to peoples lives. imagine the pain of this man... he doesnt know (at this point) that he can be with his son again, or that through the atonement of jesus christ he can be forgiven and healded of all those things weighing him down. and i was grateful for the spirit that apparently was our companion to whisper to him that he should listen these strangers. sometimes we members forget how incredible the gospel is, and how incredible it is that the gospel is true and real. that its not just some belief to help us sleep at night but its the truth and people like this can find meaning and peace through the gospel. 

it makes me also think about the parable (once again) of the lost sheep. i mean of the whole world, and the circumstances the lord knows a poor family along the highway purok 5 nueva era san manual isabela philippines. and that at that time that we come across each other god is aware of him and his needs that he touches his heart just enough to help him decide to listen to 2 straangers messages. what a miracle a mission is. what a miracle. 

as i was talking with this man i was felt again, the love god has for me. i felt again that i too was once a lost sheep, carried on the shoulders and brought back to the fold and greatful beyond measure that now, i was the one out trying to find the lost sheep. i love the gospel i believe in it i know its true i love my savior im never worthy for his love but always gratefull and striving to do better every day. it really is a miracle all this. all the things that have happened in my life the past few years. and ill forever be grateful for all your help and love.

anyways... thats all my preaching for now. take care until next week.... elder landeen