I have been called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines Cauayan Mission. This blog is managed by my parents. If you would like to contact them, you can email at lindalarson1598@gmail.com

Monday, December 30, 2013

Dear 2013 - Deuces

Ward Christmas Party: Elder Claus with the Young Women

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season and had a great Christmas. We just spent ours with the members and it was kind of relieving to just relax a little. Also being able to see my family was really nice too! For New Year's Eve, we have a lockdown due to safety precautions and have to return to our apartments before 6 PM. However, another companionship is sleeping at our apartment and we will be watching the Narnia series because it has been approved by our President. So don't worry, we will still be able to party it up here. New Years Day we will probably just spend at the member homes again.
Good riddance, time really flies doesn't it? It is crazy for me to think that it was earlier this year that I was playing rec ball, getting turnt in the Vine and music video industry, got off the bus, kicked through a school window and became a super senior  unlike one the world has ever seen. And now here I am in the Philippines preparing for the year 2014.

Originally we had a baptism scheduled for this last week on the 27th for Dexter and Angelo but we had to postpone them because Dexter was having a hard time understanding and his testimony still needed to be strengthened. However, we have been trying to visit and teach them every day and now he seems ready. We set the date for Dexter, Angelo and also Jessica for January 11th.
Dexter, Jessica, and Grace (Jessica's sister)
I guess there is no better way to close out the year with...you guessed it. Another story with a drunk man. So the other night we are walking back to the apartment  because we have no more appointments for the day and I stop to buy bread (which by the way I go through like 2 or 3 loaves of bread in a week but anyways, that is beside the point) and as we are about to leave, a guy comes up to us that is so intoxicated he is having a hard time walking in a straight line. Anyways, he asks me some random questions and when I am done answering them, we start walking away. We had gotten about ten yards away from the bread shop when he yelled for us to wait. After he caught up to us, he proceeded to tell us about how many problems we had. So I did what we always do in these situations-I briefly shared our message and then gave him a pamphlet-He then says "Sir....Thank you." And then he hugged me for like ten seconds.
Moral of the story--Party this week to celebrate the new year, but don't party too hard or else you might find yourself embracing in your arms an Asian man that you don't know! Have a good week and I will talk to you all in a year or so! (And yes, this corny joke from junior high still goes strong here in the Philippines)
 Dinner with Manzano family
 FHE with Rueda family before Elder Ursua left

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cabarroguis Christmas Cards

We have our ward Christmas party that we will be attending this afternoon and I get to talk to my family this week, so since nothing too exciting happened this week, I will keep this e-mail relatively short.

We had our mission Christmas devotional earlier this week, and it brought out the theatrical side in me. Each zone was asked to prepare a skit so Elder Merza and I were the lead characters in the conversion of Brother Claus himself. Also, I and five other elders performed a musical number for 'Silent Night'. I would like to think that I have High School Musical to credit these achievements to.
I hope everybody has a wonderful Christmas and at some point during this season of joy and giving, are able to reflect on the true meaning of why we celebrate it and remember the birth, ministry, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. It will be a little difficult for me having to spend the holiday seasons away from home, but we have our ward family, our mission family and the glorious message and glad tidings of the message behind Christmas and this incredible gospel. 
You will all be in my hearts this Christmas season. My dear family, I look forward to being able to Skype call you, and to everyone else, Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Drunks & Demons

Good afternoon friends. As of late, I have been one busy elf trying to write cards, build toys, and spread Christmas cheer. Hopefully all the letters arrive relatively soon! As I'm sure you have already concluded from the title, some pretty crazy things happened this week so without further ado...
To make a long story short, we were at a dinner appointment when we received a rather peculiar text from a sister in our ward. The four of us elders went to her house where the bishop and Relief Society president joined us. I won't go into all the details, but we straight up had to cast out an evil spirit. She would be sobbing miserably and then laugh hysterically, but then after we gave a blessing, said a prayer, and sung both I Am A Child Of God and The Spirit Of God, she just fell asleep and everything was fine the next day.  I don't really like this kind of stuff, but I am just glad that we as missionaries are worthy and able to exercise the power and authority of the priesthood in which we hold. The Lord was able to use us as an instrument in his hands.
As for the drunk man, I should mention that even when it is a birthday party for a little kid, it seems like the whole town finds out about it and a bunch of older men show up and get turnt. Well we were eating inside the Estoconing house because it was Hanesa's birthday and then a man enters who is completely hammered out of his mind. He kind of stood in the doorway for a minute looking at me and Elder Kocherhans (the new elder in the Cabarroguis ward. The Filipinos look at his nametag and then just call him Cocoa Crunch) and then he says "Elder, I'm sorry." And then slowly he starts to fall down until he is leaning on me. After apologizing several more times and me assuring him it is alright, he says, "I want to join your church." Which would be great except if we return, he will probably have no clue who we are, but I gave him a pamphlet nonetheless. Definitely a funny experience though. Gotta love the drunk people!

That's all I've got for now. Hope everyone has a good Christmas Break and holiday season!

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Cycle in Review

Everyone says the first cycle (six weeks) is the slowest so if that is the case, I'll be returning home in no time because November went by in a breeze. There is a lot of things that need to be done on my mission and not a lot of time to do it. I suppose for this email, I will just give a little update on how some of the people here in Cabarroguis are doing:
First off, the baptism on Saturday went great! I got the opportunity to perform the ordinance and it was such an incredible feeling for me. I was just overwhelmed with joy for Lyka! It has been awesome to see how quickly she has progressed. However, the work doesn't end here. If someone gets baptized only to fall away, what have we accomplished? It is important that for converts, as well as the members, that they have continual progression in the gospel. The end goal is not baptism. It is enduring to the end and being sealed in the temple to their family so they can live with them and our Heavenly Father for time and all eternity. 
Lyka and Nanay Domingo
That is also the reason we work with the less actives. For Hanesa Estoconing, it is important that as we teach her, we make sure she has the support of a family where the gospel is central to their lives. I am not sure if Elder Merza and I will get to be the ones who baptize her, but even if not, we can know we are successful just in the progress we have made and later we will see that the fruits of our labors will be able to blossom into trees. Our next baptismal date is December 27th, for Dexter and Angelo. Also we will be working soon to set up a date for Jessica.
This last week, we visited Tatay Amado twice. I am hoping the Holy Ghost is slowly touching his heart because the lessons were different than the first three. We focused only on the importance of the Book of Mormon both times, and he seemed to ponder our message more, instead of quickly jump to an argument.
Those are just a few but also the ward here is seriously so awesome. I am so impressed with the youth, especially the young womens, and the testimonies they have. Many of them already are committed and preparing to serve missions. Also, I am so happy when I receive updates about where different people from home have been called to. (Excuse me if I'm wrong, but do we not have the best graduating class ever?) There is nothing I would rather be doing right now than serving a mission and I'm so glad when I see others sharing that same desire. Emily, you will do great in Germany. And also my boy CHUGG gettin' his call too! I'm happy for you Don! Charles, good job on cutting your toe as well....As always, best wishes to everyone from Elder Larson. Love and miss you all!
Cabarroguis ward elders

Monday, December 2, 2013

Tis the Season to be Jolly

Is it really December already? I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Put Up Christmas Lights Saturday. Here in the Philippines, we didn't really even do anything for Thanksgiving. But I celebrated it in my heart and we had a great week, with many significant events.

For starters, we have our first baptism this upcoming Saturday. Lyka Domingo is 10 years old and comes from a part member family that was not too active until a little before Elder Merza and I came to Cabarroguis. But since we've been here, she has been to church every week and the lessons we have taught her have gone great. She has been a golden investigator and Nanay Domingo has also been very helpful too. It's been awesome for me to see her make progression in the gospel so quickly and I'm excited for this Saturday!
Another family I want to talk about is the Estoconing family. They have been less active for a long time and even though we had taught their 11-year-old daughter Hanesa a lot of the investigator lessons in our first month here-as well as lessons to the family trying to emphasize the importance of coming to church-they still were not attending. Well yesterday, their whole family except the dad came to church and their 14-year-old daughter bore her testimony for the first time in her life. I was so happy to see them there and Nanay Estoconing said that their family is going to come every week now because she wants for Hanesa to eventually be baptized.
This last week, I gave my first blessing in the field. Our investigator Jessica was really sick and even had to go to the hospital the next day, but she is doing much better now. As I gave that blessing, it was not all Tagalog. I am not sure she understood every word that I said in English. But as it states in Preach My Gospel, the language of the Spirit is universal, and that is the most important language.
Lastly, on Saturday I finished the Book of Mormon for the 2nd time of my life. When me and Elder St. Gelais started back in the MTC, we decided we were going to highlight everything in the book that talks about the prophecies and gospel of Jesus Christ. As I'm sure you can probably guess, there is definitely a lot! It took me exactly 2 months and I've made a long-term goal over the course of my mission to complete the quad (BOM, Bible, D&C, PoGP) and the four-book set of Jesus The Christ, Our Search For Happiness, Our Heritage, and True To The Faith. On top of that, I want to read the Book of Mormon additionally at least two more times so I have a lot of studying haha. But I know that it is a true book and that Joseph Smith translated it by the power of God. It is so important in all our teachings because it is the keystone of our religion and as Joseph Smith personally testifies, "it is the most correct book on the face of the Earth and a man would come closer to God by reading and abiding by its precepts than by any other book". That is not the exact quote but I know the message to be true. I love the Book of Mormon so much and whatever trial we have in this life, we can turn to it as another testament of Christ. It is such a powerful testimony to everyone! And I feel like I should close this little testimony in His sacred name, even our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen!

P.S: Wednesday marks my first cycle in the field so that's what the pictures are about.
Zone jerseys
 "4 Filizukanites"

 Our District