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, February 24, 2014

Ang Kapangyarihan ng Espiritu Santo

Or as properly translated...the power of the Holy Ghost. Yesterday, I was asked to be the concluding speaker during sacrament meeting. And I was asked just before the rest hymn, which totaled to be about 4 minutes of preparation, give or take a few seconds. However, I think I did a better job on my talk than I did as the pianist last week (which by the way, I did open my talk with an apology to the ward for my piano playing. Gotta love those bonus points for attempting to crack jokes). Considering my preparation time given, I decided a fairly safe route for my talk would be to share my favorite scripture-the one on my mission plaque back home-Moroni 10:4-5 and go from there. As I told Sister Rahlf just on Tuesday at our last quarterly interviews, this has been my favorite scripture since seminary in 9th grade. But even in the moments of when I was giving my talk, my appreciation for these verses grew even deeper.

I shared the scripture and explained how when we pray with real intent and faith in Christ, our Heavenly Father is willing to give us our answer and he does it through the Holy Ghost. Then, in the middle of my talk, when I wasn't exactly positive on what else I was going to say, I was prompted to share an experience from when I was in Cabarroguis of a time when I was given something by the power of the Holy Ghost after I had prayed with both faith and intent.

Then and there, within my talk about the Holy Ghost, the Spirit gave me spur-of-the-moment direction on what I should say. Mind=Blown. My dear brothers and sisters (looks like I'm still in talk mode), I know for a fact that if we didn't have the Spirit as our guide, missions would be of no use. We would simply be average young men walking around in shirts and ties trying to convince people our church is good. However, when we have the Holy Ghost with us, that is what connects us with those that we teach. That is what brings them closer to Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father, and that is what leads to true conversion.

Sister Agustin remains to be hesitant about her decision and neither her or the Paggao family was at church yesterday, so it looks like we will have to try and give them a baptismal date for a different day. It is kind of frustrating to see that they have come this far while not knowing what else to do to help them go that little but further, but all we can do is keep trying. However, we did have an investigator-Grace Pielago-attend church for the first time yesterday. We only recently started teaching her and she is always interested during the lessons, so hopefully she can continue to progress.

Earlier today, we received the transfer list, and it looks as if Elder De Guzman and I will have another cycle together. To be perfectly honest, it has been a little difficult for me for the past few weeks so it wasn't particularly thrilling news. Similarly to when I had to leave Cabarroguis, I don't exactly know why things happen sometimes, but God does and if he needs us together for 6 more weeks, I am ready to go and do his will and hopefully the two of us can continue to help the hastening of the work.

Monday, February 17, 2014

XOXO (V Day Shoutouts)

Has it really been 3 months already since my Thanksgiving shoutouts? Time continues to fly out here and in the spirit of the season of love, I think it's time for a few more S/Os. We can start with sports: I heard the big news about PG beating Lone Peak this last week and I'm so proud of my boys! If only they could have the 6th man in the stands, but it sounds like they are playing unreal! Pie, Matthew, Chuck--keep up the good work. And this is a little late, but can I get a holler for the Seahawks? You don't have to believe us, but me and Jake MacDaddy can vouch for each other that we have always been fans! Also thank you to my dear father Dave and his weekly updates.

S/O to Charles for finally writing me a heartfelt message. About time haha. S/O to Coxy for getting his mission call. The first of many that will soon come. I am seriously so pumped for all you seniors to start getting your calls! And lastly to Maxwell Ferrin and Brittney McArthur....You make me proud. 

Thank you to my wonderful grandparents and also the Berndt family for the packages a while back. Not counting people, there is not much more I miss about home than Taco Bell. I will definitely be hitting that up plenty in about a year and a half. Perhaps the picture can help describe how much we enjoyed this heavenly meal.

I <3 Tacos - my mom sent some ingredients for them

As for things here in the Philippines, well yesterday our branch had to resort to me as the pianist during sacrament meeting. Let's just say, I wish I would not have quit so early. Stay in school kids-even for musical instruments. I also gave the lesson in our Single Adults Class, but that was actually not too bad.

For an update on our investigators, the lessons at the Paggaos (tatay, nanay, 17 year old Jazel and some of her friends) always go really well and they have shown the desire they want to be baptized, but except for Jazel they have not been to church, so we will not be able to continue their date for March 15. Also Sister Agustin has still been hesitant about everything. I am hoping we can help her feel truly ready by March 15, but I guess only time can tell right now.

I didn't have a significant other to spend my Valentines Day with (although on several occasions the Filipino kids have asked me if I have a wife...) but I can tell you that I love sports, tacos, all my friends on missions and their examples, and my family and friends back at home and their support. And I love being a missionary with the opportunity to share this wonderful gospel. Through it, we can achieve the greatest love of all-eternal love-living together forever with our families and our Heavenly Father. Love you all.

Chillin' on the rooftop with Elder Bangal

Monday, February 10, 2014

It's a Date

So this week I will jump right into things. Tuesday, we had a great District Meeting about the importance of prayer. We mentioned that one of the many things we can pray for as missionaries is our investigators. This is something that I was doing already for the most part, but after our meeting, I really focused on praying for them specifically as individuals and what they specifically need. The immediate results amazed me: Sister Agustin has been a little hesitant in the decision process for baptism for quite some time. Each time we talked to her about it, she says she will let us know when she is ready. After Tuesday, I would pray for things specifically relevant to her-such as her gaining the knowledge of the importance of baptism, feeling the truth and spirit, having the desire, that we could help her with these things, etc; Then after our lesson with her on Saturday, something clicked and she said she felt ready. We set up a baptismal date for March 15th. Yesterday, we extended the invitation to the Paggao family for March 15 also, but for them, we can only continue this depending on their church attendance.

Splits with our DL Elder Bangal on Wednesday went great. Something I enjoy about splits in general, is that I can learn something new from each missionary, because everyone is different. Also, since Elder Bangal and I have become such good friends, we had a lot of fun while we were working as well. One of the members we visited even said that we should be permanent companions. If that happens in the future, that will be incredible. 

By the way, if anyone hasn't seen the movie 'The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd', then I would highly suggest watching it. We have like half the lines in the movie memorized. It's incredible haha. 

Well, hope everyone has a good Valentines Day. However, also remember that we should be showing our love to everyone all the time and not just our special someone on one day. I'm proud of all my young friends who are working on their mission papers and am excited to see where everyone gets called to! Hopefully some homies can join me out here in the Philippines! Love you all. Farewell my friends.

P.S-I had some good pictures for the week but my card is experiencing technical difficulties right now. So... pasensiya. Hopefully next week I can send them.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Work in Angadanan

Well my friends, I received a heavy dosage of complaints (well actually just from my mother) that my last letter was too short. So this week, I will just introduce you to some of the people we are teaching and how things are going in our area. And it is actually just clipped from my 'Letter to the President' because I am kind of feeling too lazy to re-write everything....Enjoy.

To begin, I would like to share about a few of the people we have taught this week. The first is one of our 'recent converts'-Analyn Manugay. She was actually baptized in 2012 but somehow still was never taught the 'New Member Lessons' and has kind of gone 'Less Active'. So this week we decided to begin re-teaching with her starting at the Restoration. The lesson went well and she is very talented and has a strong testimony still. Then yesterday, she was at church, and she also brought one of her friends.

We also had some good lessons with Less Actives this week. With one nanay, we focused specifically on the Sabbath day. At the beginning of the lesson, she told us that she always had so many things to do and after a very spiritual lesson she stated that she knew that Sunday is a day that we should dedicate to God. There were members from 5 different Less Active families at church yesterday, which I would say is really good considering we have a pretty small branch.

Our branch president has also set up a schedule that on a twice-a-week basis, we will be joining different families in our ward for their Family Home Evening and not necessarily teaching the lessons, but kind of observing and instructing how to hold FHE's. I think this will go along great with the Philippines Area Goals of strengthening the families.

Our main investigator, Sister Agustin, was at church again yesterday and has met the qualification for attendance. We teach her twice a week and the lessons go well, but she does not have a baptismal date because she is basically still in the decision process. Obviously we don't want to rush her, but I am hoping we can continue to strengthen her testimony and that she will feel ready so that we can set her up with a date in the near future.

So in a nutshell...all is going well. I have splits with Elder Bangal (the other Filipino in our apartment) this week and I am looking forward to that. To be perfectly honest, I am tighter with him than I am with my companion and his companion. Of course the other two are great, but Bangal is like a Filipino version of one of the homies back home. He reminds me of Jamo kind of. Which reminds me, I should have done it last week, but Happy Belated B-Day to my best bud Moe. Anyways, until next week!

 I saw my tatay Elder Merza at zone conference this week