Monday, December 30, 2013

New Assignment- Makati City

December 23, 2013
Hello Family!

So first off, about transfers. I am in an area called Makati 1A. Elder Woodburn and I have just become Zone Leaders of the Makati East Zone. I can't believe that God and President Stucki were inspired to give us that assignment. I feel like there is so much that I need to improve on to be a better person and a missionary. I feel inadequate for the position to be honest. But I do know with all my heart, that whoever the Lord calls, he qualifies. And that I have been called of God. I have a job to do, and I know that I can do it with the Lord's help, even though I don't feel worthy of it, and I am still a relatively new missionary. Well, I have a lot of work to do that is for sure. You probably remember Elder Woodburn right. You talked to his mom a bit before I believe. He was wondering if you were still talking to her. Anyways. So I am so excited to call you guys! I will probably call around 12:15 my time Christmas day. We are allowed 1 hour and a half. I can't wait to be able to talk to you guys and I already know one of the first questions Mom will ask me...

So in our new area, we are right next to all the super rich people.. it is actually in our area.


We also have all the malls and buildings and things in a place called Global. So we have places like IHOP, Texas roadhouse, Hard Rock, and other things like that. It is like a version of America just filled with Filipinos. So so much different than my last area. We have a couple barangay's (like subdivisions) called Pitogo, and South Cembo. It is so fun to be here in Manila and to be a zone leader here. There are so many people.

(one funny thing is that both of our Lolos "grandpas" are the AP's right now. The Elders who trained both of our trainers are both the AP's... weird bloodline.) I am not sure if that made sense.... 
Anyways again. In our area we are really just trying to figure everything out. Where people live, where things are and everything. Because we are both new in the Area. Elder Woodburn knows how to get around though because his area before was just a few miles away. We are sure having a lot of fun though here in our area. We have a few good stories already.
One good experience we had just yesterday. We were going around with the ward mission leader to members and less actives houses, and we go in to teach this active member family. So we decided that Elder Woodburn would lead the lesson. And as he searches for something he wants to share I think, "darn, I have the perfect scripture that I want to share," but I gave him the lesson and let him lead it. So then when he goes to share, he shares the exact some scripture that I was thinking to share. I had received inspiration from the Spirit to share that scripture, but as we taught with unity and I let my companion take the lead... we both received the same inspiration from the Spirit. We had done no planning for what to teach this family, we hadn't even mentioned that scripture to one another before. And from the whole Book of Mormon. We were both inspired to share the exact same verse. (Alma 6:6) It is so great to have a companion that is a skilled teacher and listens to the Spirit. We are both going to learn so much from one another.
I am having so much fun teaching about the Savior in this time of the year.  I love being able to serve the Lord and be an answer to others prayers.
This Gospel is the only way. Through our Savior and Redeemer. He is the way, the truth and the light, no man can come unto the Father but by him. (that's from John 14:6). I know it, and I testify of it. I love you guys. Keep spreading the Savior's love to others.
Elder Schroeder



We had an amazing Skype session with Elder Schroeder Christmas eve!! 
He is doing well, he is healthy and very happy!  Robin






December 30, 2013
Hello Family!

Hello everyone. We sure talked to a lot of drunk people this week.... people sure do love to drink here. We had a bunch of people offer us drink on Christmas eve... anyway. What a blessing it is to serve in such a great cause. This week was a bit bumpy... everyone was super busy. Elder Woodburn and I worked our butts off and had almost no success. We had one new investigator this week when we should have like 14... soooo, we got chastised a bit from the APs... haha. Loving chastisement.... but we are really working hard and doing our best. There is no doubt in my mind that we will be blessed for our efforts in this coming year if we just press forward with steadfastness in Christ. As we exercise our faith and act on it, miracles come. 

I am loving this new area so much. The people here still have strong faith in Christ, they just tend to be more caught up in the world and a little more stubborn, there are still many that love our Savior and want to learn. One of our investigators really is having a hard time accepting our message. We had a fast as a companionship for him and I just know that God is going to soften this man's heart in his own due time. There really is no other way. I have seen it more than I ever have before. We are dependent upon the Savior for this work to progress. I am so excited to teach this man. He is such a wonderful person and has such strong faith in Christ. His wife is a member and is desperate for our help... God will soften this man's heart, I just know it. I just hope I can be a worthy enough servant to be an instrument in the Lord's hands.

I have really learned how important it is to repent. And how repentance actually works. I have always accepted the principle and know it was true.. but I haven't ever really figured out HOW it really works. I have spent a lot of study on it, a lot of pondering, and fervent prayers. I feel like I know have a very deep and solid understanding of how it works, how we can be found spotless, how we can return to our loving Father in Heaven. And I want to share it with everyone. Lets all repent! Lets all help others to repent. Lets change our lives for the better and help others to do the same. What joy there is in repentance. There is no other greater gift. I know it and I love it. Lets all set a goal for this new year to always be a better person today than we were yesterday. It is possible because of that great gift that our Kuya suffered to make possible. I love you all. Have a happy new year!
Ingat kayo palagi!
Elder Schroeder

1. sungay ng kalabaw


2. astig na kotse



3. maliit na siwsiw. kulay pink at purple



view from our apartment

cool building in our area

wall art in Makati city

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Testimony of our Savior

December 16, 2013

Hello!
Sorry, I didn't bring my cord for my camera today.

The details with the call, I will Skype you guys for sure and it will most likely be around 10:30 our time... and I am not sure what day either. Do you want me to call you on your christmas day? cause I am a day ahead here.... and make sure you tell me what email your Skype account is under since you changed your email around.

THIS ONE IS FOR THE WARD as Bishop Dye requested to be shared next Sunday for Christmas.
Christ is the Son of God, our Savior and Redeemer. What Jesus Christ has done for us is beyond our comprehension. He has taken upon himself OUR sins. Only through His justice and His mercy, we may return to live with Our Father in Heaven. I know that His love for us is real. He made the ultimate sacrifice because of that love. And we should strive to live worthy of that love he displayed for us in his infinite atoning sacrifice. Brothers and Sisters. We need to repent. The only way to fully take advantage of his love and mercy is to wholeheartedly and humbly repent. I know this is true. Forgiveness is the greatest gift that we may take advantage of in this season, and any other season. Let us repent, and forgive others of their wrongdoings. If you feel afraid to repent, it is never to late. And EVERY person is worthy to repent. No matter how weighed down you feel, no matter how abominable the sin, Christ's love has overcome all.
At this special time and season of gift giving, let us walk in ways of righteousness and show the same love that Jesus Christ has for us. I know that He lives, that He loves us, and that through his love, we can all receive the greatest gift of all, Eternal Happiness with our Father in Heaven. Of this testify, in the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, amen. 

He can just read this to them and tell him to tell them that "EVERY MEMBER SHOULD GIVE THE GIFT OF A REFFERAL TO THE MISSIONARIES IN THE WARD"... that would be the best christmas gift of all as a missionary.

Elder and Sister Newson arrived about 2 or 3 weeks ago. They are doing great and really love the branch. I am so glad to be able to help them learn more about the Philippines. They are going to be such a powerful instrument here in Santa Monica branch. I can see it already.

Pretty normal week. Really working hard to keep the area pumping so that the new missionary will have a lot of fun in the water. (i am also not 100% sure that I am transferring yet).... about 95% chance. I will find out tomorrow.

Ingat Kayo palagi
Elder Schroeder

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Trials and Love

December 2, 2013

Hello!
So I don't have that much time this week. Long story. I will type fast. So I got my Christmas package... I didn't see the hand written letter from Grandma Evans. It was in there?

Anyways... that is sad news to hear. The first thought I had while reading your email about Grandma Evans passing was, I am so glad she is with Grandpa again. This scripture comes to my mind, Alma 34:32. "This life is the time for men to perform their labors..." I am happy to say, and to add my testimony as a representative of Jesus Christ, that grandma and grandpa have performed all their labors. Meaning that they have fulfilled the gospel of Jesus Christ while here on this earth. Knowing and feeling the joy in my heart and soul of this knowledge that I have is such a great blessing. I know that the power to bind in heaven and in earth was restored to this earth, never to be taken away again. They truly and really are sealed for time and all eternity.

I would like to share an experience I had this week... The past few weeks have been particularly trying with the work here. I am tired, worn out, and feel the burden on my body, mind, and testimony. As my companion is sleeping, I kneel down, and I say a sincere honest prayer to our Father in Heaven. I know I am not going to give up. I know that I will press forward, no matter how hard the work is, no matter how alone I feel sometimes. As I am praying, I feel nothing. No comfort, no help, nothing. As I am pleading, I stop, and listen to the Spirit... I think, what does God want me to learn, what is the Spirit telling ME to ask for?And I know and say the words, "Please Father, help me to feel thy love." Immediately I was surrounded and encompassed by something REAL. I felt our Father's love for ME. It was what God wanted me to learn, it was what the Spirit was telling me to ask for. And my testimony is stronger than it ever has been before. The work hasn't changed. My situation isn't any different than it was before. The work is still hard, people still reject our message. But I know that I am not alone in this work, in this life. Our Father in Heaven is on our side, no matter how hard this life may seem to get. Our situation may not change for the better, and it probably won't change at all... but the Love of our Father in Heaven, the love of our families, and the love of our friends can carry us through any trial or hardship. I know that our Father in Heaven loves us. His love is real. And I know that I love you. Our family is united in the Gospel and sealed by God's own power. There is no doubt in my mind. Grandma and Grandpa are reunited. And we WILL see them again. Remain faithful, remain strong, and remember the love that God has for every one of us.

I know as Alma says, "And then shall the righteous shine forth in the kingdom of God." We shall all shine forth together in the kingdom of our Father, if we but endure the trails and hardships that we must face in this life.

Love from the Philippines,
Elder Schroeder


December 9, 2013
Hello Family!

I was planning on sending a bunch of pictures this week to you guys but this computer is not
working.. maybe I will be able to get it to work. Oh well.

This week ha been great! I feel the inspiration of the Spirit so much in my life. Elder Aguinaldo has been making huge strides in his teaching skills, finding skills, and everything! He is doing so great and we are having a lot of fun working together. Now that I am getting a lot better at Tagalog, we really are having a lot of fun together. He is such a funny guy and we really entertain the members and investigators a lot (without being disobedient, i might add). It is so fun to be with a companion that knows how to have "righteous" fun and to know how to make people laugh. It is still hard sometimes with cultural differences but we never fight... cause I don't let it happen. One thing, I have definitely learned from having a companion (that isn't my brother or best friend or anything like that) is patience. I have grown so much in patience. Patience and love is so key to being a good companion. I hope I get along with all the companions that I have in the mission... because I definitely like to get along with people. I have seen how spiritual gifts have also helped me with having a companion. Diane mentioned spiritual gifts to me in her email to me this week, and it just made me realize how great of a tool spiritual gifts can be to us in this life to endure through the hard times and press forward.

Our investigators have been doing great and I feel like I really know how to be an instrument in conversion..... I feel like I haven't been able to make any baptisms happen in the last couple months because of my inexperience.... it is a bummer but the truth for sure. Now that I actually know what I am doing... we have 5 baptisms that are going to happen here in this area by the end of January... But I will probably transfer just before these baptisms take place... bummer. I have finally figured things out enough to be able to get missionary work done and to hasten this work. I am so glad I have been able to be an instrument in this area though and I have been so blessed to learn how to be a better and more effective missionary. I am probably transferring on 18th of December, about 95% sure. I will probably know next week...

About our investigators, we have a lot of good ones! I have really learned well how of set up and work an even and dispersed teaching pool... where baptisms will come consistently. I cant believe how much the Lord helps in this work. None of the work that we do here would go forward without his hand in it. One of our investigators is the wife of an American who was baptized in Puerto Rico.... long story, pretty cool though. She will be baptized in January. I love missionary work! Love you guys! Send my love to Everyone at home!

Ingat Kayo Palagi!
Elder Schroeder

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gifts...

Hello 

I am running out of time here really fast, this will be kind of short. We have 2 people being baptized in December! Good story. So both of these investigators have been "eternal investigators" like 3 years of investigation. Super solid and know the gospel very well.... they just don't want to get married (these are two separate families by the way) I went into lessons with them filled with the Spirit! Filled like I never have been before. I was inspired to give a lesson of the Plan of Salvation, and to elaborate on the 3 degrees of glory... and they both decided to be married. Go Spirit!! Without the Spirit bearing witness to them in their hearts, they would never have made these steps. I love teaching with the Spirit! Greatest feeling we can have as missionaries.

Oh, we went on exchanges last week, and the Zone leader I was with told me that he was absolutely amazed at my Tagalog.... he told me that it is like I have been out on my mission for more than a year. Now he is going around telling everyone he meets about how amazing the gift of tongues can be. He said he has never seen anyone with Tagalog as good as mine with the amount of time that I have been out. So I have got a huge jump on the language... (about 6-7 months ahead of where I should be). Such a testimony to me of the gift of tongues. Spiritual gifts are real. There is no way I could speak this language like I do now, without the gift of tongues. When God calls, He truly does qualify.
Elder Schroeder

P.S.  I will probably get the package either tomorrow, or the 2nd week of December. I will let you know. If you guys could send me a picture of the temple some time, everyone from the Philippines always wants to see a picture of it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Santa Monica is Great!


Wow!
I just read that article about those 10 sister missionaries, almost cried about 15 times while reading it.

Article: Surviving the typhoon: Fear, faith and miracles for 10 LDS sister missionaries trapped in the Philippines

I cannot believe what they had to go through. It is amazing how hard the church has worked to make sure all those missionaries where safe. I can't believe how hard that must have been for them. What a miracle that they were all safe. Especially being a missionary here, and knowing the culture and everything, that really would be a very, very difficult thing to do.

I hope I can answer all your questions... there was a lot in there.
So this past week, we did a service project for the survivors. It was coordinated (sort of) by Abs-Cbn here in Puerto. We packed supplies and clothes and things to send to the people down there in Tacloban. They actually filmed us serving... and being one of the only white guys there, I actually ended up on the news here, pretty cool. I cannot believe the destruction from the typhoon..

Oh, yes things are great here in Santa Monica. It's one branch but there are two areas, Santa Monica A and B. President Maico is our branch president. He is super awesome! Super cool that the Sister you met served here way back when.

We are going to be getting 15 missionaries here on the 18th of December. They were originally going to come here today, but they are going to wait for the next transfer. I was going to get 4 new sisters in my district, but now they will come on the 18th. All of the names of the missionaries in my district are: Sister Fancisquete- from Davao, Sister Jones - Utah-I think? Sister Bechichino-from Tacloban, Sister Delietubuna-from Fiji. Yep, my whole district is Sisters, except for me and Elder Aguinaldo of course...there is another district pretty close to us here though. Sister Brockbank-Utah, Sister Thompson- Idaho, Elder Osguthorpe-Utah and some more... but those are probably the ones you will be able to find. Sorry, I am out of time now.

Love you guys,
Elder Schroeder

Monday, November 11, 2013

Just keep praying that's for sure

Hello Family!

So the good news is..... that there is no news. I am still here in (Central Palawan). We are doing great here in Santa Monica. I have seen some of the footage and pictures of Tacloban and other areas... it is ridiculous the amount of damage. Basically, the only things standing are the big concrete buildings and palm trees... and the ground is just covered in rubble of houses.

We got a pretty good storm here. A lot (like A LOT) of rain. It got a little windy too. I did find out that we were only 60 miles away from the eye of the storm. We were not allowed to work the day the storm hit. Northern Palawan did get hit pretty hard. Apparently there is a lot of damage on Coron. We did watch a little bit of news on the storm. We had about an 85% chance that the storm would come down to us... but it didn't. I kind of wanted to experience one, but at the same time, didn't want to. Thankfully, all of the missionaries are safe and well in our mission. 

Oh, before I forget, President Stucki did tell us to email our families the day after the storm to let you know... which would have been Friday for you... we just got so busy working that day that we didn't have time and I forgot. But, we are doing alright now.
That is crazy about Tacloban mission. The thing is that Tacloban City is right on the coast and the hurricane passed right over it. So they got a crazy storm surge and a super powerful storm right on top of them.  There are a lot of Filipino missionaries with family out in those hard hit areas which is sad. They are all very worried for their families... because people are just near impossible to find right now. I hope those missionaries can be found safe and accounted for in Tacloban.
11/12/13  Update: All missionaries are safe!!!   LDS Newsroom Philippines

Not many precautions were taken here by the locals.... The news here heightens up every single typhoon that comes to make it "exciting"... so when a real storm comes along, it is like the boy who cried wolf.  Not many people took precautions as far as I am aware... and a lot of people suffered because of it... for example... the day before here was a regular day. I didn't see anyone making any real preparations for the storm. That's about all I know about it.  Just keep praying that's for sure.
Love you guys! 
Elder Schroeder

P.S. Oh, by the way, I did get a little wet... we had a leak (really more like a faucet) in our apartment right at the foot of my bed.... well the bunk bed... I am on top. But that's about it. Worked on Saturday in some of the tail end of the storm. We definitely got wet, that's for sure. Had to walk through some flooded spots.   

Interesting to me how he started his letter because through all of this, I have been saying to myself in regards to his safety, "no news is good news"  The church is good about keeping us informed. We did hear from President and Sister Stucki which we were so grateful for.  Please continue to pray with us for all those affected. I hope they can  replace feelings of worry, fear, and grief with faith and hope. The Filipino people are so loving, kind and a resilient group. They all need strength from our prayers. Robin


11/3/13
Hello Family!

This week has been great! What a great letter this week! I am loving the mission more than ever now. My love for the work seems to grow more and more every day. Transfer day is on Wednesday... I don't know yet if I am transferring. I find out tomorrow. I am pretty sure that I am staying here. But who knows, anything could happen. We found a new family to teach this week, the "S" family... and they are so awesome. We have only taught them one lesson. But they are so amazing. I am so excited to teach them again. We taught them the restoration lesson last time and focused a lot on families... The husband has basically accepted everything already. The wife is super interested. She just needs to read and ponder and pray. Then they will be baptized!!! I sure hope so anyway. It is so great to find someone that is truly prepared for the gospel.

We were able to be part of an elders quorum activity earlier this week. We hiked through the jungle to this super cool river. Then all the members went swimming... Since we are allowed to cross rivers(up to our knees) here in this mission, I helped build up their little dam that they had to make a swimming hole... So, I made a very large and very sturdy dam for them and made the swimming hole a good foot deeper. Pretty cool. Then we had lunch there at the river. They cooked some fish over the fire and made rice. One thing that kind of was a bummer is that they washed the fish in the river downstream to where everyone was swimming... and the branch president had just finished "hiking up river" to take care of some business.... and they used dirt and rocks to wash the pots and plates and things... It's way different here when it comes to hygiene... Good week. I have been doing great and feel super healthily. I am loving the mission. Have an awesome week!



The new senior couple is going to come in another week... the other couple is already here but they are in Manila. So it is probably the Newsons that will be coming here next week. Pretty cool. Pretty good week this week otherwise. We set a goal as a district on Tuesday to baptize 21 people before the end of the year. So we are working hard and acting in faith.

Love, Elder Schroeder

p.s. that is so awesome with the filipino mail guy! Keep talking to him! Maybe if you become his friend, I can come and talk to him in Tagalog. That would be fun to do. Keep up the great missionary work mama!

p.p.s. I am super jealous. Drag racing.


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Blessings and The Standard of Truth...

Hello Family!

So I looked at those pictures before I looked at the email... got worried there for a second about Walker. It's good that he is doing better now:) (pictures were of his nephew going in an ambulance to Children's Hospital the email explained that he's home now.) I don't really know much of what croup is... (haha, I just wrote that last sentence totally wrong in English, I corrected it though).  It sure is strange speaking more Tagalog than I do English now. The language is coming along great! I still have a lot to learn but I can really learn and improve a lot more as a missionary now that I can speak alright. I actually taught gospel essentials on Sunday... We have no gospel essentials teachers right now, so the missionaries teach... meaning me.   I love teaching. Can't get enough of it as a missionary, its basically the only thing we ever do... teach and sleep.

The work is progressing that is for sure. We are getting a senior couple here in our little branch! November 6 they are coming. I am so excited! I get to train them in the area and help them learn all that they need to here. They are brand new missionaries coming straight from Provo, I am pretty sure!! I am so excited, even though they only speak English, they are going to be such a strength to the branch here... now that I am thinking about it, the Brother that emailed me last week said that his sister and her husband are coming to the Manila mission as a senior couple starting November. It could be them.. that would be so cool!

Well, the work here is moving forward. The senior couple will be such a blessing for this little  branch. They really do need it. We are just now starting to get things figured out. The Lord has definitely reared up His people now to be ready for the gathering of Israel... there are so many great leaders here that have such great desire to fulfil the work, they just need to learn how to do it. We are so blessed to have an open conduit into heaven. To shape our work and get it just how the Lord wants it. We will never be perfect at it here... but we are expected to get perfect at it eventually, and it WILL happen. If we just get our matigas na mga ulo (hard heads) out of the way and work the way we are intended.... It is so great to be a missionary and to spend all my time working for this great cause.

I know this Church is the true and Restored Church of Christ. I never knew before how sure of a knowledge this could be, but I really do KNOW with all my heart and soul. Nothing will ever stop this work from progressing.
Love, Elder Schroeder

P.S. Oh, look up something called "The Standard of Truth" for me please). It is about this work. And send it to me please. It is just a quote. Read it, ponder it, and pray about it.... see where you fit in. What is your part in it? How can you fulfill it? Then, DO your part.
Love you guys. Your perspective of being a gardener is perfect. Have a great week!

This is the quote Connor is referring to:
Joseph Smith knew that no enemy then present or in the future would have sufficient power to frustrate or stop the purposes of God. Here are his prophetic words:
“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done”  Joseph Smith (History of the Church, 4:540).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Intense week!

Hello Family!

This week has been intense! To start of, after I taught district meeting on Tuesday, we went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders. I learned so much. Elder Belnap and I got 10 new investigators in a single day! We really went to work. I learned so much about finding from him and have really been putting it to work. This week, we found a total of 18 new investigators. Basically double of a normal week here in Santa Monica. Before, I was basically working and finding, but waiting for the members to join the work.  Elder Belnap told me that the last 10 baptisms in his area were OYMs....(open your mouth) From this, I decided. I am NOT going to wait for anything to keep this work from progressing. I am not going to wait for the members to fellowship, I am not going to wait for a referral, I am going to be an instrument in the Lord's hands, I am going to find the elect, those that the Lord has prepared, and I am going to BAPTIZE! It is my purpose. And I am going to do it no matter what it takes. I will not wait for anything, and I will not let anything hold me back. This has just sunk so deep into my heart and into my mind. There is almost nothing else that I can even think about now. I don't understand it.... I try to daydream and take a break for 5 minutes to relieve some stress... then I realize, I am thinking about the members, the branch, the investigators, commitments, missionary work. I am IN this work. I am the work.

We have been working so hard in this area to get it moving... We have been finding so many people willing to listen that it is hard to keep tract of them. It is easy to find someone to teach now, and even easier to drop those that aren't progressing. I found this scripture the other day. Alma 5:52, It talks about an ax that is laid at the root of a tree. If the tree is bad, the ax is there. And as a missionary, if the tree doesn't bring forth any fruit. We chop it down. Now this doesn't mean that I don't love these people...in Doctrine and Covenants 121:43, it says that we need to be "reproving betimes with sharpness" and then afterwards to show "an increase of love... lest he esteem thee to be his enemy." I see now how reproving betimes with sharpness, can actually be a tool to show even greater love to those we teach.
It is so amazing to be a missionary. I love this work and can't believe that I have been given such a great opportunity as this. I am a missionary. I have waited for this time in my life for so many years. Now it is here. The time is now, and I am going to do all I can to fulfil the work of God, as his servant. 

Okay, here are some fun stories.
Last P-day, we were waiting in line at a restaurant place called Manginasal. As we are waiting, these two American girls walk up to us and ask "Can we buy your lunch?".... it turns out that one of these girls is a Member of the Church. She is working here with the Navy building schools. She was so inspired to see missionaries here in the Philippines spreading the gospel that she bought our lunch. God blesses us in ways we couldn't even imagine as we go about doing His work.
Another one, we were walking and a little kid started talking to me in Tagalog, he thought I had no idea what he was saying... he was talking about seeing an American... so I asked him in Tagalog, "Do you see an American? I don't see one..." haha, you should have seen the look on his face... so we keep walking, and we passed this store a place where people just sit and get drunk... and all these drunk people start asking me in English "how you doing?" to make fun of me. This little kid heard them.. so the little kid says "Tagalog yan!"..... meaning I know tagalog.... but when it is translated, it means "that thing is Tagalog".... haha. Elder Aguinaldo and I laughed about that one... haha, I bet it is more funny when you understand Tagalog.

Here are some pictures.
                                             next to some boats and some mangroves

                                                               millipede I caught  
(sparing you the wide open mouth portion of this photo, use your imagination. Robin)

                                                         blurry picture at evening

Love you guys so much!
Mahal na Mahal kita
Elder Schroeder
p.s. sana nga ipatuloy mong gawin ang pagmimisionary work bilang mga miyembro.
You should really continue to do missionary work as members.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Rain and Adidas

10/6/13
Hey Family!
I am doing so great here. The power or fasting and prayer is so incredible. I never realized how amazing it really can be. We fasted like normal but had a really hard week. Pouring rain all day, every day... bah. Everyone was sleeping all day it seemed like we were not able to meet with anyone... on Sunday we really had a reason to fast. We were blessed so much! Every appointment on Sunday went super smooth and none of them fell through. We had the spirit with us and we were able to set some really good commitments. There is REAL power in fasting and prayer.

I didn't get to tell you much about my companion last week, he was reading over my shoulder... haha. So he is from Isabella, Gamu an area in the mission where Taylor served. (Taylor is Connor's cousin) He was baptized just over a year ago and has such strong faith. I teach every lesson right now and he gives a short testimony at the end. I had no idea how much Tagalog I could speak before he got here. Tagalog isn't too big of a deal now. I can speak it alright, I just need to learn more words. So that is going pretty good. I am learning words super fast now because I understand how I can use them. That is definitely encouraging. I can really see how my desire to teach better is motivating me to learn it faster. I am loving being a missionary here.
Okay, I am going to send this email with these pictures.,... you may get some more too later


Crocodile farm Near Puerto Princesa



Ahhh, here are some stories. We were working Saturday with a member, 3 people, 2 umbrellas and Filipinos think if they get wet from the rain that they will die from a sickness called pasma... so it rained, like rained rained... and I let them use the 2 umbrellas. I got a little wet.... and we had to cross a rising river at the same time. haha.., I was soaked! so soaked! Never thought I would get that wet in church clothes before.

oh! What is going on with the US government!? partial shutdown????? People kept asking me what it meant cause I'm American. Please let me know what is going on.

Love,
Elder Schroeder


10/13/13
Hi Family!!!
Wow! those costumes look great! Disneyland looked like fun, you guys really went all out! Wish I could have gone, but being here in the Philippines is much better:) Phew, thanks for filling me in on the government shutdown. Ahh, I miss Idaho a little bit. Snow and stuff cause I don't think it is going to snow here any time soon. It is funny seeing all the Filipinos in sweatshirts now because it is "winter time here"... still super hot!
So I saw the biggest worm ever this week, probably almost 2 feet long and we found a millipede while walking so we took some pictures with it for you. super cool. Ate some chicken feet this week, called "paa ng manok" or Adidas for short. Yes, the Filipinos named it after the shoes. No joke, that is their nickname for chicken feet here, pretty funny. I will hopefully be able to send pictures about all of this.
So the work here has been going okay. It's has been hard work.... I am trying to get my companion to open up some more. He is awesome though and we always have so much fun together.
The investigators we have are doing ok. They're reading and praying but they NEVER EVER EVER go to church. They are not going to get baptized if they don't do that.... bah. so I am really working hard on trying to get people to go to church. If not, we have to drop them. That's basically it. It's not very fun because we see these people with such a great desire to change their lives, but they don't do all that they need, to be able to actually change their lives. so that's that. Drop find, find drop and if we get a golden one, we baptize:) And the gold ones are always from member referrals. It is a challenge because of past disobedient missionaries. Sometimes we meet former investigators or less actives, and they say something like "we stopped going to church because after Elder ____ left, we stopped getting centrum from the Elders" or "can't you give us money for fair like Elder ____ did?" Bahhhh. Just shows how one persons disobedience can really hurt others down the road. We are working hard here and trying to fix past mistakes.
We got to watch conference this Sunday. Super super good, we listened all of Saturday and Priesthood in English and Sunday in Tagalog on very very hard chairs. I sure do miss being able to watch conference at home, but it was uplifting and great nonetheless. I think I am getting sick right now. I have been working harder than I ever have before and I am just so run down. Oh well, the work must go on. Love you guys!
Love, Elder Schroeder
p.s. the computer I am using stinks. the pictures aren't uploading. So next week for those pictures. Also, the Palawan Binturong (bear cat) isn't too heavy, maybe 20 or 30 pounds. Like a very very large cat.








Monday, September 30, 2013

New Native Filipino Companion

HI!
Ahh sorry, I forgot to tell you, I got the Tylenol at the beginning of September, and I got the Dear Elder letters in the middle of September. I don't remember all the dates, but the Dear Elder letters got here really fast. good stuff! Oh, and my watch either broke or is out of battery. I am going to see if i can get it fixed here, or I might need to get a new watch (which will probably be 2000 or so.... about $50.) So just a heads up.

Anyways, my companion finished emailing, so I should proabably hurry up. His name is Elder Aquinaldo. He is from a Province called Isabela. He is going to make such a great missionary! I can see it already. The thing is since I am training now,  I take the lead in all appointments. My tagalog is improving really fast.

This week we have had some great experiences about teaching with the spirit. I just want to tell you that if the spirit is not with us when we teach.... things may go fine, but they won't go GREAT... we NEED the spirit when we teach....  The golden opportunities that we seek for as missionaries is to teach friends of members, with members present. Keep up with missionary work and never stop! 

I have a really quick story, a drunk guy came up to us the other day and asked us if he could borrow one of our shirts so that he could "go to church" (a church down the road)... 

Sorry, I forgot my cord again... one of these weeks you guys are going to get a lot of pictures from me....
Love you guys!

Love, Elder Schroeder

A note from Robin: 
Info about Dear Elder Letters @ dearelder.com
The Church offers a free mail delivery service called "pouch mail" for letters to missionaries serving in countries where regular mail services are not reliable. Every week, they send one packet of letters to each pouch mission office, with the goal of more successful, timely letter delivery.

Pouch mail is sent out every Monday, but letters must be submitted by midnight on Sundays (technically 12am on Monday) to be included in that batch.

Check out, dearelder.com they offer a great service!
They will print the pouch letters that you write through dearelder.com site for free and send them weekly to the Church's pouch mail department. They, then, are responsible for sending the letters to the mission and it will be delivered to the missionary

Connor would love to get mail and this is a great reliable service!



Monday, September 23, 2013

Transfers and staying on Palawan!

Familyyyyy!
Happy Birthday Grandma!!

One thing I would like in the package you are sending is a small flash drive. I need it to print out training supplement plans and things in some Internet cafes.

The computers are working good today... except a little boy next to me accidentally turned off my computer.... phew. I was kind of upset... but I controlled myself. phew. anyways.... About transfers, you are not going to believe this. So we got called by President Stucki last Tuesday. So I have known for almost a week now.... Elder Avila is going back to the mainland, and for me, I AM TRAINING A NEW FILIPINO MISSIONARY AND I WILL BE THE NEW DISTRICT LEADER HERE! President Stucki and God must have a lot of faith in me and my Tagalog.... SO that means I will probably be in this area for another three months. I am so excited! I will meet my new companion on Wednesday! So crazy... I cannot believe that I am going to be a district leader already. It is fulfilling the words President Stucki told me in my second interview with him, "you will be a leader in this mission." Can't believe it. It will be a challenge, but I know I can do it.

So this week...First off, I was going to tell you about that war in Zamboanga city.  I guess you already found out about it.... I hear Manila is on high alert right now.. We are very safe here on Palawan. I did see some clips of it on TV (bawal yun)...Next, cockfights are legal here.  We see them all the time, and they always ask us if we want to bet on the fight because we look rich. We were also walking past a group of tourists yesterday, and guess what came out of my mouth when I went to talk to them... Tagalog. Strange. Sometimes it comes out when I am not expecting it. haha. One other story really quick. We saw an investigator of ours in his house moving around a bit.... so we walk towards the house... and when we get to the front, we see him "sleeping" on a chair just inside. So I guess he thought that he saw us before we saw him. Yeah. fake asleep. bah. I guess he doesn't want to hear our lessons. dang. Things like that can be discouraging.. it's at these times that D&C 75:19-22 come in handy. I just really wish that everyone would drop their pride and make covenants with God. It really is pride that keeps people from accepting our message.

About this week.... We have seen more people in this week that have been prepared by the hand of God more than we have in the entire three months of being here. Apparently this area is notorious for being super hard to contact people but I know that it doesn't have to be that way. If we trust in God and work with all our might, he will provide if we are obedient, and if it His will. There is no doubt in my mind. So we have a growing teaching pool right now and a lot of people who have real potential which is very encouraging. I just hope that I can teach well enough to allow the spirit to touch their hearts. It has been a pretty good week and I am excited to be able to continue the work here.

Oh, I baptized a Sister "JC" on Saturday. She is afraid of water. So she was absolutely terrified to get baptized. So, I basically had to push her under the water. She did what she had to and overcame her fear because she knew what she had to do. I felt the spirit so strong when she testified after the baptism. This Church has the authority of God. I know that with all my heart and I love to share that knowledge with others.

Elder Schroeder

P.S. My little card reader broke and I don't have my cord with me. I have a lot of pictures to send this week, but I will have to send them next week, and you will get a picture of my new missionary Anak (that's what they call them here. I will be the Tatay and he the Anak.) Love you guys!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bamboo, Baptisms and Buffalo

9/9/13
Okay, I will start off with the money thing. The average person here lives in a small bamboo "kubo" (small house) about 200 sq ft. Made completely of bamboo. Their floor is made of bamboo, their walls are made of bamboo, their beds are made of bamboo, and their ceilings are made of dried leaves. The ceiling always leaks and the walls have holes all throughout them. If you drop anything on the floor, it falls down through the slits between the bamboo to be lost forever. The average family here makes about 4000 pisos a month (under 100 dollars). And the only thing they can afford is food. They have no special or fun toys for their kids. Many of the kids play with old broken tools and small rubber bands for fun.  I love the people and they are happy.

I am having so much fun here! Not temporal fun I guess,.... but I am learning the language quick (not quick enough), and I am so happy that I can now actually talk to people. We were able to have a baptism on Saturday!!! We had three people baptized,  one of them was counted as our convert. One was 8 and the other was the sisters baptism. It was a good experience... Sister "R" wasn't able to go :(... but we moved hers to next Saturday and she is almost 100% that she can go. I am loving being a missionary so much. In two weeks, you will know where I am going to be transferred! (or if I stay).... I can't believe I am almost finished with the 12 week training program! It is nice that my Tagalog is progressing now, but it stinks that I can't tell people that I am very new anymore. (cause it was a good excuse for my Tagalog)... oh well, it is so strange thinking in a different language. Whenever I think about home, it is always in Tagalog, which doesn't make sense because you would not understand anything I say.... haha, it is strange to say something in Tagalog when I wasn't even thinking it... which is encouraging, but strange. Like when we meet a Joe sometimes, it is so weird to speak in English to them... cause I am in Tagalog mode.

We weren't able to get much teaching in this week because Elder Avila was sick still... but he is doing much much better now and we have been able to work a lot the past few days. Elder Avila has really started giving me more part in the lessons now which is so great. He really feels that I am progressing well in the language and that the investigators can actually understand me. I love being able to teach all the time, even though I am not very good at it in Tagalog. I just realized last night that Elder Avila always talks to me in Tagalog.... and that I always understand him... about 95% of the time... I totally didn't even realize that he speaks Tagalog to me.... hahaha.

One good story, At the baptism, Elder Burt (a senior missionary) caught a mistake in the prayer during the baptism that nobody else did .... and he was trying to tell someone, but he only speaks English so nobody could understand him... So I stand up in the back. and everyone looks at me.... and I told them what was wrong. phew. and I said it perfectly :) the spirit definitely helped me with that one, cause I had never said a sentence like that before in Tagalog....good experience ad a faith builder for sure.

We had an exciting week with a lot of good stories. An investigator\s daughter gave birth in their house less than a day ago... and we visited them almost right after the action... there was blood everywhere which was pretty intense... and I saw a placenta for the first time.. it was in a bucket of water just outside the house. We also had dinner at a members house... and there wasn't one thing there that I could discern what it was.... except the rice. so that was a good experience... I think one dish was pure pig fat, bananas, and oil... another one was some kind of vegetable that was seriously exactly like dirt. I don't know what the other things were.... 

I also saw a motorcycle that was made into a full on truck... pretty interesting. That's all I have got for this week. Love you.
Elder Schroeder


                                                Me and a Water buffalo (Karabaw)



9/16/13
Okay, so I had an email typed out but my computer crashed:(  I have no time now. Bummer. I am sad about the computers here. So here is a quick one. 

"R" was baptized and confirmed. She is so happy to be a member and it is great to see that! Being a missionary is great! I love it! 

We went to "the crocodile farm" farm this morning. I held a Crocodile and I had a Bear cat clip on my shoulders. I have pictures of both but I don't think I have time to upload them. I am about the same weight as when I left. Maybe a little bigger (not fat).  I love the Philippines. So hot. Oh, and I got sick Friday. I am good now though. Way bad stomach pains and diarrhea. so so bad. I am good and healthy now. I love the food here.  Pretty sure not to good for me.  But, it is what they have to eat. Tagalog is coming along well.  Being a missionary is great! Continue you member missionary work! That's where the real work is at.

Love, Elder Schroeder

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Interesting Experiences

wow! Kumusta na Kayo?

 Learning the language is speeding up super fast for me right now. It just seems to speed up week after week! I can carry a conversation relatively well with people and I am working on my OYM skills in Tagalog. The people here are so friendly, they are also super shy. The good thing is, because I am an American, all I have to do is get out a sentence or something that the average american wouldn't know... cause when they find out that I know Tagalog, they get super excited! They say something like "Grabi! Kaya siyang magtagalog!" then the door is open (it means basically "wow! he can do-tagalog" doesn't make much sense in English).... haha. I am so excited to learn this language!

One bummer thing this week is that my companion is super sick. Like way way sick. They think he has dengue (not sure how to spell that). But they don't know for sure yet. We might go to the doctor today. We gave him a priesthood blessing and he seems to be doing better now.

So I have got some good stories that are from last week when I couldn't email.  We were talking to an  investigator and she was washing some clothes by the river that she lives next to. (she does that for a living). While we are talking to her, she stands up and walks into the river. She then squats down and continues talking to us. So we finish talking to her and we leave. As we leave I ask Elder Avila "Umihi ba siya sa ilog?" (was she peeing in the river?).... haha. We both agree that she was peeing while talking to us.  Don't worry, she had clothes on. Next. This one happened this week. A bakla (gay guy) was sitting next to me in a Jitney (Jeepney). And he scooted up way to close to me than he needed to. Usually the jeeps are cram packed but this one wasn't. So he was scooting up closer and tighter to me with each bump or jostle of the jeep... then he starts leaning over sort of (I think he was trying to smell me).. and he starts shaking/rubbing his leg on mine. oh my.... I was about to tell him "Huwag kang gumawa yun!" (don't do that!). It is like a command in Tagalog. Thankfully, our stop came and I got off that jeep real quick. hahaha. Gay people here are way bold to Americans. phew, crazy story.

I am learning so much here and I absolutely love to be a missionary.

So about our investigators, WE HAVE A BAPTISM ON SEPTEMBER 7TH! Wooooo! There we will have 4 people being baptized, three of them are ours. "Sister R" just passed her interview yesterday! She doesn't know if she can get work off on Saturday for the baptism though. We have fasted about it and have been praying hard. She has strong faith so I know she will be able to find a way or be provided a way.  We are super excited for that opportunity.  Nothing else has really been happening with our investigators the past two weeks. We are working on updating our teaching pool so we can have some more successful work in the following weeks.

Loving the mission and loving the Gospel. It can truly change lives.

Elder Schroeder

Elder Schroeder and Elder Stephens 
at a combined Zone Conference on Palawan.
Two great missionaries from Escondido/San Marcos 
serving in the same area, they look happy!!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pamilya!

Monday August 19, 2013
Pamilya!
Love you guys so much! I am pretty sure our zone conference is going to be together at Marval chapel. I am way excited to see Elder Stephens too! It will be weird to see someone I know from back at home in the Philippines... weird.

Every day really is an adventure. So much fun here, I never have a day where I don't see something interesting. For example, a huge truck tipped over in the mud right next to our apartment, then the next day a guy got his leg cut off mid thigh in a construction accident another 30ft down the road. I am pretty sure he is alive, not sure. Someone told us the story next to the pool of dried up blood, but I didn't really understand it fully cause they aren't gospel words. I don't know if they totally grasp the concept of "dangerous." Oh well.

It is such a blessing to be able to serve here in the Philippines. I love it so much and I love to work all day, every day. It is tiring, but I have found that I have a lot more energy than most. I am working hard at staying in shape and I think that is really helping me stay energized. There are still days where I feel like just falling asleep, but I just get up and go to work. You sure do find out a lot about yourself when you serve a mission. I am learning more about myself than I every have before. My Tagalog is terrible in the morning for example. I think my brain just takes a while to really get cookin' in the morning.

I write well? my font or what? haha, anyways.... I have one experience that I would like to share that Elder Avila and I had this week. We have this amazing investigator "C.D." his dad did not support him investigating the Church. So we had arranged an appointment with the family because the father was frustrated that we kept visiting his house. So the fathers goal for the meeting was, as he told us "to keep us from returning." But their son is extremely interested in the Gospel. So we met with them on Friday. We had been praying for divine help and that we would know what to say to this family. We spoke with them about their concerns. The spirit was really with us and we were given power and authority from God. We were able to teach them the Restoration, they are now very supportive of their son investigating the Church, and they are now investigators! It is so amazing to see how the hand of the Lord is actively involved in this work and that without the Spirit's help... we would have lost an incredible investigator. Instead, with the help or the Lord and the Spirit, we are now teaching the whole family. It is amazing the miracles you can see if the Lord is on your side.

I am loving this work and really learning how much we actually need to depend on the Spirit as we teach. It reminds me of the scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 42:14, "if ye receive not the spirit, ye shall not teach." Divine assistance is absolutely necessary if this work is to go forward with any relative success.

It was such an amazing experience and such a testimony builder. I really really love this work. I wish I was better at Tagalog so I could be a better missionary, but it is really driving me to learn and grow in the language quickly. I feel that every week I I am speeding up at learning the language, it is definitely encouraging, but I still have a LOT to learn.

On another note, we found this plant called "Katakataka" which means 'amazing' or 'miracle' or 'surprise' in English. I am sending a leaf of it home with instructions. Apparently, you can plant it anywhere and it will grow. So be looking for that. I don't know when I will be able to send it though because or how mailing from the island through the church works.... Anyways, saw a sign that said "bawal umihi dito" the other day, see if you can translate it. People don't follow the instructions on the sign anyways... just to let you know.

Well, that's it for the week. Thanks for all the words of encouragement! I really love you guys so much and I miss you a lot. But I am here, away from my family, for two years so that other families can be together forever.

Mahal ko ang pamilya ko!
(I love my family!)
Elder Schroeder

P.S. The mosquito's here aren't bad. I think I am actually a natural mosquito repellent. I only get bit maybe once or twice a week. Others are not so lucky.... hahaha. oh, that reminds me, a sister here got dengue last week. She is doing much better now though. I am all healthy and good though :)

Connor sent a letter in the mail written over several days and I will share a portion with you. He is having some really incredible experiences and I love hearing from him. I appreciate that he is so thoughtful and loving the people that he serves. Robin
July 9-15, 2013
Hey Family,
It sure takes a long time for a letter to get around the world! It's weird to think that I will be here for almost another 2 years! Just the thought of leaving makes me sad already. The one thing I really do miss is toilet paper. Some places have it like restaurants and things, but our apartment doesn't. I am probably going to get some. It's just so much easier.
Oh well, I am embracing the culture and I already feel part Filipino at heart. I love the food here! Although, I do miss some regular American things (like cereal, nobody eats cereal here) Elder Avila loves to have hot chocolate in the mornings and at night and he always makes me some, so frying hot- but its the rainy season so its not to bad.
Last night, I almost fell on my face in the mud. There is mud everywhere. Thick, heavy, sticky clay mud, that gets everywhere. When it starts to rain it makes droplets of mud that fly up onto your pants. So the complete lower half and part of the shirt gets speckled with mud. It's a lot of fun though and a very good experience. It really makes me think of how great we have it in America. Almost nobody owns cars, last night we were eating at a members house and they asked about what my parents do for work. I told them, then they wanted to know what it was like in America. The people here have very little (stuff) in comparison to Americans but they have a great life and love all they have! I wish they had more opportunity here. It is amazing how much they love each other and care for one another.
One funny thing that wherever I go, there is always someone looking at me and smiling. They all yell "Hi" or "whats your name?" because that's all the English they know. They are amazed to see a white guy like me! The kids absolutely love to just come up and touch me, they always take my hand and put it to their forehead (sign of respect). Usually, it is only done to a "Nanay"(old woman) or someone who is in a position of authority.
I already know more Tagalog from these past 7ish weeks than I do in Spanish, after taking 2 years in school. Its amazing what one can accomplish with the help of the Lord and hard work.
One thing is the older Filipino's think if your hair gets wet from the rain you will get sick, It's 90 degrees! I am not going to get sick if it's that hot out (unless I get heat stoke) Also, if you go to bed with a full stomach, then you are in danger of having a heart attack.
Last night we ate at a members house and we ate so much food! We had chicken neck, pork, fried chicken, and something I don't know what it was, I ate it anyway. We also had something called Lechon. Everyone ate it like candy! It was cooked pig skin(from the head) It isn't to bad... if you like eating leather and you don't mind the fat sticking to your teeth, and the hairs scratching your tongue. It really isn't to bad though, good tasting. It was cool, they cut it right off the pigs head. They liked that I ate everything and that I'm "good with rice". I was able to try sticky rice, which is good! I need to learn how to make it!
I can understand so much more Tagalog in the last two days. I can follow almost any conversation for the most part. Speaking is more difficult. I am so excited to get the language down. I have noticed the style of speaking is a lot different than ours. That makes it hard to translate and sound normal. Although what I say makes sense to them, but it also sounds weird to them...
On p-day on the 15th of July, Elder Avila and I bought a cake for a family because it was their little girls birthday. So we go to take it there and I am holding it in a bag so they can't see it. All of their kids are huddled around me trying to see what's in the bag. So I am hiding it as we go inside their little house. I take the cake out of the bag and you should have seen the look on their faces! They probably have not had cake in a really, really long time (maybe not even at all). They fed us some noodles and juice, and we ate cake with them. It will be an experience I will never forget, 175 peso for a priceless experience! (that's under $4) It was also sad because the little girl was sick, we were able to give her a blessing, she woke up and had the party with us (still a little grumpy though) but she enjoyed it and we all had lots of fun together.
My companion is great! No toliet paper... not so great.
Love you all!
Ingat kayo palagi! 
Elder Schroeder

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Island Life on Palawan


Monday August 12, 2013
Hey Family!

We can get anything we need here on the island (at least where I am at) cause we are close to the city. If you send the package regular mail, the Philippines mail service only charges a flat tax of 50-80 pesos. So the taxes aren't bad on it. Don't worry about that. But if you were to send dhl or some other carrier it could be like 1000+ or even higher, depending on the contents. So just send regular and you will be good to go.

Shoot, I don't know about the dansko shoes. I think the ones I got are 42. 43 should be perfect for him. the problem is that I left those in Manila for when I get transferred back there. So I don't have them with me right now. dang. sorry. Those shoes really do work well though. I have seen the same thing here that kyle has with those shoes. They last forever! so... I don't know what to tell you. I think 43 will fit. That's all I know. sorry.

Ahhh, I love the stake beach parties. Grape stompers huh? I do remember that, it was pretty fun, that sure is a lot of grapes. You know the reason why you guys have so much extra fruit this year? Cause kyle and I plant seeds every day. bam.

I really do enjoy the island while I hike through the jungle and across rivers to appointments. We hike through the jungle and through mud and gunk and flooded places every day which is a lot of fun and makes me feel like I am hiking in the mountains. This week we actually climbed a mountain where a members rambutan tree is at and got some referrals from him. The island is way a lot of fun and we get to experience a lot.

About our investigators. AY! BASTA! (ahhh! enough).... our teaching pool is dried up. All but two or three of our investigators are stagnant, and we are going to have to drop them. We really need to work on finding, Elder Avila is a typical shy Filipino and I can't speak Tagalog. But we had exchanges this week and I know what to do. I exchanged with Elder Belnap (zone leader and Elder Avilas trainer) and he gave me some ideas. So I will apply that this week and we will step forward with faith. Elder Belnap also told me that I can understand Tagalog really really well for someone as fresh as me... but that I need to work on speaking it. Actually, Halos lahat naiintindihan ako. (I understand almost all) especially if it is about the gospel. I am getting better at everyday language too.

Anyways... About our progressing investigators, "R" is going to be baptized Sept 7th, because she is always working. She could have been baptized 2 weeks ago but she can't get a Saturday off to be baptized. So that's what we are working on. It is super hard to get people to go to church here, so so hard. Our church attendance is up and down all the time.

Lots of filipinos love to smoke, like a chimney as dad would say... they really do though. So many word of wisdom problems.

It is so hard to think in English sometimes, weird. I am surrounded by Tagalog all day, every day and I have only been here for 2 and a half months. Well, I am having fun and all is well here.

Love,
Elder Schroeder

P.S. If you could look into transferring to BYU Provo for me, I would like some info on that. I have been thinking about doing that but I am not sure yet. It would be best to transfer before I get home so I get in before the surge of returning missionaries. I don't know if I want to yet though. So we will see, that would be great though. Love you mama!


1. part of the jungle we walk through to an appointment



2. crossing a river to get to an appointment



3. one of our investigators crossing a river on a water buffalo.



Sunday, August 4, 2013

Service

July 29, 2013
Hey Family!
Wow seems like you have been up to a lot! Haha... Idaho can be pretty amazing! I have seen a cockroach the size of my hand, and a spider the same size it's  pretty crazy. The living conditions are nice. It is weird getting used to sleeping in a hammock and without any walls to our apartment, except where we shower. Its just like a little bamboo bungalow, with a roof and suspended from the ground. Its pretty awesome though. I cant believe I never told you about the place we live! Hahah. 

This last week we got to do some service out in the middle of the jungle (we had to cross two rivers and walk about a mile and a half into the jungle to get there). It was a tree planting project/party. There were about 1500 people there or more. Right in the middle of the jungle partying. We hiked up into the forest and planted a bunch of little trees. Then they had a bunch of native Filipino performances and cultural dances, which was way awesome. One funny thing that happened was that the news crew came to the event because it was so big. Sister Larsen and I were the only white people there. So the news crew kept zooming in on us. They even tried to interview Sister Larsen, but that would be against the rules... so we didn't let them. haha. funny though. 

This week was tough with all our investigators but we have two that are doing really well. 
My Tagalog is progressing well. I still have a lot of work and It is hard to understand everyday conversations. But I feel I am really starting to learn it quicker and I am understanding more individual words and structures in conversation. I am really working hard at it and it is coming. Just a couple more months now! I cant believe I have almost been out in the field for one month now! 

Ingat kayo palagi! Mahal kayo ko! 
Elder Schroeder
P.S. I was messing with you about the hammock and bungalow deal... heheh mom. We live in an apartment. It is very nice. Small but nice. here are come pictures.


                                                                          Planting a tree
                                                              
                                         Service


                                                       Our Kitchen

August 5, 2013
Hey Family!
Wow! glad the house is standing... here are some things I keep forgetting to email you. First off. MY camera is working. I figured it out. And if you send a package ever.. put some Tylenol in it. It needs to be Tylenol though, it cannot be a blood thinner. I have ibuprofen already so  I don't  need that.  If i were to get dengue fever  (not sure how to spell it) I am not allowed to take a blood thinner because dengue thins your blood already.  Its because, it is really hard to get medications here. You can only buy 1 pill at a time... once a day. So it is almost impossible, so that's that. 

How did you find out about the underground river? it turns out that the district went there about a month before I got here and it was organized by the mission president because the zone did well that month. It is unlikely that I will be going... but it is possible. Tell dad that he needs to get better. He can do it though. (kay niya dyan) 

This week has been great! I have really taken off in learning Tagalog. I could really understand a lot more this past week and speak relatively well. I am really working hard at it an really trying to be obedient so the Lord can help me. I have so much to learn it is amazing! I love to learn it and it isn't as frustrating now that I can understand more... I can give a pretty rough lesson on almost any gospel principle... it is just really rough and rather short... speaking gospel terms is much easier than other more regular everyday language. So I am trying to work on that so I can hold a conversation better. The zone leaders told me on Friday that I will most likely train after this 12 week program is finished.. and I will probably be the district leader... I dont think I will and the thought of that is daunting. But I know I could do it with the Lords help.

This week I have really gained a testimony of the phrase in Doctrine and Covenants 4 "eye single to the glory of God." There are so many stories in the Book of Mormon where this phrase is emphasized. For example the story of the people of King Zeniff, Noah and Limhi. (beginning of Mosiah). You can see how when we are at the point where we praise the glory of God in all we do, we are a righteous people and we prosper. And when we dont... like King Benjamin said in Mosiah Chapter 7 (I think) that we will be put into bondage. (whether that be bondage to sin or bondage to a government).... Obedience brings blessings  (D&C 130:20-22) BAM. That's it right there. (sorry, I don't have my scriptures with me.... I think these are the right references). Obedience in this life, where we must walk by faith rather than sight, is key. It is the only way we can succeed through the Atonement. 
My testimony has been growing so much and I am seeing many blessings manifesting themselves as I try my best to be obedient. I love the Gospel and the feeling of peace the spirit brings. I can see my teaching, my knowledge and my Tagalog suffer when I am not obedient and do not have the spirit with me. I have a greater testimony now of  D&C 42:14. "If ye receive not the spirit, ye shall not teach." What a great blessing it is to be a missionary who is called of God, and has the restored priesthood authority of God. The restoration truly is a great blessing in our lives, I love it and I always find myself reflecting on it, even when I miss home and all the recklessness there. The Gospel is the greatest blessing we have and as we go forth with an eye single to the glory of God, we will strive to be obedient, obtain blessings, and have a desire to preach the Gospel (Mosiah 28:3 and Luke 22:32). It is great to feel this strongly about the Gospel and to receive witnesses through the power of the Holy Spirit. I can truly testify that the Spirit can dwell in your heart and bring peace to your mind. To all those who doubt, persevere and go forth with faith. If the spirit hasn't told you yet, its because your faith is being tried. We are on this earth to walk by faith through our trials. You can only receive a witness after a trial of your faith  (Ether 12:6)

I love you all so much and I thank you for teaching me the gospel in my youth. If I didn't  have that knowledge, I would truly be lost. You have been awesome parents, brothers, sisters, and grandparents and you have taught me so much. I love you all. Go forward with faith. The Lord will bless.

Ingat kayo palagi!
Elder Schroeder

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Learning a lot!


FYI - from his last week email, I told Connor to watch out for crocodile's when he crossed rivers and he replied, "haha. worlds largest crocodile was found in the Philippines by the way."
He also said, "The fruit (Rambutan) is like candy"

Technology is amazing and such a blessing for communicating with our missionaries!! Tonight we took a Sunday evening walk on the beach @ sunset in Carlsbad. We sent a collage of pictures to him on my phone while we were there on the beach. It was so cool that he opened the email exactly 24 minutes after we took the pics. Not to many years ago we would have had to develop them and put them in the mail, taking weeks to reach him.

Monday July 15, 2013
Hey Family!

You look great Mama! Here is a picture of me eating dinner with a great family, in their Bamboo hut over a swamp

Your Tagalog is right, but sounds funny in Tagalog ( I think ). But I understand them. I would use nanay and tatay for mom and dad. Ama and ina are too formal, haha.

That is awesome that Pablo is following the blog. He really should be jealous because Palawan is gorgeous. I will be sure to take lots of pictures.... which reminds me. I think the battery for my camera is dead. Like dead dead. I think it is because I packed the converter to use as the charger. And it says on the battery to only use the approved charger... dang. We are going to see if they have the charger here in an electronics store... if not, you might have to send it. I will let you know next p-day. Dang :(. Anyways.

Here are some good stories. In PEC ( Priesthood Executive Council) meeting with the ward, I said, "we have many referrals" instead of "we need many referrals" Haha. so after I finished talking, it didn't make much sense. We got a good laugh out of that. Also, a lady breast fed right in front of us (just like kyle).... which was awkward, right in the middle of a lesson. There is a family we have been teaching for a while, I love them so much! They are working on their marriage paperwork so that they can be baptized! Their lives have changed so much from when we started teaching them. The husband got a hair cut, removed all his piercings, and their family is so much more happy! We had dinner at their house the other night. They asked their 4 year old daughter what my name was, and she called me "kuya." Which means "big brother." Such a great feeling. Except we still had to try to get her to call me Elder...

My companion is the district leader for our district. I have really been able to help him a lot, he isn't very good with English and he hates paperwork. So, I have been helping him with that. Our district meeting tomorrow, I will help him out and we will be teaching together. He is a great teacher and loves to work. We are such a great companionship and we are each helping each other learn our languages. I teach him English, and he teaches me Tagalog.

Tagalog is coming along great by the way! Learning so so much. I make mistakes, but it happens, and I will fix them. So much fun to be in the Philippines. I will talk to Pablo in Tagalog when I get back! haha. Excited. Love you guys!

Ingat po! (take care)
Elder Schroeder
First baptism he attended, the Sister missionaries taught these people.