Sunday, August 25, 2013


Monday August 19, 2013
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.

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


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

                                                       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