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

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