Monday, September 30, 2013

New Native Filipino Companion

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 @
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, they offer a great service!
They will print the pouch letters that you write through 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!

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

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)

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!!