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 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

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.

Elder Schroeder

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.