Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Interesting Experiences... Change in Perspective...

Hello Family!

Being the "old man" in the mission is interesting. Mostly everyone that I know in the mission is going home either this transfer or the next. And all the people who are old in the mission, despite having a lot more mission experience than me, still sort of look up to me. It is a weird feeling and I haven't quite figured it out yet. I feel like my experiences are going to be a great blessing as I am able to help those around me to learn more about the Atonement. I get more emotional in my teaching now and it's strange. I find my eyes watering often when I testify of the Savior. I always thought that I wasn't one to cry but I guess that's changing a bit. I feel like I need to say something really manly now to make up for that last comment. The spirit is invited into my teaching much more now than it ever has been before. I can really relate well now to people that I meet who are dealing with challenging times. It is a huge blessing for sure.

That's cool that I got a letter from the prophet! It's funny haha, I am already in the mission when the letter comes. It's a pretty simple letter. Thanks for sending a picture of it. That's pretty unique.

This week has been...... interesting. Lots of stories. And I suppose that these stories illustrate the some of the problems that are typical to the Philippines. On Monday last week, we were walking down the street and a lady yells "yeahhh baby" to us from the side of the street (which happens pretty often actually).... but then as we look over we quickly realize that she was flashing us. We sped up our pace a bit and looked away. Lets just say that she was a rather large lady. And I'll leave it at that. Another story. We got on a jeepney going to part of our area and a little kid gets on to beg for money. We aren't allowed to give him any according to mission rules. So he keeps begging and the driver and barker both get mad. (a barker is the guy who stand outside the jeep and yells trying to get more people on the jeep). So the driver hits the kid with a piece of wood and the barker punches him in the back. (this kid is probably 14 years old). So the kid leaves. Then out of nowhere the barker gets hit with a big gulp cup full of pee. The kid then proceeds to get his butt handed to him by one of the barker's nearby friends.

There are a lot of problems here... but there is also a lot of good.

Elder Dodini and I were talking about this the other night. In America or any other first world country, there are many people who don't believe in God. They say, "if there is a God, how could he allow so many bad things to happen? How could He allow poverty in the Philippines? How could he allow a holocaust?" Or things like that. Those things aren't prevalent so much in the states. But when you come here to the Philippines (or in other similar countries) where those things are prevalent. Poverty everywhere, and low standards of living, you see that those are the people who believe most in God. They are the ones that are living the criticisms of first world countries and they see that God is real. Those who live in the states, or Europe, or wherever there is a lot of prosperity, have a very limited perspective. It destroys their faith in God when it should strengthen it. Our problems are little compared to those here. And those here still have greater faith than almost all that live in better circumstances. It really changes your perspective to live among the loving people of the Philippines. They have their vices too, just like Americans, but at least their faith remains in the face of difficulty and hard times.

Besides that, the area is doing well. God has really been working hard preparing this Area for Elder Dodini and I. I will let you know next week more about our investigators because most are still pretty early in the teaching. We have a lot of promising looking investigators though. It is going to be a fun transfer!

Elder Schroeder

Here are some pictures:

Me with a bunch of kids

Elder Dodini kissing a lovely dog

Picture of us in a crowd of people who are worshiping an idol.

I look pretty tired in the pictures but I promise I'm not. I'm doing good!!

Hello Family!

Happy Birthday Pops!!

This week was interesting. Have a lot more stories again. I don't think a week will go by in this area without having any new strange stories. I will spare you this one due to the nature of the story. Let's just say that it was something that no missionary should ever see and not appropriate to share.

Transfers were also this week. Elder Dodini and I are staying together for another transfer and we are both happy about that. We are pretty good friends now. We got two new elders. One American and one Filipino. Elder Calixto (the Filipino lives with us in the bahay) and Elder Barnes is in the other ward in our district. He is going home at the end of this transfer.

I also got to give a talk on Sunday in sacrament meeting. I spoke for about 15 minutes on fathers, families, and how we can better teach the importance of Christ in our homes. It was based a lot on an article in the June Liahona called, How we Preach of Christ in our home. (Link to the article )
I told the story of when Kyle and I caught the fort on fire and related it to how my parents taught me the difference between right and wrong. It was a pretty good talk, I think. Everyone was asking me how long I had been in the mission after the talk. I'm not sure if that means my Tagalog was good or bad. haha.

So as far as the work goes, we have some really promising investigators! I am going to tell you about three of them. 
The "T" family are super awesome!! They were being taught before I got here but are super nice and really intelligent people. They really love when we come to teach them and they went to church this week. Sister T was fellowshipped really well by the RS. Brother T enjoys speaking English to us, which is fun. They understand really well what our purpose is with them and realize the high possibility of them getting baptized. The only problem is that the sister is super busy with work. So we are working that out with her.

The next is a new investigator we have. Her name is "AJ" she has been prepared so well for our message. She was asking the perfect questions and I don't doubt that she will be baptized. She is 21 and is about to take her examination for electrical engineering, super smart. We are also teaching her family.

Lastly is "A". He is the husband of an endowed member. The first lesson we taught him he said that he felt something different when I showed him the pictures of my family. He said he had deja vu. Like he had seen those pictures before. He has been taught by many many many missionaries before and said he hasn't ever felt the Spirit but that he did when we were there. His only problem is that he is really really busy with work. He said he was going to go to church but he ended up getting home from work at 4am Sunday morning. So he was too tired to go. We just need to pray that the Lord will provide a way for him. He is a great guy and will be baptized I'm sure. It just may take a little while.

So I think that's all I've got for this week.

Remember that we all need to follow the Savior and Repent for all our sins like King Benjamin says in Mosiah 4:10 Read it, live it, and you'll be happier. Simple as that.

I love you all! You're in my prayers! Have a great week!
Elder Schroeder

p.s. That looks like the Sierra trip was a ton of fun!! We will have to plan a boys trip, when I get back.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Teaching... Lots of potential & Drawing crowds here in Tondo

Hello Family,

Wow! long email this week. Hopefully, I can write enough about this week to keep you wanting to read my emails. That is cool that Sister Chumbley lived in Tondo for many years. 

So this week was pretty good. I got sick which was pretty hard. Having to deal with being sick on top of the time change made it really hard to stay awake during studies for a few days. We didn't take a day off though. We just worked through it and it all worked out. I am feeling a lot better now though. 

We were able to teach a lot of lessons this week and commit a lot of people to read, and pray, and to go to church. We didn't have any investigators go to church this week but we had a ton of less active members go to church this week. We had something like 13 less actives at church, which was a great experience. I have never had so many less active come to church in one week in my whole mission. And that wasn't even all of the members that we had committed to go to church. There is a lot of potential for reactivation here in this area.

I really do like the mission vision that President Ostler has. I really feel like it will lead to very effective missionary work in all senses, and it will really prepare ALL members to enter the temple. The vision is more of a long term plan, and I can see how well it would establish the church when it is implemented correctly. 

So as far as the area goes, we live just a little ways down the road from the intersection of moriones st and nicolas Zamora (You can Google earth it) We live in our area, which is nice. I am learning the area super fast, probably the fastest I ever have. But our area is pretty interesting. We live right on the edge of the bay. There are a lot of squatters but we don't spend too much time over there. We have some nicer areas with nice houses and then most of our area is just pretty rough housing but not quite squatters. The hard thing about this area here is that since people are so poor, the head of the household is always working. So it is hard to be able to teach a whole family all at once, since there is almost always someone missing. But it is helping Eldee Dodini and I to learn how to schedule appointments better with poeple. Sometimes they follow through, sometimes not. But all we can do is show up when we say we will. Success in the inviting, regardless of the result. But it is nice to have good results obviously. 
We have a few families that we are teaching that seem pretty promising. All of them are still pretty early along in teaching though so it is hard to tell right now wether or not they will be baptized. Elder Dodini is still pretty new in the area too, only 5 weeks, but he is leading the area well right now since I don't know the area. There is a lot of work to be done  and we are having lot of fun together. We really draw the crowds here in tondo. 
I got to know the elders in my district a little better this week cause we had to do some practice teaching pass offs for them, which was great! Dad was right, I don't have any sisters in my district. Sisters don't get assigned here. 
Anyways, I think that is pretty much it for me this week. Hope you enjoy the pictures. I love you all!

Elder Schroeder

Here is a picture of a house someone just decided to make in a tree on a median in the middle of a road
picture of the controls for a toilet i used in japan. 
oh and also a picture of part of luzon from the air. That is the north east side of luzon i am pretty sure

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Serving in Tondo...

With President and Sister Ostler 

Made it safe and sound after 39 hours... and assigned to Tondo in Manila. (Google it...so you can see where he is serving. Robin)

Hello Family!

Wow it sounds like you all had a pretty good week! Lots of fun and good stories. Yeah so my flight was interesting. I just slept in the airport in LA. It wasn't that bad. And yeah I was on the flight going from LA to Tokyo at 1:30 am. I am doing pretty well adjusting to the time. I just have random bouts where I feel really strange and a little dizzy but it wears off. Last night was the first night were I got some good sleep. I kept waking up in the middle of the night. A few more days and I'll be ready to roll.

My travels were pretty regular. I talked to a few people about the Church. A girl who thought drugs were philosophical, a rich Filipino, and several other nice Filipinos. Nothing to out of the ordinary though. I got my luggage fine. I made sure the airlines double and triple checked my luggage. And yeah! I had a pretty good 5 o'clock shadow going by the time I arrived.  I wasn't too wiped out when I got there. I was able to sleep a ton on the planes and while I was waiting around.

President had originally intended for me to send a quick email home but we got busy and I didn't end up emailing. President actually didn't end up picking me up since my schedule got all flipped around. What ended up happening was President Trask (the MTC president) and church travel were the first ones there to get me. Then as we were walking out we got intercepted by the assistants. Apparently there was a gap in communication and they sort of ended up fighting for me cause the MTC was apparently supposed to have me for 5 days. We got it worked out though and I ended up going with the Assistants. So Saturday, I worked with them and slept over at their apartment. Sunday, I went over to the mission home and had a good long talk with President. He said he wanted to meet me before he decided on an area. So then I had a few bowls of cereal while he made his decision.

Sunday I got my new companion. Elder Dodini from Gilbert, Arizona. Yes, I told him that Summer lives in Queen Creek. He said that he thinks his sister just moved there. He seems like a really good elder. Hard working but not too robotic. He is really excited to have an American companion. Our area we are assigned in is actually probably the roughest area in the whole Philippines. It is arguable. We will be safe though so no worries. I am pretty sure I can outrun Elder Dodini haha...Just kidding. Anyways, I heard the ward is nice but I haven't had the chance to meet many members yet. We are having a hard time getting members to work with us but we will see what we can do about it.

So our area seems pretty good to me. There are some areas with nicer houses and things like that. I met a lot of new people but can't remember all their names. One good one was an OYM that we had. It was two guys, One is a security guard and the other doesn't have a job. But they were really receptive to the restoration and we invited them to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. I am excited to see if they follow through.

I am pretty sure that I left my camera in my room or something. I may have lost it in my luggage but I don't think so. It is in a blue case. So if you could look around the house to see if I forgot that it would be great. I am a little hesitant to carry a nice camera in this area.

Well, that is all I have got for now. It feels strange to be back here but I am excited to serve!! I still need to get all the way back into missionary mode but that won't take long.

Elder Schroeder

P.S Apparently I am famous in the mission. People know my name. I hope that's a good thing and not a bad thing. I hardly know anyone, and after the next two transfers pretty much everyone that I know in the mission will be gone.