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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Week 64- Better safe than Sorry

Big storm came in this last weekend and we almost got 12 minutes of rain! Kind of a huge deal made about a less than average day but better safe than sorry and it's definitely a good thing the typhoon did not hit Manila. A large storm in the city here would killed thousands of people because of the poverty and impossibility of evacuating. The typhoon season is over so most likely I will survive my time in the Philippines...unless the massive fault line that goes straight through Manila is set off and the entire city is destroyed....but what are the chances in that! (experts say 1/3) Just kidding mom! It's actually pretty incredible to see how resilient the filipeno people are. They spend 6 months of the year in the midst of typhoons and tropical storms and then they spend the next 6 months rebuilding and preparing for the next rainy season. All the while no complaints are made, that's just kinda how life is and they adjust to meet whatever comes their way.

Elder Ehlert and I have been working hard with the leaders in our ward to really get the work going in Lagro. Brother Duncan Domagsang, a 2 week RM, just got called as our new ward mission leader and we had a FANTASTIC coordination meeting last Tuesday. All of the ward leaders gathered at the Bishop's house and we presented our plan for the 2015 year. We plan on starting by visiting all of the members of the ward to give a very short 15 minute visit. Asking for no referral but leaving small commitments as we would any investigator. Such as fellow shipping another family or reading a few verses or sitting in on one of our lessons to an investigator. Anything to get the family feeling the power of the Holy Ghost through real missionary experiences. Not only will this first and foremost strengthen the members, but in turn lead to a greater desire to share the Gospel with their neighbors. As true conversion always requires an increase in desire to share received blessings with others. Lehi's vision of the tree of life as well as Alma the Younger's conversion and the conversion of the Apostle Saul all point to an immediate desire to bring truth unto others as they tasted of the fruits of repentance for themselves.

Along with a few other ideas that were bounced around that night, the outcome was certainly one of excitement to take Lagro to new heights, especially in strength of priesthood. We have an incredible core leadership in the ward, a great place to start when trying to strengthen and expand our missionary effort while simultaneously trying to "perfect the saints".
Since Tuesday we have had the opportunity to visit several families in the ward and committed each one to bring a neighbor/friend to the ward Christmas party on Monday. Should be an awesome week in celebrating the like of the Savior! We have a Ward Party, 2 Christmas conference an office activity next weekend. It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!

Elder Krueger T

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Week 63- Happy Birthday Nanay!

Happy birthday Nanay!! Hope all of your wildest wishes come true (just don't wish for me home or I might get caught up in a super typhoon or something haha). Also hope dad buys you some presents instead of saving them all for Christmas
Transfer week is always exciting with so many missionaries coming and going, so that has been the gist of our daily duties the past few days. It's always so sad seeing the best missionaries in the mission leave on exit day, but the welcoming in of new missionaries the very next morning causes a quick recovery of focus. 

The next day, on thursday we had Mission Leadership Council, in which President Bertin shared a lot of thoughts from last weeks Mission President's Seminar (the 5day retreat for mission presidents in the Philippines). He received a lot of positive feedback and ideas from other missions and the area presidency and is set to make changes for improving our mission in the upcoming year. It seems likely that we will be refocussing the majority of our efforts towards member oriented missionary work. The goal being to increase the efforts and support of ward members while at the same time strengthening the members of the Philippines in the doctrine of the Gospel. We are all very excited for the new approach and the subsecquent initiatives that will follow in pushing our mission towards it's full potential. 

The rest of the month of December looks to be pretty exciting and very busy! We have meetings galore and plenty of Christmas/Holiday Festivities to go along with it! I must say I am most looking forward to the 2 days of Christmas Conference on the 18th and 19th! We'll have caloring, games, a talent show, and most importantly a catered lunch! The mission will be split up into 2 so half the mission will attend the first day and the other half the second day. In addition the chruch has released its new initiative, "He is the Gift" that our mission trying to implement while working with investigators and member alike. Social media is a lot bigger deal in the Philippines than it gets credit for, so hopfully this new Christ centered push will generate a lot of holiday spirit and missionary energy. Everyone in the Philippines loves the Savior, making the Christmas season the best time to share a message about His atoning sacrifice. 

As for the next few days we will be keyed into the movements of Typhoon Ruby. The latest reports say that the winds have died down from 250kph to 195kph no longer making it a super typhoon. However this will cause the storm to move slower, increasing the chance of larger amounts of rain and flooding. I doubt our mission is in too much danger, but we are more than adequately prepared for the next couple of days. The calling tree is in place, suplies of food and water have been purchased and emergency plans set to go. "If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear". Our missionaries will be fine, pray for the other Filipenos who are not so fortunate as we are and will be placed alone in the path of the storm. Pray for their safety, that they might be prepared for the remainder of their days on this Earth and their days in the next life. 

Ingat Palagi
Elder Krueger T

Week 62-Busy Week

Its been a crazy week, President Bertin was in Bagiuo City all week with Sister Bertin for a mission president's seminar and now this week is transfer week, which means super early mornings and late evenings with little time in between. I'm sneaking in a few minutes while Elder Ehlert is listening to an exit day workshop (that I've already heard 3 times) haha Things are going great, we had the funeral service last sunday for Brother Deraper and he is now on a ship back to IloIlo today for his burial. The family seems to be doing well and receiving some closure. Their extended family has been extremely supportive and both of his brothers actually came back from work to be with the family at this time. 

Life is going well and we are just super busy for the week being, sending 13 missionaries home today and 15 more coming in tomorrow! Then on Thursday we have mission leadership council. The work rolls on with nothing much to stop it. The month of December is jam packed with things coming up so it should be a very exciting Christmas Season! Though it won't be nearly as much fun as Christmas in the Northwest it should suffice for 9 more months! malapit na pero matagal pa! Anyways nothing else too exciting to report for now, I'll try to make a super great fantastic email on Saturday cause December 6th is a pretty important day daw! 

Ingat kayo palagi!
Elder Krueger T

PS The note that Dad sent was way better than google translators! It actually mad some sense hahahaha 

Week 61- Thanksgiving

Elder Lindley 

Brother Rowell took us out to Shakeys to celebrate the reunion

Thanksgiving Feast

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Week 60 - A death without mourning is a life without loving

Sorry I'm on a day early but I have to speak at the Kalookan Stake conference this weekend so we don't really get much of a pday this week to email. Apparently all the UH ward knows that I'm speaking so it will be a lot of fun to see all of them again! The down side is I have to speak for like 30 minutes though so I hope people don't like fall asleep or anything haha I've got a couple of jokes up my sleeve though to hopefully keep it interesting. 

This was easily the hardest week of my mission, the best investigator I have ever had passed away unexpectedly last Monday morning. He died just 1 month before his 46th birthday and left a widowed wife with 3 kids. I think I actually wrote you guys about Brother Deraper just a couple of weeks ago. He was a seaman who worked abroad for most of his life, and as a result never took interest to the missionaries. In fact he would get angry when he first heard the missionaries were coming over to teach his family. For one reason or another however his wife had softened his heart over the years, at least enough to the point where he let us start teaching him. I've never seen the Gospel make such a drastic change in someone's life before. Within the last 3 months he overcame a cigarette addiction, several person repentance process ordeals, was reading the Book of Mormon everyday, and had come the last 6 straight weeks to church. In fact he spent the last day of his life here on Earth at the Fairview Stake Conference last Sunday. Unfortunately the Deraper Family snuck in after the opening hymn and left immediately after so we never got to see them. I called them on the phone later Sunday night though to check in on Brother and everything seemed fantastic. Within 24 hours, we were the ones getting a call that Brother Luciano Deraper had passed away that morning. 

It's literally impossible to describe the emotions that I felt, and am still feeling. Particularly in grief for those in his family he left behind. When we showed up to the house, I still couldn't believe it was Brother in the casket, it didn't look like him to me. I couldn't really think of many encouraging words to say to a now widowed woman swallowed in tears. The plan of salvation brought initial hope, but brother had just begun to embrace the gospel and change, it seemed so unfair to have him taken at this time. It was the lowest point in my life sitting there knowing I'm suppose to be the one comforting this family, and yet balling in tears as I listened to a 4 year old boy hanging on the side of the casket saying, "Patay na ba si papa?" (is daddy dead) and "Kailan siya gigising?" (When will he wake up). We did the only thing we knew how to do. I ask if we could kneel in prayer and 
poured out my heart for the welfare of Brother and his now lonely family. 

It's the first time in my life someone close to me has ever died. I realize now how truly blessed my life has been. With heavy hearts we have visited the Deraper Family ever night this week, bringing articles, sharing scriptures, praying with them, and just trying to help ease the burden in any small way we can. Most times we have just been there to sit in silence while they grieve. The family is doing better, though despite the glorious knowledge of the plan of Happiness, no immediate cure can be administered. I read a talk by Elder Russell M. Nelson titled the Doors of Death. In it he poetically says, "we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life". A death without mourning is a life without loving. 

However I do know through special experience and beyond the shadow of a doubt that I will see Brother Luciano Deraper again. I know that the Spirit world exists and that he will receive every opportunity to accept the fullness of the Gospel that he was denied here on Earth. 7 days before he passed away, he told me that I would baptize him. One year from now I fully intend on fulfilling his wish in the Holy Temple. I love Brother Deraper, though I mourn for his lose and on behalf of those he left behind, I know where he rests and I find solace in some future day when I shall see him again.

Elder Krueger T

Photos from Speaking at the Kalookan Stake Conference.  

Week 59 - Zone Conference Trainings

We finally finished all of our zone conference training this week! It was a lot of fun getting to see and interact with every missionary in QCNM over the last couple of weeks but it has been very tiring so I'm excited that we can continue moving forward. This coming week we only have one day of training and that is for all the new missionaries and their trainers that will have been together for about a month by now. Last week in addition to all the zone conferences we also managed to squeeze in 2 exchanges with the Valenzuela and Camarin zone leaders. So it has been a pretty busy week but a lot of fun and the Deraper family that we have been teaching is quick progressing towards baptism, all is well in Zion!

We had a great exchange, Elder Jeciel and I, in the Valenzuela area. We were able to start off the exchange with some OYMs on the way to our first appointment, which lead to contacting a part member yet less active family. Afterwards we taught member present, LA, and RC lessons. A pretty good balance of everything and we had no worker which made it easy for us to have lots of conversation while we were working. Elder Jeciel is a fantastic leader, and really cares for the elders/sisters in his zone. He mentioned that the number one thing he and Elder Tumale are trying to do right now is set the pace of the zone by personal example. There were a lot of struggles with “trunkiness” and a going home state of mind which cause a great deal of stress in the past ZL companionship in Valenzuela. However, Elder Jeciel really is loving his companionship with Elder Tumale now and they are working very diligently in an effort to revamp their area. Elder Jeciel is a great teacher, obedient, fun to be around, and just has all the traits of a great leader. I really learned a lot from him and enjoyed the day we got to spend together sharing the gospel. 

The second exchange was just yesterday, and I spent the day with elder Neccessario from the Camarin zone. We had a blast, I wasn't sure what to expect going into the exchange because I had barely ever met Elder Neccessario before. He is one of the funniest guys I have ever met and always has a joke to lighten the mood. As we went to lessons and he met people for the very first time he was able to break the ice right off the bat with humor. This allowed him to really connect with the investigators in our area, despite him being there for the first time, the people we taught felt comfortable opening up to him while he was there. 

It's been a couple of great months already in the office and I look forward to things slowing down just a tiny bit this week so I can get some much needed personal studies in! 

Elder Krueger T

What we've been teachin'!!

Week 58 - The Lord is building up His Kingdom

Sorry I had to get on and send out your email tonight instead because all day tomorrow we will be at another Zone Conference so I wont be able to email! It was another super fast week though, the time is just flying by in the office. We gave like 5 workshops this week so I'm pretty worn down but it's been a lot of fun and we've still been able to see a lot of success in our area!

That is one thing President Bertin has really gotten on us to change is the area of the assistants. I guess before the assistants never really had an area, since if they were to proselyte they would just go work in other elder's areas on exchanges and such. Now though we are expected to increase the amount of exchanges, but work a little differently to also improve our own proselyting area. It has been a pretty big challenge cause we practically started 3 months ago with no investigators and only 1 teaching record in the whole area book. Somehow though miracles keep happening and we just seem to consistently get extremely luckily, always being in the right place at the right time to find new people to teach. Here are 2 great stories of late:

1.) Elder Kumar on exchanges tracted into a couple of Less Actives, who were really only less active because they moved from the province and never knew where the church was here in  Lagro. We've immediately started teaching the father of the family, who is a retired seamen and very educated/well-off man. The first time we left a reading assignment with Brother, he said at the next visit, "Der bakit paulit-ulit ang mga salita nila", meaning why do they always repeat the same words hahaha. he was referencing to the constant use of "and it came to pass", "now behold", etc. We had a good laugh about but more importantly showed his true interest to study the assignments we gave him. The Deraper family has come to church 3 times in a row now and brother is continually progressing towards the goal of baptism. 

2.) We tracted into the Cortes family about 2 months ago, which consists of about 25-30 family members all living in 2 decently sized houses. A few of the them were actually less actives, which made the transition to teaching the non-members easy. We have continually been focusing specifically on 4 of the boys who are between the ages of 18-24. Naturally because we feel like they should be future missionaries and because they are the key to all the rest of this massive family being able to go to church. We could get them to come play basketball on Saturday mornings, but getting them to church then the following day seemed nearly impossible. Well last Sunday when we finished teaching the plan of salvation, we let them know exactly what needs to be done to start living up to their potential. It was a very bold lesson with several long pauses of intense silence when our questions seemed to sink into their hearts. That was on Saturday night, after which they went to work, and the very next morning (rather than going to bed after an 9-hour shift) they came straight to the church and stayed for all 3 hours. These are not only future missionaries but future leaders of the church.

We have made it our only focus to teach families, if the father isn't home then we won't even consider teaching. It has not been the easy road, especially in a society where men either work 10-12 hour days, or have no job and drink the majority of their time away. However, we have one of the most wealthy areas in the mission and yet everyday we seemed to be finding new potential priesthood leaders all around. It has built my testimony that the Lord is truly preparing His elect to come out from all 4 corners of the Earth to build up the Kingdom on every Isle of the Sea.
Elder Krueger

The Quezon City North Mission November 2014

The "Cruise" Gang

Teaching & Training

Mission Training Meeting