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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

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Week 56 - Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween! 

Or since that doesn't exist in the Philippines, Happy All Souls Day! If you are unaware of this holiday it occurs once a year on November 1st in which every person gets the day off. Every man, woman, and child will then spend the night at the local cemetery getting rip-roaring drunk and gambling on the graves. Kinda weird, but might be a great place to go give out some pamphlets about the Plan of Salvation, we'll see! 

Our first of 5 zone conferences was this past Wednesday in which the Kalookan and Meycauyan zones gathered together here at the mission office from 8AM to 5PM for a day or workshops, trainings, practice teaching, and even a testimony meeting towards the end. Elder Ehlert and I gave 2 workshops, the first on effective use of scriptures in teaching the Atonement, Resurrection, and Judgment. The other on Weekly planning, focusing specifically on seeing/planning for people's needs over numbers with the goal of increase our efficency & percentage of our mission's current and future investigators baptized and confirm. 

After the conference we gathered up 12 elders & sisters from around the mission to come in for a musical number practice in preparation of the visit from 2 general authorities. On Thursday Elder Robbins of the 7 Presidents of the 70 and Elder Bowen of the First Quorom of the 70 came to visit our mission. Both gave very inspiring messages garnered toward more efficient planning, which was close along the lines of the workshops we gave the day before, which was kinda cool to see. 

After the conference we went on exchanges with the Malolos Zone Leaders and I spent the follwing day with Elder Mag-Aso. He was actually a district leader in the Fairview Zone while I was there so we had a fun day. We did lots of street contacting, placed a baptismal date, even did some tracting and found some great new investigators. One of which was a sister, about 40 years of age, whom we tracted into. We contacted her 15yr old son in the street who took us back to his house to meet his mother. After some brief questions and pleasantries, we found out that her husband had just been killed 2 months ago in a car accident. Despite handling it well, she still appeared to be quite broken down. Right on her doorstep we began teaching about the Plan of Salvation and told her that she could in fact be with her husband again. That he was hearing the same message right now, that she was receiving. The message was from Heavenly Father about an eternal plan centered around progression through the atonement and gospel of His son, Jesus Christ. 

I love to testifying and teaching about the plan of salvation far more than any other piece of doctrine that we teach. It is the perfect plan, conceived by a perfect creator, and carried out by the perfect redeemer, and solidified by the perfect testifyer. No other religion or manner of belief/fantasy can even begin to compare to the Plan of our Heavenly Father. 

Have a Happy Halloween!
Elder Krueger T

Week 55 - The contrast between brand new, extraordinarily timid missionaries and 2 year veterans, beaming with confidence and testimony,

Elder Ehlert's first week in the office as my companion was filled with training and workshops. With a batch of elders'/sisters going home as well as a new group coming in, the week tends to get a little hectic, but it's a lot of fun to be busy anyways.

At the start of the week on Monday we headed out to the Montalban & San Rafael zones to make a fairly surprising announcement and oversee the combination of the 2 zones into 1. President Bertin is very adamant about having zone and district sizes proportional enough so that the leaders can have opportunities to fulfill their purpose as leaders. So instead of one zone with 12 and another with 16, there is now simply one zone with 28 elders/sisters and 3 districts within the zone. Similar things happened in zones within the mission. We now have 10 zones with 16-30 elders/sisters in each of them. 

The following day was exit day in which 16 elders/sisters finished their missionary service and boarded the van bound for the airport. We conducted the meeting which included the famous "go home and get married/don't go less active speech" by the mission president.  The best part was the testimony meeting at the very end in which all the leaving elders/sisters have their final opportunity to bear testimony as Quezon City North missionaries. It was pretty hard to say goodbye to Elder Carteciano this batch since we have literally been in the same zones for my entire mission and have gone on so many exchanges together we practically consider ourselves as having been companions haha. I'm looking forward to hanging out with all the mission friends though in Provo after the mission ends. 

The power also went out that day at the mission home so we made our way over to the neighbors house (who we have contacted a few times about the gospel) and asked for their help in cooking the rice for our meal. It was the last time Elder Kumar and I taught together as we waited for the rice to cook and sat out on their patio by the pool (yes they live in the nicest house I have ever seen), we taught Sister Eliane about families, our church and beliefs. We even worked all the way up through the word of wisdom because the house helpers kept offering us coffee, and when we said 'no thanks' they brought us tea instead! Haha after an explanation they settled on a delicious pink lemonade yummmm. The Lord truly does work in mysterious ways to bring about His eternal purposes! We hope to begin teaching this wonderful family in the future. 

Luckily for us there was no time to get trunky because bright and early the very next morning we welcomed in 21 new missionaries fresh out of the MTC! The contrast between brand new, extraordinarily timid missionaries and these 2 year veterans, beaming with confidence and testimony, is almost indescribable to put into words. I had no idea just how much people grow spiritually and mentally in the short span of a mission. We welcomed these new missionaries in and tried to make the transition to real field work as smooth as possible for them. While at the same time we were also running a training session at the other side of the church for the trainers. Just before lunch President Bertin stood up and assigned the new trainer/trainee companionship right on the spot. Elder Kumar got a New Zealander elder and was so excited that he jumped out off the bench and screamed in the middle of the chapel hahahaha. 

Just yesterday we had another training session for all of the newer/recently called leaders in the mission. Whether they be district, zone, or sister training leaders they all came to the mission home for the early half of the day. The mission home was packed with close to 40 people all gathered in the living room to hear 2 workshops from us, 1 from the STLs and 2 from President Bertin. Elder Ehlert and I really have good flow in our teaching and I enjoy teaching with him in both English or Tagalog!

Later that night we traveled all the way out to Meycauayan to find an emergency new apartment for the elders out there. Their apartment complex has reportedly been frequently used in association with a whore house, no place for elders to be living in such a degrading environment. When we finally got home around 8:45PM, tired from the events of the day. We felt like we should at least go tract one house in our neighborhood before calling it a night and beginning our PDay. Sure enough the very first house we knock on, let us immediately right in and listened to the entire message of the restoration! This is especially miraculous because we live in a very wealthy area which generally means automatic rejection. Just goes to show that the Lord is no respecter of persons and is preparing people to hear the gospel from all walks of life and all social-economic backgrounds.

I'm exhausted but happy as can be. Hope things continue to fly by with increased speed in this effort to hasten the work!

Elder Krueger T

Elder Foster (from the MTC) on his first split with Elder Krueger in the Real Mission World.

The JOY of mission packages!!
All smiles opening this big box of goodies.

Sis Ence is so good to share photos from the Mission.  Missionaries LOVE packages.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Week 54 - "We don't have to be prophets to have a prophetic impact on others"

It's been a fast 7 weeks in the office.  I can't believe how quick time has past by! Elder Kumar will no longer be my companion starting this coming transfer cycle :(   He will be spending his last 2 transfers out in one of my favorite areas, University Hills Kalookan! I think he's pretty excited to experience one of the rougher parts of the Philippines and he'll be house mates with my anak, Elder Roa! 

I'm going to miss Elder Kumar.  We had a ton of fun, but my new companion, Elder Ehlert, is way cool as well. He is from Minnesota and went to BYU actually around the same time I was there! I'm really excited to work with him, even though unfortunately he also comes home soon. He's leaving in just 10 weeks! Which means I'll end up getting ANOTHER ap companion around Christmas time. Also meaning that I will be here as an assistant in Lagro for a very very long time. But that's ok life goes on in the service of the Lord no matter where you serve! I'm just hoping that when I finally do leave the office I'll still have time left on my mission to train new missionaries at least one or two more times before I go home. 

This week has been busy getting things ready for transfers, which has been crazy lately because our number of missionaries continues to increase. So selecting apartments, lots of last minute changes to companionships and many other little things just continue popping up! We also had "5 week follow up training" for the 22 new missionaries from last transfer. Elder Ehlert/Kumar and myself gave 2 workshops and lead the events for the day. It was way sweet having 3 APs to give the workshops it really went well. We shared a whole bunch of personal experiences, scriptures, thoughts/ideas, and everything just really seemed to mesh perfectly! It all went so smooth and the Spirit was there at every time mmmm masarap ang mga salita ni cristo!! We don't get to give workshops nearly as often as the assistants used to in the old QCNM era and I must admit I'm slightly jealous of that! haha I love teaching and testifying, in Tagalog or English its just so fun when thoughts you've never had before or scriptures you could never remember just seem to appear outta thin air into your mind right at the very moment you need them most. Truly I have gained a testimony that if we are striving to live worthy than the Lord will fulfill His promise in D&C 84:85, that if we, "neither take thought beforehand what we shall say; but treasure up in our minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given us in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man".

I think being a teacher some day would be the coolest job in the world. All we ever do and our whole purpose on Earth is to learn. Luckily the Lord most frequently allows for His students to also double as His teachers. Again I think of Alma 1:26, because most often the hearer is not the sole benefactor but rather the teacher is edified as much if not even more. All of us our entrusted with opportunities to teach every single day, whether it be by the spoken word or through examples of action. The Savior himself spent His entire life since the first recorded experience at the temple of Passover when He was just 12 years old. Not only did he teach the "doctors" but then turned and tenderly taught His very own Earthly parents as well. Just as Jesus did, we too have thousands of opportunities to lift, motive, inspire, and teach in such a variety of ways. We must constantly be aware that "no man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light". With this great hastening of the work our religion has been and will continue to be put into the spotlight. We as, self proclaimed, Mormons have been placed upon the candlestick for all to see and partake of the excessive fruits of the Spirit that radiate from within those living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

May we ever follow the admonition of our Redeemer who taught, "let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven", and always search out, be made aware, and pray for opportunities to teach and fortify those other precious souls placed in our everyday path. We don't have to be prophets to have a prophetic impact on others.

Ayo ayo,
Elder Krueger T

Office Elders Bowling activity

Bowling with the Office Staff
Pres & Sis Bertin, Br & Sis Ence, Br & Sis Bowen
AP's and office Elders

AP's:  Elder Elhert, Elder Krueger & Elder Kumar
Changing of the guard.  Elder Ehlert coming in as Elder Kumar leaves

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 51 - Share the Light to See it Grow, or Hide the Light to Watch it Go!

Another wild week of trying to make QCNM a little bit better place. In the past the assistants weren't really able to get out to work in their own assigned area very often. One thing President Bertin has really been putting a lot of pressing on us to do is to make our area fruitful for baptisms. Last Sunday was pretty cool because in our ward correlation meeting, the ward mission leader kind of just skipped over our turn. So we said wait you there just a minute mister we've got souls who need fellow-shipping. To which he made a bit of a jab at us and we politely countered with saying that we had 7 people come to church that day. After a quick knuckle touch between Elder Kumar and myself, we looked up to behold his disbelief. I felt in a small way as the verse in Luke 20:40, "And after that they durst not ask him any question at all". We have been seeing fruits of the labor in many ways along our many travels, and it's been a lot of fun. 

On Monday we had to take a group of missionaries down to the immigration office in Manila. Upon return we took a wrong turn which led us to the ocean!! Of course, pictures were needed to ensure the safety of other missionaries if they so stumbled and made the wrong turn as well! We also met the Mission President from the San Pablao Philippines Mission, a way cool guy reppin' Oakley sunglasses, who said quote, "I don't know how you guys do it I would hate to be assigned here, it's so dirty and so many people!". Just a little shout out to the best mission on the Earth, respect to the soldiers. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday we had to do an Emergency Transfer involving an elder from my old area in Kalookan! It was great to go back and see my anak (Elder Roa) who was thrilled to reunited. He's had some rough obstacles placed in his way since last we parted but he is such a stud, and is doing great! Rumor has it he went on exchanges in another area and the investigators in that area keep asking when he is going to come back! He is seriously one of the most naturally gifted teachers I have met, I am a proud tatay ^_^.

On Thursday We were on exchanges with the zone leaders from Montalban, which marked my 7th exchange with Elder Carteciano! We have practically spent our whole missions together and yet never been companions, just always in the same districts and zones! He goes home this transfer, which will truly be a sad day for this mission. a fantastic elder who knows how to still have fun in every phase of the work.

Friday was Mission Leadership Council. Where the 22 zone leaders, 6 sister training leaders, office elders, and President/Sister Bertin met to discuss the direction of the mission. We are under a huge change in how the mission will go forward and its a lot of fun to be a part of. We have completely changed our goals, key indicators, focus, and productivity could never be higher. The sky is the limit right now and I have never met any individual as driven as President Bertin to reach that limit. A lot of cool things are happening and the work is undoubtedly hastening in ways that may never have been imagined. We are hoping for 1500 baptisms this year in our mission, which would almost be enough to create a new stake!

The focus has been placed on 2 areas. 1.) Sharing the gospel literally everywhere and anywhere and at any time. We have created new "pass-along cards" with information specific to our mission on the back to help us contact a greater amount of people. 2.) Working in unison with members. Helping members view this more so as their work, than our work and understand that our role is merely to support the missionary effort of the wards. Just this last Thursday on exchanges we were able to teach perhaps the most prepared family I have ever met. The entire lesson Brother was on the edge of his seat, asking questions and trying to remember every word that we said. He asked us 3 times when we could come back, and said please teach my family right after we come to church this Sunday. When Elder Carteciano extended the baptismal invitation, he couldn't even get half way through before brother said, "gustong gusto ko" under his breathe. Meaning, I really really want to. He asked for a Book of Mormon and where he should begin reading. When we assigned him to read the introduction and testimonies of the 3/8 witnesses he asked where he should read after that! All of this simply because the gospel was introduced first by a member, rather than the missionary.

The Lord has and is pouring out His spirit upon the face of the Earth, but as is the custom of the Lord, He unselfishly allows members to grow through providing them the opportunity to prepare another son/daughter of Heavenly Father to hear the message of the Restoration. If the Gospel is a blessing, and we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves, then the answer of "how" becomes almost primary. 
Share the light to see it grow, or hide the light to watch it go.

Elder Krueger T

Mission Leadership Council with Elder Rumar

Sis Bertin teaching at MLC

President Bertin teaching at MLC.  Preparing for new mission Goals!

Birthday celebration for Elder Krueger's 21st b-day

Birthday dinner

Happy Birthday to You!!

A wrong turn driving home took them to the Ocean

Ocean view

Beware of the dangers from taking a wrong turn.

Philippine countryside 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Week 50 - HAPPY BIRTHDAY to ME!!! I'm 21

I feel old with all these 18 year olds serving missions now! While in the rest of the world I would probably be at a bar right now to celebrate, instead we are going to do a service project and proselyte! No better way to spend a birthday than in the service of Him who gave us life and sustains us from day to day. After 20 years I finally spent one the right way! haha 

I am so excited for what the next year holds in store and for all the opportunities to learn, grow, and draw closer to the Savior. Not to mention I'll be back in the promised land by my next birthday, which is always a reason to smile bright! BTW shoot out to Austino92693 whose birthday it was/is back in the USofA. He's always been a day ahead of me but now with the time change I guess I'm a day ahead of him! haha.

The last 2 weeks have been crazy, it seems like there is never a moment to rest anymore! Between waking up at 5AM and fighting the worst traffic on the planet daily, it's a miracle in and of itself that Elder Kumar and I always have a little bit of energy left in the tank to teach whenever we get the chance. 

Sorry I wasn't able to email last week I can't even remember what came up but we were busy. Oh yeah we visited the temple and got to see the wedding of Brother Benosa, an old assistant in QCNM (and one of Elder Kumar's ex-companions) to a SA who was in my ward in my first area, San Jose! It was so fun to get to see all the people from my first area and actually be able to hold a conversation with them in Tagalog! We got stuck at the temple copying an important file off of Brother Benosa'a hard drive. We also spent most of last weekend evacuating certain apartments within the mission due to extreme flooding in the area. It was a wild time driving through ponds of water, escorting missionaries to different areas where they could stay until the flooding resided. Elder Elms and his companion got to stay at our apartment for a night too which was fun. Almost every week it seems like we have at least 1 or 2 companionships come and stay the night at our house for various reasons. 

This week was a little different in that President Bertin relied on us a lot to deal with some disobedience problems. He seems to have a lot of trust in us and has been using us a lot to take care of a little things before bringing missionaries in for bigger consequences. The coolest thing so far about our assignment is being able to look at things from a larger perspective and find solutions rather than problems.  We had a District that was have conflict between some Elders.  We took the time to commit each companionship individually to help include all elders in their meetings and gatherings.  When we followed up several days later with the zone leaders they said they could already see a massive change in all the missionaries within the district, all because they stopped focusing on the negative problems and started focusing on the positive solutions that each could contribute. 

 I think I can make a broad statement that anything that ever needs to be deleted or hid is by very definition transgression because of a conflict of conscience,  in-which the mind automatically follows the enticements of Lucifer as in the Garden of Eden, when he convinced our first parents to hide themselves. Anytime we catch ourselves needing to hide anything, we should pause to think of the reason. Most often I think we will find it is because we have been in error, sinned, and seek to cover it up. I would say leave it all open. Facebook, email, cellphones, everything. Desiring privacy is more than acceptable, but the habit of hiding is the recipe of unrighteousness. Long story short though this elder is now doing great and should bounce back quickly, hopefully becoming a senior companion again in the next couple of transfers. 

The best part about travelling the mission is the opportunities for small acts and conversations that end up making big impacts on missionaries. I've noticed that for whatever reason a small act to let someone know that you care goes far longer than any sermon on Earth. Each day I come to know and love another missionary whom I would have otherwise never interacted with. Whenever I look at the transfer board all I can see is pure talent reserved for future leadership. This upcoming year (the last one of my mission YEEHAW!) I choose to work on the attribute of charity. More so specifically, the ability of viewing others with the self-same potential of becoming a divine and heavenly being. Of course only the most positive of thoughts can enter my mind when I think about Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ. Perhaps if I can start seeing others (no matter who they may be) with the same potential that Heavenly Father himself once/does still possess, then I can overcome my natural instinct to tear down and focus more on building up. 

I've still got a long way to go on that one though, it may take me the rest of my life to even scratch the surface of true charity, but at least I'm better than I was yesteryear and I feel like I'm on the right track.

Hanggan sa Lupang Pangako,
Elder Krueger T

Crusin' Along in the Pines

Wedding Crasher

San Jose members (visiting Elder Krueger's first area)

Chillin' with the Elders from San Jose Del Monte

Elder Ballad was my companion for the day, so cool one of my favorite elders!

Posin' on the scenic drive back home from Baliwag

Elder Kumar

Rice fields

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week 49 - The 'Circle of Life' in the Mission

Well it's just me and Elder Kumar left to hold down the fort while Elder Jensen went back out to train a new missionary. His new anak (son) and my buns (son) is Elder Ejusa, a way cool filipino elder from Bacoload. We had a pretty crazy week running around with early mornings and long nights!
On Tuesday we picked up all of the missionaries that were going home the following day, and held a kind of day-long seminar/celebration at the mission home. The crowning event being the Lechon Hapunan in which we ate an entire pig for dinner. After eating we had a testimony meeting in which President and Sister Bertin, and all of the missionaries going home were able to bear testimony on the things they learned from their service. It was enough to make even the toughest men turn red in the eyes. These missionaries then said their final good-byes and boarded the shuttle straight to the airport hotel. 

To off-set the trunkiness from exit day, we welcomed in a fresh batch of missionaries the very next morning. 21 new missionaries arrived at the mission office from the Manila MTC with big eyes and lots of anxiety! Probably because they were just starting to realize that there would no longer be showers, clean water, toilet paper, or a meal without rice for the next 18-24 months. We gave workshops to the trainees in the morning while at the same time running back and forth to teach the new trainers about their calling. Just before lunch President Bertin announced the new companionship's on the spot and we rolled forward from there. After lunch we had a few more training exercises and by 4 o'clock we sent all the missionaries out to there areas to work. 

On Thursday we spent most of the day getting my license which was an andventure in and of itself. Driving in Manila is so insane. The traffic is like LA but instead of 14 line roads, they are 2-4 lanes. The only driving instruction I got was 1.) Fill in the gaps, 2.) The lines are just for decoration, 3.) There are no rules...

Yesterday was another training day. All of the newer District Leaders, Zone Leaders, and Sister Training Leaders came into the office for instruction on leadership and detailed explanation on conducting exchanges, interviews, etc. Afterwards we spent the rest of the day down by the MTC running errands and getting our car fixed in the process. 

Life goes on here in the QC and more importantly we somehow found time this week to get a couple of lessons in and give out a baptismal date! Sister Mel is her name and we are working to get the entire Cortez family both back to church or baptized!

Go Cougars! 3-0
Elder Krueger T

Manila Temple at night

Elder Krueger at the Manila Temple

Out going?? Not sure what this means.  Couldn't get it translated. :)

Dinner at the Mission Home with Sister Bertin

Week 48 - New area, New responsibilities ...AGAIN!

Oh yeah my pday has changed to Saturdays for the next couple of months (I guess that means Fridays in America), sorry I forgot to warn you about that but I kind of had a lot on my mind haha. I'm a little jealous that I wont get to see the rematch of BYU-Texas, hopefully it'll be a repeat of last year. If not it doesn't really matter I guess, that's one of the blessings of the mission is that life moves on pretty quickly regardless of what's going on in the real world.

First week in the new area was absolutely exhausting, but some of the most fun I've ever had. I will admit that I have been less than successful at working out in the mornings lately so being companions with Elders Jensen and Kumar has been one of the best things like could happen to me. We laugh so frequently throughout the day that my abs literally hurt from the workout. 

Last night after getting home rather late around 10 o'clock (our assignment usually requires early mornings and late evenings), we decided to open up one of my birthday presents early. As soon as I caught a peak I burst up the stairs to unwrap it privately...about 5 minutes later I came downstairs when they least expected it and one of the most epic battles in the history of the Quezon City North Mission ensued. The casualties of this nelf war were many and we would like to thank and blame mom for this beautifully atrocious war that took place on the hollow grounds of our apartment. 

Sadly enough Elder Jensen will be leaving us this upcoming Wednesday....only Elder Kumar and I will be left to hold down the fort here in the office. 
I feel like I am settling down into the new calling already, I just hope my body can keep up with my mind haha it is certainly not easy work but it's fulfilling, and I know the Lord will strengthen me to overcome my own weaknesses so He can build this mission. I am just so grateful to have Elder Jensen and Kumar to show me the ropes. I couldn't think of 2 better missionaries in the world and I can't wait for 6 more weeks with Elder Kumar. 
This is the second time that Elder Jensen has trained me in the mission and I must have done something right in the Pre-existence to get so spoiled. I could write a novel and it would not even begin to describe my appreciation and love for Elder Jensen. I seriously owe my mission and the direction of the rest of my life to that man. It never ceases to amaze me how one simple positive influence can have an eternal consequence in the life of another. It has taught me the depth of promise offered by our Savior, Jesus Christ. If one imperfect elder could change my disposition and attitude so drastically by mere example, how much more can the Redeemer of Mankind change me through His perfect example and unyielding atonement.

I only hope that I can too in turn extend an encouraging phrase or loving action that might motive, lift, and inspire others in similar fashion to the many helping hands that have been offered to me over the years. 
Elder Krueger T

The "Big Three"
Sporting the suit

Quezon City North Mission AP's
Elder Kumar, Elder Krueger, Elder Jensen

AP's:  One old, One new, One ameritus

Week 47 - Have Miracle's ceased?

Have miracles ceased? I say unto ye, nay! Haha we had another great week filled with tiny miracles such as 13 new investigators and 10 investigators at Church! Also 2 of our investigators passed their baptismal interviews and will be baptized this coming Saturday! Brother Shane (17 years old) is awesome and has a goal reaching much further than baptism, we are talking future missionary in the next year or so! Brother Erwin (30 years old) is an incredible conversion story as well and is following the example of his wife who was baptized a few months ago. They have two super cute but incredibly makulit kids and are looking forward to September 6th, 2015 already as the day they will be sealed as a family for eternity. 

Unfortunately I won't be around too much to help see those goals through as I will be transferring tomorrow to the Lagro ward. Yes it would appear I'll be breaking out the Hymn "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" about 4 months earlier than I expected. 
In the last 5 weeks I have already gotten so close with this ward and we have seen nearly 40 new investigators, so it will certainly be difficult to say good bye so quickly. Nevertheless the work goes on and someone else will fill my spot as the lucky companion of Elder Villapando within the common weeks. I have learned a lot here and am so grateful for all the people and relationships I started along with all those of my former areas. 

I leave my witness that this is the Lord's Work and that there is no time to complain against the wisdom of a perfect all-knowing God. Wherever thou art, act well thy part. 
Elder Krueger T


Week 46 - Tremendous progress

Pretty standard week, nothing too crazy happening which was nice just to focus on finding new investigators in our area. We have seen tremendous progression in our area and subsequently our zone as a whole has been doing great! In the past month we have managed to double all of our key indicators as a zone and have seen extraordinary increase in our finding. Last week we found and taught 75 new investigators!! Finding has been the focus of our mission these past few weeks and after the visit from a member of the 70, things seem to be exploding! Well at least in Fairview. 

Our coolest find this week as a companionship came from an unexpected OYM 2 weeks earlier. 2 weeks ago I OYM'd a young 23 yr old man hanging out about a block away from our local church. We tried to visit him the following week but he seemed hard to get a hold of. 2 weeks later, last Thursday night (after a very long day) we were looking for 1 more lesson before calling it a night. We couldn't think of a single person to teach at the time, but as we were standing there a thought came to mind that we should try the house of Jommary Sergote (the OYM). Seeing no reason not to we proceeded through the tiny dark alleys that lead to their home. We were greeted not by Jommary but rather his 2 parents. They informed us that Jommary wasn't home, to which we disappointingly remarked that we had a very important message to share with him. With peaked curiosity and after a few minutes of friendly conversation they invited us in the door and we began teaching the message of the restoration. The lesson went fantastic and after we taught the steps of praying to our Heavenly Father, the father of the house offered the closing player, asking to know if our words were true. We have come back and been well received and plan on teaching them regularly from here on. Sergote family consists of 2 parents and 7 children (ages 10-23). Just goes to show that there are golden families and individuals throughout the world, not partaking of the fruit of the gospel simply because they know not where to find it. 

This is the time of the Lord preparatory to His Second coming and He is preparing His sheep to hear His voice. The Savior trusts us enough to find this precious sheep whom He has carefully prepared. With us in all times, all things, and all places live in accordance with that sacred trust.

Elder Krueger T

Week 44 - Recipe for Christlike Perfection

Week 44

We had another successful week in Don Antonio, Fairview. We are working really hard to gain the trust of the members and harness their efforts in order to hasten the work of Salvation. We aren't seeing a problem with our efforts finding and bringing investigators into the church, but we are trying to work on the "hand-off" over to members to fellowship and strengthen these precious souls. We have 4 or 5 scheduled visits with families in our ward this week so that should really help us build relationships of trust as we share quick Christ-centered gospel messages in their homes. 

By the way a happy belated birthday to TC (as well as Shana if she gets these emails). It's hard to remember dates because everything just kind of tends to blend into one out here. I frequently forget even what month it is haha. I appreciated the letter that was written by T.C. and maybe others? At the family reunion, I read it through a couple of times I thought it was so funny. I'm just hoping Lance is still in great shape by the 2038 family reunion and Tucker is still doing missionary work amongst the drug dealers of the world, so that we can have a wild house with cliff jumping schinanagens again. 

After seeing pictures of my pamunkins (nieces & nephews) so much bigger than I can recall (one of which is actually living and no longer a fetus), has caused me to reflect upon life. That combined with the "MTC exchange" we did last week in which brand new missionaries from the MTC in Manila come out to spend a few hours proselyting with missionaries in the field. As I heard them struggle to speak the language and complain about how dirty it was here and hot and humid, 3 thoughts came to my mind. 1.) I've been out here a long time. 2.) While I wouldn't trade the last 11 months for anything in the world, I'm so grateful I never have to repeat them and that I can speak Tagalog now. 3.) I feel like I have completely changed into a different person in the last year and still have so much more to learn and further to go! 

Learning and growing really never ends, at least not in this life. Name tag or not, every single day we have 2 choices. In the words of Taylor Burton, "You either get better or worse today". It's really that simple, each day, hour, minute, and even second we have chances to draw nearer to the Kingdom of Heaven or vice versa. That is why I believe the prophets encourage daily scripture study and consistent weekly sacrament attendance. Because Heavenly Father is not nearly as concerned with where we are on the path of conversation as He is about which way we are facing on that path. I recently read a quote that said, "Never discourage anyone who is making progress, no matter how slow that may be". Regardless of our knowledge, talents, abilities, or even Christ-like attributes, the path to discipleship is constant and consistent way of life. Improving little by little every day. If we can look back 10 or 20 or 30 years later and say that we were more Christ-like then (perhaps on a mission) than now, something is fundamentally wrong with that picture. 

The ultimate goal is to become perfected like the Father and the Son. Time has no bounds in the view of our Father in Heaven, thus it matters not whether the day of perfection comes tomorrow or some other time in the eternities. What is important however, is merely the way that we are facing and the steps we are taking now in the moment to get there in the next. The recipe for Christ-like perfection is clear; studying regularly and apply daily. 

Elder Krueger T

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Week 43 - Be thou an example, and a light for all to see.

On the rise! We had a fantastic week getting lessons as well as commitments out to all of those within our stewardship. Sunday was the crowning event when 12 investigators were able to make it to church! Most of which were able to come for the first time ever this past Sunday. We intend on extending baptismal dates this week to all those who still do not have one and should hopefully see them all return again to church next week, this time fully progressing towards baptism. I thought it was ironic how much attitude reflects the success that we see. I heard that the elder who had been assigned here for several months before I got here said, "I feel bad for the next guy who comes in, since once all of these recent converts are taught there will be one left to teach in the whole area". this elder was about to finish his mission and didn't seem to have much of a desire or see it valuable to thrust in his sickle one last time. Well in just 2 weeks Elder Villapando and I have seen the gold here, underlying the surface, just waiting to be dug up! 

We received a referral also this past week for a very, VERY large family. Apparently a brother in our ward had a classic conversion story which has inspired this new family to learn about our church. He was once an addicted smoker and drinker with all sorts of problems resulting from that, but through the atonement of Jesus Christ he overcame his weaknesses and is now sealed in the temple with his family. The fruits of his conversion are continuing to be seen, as this large family has noticed the change in Brother Lazana and has a desire to attend our church and take the discussions. We hope to meet them this week and see them in sacrament meeting the proceeding Sunday. This family consists of a father and mother, their 11 children (the youngest being 15), the spouses of those children, and several grandchildren of age to be taught. We are talking about 25-30 potential investigators all living under the same roof!! And it was the direct example of one brother who has opened the door of salvation to perhaps 2 dozen children of Heavenly Father. 

True disciples of  Christ cannot hide their example or influence, in the Savoir's own words he said,"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven". Our example is contagious and perhaps the most powerful tool that we possess to benefit the lives of others. Jesus himself spent his whole life as an example not merely as a speaker or teacher, every action proceeding the master was perfect in and of itself. His words as recorded in the 4 gospels are relatively few in comparison to his actions and deeds. Whereas the pharisees and sadducees are recorded only for there words and are never used or referred to as producing good works. 

I have gained a testimony over the short 10 months here in the Philippines that words are of little value when action does not precede or proceed. I think almost sub-consciously all mankind has the inherent ability to discern the light of Christ which is others. How else can we explain so many people flocking to the Savior during his mortal ministry as he walked in the streets of Judea before he even uttered a word unto them. 

If we wish to hasten the work we must first look to the mirror and hasten the Lord of the Lord in our own hearts. I have become increasing happy and am slowing converting to the gospel of the Savior over the course of my mission, and subsequently the level of success I have seen has risen as well. Not because my Tagalog has improved or because we are working hard (although both have occurred), but rather because I feel more worthy to exemplify the message of the gospel. We should take stands, and we should be different from the world. Yes, even as members we are still just ordinary people, but we are engaged in an extraordinary work. Thus there should be an equally extraordinary difference which is within us. It is the perfect brightness of hope in the promises of the Father, proceeding forth out of the faith in the perfect works of the Son. 

The recipe for missionary work is easy.
1.) Be thou an example, and a light for all to see.
2.) Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.
The Lord is hastening His work, and He is doing it through His elect, chosen from before the foundation of the world. Let us all live worthy, in all times and in all places, of the simple yet dignified calling of a Disciple of Christ. 

Elder Krueger T

Week 42- New area, new companion, new responsibilities

First week in the Don Antonio ward and no complaints about life so far! Our area has been struggling for the last couple of transfers but we were able to OYM quite a bit and find some new investigators so things are starting to look up already. I already love this ward soooo much! I've been so spoiled so far on my mission, all 3 of my areas have been awesome and the members have been great. I had the chance to speak for a few minutes in sacrament meeting about myself and my testimony of this work. We have a lot of great members, and we are already starting to gain their trust, which means the work should start hastening very soon! And not to brag but I think these fitted polos (Filipino word for white shirts) and pants are starting to pay off I got quite a few compliments saying that I looked like an "artista" or movie star hahaha. 

Geographically wise this is probably my favorite area so far, just because its the perfect combination between province and city. The houses are close enough together that our whole area is within walking distance and there is actually sufficient space for a house big enough for me to fit through the door! Haha everyone here seems genuinely friendly as well, we are already having tons of success just talking and OYMing people constantly on the street. Everyone is so shocked to see a tall white guy speaking Tagalog, which makes it pretty easy to start a conversation. We are completely focusing on bringing in a fresh teaching pool of investigators into our area as well as the zone. The work has declined a bit in the zone as whole which is concerning so we feel like focusing on getting at least 8 new investigators a week per companionship should help us re-energize the work in Fairview. 

My companion is Elder Villapando and he is from Zamboanga City here in the Philippines. He is a super funny guy and I like working with him a lot so we are going to have a great transfer I can tell already. We are both just super excited to get our area going and really start setting the pace with great success coming from our labors. I also have 2 Filipeno "kabahays", Elder Olbes and Elder Alejandro, they are great missionaries and we are having a lot of fun at the bahay. It's so much more fun to live as the only American when you know a little bit of the language! 

Well that's about it for this week, I guess I'll just close by saying the thing I said like 12 times in my testimony yesterday, "Natutuwa ako nandito!" Or I'm so happy to be here and I just love being a missionary. I feel just so genuinely happy all the time and find it hard not to joke and smile whenever I talk to the members or people in our area haha kinda weird. 
Elder Krueger T