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Sunday, February 16, 2014

Week 19 - Opportunity to grow & improve Tagalog

First week into the new transfer was pretty slow but is starting to pick back up again. We got 6 new investigators this week and gave out 3 baptismal dates which means if all goes well we should have 5 baptisms in the upcoming 5 weeks. I'm pretty excited about all the work that is starting to come about in our area, and its awesome to see the ward finally starting to get excited about it too. There are many rumors that the ward is going to split in March, which means we really really gotta get the missionary effort going if the two new baby wards are going to survive. There is great attendance at sacrament the real problem here is the lack of priesthood leadership. Only 20 active, tithe paying priesthood holders now means that there would only be 10 in each new ward. I'm a little nervous that if the ward splits too soon, both the new wards will start off on a very shaky foundation which could lead to huge trials and problems to come. However, if the members are ready and willing it could be a fantastic opportunity for new people to step up and develop as leaders of the Church here in San Jose. 

Its been a little different not having Elder Jensen around, we just got along so well it didn't even feel like a mission most of the time we were having so much fun. The challenge now is being the only English speaker in our companionship, at our house, in our ward, and in the city of San Jose. Its ok though I knew this day would come eventually. I can communicate and get the base of my point across just fine but its completely exhausting and frustrating to not be able to speak fluently or express your real opinions. I guess you could say I just felt a little lonely at times this week but that's ok its given me A LOT of time to pray and talk to my pops up tops. 

Anyways enough of that, Elder Sabaupan is a very very good missionary and I am learning a lot from him, particularly in Tagalog, so it'll be a good experience. He is very talented speaking in the Tagalog language and just commands the attention of the room whenever he teaches. He is extremely bold with everyone he meets and has no problem saying whatever is on his mind, which might be exactly what the area needs! hahaha funny story he was asked to give a 5 minute get to know you/testimony in church and he turned it in to a 25 minute sermon on how the ward needs to be more involved in the missionary effort, it was great. Even though he can be pretty bold I don't think it comes across as offensive because he is a native Filipeno and it must work because our numbers have gotten better already in just one week! Even though we don't exactly have similar personalities and he is 7 years older than me, I am grateful for this opportunity to learn from him over the next couple of weeks. 

We will continue to do what we do everyday as missionaries. Find, teach, and bring people closer to Christ. 
Until next week,
Elder Krueger T

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 18 - Baptisms & transfers

Training has officially come to a close as of this morning and tomorrow the next adventure begins. I'll be staying at least one more transfer here in San Jose which I couldn't be happier about! Unfortunately Elder Jensen, my tatay, is being transferred to Camarin and will become a Zone Leader out there. He was the best trainer I could have gotten and I am so grateful to have had him as my first companion! He's still got a year left in the mission and will probably be the next AP though so I'll probably be seeing him around quite often. My new companion will be Elder Sabaupon, a Filipeno from Bicol I believe. I don't know a lot about him but he is the new district leader so he's gotta be a pretty good guy I would assume. I pick him up tomorrow morning so I'll drop some more news on him next week. I don't know how the San Jose Kings are going to survive without Elder Jensen, we have yet to lose a game of basketball on pday and I don't plan on letting that streak of dominance go any time soon. Also some more disheartening news is that Elder Kumar and Elder Bustillio (two of the coolest missionaries in the mission) got transferred out of our zone but its all good I'm sure the new guys coming in will be great additions.

This week flew by pretty quick just because of how much stuff we had going on, we hardly even had time to teach! I'll just focus on Saturday because that was by far the most jam packed day so far in the Philippines.

The morning started out with us attending a "mini-MTC" from 7am-1pm in which all the full-time missionaries from our stake ran an "MTC" for all the 16+ aged members who are thinking about serving missions. Elder Jensen and I had to give a workshop about goal setting, planning, and accountability. After the MTC madness was finished we grabbed a hotdog and headed out to AmnityVille to witness the baptism of two elders in our district. As soon as that was over we ran back over to our own chapel for our baptism of JunJun, Jamaica, and Angie. During the LONG proceedings of the baptismal program I was sitting there with knots in my stomach freaking out like this was the state championship game and the ball was coming to me. The biggest fear in life is "what if I drop the ball", or in other words I was thinking to myself, can I do this, am I worthy of such a great responsibility to officiate physically for what will be then bond and sealed eternally?? I said a very humble prayer to my Heavenly Father and an overwhelming feeling of peace came over me. I had felt a voice (yes felt, no other way to describe) that in many words had pronounced me clean and commissioned by Christ. Immediately following all worries, fears, and sickness completely abandoned me. Later Elder Jensen was talking about how cold the water had been and I honestly couldn't even say that I had felt the water, it was as if for a small instant my spirit had taken full precedence over all things physical. Needless to say it was the most humbling and joyous experiences in my entire life. No way I'm going home, no way. I'll spend every day the rest of my mission, if for nothing else, just to get a taste of that feeling back again.

After the baptism we were quickly ushered over to the Silvoza house were a funeral service was being held. Elder Tumale, Elder Algar, Elder Jensen, and myself were asked to give a sermon on the plan of salvation to about 100 people, mostly non-members, all gathered around a very echo-y microphone. It was pretty intense I would have loved to have been able to go off in English but since my tongue is bound to the limits of Tagalog, I stuck to what I knew and the sharing of many scriptures instead. I'm pretty grateful for having to learn a new language because it has forced me to become completely reliant upon the spirit and the scriptures to teach truth. Really it doesn't matter what language you speak as long as the scriptures are translated into that language all you have to do is find the appropriate verses for that person and its game over. Why use your own words when there are prophets and apostles who have already said it so much better. 

Anyways the work is good and life in San Jose moves on no matter what missionaries are serving here. I'm excited for what the next 6 weeks will bring for me, my companion, and our area!

Nang-taos puso, 
Elder Krueger T

Baptism of Angie, Jamaica & JunJun

After the funeral service

Mini-MTC Stake Activity

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Week 17 - P-day at the Zoo

I have heard the Seahawks were able to finish off Payton Manning in a big way this week and that brings a big smile to my face, mostly because Elder Jensen is a huge Broncos fan. He's so lucky transfers are next week otherwise he'd never hear the end of this. Just kidding in reality for me its like the superbowl never even happened. If a tree falls in the woods when nobody's around does it make a noise? If the Seahawks win the Superbowl and nobody within 5000 miles knows what a football is did it really happen? I guess I'll have to wait 20 months to watch the recording to find out. 

Its kinda cool how just a year ago if the Seahawks would have been in the Superbowl it would have been one of the biggest days of my life. Instead here in the Philippines I'm more concerned about what I should put on my rice when I go home after I send this email. Pretty wild how fast your perspective can change when you get to experience another part of the world. Really its just like high school, the insignificant things mean the whole world to you an them as soon as you graduate and look back three months later none of the same things matter anymore. I feel like already that's happened a little bit to me on my mission. Not that I've turned into a completely weirdo yet or anything but I just feel like all the temporal focuses and possession I had before really don't mean a thing compared to whats really important in life. I suppose that was the true meaning of Christ's words when he said, "lay not your treasures up on Earth...but lay up for yourself treasures in heaven". Basically all that we know temporally and physically will come to an end of its existence at some point, only those things which are of a spiritual significance will rise again with us.
Anyways the highlights for this week was first and foremost that my dawg JunJun passed his baptismal interview with flying colors and is all set and ready to go for February 8th! Also we had 15 LAs at church today which was incredible that's probably the most important statistic we keep tract of other than baptisms and investigators at church. 15 LAs and 4 investigators is by far the best our ward has done since I've been here and its just awesome to see how much our ward has been stepping up lately. We finally got a home teaching program going which is fantastic because they gave assignments to visit LA families first. This should do two things for us as a ward. One, increase the amount of fellowshiping and activity for LAs in our area. Two, give our priesthood holding brethren an opportunity to serve, grow, and develop.  Not only that but our ward missionaries have stepped up to the plate as well and we have some many more people asking to work with us now instead of us having to go try and tract them down! I expect huge things will be done here in San Jose because these members are taking the Lord's call to hasten the work of salvation. We are far from where we can be as a ward but we are certainly headed in the right direction and the Lord will be on our side as we continue to put His work before our own. 

The saddest part of my mission so far occurred yesterday as Brother Silvoza passed away. His son is a member of the bishopric and we were teaching him the lessons but because of problems in his passed with the word of wisdom his liver failed last week. On Saturday we came over to give a lesson and he was in such terrible shape as I have never seen a human being before. We gave him a blessing of peace noting specifically that he would receive enough strength to endure this challenge. After the blessing he held our hands for a good couple minutes continually saying "salamat salamat". The next day his son was asking us if he could still be baptized and it seemed like the family really thought he would be ok. However, the Lord took him around 2 oclock yesterday afternoon. I have no doubt as that he will accept the gospel in the next life but I do not know as to his current state our the status of his position with the Lord for the Eternities to come. It really dawned on me how important it is to hasten the work, because we never know when our time or more importantly someone else's time will come to an end. When it comes down to it all good people have two choices. Either endure well for a tiny period of time while they are on the Earth or endure for a space of time after this life in that temporary prison often referred to in the Book of Mormon as hell. It is of the utmost importance to always take upon ourselves the name of Christ and live worthy of his name, so that we might enter into His rest both in this life as well as the life to come. 

Also we went to Avilon Zoo today which is the largest in the Philippines daw, and you get to play with the animals way more than would be acceptable or safe in an American zoo so it was prettyyyy fun. I made this MASSIVE white tiger mad and he jumped up on the cage wall, it was cool. 

Elder Krueger T
 Elder Jensen's 1 year celebration.
 Tradition of burning a white shirt at the 1 year celebration.
Trying on hats in the market.  (These would be great for shade & rain!)

 P-day at the biggest Filipino Zoo.  Trixie seems very friendly.

 Beautiful White Tiger.
 Don't mess with the Tigers!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sorry there was no email this Monday, we had temple PDay today instead so thats why. Also sorry if there are lots of typos and this email is really short, this computer is absolutely awful and the keyboard keys get stuck when I type. I think I have already developed arthritis.  this is killing my hand just to type on this thing haha.
So this week was another great one with 3 highlights in particular. First, of course was the fact that we got to visit the temple today and it was definitely the best temple session I have ever been to. I truely had my eyes opened during the session and learned some incredibly symbolic things, I guess in two years we can go to the temple and I'll tell you about it haha. I realy just have quickly grown to have so much love and respect for that sacred house its absolutely amazing how much knowledge and spiritual strength can be drawn from just a 3 hour period in the temple . I just love being there and the feeling of comfort that comes when you can literally enter into the Lord's rest and leave all the burdens of missionary work and life at the door outside.
The second highlight was zone conference which was held on Monday at the mission office chapel. Not only did we get fed some of Sister Cherry's deliciously famous ulams and deserts, but because President Sperry gave some deep workshops. He gave from great stories about debates he has had with other religions  and then talked about the 3 geat eternal truths revealed to Joseph Smith and the 3 great herecies used by the Devil to counter them.  The ending point was how pressing it is that we share our knowledge to the rest of the world. It was just an awesome day and really sparked some great thoughts and studies that I intend to pursue in my personal studies this week.
The third highlight was that we have a baptism set to go through for Feb 8! J.J. who is 12 and J. who is 10 are set and ready to become members. Don't be fooled by their age! In particular J.J. knows more about the gospel then most the people in our ward.  he is going to be one heck of a priesthood holder in the next couple of years, I've never met a kid as tiny and as brilliant. It almost wasnt going to go through because J's mother works in Saudi Arabia and her dad hasn't been seen in many many moons....but some how her crazy aunt came through in the clutch and obtained written consent for J to be baptized into the church. Our next stop is to bring the gospel to the rest of J.J's family as well as J's aunt and grandma. Its a little bit strange how supportive there guardians are about our church and yet they don't seem to be interested in obtaining what the church has to offer for themselves. We have faith they will come around though and one of these days that entire street will become active members thanks to the example of these two young kids.
Thats about all for this week, my personal study has been pretty rad lately that has been my favorite part about the mission is how much hungrier I have grown for knowledge in the gospel. I really think I want to get some sort of degree in religion when I come home. Anyways thats it for now, more on Monday!

Elder Krueger
Jeepney's!  This is how we ride around town.  Pretty sweet!  (Taggart said this area is well known for the souped up Jeepney's.  This one is pretty wild, but what most of them look like in his area.  This is like Mass Transit. j You just hop in the back, pass your money up front and hop off when you arrive at destination)


After. 30 people in the back of a Jeepney.  No problem.

New San Jose custom made Ward Uniforms.