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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Week 28 - Happy Easter

This week was kind of wild with Holy Week going on and all of our ward missionaries out on vacation. Considering we didn't have a single worker all week, we were still able to get close to 20 lessons in and a good amount of new investigators. 

As for our investigator we were working our butts off to get ready for baptism on April 19...in her interview she failed because she didn't fully repent for calling her friend bad names. So she then went and apologized and it went so well that they became best friends and suddenly decided to go on a vacation together where our investigator proceeded to break the word of wisdom. That was probably the most disheartening moment so far on my mission but it's probably a blessing really because it gives us 30 more days to really teach her the wisdom behind the word and give her an opportunity to strengthen her faith before the baptism. 

A great highlight on the other hand was that we OYM'd a guy on Tuesday, taught him twice that week, and he came to church that very Sunday! He has a previous wife/current wife problem but we will continue to teach him of course and hopefully he will continue to progress in the Gospel!

We are working on doing a ward fast for the missionary effort combined with a missionary fireside later in the evening after the "break the fast". With the weeks leading up to it we are trying to get to most of the members to give a copy of the BOM and do a practice teaching, with the goal being to ease their fears about sharing the gospel and hopefully get them excited about assisting in the hastening of the work. Not sure how it is all going to go over so I guess I'll just keep you posted! We are pretty excited about the idea though and have been planning, praying, and revising it for weeks in an effort to get the ward more on board and excited about the work of salvation.

We are focusing mostly this week on getting our investigator Joann ready for her upcoming baptism on Saturday. She is 17 years old and way cool, has no problems with any of the commandments, comes to church every week, has a great support system, but she just kinda has a hard time remembering some of the things that we teach. She has her interview on Friday and hopefully she will be able to pass that and the following day will be the service.

The highlight of my personal study for the week revolved around Helaman chapter 12, where after reading up to this point in the Book of Mormon I became so overwhelmingly shocked at how often and how quickly the Nephites fell away from the Lord their God. Combine that with how many less active RMs, bishops, and members I have had the privilege of finding and teaching over the past 6 months and I came to 1 simple conclusion. 

No body, no matter how many deeds or how strong the testimony is at one point, is safe if at any moment they stop to stand still. 

Like Elder Bednar put it so beautifully in his conference talk, It is the load that provides the friction to move us forward towards the Lord and His kingdom. Not even apostles are safe or guaranteed anything based upon their deeds unless they endure all the way through the finish. Life is hard, very hard. That's just how it is. Yes it is important to find joy in the journey and to enjoy life but I have come to realize that there will always be things we don't want to do. We must follow Christ's perfect example in these moments and continue to put one foot in front of another baring the cross of our own afflictions. In doing so I testify that we will quickly find the grace of the atonement enabling us to bare that cross with greater ease until it no longer becomes a burden but rather a blessing. 

Elder Krueger T

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

CONFERENCE WEEKEND (a week late in the Philippines)

SO pumped about the new nephew this week! I hope he grows up to be a big poly linebacker or maybe a runnerback, it'd just be a shame to waste that kind of a blood line to see him end up as a kicker or something! Haha

This week was awesome because of the opportunity of course to listen to conference! I have come to find that general conference for missionaries is bigger than the Superbowl for the rest of the world haha. We pretty much spent most the whole weekend at the stake center with the whole zone hanging out and listening to the modern prophets and apostles of the day! We were able to get a couple of our investigators out to watch conference too which was an awesome chance for them to hear the Gospel preached straight from the leaders of the church.

I loved all of the talks given but two in particular stood out to me personally above the rest. 

The first was the talk by M Russell Ballard in which he talked about the necessity for follow-up as well as the calling of every member of the church to be sharing the Gospel. He also mentioned how every member should obtain and begin to study a copy of PMG. After 6 months on my mission, my advice would be exactly the same thing. 

When I first came into the mission field, being a little prideful, I thought PMG was merely a reference book and it would do more good to go straight to the source and rather study only the 4 standard works in depth. Over some humbling times, however, and a few chastisements from zone leaders I have started studying PMG every single day. The every word contained in that book is specific to the calling of the saints of this last dispensation, in that every word is concerned solely about saving souls through the preaching of Christ's restored gospel. As we study the words written for simplicity by modern prophets, we will begin to grow stronger in our own testimonies and our desire/courage to share with all of God's children will grow as well. I hold PMG as sacred as any other volume of scripture. 

The second talk I found incredibly striking was the talk given by President Eyring.  I think it is because President Eyring holds many similar characteristics as Bishop Tanner that I feel as if every one of the messages he delivers is coming to me personally. His words on holding FHE's, scripture study, and bearing testimony to your children in their youth will allow the Holy Ghost an opportunity to call them to remembrance later in their lives. 

I thought about how it was the testimonies of my parents and all my leaders of the Book of Mormon that were the cornerstone to my decision to read the word and test out Moroni's promise for myself. If it had not have been for those many testimonies in my youth, the Holy Ghost would never have had the opportunity to recall the promise of Moroni to my memory and perhaps I would have wandered in darkness for many more years. Perhaps even for many years into the next life as well. 

So I will follow the words of President Uchtdorf and declare and attempt to live in a spirit of gratitude daily of the saving and enabling grace that the Savior has, and continues to offer me. 
Elder Krueger T

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Six Months!

I can't believe I'm already 6 months into my mission! I suppose this fine occasion calls for a funny story that paints a picture about my mission up to this point. One fine morning around 3:30AM Elder Carteciano and I were sitting at the corner of the street waiting for the jeepney that would take us to the temple. When this old lady walks up and in English says, "Hey guys...(long pause)...welcome to hell". I respond politely in Tagalog that I'd been here now for 6 months and that it was about time somebody gave me a formal introduction. She promptly walked away saying nothing in return. I love my mission the people here are without a doubt the funniest, weirdest, nicest, and yet craziest people in the world all at the same time. I wouldn't even know where to begin telling stories about some of the weird things I've seen people do in my short 6 months here. All the heat, pollution, and over-population is totally worth living in, just to hang out and teach some of the coolest of God's children on the Earth.
However, with that being said, and after I received that enormous package from mom earlier this week, I cannot lie that I miss America. Its only fitting that when I received that package from my homeland I was reading in the war chapters of Alma about Capt. Moroni, the freemen, and the cause for liberty and country. God bless America, because America lets us praise God and worship Him with freedom of religion. Kinda random but just with my personal study lately I really have become so thankful to our founded fathers and patriots who made it possible for our Heavenly Father to commence the work of restoration. It is so incredible to me how inspired history has been. It has become so clear how heavy the hand of the Lord has been in establishing fertile soil in preparation for His Gospel to grow and spread throughout the whole world.
Earlier this week we had our zone conference (basically just a gathering of all the missionaries from the Kaloocan, Meykwayan, and Valenzuela zones), were President and Sister Sperry and the APs gave workshops. President gave an incredible workshop about the scattering and gathering of Israel and used probably 100 different scripture verses to explain it. The most fascinating part of his workshop I thought was when he talked about the evolution of technology. 

From the time of Adam down til the life of Joseph Smith the only mode of transportation was walking or maybe horse back. And the only form of communication was written letter or word of mouth. Then all the sudden right after the Restoration of the gospel, there comes an explosion of industry and technology. Today we can communicate across the whole world at the click of a button. We can travel the entire world within a single day. Now, are people today really that much smarter than the likes of Abraham or Isaiah or Moses? Not a chance. These advancements have been directly inspired by the Divine Creator for the specific purpose of gathering the house of Israel in preparation for the coming of the Lord. That is the one and only reason for these incredible gifts of advancement. Therefore it is absolutely vital that we use these gifts for the purposes in which they were given to man. To spread the Gospel and make His paths straight. The work is hastening, but not nearly fast enough. Many people have heard of Mormons now today but very very few have actually heard about the restored gospel and priesthood required for our salvation. Simply getting the name of the church out there or being an example to the world is no longer sufficient enough. We must all be actively engaged in sharing the Gospel. I am convinced that it will not only be missionaries and those set apart to the teaching of the word that will be required to give an accounting for our efforts, but it will be ever single member as well. From the 8 year old baptized this morning to the prophet himself, no one who has received a portion of the fruit of the tree of life through partaking of the Gospel of Christ is exempt from in turn sharing the greatest gift given to man with others.
I am sure that within the next 18 months there will be new technology that I will have no idea how to use. I would advice us all to heed the council of Jacob in simply saying, "Oh be wise, what can I say more". Technology is a gift from above given to hasten the work and strengthen our communications. However, as with every gift given to man, the adversary is well aware of its potential and seeks at every turn to corrupt the hearts and minds of men into misusing that gift. The powers of procreation, the strong drinks and wines, even the ability to speak with a common language were all gifts given to men and look at how they have been abused and become the core for sin and wickedness upon the Earth. This new gift specific to our day and age is perhaps the most dangerous and influential of all. As we move forward in this new day and age let us always remember that it is not an era of man and wisdom, but the era of the Lord and His work in bringing Salvation unto His elect before His day comes to reign on Earth. Therefore we must first seek to build His kingdom with these new tools of technology before we seek to build our own.
Elder Krueger T

These toys aren't made for giant missionaries.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Special Delivery

The long awaited package has finally arrived.  Only took 2 months
I was told all the Office Elders took turns lifting the package to prove they could lift.  (it was pretty heavy.  j over 50 lbs I think)  and they all tried to guess what was inside.  They finally decide it was a washing machine.  Or maybe they just hoped it was.  Love seeing that happy face. :)