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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Week 37 - Training

We had another great week in UH with the highlight of 18 less actives at church! I have gained a HUGE testimony of the new and returning member form, I've just been using it to reset the expectation with our LAs and the result has been unbelievable. With an actual goal of attending the temple instead of merely a spiritual thought once a week, as well as a tangible sheet they can see the steps neccessary to accomplishing their goal. Going from 4 or 5 LAs to 18 LAs at church I attribute the credit obviously to the Spirit and the Lord, but also to that simple NRMF! I'll never teach a less active again without setting the expectation first through that form. 

MY bagong anak is Elder Roa, from Bicol. He is doing great, I can already tell he is going to be an incredible missionary. He worked a lot with the missionaries before his mission and it really shows, he is already a great teacher! He was a convert at age 15 and has a strong testimony. He is also incredibly humble, enough to qualify for the spirit and listen to the guidance of a bumbaling american trainer like me. He isn't shy at all to talk with people and the ward has received him well already. No complaints at all, and I expect him to train for himself very soon after he gets out of training and begin to raise me up a righteous seed of missionaries. That's what training is all about, setting a pace and bar so high right from the get go that they only want to keep raising that bar. I still remember my first week with Elder Jensen, and how it took over a week to find the time to unpack my clothes! I tried to follow in his footsteps by taking Elder Roa straight out to work that first day and just letting him loose. We worked really hard this week. Since he is Filipeno, knows the language, and is already a great teacher and missionary. I don't expect him to learn a whole lot from me but he will learn to work hard. With the agency of man and the extent of our own weaknesses there are many things we can do to become more effect and better servants, but at the end of the day the only thing always in our power to control is our diligence. After all, this being the Lord's work and the Lord's world, there are only 4 things we have to give him that he does not already have. D&C 4 the missionary section, reads "see that you serve Him with all your heart, might, mind, and strength". Those are the only 4 things in this world we have to give back to Him whom has created us and given us everything in the first place. Our might and strength I believe refers to our diligence and work ethic in His service. I recently read a talked titled, "The 4th missionary". The speaker describes the 4 different types of missionaries (or servants of Christ). The first is disobient and sent home. The second is disobedient and somehow makes it through his mission. The 3rd and 4th are the same in that they are both obedient and serve with their might and strength, but differ in one aspect. The 4th gives also his heart and his mind to the Lord. The 3rd sacrifices his own desires for a time, but does so grudgingly or only because he is longing for the day he can hang up the tag and start chasing after his own will/desires again. Only the 4th becomes a true convert to the Lord, never to go out of the fold. That is because he sets his desires and passions aside not for a season but forever to be replaced by the will of our Father in Heaven. Consider Mosiah 24 15 where the people of Alma did "submit cheerfully and with patience to the will of the Lord". The difference between might and strength, verses heart, might, mind and strength is the mindset when we do it. Do we bear and grit the Savior's yoke or do we submit cheerfully, full of faith in the Lord's promised blessings. 

Jesus Christ provided the perfect example of submitting with all His heart, might, mind, and strength through His entire life but more so especially in the Garden of Gethsemine. Out of perfect love and with perfect faith the only perfect bore our unspeakable burden, so that our yoke may be light. Considering that none of us our perfect it is impossible that we can bare all things with the same patience all the time. I wish I could say I was the 4th missionary but I find myself alot given my might and strength but reserving my mind and heart to myself. I see becoming the 4th missionary, or one in purpose with the Lord, as a change that takes place over time. As we experience mortality and agency/grace of the atonement, we come to realize that the Father's Will, will always be the best road for us to take, the one that always leads to the most joy and happiness. As a result we continue to trust in Him and His Son more more (aka greater trust) which leads to a greater surrender of our heart and mind. We repeat this process until faith turns to a knowledge and we become as Zion, perfect before the Lord walking in righteousness along His side. 

Elder Krueger T

week 36 - Balancing life

Definitely the highlight of the week was the 2 baptisms we were able to have last Saturday. Both Shane and Judel are incredibly strong converts with great support so there is no anxiety about them ever falling less active. In fact both have already set the plan to serve missions in the next couple of years. Seeing them enter the waters of remission and then bare their testimonies after, was such a sweet feeling in a small way similar to that of Ammon and the other sons of Mosiah. You work as hard as you can every day and while I always know in the back of my head that it is totally worth it, baptisms and other signs of change/progression just seem to really make you realize how important our work really is. 

We found out that all 4 of us in the Acacia house are going to be training new missionaries this upcoming transfer which is way cool except it means the death of the fellowship. We will all be going our separate ways, except for me I'll still be in Kalookan for another 2 transfers. Which I will join the elite group of people who were able to spend 4 transfers in the city with 19 million people. What is that like 4 or 5 times the population of Washington all living within ten miles of my house haha. Yeah there is a lot of people here to share the gospel with and teach that is for sure! One of the biggest challenges here however is how insane their work schedules are. There seems to be 2 kinds of people here in the city. There are those who work 10 hour days 7 days a week (making about a dollar an hour with a really good job) and then there are those that have no job at all. The problem with the first is that there is never time to teach them or the ability to go to church/activities. The problem with the second is even more dangerous is sitting around all day makes it almost impossible to overcome temptations or develop the will to act /move. 

What happened to the days of the 40 hour work week!?! I have to believe that work is yet another area in which the adversary is attacking. It would appear that it is a great tool of his in getting our lives and priorities out of line. If he can get us to work outrageous amounts, it is inevitable that things of highly importance such as family and the Lord will be put on the back burning while money and success take the priority. On the flip side if he can get us to do nothing productive with our time, it is also inevitable that one will fall into the temptations of sin merely for the sake of boredom and curiosity. One of the secrets to living a gospel centered and happy life is balance. Yes the will of Heavenly Father and our families should be the first priority but I do believe God wants us to live a fully vibrant and balanced life in all areas. Work, hobbies, callings, and passions are not wicked in nature until they become over bearing. When any one aspect of our life causes us to compensate immensely on an other equal or more righteous aspect, we know we have strayed and need re-adjusting. I have quickly come to learn that anything that is temporal, will only bring temporal satisfaction. Money, entertainment, self gratification all last for a moment and then more is required once again to satisfy. While temporal things such as food for instance are certainly necessary, why would we ever seek after those things instead of the blessings which are eternal or without end. Relationships, knowledge, and self-improvement have been from the beginning our purpose in this mortal state.

As it is Father's Day let me share the lesson I have learned from my Earthly Father. Obviously dad has been very successful and fortunate in the business world. However, to do so it has required a constant grind of early mornings, travel, and just plain old fashion hard work. Now in the 18 years I lived at home, never once can I remember a time that I asked for dad's help or time that he did not almost immediately drop whatever he was doing to help me. Even though he had meetings around the world he never missed a single football game I ever played in. I recall many times where he set aside work to take me out on the boat instead. Hundreds of times he knew he had to be up at 6 o'clock the next morning and still sacrificed his sleep just to watch a movie with me instead (even though he fell asleep a lot in the movie anyways). I have observed carefully the the way in which he spends his money, and I have seen a very common trend. Despite being well off financially dad will only spend money on two things, 1.) mom and 2.) anything that will bring our family closer together. He never buys things for his own self interest. If you don't believe me just peak into the garage and tell me who has the nicer car. On the flip side I've seen him spend his own hard earned money on things that will build eternal relationships. Vacations and family activities are the first things that come to mind. While other families go on vacation and spend the whole week off doing their own things, we never separate during our vacations. I believe I understand now what I saw then, that my father always had a higher vision. He acquired temporal things for the blessing and benefit of his eternal things. He obtained the necessities of life not to satisfy his own vain ambitions but to lift and raise the family he was entrusted with from before the foundations of the world. Above all else he has given, the greatest has been his time, his love, and his desires to do right in the sight of God. When I think of my father I am drawn to the words of Henry B. Eyring when spoke of his own father and said, "Now there, is a man". Willing to sacrifice all he has been given in an instant to lift those in his stewardship, now there is a man. There is a man that I know Heavenly Father is proud of. Mormon said that if all men where as Captain Moroni the Devil would have no hold over the children of men. I would say to that if all father's were as Dad, the Devil would have very little hold over the family. It's a good thing Carter was named after him, because in a day and age where the family is the great battlefront of righteousness, the Lord needs more like him to accomplish His eternal purposes. 

Elder Krueger T

Taggart mailed home his USB with all his photos and it didn't make it thru the mail.  We are so sad all the photos have been lost.  Lesson learned.  Don't mail anything but a letter in a regular envelope. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 35 - Pretty freaking AWESOME week

We just got beat pretty bad by the Meykawayan zone in basketball earlier today and it was all because we "just don't practice the fundamentals". The defense got pretty heated but we couldn't drain the outside shot, it just wasn't our day. I hate losing. I'll be a good sport and lose with grace but inside there is nothing I hate more. At least I know I'm on the winning team in life! #teammormon. Anyways other than that, we had a pretty freaking awesome week, probably the best so far in my mission.

It has taken 3 months to gain the complete trust and confidence of the members. Since then the work here in Caloocan has exploded! 2 of our investigators passed their baptismal interviews and are getting baptized next saturday, we had 5 investigators at church, and we taught 15 lessons with a member present! You best believe University Hills is setting the standard for member missionary work. The referrals and lessons are starting to come left and right from all sorts of sources, this is the first time in my mission I have gained a testimony first hand that the Lord truely is hastening His work. The blessings of work always seem to come at the end of the long day. Having never had a job before the mission I thought for sure I would get incredibly tired and bored of missionary work everyday, but not in the least. Actually it's quite the opposite for me, every day I look forward to getting out the door more and more with each new day. Our members are so cool and I'm just loving working with all of them and being around the Filipeno people. 

With the transfer approaching its end I am sad to say that Elder Lindley and I will not be together for a 3rd. Not sure exactly what is happening yet but I have a few friends in high places within the mission and one of us is for sure transfering. As well as the remaining elder will be forced to move back into our old appartment. So perhaps the greatest kabahayship in the history of missionary work will be all broken up. May God speed our journey to the day elder elms, harris, lindley, and krueger reunite in the Kahariang Selestial!! Also I'm pretty sure I'm training so hopefully my kid isn't a lazy bum or anything like that. We'll know more about all the details tomorrow and will try to fill you in next week. 

Another cool thing that happened this week is the attendence of 3 of our less actives at church. We had been teaching this family for months now and it kind of felt like we were getting to the point where they counted our weekly lessons as a substitute for church haha. So we went in there with the New and Returning Member Form (my favorite inspired document ever) and complete told them straight up, we love em but our only purpose in teaching them is to help them get into the temple. Once the expectation was set, the whole atmospehere change and we had one of the best less active lessons I have ever been apart of. Sure enough, the next day all 3 of them came to church for the first time this whole year. Goals and a vision are the keys to progression. Without expectation set it is impossible to move forward in any productive manner. And if we are not moving forward we are indeed moving backwards. Good counsil for every member I think would be to learn the value of goals and accountability. Not just to read for the sake of reading, or obey for the sake of obeying, but to do for the progressing. 

I am so thoroughy convinced that death in this life will not have a significant change to our status in the next life. What I mean is that we will be the same person following the separation of the body and the spirit. Therefore the thought of merely making our way through life content with simply being a good person, will never be enough. We must be perfected before we can enter into the Kingdom of God therefore whether it is obtained in this life or the next, the fact remains that it must be achieved. Every day we must get better, more Christ-like, and less like the natural man. Obtaining a body was the purpose for the creation of the world, but learning to master that body is the purpose of man. In the words of President Christensen, "Good enough, is not good enough". We must utilize the atonement and all the tools/words Heavenly Father has given unto us each day. Progression at any pace leads to perfection, but a lack thereof can only lead to darkness. 

Two choices each day, each hour, each minute, each second. To get better or worse. Let us all follow the example of our Heavenly Father in the council before the world was, and chose the first. 

Ingat palagi!
Elder Krueger T

All Mission Picture with Pres & Sis Sperry

P-day at the zoo.  Can you spot the monkey?

Elder KruegerT and Elder Lindley
translation:  I love Pineapple!

Looking super cool :)

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Week 34 - Mary's Baptism, Mission Tour, Investigators at church

Pretty short week calls for a pretty short email. We balled out and made plays, got a baptism and have two more planned for next week. Hope you guys had a good week talk to ya later!

Elder Krueger T

Ah.....This did not go over too well with Mom!  Luckily he was just teasing me.  :)

I hope that email freaked out mom, even though I'm on the other side of the world I can picture her getting mad and dad shaking his head hahaha But for real though it was a pretty short week so I don't have a whole lot to say. I'll just rattle off the last couple of days in order, mostly because it's like 120 degrees right now with no fan so it's kinda hard to think. 

Thursday - Sister Mary Bautista got baptized! We have been teaching her for several months but we recently found out that she didn't live in our ward boundaries so we worked it out so that she would go to the Acacia ward after her baptism. It was a small, but very spiritual baptismal service. This time we were determined to get to the church early to fill the font up ourselves, unfortunately we were locked out and we were calling everyone we could think of to get keys. Eventually about 30 minutes before the baptism was about to start our bishop showed up. As soon as he opened the gate we took off straight for the font, and to our great surprise found it to be washed and filled up already! Just a little tender mercy from the great Bishop Lamoste. He said he had a feeling the day before that he should go fill up the font, gotta love seeing the ward have your back like that! Anyways Sister Mary is doing awesome and actually has gone to 3 hours of church at the Acacia ward and then all 3 hours of our ward as well the last 2 weeks. She is definitely hungry for the words of Christ! I couldn't even make it through an hour of church back in the day and she gets through 6 and still wants more! True conversion right there.

Friday - Weekly planning and we went out to eat at chow king with the Kabahays (elder elms and elder harris). Then we worked and taught the good word.

Saturday - Mission tour!! Elder Christensen (of the presidency of the seventy) and Elder Ardern (of the seventy/soon to be the new Philippines area president) came to speak to us with their wives. Seeing President Sperry and these other two GAs speak was just mind blowing at the amount of scriptural knowledge, experience, and connection with the Spirit that they possessed. They each individually spoke on a topic they picked out and afterwards opened it up to a Q and A session where this whole stand full of authorities and their wives responded to our questions. The most impressive thing to me was that they never responded to a question without a scriptural reference, or quote from a prophet, to back up everything they said. The theme throughout the day seemed to be about striving to work more productively with members. They gave numerous tips as to how to gain/establish trust and see things from the perspective of a member. I am a firm believer that members are missionaries and missionaries and members, and we are all called to be the Lord's people, and the Lord's people are one. Therefore, no manner of our potential can be reached until the work goes forth hand in hand, member and missionary, and we work as one; different in responsibility perhaps but same in purpose no doubt nor question. On another note it was also just a great day because it's the only time since "Day of Judgement" two years ago that the whole mission has been together. Such a glorious occasion, I imagine seeing everyone you know and love in the Celestial Kingdom would be of a similar yet much grander feeling.

Sunday - Fast and testimony meeting. Highlight of the day was 3 investigators at church, which included a part member family that we have been teaching and trying to get to come to church for 3 months straight now! Words can't describe the joy that came 5 minutes after the meeting started when they walked in the door with their shades on looking all classy! Also, we are teaching a LA named Michael. He is 31 and just returning to activity after like 15 years outside of the church. He is way cool and we are working hard with him to establish goals for activity, paying tithing, getting the Melchizedek priesthood and then hopefully entering the temple. 

The work moves forward and our area continues to get better and better everyday. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve the Lord full time. I've made a lot of bad decisions in my life, but I am grateful I did make one good decision, to read the BOM and find out for myself if this is true. The decision to come on a mission is undoubtedly the best one I have ever and perhaps will ever make. I don't like to think my personality has change to much, but my desires, thoughts, and actions would be unrecognizable to those who once knew me. May we all find the change of heart that can only come through the grace of Jesus Christ, available to all through the offering of His infinite atonement.

Ingat Palagi, 
Elder Krueger T

Mary's Baptism (Elder Krueger, Elder Lindley, Elder Elms & Elder Harris)
All Mission meeting.  The "Batch" is all together again.

Taggart's "Batch" (Few got cut out of the first photo)

Mary with Elder Krueger T

Elder Lindley, Elder Krueger T, Elder Harris & Elder Elms

No words.  :)

Week 33 - blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humbled

Pretty sweet week here in Kalookan with enough flooding to fill up the baptismal font for all these baptismal dates we have planned, zinger! Just kidding, but really we have one tomorrow and 2 more on the 14th of June. I guess you could say I'm pretty excited because that just about doubles the amount of baptisms I've had so far on my mission. It's been incredibly awesome to see our area go from 0 progressing investigators to, hopefully, 4 baptisms in just 3 months! After toiling day and night in temperatures so hot you could grill a 12 ounce steak (man I miss steak, and just meat in general) on the top of a jeepney, for many a moon, the blessings did come in a rich abundance indeed! 

Of no doing of our own, investigators have literally been dropped into our lap by the Lord. Already marinated and just waiting to be refined by the master oven of the Gospel. Sorry this is all about food, we had temple today and I've been up since 3AM and haven't eaten at all so its a little hard to focus. But yes, the Lord does hear the prayers of the weak and the faithful, and yes in His own due time He does answer them, and yes they are usually in ways far unexpected. For instance, the hurricane that took place in Tacloban has caused many kids to go to other provinces searching for education. We have 2 different kids who were sent to Kalookan from Tacloban to finish high school. Both of which just so happened to move in with members and both of which we just so happened to run into and start teaching within the first week they were here. It seems that the hurricane in Tacloban has humbled people in extraordinary ways. Both Sister Shane and Brother Judel have been some of the most golden investigators I could have dreamed of. Both came to church and had a desire to be baptized in the first week and both have not missed a single reading assignment. Both also happen to be reading through the BOM and praying every night without fail on their own. Which I don't know a whole lot about missionary work in other countries, but that never happens here. They are so cool and always come with tons of questions every time we come to teach either of them. Surely the horrors of the hurricane have caused great deal of reflection as to our purpose on Earth, which can be described only as a blessing. 

It makes me think to Alma 32:16 where Alma discussed the mercies of the Lord in humbling the people that they might in turn, turn to Him. However in verse 16 (one of my favorites) Alma says "blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humbled". While it is a blessing to receive trial and tribulation that we might remember the Lord and seek His help, the truer and more difficult test of faith is where will we turn when times are not bleak but appear bright. In this I think we can draw a wonderful example from Job in the old testament who was so "God fearing" that it is said the very thought of his sons offending God caused Him to offer up sacrifice continual. In prosperity and incredible difficulty the faith of Job never wavered. With all the certainty of his soul he stood steadfast in the knowledge of his redeemer and knew in whom he trusted his eternal welfare. This of course being the Savior, Jesus Christ. 

I have been reading through the writings of Mormon (in the actual book of Mormon) and it just shocks me how quickly the Nephites fell into wickedness and forgot their God who had suffered for their sins just a few hundred years earlier. I have thought many times how this could even be possible and at one point my mind was drawn to the story of King David. The fall of one of the greatest heroes in all of history became with a single decision to look, and more importantly to linger. In this age, that I believe to be the most wicked and enticing the world has ever been, I have concluded that in our mortal state none of us are safe. If we even allow our thoughts to linger upon the spacious building, we are as lost as if we were in the building itself already. I recall Alma writing that marvelous works were worked by small means and because of slothfulness the people forgot to exercise their faith. Happiness, joy, exaltation, and every blessing for God comes only through the small acts of CONTINUAL faith. The law of Moses of our day that keeps us on the continual path of righteousness, is the fulfillment of the prophesy that says, "little children shall speak words that confound the wise". It is the primary answers that keep us on the path to exaltation such as prayer, fasting, church, scripture study, etc. I am thoroughly convinced that a man who does not read, pray, and attend church continually is in essence damned to fall at same point. However, on the contrary the man who observes strictly to put the small things as a priority every single day, cannot forget the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore will not falter. Being merely busy is no excuse. Never once has Christ or any of His prophets taught anything contrary than prioritizing the kingdom of God before that of the world in all things. I testify that the key to applying the changing or reforming power of the atonement lies not in grand and miracles experiences but rather in the small, seemingly insignificant decisions we make everyday to learn, study, speak, and follow His teachings and His perfect example. 

Elder Krueger T

P.S. The new temple video is way dope. If you haven't seen it, first repent for not going to the temple sooner, and then go the next morning. 

Week 32 - "Don't be a slack butt"

It was a pretty good week this week, I didn't get too trunky after the phone call home which must mean my mind has merely accepted the fact that I'll probably die out here before I go home haha. We had a pretty cool week though in the missionary work. 

There have been a few issues within the ward that we have been trying to stay out of but have hindered the work a little bit. So we came to the conclusion that we just needed to refocus on OYMing and getting new investigators. And what do you know as soon as we shifted our focus away from member visits, we received 5 referrals. That's about as many referrals as I have had in my entire mission total. Those referrals led to 7 new investigators and 2 of them even came to church last Sunday. We plan on giving them baptismal dates this upcoming week! We are obviously thrilled about that and hope to have 3 baptisms by the end of this transfer! It just goes to show that the prophet Gordon B. Hinkley knew exactly what he was talking about when he spoke on the use of members as being the most effective way to further the work of salvation. Actually we got to see some numbers about member missionary work compared to tracting and OYMing a couple weeks ago. The area presidency said that missionaries meet 80% of their investigators from OYMing and tracting. Interestingly enough nearly 75% of all converts come from that small 20% of new investigators which came off of referrals. Not to mention a recent convert that comes from a referral has nearly 4 times the likelihood of remaining active. 

I am drawn back to last conference, when I can't remember who it was maybe Ballard, but he quoted a scripture about the Lord sending more workers out into the vineyard and stated that this prophesy has been fulfilled through the age change and nearly 85,000 missionaries now worldwide. However, even with this incredible increase, if there is not an increased desire in every latter day saint to share the gospel, than this great blessing of missionary force is a complete waste. Every member a missionary was not merely a catchy slogan used by David O. Mackay to represent the focus of his presidency. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ we all share the equal responsibility and privilege to share the Gospel.  Called and foreordained as the elect of God, our mission was not merely to come to Earth simply to receive the Gospel, nor even to live it, but also to SHARE it. If we are willing to take upon us the name of Christ and truly do always remember Him, would it not seem logical that we would remember His life and His example? He spent and give His entire life for establishing His Gospel and giving men hope that they might be saved if they would but come unto Him. 

How blessed are we to share in a small part in bringing that same hope to all around us. The world is changing and is only going to get more and more wicked. We cannot stand in the dark corners content only with saving ourselves, or even our family. We must do as the apostle Paul and fight the good fight, that we might be the very candle in which the Savior spoke of as being set upon a hill for the whole world to see. The time has come not to stand as Mormons, but as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. True religion is not a private matter, it should be worn on the sleeve, because it should influence every thought and action that proceeds from mouth and arm. The calling as a vessel to bare the glad tidings of gospel is not an 18 month or 2 year deal. It is an eternal calling from before the world began, in this moment now, and will continue to exist long after the grave. 

In the words of Elder Redder, "Don't be a slack butt"

Elder Krueger T

Mother's Day Phone Call

He looks soooo good!!
Happy Elder = Happy Mother

The whole family on Skype Group.  Priceless!

These 2 sat too close to each other.  We could hear Elder Lindley better than we could hear Taggart and Elder Lindley's family could hear Taggart better then Cody.  :)