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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