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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