Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Second Chance to Email

Hey ya'll :)

Just so you know that I'm alive and doing fine I wanted to attach the picture of our FHE we literally just had. I haven't been able to shower or brush my teeth yet for today and I'm wearing the same clothes that I gave my sacrament talk in yesterday morning and it's 9 o'clock PM here. It's been really, really hard work here. We've obviously been busy with a lot of things in our zone the last few weeks. The training we gave went great but after I got admitted to the hospital for check-ups and I had bad bacteria in my body fropm food and water here that put me in there from Monday-Thursday. Then we had another Elder come back from Laoag who had Dengue in our zone so we needed to make sure he had companions in Aparri hospital that's 45 minutes away from our apartment. So we were literally racing around the entire zone this week from Gattaran to Aparri which is about 2 hours just one way. So needless to say we were busy. Very, very busy. I'm happy to say that it's all over and that Elder Cuyog was able to get out of the hospital earlier today :)

So despite of the illnesses and all of the things we need to do in the zone and not being able to bathe and what not for a couple of days, we are having great success ion our area right now. Elder Gozon and I are having a blast (during the times we can FINALLY be companions) and we have 4 progressing investigators right now. 2 of them will be baptized on August 29 which is my 6 year anniversary in being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints :). What a way to celebrate huh?! But it just goes to show that the Lord qualifies you for this work. We haven't been able to work as much as what we should be doing just trying to attend to all the assignements we have and now we are p[reparing the chapel for a tri-zone meeting with President on Tuesday. So it's been just hectic. Very very, very busy. It's nice to unwind right now and write home :) But again, despite the business, we still find time and manage to care for our area and investigators here. Again, there is no place greater in the ENTIRE world than in Lal-lo :) I experienced that first hand tonight at our FHE. :) I'm spoiled to be doing this work right now. I've had some of the feelings of the greatest joy, peace and happiness while doing all of these things this week, why? Because it's HIS work. He qualifies those He calls and He sends the Comforter to those who stand in need. There is not a way or a chance in the world I could have gotten through these last few weeks with out the Holy Ghost by my side. Guys, trust me, I felt your prayers this week, and THANK YOU! They were MUCH needed. Keep them coming because it's not like it will get any easier from here on out haha trust me :) But just know I'm doing great here. The mission is great, we're obviously busy, but everything is great. I love this work!!!! :) Love you guys!! I love being able to serve here in Lal-lo Aparri zone. I love the Philippines, and I love my mission!!!! I hope you all have a great one this week :) I love you all so much! Have a good one :) 


Elder Oslund


Thursday, August 6, 2015

What a wild week!

Hey guys! 

So this won't be long because we have A LOT of things we still need to do for tomorrow but I just want to let you know that I'm doing okay now! I had a pretty rough time in Laoag these past two days with having a really high fever that almost put me in the hospital but I'm okay now thankfully :) I'm really grateful for a loving companion to take care of me and for him giving me a priesthood blessing so I can return to my calling as a missionary because let me tell you, it was not a fun time in Laoag haha. But after the priesthood blessing Elder Gozon said "I bless you with a speedy recovery." After that I fell asleep for about 8 hours and my 105 degree fever was gone by the time I woke up at 5 in the afternoon. It was a miracle indeed :) It's as if nothing happened in the first place. :) I'm so grateful for the priesthood! It saved me from having a very bad week for sure.

But right now we're just preparing all of our trainings for tomorrow's Zone Training Meeting at the Lal-lo chapel which will be my first training on my mission. I'm excited for it. I prepared myself very well for it despite being sick so it'll be good I think :) I love being in Aparri zone. It's one of the hardest zones to be a zone leader in because it's so far away from the mission home and it;s one of the missions biggest zone so if something goes wrong, it's only us that can fix it immediately, because there will be no back up for at least 9 hours. So yeah, we're a pretty long way out from the mission home. I'm grateful for the Lord's trust in putting me here though. It's a big responsibility for sure but I love it. There's a reason why I'm called here with out a doubt :)

As for everything else, Lal-lo is the best! The members are awesome as you probably saw from my picture this week haha but I'm just really blessed being able to be here in Lal-lo. It's like an extended family of Magapit :) It's so much fun! I love it!

Elder Gozon is the best. When I was sick he didn't even leave my side, he made sure that my body temperature would cool down and he took every precaution in helping me gain strength again. It was one of the hardest two days of my mission because of that fever which was suspicion of Dengue but he helped me through it all. He's a great example to me of Christ-like service and loving to his companions. And it wasn't just him either, all the Elders in Laoag stayed by my side the entire night to make sure I was doing alright. I'm just very very grateful for them and just reflecting on that makes me realize just how special the Elders in this mission really are. I'm so grateful to be around such amazing people! 

As for everything else, it's the same old same old, just planning and coordinating with our leaders about missionary work now which is kind of new but very exciting. It's very exciting to be able to do this work right now :) I love it! But we have to go now to get ready for our training tomorrow! I wish I could update you all more but time is short. I love you all! I hope you have a great week :) I'll talk to you again shortly :)


Elder Oslund

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Changes in the Laoag mission :)

Hey guys!!!

So a lot of things have changed now since this is President Andrada's first transfer in as mission President. For starters, I'm no longer training Elder Pongyan anymore which really stinks but I've been called to be a zone leader now in the Aparri Zone, Lal-lo branch. My new companion is Elder Gozon who I've known and have been really good friends with through out my entire mission so I'm really excited to be companions with him before he goes home after this transfer in September. 

I'll tell you what, I was a shocked, shocked yet happy person after I received the phone call from President Andrada on Sunday morning. Shocked just because I never ever expected that to hap[pen especially when I was a trainer, but excited because the Magapit branch used to be combined with the Lal-lo branch before Magapit beame a branch a few years ago, so my new area is literally 5 minutes away from where I have been living in Magapit, but other than that I already know most of the members in Lal-lo from activities and baptisms. In fact, we attended a funeral service last night where Magapit and Lal-lo branches were at and when word got around I was going to Lal-lo everyone was really, really happy about it. But then the members in Magapit found out and it was hard to say I'll be transferring because it really is like a happy family in Magapit. But it'll be good :) The Lord needs me to serve in a different sphere now in the zone so I'm excited for it :)

This week was a good week though. One experience of finding this week was when we went to our complete farthest area of our area and we planned on being dropped off at a park in the middle of NOWHERE. But then Elder Pongyan and I just said it didn't feel right. We continued on when we passed over a white bridge and we told the driver that w'll get off there. Well, where we were dropped off at was probably in the dead center of the middle of nowhere until we found a dirt road that lead up to about 4 houses, and that was it. Well in one of those houses was a jeep of someone that I always saw driving and he always had on a ball cap, sun glasses and was always driving a jeep, and he has a long black beard. If any of you know Filipino culture you would understand that that is NOTHING like the Filipino style of clothing, it just reminded me of the south whenever I saw him. So we found his car and we came up and turns out that when we were talking I asked where he was from he said that he was from there. Then I ask whose farm this is and he said it was his Aunt's then I asked where his Aunt lived, he said America, Tennessee. So then I thought oh cool we have at least something in common then he said. Yeah, Nashville, actually, she works in Murfreesboro Hospital. At that time he immediately became my favorite. He just looked and had the personality of someone back home, needless to say his family is from where we are. But, I'm leaving now so I guess it doesn't really matter haha but hopefully Elder Pongyan can go back and find him again because he was one of the coolest people I have ever met so far. 

So those were pretty much the two stories of the week from me, everything is great here still :)  I'm excited for this next week! I'll email you all on Tuesday (my time) because I need to go back down to Laoag for MLC (Mission Leadership Conference) So my P-Day is Tuesday next week. I'm excited to get started on my new assignment as Zone Leader here though! Pretty crazy huh? Anyways, Love you all!! I'll talk to you all again next week :) Love you guys!!


Elder Oslund

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hello again!

Another fast week and 14 months to go! Haha time just is not slowing down one bit! It's bitter sweet for sure :)

But how is everyone?! It's good to hear from everyone back home of course :)

This week has been a great week. We met some very interesting people these past weeks and have really increased my testimony of the actuality of the apostasy and the essential need of the complete Restoration of the gospel through Joseph Smith. It's been some of the funniest lessons that I've ever been in to see how mad people get when they start to hear the truth. Elder Pongyan and I kind of look at each other and just laugh a little when we come across those people, it's been fun haha.

Magapit is a tough little area though. For the most part it's in the middle of nowhere and is the only meeting house in the entire Aparri zone. We don't have a lot of members but the members are very active in missionary work which is really nice but it seems to be that all of our investigators are students either in high school or in college so it's fun teaching them but the problem is is that they tend to go home to wherever their from on the weekends when there's no class which leaves us empty handed at church a lot. The only problem with that is that because our area is such a small area, I'm pretty sure we have visited every single house along the highway at least 3 times now. It's been tough to go finding so we have really relied upon our members and referrals recently for help, which is nice because we've been able to get those referrals to go and teach people we never thought of going to before. But it's been fun lately :)

This week we're planning on going contacting the referrals in our far areas which kind of stinks because of our apartment layout. It's usually a 15 minute tricycle ride to Magapit junction which costs 20 pesos and we usually walk to our area which is about another 45 minute walk just to get there, then our far area is about an hour walk to get there which leaves us very little time to do our original plans, but we're still doing good and getting A LOT of lessons in actually. It's been nice, but just a different kind of trials in proselyting. But we're doing great here and the area is as good as can be :) My heart is set on my mission which is nice when the only thing that is going through your mind from sun up to sun down is "how can I help the people in my area today" It's a good problem to have and I'm just happy I have the opportunity of helping people everyday of my life for two years straight. I love it so much :)

I love you all and I hope you all enjoy the email! I'll talk to you all next week! Love ya!

Elder Oslund

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The miracles of charity :)

This week was one of the fastest weeks of my entire life. Where is all the time going seriously? This entire transfer has felt like a complete blur. It's just getting faster and faster as the time goes on. I gotta enjoy every second while I can before it's all gone. 

But this week was one of the best weeks of my mission as well. Not in any sense except for the learning that I was able to have through my new mission President's counsel and being able to grow because of it. First off, I love President and Sister Andrada. Right when I met them I felt an immediate connection with them. I really, really love them. They are an amazing influence and example for all of the missionaries here. They're of course different in there way of handling and governing the mission than President and Sister Barrientos, but I love them so much, it's nice to have these changes, the mission will benefit from it :)

But let me just tell you about my week, we had a much better week of proselyting, still not good, but better for sure haha. Elder Pongyan and I are learning and growing a lot together side by side. It's amazing how much you can teach your companion and how much you can learn from one as well, I hope I've been able to help Elder Pongyan as much as he has helped me become a better person. I really feel that Elder Risenmay is a big brother to me. (Aside from his actual name being Marc haha) but Elder Pongyan is like the little brother I never had. I love that guy so much. 

Basically, we may be way different in personality, but in all honesty, we're not too different at all, it's just been a lot of fun being able to be his companion lately. It's just been a blur I'm telling you. But I can say that it hasn't ALWAYS been like that. 

I like to think that through out my mission that I have developed amazing friendships and relationships with the Elders and Sisters around me, and I have with out a doubt, these past 10 months have been some of the best months of my life in being able to be around some of the greatest and most amazing people of my life, but I felt that the work was missing something. One thing I could tell from the impression and stories that President Andrada gave to us was jut how much he loved his companions, and how much his companions loved him. And he gave us his first training about "How people can know that you love God, and you love the people" I thought to myself well of course I love God, and I love the people, I'm serving them each and everyday to my ability. But President Andrada said the way you can tell if you love God and you love the people is by how you love your companion. My heart just sunk and just thought I haven't been doing that as well as I should have. The words sunk deep into my heart and I went back to our apartment and just pondered on the things we were taught. I ended up praying for the longest time on my knees for charity for my companion. After, everything was just BETTER. Work was the same but I had more fun doing it because I loved the person I was doing it with, the conversations were more fun, the days were faster, and just everything was better. The gift of charity truly does never fail and upbraideth not. Some of the greatest feelings of peace, joy, and happiness came after asking Heavenly Father for charity for my companion, now I can't even notice days go by, it's just been one big day of happiness and love in our work and apartment. It's been fun. It was an amazing week for sure and even a greater learning experience. I love my experiences on my mission and my leaders. I have truly changed my entire nature because of my mission. I'm so grateful for my companions and for my Savior and for this opportunity to share His gospel. I'm in love with my mission, I just can't control how happy I am now. I love it :) And I love you all back home as well of course! Everything changed after asking for charity. I'm so grateful for this experience and for EVERYTHING :)

I love you guys so much. I'll talk to you again in another fast week :) I love you all so much :) I couldn't be happier than I am right now. It's impossible to be any happier :) I have found God and I have found true happiness. :)

I love you guys so much I hope your week is great :)


Elder Oslund

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Week 4 of 12 Week

Hey everyone! 

I hope the 4th was good for everyone! It was good here, just not the same haha. We took our fellowshippers and Magapit missionaries to the caves in our area this week and had hot dog and hamburgers down there with them and explored in the caves for a little bit. I lost my missionary handbook and Ministerial Card in the process which stinks but at least we can go back now and look for it again haha! Just kidding. But it was a fun time remembering America and helping others celebrate it here too haha :) Then later on we had Precious' baptism at 3 which was amazing. I was able to conduct the baptism, Elder Pongyan baptized Precious, and yesterday on Sunday I was able to confirm her a member of the church by the laying on of hands which was the first time I ever did that. It was an amazing experience and it was amazing to feel the spirit guide and direct the words in that special blessing of hers :) Now, we're starting to teach her father because Marina moved to Manila to go work abroad for a few years in Taiwan. It was a bummer when we found that out, but it happens here, a lot haha. 

But this week was a hard week. Remember the warning of my faith being tested? Yep, it's happening. Of course not each day and not each week is going to be golden and happy and perfect. But it has been hard this week. Basically, one of our recent convert family's (The Cortes family) had their father drown in the Cagayan River this past week which has been awful on the family. Riel the teenage son is now smoking, drinking, gambling, hanging out with the wrong crowd, and the recent converts who are high schoolers are mostly all less active with no real desire to come back to church. Our investigators who we tried to focus on this week were all out of town or working on their farms this week so we couldn't teach them, then no one was progressing or coming to church because we had a typhoon and earthquake yesterday afternoon. No damage at all, but we'll have another either today or tomorrow. Either a signal 1 or 2 typhoon coming in. But it might sweep away from us, we just don't know now. But our focus areas have been hard to focus on this week. Each day is a test of faith to keep going and doing what's right. I just feel bad for Elder Pongyan because this is his first taste of missionary work and we're just not doing good (in results, baptisms, lessons, investigators at church, etc.). We spent a couple hours last night to really plan out what our next goals for this week is. We tried everything that it said in PMG to do to find new investigators, searching the area book, doing everything for the last few nights, so I hope we can see results hopefully soon. It's been hard though. Let alone, fighting a small earthquake and some typhoons and having your power go out in the middle of summer here is just another faith tester. It's been a trial I guess you can say. But, we'll do better. 

I know I was warned by the spirit it was going to be a hard transfer for me, but it's just hard because Elder Pongyan still doesn't know too much about missionary work, and still getting adjusted and just trying to follow what I'm doing. He gives great suggestions which I'm amazingly grateful for, he's a very, very good companion and an amazing trainee. So I'm very very grateful for him and I love working and being his companion. I'm excited for this next week though. It'll be good this week. There may be some more tests of faith, (everyday is a test of your faith) but it'll be a better week. I can feel it :) But we are increasing baptismal dates and our teaching pool which is really helpful to the least, but this week will be better without a doubt. :)

Anyways, I love you guys, this just about does it for my week, pretty eventful and not too much to write home about haha, but it was good, we'll have a better week next week for sure :)

Anyways love you all! Hope you have a great week! :) Love you Stay safe guys!


Elder Oslund 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hey all!

So sounding by the news in America, it seems like I'm in a good place to be at now haha. The news of God's eternal truths being hidden or TRYING to be done away with  because of social fads or pressure is disappointing to say the least. But it makes me that much more grateful to be a Latter-day Saint and to defend these truths even if it means persecution and ridicule for standing for what's right. That lesson has been learned, and  I'm grateful for the experiences I've had in my mission to stand up for what's right always and to not be afraid to face persecution. The growth during the mission and the growth in the gospel protects you from all the opposition the adversary may throw at you, including the social and political problems of today's generation. 

Anyways, How is everybody? Not really too much to report on this week. Training is going well. Elder Pongyan is a good guy, but it's been a little hard lately, but he's a good guy to be around. He's growing just as I grew in my 12 week program. At the end of it, I'm sure he's going to enjoy it just as much as I did. It's fun training him :)

Precious' baptism got pushed back to July 4 because she's 8 years old with her mom as a member so she's a child of record. I'm not upset at all that she is a child of record. It's been the most amazing thing to be apart of teaching their family back into activity and seeing the growth and changes in their life because of it. President Barrientos said "The greatest miracle you will ever see in your life is when you see someone change" Seeing someone change from a person they once were to a COMPLETELY new person is nothing short of a miracle. 

Speaking of President Barrientos, tomorrow is his last day as my mission president. I'm going to miss them to say the least and I'm sure it won't be easy to have a new mission president at first but we'll get along and be alright :)

Speaking of Presidents, the new Assistant President will more than likely be Elder Risenmay when President goes home. It's not 100% for sure yet but he went straight to zone leader after he was with Elder Kelley in Santa Ana to prepare to become the new AP. I hope it happens. He deserves it. If there's anyone in the mission who deserves it it's him. I love Elder Risenmay a lot and I'm so grateful to have him in the mission longer. He's my favorite companion hands down. And anyone who can survive training me at first deserves to be AP haha just kidding of course :) It was a struggle though to say the least.

We're getting good work done though. We're teaching A LOT of 18 year olds now which is A LOT of fun. We play basketball a lot with them as well because of course all of them play basketball but we're doing it every P-Day which is nice. We should have some baptisms coming up hopefully but the biggest thing with teenagers in the Philippines (and just about anywhere else) is pressure and ridicule from friends and of course cigarettes and alcohol , just the word of wisdom in general. But these progressing investigators seem very good and we'll be focusing on them this next week. But it's been a fun time this week and it keeps getting better :) 

I love you all and I'm excited for the new change with President Andrada this week! I'll let you know how it goes! Love you guys!


Elder Oslund

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Hello from Laoag (Again)

So this is the second time in one week being in Laoag haha. We're here now for a mission conference before President and Sister Barrientos go home after next week. It's going to be awesome but I'm sure it'll be hard for them. I'm excited to see the changes and the new mission president come in! It'll be interesting to see what ends up changing in the mission. Right now, we have some of the strictest mission rules in all of the Philippines but also some of the most successful K.I.'s. It'll be interesting to see what ends up happening. 

But speaking of the mission, there's a lot changing already. We had one of the highest baptizing missions in the Philippines last year but we've dropped A LOT lately. Like it's been not too good of work recently here. I'm not too sure what the problem is, we're working hard, but we do have some problems within our missions but it'll be okay. When I first got in we had about 200+ missionaries but after the October batch there will only be about 140 missionaries in our missions. I really don't know why it's dropping and changing so much, maybe it's just to get ready for the new mission president but it's been a really substantial drop so far. It'll pick back up though :)

But as for the week, it was a lot of fun! You learn a lot from training. Training is DEFINITELY the best calling as a missionary. You have so much fun doing it and you learn to build the greatest relationships with the members here because of it. It was a weird adjustment having to do EVERYTHING in the area for the first few days, it was hard but it was a lot of fun. Now it's getting better and it's fun being a trainer :) I love it :)

My companion's name is Elder Pongyan and he's from Bacolod, Philippines. He didn't go through nearly the changes I had to go through but he's doing good. It's hard right now just because he's just kind of socially awkward but it's fun still. I enjoy it :)

We have a baptism this coming Saturday with Sister Precious! It has been amazing to see the miracle in her family's life to going from completely less active to VERY active within a span of a few months. She'll be baptized and Elder Pongyan is the baptizer which will be good for him for that experience :) Hopefully we'll have more with some other investigators but we're going to start proselyting an area in SITE which is the housing projects in our area, I just felt last night that's where a lot of the prepared investigators are, so we'll go with the revelation and start going there now :) 

It's been fun so far in the mission though. Brother Bhong declared me as one of his type 5 favorite American missionaries and if you get to know Brother Bhong, it's an accomplishment haha! Man it's been fun working though! I'm just being myself and loving to teach and to go to investigators houses and find new people. I actually dislike coming home at times because I wanted to just stay out and proselyte longer. I love it so much! It's crazy to see just how much my faith and teaching skills have grown throughout the mission because of my studies though. It's been the most amazing thing to see. Miracles just continue to happen in my life and in the lives around me :) I'm so happy to be a part of this work :) Everything will be going great now in the mission and in our area :) I'm so excited for what the future has for the Philippines and specifically the Laoag mission :)

I love you all! I'm excited to talk to you again next week :) Love you!!


Elder Oslund

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Back in 12 week program!

Hey guys! So I won't write a lot today. I'm in a huge hurry to get things for the apartment before I head down to Laoag for a few days to get trained on how to train a new missionary! I'm excited to be a trainer but when I was praying last night the spirit told me my faith will be tested this transfer. I don't know exactly what that means, but I hope and pray my faith will be able to be strong enough to make it through and help my new companion. But, I'm excited for it. Just help me out a little bit if I'm struggling of course :) It won't be easy this transfer or two I'm sure. 

I won't be too long on here but basically the story is that I don't want to go home haha. Saying goodbye to Elder Kabiling was hard to do but I apologized to him and he asked why, I just told him "because you're going home" Ha! I of course miss you guys a lot but I really never want to go home. Life here as a missionary is just too much fun and just so awesome. Living in the Philippines has it's challenges but I never want to leave. Ever. This place is a place that was prepared for me to go since before my mission call even came. I know I am supposed to be here. It makes me sad knowing it's only for 2 years. I told my friend if I could be a missionary for my entire life and live in the Philippines my entire life, I would die the happiest man ever. It's true. I don't want to leave. I don't want to ever think about leaving. I hate even thinking that the day will come that I'm going to go back to the United States. Like I said, I love all of you a lot and miss you dearly but there's no better place in the entire world than the Philippines. I hope my family can come out and see why I love it so much when I go home. 

I'm sorry for the short email this week, but I'm in love with my life here. I'm sure I'm going to need that testimony later in my transfer. I don't know why, but I feel like I'm going to have a lot of really hard times coming up ahead of me. Please help me out if I'm having trouble! I love you guys a lot! Please keep me in your prayers and I'll do the same of course :)

I love you all a lot! Sorry if it sounds like I'm in a hurry, but I need to prepare a lot of things before I bus off to Laoag for 6 hours tomorrow at 4 AM. Fun stuff right!? Haha I love you guys!! I love you all a lot! I miss you guys!! 

I love you!


Elder Oslund

Here are some pictures that give a little feel for what life is like for Elder Oslund...what it looks like where he teaches, goes to church, and the happiness he feels!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Hello from Aparri!

Hey guys!

Everything is great here now! Some tough experiences to get through, to learn and to get better. Moving up to Cagayan was like another culture shock for me all over again but it's a fun place to serve!

Basically my area now is one stretch of highway with houses on both sides and we proselyte there everyday so I've seen the same people each day for the last few weeks which has it's ups and downs but it feels like a small town here where everyone knows everyone and they really love seeing the missionaries here. It's a branch in a meetinghouse in Magapit, the meetinghouse is old and worn down, there's no air conditioning and the fans only blow hot air during Sunday service so needless to say I'm about to die during some of these hot summer days here. It's full of all new challenges but it's fun :) We haven't had a single second of work here without a member helping us so it's been a blast to have that kind of help here and share some experiences with the people here.

Like I said it's different, the food, the area, everything. It's very country here. It's very green, everyone is a farmer here no matter what, so we end up eating some pretty nice fruits and what not, but we eat other things. The other day Brother Bhong bought us Chicken heads, chicken feet, grilled chicken blood, intestines, Pork flesh, and I cooked a dog after it got ran over by a car also. I didn't eat it though. So yeah, it's pretty crazy here. A whole new culture shock but it was an easier adjustment this time :)

Our area is mostly walking but since we're in the middle of nowhere we ride on the back of flat bed trucks a lot that are driving along the highway. Elder Kabiling says they pull over especially when they see an American so I guess that's a plus for us here :) It's been a pretty crazy new adventure here for sure but the work is all the same :)

We're teaching a part member family and reactivating them right now and the 8 year old Precious will be baptized on June 27th here. It has been a lot of fun receiving the revelations for them :) They've changed a lot since I first arrived. The main concern is how hard it is to be a member in our church. One thing that I've learned, no matter where you live in the world, it is NEVER easy to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ because it was Never easy for Him. Elder Holland said that we need to pay a small amount of the price that has been paid for us. This mission has helped me to understand about 1/10000000 of what the Savior had to go through, and I still have trouble getting through at times. I'm grateful for the Savior in my life!!

The members here are so much fun to get a long with. Everyone here is easy going and just encourages you to work hard and have fun, and it's just so much nicer when you're with a companion and an apartment who enjoys doing the same. I love working hard, I love being obedient, and I love being a missionary here in the Philippines despite some of the hardships, but you experience hardships no matter what mission you're assigned in. I'm grateful to be able to experience them here in the |Philippines though. I have never loved people so much in my life, but I have never been tested to such an extreme in my entire life as well. Each day has been worth it, each day I've grown and I've gotten better. And I hope that each day from here on out for the rest of my mission will continually be a learning experience. 

I love you guys so much and thank you all for your emails! Sorry I wasn't able to respond last week but everything is great here now. I love it in Magapit! I love you guys! I'll talk to you again next week :)


Elder Oslund

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Missionary work, Lakers Jerseys, Just another week in Vigan :)

Hey everyone! 

So if you're wondering what the heading means it means that I'm getting everyone in Vigan 1 and 2 to start getting Laker jerseys so we can play basketball at night. The young men here are TOO much fun. Every night they call us and play basketball with us after work and we just play and make fun of each other here and we're just having A LOT of fun. You will not have so much fun in your life than with the members here in Vigan 1 and 2. We're spoiled with their love here so much! The basketball court we play on is at the church but we play on a dirt one to practice in the mornings for our workout time right behind our house. Some of the times we have here is too much fun with everyone in Vigan. I'm too blessed to be serving here. The Lakers jerseys are making their appearance here for sure :) Haha

This week was so much fun. It was a little hard at first just with the differences in our apartment but we were able to settle it a little bit better and end up developing such a fun and loving apartment with me, Elder Hoopes, Elder Rodrigo and Elder Leifi. We still have our differences sometimes but it's always fun. this work has always been fun for me since Laoag :) But it's just getting better and better now :)

Some of the things that we really need to improve on this next week is just finding and teaching new investigators. We haven't had supplies in our apartment (Book of Mormons, pamphlets, etc) for about 3 weeks here and the work hasn't been as fun without it because we've kind of been teaching empty handed lately and haven't been able to use ALL of our resources but we have a lot now so sacrament attendance and baptismal dates will go up again which will be nice to see :) The work has been suffering a little bit here because of the lack of supplies we have but it's all okay now :)

Elder Rodrigo and myself have very different proselyting attitudes. I like to find and teach new and progressing investigators and he usually leaves a good reading assignment for them and I've liked proselyting like that so far especially in Vigan since there's not too many members in our area and our area is big, but he mainly likes to go to less active houses and teach them. Both are good and are needed but we haven't been having the amount of lessons recently because of it and it feels like we are just kind of not helping anyone progress which is hard but we'll find a good way to proselyte this week for sure :)

Like I said, we have differences, but we become better because of it :) I'm excited to become a trainer after this cycle though. Elder Hoopes will be training here too so it'll be A LOT of fun to train with him here. Hopefully everything will go better and we'll be able to work better because of it :) I'm excited for it for sure :)

Anyways. nothing too much to report on on this side of the world. It was a good week of missionary work and a fun week with the Elders here again in Vigan. I hope to have more spiritual moments this next week than what we had this week but we'll be working hard for them for sure :)

Anyways I love you guys and I hope you have a good week this week as always :) I'll talk to everyone next week again :) Love you guys!


Elder Oslund

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Seemed like we just talked :)

Hey guys so I'll keep this short since we literally just got off Skype with each other but I just wanted to write so everyone can have an email too :)

Skyping was amazing today! It was great to see and talk to everyone again since Christmas :) I'm so happy to see that everyone is still doing great! I love you guys!!

As for me, my new companion is Elder Rodrigo from Davao, Philippines (Mindinao Region) It was a hard adjustment for the first couple of days but we got everything working yesterday and I'm just loving it now :) I can't be anymore blessed than to be here in Vigan right now with Elder Rodrigo, Elder Hoopes, and Elder Lefi. Each day just keeps getting better and better.

My Tagalog keeps improving it seems like everyday. At first it was hard because of my American accent kind of but I wouldn't say that I'm a "native" speaker now but I would say I'm about 75% of the way there. :) But let's just say that the language is no longer a barrier for me anymore which is so, so, so much nicer.

It was awesome to Skype on Mother's day though. Just being on my mission makes me so much more grateful for my family and especially for my parents. I know that families can be together forever through God's eternal plan for us :) That knowledge brings me so much peace in the troubling times that we sometimes have to go through in each one of our lives :)

Everything here is going great as always though. We're just getting the work started here in Vigan and hopefully we'll have Brother Bernandino baptized at the end of the month. He made some amazing changes in his life to quit drinking alcohol, quit smoking and drinking tea, and he's taking his first steps towards his baptismal date now at the end of the month :) I really hope that he'll continue to have these experiences and continue changing. I really hope and pray Elder Rodrigo can leave his mission with an amazing miracle in the lives of our investigators :)

We're helping a less-active family right now get a job so that they can come back to church and be sealed together in the temple as a family at the end of the year. They live so far away from us and the church and they are trying to support their kid while both being unemployed so they don't have enough money to really support all of their needs nonetheless enough money to go to church and back.  The scripture that comes to mind when I think of them is 3 Nephi 13:31-33. How great are His promises to those who keep His commandments first? :) Our Heavenly Father truly does know our needs before we even ask Him. He's anxious and willing to help us and I'm so grateful for the blessings we receive if we follow and keep ALL of His commandments :)

Anyways, it was a simple one today because of the Skype this morning but I just want to say I love you all again and I'm happy to see everyone and talk to everyone again :) I'll talk to you again on Christmas! :)) Love you guys!!


Elder Oslund

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Hello Ulit from Laoag :)

Hey everyone!!!

So I'm writing this email from Laoag right now since Elder Gamboa is going home now. The bus ride was horrible but we made it haha :) 

It's really, really fun being back in Laoag right now. We get to work in my first area and I guess it's pretty fun to see my old "stomping grounds". Laoag is a great place :) 

Everything is going great here though, Elder Gamboa and Elder Angolluan just had their President interviews and we get to work with Elder Angolluan again tonight which will be a really really fun time. Then I go back to Vigan tomorrow morning when I pick up my new companion from the GMW here in Centro. My new companion's name is Elder Rodrigo and he's the District leader in our district now and he'll be going home after this transfer as well. All I know is that he's Filipino haha. Elder Risenmay is still up in Santa Ana but now he's up there with my co-batch mate Elder Kelley. They're way too lucky! But when I was in the office today President Barrientos pulled me in and told me to keep Elder Rodrigo working this transfer so he can end his mission with a bang and go home having a memorable mission experience. Then he said that I'll be training and become the new district leader once this transfer is over which is pretty cool I guess! Something to look forward to I guess :)

It's funny to look back at it now and see how worried I was to have a Filipino companion for the first time and all the differences we needed to get over, but now I would love to have a lot of Filipino companions through out my mission. They're a lot of fun I'm telling you!

Our new apartment mate with Elder Hoopes is Elder Leifi who's also going home this transfer but we met a lot of times before this. He's a really, really built Samoan who's planning on playing some college football after this which is pretty cool. It's going to be a good transfer this next transfer :)

As for this week, it was A LOT of fun again! We got bikes in our area so it's nice to not have to pay for pamensahe (travel funds) everywhere, but now we bike to the mountains and back so it can take it's toll on you  in the summer heat but it's still fun :) Elder Gamboa went over a bump to finish up his mission yesterday and his front wheel completely fell off and he ate it pretty hard which wasn't fun at the time but now looking back on it it's pretty hilarious haha!

Rolando Baro is doing great still! He has a job at the Pepsi plant and is employed by a really strong member there but we aren't able to visit or teach him until Sunday afternoon but he's still excited as ever about the church and the gospel :) He was also able to get the Aaronic Priesthood conferred upon him yesterday which was really special and HOPEFULLY he'll be able to get a church calling soon. We'll be praying for him for sure through out these next few weeks :) Sister Janalyn took the kids and moved down South for her work yesterday morning which sounds devastating to us Americans but it's pretty normal here to move away for a long period of time to support your family. Keep praying for them to remain strong together though :) Everything will be great in the end :)

Things are getting a little weird in our apartment though just between us and the other Elders. There seems to be A LOT of murmuring going on which is really hindering our relationship in the apartment. Elder Gamboa just advised me with what President Barrientos advised him with when he moved into the apartment, just serve, love and be patient with yourself and the others. It's sad to have that in your apartment as missionaries, but it happens and you just need to work it out between each other. Hopefully everything goes better soon though :)

Everything else is going pretty great though!! I'm still loving it here in Laoag and in Vigan of course haha. I'm excited to keep working this transfer and hopefully we'll have just as much success this transfer as we did the last transfer. It's been a lot of fun lately though! I love it here! :)

Anyways, I love you all and I hope this week is great for everyone :) Love you guys!!!


Elder Oslund

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Baro's Baptism

Hello everyone! :)

So this last week was of course better than the last :) Things just keep getting better and better here! Yesterday we were able to baptize the Baro family and that was one of the greatest days I could have asked for :) There was such an amazing spirit the entire day from the start of their baptism, through their confirmation and just all throughout the day :) It was really, really amazing to see them after their baptism! You can just see the joy from Brother Rolando throughout the day. After his own baptism he grabbed a mop and just mopped the church and after sacrament and our classes he stacked all the chairs and we tried to insist that we would take care of it but he just wanted to help out in any way possible. You can tell that they started a new life after that baptism as disciples of Christ :) We later taught them as recent converts about missionary work and they were super happy to tell us a story of telling their neighbors why they decided to become Mormon. It was one of the most memorable days in their lives for sure :) It was amazing. I asked later on what they felt after their baptism and they just simply said that there was "no doubt" that this church is the true church of Christ restored again through Joseph Smith. They shared a one sentence long testimony of the church after their baptism but you could tell that they knew that this was the best thing that they could have done for their entire family :) It was very, very amazing to find and teach them with Elder Gamboa this transfer :) But now there's an even greater responsibility on us to make sure they stay strong in the church especially with the trials of Sister Janalyn having to leave her family again to go work down South. It's going to be hard for them but the gospel will always help their family no matter where they are :) Your prayers would be amazing for them right now!!! They need them for sure :) 

Everything else this week was great :) Elder Gamboa and I are having a BLAST together! It's been so much fun these last few weeks of the transfer with him. I can't even begin to tell you the fun and the things we've been able to do recently with him but it's all been so so so much fun :) And it makes it even better just being able to be here and being able to do the Lord's work while still having fun at the same time. So can have fun while still living and spreading the gospel :) That is very, very possible haha. But as far as how much our relationship has grown, we've shared pretty much our life story with each other and depending on how soon after the mission he gets married, we'll probably meet up again either in the states or in the Philippines and just have some fun with some of the people we've met while on the mission. I've been able to meet some really, really great people so far and it's just been some of the best times of my life being able to be here with all of them. It's been a blast :)  It'll only get better as time goes on as well :)

This week we're just going to focus more on our areas where there's farms and corn fields because that area hasn't been proselyted in for a few years so there's A LOT of potential in our area. We've found 120 new investigators in this transfer alone from those areas hahaha! It's crazy I swear. We're really, really busy right now just finding and teaching and baptizing. It's been a blast thus far. I can't wait to keep it going :)

I love you guys and I'm excited to hear back from everyone next week! :) I love you guys!!


Elder Oslund