Monday, January 5, 2015

Ano ang Pinakadakilang Biyaya sa Inyong Buhay? (What is the greatest blessing in your life?)

Hello everyone! Happy 2015!

"What is the greatest blessing in your life?" 

If any of you are wondering we made it through New Years just fine! I was so surprised at how much they celebrated the New Years here. We had to go into our apartments at 5 PM and it's a good thing that we did. From 5 PM -3 AM there was nothing but fireworks coming at every direction you can imagine. Just imagine a 10 hour grand finale haha. It sounds cool until you try to go to bed at 10:30. But they sure do celebrate the New Years pretty well here! They flood the streets all day, and it was impossible trying to get any lessons on New Years Eve because everyone just wanted to feed us haha. It was amazing for sure!

This week was pretty amazing. Allen Rae is awesome. He shared his testimony about how when he was younger he read a lot of different Bibles and he said that they were all different, every single church had a different set of scriptures and when the missionaries came over and gave him a Book of Mormon he felt more of a direction in his life. He's been reading from The Book of Mormon and praying everyday and you can literally see the change in him from lesson to lesson. I love that kid! He's still having some trouble coming to church though which is very disappointing because once you have that testimony you NEED to act on it and show your faith by keeping the commandments. He's awesome though, I'm so grateful to be able to teach him!

The Cleto family is doing amazing as well. Cornelio is becoming such a strong example to his family's life about living the gospel and how the gospel blesses families. I've seen first hand how much difference there is in a family who is founded on the gospel and a family who isn't. It's like night and day for them! They just seem happier, closer, and have received so many blessings as far as work, school, and family matters. Our Heavenly Father loves His children here so much! It's amazing to see the changes in people's lives everyday.

We taught a lot of less-active members through out this past week to try and get them on a good start to 2015. We often asked "What is the greatest blessing in your life?" That question set the pace for the rest of the lesson. A lot of them said work (it's extremely hard to find jobs in the Philippines), school, family, friends, and some said church. 

Whatever the reason was I told them the greatest blessings in my own life. I had to think about it, but it wasn't that hard to come up with the answer to that question. There's no doubt that the greatest blessings in my life has been the love of the Savior for me, personally, and my family. I never realized just how much I loved my family until I came out on my mission. They're seriously the greatest!

It was so great to see most of the less-actives that we taught start off the new year strong and come to church on the first week.You can see how nervous they were to come back but you can see how they were able feel the Savior's love for them, personally as well.

On top of those blessings that I named I just want to share a few more. I am extremely grateful for The Book of Mormon, I never realized until about a month ago just how much power that book contains. I've been able to see it change my own life and I have been able to witness it's power in other people's lives as well.

I'm grateful for my decision to be baptized and later my decision to go on a mission. Both of those didn't come at an easy price. I promised to make commitments and to follow those commitments for the rest of my life, in turn, a lot of sacrifices and a lot of hardships and trials have happened. But all of them were eventually overcome by the Savior's atonement. I LOVE BEING ON MY MISSION. It's been by far the best decision I've made. But each day is a different trial and a different opportunity to grow and get better.

And I AM SO GRATEFUL TO BE HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES!!! I don't know where else I would rather serve. I love the people here so much, the members are the best and I've been able to learn and grow so much from them. I really can't tell you how much I love them. 

It's been weird being here though. Since I've been talking almost always in Tagalog whenever i speak English I say the English words with an accent. I hear a lot of Elders and Sisters from the states that have been here for 15 months+ and they all have accents. I never would have thought that I would develop that but looks like I already am! 

Well guys I love you all! I hope everyone has a great week this week and starts out the 2015 year strong! I'm so grateful to be doing this work here for this entire year!!! :)

Mahal kita!

Elder Oslund

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