Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hello Everyone Again :)

Hey Friends and Family!! :)

Well, first of all. I'm so happy that my Grandma is doing better and receiving strength after her surgeries. I know it can't be a great time in my family's life right now and especially for my Grandma and Grandpa to go over this process again for the 3rd time now. 

I didn't find out what had happened until about 15 minutes ago, but I felt that my family had been having a very hard time in their life. And I was out of sync the entire morning on Thursday morning and wondered what it could have been. I went back to our apartment where I have a picture of our family and our grandparents in a frame from my brother's temple marriage. I looked at them and felt like they needed help. I looked at my grandma and felt that she needed strength. So I I went up stairs and cried for my family to our Lord. I cried that they would be strengthened and their burdens can be made light and that they can feel the love which Heavenly Father has for them. After reading my family's emails I know that it was an inspired plead to our Heavenly Father to help my family with their trials. I hope and pray that you all felt the love which I wanted you all to feel and the comfort of the Holy Ghost and the love of our Savior in this trying time in everyone's life.

One of my favorite scriptures is from Alma 7:11 that has comforted me every time that I feel weak on my mission or that I need strength from my Savior. I know that this scripture applies to what is happening right now for our family and the strength that they need in their lives right now as well. The scripture says "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith HE WILL TAKE UPON HIM THE PAINS AND SICKNESSES OF HIS PEOPLE." 

I don't know what my grandparents are feeling, I have no idea what my brother, sister, mom, dad, aunts, uncles, and cousins are feeling through this ordeal. But I know that our Savior knows. I know that through Him that we can be comforted. That we can have peace. And only through Him can we have the sicknesses and trials be made light in our lives so that it will be as if the trails don't even exist. I know that he is our Savior and Redeemer. And through Him we don't have to have feel the temporal pains and afflictions that we're subject to in this mortal journey of ours. This knowledge has helped me time and time again in this mission. I have overcome trials and hardships in my life that I wouldn't have been able to get over with out our Savior. He is willing,  waiting and anxious to help us with our burdens as soon as we learn to exercise faith in Him and His atonement by pouring out our hearts and souls to Him in sincere and heart felt prayer. To literally cast our problems upon Him. I PROMISE that as we learn to do this in our lives that we will no longer feel the pains of the trials that we have in our life. We will no longer feel the pain that we have, both physical, spiritual, and mental. I KNOW that this is true. I am a living witness of the truth that our Redeemer still lives and that he will support and help us in these times. Don't be scared or worried, rely on Him and He will be there. I PROMISE that this is true. I love and I REJOICE in this knowledge.

I'm sorry if I didn't tell you about my week. It wasn't too exciting anyways :) haha But everything is still going great here :) My Tagalog is going up so much and I LOVE working with Elder Angolluan|! But mostly I love serving the Lord!! I love you all!!! I'll continue to pray for you all! :)

Love you!!

Elder Oslund


Enjoy!!! The zoo in the Philippines!! Not really, just and investigators house haha

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Another week in the Philippines :)

Hello everyone again!!!

This week was a pretty big change for me. Having your first Filipino companion is in fact as hard as what most people tell you that it's going to be. Not being able to use any English in your communication now is extremely hard but my communication in Tagalog has shot up A LOT in just a week! There's a big difference in cultures as far as living styles that you NEED to have charity and patience for or else it will be very very very hard to live together. But I LOVE Elder Angolluan! He is the man!!! He's from Antepolo (Manila) and is 23 coming up on 24 years old. During language study he teaches me Tagalog and I teach him English and it just seemed like this companionship was received from revelation specifically for this area in Laoag. He only has 3 months left on his mission and hasn't ever served in the city but he knows how to help wards progress, something that needs to happen in Laoag 3 BADLY!! It's been difficult these past few weeks here in Laoag and has gotten a lot harder lately. 

The only progressing investigators that we've had for the last 8 months in Laoag 3 moved last week back home to Baguio. It was Ryan and Algen and I was so, so, so sad when they told me that. They just packed up everything and told us that they were leaving that night to go back to their family. We asked if they knew the church was true and with the most stern and reassuring voice they said, "It's true" then without even hesitating they said they're going to be baptized in Baguio and come back to church so we can see them as members. I was so happy when they said that! I've seen how much they've changed these last few weeks in trying as hard as they can to be worthy to be baptized. If they were here they probably would have been able to be baptized on March 7th but I hope and pray they'll continue being taught to be baptized :)

It's hard changing companions from an American to a Filipino in just a day and really have your world kind of flipped but it's getting a lot easier now :) The weirdest part at first was just having to speak, write, talk, text, EVERYTHING all in Tagalog. It's still something that I'm trying to get used to now but it's coming along :)

One thing that I learned this week was to learn how to receive strength to overcome these trials instead of trying to change the situation completely. Sometimes you can't change the situation you have in life, I'm sure there's a lot of people here in the Philippines that wish they can change their situation, and I wish and pray for the same thing as well, but something that I can do better and can learn from, is to learn how to pray for strength to NOT change these situations, but learn how to rely on Christ to make these trials made light. This knowledge has helped me out the most this past week to have the trials of living in a third world country be made light. It's not easy, it's the hardest thing I have ever done trying to do this day in and day out, every single day. But there was someone who did it perfectly who lived along time ago, so that when we face a small amount of the trials that He faced in His own life, we can have someone to look to for strength, and an example to look to, and for someone to cast our fears and our trials on and we will immediately be strengthened :)

Anyways this is it for me for this week, I love you guys, prayers will be accepted anytime :) hahaha!! But everything here is great!! I love the Philippines and Laoag!!! I couldn't ask for a better place to serve in :)

I love you guys!!!
Mahal kita,

Elder Oslund


Elder Oslund says:

So there's a lot

The cooking was done two weeks ago, that's ALL the parts of the goat, even the blood. Made into a jell-o type deal

Then an art gallery for Allen Rae was this last week. I was so proud of him! I love art now! This art really does capture all of the emotion and amazing detail of the Philippines that I can never describe in words. Art is amazing :)

Then the rest are for you to enjoy :)

The one with me pretending to pee on the wall is because the wall says "Only dogs can pee here" in Ilocano/Tagalog :)

Last photo with Elder Risenmay

First photo with Elder Angolluan

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hello again from Laoag :)

Hey guys!

So Laoag 3B will continue being my home for the next month and a half! Elder Risenmay got the text last night that he's heading WAY up north to the farthest point of the mission (but with the most beautiful beaches) in Santa Ana. He's looking forward to it! I'll miss him though, over the last couple of weeks he really became my best friend. At least we'll get to see each other throughout the mission because he isn't leaving anytime soon either :) haha But I sure did grow a lot with him as my companion! I'm extremely grateful for the three months we've had together :)

My new companion is coming from up North from Kagayan. His name is Elder Angolluan. I don't know anything about him but all I know is that he's a Filipino. Everyone has said that your first Filipnio companion is a little difficult because of the differences of culture and the language barrier as well. I'm excited to get working with him and start developing more skills in the language :) It'll be a hard adjustment though I'm sure! Prayers will be needed! But the most important thing in a companionship is charity! Once you have charity you no longer see the differences in the culture or allow little things to get to you. I'm happy to have learned that early on my mission rather than later :) haha It all really does start with the companionship though! If the companions are fighting then the area won't do as well because the spirit can't dwell within contention :)

This week went by QUICK! It didn't feel like a full week at all so there's not too much that's new to update you on.

I'm am EXTREMELY grateful to be able to continue being here in Laoag though! The members are awesome and I love the people we teach! Laoag is said to be one of the harder areas in the mission just because it's so busy and it's such a small area but I sure have enjoyed my time these last three months here :) 

It's been hard for the people who we've been teaching to come to church lately. It's one of the most disheartening things to see as a missionary when you go over to people's houses 3-5 times a week, share spiritual and sacred experiences together, and pray for them night and day and you don't see anyone at church. It's not disheartening as in "I stink at teaching" or "I'm not a good missionary" but it's disheartening in a sense that you love them SO much and you want the best for them and you KNOW that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the best way for them to truly be happy in this life. It gets disappointing, and you have those days when you feel like you're just walking in circles all day in the sun and you don't have anyone to go to. This work is really tough but there is NO greater joy than seeing people change because of the Spirit and because of them coming to realize the joy that comes from following the example of the Savior :)

One of the coolest cookouts we've had was this week too. One of our members is moving from here to Denver to marry his girlfriend so we had an Elders Quorum activity. It was a cookout from 7-12 but we were only there for a couple of hours for lunch. They got there early to prepare the goats and the chickens that we ate later on. And when we eat goat here, we eat ALL of the goat. I had the brains, liver, skin, intestines and they gave Elder Risenmay and I the other parts and gave us the entire BBQ chicken intestines. All in all it was all pretty good! HAHA Pictures to come :) But it was so much fun to be there and just have a good time with them! I love Laoag 3!!! :)

Anyways that's about it for me this week. I love you all and hope you all have a great week and a great Valentines Day! :)

Mahal kita,

Elder Oslund

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hey guys :)

Hey Everyone!!!

Time is short so let me just get right to it! Sorry for the delay for emails this week! We have a broadcast later on this afternoon with a General Authority from Salt Lake that our mission was invited to! It should be lots of fun!

Well, this is my LAST WEEK OF TRAINING. In a weird sense it went by EXTREMELY fast and I've grown so much over this period of training. I'm so grateful to have 20 more months to continue growing and becoming more and more Christlike through this missionary service. I can't wait!!!! Missions are amazing!!!!!

So this week we found two young men named Ryan and Algen. Ryan is 21 and Algen is 20. When we first made contact with them they seemed too accepting and we didn't even have to say anything really and we were already inside of their house. I kind of thought they were going to play a prank on us so at first I was freaking out a little bit haha. But as we started talking to them, Algen said that he had a dream where he saw "A big white church, everyone in there was wearing white and they were giving thanks and praising God. Then I saw a man holding a trumpet as if he was going to blow out of it." Elder Risenmay and I just looked at each other and we were just stunned. Then he said, "I felt something like you guys can help me know what that means." So we were like YEAH OF COURSE we'll help you know what this means. Apparently Algen has been to all different churches, Islam, Born Again, Iglesia ni Cristo, Catholic, Baptist, but he never found one that was right and he's been praying to know which one is right. So we extended a baptismal date after we first met him and gave him a Book of Mormon.

At first it was Algen who was extremely interested in the lesson because of his dream. But after we gave them a Book of Mormon, each one of them read from it and you can see the difference in both of them ALREADY. They are typical 20 & 21 year olds who don't have the gospel in their lives. They have problems that they'll need to fix before being able to be baptized, but you ALREADY KNOW, just by them READING THE BOOK OF MORMON, that they've received an answer. So, they went to church this Sunday. Even with the Parade in Laoag from February 1-10th and EVERYONE in the congregation missing because of that parade, they still went. They were shy and scared and timid, but they're coming back next week. They even are going to play basketball with us on Friday morning before we teach them later on. 

How amazing is the Lord in preparing His children to hear the Restored Gospel and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ? How amazing is He to LEAD and to GUIDE us to the path that we needed to go in order to find these Sons of our Father in Heaven to receive the fulness of the truth that they have been desperately waiting for. And how AMAZING is it that they were able to recognize that we were servants of the Lord and can feel the spirit testify that we have what they need BEFORE we even said hi to them!!! HOW AMAZING IS THAT?? :)

Over the past week and a half I have developed more Christlike love for our Heavenly Father's children more than ever! Elder Risenmay said that the Standard of Excellence isn't there to show us how good or bad our performance is as missionaries, but he views it as opportunities to develop more and more Christlike love for MORE of Heavenly Father's children. Our love is not anywhere near the perfect love of the Savior, but we have been able to develop an amazing kinship with our Brothers and Sisters in the Philippines. At times, I talk to random people and just think, "I really, really love this guy." The most important quality of doing the Lord's work is LOVE :) I can't begin to tell you the amount of love I have for the people we teach, we talk to, and the amount of love for the language, and culture of the Philippines. I KNOW that this was the mission where the Lord needed me to go on. I get a spiritual confirmation of that EVERYDAY. I can't begin to thank Him enough for the blessing of serving this mission and serving Him after all He has done for me in my life :)

I hope you all have a great week and enjoy this email! I LOVE you guys back in the states as well :) haha

Mahal Kita!

Elder Oslund

On the back of a jeepney after running it down with Elder Risenmay

BOBBY BOY! He had a stroke recently and is by far my favorite member of our church. He's awesome!

Allen Rae (on left) with 3 Elders and one unknown young man!

Palting and Gudran family. What an awesome night it was! I love their little kids!

Just because it is beautiful