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

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Too happy!! :)

Hey everyone!!!

So this past week was one of the best weeks of my life!! I love Elder Gamboa so much! I've never had so much fun in my life! It all just came down to accepting each other's differences and loving each other no matter what. And I have never, ever, ever loved someone as much as I love my companion and the people whom we serve here in Vigan. It was one of the best weeks ever! 

Being in an area with a companion that you love and an area you never want to leave from is the most amazing feeling. If I could, I would live in Vigan forever. This place has it all! I've never had so much fun in my life than being in Vigan! Being able to go to the mountains, go to the beach (on P-Days :)) and just being able to teach all the people here has been the best experience I've ever had in my life. :) I love it so, so, so much here :)

This past week was really simple but really fun. Despite all the fun we've been having, we're getting A LOT of work done. We had 40 lessons this week (The most since I've been on my mission) and we have the Baro baptism coming up this next Sunday and their confirmation the following Sunday!! It couldn't be any more amazing than what it is right now in our area :) We have the best area in the mission hands down :)

It was so much fun to teach lessons this week and especially to the Baro family to help them get ready for their baptism! It's going to be the happiest day of my life when we get to see them in their baptismal clothes with their two kids in their arms after realizing what they have been going through as a family. The most amazing thing to see as a missionary is to see how people change their lives after gaining a knowledge of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. And it has been one of the purest joys of my entire life to see how the Baro's have changed and not only them, but myself as well. I can say now that I am TRULY converted to Christ and His gospel :) It's been the greatest joy I've ever received since being in the Philippines :) I've never, ever, ever loved people as much as the people that I've been around these last few weeks. The Lord has blessed my life in degrees unimaginable and I feel that this missionary service is a small token that I'm paying for the love and the blessings He has constantly showered upon me. I cannot possibly thank Him enough! :) 

Anyways, I love you guys so much and I hope this email helps people understand how much I love I love my calling as a missionary here in the Laoag mission! It's been amazing and it will only continue to get better! :)

I love you guys!!! 


Elder Oslund

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Happy Conference :)

Hello Everyone!! :)

This week got harder before it got better for sure. It's been hard with Elder Gamboa recently. We don't really have a lot in common but that really isn't the problem. I woke up to him on Tuesday morning packing his bags and walking out the door. I was just baffled at that time so we needed President Barrientos to come down and help the situation a little bit. It's been a really hard time this transfer. Some of the hardest times to find love for someone that I just can't click with. I feel that it's my fault for not being able to love him as much as I need to but it's so hard to truly love someone who you can't trust all the time. It's been hard but it's been getting better little by little. I know there's a lot of things I need to improve on in myself to be able to help him better. I learned that you can't change someone else, all you have is the power to change yourself. So that's what I've been doing, trying to change myself so we can get this companionship going a little bit better. 

It was a good week of work towards the end of the week though :)

We have two investigators who are a husband and wife who we taught at the beginning of the transfer and they'll be baptized on the 25th :) Their baptismal interview is this Saturday and we're making the announcement of their baptism on Sunday. Rolando and Janalyn have been AMAZING to teach. Sister Baro had an addiction to drinking coffee but as we taught her the Word of Wisdom she immediately threw away her coffee products and decided to get Milo instead. They're different compared to any other investigator that we've had because they've truly searched and prayed with a humble and sincere heart to know if The Book of Mormon is true and as they did this then as it says in the Introduction to The Book of Mormon that they will also come to know that God is our loving Heavenly Father, that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God and has restored the fullness of Christ's gospel again on the Earth. In short, EVERYTHING we know to be true in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is built upon our testimony that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. And I KNOW that The Book of Mormon is the word of God. It's amazing to be able to baptize a family of 4 and help them receive the eternal covenants of Salvation and help prepare them to make more covenants in the Lord's temple after this baptism. I'm so, so, so excited for the Baro family and for their son and daughter to have the gospel in their home. I'm so, so, so excited for them :) Words can't truly describe how happy I am for their family :)

Everything else this week went great! :) Conference was amazing as always. I reflected on my life and realized how grateful I am to have prophetic counsel in my life to guide me and help me through a world that is getting farther and farther apart from Christ's doctrine. Their counsel lead by the spirit has given me more advice in my life than ever before. I can't really say which conference talk was my absolute favorite because each one I was able to learn and grow from in a different way. It made me more grateful for the Savior and His atoning sacrifice, it made me more grateful for my family, for my parents, and grandparents, sister and brother. It made me more grateful to understand that we can be together forever through the covenants in the temple and the importance of doing family history work so that we can be united together again with a celestial bond. And it just made me more grateful to have a loving Heavenly Father to help me out in times of need. He really does reach out and talk to us through His appointed servants. I'm so grateful for this gospel and for the Restored church of Jesus Christ! :) That is the reason why I left on my mission, so that others can feel the love of the Savior in their own lives and receive the same ordinances that has gave my life peace, direction, and love. I love this church! :) and I love my Father in Heaven and His plan for us! :) I hope each and everyone of you who reads this email can feel the love that I have for Him and for His plan and can feel closer to Him because of this email :)

I love you all so much and I hope you all are able to find love, joy, peace, and happiness as I have found in my life through living the restored gospel :) I love you all! :) and I hope this week is great week for everyone! :)

With love,

Elder Oslund

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy April 6th :)

Hey guys! 

So besides it being April 6th today which is just a good day in general. Today is the 185th anniversary of Christ's church Restored and organized again on the Earth. How amazing is that? And not only that, today is the day that is accepted through revelation in this dispensation as our Lord and Savior's birthday. April 6th is a very, very, very amazing date in time and history for the entire history of the universe. Some of the most important occurrences in all of history happened on this date. How amazing is April 6? :)

This week was a pretty good week here in Ilocos Sur. It was Holy Week here in the Philippines and I have some very, very crazy stories about Holy Week here. Unfortunately, some of them aren't all good, there were people crucified, I had an encounter with someone using black magic on me in downtown Vigan to try and steal my money. It was just very very bad at times. The black magic experience was very abnormal. Elder Gamboa and I were walking through downtown Vigan to try to get back to our apartment and it was Wednesday night when everyone was celebrating Holy Week. And Holy Week is very big in the Philippines, especially in Vigan with all of the Catholic churches and landmarks here. So we were walking back and there was a parade outside of one of the old classic Cathedrals here when we saw a beggar. Elder Angolluan told me if you ever see a beggar (especially in Manila) to never look in their eyes because they use hypnotism to try and take all of your money. So when I saw him I immediately felt to not look into his eyes. So we walked by him and immediately he just started following us. Then we stop and he stands right next to me with his hand stretched out to get money. Then I was just tempted to look into his eyes. Biggest mistake of my life. This guys eyes were completely black, they had absolutely no white in them and I felt just a dark presence come over me and I had to tell myself to look away. When I finally looked away he did everything he could to get back into my eye sight so that's the time Elder Gamboa and I just decided to hurry back to our apartment. Next thing you know he's following us back to our apartment when we see a police officer leaning up on a tricycle and told him that someone was following us. Then he tries to grab him and this guy just bolts down the road faster than I've seen anyone run before in my life. So that's what Holy Week was like here haha. Pretty crazy stuff.

The typhoon, thankfully, never hit us this week, It dispersed over the Pacific at the very last second and we didn't even get a single drop of rain. Only a little wind is all. The prayers really did help this week :) I'm so happy it didn't hit the Philippines. It would have been devastating if it would have came here.

Elder Gamboa and I are still working hard but it's been different to have him as my companion. I feel like he lies a lot to me and it causes a really big disturbance in the apartment as well with the other companionship. So we sat down and had a talk for about 2 hours today and it really really helped himself and myself as well. Basically I just told him that he needs to grow up and stop looking to judge other people. I found in my own life that as I have cast out the beam out of mine own eye first then I can see clearly how I need to change myself. I'm trying my best to help him and we are a companionship so I will always be there for him and support him and trust him. But it's hard sometimes, but as I pray for charity for him then I'm able to love him even more despite the difficulties and tough circumstances. 

Vigan is a very, very good area. I love it so much here :) It's A LOT different than Laoag though. There's no members who live in our area so we don't develop the close relationships with the members like what we were able to do in Laoag. That's what i miss most, just the members there. They were the best and they made Laoag a great place to serve. If it wasnt for them, Laoag would have been the hardest 4 1/2 months of my life. But because of them, it was the best 4 1/2 months of my life. I'm so grateful for the members there :)

Everything else is going great though! Just working hard and getting ready for General Conference this next week for us here. I'll be starting to study Ilokano this upcoming week to try to be fluent in that as well, then after that I'll study Cebuano, then if i have time maybe even a little Spanish towards the end of my mission. I figured what a better time to learn new languages than when you're on your mission haha. It's fun but it's hard work still. It takes a lot of faith, hard work, determination, and takes a lot of courage to not be afraid of making mistakes and learning from those mistakes. But it's all fun stuff, and it all makes me rely more fully on Christ for His help while learning these languages. :)

That's about it for me this week! :) I hope you all have a great week this week! :) Love you all!:) I'll talk to you all soon :)


Elder Oslund