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