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