Monday, October 27, 2014

October 28, 2014

Mom, (Here is your small letter for the Relief Society)

Kumusta ka champions ward! I miss my ladies and I hope y'all don't miss me too much. ;) I've learned so much in the short amount time I've been on my mission. The Philippines is so beautiful. The people are the most kind and loving people I've ever met. I'm in Aringay and on the church records their are supposed to be over 2000 members but, only 150 go to church. So obviously our main focus is retention or find the "lost one" or in our case the "lost one(s)." Why are their so many less active people, you might ask? Well, I've asked that same thing. I've been in their homes and this is what I've observed.

 First off, it all comes down to pride. Pride is the foundation of all sin. A lot of members have been offended and left the church. When leaders try to correct mistakes people take it personally and leave. 

 The other common problem is the poverty. Some people literally can't afford to come to church or take a day off from work or they won't be able to feed their families. I'm not being dramatic when I say this. I have seen some horrible things that I really didn't expect to see. Living conditions that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I've been in these so called,"homes," and these families give me and my companion food and they just watch us eat because their wasn't enough for them. These people aren't sure walking 8 miles to church is worth it or not. And because of their living situation they doubt if there really is a God. 

 And finally the most common problem, these people are not "converted." They were baptized and/or possibly raised in the church. These people have testimonies but they're not converted. Here's the difference. 
Testimony-is believing that something is true (for example they believe the Book of Mormon is true).

Converted-is believing something is true and CONSISTENTLY doing it EVERYDAY

This is a big problem in church in the Philippines and all around the world. Member's neglect to do the little things. The simple things we learned in primary or seminary. These members aren't willing to make those "sacrifices," or "endure to the end," because they aren't, "converted unto the Lord." There are countless examples of this in the scriptures. Those people who didn't, "cling to the iron rod," or they remembered God only when times were bad but when things were going good He seems to have slipped into the back of our minds. 

So how does this apply to the champions ward or us? Sisters don't forget the small things. The children of Israel wouldn't look at Moses's staff and be healed because they thought it was "too easy" or "too simple" to really make a difference. Well it does. Out of those 150 member's in my small little branch 3/4's of them are very poor. They walk the 5 miles to church and they pay their tithing because if you really are CONVERTED unto the Lord, then you'll sacrifice anything to come unto Him.

I heard a inspiring quote on my mission it states;
         "...the Lord is easy to please but, hard to satisfy..." 

I wish our church was easy. I wish we could go on Sunday and say Hosanna and Praise the Lord and go home and do the same bad things we did before. But that's not how it works with Jesus Christ's church. We have to work at it everyday. Remember when Christ taught, "if you love me keep my commandments." What are our actions saying to the Lord. Why is it hard to be a missionary or a latter day saint? Because salvation isn't cheap. Sometimes we forget what is really at stake here. So sisters lets "not waste the Lords time" or "procrastinate our probation." Do the little things. Read your scriptures, magnify your calling, have charity, endure to the end and pray to your Father in Heaven because he is waiting for you. I know as we put our trust in Jesus Christ and His Atonement and become truly converted unto the Lord...we will never fall away.  


Elder Strader 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21, 2014


Sorry I don't have a lot time but I promise I'll email a longer message next week. So much has happened. We had our first baptism as a companionship and it's only my first cycle! Her name is Sister Unica Borja and she's in a part member family. Elder T baptized her and I confirmed her during sacrament meeting at church. I can't express in words of how nervous I was, but it was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. I have no idea what I was going to say before and I don't remember what I said during the blessing. But I'm so grateful for the Spirit and the Priesthood. Elder T and I are teaching so many lessons and are leading the zone. Elder T is an awesome trainer and is pushing me to be better. My Tagalog is coming hahaha at least I hope so. I love y'all and you're in my prayers every night. I hope everything is going okay with school, wrestling, work, ect. I love and miss you all.

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

P.S. - Here are some pictures! A lady we teach has a pet monkey but it has rabies and bites people. There's this little girl who act's just like Emyrie and it makes me sad. I showed her a picture of Emyrie and she loved it. I use my photo album a lot in lessons especially when we talked about families can be together forever. It's beautiful here. I wish I could take more pictures but it's really rude to take a picture during a lesson. And here's a really weird looking fruit, that is the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. I'm loving it here!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

October 13, 2014


Sorry I don't have time to type today but I want you to know that I'm doing great. Elder T and I have been blessed with a lot of success and we have some baptisms coming up. The members here really like me and the Young Women attendance in church has doubled. I wonder why. I see miracles everyday. The church here really relies on the missionaries more then in the States. They think we know everything...I'm not kidding. We as missionaries take care of issues that the Branch President should be doing but the thing is...we're (the missionaries) the only ones that know how to do things correctly. It's pretty intimidating for me as a 18 year old American teaching older Priesthood holders basic doctrine and ordinances. I honestly believe my whole life has prepared me for this. 

We have 4000 members in Aringay on paper but only 100 go to church on Sunday. That's why it's still a branch. And there's only 6 missionaries in this area. So we teach a lot of less active people. And the root of all there problems is that they don't do the little things and pride. Brennan, Maddie, Donovan I hope you read your scriptures everyday. I hope you say your prayers morning and night. I hope the Strader family has family prayer every night and daily scripture study. I promise you it will bless you and our family and give you that daily protection. Thank you for everything you have taught me. Y'all are in my prayers every night. I love you all so much. Don't worry the time will fly by fast and I'll be home soon. 

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 7, 2014


Where do I start? I'm just loving my area. Elder T and I are having a lot of success together and have some baptisms coming up. I love the members here and the our investigators. A couple of days ago, Elder T and I were leaving our apartment and a bunch of school girls walked by (probably around the age 14). They all started to yell at me, "Hey One Direction!" I got that a lot back home so I wasn't really surprised. 

The language is coming along. Elder T has been great helping me with my Tagalog and I'm learning alot. Speaking of Elder T he's "astig!" (awesome) We've gotten along really well and been having so much fun. He's such a powerful teacher and  he has taught me so much. We had an awesome experience last week;

We were walking by and decided to visit a less active. Her name was Sister Lordes and she was in her late 60's and hasn't been to church in years. So we come by and start talking to her, introducing me and asking how she is. Well Sisiter Lordes leaves to make us some food and her grandson, Juan, starts to talk to us. Juan just was recently married and he and his wife just had their first baby. Well the baby has been having these repository problems and this poor 2 month old baby can't breathe on it's own most of the time. Well obviously Juan and his wife can't afford to take their baby to the hospital. Juan told us that they've had witch doctors come over (at first I thought he was joking but I guess that's a real thing) and they've have tried everything but their baby is still really sick. Elder T explained to Juan about the Priesthood. He explained how it's the power of God and as representatives of Jesus Christ we hold it and we are to use it to serve others. The look on this new, desperate father's face just broke my heart. He didn't know what to do and here are some Mormon Missionaries, that he hasn't met before, offering to give his new baby boy a blessing. He brought us in their small house that literally didn't have much of a roof. Juan explained what was going on to his wife, and in the corner we see the baby trying to sleep. In my broken Tagalog I told Juan and his wife if they have faith that their baby will be healed that through the grace of God, he would. And with that we anointed and blessed the baby. Elder T gave a beautiful blessing in Tagalog and though I didn't understand it, the Spirit was so strong. When we furnished, Juan's wife was crying and we shook their hands and left. We didn't come back in that area until another 4 or 5 days. We stopped by their house. Juan's wife came out holding the baby. I started to tear up when I saw how happy the baby was. His eyes were open and we was making those happy baby sounds. Juan's wife said that the next morning the baby decided to get better. She didn't really recognize the fact that it was the Priesthood that healed her boy. This really surprised me. Maybe I thought she was going to come to us and beg to be baptized. But it doesn't really matter to me. That was a miracle. I was there and I witnessed it. God is involved in our lives today and miracles still happen today. This experience might not have strengthen this little family's faith but it sure did mine. And I'm eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for letting me being apart of that and exercising the Priesthood that I hold. 

I've literally eaten chicken feet, goat's meet/intestines, and fish eyeballs. People feed us rice and when I look inside there are literally ants in them. I just eat it and smile....and then get seconds to be respectful. I have seen spiders that give me nightmares every night. I have seen poverty that I know that I won't ever forget. This mission has changed me forever. 

I'm loving it here. Don't get me wrong this is the hardest thing I've ever done. Sometimes I feel like I can't do it or I can't learn this language but I know I can through the atoning power of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I've learned so much about Him and myself. I love the Filipino people. I love this gospel. I love y'all. You're in my prayers. 

Your Valiant Missionary,

 Elder Strader

P.S. Here are some pictures; We were cleaning out our apartment and we found this huge mound under the stairs..It's a huge termite nest. IN OUR APARTMENT WHERE WE SLEEP. THOUSANDS OF TERMITES. We told our landlady and she just gave us a machete and shovel and gasoline to kill the termites. It's going to be a long 2 years