Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014


I have good news and bad news. Good news is that Sister Trina was baptized and it was an awesome experience. Bad news was that it wasn't in the ocean. Yeah I'm still bitter about that. I swear I better baptize someone in river or something before I leave. 

I've tried so much weird food. I remember mom trying to make me eat her enchiladas because when I'm on my mission I'm going have to eat gross food. Let's just say I'll eat enchiladas any day. I finally tried "bulot." Look it up. I'll throw up again if I talk about it. 

Gosh I'm loving it here. I know my area really well now. I know most of everyone's name, which I thought was never going to happen. My Tagalog is really progressing and I'm almost done with my training. I truly love all the people we teach. I love the members in the Aringay Branch. The members go out with us and it really has strengthened my testimony that this church is true. We had an experience this week;

Elder T and I found these 2 moms, Sister Jenny and Sister Carol. They both have kids and are good friends. We've been teaching them for about 2 weeks and Sister Jenny is planning on getting baptized in December. Well we've been trying to get them to go to church but because of financial problems and peer pressure from there friends they haven't gone. Well on Tuesday we brought Sister L from the branch to come with us to teach. Now Sister L is a no-nonsense, God fearing woman, loving and full of spunk. She's worked 3 jobs to get her kids on missions and she's such a strength for our small struggling branch. Sister Lorenzo brought her 2 friends with her, Sister J and Sister L. So for our lesson we showed the the Restoration DVD and afterwards, Elder T and I just lost control of the teaching situation. Sister L, Sister J, and Sister L taught Sister Jenny and Carol. They were saying things like,"Sister this is true, and it's for you!" "Sister come to church, I'm in the primary we'll take care of your kids." "Sister come sit with my family at church on Sunday." (of course this in all Tagalog) As a missionary my heart was touched. So after all these invitations we found out the real problem of Sister Jenny and Sister Carol not going to church. They told us that they don't have any church clothes or any nice clothes in general that would be presentable to go to church. Sister L then went and grabbed Sister Carol's hand and said,"Sister you don't have worry about anything. I have plenty of blouses and skirts at my house. You and Sister Jenny come over and we'll take care of you." It was hard to keep in the tears at this point. That's better then what Elder T could have done. I was full of gratitude of Sister L's service and example of charity. Every member is a missionary. Moments like that makes the mission worth it.

I'm grateful to be a missionary here in the Philippines. These people have taught me so much. The Lord is involved in this great work. People are being prepared. There are so many people out there are looking for the truth and have questions of soul but, they don't know where to find it. I bear testimony of Jesus Christ that He is our Savior. I know that God is a God of miracles. Not just in the Bible but today as well. I've seen them. We have a prophet of God and the proper authority, His Priesthood. I'm grateful for the tender mercies and many unworthy blessings I have received. I found in a scripture in Jacob 2:8 and it talks about the "pleasing word of God," and how it can "heal the wounded soul." That's why I'm here. To find those people who have wounded souls and give them the antidote. I'm grateful for all of you. Thank you for your prayers. Keep doing the little things. I'll be home before you know it but I have work to do. Till we meet again. 

Your Valiant Missionary,
Elder Strader

P.S. I'll probably Skype y'all on Dec. 26. But that's Christmas for you. I'll let you know more of the details when I figure them out. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

November 17, 2014


Hahahhahahahaha I love you those pictures. Mom and Dad I swear you always have the best costumes every year. I don't know if you can keep this up every year. Brennan how was homecoming?! Hey I have an idea? How about you learn how to make another funny face and you might get more friends? Maddie how's Charlie? 

Yeah emails would be way better. So I can read them every week. Here with dear elders, I don't receive them at least a couple weeks later. Everything is sent to the mission office and I'm about 3 hours away from the mission office. And that's where you have to send packages. No one has addresses here. The houses/buildings aren't numbered. We have neighborhoods but no exact addresses. Hahaha so if you want to send packages send it the mission office and I'll get it. 

Things are going great! We have a baptism this Sunday! Her name is Trina M and she asked me if I would baptize her. And there's 50% chance she will get baptized in the ocean....I want to baptize someone in the ocean so bad. hahaha

My Tagalog is progressing....least I hope. Elder T sometimes is really surprised of some of the things I say in lessons hahaha. I really love Aringay. The rice field's here are beautiful. The view when I wake up. The clouds! The sky looks like a painting every day. I'm truly blessed to be in this area. I love the people. Filipinos are some of the most respectful and kindest people I've ever met. People feed us, non members and members, all the time. My workouts are more intense everyday, not to be fit but just to look the same hahaha. We have a new elder in our area, Elder G, and we both run 2 miles everyday and work out together. I'm getting stronger and I'm pretty sure I'm growing because I feel taller....or maybe it's because everyone is really short here. And I didn't think it was possible for my calves to get bigger....but we walk everywhere, ALL the time. And in Elder T and I's area we teach a lot of people in the mountains. 

I wish I could take more pictures. I wish I could show you more. But sometimes it's not appropriate. 

I love y'all and you're always in my prayers. I want you all to know, that I know without a doubt this church is true. the Book of Mormon can heal the wounded soul and bring peace in your life. I know that God loves ALL His children and His hand is in this work. I'm not perfect, far from it, I don't know Tagalog but I believe I've been called by a prophet of God and that families can be together forever. See y'all in 2 years

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

P.S. Here are some pics of those trikes I was telling you about before. This how most of the people get around here. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

Dear Family,

Things are crazy. There's this area that we teach and it's called Sta. Celcila. We're the first missionaries in that area and there are only two member families that live there. And Elder T and I are making quite an impression hahaha. Everywhere we go people want to talk to me and hear my Tagalog and buy me food. Elder T was just made district leader and we're having a lot of success. It's crazy how the Lord prepares people for us to share this wonderful message. 

How's my Tagalog you might be asking? Hinid ko alam (I don't know) I can't speak that well but my understanding has really progressed. I understand most of the time when people talk. It's definitely God teaching me a lesson that I need to listen before I speak....probably should have learned that lesson a long time ago haha. 

I love the branch I'm serving in. I started a branch choir and we have a talent show planned at the end of this month. My piano skills have gotten a lot better because I play all the time for church. Elder T is great and we get a long fine. There have been so many funny moments...I don't have time to type them all. In one lesson, we were teaching the Apostasy and the Restoration. Maybe I was feeling the Spirit or maybe I was getting really excited because I started shouting in English, "Jesus's church is back my brother, yes sir it's back and it's got prophets and apostles and all we're waiting for is you!" And what is even more funny is that he didn't even understand me because it was in English hahaha. 

I'm learning so much everyday and I already know this mission is going to fly by fast. I'm trying to work hard everyday and be obedient and try to find those funny moments. I miss you all and I love you so much. Hang in there while I'm gone and don't miss me too much. The church is true!

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

Thursday, November 6, 2014

November 5, 2014


Another crazy week. I'm half done with my training. The time is starting to fly by. I still don't know Tagalog but my understanding has increased like crazy. I love the people here and I love being a missionary. Mom thank you those Dear Elders. It's good to hear what everyone is doing. Here are some answers to some of your questions;

-Our apartment is nice (compared to other areas) but we don't have clean water, air conditioning, oven, microwave. I mostly make spaghetti every night. The elders that stay in my apartment call it the, "Strader Spaghetti Special." But most of the time Elder T and I do a good job getting dinner appointments.
-One of the many things that I didn't expect was what people do with there trash. They don't have garbage companies here so everyone just dumps there trash in there front yard and burns it. Like a huge trashy bon-fire. I thought with time I would get used to the smell but I was wrong. 
-I wash my clothes my hand and honestly I don't mind it. 
-Everything is SO cheap here.
-There are no stop signs and traffic lights and everyone drives on the wrong side of the road ALL the time. The way we get around if we're not walking we take a "trike." Which is motorcycle with a enclosed cab attached to the side. I kidd you not when I say they fit about in average of 8 Filipinos on these small trikes. 
-I play piano for the branch every Sunday and I'm starting a branch choir

Email me with any more questions! And tell me how everyone is doing!

Christmas/Birthday List:
-AA batteries (they are actually insanely expensive here)
-If you're going to send money send cash not through my debt card. Hide the money somewhere in the package. PUT PICTURES OF THE VIRGIN MARY ON THE PACKAGE. No one will steal something out of it if you do. A lot people are Catholic. 
-Honestly mostly money because I can get things here way cheaper. 
-Mom and Dad could you send some church DVDs? I really would like the Doctrine and Covenants one with Restoration video, The Stone cutter one, ect. And also the Bible videos, and the Testaments movie. I would love those for Christmas. And it's okay for us to watch it as long as it's produced by the Church. 

I hope everything is going well home! I'm loving it here! I love y'all!

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader