Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I love your emails and hearing how everyone is doing. Y'all are always in my prayers.

What a week. A week filled with a lot of funny moments and heartbreak. Being a missionary we grow so close with the people we teach. And it kills me inside when they don't realize or understand what this gospel can do for them and their families. Being here on my mission has been one of the most happiest and saddest times of my life. 

I'm going to be honest some moments I feel overwhelmed. Being in my first area, being a trainer, district leader, presiding over the Group in Sta. Cecilia, branch choir director (how was I assigned that job?) and not to mention the fact that I sill don't know Tagalog or the other 5 dialects in my area. But I've learned for myself what it means when is says, "Whom the  Lord calls he qualifies." I don't know if I'm fully qualified yet, but I know that a strong work ethic and a little sense of humor can go a long way. Thank goodness I'm not alone in this work. 

I had a very special spiritual experience this week. I'm going to spare the details because of sacredness of the personal experience but I feel prompted to share this. Early this week, Elder R and I were doing our personal study, the sister missionaries called us. They told us that there was a older man in their area who needed a Priesthood blessing ASAP. A member called the sisters and told them to ask if they could get the elders to go right away. Elder Reyes and I left as quickly has we could. We took a bus and trike and finally arrived to the house where Bro D was supposed to be. We arrived at the house not even sure if it was the right house when all these family members and neighbors came out to greet us. We told them we were missionaries and that we're here to give Bro D a blessing. They told us that we were too late and that Bro D was already taken to the hospital and was currently in the ICU. As we we walked away, about to go back home, I felt prompted that we should go to the hospital. Elder R agreed and we took a bus to the hospital. I can't really explain to you what a Filipino hospital looks like but needless to say it's not state of the art. We walked right on in, no security check in's and we walked around not really sure where to go or if Bro D was here or not. We finally found the ICU and what room Bro D was in but only one visitor was allowed. I felt prompted that I needed to go but I left this lump in my stomach. The nurses brought me in, and this was the first time in almost 6 months that I've been alone. They brought me to Bro D's bed. I cannot express in words what I saw. I saw a man on the brink of death, with tubes down his throat, and his body shaking. Thoughts of doubt came into my mind. What am I doing here? I'm just a white Mormon from Spring, Texas. I don't even know this man and he's about to die and I feel like there's really nothing I can do. I was about to turn around and walk back when Bro D's daughter saw me and brought me to his bed side. She has been by his side ever since he was brought to the hospital. She brought me over and yelled really loud to her dad, "Papa Mormons dito." Which means, "Dad the Mormons are here." Bro D couldn't speak and could barley hear. But his eyes were wide open and awake and I could see all the pain he was going through. Bro D blinked acknowledging that he understood and then his daughter left. Now it was just me and Bro D. I can't express the inadequacy I felt in that moment. I had no idea what I was going to say. So among all the chaos of the room, with doctors and nurses running back and forth. I laid my hands on his head and gave him a blessing. I honestly don't really remember what I said. It was a strange feeling of like someone taking the reins from me. My heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest. I felt a spiritual electricity go through my body. When I ended the blessing, Bro D was asleep. The shaking had stopped and I felt the Spirit was so strong. There was a feeling of peace more then I felt in my whole life. I was confident that whatever was said or happens now...it's the Lord's will. Bro D died 3 days later.  

I want to bear my testimony that I know we have a loving Heavenly Father and He is very aware of our trials and challenges. He loves us and He knows what is best for us. I'm grateful for the Plan of Salvation.The fact that I know where I came. I know why I'm here. I know where I'm going. How blessed am I to have that kind of knowledge. This is why I'm here to comfort others and share this sweet message. Families can be together forever. I know that now more then ever. I love being a missionary. I'm honored to wear this name tag for a just a short 2 years. I'm His humble servant, though I'm not perfect, I do my best everyday.

And that's all He ask's of me.

Your Valiant Missionary,
Elder Strader

P.S How can you not like Filipino children? 

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