Monday, March 30, 2015

My fellow family and associates,

I really suck at this emailing thing. I wish I could just tell stories and explain what is happening to me. Anyway it's been a crazy week. We've been doing a lot of zone leader business. Moving apartments, fixing apartments, training's, checking apartments and other random assignments. It's fun sometimes, but I wish we could have more time to focus on our area. Speaking of our area, its progressing...slowly. Elder Y and I are finding machines because we have to. We average around 15+ new investigators per week. Our goal is find families and I'm working the hardest I've ever worked in my life. 

Update on my toe: It's not green anymore, but I did get bite by some weird bug and my ankle was swollen and HUGE for a couple of days. But I'm good now. 

I wish I had some cool story to tell of what happened this last week, but I honestly can't think of any. There's one guy in our area that he claims to be possessed by the devil. He calls himself Lucifer and has a double personality. The local people in the community asked us to go teach him. I was pumped because I thought we were going to cast out spirits or something but when we got the house...I was so scared. He lives in this tower like house. It's all painted black and it has the 10 commandments written on the front door. Gives me chills talking about it. And to top it off his yard is infested with cats. I had a weird feeling and I tried to hold Elder Y's hand but he wouldn't let me. Turns out, he wasn't there. We plan on going back with our local bishop just in case things get...weird. I'll keep ya'll updated.

Well, the mission is the best thing that's ever happened to me. I've learned more about myself and what kind of man, future father and husband I want to be and most importantly, what the Lord want's me to be. I know this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a true prophet and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know because I've been on my knee's asking the only person that can truly confirm it to me. I know we have a loving Heavenly Father, who is well aware of our trials and hardships. He's taught me so much and I'm eternally indebted to Him. I know why I'm here. I'm not perfect, but I'm willing to try. I want to end with a scripture from the Book of Mormon that is simple but has changed me.

2Nephi 33:15 "...for thus hath the Lord commanded me, and I must obey..."

The Lord has commanded me here in the Philippines to spread this wonderful gospel. And I must obey.

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

Monday, March 23, 2015


Thank you so much for your emails! I love hearing from home. Emyrie is getting so big! I feel like I'm missing out on her growing up. But I know that I'm in the right place. 

What a great week! Elder Y and I are working SO hard. We're focusing on finding, to expand our teaching pool because we're opening an area. I love finding so much. A lot of missionaries hate it but I just love talking to people, especially now that I can get by with my Tagalog. We're trying to find families. Our area is tough but it makes me more focused. I feel like it was a lot easier to get lessons in Aringay, but here we have to work harder. And I love it. 

Our zone is doing great too! We've been having zone training's and I been giving a lot of workshops. I think that's my calling. I love teaching in a group setting and trying to get to the source. Our zone is awesome and everyone is working hard to make this zone successful. I'm just having a blast. 

This week I got my ingrown toe nail taking out. I've had one for over a month now and it hurts so bad. But I didn't want to go the hospital because there is this missionary that got a medical released because he had too many surgery's on his toe and the church didn't want to pay for him and now he's home. I don't want that. So I tried to be the tough wrestler but it got really bad and really infected. So, Elder Y and I decided to fix it on our own. Mom you might want to stop reading here. We went to this really crazy part of town and went into this broken down nail spa. We showed them my toe and they said they'll try. For a second I thought they were going to cut it off. But they poured cleaning alcohol and I kid you not they lite it on fire. My toe. I guess it was supposed to burn away the puss. And then they got these pliers and just yanked it out. No numbing stuff. It felt so GOOD. Probably the most painful experience of my life. But don't worry it I'm good now. And no, there are no pictures for the sake of my mother. 

Well, have I mentioned that I love being a missionary? I do and sometimes I wish I could do this forever. Serving the Lord and sharing the happiness that I feel from this gospel. I love you all and I'm so grateful for what you've done for me. Don't worry about me, I being watched over. Till we meet again.

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader  

Friday, March 20, 2015


Okay so remember my new companion? Yeah well when I got here, 3 days later he got transferred. Health problems. So now, my new companion is Elder Y and he is so freaking funny. We're having fun because we're new zone leaders and we're opening an area. If you don't know what that means ask a return missionary. You would think that I would be really stressed that I'm a zone leader, opening a new area and I still don't know Tagalog but to be honest I'm not. Elder Y and I are working together really well. When I first got here in the apartment it was Brennan's dirty room X10. I thought, how can we lead and organize this zone if our apartment is disgusting? Before we clean up this zone and I decided to first clean the apartment. It took about 5 hours but I could sleep like a baby on the bathroom floor if I wanted to. Elder Y and I think it's the little things that have been holding back this zone from more success. It's the athlete's mindset. I guess all those years in wrestling are paying off. 

I'm loving the least the part that I know haha. The people are different but I'm learning to love them. Up here in Baguio is so beautiful. High up here in these mountains they have huge oak tree's. I don't even know how. I thought this was a tropical island. It's illegal here to cut them down. I'm flooded with memories of my senior trip to Colorado with my best friends. Sometimes I forget that I'm here in the Philippines. 

I love hearing from y'all. I know this church is true. I'm grateful for the challenges the Lord has given me because  it has pushed me to be a better missionary, better future father and husband. I love my Savior and what He has done for me. I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon and the peace it has given me. Keep those prayers coming. Till we meet again.

 Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

Monday, March 9, 2015

My Beloved Family,

Some crazy things happened and I'm still not sure what to think. Thursday night I got a call from President Balledos and he told me he was transferring me a week before transfers. He asked me to be the Zone Leader in Baguio City and I was to leave the next morning. I was speechless and I feel really unqualified. I've only been out for 6 months and I STILL DON'T KNOW TAGALOG. But I will do anything the Lord and my mission president want me to do. It's really hard for me to leave Aringay. I wasn't able to say goodbye to everyone because I thought I still had a week left. So I packed my bags and got on a bus the next morning and drove the 3 hours to Baguio. Baguio is HIGH in the mountains and that's why it's a lot colder then the lowlands. IT'S SO COLD UP HERE. The people are more wealthy(prideful) here and it's really hard to find people and teach. People here feel like that they don't need religion or a new church in their lives. The Baguio Zone has been struggling and is the worst zone  in our mission and it's about to get worse now that I'm a Zone Leader hahaha. But really. I still feel like I'm a super new missionary. I'm not sure what the Lord wants me to learn yet. I hope with my little experience that I can help this zone be successful. Did I mention I still don't know Tagalog? Someone please mention that to my mission president. My new companion is Elder E and he's great. He's really experienced and he's helping me. It's really beautiful up here but I miss my first area. The church is more established up here in Baguio, because they actually have a stake. And with that the members don't really rely on or appreciate the missionaries as much as the struggling branches in the lowlands. But I'm going to work hard and try not to do anything stupid haha. 

I love ya'll. See you in 2 years

Your Valiant Missionary,
Elder Strader

I'll email more about my new area next week but here are some pictures of the Aringay members and the view from my new apartment. Here's a picture of the me and the Oribello family. I gotten really close to them and I love them so much. They were less active before but now Brother Kris is the Elders Quorum President and  Sister Joy is having a baby soon. Their first baby boy and their naming him Jaren Oribello. I'm full of emotions and I guess there will now be two Jaren's in the Philippines. I love these people so much.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Beloved family and friends,

The weeks are flying so fast. It was Elder R's birthday yesterday. He turned 23 and I gave him a total of 23 hugs throughout the day at random times. To be honest I probably gave him way more because whenever I would lose count I would just start over. Hahaha I promise it's way more funny if you knew him and how he's not the "huggy" kinda of guy. I think Elder Reyes is excited for me to get transferred, just kidding hahaha. 

The Aringay district is doing really well. We're one of the top districts in the mission. I would like to say it's because of my flawless leadership, but I seriously don't do anything. Everyone just works really hard and I'm having a blast. The Lord has poured out blessings and we've seen miracles.

Yesterday the sisters have an investigator that requested a blessing from the elders. His name is Marshell and he's about 65 years old. He had a stroke a couple years ago and as a result, half of his body is paralyzed. When the sisters taught him about the Priesthood Marshell wanted a blessing ASAP. So we went and gave him a blessing. Even though I gave the blessing in English the spirit was so strong. Marshell asked us to teach him afterwards and he said he would believe anything we taught. One of the most humble men I've ever met. We taught a short lesson about the power of prayer and we asked him to say the closing prayer. Marshell prayed one of the most beautiful prayers I've ever heard. Simple but powerful. In the middle of his prayer he thanked God for sending the missionaries to his house and giving him a blessing. As he said those words he started to cry. He struggled to finish his prayer. I stood up and sat next to him and put my arm around him and held him as he cried. He eventually finished his prayer. With tears in our eyes, we thanked him and told him that he would be in out prayers.

The reason Marshell cried and thanked God was because during the blessing Marshell said he felt a warm, electric feeling start on the top of his head and traveled down his whole body, eventually to his toes. It's the first time he's felt his toes in years.

To all those that read these emails or follow my blog. I want you all to know that I know this church is true. I know that families can be together forever. I know that the Book of Mormon can heal the wounded soul. I have seen it in the lives of those I teach. I've seen it in my life. I believe in miracles. I'm grateful for my Savior. I owe everything to Him. I love y'all. Thank you for your emails and updates. Keep those prayers coming.

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader