Wednesday, August 3, 2016

It's the Final Countdown

To all my peeps,

Well it's been real. It's been fun. It's been real fun. The time went too fast and I'm not sure what to feel or think. I just feel so blessed. 

As I reflect on the last 2 years so much has changed. So many changes happened. Area's that were struggling through obedience, faith and handwork changed. Families that use to drink coffee and hide from us every time we came to teach, changed and were baptized and are preparing for the temple. A stubborn white boy from Spring, TX came and was thrown into a spiritual roller coaster, learned a language, cried repentance and changed into a man of God and Minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. Again, I feel so blessed. As I look back, the Spirit testifies me to that, Christ was the center of all my changes. 

I want to express my love and appreciation to all those that have supported me during my mission and my whole life. Mom and Dad, thank you. Thank you for your patience, prayers and divine paternal guidance. Brennan, thank you for emailing me and keeping me updated and thank you for example of determination and handwork. I love you bro.  Maddie, you're weird and I love you for it. Thank you for not being afraid to be yourself and sharing your light. Donovan, you're strong on the mat but thank you for your spiritual strength as well. You will always be my Nephi. Sydnie and Emyrie I missed both of you so much, thank for your prayers and fasts. The Lord answered your prayers. 

My Sons of Thunder brothers, Jace, Tyler, and Joe. Thank you for your examples in high school and while we all served missions. You guys are my rock. I can't explain in words but I'm eternally grateful. Good friends can make all the difference. Love you guys. 

And all those that have emailed me that I haven't mentioned, thank you. 

I want to bear my testimony that I know He lives. I know that there is power in reading the Book of Mormon. I believe in miracles. I know we are led by a modern prophet and revelation. What a wonderful blessing! I feel so happy. I love the Philippines. I feel joy. I know who I am. I fear no man. I can do anything through Christ. Who can stop me when I'm the Lord's errand? It has been an honor to serve the Lord and I'd do it again in a heartbeat if I had the chance. But it's not over yet there's more to do and I'm ready to give myself even more. I know that I'm and Son of God and that's where my power lies. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Work Work Work There Is No Satisfactory Substitute


We had a great week. We're really focusing on this struggling branch and we're seeing a lot of potential. We just had 8 branch missionaries called yesterday. We're having meetings with the branch, meetings that have been happening for over a year. So many blessings! We're trying to get the fire back into our members. Our area is great, we found some sweet families and I feel that my teaching is where I want to be.

Elder P is the man! I'll tell you more about him when I get home but he's one my favorite companions. 

I'm working hard everyday. At night I can't help but think of my family. It's funny because when  I first came in the mission I didn't really miss my family. Okay that sounds bad of course I missed you guys but I was never homesick. When we were working my mind was on the work and I never had sad thoughts or distressing memories. But now in these final weeks I miss you all so much haha. I'm ready to come home but I want to leave a legacy here first. 

I hope you guys are having fun on the trip. Tell the family that I love them! I love being a missionary. The church is true!

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

The Field Is White

Hey mom, 

These are pictures of us working in a less active members rice field. He's gone to church because he always busy in the fields. So I told him that we would come work in his field for free if he went to church. We had an awesome experience. It's been a while since my white legs have been exposed but somehow we still felt the Spirit. The brother came to church on Sunday. Blessing. I love you. See ya'll soon. 



Monday, July 4, 2016


Thanks for your email! Yeah I'm with Elder P and he's awesome! He's from New Zealand and I'm his follow up trainer. I'm assigned here in Tagudin and it's just a small struggling branch. Even though it's only been a couple days we came here like a storm. I feel like I can do anything with the Lord and I've been so blessed with experience and ready to give everything this last transfer. We have some activities planned and we're finding less active and have a baptism planned in the next couple of weeks. I feel good. I feel focused. I feel the Spirit when I teach. I feel an urgency and I just love being a missionary.

That's awesome with my college classes. I'm super pumped. I need a job haha. I can find one when I get there. It might be hard to believe but I'm more charming now ;) Haha. We can talk about when I leave when I get home. Thanks for everything.  

How's the family? I'm excited to see them. Tell them I love them.

Mom. Tagudin is so beautiful. Just lots of rice fields and it's so pretty. I'll try to send pics from Elder P because I don't have a camera anymore. The members are few and really need help. Elder P is teaching me the haka and it's sick. I'm pretty sure I have some Poly blood in me. 

I love that story from Brother Ure. It's so true. When I reflect on my first couple of areas and I wondered how did I accomplish all things I accomplished? I couldn't speak Tagalog or teach, why did people let me in their homes? In those certain times I felt useless and alone. But then I remember all those times that I was on my knees praying before going to work. Asking for the strength and His love. I remember studying the scriptures and doing my best to be obedient because that's really all I could do. And I now I know there's where my strength came from. Heavenly Father just wanted me to show up. To have a willing heart and rely on Him. So when we knocked on doors and people answered and start saying stuff that I don't understand and for some reason I still had courage to look up and smile. People saw something in me that I didn't see myself. Over time, I got stronger and stronger in my humility. I grew and gained wisdom. And I'm now a powerful instrument in  the Lord's hands. I can't be stopped. I can't be confounded. I fear no man. Because I know where my strength lies. 

I love you mom. Please make crepes when I get home and then I might give you one hug ;) Tell the family I love them and I'm really trying to end strong. The church is true!


Elder Strader 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Best Baptism of Mission


Haha yes we do celebrate Father's Day. That's awesome with the garage sale! I'm so happy for you! I hope you didn't sale any of my stuff...haha I'm kidding. 

Things are great here. I'm getting transferred tomorrow. I'm going to Tagudin and I'll be with a Polynesian! The Church is really true! Haha I've been waiting for this my whole mission! His name is Elder P and he's from New Zealand. I'm so pumped to go to another area for one month and kill it. I feel good and I'm going to end strong. We just got a baptism last week! The Macato's was baptized. I feel so blessed. So many miracles happened. I'll tell you more when I go home but they have plans to get sealed in June of next year. Best baptism of my whole mission. We found, taught and baptized a family. They're solid and I don't know how to express my joy. The church is true!

Mom what day am I going to Idaho for school? I want to get an idea so I can work. I want to see what my plans are. Taco Bell sounds amazing...speaking of Taco Bell after I tasted dog here in the Philippines I think I know where Taco Bell get it's mysterious meat. 

Mom, I don't need to go on a trip I just want to go home. Hang out with the family, play piano, work, beat up Brennan and Donovan. 

I'll give you more details next week. I love you mom. I'm working hard and I love being a missionary. I'll be home soon. 


Elder Strader

Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Hey Mom!

Here are some pictures! It's rainy season and the rain pours on us every night. It's a little dangerous to be riding our bikes at night in the rain but the Lord protects us. By these pictures you probably think I'm a gangster but I promise you I'm still obedient and working hard. I'm loving the mission and the Macato family accepted the invitation to be baptized! I hope the family is doing well! Ya'll are in my prayers. The church is true!


Elder Strader

Monday, May 2, 2016

Working Hard


I love hearing about the family. I'm excited to see all of you again when we Skype. How are you though? How many pull ups can you do? (don't answer that question). I'm so happy that everyone is doing well, I always pray for that. Hows the flooding? 

I'm doing well the mission is working really hard. It's pretty hot but it doesn't seem to affect me. We have some awesome families that we've found, I'll tell you more about them next week when we talk face to face. I'm working the hardest I've ever worked my whole life. I love those I serve. I have been experiencing some back problems but I think it will be okay. Elder G wants me to slow down and rest but I always tell him I'll rest on August 3. But don't worry I'm okay. I've gotten really close to my mission president, President Balledos. He has taught me a lot and I feel so blessed that I've gotten to work close with him. 

I heard the Rockets lost in the playoffs...I almost didn't go to church when I heard that....haha just kidding but it's still sad. 

Anyway, I love all of you. And I'm excited for next week. Thank you for your prayers. The church is true!

Elder Strader

Monday, April 25, 2016

Repent or Be Destroyed


Wow that's crazy with the floods in Texas! That's awesome that Brennan was able to save people. I love that picture of the temple and what a miracle that is wasn't damaged. The Church is true.

Well we are having the opposite weather conditions here in the Philippines. It is really hot here. Currently we have 4 missionaries in the hospital due to the hot weather. But actually it has been a spiritual experience for me. I don't know how often you pray for me because everyday when we got to work in the blistering sun I don't feel the heat...I can't explain it. I know it's hot outside because I can see it and I know the temperature but it doesn't feel hot for me. It's almost like there's some kind of shield around me that the heat doesn't bother me or affect the work. I don't know about you but that's a miracle to Elder Strader. Just a little reminder that the Lord's hand is in this work. A tender mercy indeed. 

Other then that things are going really well. I'm having fun with Elder G and we've had some funny times. Yesterday we found a family compound and found some kids playing in the street. When they saw two Americans they asked us why we there (in the Philippines). I then replied, "We here to tell all people to repent or this city will be destroyed." The fear on those kids faces were priceless. Okay maybe that isn't truly doctrine but it worked. 

Anyway, I love you guys. I'll Skype ya'll on Mothers Day! Please send me dad's Skype account again haha...The Church is true!


Elder Strader

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Character of Christ

Family and Friends,

What a kick butt conference! I was so spiritually pumped and reverently motivated. Thank thee God for a prophet. 

Well just a quick update, things are going really good! Elder G and I are having fun. We've found some families and we are seeing progression in the area. We just challenged our mission to get 100 baptisms in the month of May so everyone is pretty excited for that. I feel so blessed.

Well just last week, we had a MLC (mission leadership counsel) this where we gather as Zone Leaders and Sister Trainers in the whole mission. We have a 2 day training and council of what our mission needs. Because I was called as a Zone Leader pretty early in my mission and now I'm assistant I've been going to MLC's for over a year. Saying that makes me feel really old but I love MLC's, it's a great opportunity to be trained by the mission president, the Spirit and to learn things from the other leaders. 

We we had an MLC and I gave a workshop on, "What is the role of a mission leader?" I did my best to prepare and the leaders came prepared as well, we were blessed with the companionship of the Holy Ghost. We talked about things in Missionary Handbook, Preach My Gospel, and the scriptures. But at the end I shared one personal experience I've had on the mission that the Lord has taught me a little bit of Christlike Leadership.

This is the time I was in the Mountains of Abra, in Bangued City. I was the Zone Leader and we had wonderful success in Bangued. We were once the lowest baptizing zone in the mission and turned out to be the top in just a short amount of time. I nicknamed the missionaries in my zone the, "Bangued Warriors," and through obedience, hard work, worthy goals, strong follow up's, revelation that zone turned into Zion. 

One night, we were walking the 3 miles back to our apartment. I was going through some personal stuff during that time, I was fasting, tired from the hard day, we got rejected the whole day and I just wanted to go home and sleep. When we got to our apartment we had a a lot missionaries staying the night in the Zone Leader's apartment because the next day, early in the morning, our zone would take a 7 hour bus ride, and drive to Baguio City to hear and meet Elder Anderson from the Quorum of the Twelve. Because of all the crazy things that were going on I had forgotten that all the elders would be there. So we walked in and greeted all the hungry elders. I say hungry because I forgot that I promised the elders a couple weeks earlier that I would cook for them and try to make it a fun bonding event. When I remembered that promise, despite my physical exhaustion and personal inner conflict, I rolled up my sleeves and walked in the kitchen. As the elders talked and socialized in the other room, I started to chop vegetables, boil water and cook for my missionaries in the kitchen (yes Mom I bet you're surprised that I can cook now lol). There were a lot of missionaries with some Polynesians in the mix and it was just me cooking so I was in there well over an hour and half. When I was done cooking, I counted the exact number of plates for each elder and started to dish each plate. As I was dishing up each plate my heart started to soften, and then something happened. When I was finished dishing all the plates I realized that there wasn't any food left for me. Every plate was filled to the needs and sizes of missionaries but there wasn't any left for myself. As I stood there, over all the plates of food with an empty pot in my hand, tears flowed down my face. I felt an overwhelming love for each one of those elders. The feeling was so strong, tangible, that I can't explain it in words. There was no thought that I was not going to eat that night, I just wanted to serve the elders. All the others things that I was going through just melted away.When I finally composed myself, I took each plate one my one and brought to each elder. When I was finished, I walked quietly in my room and wept like a child and got on my knee's thanked Heavenly Father for allowing me to feel Maybe it was charity or it was the Spirit but I've never felt that kind of love in such intense way. 

That's what we call the Character of Christ, that whenever things get bad, He never turned inward. He never thought, "what's in it for me?" No selfish desire. No, He always turned outwards. Even when things were hard or not going well for Him. We learn that when He was on the cross. "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." 

Jesus Christ taught His apostles, "He that is chiefest among you, that him be your greatest servant." I get chills when I read where Christ washed the feet of His apostles. He showed the way. He is the way. He is the chiefest among us but He is also the greatest servant that ever lived. I'm humbled to represent Him here in the Philippines. I'm trying to be like Him everyday. 

I want all of you to know that I love you and this gospel. I love the work. I love when it's really hot and when people slam the door in my face. I love teaching families and hearing someone utter their first prayer. I love being a missionary. Don't worry about me. Ingat po kayo! 

Your Valiant Missionary,
Elder Strader

Monday, April 4, 2016


We just had transferred and Elder B. was transferred. I'm now training the new Assistant, Elder G.! I was actually with him in my first area so we already know each other and we're having a great time. Elder Gn is from Oregon and was a varsity swimmer. He's was one of the most humble elders I know and we're working really hard.

Other then that, things are going well. I'm working hard everyday and on top of teach lessons every week, we testify or have a gospel conversion with over 210 people each week. I love talking to people, especially Filipino people. I feel so immersed in their culture and I just have such love for these people. 

I don't think I've ever been this tired my whole life. I know I go home soon and my body feels it too. But don't worry I still work and I'm so busy that the weeks are just flying by. 

I want all of you to know that I love you and this gospel. Mahal ko kayo!

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

Monday, March 14, 2016

I Believe In Covenants


Wow what a wonderful experience to spend time with the Brethren and other Auxiliary leaders. I'm so jealous. Being able to listen to Dallin H. Oaks and Sister Wixom all within one week! Doesn't get more spiritual in then that. The church is true.

I just want to share my thoughts about our baptism this last weekend and how it was a day I will never forget. 

So a couple of emails ago I talked about how we found Brother Randy and how spiritual that first lesson was. Anyway, since that first lesson he has attended church. When we taught Book of Mormon Brother Randy started reading it everyday. He expressed us that he didn't fully understand every thing but he always felt something when he read. Elder B and I made a plan with the ward to have different members every lesson. So that's what we did. Every lesson, different members and then Brother Randy became well known and loved in our ward. He never sat alone at church. We never had to watch or take care of him at church because the members were always with him and soon Brother Randy was more popular then the two white Americans in our ward haha. 

I can't express the gratitude and love I have for those members that made that transition easier for Brother Randy. We taught tithing and we were a little uneasy about it because Brother Randy is not wealthy at all. When we asked if he had any questions about the law of tithing Randy replied,"It's not my money anyway." And he paid his tithing the following Sunday before he was even baptized. 

When we taught fasting and explained the importance and how, Brother Randy fasted the following day. I feel so blessed that I was able to witness this man's spiritual growth and conversion. Brother Randy was baptized and bore his testimony. He testified of his struggle with the Word of Wisdom and how reading the Book of Mormon gave him strength to overcome the addiction he had. He bore his powerful testimony about Joseph Smith and Thomas S. Monson. He thanked me and Elder B and called us his guardian angels. Not a dry eye in the room. I can't tell you how much I love Brother Randy. His willingness to follow and find out for himself has impacted my testimony and changed my life. As we were teaching Brother Randy, the Lord was teaching me. 

I just want to bear my testimony that I know this work is true. It can't be stopped or hindered. I know for a surety that through "small and simple things, great things shall come to pass." I believe in Covenants. I know God doesn't change. I love the Philippines. I love the people here. I love my Savior. I love you all and I'll see you soon.

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader   

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Counsel with the Lord

Loved Ones,

What a wonderful week! Prayers were answered, investigators went to church, did some service, was chased by 2 rabid Filipino dogs, taught a minister the Book of Mormon. Solid week.

I'm sad to hear about the Ward changes but I know it's for the best. In the board game RISK we call that "divide and conquer." Okay that wasn't has funny as I thought it would be. 

So this week or the last couple of weeks, I've been really focusing on my prayers and the concept of "counsel with the Lord." I think before my prayers were very generic and repetitive. I say my thanks and kinda of just go with the flow. But as I've learned more and experienced more trials and have been faced with more decisions, I'm praying with more efficacy. The Lord knows and hears our prayers. He wants to help us but He won't do everything for us, if that was the case, there would be no growth or personal progression. We're taught to "study it our in our minds." We use our personal judgement. We study the scriptures and heed the teachings of the Prophets and we make a decisions. And then we ask Heavenly Father. We say, "Father these are the things I want to accomplish, here's my plan and it feels good but what do you think? Is there something else you had in mind? If there is I'm willing to submit to your will." That's called counseling. We've been given agency and we're asked not to "be acted upon." Tell God what you're feeling and what your righteous desires are. Through the Spirit He'll let you know, but be careful, if you're not paying attention you won't notice His heavenly answers. Have faith in Him and His timing. But do your part. Search, ponder and pray. Tell Him what you decided but be flexible because He always knows best.

I've seen and felt the warmth and confidence that comes from true, sincere prayer. As I kneel and pray out loud, the connection I feel gets stronger and it's not a one sided conversation anymore. It's more of an intimate experience then before. But it takes practice. It takes diligence. But that sacred communication is so important. 

I want to bear my testimony of Jesus Christ, that He lives. I know the Book of Mormon is true, because I read it and I've felt it's power. I believe in miracles. I believe in Prophets and Apostles. I can't wait to see you all again. I love you! 

Your Valiant Missionary,
Elder Strader

PS. Here's a picture of the office staff. We have too much fun here. And here are pictures of my carrying water for a member. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Angry Crab


How are you? I hope things are going well! I'm doing great. Maddie happy birthday, save me a slice of your heart shaped pizza for when I come home. I can't believe your 14 that's crazy!

 Nothing too crazy happened this week, except as I was doing laundry, I was attacked by a angry crab. Random stuff like that doesn't even phase me anymore.  

Well I love you guys and I love this gospel! Here are some pictures of my area, me and Elder B at the beach and the angry crab.

I'll write more next week! I love you y'all! 


Elder Strader

Monday, February 1, 2016

God's Tender Mercies

Loved Ones,

I want to first start off this email and just bear my testimony of God's tender mercies. He's real. I've seen His hand in this work and I can't deny what I've felt. I'm overwhelmed of all the undeserved blessings I've received in my life. And what has happened the last couple weeks have strengthen that testimony. 

Just to refresh everyone, I'm in an open area. Which means we come into a place with no progression or teaching pool. For those RM's out there, you're first thought would probably be for me to check the area book. Well, that hasn't been updated in over 1 year. On top of all that, we're the Assistants and we travel all over the mission, doing exchanges, training, meetings, delivering supplies and we don't get a lot of time to work in our area. Now, I say all of these not to complain but that it is my current position. I feel if that I'm a assistant, my area should be the best example for others. How can I help other missionaries if I can't balance the time and help myself? I can't be acted upon and set the example. 

So, I've told all of these things to my Heavenly Father. I noticed throughout my mission my prayers have become more specific and filled with more gratitude. I've been praying that the Lord would send me to 2-3 families and help me to teach effectively that I get them to progress and be baptized. I expressed my righteous desires to be a better example and the stress that I feel. I promised that I would work hard. So I did. After traveling zone to zone, training missionaries, all the things we have to do, sometimes we only have a few hours to work. But we made it count. And then we met Randy Aquino.

I found Brother Randy sitting down eating chicken feet (a popular Filipino snack) and when I asked where a particular house was. My companion, Elder B, was talking another group of people close by. As I was talking to Brother Randy, I felt the Spirit testify to me that he was ready and was being prepared by the Lord. I then asked Brother Randy if we could teach him. He gladly accepted us. We sat in his home and started to teach. Brother Randy's wife left him for another man a long time ago. He lives with his only son, John, who is 11 years old. Single father trying to make a living for his small, broken family. We first started to teach him prayer. For some reason it was the most powerful lesson I've ever taught about prayer. We explained that if we pray the right way and with real intent, we can feel the holy ghost. Brother Randy had many questions. We explained the role of the Holy Ghost, how to feel like it and the importance of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit was strong in that lesson. At the end we asked Brother Randy with he would give the closing prayer. He told us that he has never prayed in his whole life. With some encouragement Brother Randy prayed. I can't express to you the feeling when you hear some utter their first prayer. It's so simple. So beautiful. I feel so blessed that I can witness little things like that. When a child of God talks to his Father for the first time. After the prayer, we all just paused for like 30 seconds in silence. I asked Brother Randy what he felt in that moment. With tears in his eyes, he said he felt warm like someone was giving him a big, warm, loving, hug. We then asked him what that feeling was. He looked at us and said, "It's the Holy Ghost." With tears in our eyes we explained to Brother Randy that it meant that his prayer was true and therefore that what we taught him was true. I asked Brother Randy, " Do you want to feel that again?" He said yes and then we said he needed to go to church. And so he did. And he's gone to church the last 3 weeks in a row and will soon be baptized. He reads the Book of Mormon and stopped drinking coffee and alcohol, we're just working on the cigarettes now haha. Now I understand the scripture in D&C that the "Spirit quickeneth all things."  All the glory goes to Him.

For my next experience just happened this last week when I worked up in the Mountains of Baguio, on exchanges with the Baguio City zone leader and with my mission president. My mission president wanted to work with every zone leader in their area's to see how the work was going and he wanted one of his assistants with him. To give a little background, I've been having this doctrinal question about healing the sick and the Priesthood. Everywhere I go here in the Philippines, I'm surrounded by disabled, deathly ill, or dying people. As I read the New Testament and study Early Church History my faith is strengthened by the miracles and healings that took place. I know I have that same power. I have faith. The only question is if it's according to the Lord's will. But how will I know that the Lord wants me to bless and heal someone? Do I just have to wait around until I feel the burning of the bosom and then go for it? Or is that really faith? And then when I read in Acts chapter 3 when Peter and John heal the man at the temple. If you have time you should read it but long story short, Peter and John just walk up to this man and without asking if he had faith in Christ they just healed him. And Mormon talks about faith and miracles. God doesn't change. Miracles can and DO happen today but we need faith. So I've asked this to my mission president and we talked a little about it.  

Anyway, as we walked and worked in Baguio (the 3 of us) the zone leader told us about our next appointment was with Danny. Brother Danny had a stroke and can't use his right hand and he is paralyzed on the right side of his body. When the elder explained that to us, I asked president, "president could we heal him?" And discussed about it and then president looked at us and said, "Do you want to heal someone today?" Just typing it gives me chills. I was speechless and I just said president, I hope my faith is sufficient. 

We hiked through the side of a mountain and finally came to a little village. We found his house and that's when we met Brother Danny. He was sitting on his chair and just seeing him I wanted to cry. I've never met a more humble, sweet man. We taught about the Restoration and Brother Danny was very interested in the Priesthood. As we taught, Brother Danny bore his testimony of Jesus Christ and I felt that it was sincere. As we were about to close the lesson, President Balledos looked up and I will never forget his words. It went something like this,

"Brother Danny we feel your faith in Christ. We are His servants. He is our Master. We hold His Holy Priesthood. We fear no man. If you have faith in what we just taught and in Jesus Christ and if you so desire, we can bless you now."

I sat in there in awe. The Spirit was strong and I thought I could see light shining off my mission president. After some silence Brother Danny said he believed in Jesus Christ and said he would like a blessing. As we laid our hands upon his head I felt the Priesthood Power like I've never it before. It was like electricity running through our bodies. I kept praying in my heart. President Balledos gave one of the most powerful blessings that I've heard. One part I will always remember, "We give you a blessing of strength in your bones and joints." As we blessed him, Brother Danny was shaking because he was crying. When we said amen, we all paused, and out of nowhere Brother Danny stood up. I don't how long he has sat in that chair. We were lost in words and he gave us a hug. One of the most powerful experiences in my life. 

I just want to testify of Christ, that He lives. I believe in miracles. I believe in the Priesthood Power and I do my best to honor it everyday. I love being a missionary. I love all of you! Don't worry, I'll be home soon.

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Who is on your mission dream team?


Things are going really good! I'm loving our area and I love the ward here! I'm in Lingsat ward and I feel at home here. The members have been in a need of a pianist in church for a long time and now the I've been able to use that talent to really connect with the members here. I'm learning so much everyday. Our area is still a bit of a struggle but we have seen some progression and Lord has blessed us. 

It feels weird to me to that I go home this year but the time is just flying. There are so many things that I have to do. I love this work.

Please tell the family how much I love them! 

I have an assignment for the Strader Family and want to hear what your answer's are: If you could pick your top 5 missionaries, for your dream missionary team, who would you choose? (can be from the Bible, Book of Mormon, Church history, modern prophets, anyone)
For example this is my top 5:

1) Abinadi
2) Jeffery Holland
3) Matthew Strader
4) Brigham Young 
5) Peter 

I would be companions with my dad and probably our district leader would be Jeffery Holland. Haha
Whose is on your mission dream team? I expect an answer from all of you.

I love this gospel. And I love all of you. I'll be home soon.

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Office

Mom and Family,

Thank you for the sweet messages! I wish I could do something special for my birthday today but we have no time.  We're really busy and things are a little stressful but I really do love it here. 

To give you a feel of the mission life here in the office, it's literally like the show "the Office." We have this mission couple, Elder and Sister Thuraman, they're from Idaho, and I've been getting pretty close to them. They have a couple of granddaughters lined up for me when I get home. The church is true.

Elder B is my companion and we're doing great. We're both opening the area and both are new assistants. Elder B is really good with computers and I do well in the training's. So we work well as a team. It's been a bit of a struggle to balance working in the area and doing stuff in the office but we're stilling having success in our area. I feel like my teaching and Tagalog has really improved. 

Last week we had a meeting with President and discussed what the mission needed. With the new year and our mission is doing well, President wanted a new fresh and new outlook of the mission. That's why he called 2 new AP's. We talked for over 4 hours and brain stormed ideas. I want to bear my testimony of revelation. It's true and works, if we are worthy and willing to submit to the Lord's will. President heavily relied on my opinion because of my success in Bangued, making the worst zone to the top baptizing zone in our mission, in such a short amount of time. I honestly can't take any credit because I'll I did was prove my nothingness to the Lord. I prayed and fasted many times and I loved the missionaries in my stewardship. And the Lord poured out His blessings. But I learned some things along the way of how to make a zone work more effectively, and gave some idea's for the mission.

After our long discussion, we came up with the theme, "Cleanse the Temple." What this means is we needed to clean the "inner vessel" before we clean the "outer vessel." This entails a lot of different components but the main focus is on obedience and other things. When I say obedience, I don't mean following all the mission rules, It's focus is on the healing that comes from being obedient, and that's what our mission needs, is healing. The two zones that I've been over are the best zones in the mission and the most obedient. Before you put the band aid you have to clean the wound. Before we eat dinner, we wash our hands. This is what we're trying to do. Keep us your prayers. 

 I have I mentioned that I love being a missionary? Well I do. I love this gospel. I love Jesus Christ and I show my love through my righteous living everyday, at least I try my best everyday. I know families can be together forever, because of the Priesthood. I can't wait to hug mom and dad. I can't wait to beat up Charlie and other punks in Maddie's life. I can't wait to play the piano with Sydnie and Emyrie dancing. I can't wait to watch PG-13 movies with Donavan and show him how to do the butcher. I can't wait to sit on Brennan's face. But before I do all that, there's work to be done. I love you all! 

Your Valiant Missionary,
Elder Strader
Assistant to the People!

^that's my motto haha