Hello from Elder Thurber--who serves in the Philippines Manila Mission

Hello from Elder Thurber--who serves in the Philippines Manila Mission

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dec 2. "Mission Tour"

Mon 12/2/2013 7:50 AM:  "Mission Tour"

Magandang hapon po! (Good Afternoon!)
Elder Thurber and Elder Echo Hawk
The mission tour last Tuesday has strengthened my testimony tenfold. It's changed my life, really. Elder Larry J Echo Hawk is inspiring as they come. He changed my outlook on life and how God is in the middle of our lives. It was one of the most spiritual meetings in my life.

He started out the meeting by taking the group picture, which is usually done after the meeting. The reason being was he wanted to speak to us before the meeting started, and asked us to not talk on the way over and give him a handshake and speak with our eyes, and not our mouths, so that we can be reverent. And it worked! The whole day was one big spiritual feast! I loved every moment of it.
 He talked for a full hour about all of the crazy stories he's been through. For example, he made a deal with the Lord (while he was taking the missionary discussions as a teenager) that if he read the Book of Mormon, he would be chosen to be the high school starting quarterback. He kept his promise, and so did the Lord. He later played for BYU, too. Later on, he taught at BYU as a law professor, and then presided over all of BYU athletics, until he got a call from Barack Obama to lead Americas affairs with Native Americans (he's half Native American, hence the name.) He actually gave a talk in October 2012 and he addressed Native Americans personally.   http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/come-unto-me-o-ye-house-of-israel?lang=eng&query=Echohawk

I could spend a lot of time talking about him, but my time here on the internet is short. It's 8:20 right now. I technically should be proselyting right now, but earlier today, for the third straight Monday, the power went out during email.

We gathered up the courage to ask President Stucki to give us more time to email, because the internet worked so slow I couldn't even open up my email until the power was shut off, and I lost a page and a half of my blog entry. :(  The reason for the power being shut off (so I heard) was the power company is doing a campaign to change the people’s minds about the coal power plant by intentionally turning off the power, helping the people understand that they need a coal power plant, as there are plenty of signs in jumbled or "Caribou" English that they want to keep Aborlan clean by not getting a power plant. I'm not sure I believe it, but if you want a reason for why I sporadically send emails, it's because of this local struggle about the power plant. 

Usually the power outages do missionary work harm. But this week, I'm pleased to announce that Elder Hart and I set a companionship record for New Investigators! (Definition: people who we taught for the first time.) We got 16! Our goal was 14, which was the Standard of Excellence given to us by the mission president. Looking back, it makes me just smile and realize that God is the one in control of everything, not me. I say that because, when doing weekly planning last Friday, Elder Hart offered that suggestion. I didn't really like the idea, because we had one less day to work because of the mission tour, and our previous finding efforts have been significantly lacking. Like, last week, we got only 3 new investigators. I hope that puts some perspective on the success we had this week.

I asked Elder Hart, "How do you think we're going to be able to reach this goal? We haven't been able to in the past, and now we have even less time to complete it? Do you really think you can do this or do you just want to set goals that fulfill the Standard of Excellence?" He promptly replied, "I think we can do it." I decided not to think on it further, and have this mumbly-grumbly compromising attitude about it all. Oh, how my attitude has changed! Elder Hart's faith made up for mine, and we taught many, many lessons this week. We had so many lessons we had to split on Sunday to cover them all.

On Saturday we had exchanges and I got to go with the great Elder Merrill once again. Two new foreign missionaries always make for a lot of fun! His area is probably the most beautiful place I've ever been. We were surrounded by mountains and gardens and resorts. I wish I could go back there once again. We had good lessons, too. One guy asked, "So what do I need to do to be saved?" I wish every investigator would ask that. He accepted the baptismal invitation and they say he went to church last Sunday.
So, unfortunately Jorald's dad didn't budge on his decision to not sign the signature, even though we brought an old branch president by to visit with him. *sigh* Oh, well! Jorald is as strong as they come, so I'm not worried. He'll be baptized when he turns 18. I'm just happy to be a part of his conversion and having him constantly work with us.

Marisa A. is progressing! Sunday I taught her the Plan of Salvation. She has the most desire to be baptized of anybody I've met, but she is so darn nervous. If you have an extra moment, pray for her to feel comfortable, especially around us.
This is my first time as a missionary eating Jollibee. We got to go to the mall after mission tour, where I got some ties for the four of us, some exercise equipment, belt and slacks, and a good Tagalog-English dictionary, along with some chicken seen here which is better than what you can buy at Martins. 

We have a banana tree in the backyard, which we decided to harvest. These bananas, while small, are a lot more delicious than the bananas we eat in America! They're much sweeter and smell really good for some reason.
The picture at the end of this blog entry is a great example of how life sometimes works out in the Philippines. "It's more fun in the Philippines." I apologize for not getting Elder Wilkinson's head in this picture, but this lady with special needs, while we were in the mission tour, opened up his package and ate all of the chocolate here! Ahhh! He was pretty bummed, but he says it'll become one of those things he'll laugh at later on in life.  
God be with you until we meet again, my friends.
Elder Thurber

No comments:

Post a Comment