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

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

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Life and Times of Jorald; and Marica

12/18/2013Note from Matthew's Mom:Because I was out of town due to Matthew's sister Amy having a baby boy, I have been unable to update Elder Thurber's blog until now.  Also, there have been power outages in Palawan on P-day, due to the power company shutting off the power trying to convince the people of the need for a coal-powered power platn, so it has been unpredictable when we would hear from Matthew.  I will try to get caught up, though, today and tomorrow, so check back for a few more posts.  :) 

We very much are looking forward to hearing from Matthew on Christmas Day. He has been encouraged to bring the mission home when he calls us.  

Merry Christmas to all of Matthew's friends, and family!

Mon 11/25/2013 
Aborlan, Palawan

Sorry I just now sent this email. The power went out last Monday when I was typing.

Before I get into the steak and potatoes of my blog, I should talk a little bit about the Typhoon and Tacloban mission.  Be sure to check out the mormonnewsroom and see the like 400 missionaries from Tacloban that are transferring to different missions here in the Philippines.  The Manila mission got about 15 missionaries from the Tacloban mission, and two new missionaries are going to be coming down here (still from our mission) because of these changes probably in this next week.  Also, let me just say that I reached a historic, manly milestone during the storm. I took a shower outside! The water in the tub was dirty, so I really didn't have another option. It was a sweet, freezing cold, thing-you-only-experience-on-your-mission-in-the-Philippines type of thing.

Random Picture:  Elder Thurber and Elder Balonsong:

Zone Meeting last Tuesday was quite interesting. We got to meet the new ZL, Elder Haynie, from Alabama. I think that says enough. He's the tallest missionary I've seen and is very strict and hardworking. We also got a bunch of new missionaries from the MTC. Two of them are being trained by the best missionary I know, Elder Healey. 

Tue 11/26/2013 7:33 AM:  

"The Life and Times of Jorald J. and Marica A."

Dear friends,
Sorry, once again, for the late entry. Turns out that the power company set up a timetable for blackouts, and I was right in the middle of sending this message when the power was cut off, just like last week. I'll resist the urge to talk about yesterday's "mission tour" and all of its awesomeness, as it is for next Monday's entry. It's really awesome.  I’m so glad I can finally email! I have a lot to say, I suppose. Maybe you think differently, but I think it’s all pretty interesting.  

Let me start off with the most interesting investigator yet: Jorald. I’ve talked about him previously, and how he loves to work with us, along with attending church regularly and reading the scriptures daily, without any family support. In fact, his dad won’t sign the signature for him to get baptized. I’ve gotten really close to him as we’ve talked quite frequently (well... more like me muttering out some Tagalog, him responding, and me asking Elder Hart to translate) and I’ve really come to love him! When he prays, you know who he’s talking to.

This is a picture of Jorald and Grandpa Pambungas, who is the father of our branch president, from my Oct. 7th blog post.

The big hurdle is the signature. 

His dad is a born-again Christian, and while nice and friendly, says he won’t sign the signature because he thinks he’ll become LDS, too, if he does. I’m not sure how true that is, because we still haven’t been able to sit down and talk about it. Jorald is thinking there’s little hope right now, but the first counsellor to the branch presidency, Bro. Montellia, is willing to come with us to try to talk with him, or, at least to help us do the best we can.  In his behalf, I would very much appreciate your prayers for Jorald this week. Nobody knows for sure what will happen, except God!

I got sick for the first time on Friday. I lost a day of work, which was more frustrating than I thought it could be. But thankfully it only lasted 24 hours,  and now I'm back and running and annoying my companion once again when I feel like it.  :)

So we have finally got a investigator who completes the definition of a progression investigator (is following all of the commitments we give her and is progressing towards baptism). That is Marica A. I mentioned her earlier, right? Well, we finally got to teach her. I used the simplest Tagalog I know, because she was literally born and raised in isolation in a mountain until 16, and married a Less Active relative of the Branch President, and know has a kid at 19 years old, and loves to smile and attend church but not really talk. She, as well as the wife of the branch president, only know the language spoken in the mountain she was raised in. I can't even pronounce it.

The baptismal date we set was January 11th. Considering her enthusiasm and already attending church, we would think about doing it earlier, but considering her educational level, and that church on Sunday is in Narra, we decided that was the best date for her. It's a very solid date, as she meets all of the prerequisites for baptism, namely motivation and and a support system always there for her. In fact, the wife of the branch president said she will read to her the reading assignments we leave for her in the Book of Mormon! Talking about members and missionaries working together, eh? 

Most of our other investigators didn't attend church this Sunday because Manny Pacquiao decided to set up a huge donation-charity event for the people in Tacloban at 9 AM in the morning on Sunday, right when church starts. We lost practically half of our sacrament attendance because of it. Obviously, I'm not condemning his good intentions, but don't all churches start in the morning in the Philippines? Wish the timing had been better.

I'd like to leave and bear testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. It brings everybody closer to God. The spirit is felt by those who understand its message and read with real intent. It is the cornerstone of our religion and without it, our religion would simply fall apart. It binds broken testimonies and heals shattered faith. It is truly the word of God. How can I, or anybody, speak differently? What is its intention? Anybody who reads it can know that it testifies of Christ as the Bible does, and with more clarity, as it is translated purely through the power of god to his worthy servant, Joseph Smith. I know that regardless of how many times you have read the Book of Mormon, you will still gain something out of every single reading, unless you do it grudgingly. It's surprisingly simple and totally true! It's the word of God! I hope you agree.

With love,

Elder Thurber

No comments:

Post a Comment