Las Pinas Village, Manila, Philippines
The 12 week program and 10 hours of conference
Dear Friends, Family and Followers,
This week has been crazy, obviously, since I'm a missionary. We're going to be getting two new Elders in the Pamplona ward this upcoming transfer, so we're trying to split the area, and most likely, we'll have to give Brother Gabino to them. :'( It's alright, though; we've got so many good investigators who are progressing in our area, I remain a happy missionary.
On top of that, we're getting ready for Holy Week, which isn't exactly a good thing. Point being: people go out on the street, drunk, waving around things symbolizing palm leaves. Apparently, they do these things to show “respect” for the sacrifice of good. This is the point where I need to vent. Let's be honest, who do they think Jesus Christ really, truly is? It's so very disgraceful, mixing in blatant sin with the sacrifice of our Savior and Redeemer. How could something like this get so mixed up!! Frankly, this upcoming week for me will just have to be an example to me of how Satan uses the most ridiculous tactics upon Gods children-- and they accept it. Honestly, he just plants seeds, and then BAM! Cultural acceptance sets in, destroying people's common sense to actually read the Bible and understand its message, rather than glorifying him in vain ways.
So… this week we're using our Word of Wisdom pamphlets to try to destroy his baleful tactics. I'm slowly learning as a missionary that I've just got to live the truth!
My title just kind of describes this week. We basically got one lesson in the whole Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully, we had a full tank of people in Brother Gabino's jeepney which hauled them off to church, including the Pascual family* and their two neighbors who we're teaching: Marisa and Mary-Ann! WOOOO! They all had the wonderful experience of watching General Conference. I, obviously, enjoyed it immensely.
I thought Elder Ballard's talk was particularly touching. And I distinctly remember Elder Packer's statement: "I know God." Can you imagine? His spiritual level? When we sing Follow the Prophet, do we get it? This is important! These men are the men God uses to talk to us! What a great, great blessing! What an opportunity to listen to them for 10 hours! It stinks that people may think two hours is good enough.
On the flipside, I got a cold because of the air-con. But it was worth it cuz I got to hear prophets!
I'm sorry, but once again this computer, like the ones next to it, won't accept my USB for some reason, so no pictures this week, either.
Hey! Do you know what'd totally make me happy? Send me some letters! They're like the WD40 on the machine of missionary work.
I love you all and I know this church is true!
*minus the dad. He was called in to work.
Las Pinas Village, Manila, Philippines
The Power of Fasting
This week has been delightfully.... exhausting. I don't think I've talked to so many people in my life about the gospel, trying to plant seeds and give out pamphlets, return appointments, ask for referrals, and get their number. On the bright side, I'm getting better at learning names because I constantly have to remember them!
I suppose I have two great experiences I'd like to share today. First, is with Edwin, who has about 8 kids, who are mostly grown up. He opened up to us last week and talked frankly about his cigarette problem. And this week, when we returned, we found out he usually smokes 15 cigarettes a day. Even more surprising, though, is his willingness to change. But, obviously, that won't happen overnight. In fact, we passed by his house the other day and saw him smoking and drinking with his oldest son. I asked him how he's doing, and he simply said "I'm not good at all." This was only last Saturday.
So why do I think this is a great experience? Well, he accomplished his goals. We started using our Word of Wisdom pamphlet, and there's a goal section, and he's been accomplishing his goals! His most recent one he accomplished is going to church. Out of about 8 missionaries who have taught him previously, I had the awesome privilege of seeing him come through the doors of the church and to see members coming by and shaking his, and his son's, hands (who, incidentally, is not a member. Hmmm...). I truly feel he is going to overcome this problem, and brings me back to the 'ol faithful scripture: Ether 12:27
Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.
Cesan is second. She has been getting a lot of chiz miz or gossip from the neighbors, who talk bad about her switching religions. Also, she and her husband are struggling financially lately, and can't pay for the necessary procedures to get married for her to be baptized. We suggested to her that we could all fast for her. When we came over on Saturday night to start the fast for her, she looked pretty sad, and said we couldn't teach her tonight, because she has somebody to talk to, and was helping her out. But she still said she would fast, thankfully.
Sunday night finally rolled around with all of us fasting, including Brother Gabino. She didn't come to church earlier that day b/c she didn't have any strength in her-- but she did fast! And she said she received a calm reassurance the night before, telling her that she needed to be baptized. She also gave me a great insight. She said that from one degree or another, we will face adversity just as Jesus Christ did to be able to come back to heaven. I never thought of it that way! She's following Christ through overcoming these problems! I also got to talk to the RS president, who said she would be more than willing to talk to Cesan personally to help them get enough money to get married!
Once again, this computer doesn't like my camera usb, so I'll just have to send pictures next week.