Monday, September 1, 2014
Well here in the Philippines, Christmas starts in the "BER" months, so there you go, I'm not going crazy.
This week was a lot harder than before, because Elder Cox got transferred, and I am with a new Elder, fresh from the MTC, Elder Montecillo, he is Filipino, from Cebu. So last week we had the orientation, and we got paired off with our new companions. I was so anxious the whole day, waiting to see who would be my companion. Elder Nebeker was also there, and it was so cool to catch up with him, we have hardly seen eachother in the mission, it stinks! I got paired up with Elder Montecillo, and he is a funny guy haha. He is really excited to work, and his favorite thing to say is "LET'S ROCK!!!" ... it never gets old.... ha
We had a really cool experience, Elder Montecillo is not afraid to give out baptismal dates, we're taught to give it out after the first lesson, so he just goes for it, sometimes it doesn't really flow, but you gotta love the guy's faith, it's awesome. So our first night, we just get back from a day long meeting, and go to an appointment, and we taught a guy named Nikko, and he is 17, and his girlfriend is a member from another stake. He had gone to church a few times as well, and is really interested. We had just a great lesson with him, he is really smart, so he just grasps things a lot faster, and he accepted a baptismal date from Elder Montecillo, and after the lesson, he was walking super slow, and was in shock that he just gave out his first ever baptismal date, and that Nikko accepted. He was talking to himself or something ha, but he was pumped ("LET'S ROCK!) and kept saying "wow, Elder, that just happened" really softly and in a marveled kind of way, haha, it was awesome.
We were able to get a lot of work done this week, quite a lot of lessons, and we found some really good people. The investigators that Elder Cox and I found are progressing, and they are so close to being able to be baptized, they just have to go to church. We visited basically everyone, and they all said they had been reading, and were going to go to church, but then, came around, and only one came, Nikko. It was such a buzz kill, I was pretty disappointed. But, next week, I think they are all going to come.
We were asked to give talks , and Elder Montecillo was really nervous, he stayed up all night and woke up a little early to finalize it, I am really used to giving talks, (it is always about missionary work) so I wasn't too worried. We get to church, and the bishop asked us to fill up most of the time and he would just say some concluding remarks, so Elder Montecillo goes up, and gives his talk and after 5 minutes starts bearing his testimony, wrapping it up. The 1st counselor looked at me and was laughing cause I would have to fill so much time up. OH! and the funnies part was Elder Montecillo pumped his fist saying he was excited to be here haha.
So Then he closed and Bishop just said, 'Well, I'll speak a little longer I guess, but try to fill it" and So I spoke, but it went really really well. I just used my notes and followed the spirit. I had always wanted to do that, just have some notes and go by the spirit, and so I figured the mission is the best place to practice, and it went great.
The funny thing was Bishop asked us to teach the combined class, again about missionary work, so that was fun, but everything went really well.
This ward is super close to having some baptisms, We have some great investigators, it's all about helping them get to church, and really seeing how important this gospel is in their lives, and living the gospel. When they live it, they will better be able to see how much it can bless them.
We have this investigator, Yvettte, I was really frustrated with her when I first went, I just wanted to drop her right away, but Elder Cox was really calm about it, and that kind of made me more frustrated. We went to her a few more times, her husband is a cool guy, reading and stuff, but I don't know, she is kind of holding him back. She refuses to pray with us, we have taught about prayer like 3 times, one lesson I was on splits with an AP here and it was crazy insane with the spirit, and then she still wouldn't pray. What's worse is she won't even tell us why. She has an illness or she's sick or something, and then yesterday I figured out why.
They said they were going to church, but then they texted last minute saying she was sick, and we stopped by, It was pretty crazy. I don't know if I have ever seen someone in that much pain. We shared about the priesthood and gave her a blessing and she was just whimpering the whole time. Seeing her in that much pain made me realize even more how much I don't understand the atonement. It was really powerful to see that, even though I just felt so bad for her. But I know that she will be able to see the power of the priesthood and more fully understand the atonement, I really believe that.
Thank you everyone for all of your birthday wishes, it means so much to me. I was kind of homesick today, but it really lifted my spirit getting all those wonderful notes from you, thank you so much!
Monday, August 25, 2014
End of Transfer, What!?
Where did time go!!!??
Where did time go!!!??
I seriously cannot believe how fast this transfer went, and it is a little sad, cause me and elder Cox will not be together this next one. I'm pretty bummed, but this next transfer is going to be a good one, I can feel it. At the same time though, I am pretty nervous.
We had a great week this week, I'll just start with my favorite part. We have been teaching this family, and the mom and kids have come to church but the father has work on Sundays, so he hasn't come yet. They have been reading the Book of Mormon, sometimes, it isn't very consistent, so we stopped by one day, and just focused on prayer and gaining an answer through prayer. We share how Enos Prayed for an entire day, and read some verses, and then asked how their prayers were going, and specifically how they asked. I think that was the best question, because they never asked a simple question, they would say "Hopefully you will let me know" or "give us a sign" or stuff like that, but, they said they knew that it would come through feelings. So we taught them to pray, and just ask "is the Book of Mormon true" and then just wait for an answer. They said they would, but also knew that they needed to read it more. So we ended and invited the mom to pray, and we kneeled and I asked her to ask in her pray. I wasn't expecting her to wait or anything, but after the prayer, she just sat there, and everyone was just quiet, and the spirit just filled the room. After about 5 minutes, we asked her how she felt, and she explained how good she felt, and how it is true. It was so cool. The whole time I was just praying for her to recognize the spirit in the room, but to be honest it was hard to miss.
That was so awesome, and Elder Cox realized how important prayer is. He said that throughout his mission he focused on just reading, and of course prayer too, but not as much, but that really is the most critical part. You can read it and just read a really awesome story and have nothing really happen from it, or when you read it with the intent of knowing if it is true, you totally can.
Yesterday in district meeting we did something really cool, we shared something that we learned from the transfer, and we had 2 districts combined because of lack of rooms, so it was about 14 missionaries together, and we all shared things we learned, and it was so cool to hear everyone's experiences. One thing a lot of people talked about was patience. My patience is tried seriously every week, just with people, or random little things. I think my patience has grown a lot more, but it is still definitely something that I am going to continue to work on.
I wrote down a list of stuff while I was thinking, and one thing I really noticed that I learned this transfer was how people just don't know what they are missing without the gospel. It is pretty heartbreaking sometimes, to just look around and see everyone that doesn't have such peace and joy coming from the gospel, and how some people really claim to be religious here, or claim a religion I should say, and have no idea what they believe or even just where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going.
And again, I learned how important the ward is in doing missionary work. Seriously missionaries need the ward members to start getting involved. To talk to more people and invite more people. "Members are full time finders, members are full time teachers"!!!
Hope everyone has a great week, I know I will!
Sunday, August 17, 2014
This transfer is going by so fast, this next week is the last week and then it is going to be transfer announcements again! We will see how things go! Time is flying!
This last week was a bit slower workwise, not a whole lot happened, but we did get to meet some new people and have good plans on meeting with them next week. Our lessons this week were just a bit lower than the past, and it was kind of frustrating, but we have some really good progressing investigators, so it was great to be able to focus more on them.
I think my highlight of the week was being able to go on exchanges with the missionaries from the MTC. They send the foreigners out when they are at 4 weeks to work with us for a couple hours, I just think that is a huge benefit for them. I was put with one elder, so it was just the two of us, some companionships had 1 elder, so it was cool being just two, but the MTC teacher tagged along last minute, but still cool. I realized how weird it is that I know a different language. We were just in the lesson and the guy next to me has no idea what they are saying, and I'm just like, what do you mean, they are speaking clear as day! haha, but he was actually pretty good at speaking, and new some good words, I was impressed. But the gift of tongues is real. I know there is no way that I could get this language without it. People will literally ask us how many years we have been here, and when I say 10 months, they are shocked, when Elder cox says 2 years they are like, 'oh, that's why'... so the coolness factor drops, which is so lame. They have been studying english since they were little and still can't. But anyway, it was a huge testimony to me of how great the ways of the Lord are.
The other thing I liked was how pumped up and new all the missionaries were. They were so excited, and their clothes were all new and crisp, they looked SO YOUNG. I thought one kid looked exactly like Sam Walker. I asked Elder Cox if I look like that and he said yeah hahaha, but seriously it is crazy how much trust is put in us. I just loved seeing their enthusiasm, and made me think that being a missionary becomes a routine, and I don't like that, because it really is so special.
The next cool thing was going on exchanges with the Training Assistant, they don't have an area, they just go around everyday and work with missionaries. So I worked with Elder Osores, and he is the man! Seriously it was awesome. He takes teaching by the spirit to a whole other level, it was crazy. We talked about forever, I really am going to try and teach like that. It made me realize even more the power that comes with being a missionary. He was literally able to discern, and it was pretty quick for him. It takes time to be able to have that happen, but Missionaries are really able to get gifts of the spirit much faster.
We heard from an RM this sunday, he just got back, and he talked about his mission, and one thing he said that I really liked was how everyone has resposibilities, no matter how big or small, they are given to us from the Lord, and we need to magnify them. I wanted to add that we need to always see how we can do better. It is so hard sometimes, but when we do honest self evaluations, and don't lie to ourselves, we can see ways to improve. It is probably one of the hardest things to do, because we seek comfortableness as people, it is what we want, be being comfortable doesn't allow us to grow. So I need to do better for sure, even with the language, I appreciated working with a Filipino so much, more than I ever had.
Hope everyone has a great week!!!
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Kumusta po kayo sa inyo lahat!
First of all, Congratulations to Lauren for her wedding, so bummed that I missed it! And also a late congratulations to Erin Chase for her wedding as well! And Sol Sagiao! I missed so much these last few weeks, but it was so worth it because this last week was AWESOME!
This week we had a lot of really good new investigators! We had about 4 people, that after we taught them they asked for a Book of Mormon, before we even invited them to read it! It was awesome. It is basically telling us right off the bat that they are going to read. We taught this one guy, James, and his wife was not interested, but he really was, because his whole life, he never was really religious or anything, he would go to church occasionally with his wife, but I think that something really struck him with our message, and he was really interested in the Book of Mormon.
We had another, they were way funny, I may have mentioned one of them last week, but we met these people, and they are really good at English, and one of them, a guy named Mac, he learned from rappers and so he talks like a rapper/ghanster a lot, it is so funny. But he gave awesome insight in everything that we taught, and his friend asked for a Book of Mormon to again read it and find out more.
This happened so much to us, people we were contacting immediately asked for it, and were really interested in finding out more about it. But perhaps the coolest experience we had was with this guy named Tony. This was probably the coolest thing that has happened to me on my mission.
So we were walking down the street on our way to contact someone we had talked to a few days before, and we heard some music coming from this house, and the guy was outside, so we went over to talk to him, and thought it would be great because we both liked the music he was playing, so easy conversation starter. And to be honest, me and Elder Cox really liked this song that was playing (tender mercy). So, we talked to him, then he kind of went inside and we were about to leave but I tried one more time to talk to him, and then we told him we were missionaries.
He said he was waiting for us to tell him what we were and to share a message with him!
We were so shocked, so we went in, learned a little more about him and his family, and he mentioned he was Catholic and a little more. I felt I should ask him a question, I'm not even too sure anymore what it was, but he really opened up to us, and how at his work (a call center) all these co-workers of his were going to this kind of new church that just opened up, and he was just so confused about why there were so many churches, and at this time in his life, he was really seeking guidance to what he should do, and that is why he wanted to listen to us so bad. I was so excited, we hadn't even prayed yet! So we prayed, and taught him about the restoration, and he totally got it, and had great questions, and then at the end, the best thing happened. He told us that he wants to read the Book of Mormon, and that he has tried reading the bible with his family, that he really wants his family to be together and closer to learn more about God, but he doesn't really get the bible, because there are so many versions, and so he asked us if we could come back and teach him and his family, so they could read the Book of Mormon together and he said 'if it wouldn't be too much to ask' haha. I was just trying not to laugh at that, because I was so excited to come back, I wanted to yell, YES.
He was so sincere about everything, and really wants to guide his family, and be guided, and just told us he didn't know what to do, he didn't know what was right. This strengthened my testimony so much that Heavenly Father really does prepare people.
We also have been teaching a family, and the dad is a jeepney driver, and hardly knows english, but his daughter is pretty good, so when we speak english, he has no idea what is going on, and he keeps telling us he wants to learn, so we taught him the word 'nevermind' and there is no real translation for that in tagalog, so he doesn't get how to use it, so he will say nevermind and it will make no sense haha. So one time he said it and it was so random EVERYONE was dying lauging, and then in his prayer he said he was grateful for learning english haha, so awesome.
Thank you for everything! I hope everyone has a great week!!!!