Sunday, November 24, 2013
This week really flew by, but mostly cause we were never in our area! We just took jeepneys all week because we had so many meetings.
I had my first ever zone meeting which was really interesting to say the least. It was really such a waste of time and was driving me crazy, so I definitely learned patience! Because President Revillo is new, he has implemented new rules, so there is a big confusion on the rules and on top of it, we have a new zone leader who is from Tacloban mission, and he wanted to include some of his rules and got them approved for our zone, one of them being wearing our socks during personal study hahaha. When president found out about that one he just laughed haha. But the new zone leader is really motivated for us to do our best so I am excited. It was just difficult with so many personalities saying what they think and I'm just over here with a former AP and he is going home in a month, and just whispering to me funny stuff about. Basically, we are missionaries and can use our best judgement, at least that is my opinion, but there really are missionaries who need exact rules, so I just need to do my best and follow them with a good attitude and be respectful and patient in meetings.
We got to teach a family this week that is a referral from a really awesome family in our branch. The branch that we are in is just awesome, and what is really cool is Elder Ardurn (Not sure on that spelling) from the seventy is comingto dedicate our renovated church building! He is the area General Authority, so that is going to be just awesome. But anyway, the family we taught is really cool. We arrived and the husband wasn't there, who Elder Masula taught on exchanges last week, but luckily we had a member with us and could teach the rest of the family. The family is the mom, and 3 boys, ages 14, 12, 6, and a toddler. The 14 yr old is really tall, he's 5'10 haha. That's just huge here, and I guess it is pretty tall, especially for 14 yrs old, and he loves basketball. He came into the lesson late, and am so glad he did. We were just teaching the mom and the 12 yr old, the younger ones were playing, and they were really shy to answer questions and wasn't really going well. But then Patrick walks in, sits down and picks up the pamphlet and starts reading and then answers the questions and was just awesome! Then the other two started to participate, and Patrick was just sitting on the edge of his seat and was just super interested! We challenged them to be baptized and usually people say sure, after we repeat what we say, but Patrick just said, OPO! (Yes) right away, it was awesome. Then the mom and brother said yes too. This lesson was really great for me, not only did it remind me of how great it is to share the gospel with people, especially when they accept it and you can see their desire, but because I don't know how, but I was able to understand the general overview of what everyone was saying, and when Elder Masula would tell me in english sometimes, it was what I already thought, and all week I was able to understand. Speaking is a lot different haha.
We attended a zone conference where 4 zones met and had some workshops and things like that, and president Revillo talked about converting ourselves, and in my personal study I read a lot about that in the conference talks.
I just loved what Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson said about conversion. Conversion is not an event, it is a process. That was taken from True To The Faith but she talks about how we need to live the principles in order to be converted. It is possible to have a testimony of them, but not live them, and we need to be converted. We cannot gain a testimony of commandments if we don't live them first, and a lot of the times that is what we think. We may not want to live the law of tithing until we know it is true, but praying to know if it is true without living it won't get us anywhere. "The Lord expects us to exercise our Faith" and after we have a trial of our faith, or exercise it, we gain a witness or testimony.
Elder Maynes talk goes hand in hand with it, and that is to endure. We need to be converted if we want to endure, and the only way to endure is by getting in spiritual shape. Just like we cannot watch a basketball game on tv and become fit and in shape to play, we cannot just watch conference and be in shape. We need to apply the principles, and like basketball, it takes dedication, perseverance, and self discipline. When we live the principles, it helps us do those 3 things, become converted, and able to endure in righteousness, that is the key, IN RIGHTEOUSNESS.
I love what he says too, that the quality of our eternal future is proportional to our ability to endure in righteousness.
And the ability to endure in righteousness will be in direct proportion to the strength of our testimony and the depth of our conversion.
Sister Oscarson goes on to say that when we are truly converted we will have no problem sharing the gospel naturally.
The theme of the conference was definitely hastening the work, and Elder Ballard's talk is really great on that topic, I encourage you to all read it, as well as all of the talks.They have so much awesome stuff in them, and I look forward to each day so I can read them, Im going to be sad when I finish soon.
Just some points from Elder Ballard's talk:
When we act in faith to fulfill his work, The Lord is going to help us do it, and we need to PRAY for opportunities and then LOOK for those opportunities he will give you. that is a promise, he will give them to you,
And then too haha, Elder Packer talks about the key to spiritual protection, and part of that is through regular scripture reading, and he just says, "Test it for yourself"
What benefit are the leaders of the church getting when we read our scriptures? None. So obviously this is for our benefit, and is going to help us.
Those are just a very small portion of the things I have learned and am just loving learning and teaching people and wish they would just read The Book of Mormon. Just test it. I just want to shake them haha, All we ask is to read it honestly and pray about it, and ask if it is true. That's it. If they want to know why there are so many churches and which one is true, they can pray, and they will find out. I just think it's funny how our only tool in helping people is to read and ask if it is true. We cannot do it for them, nor do we force, but we know how much it will bless their lives and when they start to keep the commandments and test them out.
To end, a funny story:
On Sundays the members have choir after church, and bring food to eat right after church and then go to choir. It's rice and meat, and they give us missionaries some. They had this dessert looking thing later after choir, and looked like fruit salad haha, boy was I wrong. So I was all excited to eat this american dish, and get a good amount, and then a lady says elder have more, so I say, sure! and she piles it on, so I have this big bowl. Well, I take the first bite, and it wasn't yogurt or whipped cream haha it was mayonaisse. AND, it wan't only fruit, there were apples, cherries, and then macaroni noodles, very thin slices of ham, and some other mysteries ha, so I finished it, and it was a big bowl, and the other 3 missionaries were just laughing and the members just asked if I liked it and I said yeah it's just different than america and they smiled and kept eating haha. Good Times!
Hope you all have a great Week!!
Monday, November 18, 2013
This week has been great, but frustrating at the same time! I went on exchanges with the Zone Leaders and got to have a real shower, What a treat that was:) Even if it was cold. And talk to some american elders, they really motivated me to push through because of how much they loved what they were doing.
The people here are so kind and loving, almost to the point of making me angry because they let you in and let you teach them and say they like what we are teaching, but don't let us follow up with them. But we were giving agency so as long as me and my companion are working hard, it is okay, even though it is sad.
This week in our district meeting I loved what someone said. "Christ came to this earth to serve, not be served" And that is what my mindset should be on a mission, but everyones too. The true character of Christ was serving others even when Im sure he wanted to have people serve him and do what he wanted.
Me and Elder Masula get along really well, we both love ping pong and our chapel has a table, and I was beating him and he said "Tonight we need some companionship inventory" haha. He is a great teacher. I love working with him.
I have been focusing on listening to the spirit more, I just want to share the gospel and speak the language so I can teach them clearly. A talk in the MTC we heard was by Carlos Godoy and when He was being taught the missionaries told him that this was the same church as when Christ was on the earth, it was back. He was so excited and made so much sense he just ran home and told his parents and they blew him off and he literally shook them and yelled "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, IT WAS GONE AND NOW IT IS BACK, THIS IS THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST, THE SAME ONE, ITS BACK!" That's the kind of enthusiasm I feel I have and am so disappointed when people don't understand the authority and need of organization.
I've been reading a lot of conference talks and love what they say, and encourage you to read Elder Gifford Nielsons, he was funny to listen to. But he gives 3 steps to how members can be missionaries. And L. Tom Perry said in the mission conference "This is the most exciting era the church has ever seen. It is up there with the first vision and book of mormon" That is so awesome. In D&C 6:3 it says the field is white and ready to harvest. It wasn't gray, or dark, it was white and ready. It is really white and we all need to get to work!
And remember that opposition is the indispensable element of mortality, and strengthens us and refines us. Christ's healing begins with faith. (See elder timothy j. dyches talk)
I love you all and hope you have a great week. All the Tacloban missionaries are safe, and 16 of them will be joining The quezon city mission!
Monday, November 11, 2013
Well, the language that they speak here is not what they speak in the MTC that's for sure. The plane ride over here was really long, and once we arrived it took a long time to finally get our bags and find who was picking us up. I just kept thinking of the movie "Taken" with different people coming up to us and telling us where to wait. We finally got to the Hotel and got a good 3 hours of sleep before having to go to the mission home, and there we had an orientation and then got to go tour the memorial/ cemetery of soldiers who had died Im pretty sure in WW2. After all of that we got to find out who our Trainer was going to be, and everyone loves my name, Elder Rock. So they called me up and said my companion was on the rock (
Mindoro). So we knew that 3 of us were going to go to
mindoro and we would have to take a plane the next day and our trainers were
there waiting for us. So They said my trainer was there so I would be going
there, and it is a pretty desirable place to go, so everyone was all excited, and
then the AP's said, just kidding, your trainer WAS on the rock, Elder Masula is
your trainer! He's native!
I didn't really care because I want to go to mindoro when I know Tagalog really well so I can enjoy it haha. But Elder Masula is awesome, He is native and speaks really good english. He is also the district leader so he is obedient. The mission president's wife kept saying that missionaries would make fun of us if we were obedient and stuff. It was really weird, she spent like 2 hours telling us to make sure we do this this and this, and to call her if our trainers didn't. But then she would say the trainers were the best missionaries in the mission haha.
So, we were driven to a church and got picked up by a senior couple from
who are awesome, the Jensen's, and they took us to our apartment. My area is
Bingagonan, I think. It's really hard to understand names because they talk so
fast and mumble it, so when we talk to people and ask their name, they say
zinny. "WHat"? 'zinny' and we ask them to spell it, and they say
Jenny. Oh so Jenny. So I have no idea who anyone is haha. canada
is really different, I
understand why they call it culture shock now. We are in a province area, so
not near the city, so there is a lot more green, but so so so so dirty. It's so
hard to explain. The pictures I have are really beautiful, but it smells bad,
and the houses are so tiny and I don't know how to explain it. Everyone sells
things too. So they have random items hanging from the outside of their house
with a cage in front so no one steals it, and things cost like 10 P. (43Pesos
is a dollar right now) Philippines
It is pretty humid, all of my books are getting warped just from the moisture, and we walk everywhere. I kind of wish I went on more back packing trips hahahaha. A Tricycle is our number one way of transportation, its like a 70 cc motorcylce with a side car, and they just jam as many people as they can haha, its super funny.
All of the kids love me, because I am this super tall white guy, and talk to me. Everyone stares too, but Im getting over that. They try to talk english, because I guess it means that you are intelligent or something, just they all want to speak english, and they say "YO, wassup man" and then laugh when I speak tagalog back haha.
Even though it is so crazy here, the church is still the same. The members are the same and the doctrine is the same. The really sad thing that I heard was that there are 700,000 plus members here, but only 200,000 are active. How sad. The number one reason is people getting offended, which is really hard, And it is over stupid things. But at church we had a few less actives come and that was really good. I have noticed that you can find the same people, like people come in late, there are the people on their phones, the snacks for the children, the funny dads, and so on. They are all here haha.
I've been really discouraged because I cannot understand anything anyone says, and it is just so frustrating, I just want to teach people but can't in the way I want to. And I miss home A LOT. At the MTC I didn't really, but here I just want to take a shower that isn't out of a bucket, but there must be opposition in all things, and Im pretty sure it was Gordon B Hinckley's dad that said "forget yourself and get to work" So That's my motto. ANd to be happy. It is so hard to be happy sometimes because I just get waves of sadness, but we choose if we are happy, and that makes my attitude change.
In the MTC we heard thousands of stories about how people are humbled on their mission and rely on the Lord. I wish people wouldn't tell those stories because it takes how meaningful they are. What I mean is that there isn't really a way to express how desperate you are for help, I just feel lonely sometimes, and just have been learning to pray and remember why I am here.
I sure love everyone, and miss you, but will see you in 2 years that fly by I have been told:)
PS: The P
I am truly learning how to rely on the Lord, and am trying to follow the spirit and have the spirit way more in my life and follow it, so we will see how it goes. It's only my first week so I need to stop being so hard on myself, but I just want to help and teach and get families to the temple!
The storm was in Tacloban, so nothing happened to me, on friday they had us go in our apartment, but it just rained.