Friday, June 7, 2013

Growth week after a terrible Sickness!

Dear Family and Friends,

Fighting goats with my knees
Hello! Well I guess Connor comes home this week. That's pretty crazy and exciting all at the same time. I can't believe that he's already done. That was way fast. I remember the day that he left. So nuts. He served well. Congrats on being a returned missionary my friend. This week has actually been really good. It's had it's ups and downs as normal, but that's just normal mission life isn't it? What kind of mission would it be if it was easy the whole time? It wouldn't be a mission. This week I start thinking about the life of Jesus Christ, His mission that he did while He was here on the earth preaching His gospel, I have no reason to complain ever. He's the true hero and the one who completed the best and most amazing work possible. I'm glad that I can preach and teach about Him. I was going through my study journal and things that I had written down a few months ago and realized that I've been pretty bad at applying them, so I'm really trying to become better and really applying the gospel into my missionary life. This morning in my personal study I was reading in Jacob 5 about the olive tree. It talks about planting a tree in a terrible part of the vineyard. Sometimes, I feel, that's where I am. I'm in the part of the vineyard where all these bad things have happened and it's not a good place to be. However, if you keep reading, the tree grows and brings forth good fruit. Look why, because the worked, digged, and pruned the tree. So now I"m going to take that and apply it here to the Mabini Branch. Work, Dig, and Prune the branch and make it grow into a nice part of Zion. Elder Edem and I have both committed to doing this work together and we know that it's possible. We've just really got to work hard. So do you want to hear about my week? Well, here it goes:
On Monday it was P-day. I was still way sick, but I had enough strength to email and yeah, that was pretty much it. I wanted to get a haircut, but when I went, the guys were going to go get lunch. We didn't have that much time and I wasn't feeling that great. So now I"m going to have to get my haircut today. The other Elders invited us to play basketball and I couldn't and I was so sad because I really want to play. Even if it is an oven here, I still love to play. But, I restrained and didn't play because I wanted to start feeling better. I stayed home and rested. :( However, we're playing today! So I'm super excited. On Monday night at my closing prayer, I was just begging Heavenly Father to please let this sickness pass from me so that I can work and be an effective servant of His. I went to bed with a high fever and a huge headache, not the best feeling. I was just hoping that when I woke up that I felt better.

On Tuesday morning when I woke up the fever had passed from me, but I still had a huge headache. We had to go to district meeting with the Stop Aguinaldo Elders. I was just praying that I could walk. All my energy was drained from my body. We made it to district meeting okay and got some good ideas on how we can help the branch here grow. It's going to take a lot of help from the members, so we're really asking for their help on this one. After district meeting we needed to go to Escalante and get some lunch because we have to food at the house. Typical missionary life, tell me about it. So we came to Escalante and bought a chicken. I haven't eaten anything solid since last week when I was sick. All I ate was an apple and 4 eggs for about 5 days. Needless to say I lost a lot of weight. After lunch I really just didn't feel good, but I wanted to work so bad. So all I did was pray and lay down for about an hour hoping when I woke up that I could walk. My prayer was answered. We went to work and we were able to teach the Gonzales couple. The couple is still not married and they are not really trying to get married either. It's pretty sad. It's like they are way lazy to try and get married. I wish they showed a better desire to get married. However, we taught them about the importance of the family and why they should be married first before they are baptized. They always ask, Elders when can we get baptized, they know why they can't, but they still don't do anything about it. It's pretty sad. Then after that lesson we went to the Garcia family. They've been less active for while and just won't come to church. They don't live that far from the church, just walking distance. They're a HUGE family too. 9 kids I think if I remember right. So we're really trying to work with them and bring them back to the church.
On Wednesday we did our studies, ate, then went straight to work. That's my favorite thing to do is just to work. I know I'm not that smart or skilled at being a missionary, but when I go out, walk, talk to people, and do the missionary work like a missionary should, I feel good about myself. We went to Sister Caren and taught her about the importance of money. In 2 Ne 9:51, we read about using money for things that have a good purpose. Things that are important and things that are going to satisfy us. Not things that are in Cebuano called, "Waay Pulos". Meaning worthless or something that has no value to it. It was a really good lesson. Then we went and taught a less active sister. Sister Ayo about the Book of Mormon and why we need to read the Book of Mormon and how it can help us. He daughter in law was present at the lesson and she's not a member, so we're going to try and continue to teach her. Then we went to Sister Queenie and her mom. Her mom is an investigator and can't be baptized yet because she hasn't lived with her current husband for 5 years. She had a previous husband and there is no divorce here in the Philippines, so she can't get remarried. The rule on that, is that the person who wants to be baptized needs to live with the new husband for 5 years. It's like a brand new rule. Sorry if that doesn't make sense. It's really hard to explain. Then it started to rain and so we got wet, or course. It's so much more fun in the Philippines.
On Thursday we had planned to go see Bro Despojo. We went to where he lives and the neighbors told us that he was in Moncada. A place that is soooo far. We've only been there one other time and it takes about an hour to walk there. It's on the other side of the mountain where Bro Despojo lives. It's his wife's families place. Since we weren't able to see him last week because I was sick, we really wanted to go and see him. So we walked all the way there. We arrived and taught him and his wife's family's friends who aren't members. They are really nice and understand that doctrine, but they live literally, SO FAR from the church. So we're hoping that something can work out and they will be able to come to church sometime. They were the only people that we were able to teach. It's so far away by the time that we walk there and then back down to Mabini, it's night time. So yeah, it's a pretty crazy far walk. Normally we ride a motorcycle up the mountain and then just walk down. There's also something interesting that I learned about the Philippines, it can thunder while it's sunny. Kinda cool huh?
On Friday we had our weekly planning session. During out companionship inventory I asked Elder Edem how I can be a better missionary. We discussed somethings and I realized that there were some needed adjustments that I needed to make and change in regards to me being a missionary. It was a really good moment and I'm so thankful for Elder Edem being the type of missionary that is willing to help me to become better. He's a great companion. Then we went to work. We went to Sister Caren's house, but on the way there stopped by and saw a family that I new was a former investigator. We stopped by and taught them about families and the gospel and the restoration. It was a good lesson. They're the Janna family. They have 5 kids, only 2 were present at the lesson, mom, and dad. The mom is super smart and knows all the right answers. They live pretty far from the church though and they didn't come to church on Sunday. I was really sad, but I'm usually sad most Sunday's when people don't come to church. It really rained on Friday and so that was a super fun day. I like when it rains. It's super nice and it cools way down. In my personal study I read in 2 Ne 32:7. It talks about being sad because people don't search for the knowledge and understanding of the truth. Even when it is given to them on a silver platter in plainness. This is exactly how I feel sometimes about the missionary work here. We teach all the people the truth and it's so simple and so plain, that it almost seems to good to be true! I don't know what more to do sometimes. So I really liked that scripture.

On Saturday the Chin couple texted and told me that the mail was coming at 2pm. So we had to wait till they came over and brought us the mail. I just studied Cebuano for 3 hours and read my scriptures and listened to 4 conference talks about missionary work. It was a good afternoon. I got a package from Grandma and Grandpa! Thank you soooooo much! I love you guys! And I got a letter from Court. Then they gave me all the mail from the whole entire zone. I wonder if they know that I"m not the zone leader... After that we went and taught a less active sister who lives pretty far from the church, but they use to be way active so we know it's possible again. She still didn't come to church on Sunday though... dang! Then we went to the Gonzales family again to invite them to come to church and to teach them. Sister again asked when she can be baptized and then we told her, Sister, how are your plans for marriage. Still nothing. So, yeah, it's a pretty rough situation. Then we went to the Garcia family to make sure that they were reminded that we have church the next day. We taught them... and then they still didn't come to church on Sunday. So yeah, we're super sad that none of them were at church. Pretty rough Sunday, just like usual.
Sunday we went to church. There was one less active there and no investigators. How sad. How sad that people don't want to come to church and come closer to Jesus Christ. I was just really feeling bad for people. After church we had a Branch Council meeting. We pretty much just stood up and begged the branch for their help into our missionary efforts. We asked them to help us with the work and if they'd visit members. Also help with fellow-shipping. It's going to be a lot of work like I said earlier, but we're still happy missionaries doing our job. After the branch council we just worked straight after in our long sleeve shirts. We didn't want to waste money going back home to change. So we taught a couple other less actives and we found a new investigator too. Her grand-daughter is a member and she lives with her. It's pretty cool. She has arthritis, so we're hoping there is a way that she can come to church.
Well, it's been a great week and I"m started to get another one going this week. I hope that y'all are good and doing great and you still remember that you have a missionary out here on the island who's trying his best. Thank you so much for all the thoughts and prayers that you send my way. They are the most appreciated thing in the world. Thank you so much. I love y'all back home. I just want to let you know that the Book of Mormon is the best thing in the world. It's so amazing and I love reading it. I always feel so much better after reading it and I really feel the spirit. Even if you only read a little bit a day, just make sure that you are reading something. Use modern technology, load it on you phone or ipad or whatever y'all have these days. Read it in your spare time or when you're waiting for something. I love you family. So much. Keep up y'all's fun life back home. I miss you so much. Here's to another week!

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