Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Cabar Branch World Tour

So things with Elder Clarito are going pretty well except for the fact that he refuses to do the dishes. Never in my life did I think I would actually be the one motivating someone else to clean. This is what happens: we're all supposed to clean our dishes right after we eat.  He doesn't.  So the next meal, he pretty much runs to the cabinet, pulls out the clean dish THAT I WASHED and leaves his dirty dish there for me to clean and use.  Other then that, things are great! Elder Clarito and I are doing great!  The work is still a little slow but it's definitely picking up! 

Oh man, my choir killed it, but I think we're gonna cancel the world tour hahaha don't get me wrong, the spirit was incredible.  Our voices, a little less so.  One reason being that we only had five guys and about thirty or so women.  Luckily, the Cabar branch doesn't really have anything else to compare it to, so we probably sounded just like Mo Tab. It was so great though. I'm so glad that we were able to have a little music during our branch conference. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Mouse Infestation

Another great week.  Not gonna lie, there are definitely tough moments, but at the end of the day you only remember the good ones. 

We have a little bit of a mouse infestation. It has quite a great story to go with it though.  We bought some fly paper last week because no matter where you are, there are always ten flies buzzing around you. We placed them on the ground in hopes of catching a few.  We went to bed and awoke the next morning to find 6 mice stuck to the fly paper instead. Yes, 6 mice. Yeah that's how we do.  Who needs mousetraps? Throughout the rest of the week we caught 4 more.  Last week we were running around, trying to smack them with different objects trying to kill them. Didn't work too well.  We've killed about 15 or so in the past few weeks. NBD. 

So after a Branch Activity, the best part of the day occurred.  We were working with a few of the elders from our ward and it was getting a little late so we began to head back towards home.  One of the Elders pointed out a house and insisted that we try this one last time.  So we did.  The house belonged to a less active member by the name of Jasem that hasn't been to church for quite a few years.  He's married to a non-member and has one young child.  They kindly let us into their house and allowed us to share a message.  Since his wife wasn't a member of the church, we began with lesson one. The lesson went great.  The spirit was strong and there was actually active participation by MaryJin (the name of Jasem's wife).  At the end of the lesson we invited her to baptism.  She excitedly accepted.  She didn't just say yes either, she said "syempre", which means "of course".  I was as excited and giddy as a little schoolgirl. We then proceeded to extend an invitation to church.  This is where you really discover if a person is truly sincere about their desire to learn.  She is. The next day both Jasem and MaryJin attended church.  I was so happy.  It was such a great experience.  All that finding we've been doing is finally paying off.  PLUS we had the highest church attendance we've had since I’ve been here.  Last week we had 72, this week we had 107.  Not too shabby.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Things are Cookin' in the Philippines

What a week. They just keep getting better and better.  The months are flying by. Remember how I said last week that we were having trouble finding investigators? Yeah not anymore.  We found 11 new investigators this week! However, we invited every one of them to church and not one of them showed up.  I'm still confident that a few of those new investigators will progress.  We just have to continue to teach with the spirit and eventually they'll figure out that this is probably the most pivotal moment in their life.  It makes me quite sad when people don't keep commitments or tell us that they don't want to listen to our message because they honestly just don't understand.  We are trying to teach them the most important message that they will ever hear in their entire lives and yet, they treat us like nuisances. Maybe one day they will have another chance to receive this fantastic message and their hearts will be more prepared.

My choir pretty much rocks. Our debut performance kicks of this Sunday.  It's gonna be quite the experience. So far we've just been singing the melody, but the members of the choir insisted on trying to throw a second part into it.  So I have two practices to teach a branch that has no idea how to read music, how to sing the bass line. Wish me luck. Luckily D&C 25 says "for my soul delighteth in the song of the HEART," meaning we can sound absolutely terrible and it will still be a "prayer unto him."

So I’m thinking about being on iron chef when I get home. I've been learning a ton about cooking while I’ve been here and i think I’m ready to take it to the next level.  I'm really trying to learn how to cook some Filipino dishes while I’m here so I can bring the culture home with me. The food here is awesome. Want to hear something that will probably destroy your minds? The other day I actually started to crave fish.  FISH.  It was an experience that I never thought I’d have.  I'm actually learning to like fish. Crazy.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Change is Good

The highlight of the week: New companion.  Pretty crazy, this companion exchanged marked the end of my training.  I am now a regular missionary. Yay. My new companion is great.  His name is Elder Clarito.  He's from the Philippines and has only been on his mission for one transfer longer than I have.  We've already become great friends.  One of the first things he told me was that he liked The Maine.  Instant friendship.  I can look past all other hardships or oddities if we have the same taste in music. He's nineteen years old, has one older sister and likes to play the guitar.  I think it will be a good companionship.

We're in a little bit of an investigator drought right now. Cabar is one of the most difficult areas to find new investigators because the houses are extremely far apart. Nearly everyone has already had the opportunity to hear the gospel and don't want to listen again, or they're Muslim.  Since Sister Gaira and the Amit family have both been baptized we only have a few progressing investigators. (I use the term progressing very lightly). We've been trying to find this week but haven't had too much luck. We had an interesting experience yesterday while trying to tract.  We saw some people in the distance working outside of their houses so we began walking toward them.  When they saw us, tumakbo sila. They ran. hahah It wasn't like a sprint but they gathered their children and began briskly walking in the opposite direction hahah we preceded to the next few houses but no one was home.  We finally made it over a hill to find a congregation of a few people.  When they saw us coming, they again gathered their children and began walking in the opposite direction. I guess they're not too fond of the missionaries. 

I'm going to end this email with a scripture that has been one of my favorites out here in the field. D&C 123:17. "Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." I love this scripture.  It defines exactly how we should live our lives. One of my favorite words in the verse is "cheerfully". Not only do we have to do everything that we possible can, we have to do it cheerfully.  It's one thing to act because we have to, it's a completely different thing to act because we want to and then do it with a good attitude. Then, after we have done all that we can do, "we can stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed." The lord promises us that after we have done all that we can do, he will help us. When I read this verse I imagine myself "standing still" because I’m too exhausted to do anything else.  At the end of each day, I want to fall onto my rock solid bed, energy completely depleted and be able to look back and say "I did absolutely everything that I could possibly do today." Then, and only then, will we see the arm of the lord in all that we do. I know that the lord is with us every step of the way. He walks beside us, bearing us up when we are too weak to walk, and then carries us when we're too weak to stand. I've definitely learned that this is the Lord’s work and it will be done in his way. He leads us and guides us everyday.  I love missionary work and I look forward to the next 19 months.