Sunday, October 27, 2013

Liver Should Not Be Used for Human Consumption

I just want to start by saying that I love missionary work.  Seriously, I love it.  Every day is filled with experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything.  This week has been especially great. Elder Villoso and I are doing work here in the Manila 2nd ward. We have found some of the most amazing investigators in this past week.  A lot of these investigators have been found among the less actives of our ward.  As I have explained before, the Philippines has an enormous less active problem.  The percentage of active members is somewhere between 30 and 40.  Therefore, a lot of our time is spent contacting and teaching less active members.  We seek to find a balance between teaching and baptizing investigators and reactivating less active members.  Some of the advice given to us is to find our investigators among the less active members.  That's exactly what we did this week.  We found 4 part member families that are now progressing toward reactivation and their new baptismal dates.

 I have to tell you a little story about one of these families. A couple days ago, one of our appointments fell through so we pulled out our CMIS and began looking through the list of members.  As we were looking through the list of names, one name stood out. We looked at the address and were happy to find out that we lived fairly close. We made our way through the narrow alleys that are so characteristic to Manila and finally stumbled upon their house.  We met Johana, a less active member.  She was baptized as a child and was active until she moved to Manila at the age of 15.  She was brand new to the area and did not know anyone. She made her way to church one Sunday.  She was alone and was not fellow-shipped by the ward. That was the last time that she went to church.  She is now 28 years old and has been inactive for 13 years (might want to check the math).  We set a return appointment where we could meet with her whole family. That appointment was set for this past Saturday. Upon arriving, she gladly welcomed us into her house and invited us to sit down. Johana then asked me "did you not get my text? I sent you a text informing you that I wasn't feeling to well and asked if we could reschedule." I informed her that I hadn't received her text and asked if it was ok if we stay and give a short lesson.  She agreed and called her husband to join us (who is a devoted catholic by the way).   We gave a short but powerful lesson about the families. The lesson was amazing.  The spirit was so strong. At the close of the lesson, we invited her to pray.  She accepted and gave the greatest prayer ever.  Before we left, she thanked us for coming and invited us to come back again the next day. Of course, we accepted her invitation.  Sunday was amazing.  We gave a lesson about prophets, the priesthood, and Jesus Christ. We began to emphasize the importance of prayer. We committed them both to pray later that night and to ask if our message was true.  Her husband, Carmelino, told us the following: "I will agree to pray, but as far as asking if the message is true... I already know that everything you are saying is true." Holy. Those were the sweetest words I had ever heard. He followed up his statement with the following question, "How will I feel when the spirit testifies to me that I should be baptized?"  Seriously, this guy is golden. It doesn't get much better than this. I love this family. I love the spirit. I love missionary work. He will be baptized on December 14th. And by the way, they told us that they will be going to church from now on.  He's changed his schedule in order to attend church every Sunday. 

A little note about the food her in Paco. Rice and Ulam.  It's delicious. The Philippino people know how to cook.  I've grow to love vegetables.  We eat vegetables like crazy here. A lot of the dishes are pure vegetables because they are so cheap.  Meat costs a lot more so a lot of people will eat mostly vegetables with a little bit of meat on occasion.  They haven't mastered the art of chicken roll ups though.  I think seven chicken roll ups could feed a large family here. Nothin too crazy about the cuisine here though.  They do put a lot of liver in their dishes though.  I'm not the biggest fan of liver.  It has the weirdest texture and frankly should just not be used as food. 

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