Sunday, December 29, 2013

A White Christmas

It has been a great week.  I cannot express how great it was to talk with you guys face to face this past week.  I miss you guys so much.  However, after I talked with you, my desire to do missionary work increased ten fold. I look at the awesome family I have and love the thought of helping others become an eternal family like ours. Of course, they won't ever be nearly as cool as we are, but they'll come close.

That desire kind of died once we started working.  We had a rough couple days this week.  Not a single person wanted to listen to anything we wanted to say.  I experienced the most rejections of my entire mission.  Plus, in this new area, Elder Carlson and I get mocked like never before. Two Americans walking around in the ghetto of the Philippines (which would make any of the ghettos in the states look like Beverly hills) is quite the sight and they never let us forget it.  It gets really frustrating some times.  I realized early this week that finding in missionary work is largely motivated by your love for the people. If you love the people, you will talk to everyone. If you don't, you won't.  It's been a little difficult to love some of the people in this area. Especially the grown men that drink all day, yell at us when we walk by and make stupid comments to try and act cool around their friends. Don't worry though, it's getting better. We have found some great investigators this week and the area is really starting to look up for us.  Elder Carlson and I had a cool experience this past week fasting.  Thursday night rolled around and we were just down in the dumps due to our area. We decided to fast the next day.  What a great experience.  The day started off rough.  All of our appointments fell through.  We decided to spend some time and focus all of our efforts on finding.  No one was interested.  We finally walked down a street and walked by a group of people sitting outside their house.  Elder Carlson and I didn't notice at first and were surprised when we heard someone call us back.  We returned to a warm greeting. The first thing we noticed: They were fluent in English (Elder Carlson could participate).  They then expressed their desire to learn about our religion and our beliefs.  We were told that they had seen missionaries before but had never spoken with them.  We began to talk with them and eventually began to share the message of the restoration.  The lesson went great.  They excitedly accepted the invitation to read the Book of Mormon and pray to know of its truthfulness.  They then asked us when we would be coming back.  They wanted to know more. We will be teaching them later today.  Way stoked.

Yesterday was probably one of the greatest days of my entire mission. The baptisms of Carmelino and Marissa. The baptismal service took place before their church service at 7 in the morning.  Elder Carlson and I arrived to find both of them anxiously waiting.  The Elders that are now in their ward informed me the day before that both of them requested that I be the one to baptize them.  No words can describe my happiness. There are few times in my life where I have been that excited. The service went amazing.  It was just perfect.  I love those people so much.  Marissa has been investigating the church for years and finally decided to be baptized. So cool. My experience with Carmelino was very spiritual and emotional. After I baptized Carmelino, he came up out of the water and I embraced that man like a long lost friend.  All I could hear him say was, "Thank you, thank you so much."  It took every bit of my will power to hold back tears.  Marissa and Carmelino both bore strong testimonies afterwards.  They spoke of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, Thomas S. Monson, and being sealed in the Temple. The spirit was overwhelming.  I will never forget that experience nor the feelings I felt. Families are forever. So it wasn't exactly a white Christmas in regards to snow, but I would trade snow for a family in white any day.

That pretty much wraps up the week. It was a roller coaster. You gotta experience the lows to experience the highs. It's great to know that we have a Savior that is walking beside us ready to bear us up whenever our own strength isn't enough. As a missionary, you quickly come to realize that your own strength is never enough. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I shall give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me. For I am meek and lowly or heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls."

No comments:

Post a Comment