Sunday, March 9, 2014

We Just Gotta Love

What a crazy week.  It was full of spiritual experiences, exhaustion, meetings, amazing people, crazy people, even crazier people and everything in between.

It all began on Tuesday when we had our zone meeting.  What an experience.  The mornings of zone meetings are crazy stressful, but are so worth it. We were running around town trying to finalize everything and fix the little problems that kept popping up out of nowhere. Elder Hawkins and I are really happy about the turn out though.  There was laughing, tears, the spirit and candy.  The formula for a good zone meeting. One of my main topics was letting our love motivate us to go above and beyond.  I used the greatest example of Love that ever did live.  Jesus Christ.  One day, I hope I can love as Jesus Christ loves.  One of my favorite verses on the subject is found in Moroni 8: 
”Behold, I speak with boldness, having authority from God; and I fear not what man can do; for perfect love casteth out all fear.”
We just gotta love.
Immediately following zone meeting, we went on exchanges with our district leader.  It was great.  I was working over in their area with Elder Barnes from Idaho. (Yes mom, every missionary from Idaho is serving in the Philippines). We had a good time.  We talked to a lot of people.  Someone tried to convert us to Iglesia Ni Cristo.  I think we saw a dead guy. We got hit on... by both girls and guys. Went to the gym.  You know, just a normal day as a missionary. What's super cool is Elder Barnes lives with Elder Atoigue so I gotta spend the night with my tatay.  I sure love that man.  He heads home in July.  Crazy. Want to hear something awesome? I can't remember if I mentioned this before, but Elder Atoigue was a convert to the church and was the only member in his family. He had the amazing experience to baptize his mom while he was in the MTC.  Since then, his dad has also been baptized. Elder Atoigue is the man.  That is a true missionary.  It gets even better.  This summer, his parents will be flying out to Manila to be sealed as a family in the Manila temple.  It nearly brings tears to my eyes. I love that family.
The rest of the week was full of teaching, talking and tracting. We found some wonderful investigators this week who are definitely going to be baptized.  We had two great FHEs with a few investigators that will be baptized on the 29th.   Had 7 investigators at church and 7 less actives.  Our sacrament attendance has jumped from 126 to 181 in the past three weeks. It's a great time to be serving in the Manila 1st ward.
I gotta tell you a couple stories from church. We were waiting at the door inviting everyone to church when I see our part member family (Borejon) walk in through the gate. I make eye contact with their 8-year-old daughter and she gets this huge smile on her face and runs over and gives me a hug.  Yeah, that was priceless.  Next story.  We just finished up Sunday school and were heading into the chapel.  I scan the room to see who's there, who's sitting next to who, and all that fun stuff. Out of the corner of my eye I see a man.  I took a second look and realized that it was Dino, the less active husband of our investigator that disappeared two weeks ago. I scanned the row and found Maricel (our investigator) sitting quietly awaiting for the meeting to start. I just love when people come to church without even being asked.  It's just great.  It was a great Sunday.
I have bad news. 

I'm transferring. 

Got a call last night from the APs and I will be transferring out of my beloved area. I'll be heading to a new zone on Wednesday. That call pretty much shattered my dreams.  It made me really really sad.  This area and this zone are finally moving forward and I’m being transferred. I hate leaving the people that I have grown to love so much.  I will miss them like crazy. I guess I’m needed in another part of the Lord's vineyard. The great thing is, I’ll have the opportunity to meet hundreds of new people. "I'll go where you want me to go dear lord.”

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