Well this week has been exciting to say the least. Elder Avila and I have been crazy busy so this email should be pretty exciting. It all started last Tuesday when president asked us to go on emergency exchanges with some Elders in our mission. They've been struggling a little bit with obedience and other things so we went in like Seal team 6 to put an end to it. It was actually a really fun and successful exchange. The one I went on exchanges with was my apo (grandson) or in other words the trainee of Elder Villoso, my trainee. You always have a special bond with your "mission posterity." We worked in the ghetto of the ghetto. If you googled "Ghetto of the Philippines," you would probably find this exact place with us proselyting in the background. At the end of the exchange he was extremely thankful and told me, "I feel like I can go out and talk to anyone now!" We got a picture and then I left my apo to convert the world. It was a fun time.
The next few days were a blur as we prepared for MLC and the arrival of numerous general authorities. MLC was great. President Ostler is giving us a lot of time to teach and I love it. Elder Avila and I taught for a total of 1 hour and 30 minutes about different missionary subjects. We have two major pushes going on in our mission right now and they are "Becoming Master Teachers" and "Talking with Everyone." This mission is really going to bloom under the direction of President Ostler. I'm amazed at his leadership ability and his sensitivity to the spirit. I am learning so much from him. It's a blessing to be serving with him.
Friday was even crazier then Wednesday and Thursday. It was jam packed with different activities and meetings. The first meeting was a New Missionary and Trainer follow up meeting which is conducted 3 weeks after the new missionaries arrive in order to check on their progress and encourage them further. It was a great meeting. President asked me to teach about "being a new missionary." In preparation I looked back over my journal entries from my first area and got a good laugh. It's amazing to see how much you progress over the short period of two years.
Right after that meeting we had our first choir practice!! All I can say is it ain't Christmas until the Philippines Manila Mission sings about it. We will be singing 5 songs, 3 of which we went over during the practice. We have a lot of work to do. Word on the street is that we also have a chance to sing on TV. One of the members might be able to hook us up. Have I ever mentioned how much I love singing? I could sing all day, e'ryday. Just to warn you, upon arriving home, I will be singing non-stop for at least a month.
THEN, we had our special missionary meeting with Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the presidency of the Seventy. Also in attendance was his wife, Sister Robbins, and my boy Elder Ardern and Sister Ardern. Elder Avila and I were sitting on the stand when they walked into the chapel. As Elder Ardern, the one who was supposed to conduct the meeting, takes his seat on the stage, he leans over to me and says, "I'm going to have you conduct this meeting so hurry and take a look at the program." hahahah Little did he know that all that was written on our program was, "instruction lead by Elder Robbins." So yep, I pretty much just had to play it by ear and go with it while two general authorities were in attendance and over 200 missionaries. NBD. In all honesty, I’m so thankful for the experiences I’ve had on my mission. It truly has been a blessing. Not everyone can say they've conducted a meeting that two general authorities were speaking in. President Eyring and President Uchtdorf need to be careful, I might be conducting at the next general conference.
The meeting was amazing. Every time I hear a General Authority speak it amazes me more and more. Their ability to teach is unbelievable. We unfortunately were not able to meet Elder Oaks. However, we did watch a nation wide broadcast last night that he spoke at. It was interesting because the first speakers (Bishop Causse, Elder Ardern and Elder Robbins) all taught about the opportunity it was to be with Elder Oaks and how thankful they were for his example. They didn't want to take any time away from Elder Oaks. It seemed as if they were only preparing us to hear what Elder Oaks was going to teach us. One thing that I feel was a key part of the weekend and the things taught to this wonderful nation was the importance of exact obedience. We need to be 100 percent obedient to the commandments. We can't choose which commandments to follow, we must follow them all. Either we're on the Lord's side or we're not. There's no in between.