Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Calm Before the Storm

We are currently sitting in a computer shop during "The Calm Before the Storm." Typhoon Ruby (the Filipino name for the storm) has slowed down a bit and won't be arriving here until a little bit later this afternoon. Unfortunately, when storms slow down, it's not a good thing. It allows for a lot more rainfall and thus, a lot more flooding! Our area flooded pretty bad the last time a typhoon hit so we're expecting to be stuck in our apartment for quite a while. Don't worry, I’ll take pictures and send them to you next week. I'm glad to hear that everything is going well at home! I'm so glad to hear the Christmas season is finally upon you over there on the other side of the world. Christmas hit the Philippines about 3 months ago, but has drastically increased over the past couple weeks. I can't explain just how much I love the Christmas season. Hearing Christmas music, seeing Christmas lights and trees and, most of all, teaching about the birth of our savior are a few of my favorite things. Not gonna lie though, it doesn't really feel like Christmas without snow. 

Well this week has been very busy and very epic. We have been running around mad trying to get everything ready for this typhoon to hit. Not only that, but we also had MLC this last Thursday. MLC is always a big project. I'm letting Elder Avila take charge in most aspects of the work so he can get used to leading the area and getting all the fun office work done.  He hasn't really spent a lot of time with computers so it's been quite exciting teaching him how to use word, excel, powerpoint and also, how to type. Elder Avila and I had the great opportunity to teach again in MLC this past week. We had about 60 minutes to talk about Talking With Everyone. I sure do enjoy teaching. 

I have to tell you about the greatest experience ever that happened this week. It all started on Saturday afternoon when we visited Samuel. He expressed to us that he found a job!! After weeks of searching and hardship, he's found a job! I was so excited for him! He definitely deserves it. He's so humble and willing to do the will of the Lord. However, finding a job was only half the battle. He know has to somehow find a way to get a workers visa which is not cheap. Then, on Saturday night we received a text from our bishop in the morning that stated the following, "We just received a text from Noah's explaining that his mom has cleared him to be baptized on the 13th!" Gotta love those kinds of texts. Like I mentioned last week, his mom has been insisting that he wait for a while. This is evidence that prayer and fasting can truly soften hearts. Wait though, it gets better. The following day (Sunday) after church Wilma came up to us and said, "Elders, I’m going to get baptized this Saturday (Dec 13th)!" She then expressed that her boyfriend has been working with the bishop and is going to be the one to baptize her. That nearly brought tears to my eyes. It was a very special moment. That is one of the experience I’ll look back on in the future and my heart will just melt when I do. Right after that, Samuel ran up to us and excitedly exclaimed, "ELDERS! One of the members has agreed to sponsor me and help me buy the licenses I need in order to work! I'm going to be able to get the job!!" By this point, I was so happy and excited and everything. But wait, there's more. Our bishop then pulled Wilma, Lynx (Wilma’s friend we've also been teaching), Samuel and us into his office. He then gave each of them an opportunity to share their testimonies and how they were feeling. It was one of the most spiritual experiences ever. After that, through tears of joy, Lyn and Samuel both agreed to be baptized this Saturday. Words can't describe the feelings I had nor the feelings I have now. I love this work so much. Luckily, it was stake conference that day so all the missionaries were at the church including the one that would be conducting the interviews for these amazing people. We pulled him aside, explained the situation and before we knew it, Wilma, Lyn and Samuel passed their interviews. My mind captured the picture-like moment as those three future members walked down the hall with their white baptismal clothing in hand, smiling from ear to ear, a moment that I will never forget. This next week will be a fun one. We have a lot to prepare and a lot left to teach! Noah's interview will be here in one of the upcoming days. The church is so true. 

The Lord is truly blessing me. These past few months have been a few of the most difficult and rewarding times of my entire life. I am so happy to be serving in this wonderful country. I'm so grateful for the people I’ve met. Some people look at a 2-year mission as a sacrifice, but the Lord blesses us far more than we sacrifice. I would never say that I have sacrificed these two years. I have gained more out of this time than I have at any other time of my life. A member of our area presidency stated, "there is no such thing as sacrifice in the gospel sense. The Lord blesses us so richly." It's true. 

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