Magandang hapon sa inyo lahat,
I just love Mondays. Monday is probably the craziest day of the week for us. It's supposed to be preparation day with time to unwind, but we always have meetings and assignments so we never really get a chance to sit back and relax. There will be plenty of time to relax when I’m retired. I can wait. I'm glad to hear you had a good week. Life sure is good, isn't it? It sure is over here in the Philippines. We had a pretty epic week and have an even more epic week ahead of us. We will be teaching a lot on Tuesday and Wednesday at interviews and then again on Thursday at MLC. It will be my 15th of 16th and final MLC. What's really cool is that Elder Haynie, Elder Washburn and Elder Clarito (all the Elders I’m going home with) will be at MLC at well. By the way, thanks for the Birthday wishes! I can honestly say that being 21 feels absolutely no different than 20. It's a great day non-the-less. One of the members invited me over for dinner last night and she made mashed potatoes and bacon. It was so great. We'll also be going to our Bishop’s house later tonight for a birthday shindig. I'm pretty stoked. I love the members in this ward so much. When you've been in a ward for this long and you can finally speak the language, you get to know the members really well. It's going to difficult to leave all the great friends I’ve made. But I’m just not going to think about that yet because it's still a long time away.
We had some pretty amazing experiences this last week. One of the greatest experiences happened the other day while on exchanges. I had the wonderful experience to go back to Manila 1st ward. It was a great experience. It's great to see the results of the work the Lord did through you with your own eyes. We had a very spiritual experience with one member who was very active when I was assigned there. I got to know her really well while teaching her non-member husband. This active member ended up becoming less active about 8 months ago. I was so excited to see her and even happier because she was also excited to see us. Thanks to inspired questions, we were able to find out the real reason she fell less active. We had one of the most powerful lessons I’ve had in a long time. At the end of the lesson, she stated, "There is a reason you had to come back. You woke me up." It was a great moment. Those types of moments are described very well in D&C 50, "Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understanding one another, and both are edified and rejoice together." I also learned a very important lesson when we were discussing why the course of her life had changed over the past 8 months. I asked her if she had been reading her scriptures and praying. She responded that when she stopped coming to church, she also stopped reading her scriptures and praying. A couple months later, she was swearing, easily angered and drinking coffee. We often underestimate the importance of the "little things" that are required for daily conversion. A testimony is something that has to be regained and strengthened every single day. The little things truly do matter.
The other two amazing experiences both revolve around food and foreigners. Well, let's just say that food is a great missionary tool. I've mentioned in some of my previous emails that we are currently teaching a young man from Sweden. We had the opportunity this last week to go to his house and meet his family. It was amazing. They have been living in the Philippines for about 9 years and his mom is a very important employee at an international bank. They have a beautiful house. Probably the most beautiful house I’ve been in since I’ve been to the Philippines. We had a wonderful dinner and had a great time socializing and discussing the gospel. They have very different religious views than most or all of the people of the Philippines. We had a good discussion the restoration and hopefully will be going back in the near future.
The next experience occurred at a dinner appointment set up by one of our members. She has a couple friends from the Netherlands she invited to this dinner appointment. We ate at a very nice seafood restaurant (it still surprises me that I love seafood so much) and had a great time. It's so cool learning about the cultures from other countries. He was trying to teach us some Dutch words and it honestly sounded like he was clearing phlegm out of his throat. Fun fact for ya. During times of war, if the Dutch suspected someone to be a German spy, they would have him say a single ward that no one can say correctly. If they couldn't say it correctly, they knew he/she was a spy. We also came to find out that they actually live right down the street from our apartment in a condo unit. You bet we'll be teaching them again soon. They will hopefully be coming to church as well this upcoming Sunday.
I have wonderful news. Brother Cares is now the Young means president in the Manila 2nd ward. He's the man. It won't be long before he's a Bishop. I also got an email from them today with pictures from their sealing!! Oh my gosh. They are the cutest family ever. I just love it.