Dang what a week you guys had. That is so sad about Brother Venable and brother Billings passing away. So much sadness in one week. That has to be so hard for those families. I will be praying for them! Sounds like Sebastian is doing great. I cant believe he's walking, thats so nuts! and thats hilarious that he pants like Regen haha I wish I could see that. Thanks for sending that part of Elder Hollands talk. I really love his talks, they are all so good. And I love how he describes the Atonement in that talk and how it is extended to everyone, not just certain people. I love the part where he said "the thing God loves most is the thrill of being a merciful God." Ive never thought of God and mercy liike that and that is such a cool perspective when you look at it from that perspective. But yesterday we had Stake Conference in Kalibo yesterday and for stake conference we watched a broadcast from Salt Lake City. Elder Evans(of the 70), a sister from the young womens, Elder Holland, and Elder Hales all spoke in the stake conference. It was so sweet to have a stake conference where we hear from general authorities. Elder Evans gave a great talk on missionary work and was motivating the filipinos to serve missions. It was weird to hear that talk as a missionary thought, such a different perspective but it was great. And Elder Holland talk on the Atonement and some other things that I forget but all the talks were great. It was so weird to be at church with so many people though haha the whole chapel was filled it was crazy!
So this last week was pretty rough with investigators. We had a ton of appointments planned with different investigators everyday and everyday we would get punted form pretty much all of our appointments because the people werent there. The Bautista family wasnt there, Rodil wasnt there, we tried to teach Lito Alisasis but he said he was busy, Ronel wasnt there one time, and some other investigators werent there too. It was so disappointing. Especially because we would walk all the way out to the appointment and then get punted so we wouuld waste a ton of time that we couldve used teaching other people. Also, we had little success tracting this last week too, which usually doesnt happen. Finally though on Friday we were able to get 2 new investigators and 2 people that we didnt teach but set up an appointment with them. So one of the new investigators is a sweet story how we found her. So we were walking through the plaza in Altavas going from a neighborhood and walking to another neighborhood and theres this big catholic church and a big auditorium type thing in the plaza that we were walking through. and when we were walking through we noticed that they were having theyre high school prom and a ton of people were outside watching the students walk in and stuff. So we stopped for a second to check it out and then this lady came up to me and started speaking english to me, which never happens. So this Filipino lady starts talking to me and asking me where im from and how long ive been in the philippines and what not. and I answer all of that in Visaya (or Illongo) and shes was like I dont understand ilonggo, I just know tagalog. So I was like okay and I just spoke english haha it was way weird. So she told me she used to live in Utah and I asked her if we could come by and teach her the next day and she said of course. it was the most random contact ever but it was so great. so the next day we find her house and taught her a whole lesson in english. It was seriously the weirdest thing haha but so great to be able to teach in english. but the lesson went so well. She said that she has been praying to God for direction in her life and I told her that our message was the direction that she needed so she has definitely been prepared by the Lord. And she said that when she lived in Utah she went to church with her family member sometimes because theyre Mormons and she liked our church. And she said shes been taught by the missionaries before in Utah but she doesnt remember what they taught them. And she told us that she has lived in Utah, Texas, and New York but she was born in the Philippines and she is in Altavas because her mom was sick with cancer so she was taking care of her but she died so now she wants to go back to America, she's just waiting on her kids to get visas. But shes lived in america pretty much her whole life and 3 of her kids are in america, ones in California. So at the end of the lesson we invited her to church next week and she said yeah I'd love to and I'll bring some of my friends too. So Elder Shingleton and I looked at each other and just gave each other a huge smile because that never happens, its so hard to get people to come to church! So we have a return appointment with her on Wednesday so were excited to go teach her again! It was such a great blessing from the Lord to find her. Oh and her name is Vilma.
But other than that, not too much happened this week because we were punted so much. We taught Ronel twice and they were good lessons but he told us that he is moving back to the northern philippines in April so we were super bummed when we heard that. So that is going to make it hard for us to baptize him before he leaves but we still have hope that we can do it! and unfortunately we werent able to teach Rodil because he was working all the time. Also, we have another pretty solid investigator, Mario, that we've taught 2 lessons to and he is really interested and asks great questions but he left to Manila on Thursday to apply for jobs and we dont know when he's going to come back. So its frustrating sometimes but I have a feeling this next week will be a solid week.
So dad, whats going on with March Madness? did you fill out your bracket? Elder Shingleton and I were just talking about that the other day. and I heard Gonzaga is #1, thats weird. But Dad should be happy because baseball season starts in a week or two. Also, I would love another package with some food and stuff. Beef jerky, cashews, tiger milks, just add water pasta, protein, or just anything you want to send. That would be the best! One week and Louie will be here, so crazy! I should find out this week if I am going to be training or not so next week I'll let you know. Im way excited to see him haha its gonna be so great. So sorry there wasnt too much to write about this week but missionary work is just the best, let me tell you that. I have received so much joy and peace in my life as I have been serving the Lord. Teaching people here about the Restored Gospel is just so fun and fulfilling. Dont ever be afraid to open you mouth and share this gospel with others. Something that I have learned here is to follow the promptings of the Spirit. I receive promptings everyday and there are some that I didnt follow but that I should have. I definitely regret that but now I am trying my best to follow each and every prompting. So my advice to you guys is to follow those promptings, even when you thing its just you making something up. If the prompting is telling you to do something good, it is of the Spirit, so follow it and you will be blessed I promise. I love this gospel and reading the scriptures everyday. I hope you are all reading your scriptures everyday because that is the only way to live a life where you are following the savior. Like it says in the vision of the tree of life, we need to hold fast to the word of god. We are sooooo blessed to have the scriptures and the words of the prophets and apostles so easy to get and use so we need to take advantage of that! Well I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
So I'll tell you about the pictures:
Theres one where im eating buko (coconut) and I have a glass of coconut milk too. so we went to a branch members house and when we got there he wanted to give us buko so he climbed up the tree and threw down 4 bukos. then cut them open and gave us a glass and I drank all the milk then ate the meat inside I was so full. its just funny to think that missionaries get nice meals in america from members and here in the philippines I get coconuts haha its so great. then theres a picture of the biggerst spider ive seen here. its soooo big hah it was sketchy. then when we were walking down the street this guy had a huge lizard, i think its a komodo dragon, that he was trying to sell us for 300 pesos haha so i got a picture of that. I think theyre poisonous so its way sketchy too. then when we taught Lito alisasis and his family the kids took my camera and took some pictures. so the 2 girls are litos daughters and the 2 other guys are members from the branch that were working with us. They are all so funny I love them. well I hope you like the pictures!
Palangga ko kamo,
March 10th Email
Mayad nga hapon pamilya!
So im emailing later today because we went on a sweet hike earlier here in Altavas so we didnt go up to Kalibo today. So the four of us Elders, 2 of the elders from Banga, 2 ward members from New Washington (a city like an hour a way), and 3 members from our ward all came on the hikee with us. theres a mountain right next to Altavas with an electric tower on top so we hiked up to that tower and it was way fun. The trail was SO steep the whole way up haha but it only took us about 30 minutes to get to the top so it was easy. But we were all just swetting a ton because it was so hot and humid but the jungle kept us cool because of the shade. So we got to the top and it was just an amazing view of Altavas and the neighboring areas. And I didnt realize how close we are to the ocean, but we got to the top and the ocean is super close to us which is sweet. Then after we took some pictures and took a rest at the tower we continued up the top of the mountain a little and climb up some coconut trees haha it was way fun. I'll gonna send pictures of all this so dont worry. Then some of the filipinos that we were with climbed all the way to the top of the coconut trees and threw down some buko (or cocnuts) and we cracked them open and drank the milk and ate the meat haha. It was so awesome, we werre just in paradise. I just wish we couldve jumped into a pool or something because it was so hot but its all good. It was way fun, im definitely going to go hiking more.
Anyways, happy birthday mom! sorry im late but I hope you had an awesome birthday! Sounds like La Jolla was way fun and I bet you and rachelle loved that. I could definitely go for a massage right now haha. also, thats sweet about baby Brox! I bet the Taylors are just loving life right now. thats awesome for morgan and whitney. I bet you guys are loving having rachelle, sebastian, and scott at home. I bet its really crowded now too haha that'll take some adjusting. But now dad has someone to watch sports with so I bet he's loving that. the only thing is scott has to watch baseball now haha have fun with that scott! So does scott have a job or whats he doing?
So this last week was an okay week. There were 2 days where we were punted all day and even when we went tracting, no one let us in. So those were some loong days because we only taught 2 lessons but all the other days were pretty solid days. We taught the Bautista family once this last week and we invited them to be baptized on April 13. they said that they werent 100% sure yet if thats what they wanted to do so they were going to pray and think about it so we will follow up next week. The lessons with them are hard because they are super hard to understand. Luckily a ward member comes with us so he talks with them and answers their questions most of the time because they say stuff to me and I just sit there and dont know what to say back to them because i have no clue what they said haha so yeah its an adventure. also, tatay Bautista said that when he was with his friends and they were all drinking all he drank was water so we were super happy about that!
We werent able to teach Rodil because both times we went to his house he was gone working and he didnt come to church. I think he is starting to work more now so thats a bummer. We need him to come to church! Also we taught Ronel twice and one of those lessons we taught him Word of Wisdom again because he has been struggling to stop drinking. I just testified to him with all my harde and was just straight forward to him about the word of wisdom and the blessings he will receive if he stops drinking. It was a powerful lesson and I felt the Spirit strongly so I just hope that he felt that Spirit too and that he stops. He didnt come to church again this week because he had to babysit his 2 month old baby so that was pretty frustrating. We taught Jennifer once before she left and that was a great lesson. We taught her about the plan of salvation and then I just bore my testimony too her about the Book of Mormon and that this is the true church on the earth today because she was leaving on Sunday. I just bore my testimony with all my heart to her because this was the last time we would teach her. And I told her to bring the book of mormon with her to Saudi but she said that she would but its not allowed at all there so thats a bummer. But I told her to look for the missionaries when she gets back in 2 years and have them continue teaching her so hopefully she does that! Its a bummer losing her as an investigator. We got some other new investigators this week so hopefully they progress these next few weeks.
So thanks a ton for Spencers, Ryans, Louies and Matts emails. that has been so awesome reading those and reading about how theyre doing. Spencers been out for 6 months now! So crazy! this is going by way too fast haha.I've been emailing louie so thats been cool to talk to him. I sent him some pictures of the philippines and he was way stoked to see those haha. I cant wait til he gets here. And if I train him that would be the coolest thing ever! So Debbie, the girl in the Altavas branch going on her mission, gave her farewell talk yesterday. It was a good talk and all the branch members were super sad that she was leaving. Everyone was crying and stuff. But she went on the hike with us this morning so that was fun. She leaves this thursday and she's super excited to go!
Well nothing else has happened this last week! This next week is going to be a good week I can just feel it. Thank you so much for all the support and love that you guys give all the time to me. I feel it everyday across the world here in the Philippines. I love this work, and let me tell you it is WORK. So hard and tiring and exhausting and trying at times, but at the end of the day when you give it all you've got and you've taught the lessons to the best of your ability, it is so rewarding. the feeling you get after a day of teaching spirit filled lessons all day is just a feeling that you cannot get from anything else, only missionary work. I love this gospel and the blessings that we receive from living this gospel everyday. This last week I was just thinking of how blessed we are to have this restored gospel in our lives. We aren't lost or searching for the truth. We HAVE the truth. and we receive blessings from this TRUE gospel everyday. How great of a blessing is that. Dont take this gospel for granted. Study the scriptures, pray, go to church, align your lives with God's and dont take for granted this Gospel. I am reading in 3 Nephi right now and it is full of so many good verses and I would recommend that you all go study 3 Nephi or anywhere in the Book of Mormon. Its ALL good! Well have an awesoome week and good luck with work, babysitting, and everything else you guys do. Love you tons!