Wednesday, July 24, 2013

July 7, 2013

 My rat adobo that I ate!
 Amazing sunset. 
 Some more amazing sunset. 
Dear Family,

Still no package. Haha.

BUT it’s been a pretty good week. Actually, we’ve had some great experiences this week. We’ve really been opening up a town in our area called Santo Domingo and we’ve found quite a few new investigators there. One of them is a really nice lady named Lyn Tagle (tah-gleh)…we met her while we were going house-to-house and set a return appointment with her. At the first lesson, we gave her a Book of Mormon, and this last week was the third time we visited her. We had planned to invite her to be baptized, and in the lesson we were reading Alma 7 (about the atonement and baptism) with her. As we all read about the Savior, she all of a sudden just started crying. We sat there for a moment while she wiped her eyes and it was like the spirit flooded the room. Elder Magno and I were trying our best to keep back tears as she asked us, “Why is it that every time I read this book, I feel really happy and start crying? It’s like there is power in it!” We were able to teach her that what she was feeling was the spirit, and that He was testifying to her about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. She accepted our baptismal invitation but isn’t ready for a date. She says that she would like to come to church a few times first. It was such a powerful lesson for me…one of the most powerful I’ve ever been a part of. It really built my testimony of the power of the Book of Mormon…It is amazing to see what happens when somebody actually takes the time to read and ponder the BOM. The spirit will always testify to them that it is true…if they seek with real intent. Sister Lyn told us that she carries the Book of Mormon with her everywhere and reads it as much as possible because of the feeling that she gets when she reads.

We also taught Sister Cherry the Word of Wisdom, which went well but she seemed really sad about giving up coffee. She told us that she is willing to try though. She has been to church twice already and is really interested. The only thing is that she is a single mom with a baby and a two year old, so it is really hard for her to come to church if there is no one to watch her kids. We are excited though to be teaching her.

Jianna, do you remember Katrina? I told you about her last week. She is your age. We met her mom this week and taught them part of the first lesson. They seem like they are pretty interested and we are excited to teach them again. They also live right by some of our members so we’ve been going over with some of their friends that are members.

There are a lot of cool changes happening with the work. I love the new emphasis that the church is placing on the members and missionaries working together as a team. I think once the programs get going there will be a huge success. We’ve been trying to work more with the members here in getting referrals and working with Aaronic Priesthood who are getting ready to serve missions. We work with Alex Javier a lot…he was baptized last December and just recently became an Elder. He’s 19 and preparing to go on his mission. He is one of the strongest converts I’ve met…he used to be part of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, but as he gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon he was baptized. It is so great to have him work with us, especially when we are teaching other people from the INC. His testimony is so powerful and makes a huge difference in the lessons.

Gross story of the weak…well, two. First, I ate chicken head. We were at the Acosta’s house (some recent converts) and they had cooked adobo with chicken heads and feet. The feet aren’t too bad but are still pretty gross. They just taste like skin. The head, however, was probably the most difficult thing for me to eat out of everything I’ve ever tried here. What they do is they cut off the beak and then boil the rest until the feathers come off and the bones are kind of soft, then they fry them or whatever. To eat a chicken head, you can either start by biting into the back of the skull and pulling out the brain, or you can just pop the whole thing into your mouth and chew it, sucking out all of the soft parts and spitting out the crunchy bits. I went for option 2, haha. I was so close to throwing up…the brain is like this slimy blob of fat that has a chewy membrane around it and tastes like blood, and then the eyes and comb and everything else just make it worse. I could only eat one. The member got a pretty good kick out of it though, haha. Number 2: I stepped in puke and it got all up my pant-leg. Gross. 

I also learned to cook Tinola this week…it is like chicken soup with unripe papaya and fish sauce and ginger. It’s super good. I will make it for you guys some day. (If I can find some fish sauce and papaya)

We aren’t sure if we have any baptisms coming up this month (nobody is coming to church) but hopefully that will change. I’m probably going to be transferred by the first week of August, so I’m just trying my best to build up our investigator pool so that Elder Magno will hopefully have a good harvest when I’m gone. I’m surprised at how fast this area’s been growing…we went from 19-25 lessons a week to almost 40 a week now. It’s been a huge blessing. I kind of wish I wasn’t leaving next month, haha.

Sister Aiza is pretty close to being baptized though…we are just waiting for them to get married. They will hopefully start getting their papers together for that this week. Sister Aiza has been an investigator for over a year…so I’m really hoping that we’ll be able to help her be baptized this month.

I love you guys…we started kind of early today (we are heading to Cabanatuan) so I’ll have to read your emails next week. I love you and I think about you all often. I hope that everything is going great for you.

Love,

Jared. 




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