Thursday, July 25, 2013

June 30,, 2013

Happy Canada Day! I know it isn't Canada Day yet over there, but it is here! Mmmm...potluck. Can we have one of those next next September? haha. I think just having a homemade bun will taste like heaven. I've noticed that I've gotten used to a lot of things here eating fat. I can put away just straight fat if it is cooked right, haha. I never would have been able to do that before my mission. I'm hoping to be assigned to a zone that has couples missionaries in it next transfer (they always cook normal food and feed the missionaries, haha). I've probably got until the 1st of August before I'll transfer...hopefully enough time for two more baptisms here. 

It sounds like you guys are having fun and really enjoying the summer. I'm so glad that Jameson is just chill in the water now...I remember he'd just run away from me last year when I tried to get close to him, haha. 

I'm glad the flooding didn't hit you guys in Magrath, although it sounds like it hit Grandma and Grandpa. That must have crazy to clean up. But hey, the Lord has reasons for everything, and it sounds like you got a great analogy out of it. It's so matter what our sin is, we can't repent of it alone. We have to always seek help from God and others in order to make the necessary changes in our lives. We need to call in the experts sometimes. 

Um, as far as adventures go...we received a referral from the Feje family to go and visit one of their cousins or something like that. This Sister's name is Lolita Morales, and she is really investigating a few religions because she is sick and has been getting surgery for the last little while. She is worried about finding the right church right now and wants to come closer to god. We were pumped to hear that she wanted to meet with us. Anyways, we go over there and yell 'tao po!' at her house (that's what you do here...nobody knocks) and they invited us in. What we didn't realize is that there were already missionaries there...from the Iglesia ng Diyos (a split off of the Iglesia ni Christo, which is a big Filipino religion). It was already too late to back out, so we just sat down and respectfully listened while they played a DVD from their pastor. After they were finished, we started to share a message with Sister Morales...the spirit was strong as we told her about how much God loves her and how he has a plan for her personally. It was honestly one of the best lessons I've been a part of...until we brought out the Book of Mormon. The two sisters from the "Holy Church of God for Christ Jesus (that's what the full name of their church is if translate it into English) had been listening carefully the whole time and flipping through their bibles, obviously trying to find something in our doctrine that contrasted. Their claim is that they are the church that Christ established on the earth back then; so I'm sure us reading from the bible about the characteristics that Christ's church used to have as well as testifying about a living prophet must have thrown them off a little bit. As soon as we pulled out the BOM, they knew that they had ammo, and they attacked it before we could even explain it. They used all sorts of verses from the Bible that said 'Not to add to the Bible,' and stuff, which I brushed off at first (I was trying to focus on Sister Morales)...but when they said that the Book of Mormon wasn't true, and didn't come from God because it wasn't the Bible...we got a little bit ticked, and started answering their questions. They asked us if we thought the Bible was complete, and we turned them to the last verse of the last chapter of John, as well as explaining the Lost Books of the Bible (which are mentioned in the Bible but aren't actually in the Bible), which proves the bible incomplete. They didn't like hearing that too much, and started just throwing more verses out at us. The spirit was definitely gone by then, and I was just so mad that I was shaking, but we kind of realized that we were heading into a debate so I finally just looked at these two sisters and asked, "Sister, I'd like to answer your questions with one you believe that God, if he wanted to, could reveal another testament of Christ?" They didn't answer, and I asked them if they had read the Book of Mormon. They hadn't. We then both shared our testimonies and personal experiences of the Book of Mormon, and invited them to read it and know for themselves. They declined receiving the Book, but Sister Morales thankfully did. I apologized to her and set an appointment with her when the ministers from other faiths wouldn't be there, haha.

It was kind of a stressful situation, and we probably could have handled it a little bit better (we didn't once attack their religion though...which would have been easy to do. We just answered their questions), but it really just let me know how important this gospel is, and that even if I had never even opened the Bible I would still know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. It made me realize how true the statement in 2 Nephi is: "A Bible, a bible...we have a bible, and we need no more bible." It kind of awakened a stronger desire in me to keep reading and studying the BOM and the bible, and to continue to add onto my testimony. I know that the gospel is true, and nothing on earth could convince or sway me otherwise. 

We had a pretty good week other than that. We found 8 new investigators, which is a huge blessing, and we also got permission from President Martino to look for a new house in Quezon, which is where the new meetinghouse is being renovated right now. We are just about ready to have an actual branch here, and it has been amazing how the Lord has blessed us in finding people to teach. I may not see people like the Feje family baptized while I am here, but I know that when the time is right for them, they will be baptized, and the work will continue to explode here. 

Yesterday we were waiting at the doors of the church for our investigators, and none of them showed up. We sat in sacrament meeting pretty discouraged because we had really done our best to invite everyone we could to come, and prayed that they would show up. Right at the end of sacrament meeting, we looked back in the chapel and saw Sister Cherry sitting there with her little kid. She told us that her jeepney had been a little bit late and that she'd came about halfway through the meeting. She stayed for classes after and when she left after church I had to smile. God really does answer our prayers and help us in the work. I am so excited to be teaching Sister Cherry. I know that we were impressed to walk down her street, even though it was just a couple houses with a dead end. We followed that prompting and it's all just gone so well. She has been so prepared to hear the gospel. We will hopefully be able to continue her baptism on the 20th of July. 

I love you all. You're all in my prayers and thoughts while I'm out here. I love this gospel so much and it's such a great privilege to serve. I don't want to leave this area because I love the people here. I love my companion and the ward. It's been great. 

Love Jared.  

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