Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 25, 2013

Dear Family,

This week was pretty interesting. There were a couple of tropical storms that passed over the Phils this week, so it basically rained nonstop. A lot of areas got pretty flooded and a couple companionships even had to leave their areas and go work in other areas. We weren't able to work for one day because of floods and then another day because my companion was throwing up. The floods weren't too bad here though...in one of the Sister's areas they were trapped in their apartment for a couple of days because the flood water was up to the driveway of their house. We only had some really strong rain and really deep puddles. Our whole zone is on doxycyclin right now to counteract bacteria from the floods, but everyone is okay. 

I think the highlight of this week was yesterday at stake conference. Over 1000 people attended, and the whole thing was centered on missionary work and becoming united as a stake in the work. There were some great talks, and at the end the stake president committed every member there to find and give at least one referral to the missionaries every week. He wants our teaching pools to be filled up by the members, and asked every member who already had a name in mind to raise their hands. Almost every hand in the room went up. It was amazing. 

We are really excited to be able to work more closely with the members and visit these referrals. It is 18 billion times more effective to teach the friends of members and have the members in on the lesson than it is to just knock on doors and do it alone. We got our first referral a couple of days before the conference from the stake president...it is a family! They are not from the Philippines and speak English, so I am a little bit nervous to teach them. My English has gotten terrible, especially if I try to speak it formally. It will be fun though and I'm sure the words will come back to me. 

I've noticed that a couple of times this week...I'll be speaking Tagalog in one lesson and it is kind of jumbled or not very clear, but then we'll be in another lesson, and all of a sudden it just clicks and comes out perfect. I had a cool experience this week as I gave some baptismal interviews for the sisters (one pair of the sisters have 9 BAPTISMS next week, so we did all of the interviews after conference). My Tagalog came out straight, and I had questions come to my mind that I was able to use to help the investigators understand better. The spirit was especially strong as one of investigators shared her desire to be baptized and begin to follow the savior more closely in her life. Even though she hadn't been baptized yet, her testimony was already so strong. It was my first time ever giving interviews, and it was such a great experience. 

Finding and street contacting have been going a little bit better this week. I've been starting to get braver with it. I'll look at someone in a jeep or on the street and think, "Okay...I'm going to talk to them," And then I'll just jump right in and do it before I can second guess myself - no matter how scary the person looks, haha. We had a kind of funny (but largely unsuccessful) OYM this week. I'll just share it in dialogue form with you. It was an older guy with a beard and tattoos standing in his doorway.

(Us, after introductions and all that) "We have a message to share about Jesus Christ and how we can come closer to him and follow him more in our lives."
(Guy) "I'm INC (Iglecia ni Cristo)."
"That's okay! Our message is for everybody, and we know it can help you as you learn about the Lord's plan for us."
"WHO IS JESUS CHRIST TO YOU? HE ISN'T GOD!"
"Umm, he is the son of God, but he is also our Saviour who God sent to redeem us from -"
"BUT HE ISN'T A GOD, RIGHT? HE'S JUST A MAN," (The guys voice was raised...not quite to yelling, but still raised, haha)
(At this point, my companion had gotten a little bit annoyed) "If Christ is just a man, would you be able to do what he did?"
"(Silence...he didn't have an answer for that one)"
(Elder Bacalso): "We know that because of him, we can be forgiven of our sins, and be resurrected and live with God again."
(Man, now slightly annoyed too) "WE WILL ONLY BE SPIRITS AFTER WE DIE, BECAUSE GOD IS A SPIRIT!"
(Us) "We believe, like it says in the Bible, that we were created in the image of God."
(Man) "THAT'S NOT TRUE!"
(Elder Bacalso) "Genesis 1:27."
(Me, trying to quench the flames) "We would be really happy to share this message with you right now..."

Long story short, not interested, haha. He doesn't have a bible, because the members aren't allowed to hold the Bible in that church. They also have very strict rules about not listening to any other religions or missionaries. It was just kind of funny, because he was trying to debate with us and was being rather rude about it, but he had absolutely no clue what he was talking about. It's so sad when people choose not to listen. 

It's been a good experience to bear testimony though, even if nobody's been terribly interested yet. It's almost more of an adrenaline rush this way, haha. It's really strengthened my testimony a lot though. 

I had my 11th balut this week. It was tasty as usual...the only difference was that this one got incubated a little bit too long and it's beak was nicely developed (I got a bit of a crunchy surprise). For dinner last night, Brother Kuway made T-bone steak and hot wings, which were heavenly. That was the first time I've ever eaten steak with rice, and I don't think I'll ever eat it without rice from now on. There was also fruit salad for dessert. So good. 

I also learned a little trick this week. There are tons of bats that live in our neighbors mango tree and fly around at night. I figured out that if I lick a couple of my fingers and make squeaking sounds with them on my mouth, the bats will understand it and come fly to you. I was sitting outside the house the other night, squeaking like a bat and sitting there, feeling a lot like batman or something with a whole bunch of bats swooped around my head. Then I got showered with bat poop. Batman-feelings were lost. 

We just had our district and zone goal setting today and it was good. I'm really excited for this next month to get out and make some things happen here. Especially with all of the referrals that will be coming in. 

I love you guys,
Have a great week.

Love Jared.   


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