Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 2, 2013

 I think I finally got my camera figured out! These are from my last area.
This is Osmond and Arbie. They are Jameson and Jaroms age. 

 Family Home Evening at bishops house before transfers. I'm sitting beside elder Tsunoda, and bishop is the one beside the kid in yellow. Elder Monroe is in the back. 
 A few of Elder Magno and I's investigators...Brother Boyet (in the back) Sister Beth (big one in the front) and Charmaine (in brown). I don't know who the little one is, haha. They are all progressing pretty well, they just have been having trouble coming to church (they live far away). I'm sure that Beth and Charmaine will be baptized some day. 

 The Feje Family! I love this family so much. They will probably take a few more months to get ready, but I am certain that they will become members. From left to right: Kathlyn (15, we took this picture on her birthday), Sister Eileen Feje (the mom), brother Andrew Feje (the dad), Ferlyn (the little chubby one...she's 8), and Sister Andylyn ( she's 18 - we originally started just teaching her, but eventually we were able to approach the mom and set an appointment to teach the whole family)
 The food we ate for Kathlyn's birthday. We bought the cake. The little white things are called Puto...it's a soft rice flour cake with cheese in it. The bowls are full of duck meat and liver and intestines all mixed up into two different dishes. The pasta is called pancit...they always eat it at parties, and of course...rice. The pink stuff is kind of like jello.  

 First week in Angeles. They have a burger king here. No poet on earth could describe how good that whopper tasted. 
 BK! The guy on the end is Elder Bustillo - one of the ZLs here. The guy in the middle is Elder Bacalso...he's my companion. And the guy on the end is Elder Illustrisamo. He's cool. 
This is the inside of one of the malls here, Marquee mall. There are several bigger ones here that I haven't been to yet.
  
 KFC :) The wrapped up thing is rice, haha.
 Roast pig! So good.
 Shawn and Justin. The part member kids that we baptized. They are 11 and 12 and go to chuch with their grandma. 
 Me with a bunch of the members from the Bertese group. From left to right: Brother Hamerto Javier, Rosalyn Javier, Katrina (the one who is Jianna's age that will be baptized soon), Joy Javier (the one in black), Sister Sharon Javier (Hamerto's Wife), and Alex Javier (Alex is a recent convert...he's the only melchizadek priesthood holder in the group and he is preparing to go on a mission. He would always work with us).
I love these people. I miss them a ton. 


 A few more people from my last area. The guy in orange is Brother Herminigildo (her-min-ee-hil-doh) Javier. He was less active for years but now he's been coming to church and trying hard to quit smoking so that he can receive the priesthood. He is also Alex Javier's dad. The guy in the plaid is Jomar Javier. He's not a member (he wasn't interested in being taught), but we payed him every night to drive us back to Talavera. I don't remember the other guys name. He isn't a member either. 
 Cabanatuan zone! I miss that zone too :( The guy beside me in this picture is Elder Blackham...he's the ZL and one of my housemates now here in Angeles. He's the coolest guy ever. 
This is Sister Cherry (in red). We found here one day as we were walking through a new area. We felt prompted to turn down a small alleyway, and when we did we saw Sister Cherry sitting on her porch and we were able to teach her right away. Her baptism is scheduled for the end of this month (this is still in my last area). The guy in the wifebeat is a Born Again. He had just popped by for a visit and decided to listen to our lesson. The lady in orange is sister Cherry's nanay (mom). She's super nice (she sewed up my bag for me for free) but not interested in listening to the lessons. The two little kid's are sister Cherry's too.

This is Sister Lyn Laus and her 12 year old Hiron. They are so awesome and are going to be baptized sometime this month too. Some of the most powerful moments I've ever had have been in lessons here. She loves to read the Book of Mormon - she told us in the third lesson we taught to her that whenever she reads she "cries and feels really light and happy inside." It was cool because we were all able to feel and say that it was the spirit testifying to her that the Book of Mormon is true. 

Dear Family,
Whoo! Kalispell and waterparks! I’m glad you guys all had so much fun. It’s just started getting really hot here again, so I am jealous, haha. The floods have pretty much stopped and we’ve been able to get working again which is good.
Well, first things first – Elder Bacalso and I snapped one day and decided to clean the house. We swept the whole thing out, poured muriatic acid all over the bathroom and put in an air freshener, cleaned out all of the cockroach hideouts, sprayed permetherin all over the place, bleached the floor and counters, cleaned the fridge, pulled down all of the dust and cobwebs on the walls, threw away all of the dirty dishes (some of them were beyond cleaning), mopped, dusted, sanitized, and re-organized everything. The house isn’t quite as horrible as it was before now, haha. I feel a lot safer at night now that there aren’t cockroaches crawling all over me.
It’s been a pretty good week. We took a few hours and went house to house in one of the richer areas (one of the areas with no guards). Some of these houses look like castles, and a couple of them even have security cameras and stuff. They all have massive gates with doorbells and huge driveways. We probably hit 20 or so houses, and every single time we rang a doorbell, the maid or the house-help was the only person to come outside. I was getting kind of tired of it, so I just started speaking English (the rich people all speak fluent English but most of the servants don’t). It was hilarious…the maid would come out and I’d say, “Good afternoon, we’re the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We have a very important message about Jesus Christ that we want to share with you and your family.” And I’d say it really fast. It was so funny, the poor maid would just stand there speechless, and then after a few broken attempts at English, would finally just go inside and call the owner out. Then the owner would just tell me in English (annoyed at having to come outside) that he was busy or not interested. It was kind of discouraging, BUT we got a return appointment at one house! His name is Glen…he’s probably around 50 years old and he’s been a member of probably six different churches. We taught him Lesson 1 and he said he wants to come to church next week. I’m not sure if he is rich, but he lives in one of those big houses, haha. Either way we are happy to have a new investigator this week.
We also had some really cool lessons with another one of our investigators this week. He is an older guy named Marcello. He’s been taught for quite a while now, and has heard all of the lessons at least once. He is a very active member of one of the Born Again churches, and has super strong faith in God. He’s really awesome to teach, but hasn’t been progressing very well. I guess he was invited to be baptized before, but he said he doesn’t want to start all over again in a new religion. He seems to believe that, whatever religion a person is a part of, he will be saved, and that all religions are good and true. He has accepted everything that the missionaries have taught, and even believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet, but wouldn’t accept that there has been an apostasy because he believes that God wouldn’t do that to His people. We were running out of ideas to teach him, and had no clue what to do. We finally just decided to read the Book of Mormon with him, chapter by chapter. This is what I wrote to President Martino this week about it (to save time): It's been a hard week, but I've had the chance to see some small miracles happen. We have an investigator who has been meeting with us for a while, and has heard all of the lessons. He is comfortable with all of the doctrine - he even believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet. The only thing that he won't accept is the apostasy. He says that God wouldn't let something happen like that to His people. We tried explaining it so many times in so many ways, but he still wouldn't get it, and he still wouldn't commit to anything. I was getting kind of frustrated, and I told my companion that we should just drop him. Thankfully, my companion suggested that visit him a few more times, and even though we weren't sure what to teach, we just went and had faith that the Lord would help us. We decided to start reading the Book of Mormon with him, chapter by chapter. I was scared at the beginning of the first lesson, because I had no idea how we would be able to relate 1 Ne. 1 to his needs. As we read the chapter with him, we were surprised as new ideas came into our heads. We were able to share about Lehi, and how at the time that he left Jerusalem they were experiencing a form of apostasy. We were able to link it to the bible in Jeremiah and share how times of apostasy have occurred many times in history, but because of God's love for us, he will always prepare a way for his gospel to continue on the earth. He finally understood it! I know that the spirit put those thoughts into our minds. It happened again when we shared 1 Ne. 2 with him...we had thoughts come to our minds and he understood exactly why he needed to pray and receive a confirmation of the truth of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. It occurred to my companion to compare the journey of Nephi and his brothers back to Jerusalem to get the brass plates to our investigators journey that he will have to take if he comes to know if what we have shared is true...it will be hard, and he will have to start at the beginning again; but the Lord will help and bless him for doing His will. We asked him if he would be willing to read and pray, and make that change when he receives a confirmation...and he said Yes!
It was super cool to feel the spirit work through us and give us those ideas. I know that it was because of our prayers that his heart was softened and he was able to realize those truths.
I love you all. I’m sorry that this email isn’t too long…I hope you all liked the pictures.
Have a great week!
Love Jared. 

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