Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 11, 2013

Thanks for all your prayers, concern, emails, texts and phone calls. We all appreciate your love for Jared and our family.

November 8, 2013 Jared sent this message to us.

Hey Family,

As you may or may not know, there is a signal five storm headed for the Philippines...one of the strongest storms in history. It is tearing through the Southern Part right now and it's estimated that over 2 million people will be left homeless. We have been authorized  by President Martino to use the computers for 5 minutes today to inform you all that we will NOT be affected by this storm. It may get to a signal 3 at worst. 
Love you guys :)
Love Jared. 
 Yes...there are pink chickens in the Phils. Just kidding. These belong to Vincent, who is the grandson of the sister in the ward who washes our clothes. Here, they have these guys that walk around with these little cages on wheels, which are full of baby chicken and baby ducks that they sell to little kids for about 10 pesos (I would have bought a baby duck already but it's not allowed :( ). Anyways, they dunk the baby chickens in paint to make them more interesting. 
 My crazy ninja companion strikes again. Love this guy. 

Actually our mission didn't get hit at all by the storm. I'm sure that the Tacloban Mission and the Cebu Mission got evacuated though. The whole province of Leyte got destroyed. Like, nothing is left standing anywhere. My comp. is really worried because that's where he's from and he hasn't heard from his family yet. There isn't any food, power or water there.

November 11, 2013
Dear Family,

Thank you for the pictures!!! It was good to see snow again and to see Dad! Looking good Dad! It was also great to see Jarom. He looks like he could play drums for the Beatles or something, haha. 

We actually haven't experienced any of the super-storm up here. They thought that it would hit a signal three here in Angeles but it never came. Just a little bit of wind and a few drops of rain. Leyte Province (Tacloban Mission down south) on the other hand has been completely destroyed. The news networks here flew down there in a helicopter to talk to some survivors...almost everyone they talked too had lost family members and EVERYONE had lost their houses. I don't think there is a house or tree left standing in that whole province. They probably pulled the Missionaries out of there before it hit. It is crazy how much destruction can happen in just one storm. My companion is really worried about his family, as he is from Leyte. He is being really brave about it, but I can tell that he is worried. Maybe include him in your prayers. 

It's exciting where missionary is going in Magrath...the work really is being hastened. All over the world. There are almost 240 missionaries here in our mission now, and a whole lot of areas are being opened up all over the place. The stake that I'm serving in right now is getting ready to split into two stakes. So cool. 

We had a good week - the best part was definitely Aaron Van M's baptism. The Ward Mission Leader couldn't get off work on time to fill the font, so we went over to do it a few hours before the baptism. When we turned on the water, it was brown, and definitely not safe to be baptized in. We were also shocked when we opened up the cupboard full of baptismal clothes and saw that it was full of cockroaches, and all of the white clothes were stained with cockroach nastiness. We were kind of in a state of panic and I was ready to text everyone and cancel the baptism, when some maintenance workers showed up and were able to fix the water problem. We were also able to run a pair of the baptismal clothes to one of the members and she was able to bleach it real fast and clean it up in time for the baptism. Close call...definitely some divine intervention involved there. 

The baptism went really well...I got to baptize Aaron, and as always tends to happen, he came out of the water with a big smile on his face. I asked how he felt and he just grinned and said, "Amazing." It is always special to be a part of a baptism. The Van M family has been a huge blessing to us here. I really don't feel like we've had a lot to do with Aaron being baptized, or their family coming to church - it is just a result of the Gospel working in their lives and the awesome faith that they have. 

Aside from the baptism, it's been another interesting week of finding. Finding is one of my favorite things because you never know who you'll meet or get to talk too. This week we OYMed on a street behind the Iglesia ni Cristo church, which also claims to be the restored church of Jesus Christ. There are a lot of great people in their church, but they are told by their preachers that only their church will be saved and are forbidden to listen to any other religion. That, mixed with several other factors, often makes for some interesting conversations. Anyways, after about six doors closed in our faces and one rather myabang fellow telling us to join his church because the judgement is close (I stopped myself from telling him that he doesn't know HOW close), we ran into a Baptist, who was also very nice but just told us, "I've already been saved. I've accepted Jesus into my heart," when we asked her if we could share a message with her. We also ran into an interesting old guy and politely introduced ourselves to him. He didn't seem too sure of what to say to us, so he just did what his preachers told him and started to prove our 'false doctrine' wrong. I was a little bit tired of this treatment, and got a little irritated, but felt at the same time that I just needed to be calm and not react at all. We just smiled and answered his questions, and then asked him some questions - like why God is important to him, and about his family and stuff like that. I asked him if he believes in revelation, and we were able to share the Book of Mormon with him. He wasn't a fan of that at first, and he told us that the BOM isn't true because Joseph Smith wrote it, and that Joseph Smith isn't a prophet because he had 48 wives. I was a little caught off by that...but felt to say, "Well, I'm not sure where you read that, but think of it this way: would you be able to handle having 48 wives?" He laughed about that and it kind of broke the ice. We were able to explain and testify to him and even get a return appointment. 

Lesson learned: Kindness and sincerity > Debate.

We've been struggling a lot with new investigators, and a lot of the ones we've found are hiding from us (I still don't know why people have to hide...they could just tell us they don't want to meet with us anymore). We've been focusing more on the members and trying to get referrals and there is some progress that is starting to happen. I just want to make my last transfer here as effective as possible so the next missionaries will at least have something to go off of. 

I've also been studying a lot in Isaiah and it's amazing how much all of his prophecies line up with the things that are happening right now in our church. It's amazing and a huge privilege to be a part of this great work. Keep me updated on the missionary work that you guys are doing as a family! It sounds like you have some great Elders there in Magrath...keep them busy!

I love you guys. 

- Jared. 

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