My companion is way cool and the work is progressing. The previous elders in this area struggled a lot with baptisms...some of them went six months here without a single one, and there have been four in my time here with two more coming up hopefully in December. That isn't at all to say anything negative about the other Elders or that there is anything different about what we are doing...it's just so amazing how much the Lord has blessed us to have success here. Elder Adorza is my favorite companion. I feel like our work has been effective, even though it's difficult at times here in the city. God really does prepare a way for things to be accomplished.
It's also been amazing to meet some of the missionaries from Tacloban that were re-assigned here and here their stories. One of them was published in the mission newsletter. I guess some of the elders there had been told to stay in their apartment, despite the evacuation that was happening in that particular area. They felt like evacuating but decided to listen to the mission leaders and stay in their house. The house somehow managed to survive the storm, and when they went outside after the storm their apartment was the only building left standing on the block. They've all been sent to the other missions around here. I think some of them have also been assigned to help with relief efforts down there too.
As far as crazy adventures...we got attacked by dogs yesterday, haha. We were walking down the street and two big ones just ran out of an empty lot and came at us. I instinctively started moving backwards and bent down to pick up a rock (if you turn your back to them they will eat you), but Elder Adorza just let out this Bruce Lee yell and got into some martial arts stance and went into attack mode. Both dogs went for him (while you're picturing this, keep in mind that Elder Adorza is like 5'1) and he (in perfect martial arts form) kept them back with a bunch of well aimed kicks. He nailed one right in the eyes and probably would have ripped the other one's jugular out if the owner hadn't came outside and called them off. I haven't been attacked by dogs in a long time...in my first area we kept air-soft guns in our bags because there were so many dogs everywhere, haha. Good thing my comp is ninja. Jet Li and Ong Bak are his heroes, haha.
We've got some baptisms coming up too in December. I probably won't be here for them, but it makes me happy that I was able to plant a couple seeds for the next missionaries. One of them is Sister Van M...her step son was baptized last month and her husband has recently become active again and just was called into the High Council of the stake here. We didn't think she would be ready for a goal date in December, but the Lord really prepared a way for her to feel ready to work for a December goal. She is so excited about the Gospel and about the church...she is friends with all of the relief society already. We are also teaching a 16-yr old girl named Alyssa (pronounced Aliza). She is the cousin of Sister Hershey - one of the ward missionaries and she has also accepted a goal date for December. It is a miracle in a way for us because we didn't think we would be able to have any investigators ready for December...but just this last week our prayers have been answered.
We've also been able to attend Ward council meeting and work closer with the members which makes
ALL of the difference. It's said that from
house-to-house contacting, only 1 out of 1000 people will be baptized, but
through referrals and working with members 5 out of 10 will be baptized. Such a
huge difference. The ward here is great and really supportive.
I love you Dad. Thanks for all that you do for me. I hope everything continues to go so well with the family and with the ward. I can't believe I've been out for almost 16 months now. It's weird to think about.
I'll send another quick one to Mom and then I guess it can all just be the family email, haha.