Monday, November 4, 2013

October 21, 2013

Dear Family, 

It's been a hard week, but at the same time I feel great. I feel so happy about the Gospel and I really feel a desire to do all I can to live it and invite others to live it. I feel like the experiences I've had this week have added to that desire and to my testimony of this church. 

I was able to see a simple, but powerful miracle this week that really strengthened my testimony about the Book of Mormon. We have been teaching the Van M's (from Australia) for quite a while now, and a couple weeks ago we invited Sister Van M to read the BOM and pray about its truth. As we kept visiting them and following up with her, she had trouble at first. She would read every day, but she didn't feel ready to ask the Lord if it was true. We felt impressed to invite her and Brother Van M to pray together about it after reading Moroni 10. Anyways, when we went to visit yesterday, I had forgotten to follow up again. We started teaching the Word of Wisdom, and then Sister Van M quietly broke in and told us through tear-filled eyes that she had prayed and got an answer. I was amazed, and although I felt bad for forgetting to follow up right away, I could feel the power of the answer that she had received and it filled me with happiness too. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, without a doubt. I have only seen it happen a few times in my mission, but when a person really reads, ponders and prays about the Book of Mormon, they will always come to know that it is true. It just takes faith, and because of Sister Van M's amazing faith, she was able to receive an answer. Their son Aaron is scheduled to be baptized on Nov 3 (I hope I'm here for his baptism) and Sister Van M is ready to start preparing. We are going to pray about a date for her. 

It is such a blessing to be on a mission. It is worth going through any trial to be able to see the miracles that the Gospel brings in people's lives. We are so blessed to be a part of this work, and this church. 

We've been doing a lot of finding too this week, and have actually gotten into a few houses. The only problem though is that the people we taught didn't seem very interested. There were a couple of weird experiences too. One day as we were walking through one of the neighborhoods downtown, an older guy was standing by his gate and he invited us in. We were really excited because that doesn't happen very often in Angeles, haha. We sat down with him and he started sharing how important religion is with us. He quoted the Bible, about prophets, the second coming and even talked about the Millennium. I was super pumped that he knew all of the stuff and so I immediately brought out the Book of Mormon, thinking that he would be just as excited as we are about the fact that God revealed things for our generation to get ready for the Second Coming. Nope. He (in a nice way) just kept quoting the bible and saying how our religion is wrong because we aren't Christians and how all of the religions that come to his door are the same and that the Bible is complete and we aren't supposed to add on to it and he doesn't need a Mormon bible, etc. We explained to him that we believe in the Bible and that we need the Book of Mormon to have the fullness of truth. We also bore testimony of the Book of Mormon. It was a really spiritual lesson, because we chose not to tear down his beliefs or debate with him, but we shared our testimonies with him and he couldn't say anything to disagree with those. It makes me so sad when good people like that won't open their hearts or minds or even think about the stuff that they read in the Bible. If they really read their Bible, they would notice that so much is missing in their religions. Not that their religions are at all bad or wrong, just that there is so much more that they could come to know. They are really just missing out. 

We had another REALLY WEIRD lesson. We were tracting and we met a woman (probably in her late twenties or early 30's) who turned out to be the house-help at one of the bigger houses there. The owners of the home weren't there, and there weren't any men around that we could invite in, so we just taught her outside in front of the house. I happened to be leading the lesson, and as I asked her about her religious background and experience, she didn't answer. She just silently, and WEIRDLY stared at me. I wasn't sure what to think, so I just repeated the question. Then she said, "Oh, sorry kuya, hindi ako makikinig...tumitingin lang ako sayo...ang gwapo mo kasi. (Sorry brother, I'm not listening. I'm just staring at you because you are so handsome)." I was a lot uncomfortable (I'm so glad we obeyed the mission rules by not going inside the house without another priesthood holder) and we wrapped up the lesson pretty quick and got out of there, haha. 

That's about it for this week. Transfers are coming up this week, and I have the feeling that I might not be staying here too much longer. I feel good though about the things that we've accomplished and that are happening here in our area though. Health wise I am feeling a little bit better, just weak, but I am confident that it will continue to get better. I, like Jeffery R Holland said, am a firm advocate of square shoulders and positive attitudes, haha. 

I love you guys. Thank you so much for sharing all of the cool things that are happening over there with me. Keep being strong in the gospel and looking for missionary opportunities all around you. 

Love, Jared.   

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