Monday, November 4, 2013

October 28, 2013

Dear Family, 

First off, I think it's so cool that there is some good missionary work happening at home. I was looking at the ward directory on LDS.org and I saw the missionary from china that is serving there. What a miracle for that family from China, and also for that missionary to be able to teach someone from his home country. We are starting to get more involved with the ward here (I think the members here lost a bit of trust in the missionaries here before) and the work is getting better. Oh! And I didn't end up getting transferred, which makes me happy because Elder Adorza is a cool companion and we have some great people that we are teaching right now. This is the hardest area I've been in, but I love it. The Lord has been helping us to somehow see some success here. 

We had a VERY interesting week this week. We've really been focusing on finding new investigators, so we've been running all over the city shouting 'TAO PO!' at different houses (you don't knock here, you say 'tao po'). We were really successful in one of the down town neighborhoods called Lourdes Sur and managed to find and teach quite a few people there. A funny thing I've noticed about Angeles City is that there are almost more Born Again's than Catholics (or maybe it's just that the Born Again's are a lot nicer and they let us in more). There are also a lot of Iglesia ni Cristo in Lourdes Sur, which makes things interesting. We had a guy from the Church of God (Dating Daan) invite us in. We told him our beliefs and he asked us probably 100 questions to try and undermine the Book of Mormon. He was very respectful and nice about it, and we'll probably go visit him again. I've been realizing more and more how valuable a testimony really is. A lot of people think that the Bible is perfect and that it is all the Revelation that we need, and won't open their hearts to the book of Mormon (I've heard Revelation 21:19 or whatever that verse is about 'adding to the bible' about 800 times by now). They won't even try to read and pray about it. We said hi to another man last week, and he opened up the copy of the Book of Mormon we showed to him and pointed to the picture of Jesus, rather long-windedly preaching to us that we need to worship God and not Jesus Christ, and follow the Bible and not things that men make up. He ripped into our doctrine and just started spewing all of these random Bible verses at us. He also asked us questions, but then when we'd answer them he'd interrupt us and sputter off on a new scripture chase. After about twenty minutes of this, I started to get irritated. We bore our testimonies of the Book of Mormon to him and the importance of receiving revelation for ourselves; to which he just laughed and told us that the revelation we received isn't real, and that real revelation comes from listening to a preacher. I finally couldn't handle it any more, and I raised my voice (just enough for him to quiet down) and told him that if he wanted to respectfully talk about our beliefs, we would be happy to share a message with him, and that if he didn't want to hear what we had to say, we had a lot of other more important things to do. And we left it at that. 

I'm so grateful for my testimony of the Book of Mormon. I haven't seen or found reason to believe that it contradicts anything in the Bible. It is another testament of Jesus Christ that will help everyone come closer to Him and to know the fullness of the Gospel. Like it says in the Bible, and in the Book of Mormon, we all must gain our own knowledge of the truth from the Holy Ghost. I am so thankful for the fullness of the gospel. No matter what I here, read, or go through - I cannot deny my testimony of the Book of Mormon. It makes me so sad when people choose to ignore it or try to prove it wrong. They are missing out on so much.

I'm just glad that I'm not Elijah from the Old Testament. There would be a lot of fire raining down, haha. (Just kidding...I still love these people). 

Weirdest thing that happened this week: My companion and I were out tracting on Saturday morning, and we had stopped to talk to someone. As we were conversing with them, I felt a surprisingly strong hand come from behind and grabbed my shoulder, spinning me around. The hand belonged to a woman who was probably 96, and she leaned in for a kiss! I almost dropped my shoulder bag, but I managed to dodge her and explain to her that we don't give kisses but we could give her a picture of Jesus. She seemed satisfied with that, and we left her an articles of faith card and then fled like Joseph of Egypt. I will definitely be watching my back from now on, haha. 

A lot of good stuff happened this week too though, even though we got debated and almost kissed by old ladies. A lot of the investigators we found last week (which we thought would progress) were hiding from us this week, which is frustrating, but we found some new ones which show a little bit more promise. The funniest one - we went back to teach a couple we had found, as well as the wife's two younger siblings. When we got there and knocked on the door, nobody answered. We noticed that a light was one (obviously, people were home, so we just waited and knocked again). As we waited, the husband walked around the corner and saw us. He paused, thinking hard for something to say. Finally he told us, "I'll just go and call them." And then he walked off again. 5 minutes passed, then 10, then 20..."Elder, should we drop them?" "Yeah." haha. We'll go by one more time just to be sure though. 

Anyways, a few of our investigators are progressing well, and we have a baptism next week. We've been teaching the Van M family for about a month and a half now, and their son Aaron is ready to be baptized this Saturday. The ward has done great at reaching out to them, and he is really involved with the YM's group and the youth and goes to all of the activities. It just shows me how much power is in a quorum, even when it comes to missionary work. Aaron has been to camp, a dance, and plays basketball with his deacons quorum often. There is another deacon in the ward too who is from Utah, and he's been great with helping out and fellow shipping (they are both English speaking). Sister Van M is doing great too and preparing for her baptism. She is making a lot of sacrifices and doing a lot of work to be ready. It is so great as a missionary to see how much the Gospel works miracles in people's lives. The Van M family has been doing so great...Brother Van M is really the one teaching his family. He is helping his wife out so much with learning and understanding the Gospel and they have all been progressing so well. That is what missionary work should really be like. It works out so much better when the members get involved; whether it is with their families or close friends. 

I love you guys. I love reading about everything that is happening with the family and the ward and the work over there. We are so so blessed to be a part of this church. Keep on working hard to share it with others. 

Love, 
Jared.   


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