Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"A Bible, A Bible! January 27, 2014

Dear Family,

"A bible, a bible! We have got a bible, and we need no more bible!" Seems to be the trend this week. We had a great discussion with a man about the Book of Mormon, but he wouldn't let us open up the actual book or share it with him because he only believes in the Bible. Our assurances that the Book of Mormon does more to support the doctrines of the Bible than any other book in the world helped little if at all. It was a good discussion though and we could tell that he was really thinking. I think it could have easily been a debate but we decided to be sincere and kind and the spirit gave us some things to say. I feel I've been taught a lot about patience in my conversations with those of other faiths. A lot of people reject us just because they are taught to, but if the spirit is there in the conversation, it will always leave an impression on them. 

We have had more success this week with finding. We went on splits yesterday with the youth again and were able to find more youth to teach. The youth here are great fellowshippers and have no fear about sharing the gospel. I was finding yesterday with Jev, Bernie and Maverick (Maverick leaves for his mission this week...the other two are around sixteen) and we came across an older lady who was out sweeping. She was kind of deaf so in a very loud voice I asked her if she was interested in listening to us but she didn't really understand. As we were talking to her though, her son came walking by, so we talked to him too. It turns out he was taught before. BUT, he didn't have any time to listen, so he told us to go teach his daughter Judy-Lyn, who is Jev and Bernie's age. The Dad told us that Judy-Lyn has wanted to come to church for a while but is shy because she doesn't have any friends there. It was perfect timing...we taught about the Restoration and then Jev said after, "Sister Judy-Lyn, you don't need to be shy about coming to church because Bernie and I are there. We'll help you out." (but in Tagalog of course). It was pretty funny. Those two are great. We're pretty sure she'll come to church next week. Hopefully we'll be able to teach her dad too next week. 

We had another great sacrament meeting yesterday too. Sister Ibarra's kids - our investigators - brought a couple of friends to church with them and one of the young women in the ward brought a friend too. This particular sister is great...she's brought three different friends now to church with her. Also, Martin and Manny came to church...they are 12 and 9. Their parents are members but don't come to church. We don't want to baptize them until their mom comes back, but we think she'll be returning soon. All in all 9 investigators were at church. Huge blessing. 

As far as adventures this week go...a bunch of us were waiting to cross the highway this week to go to a service project, and this old lady went to cross and got clocked by a motorcycle. She was lying there in the road unconscious and Elder Emelio and I carried her over to the side and started doing first aid on her. She was breathing, thankfully, because her face was really cut up and CPR wouldn't have been safe. I checked all of her vitals and one of the sisters bandaged up her foot. There was a lot of blood but she ended up being okay. 

I haven't been feeling too good this week. I'm still praying and thinking about what the best course of action is. I'm going to talk to President Martino about it too this week. I love you guys and I'll let you know what's happening. 

The church is true!

Love Jared. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

Hey Family,

Today we had a boodle fight as a zone. Every district brought ulam (food you eat with rice) and rice for it. What you do with a boodle fight is you lay down banana leaves on a big table and dump out all of the rice and ulam in the middle...then you all stand around the table and eat it with your hands. It's kind of gross because there are 20 of you digging into the same food pile with your hands. It was fun though. I made some chicken...I bought two kilos of meat and marinated in it Kikkoman soy sauce with a little bit of honey, some chili, a lot of garlic, and ginger. Then I slow cooked it all in pineapple juice. It turned out pretty good. I love cooking. 

Lesson I learned this week - Samoan's eat like machines. One of the Elders in my district is Samoan and I went on exchanges with his companion. I told him he could help himself to my food. Bad idea. When I got back to the apartment he had eaten 1/2 kilo of my chicken (that's two big meals for two elders), 1 kilo of bananas (a week's worth), almost all of my Miracle Whip (I've gained a fondness for miracle whip here) and 3/4 of my companion's bread, 1 kilo of rice (2 days supply for us), half of my tomatoes, all of the grape flavored Mentos out of my companion's stash (he left the other flavours), and a lot of my oatmeal. Yeah. we had no food for three days after that, haha. 

We had a really good week...one of the best days being yesterday when we went on splits. I worked with Rodolfo again...he's a cool guy. He wants to go on a mission so badly but his mom won't let him go until he finishes college. It's such a shame because he's already such a great missionary...he'll even go visit his friends and show them the Joseph Smith video and teach them the lessons. He told me yesterday that we need to talk to everybody about the gospel...and if they don't want to hear about it, it's their loss, but we can be happy and know that we did our part. Great attitude...it's so true. Sometimes when I'm scared to talk to people I just think, "Come on Elder Hubbard, you'll probably never see this person again...which is why you have to talk to them now." It's amazing who is willing to listen if we just take courage and open our mouths. 

We were really happy yesterday at church. When Sacrament meeting started we only had two investigators there. We were disappointed because the Ibarra family hadn't shown up. We kind of just accepted that they weren't there, but then as the last speaker got up they all walked in the door - with two of their friends. In all we had 9 investigators at church. It was a miracle. They are progressing well...the Word of Wisdom is the only challenge.

As far as my health is concerned...I've been able to keep going. Our work is going uphill and we're starting to reach more people. I've become more confident and open with the people in our area. I've started to cough a little bit of stuff out of my lungs, so I think whatever I've been stricken with must be starting to come out. I think I'm just going to keep going until I hit the finish line. Go lang nang go. 

Also, I have all of the medicine's now. Which of the BC things should I be taking? 

I love you all, and I hope things continue to go well. I am so blessed to have you guys for a family.
Oh, and adventure of the week! We were working in Pindangan 2nd, which is way far out into the rice fields, and we needed to get to Bacabac that evening for an appointment. Bacabac is on the complete other side of our area and is about a 2 hour walk if you go by the road. There is a short cut though through the fields that is a lot faster. The shortcut goes through two two huge mango orchards and about 1 1/2 km or so of corn fields (the corn is really tall here right now). We left Pindangan 2nd around 6 or so, and one of the members guided us through the first mango orchard and then we told him we could manage. It was really dark by then, and all we had was a little flashlight. The second mango orchard stretches across probably 1 km, and there wasn't really a well-defined path, so long story short, we ended up going out the wrong end of the orchard. We went back four times to try and find the right way out, but it was hopeless. We had no idea where we were, and we were so far away from any houses that it was impossible to determine where to go. Anyways, after a lot of prayers and about two hours of walking through corn, we were able to find a path and eventually stumbled back onto the road at about 8:30. We dropped by one of the member's houses and she felt so bad for us that she gave us dinner even though it was so late. I don't think I've walked so far in my entire mission, haha. I'm just glad we made it out and didn't have to sleep in the corn fields. 


Love you guys. Mwah mwah. Choop choop.

Love Jared. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Hey Family,

It's been a pretty okay week. We have had a few challenges with some of our investigators arise, but that's okay. We are working really hard with sister Eva and her kids and they are making some good progress with the Word of Wisdom. It is always a miracle for me to see the spirit work with people as they overcome addictions. Things that seem impossible to overcome can be conquered, and in the case of a few of our investigators this week, they have gone from 1-2 packs of cigarettes a day to 1-2 cigarettes a day. That is a miracle for me because they made the change in only a couple of days. We had to re-extend their baptismal date to February, but that's okay. They have really started to read and pray and it's been amazing to see them change.

As for me, I've had a few hard days this week, but there have been other days where I've felt much stronger than usual. It's still very up and down but I am still able to work. 

I have been reading a lot in Alma lately about the sons of Mosiah and Alma and their mission. They preached to two groups of people - the Lamanites, and the Amulonites/Amalekites. The Lamanites were a 'wild and ferocious' people who worshiped idols and followed the false traditions of their fathers, but when they were shown the power of God; when they felt the spirit - they immediately were able to accept the fullness of the Gospel and became so devoted to the Lord that they would rather die than go back on the covenants that they had made. The sons of Mosiah had huge success with them. The Amulonites/Amalekites on the other hand were proud, and taught false doctrines that people wanted to hear. Things that stood against what was written in the scriptures about the Savior and his arrival on the earth. 
Of those groups of people, they only baptized 1 person. 

I've been noticing a lot of similarities here in the Philippines. Although there are not really any wild or ferocious people here, they are all very influenced by the traditions that the Spanish brought here so very long ago, and like the Lamanites, they have an idea of a god. Most of the successes here occur when a person is willing to give up their traditions to know the whole truth; to really take their own believe and love for God and add unto it all of the restored truths of the Gospel. I've noticed too lately that there are a lot of other groups and churches here that preach false doctrine...things that people want to hear that are not at all in line with the scriptures or even the character of God. The successes among those people are few and far between, and it makes me so sad. A lot of them are forbidden to listen to any other sects or even to read the bible (because they might read something true in there), and it's drilled into their heads that only they will be saved (like the Zoramites). They lift themselves up above everyone else and publicly tear down other churches through the media. There are people like Nehor who teach that it doesn't matter what we do in this life...that there are no consequences.  There are churches here that literally worship their founders, others teach that Jesus Christ is only a person, or that Mary is a god. And all of them are so hard to reach because they just wont listen and because they are taught not to search for themselves or listen. I wish I could do more for them. 

I wish I could help more people understand that the Gospel will take nothing away from them. It will fill in all of the blanks in their lives without effecting their values or beliefs. It will strengthen their families and protect them from the dangers of today's depraved society. It will help them prosper in every aspect of their lives...they will be healthier, happier, and more trusting in God. They will develop a knowledge that their family can be eternal. Eternal. Forever. Without end. They will be able to know these things for themselves I wish more people would think about that. 

I am so glad to be serving here. I love the people and I love being around them. I have been having a rough couple of months but it hasn't changed my love for God and for this work. I am so thankful for the Gospel in my life.

If there are people reading this letter who are not of our faith, or not of any faith - people who have probably seen missionaries or have had weird 'Mormon' friends who invited them to church but never accepted the invitation - I invite you to try talking to the missionaries. If they show up on your door, let them it. You won't lose anything from it - they aren't there to sell you anything or debate with you - and the things you could gain from it will change your life. I promise.

I love you all,
The Church is true. 


P.s: Thank you so much to the Noads, the 2nd Ward Young Women, and to anyone else who's letter hasn't gotten here yet for the Christmas cards. Thank you also for the prayers and support. I feel them strongly and am so humbled by them. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 6, 2014 Happy New Year

 One of my favorite foods here...Mongo (Mung beans). I cooked it up with squash, ampalaya (bitter melon), tomatoes, and a little bit of pork. So good. 
 The very definition of 'lush'.
 New Years Day. Nuff' said. (I don't know these people, haha)
 Part of my staple diet. Steamed okra (my favorite veggie here) and corned tuna. With Kikkoman soy sauce of course :)
 Crazy woodplank bridge in our area.

 I love being in the bukid...for reasons like this. 
 Rodolfo, Bernie, and Renelyn. They were my companions yesterday. Rodolfo is a newly ordained elder (he's Janae's age).
Poor goat. Just kidding, they didn't really kill it.  

Dear family,
We’ve had a pretty good week…the best part being yesterday. I had just finished my morning prayer when the cell phone rang…it was President Martino. Feeling rather panicked (I’m sure dad knows the feeling, along with every other RM out there) I answered the phone and President told me he was going to be coming to church in our Branch that day. That made me a lot more panicked, because it was fast Sunday and testimony meetings are unpredictable at best here in the Phils. It turned out to be great though. Sacrament meeting started out as usual, with only about 20 people there (most people are habitually late by about 20 minutes), but as time went on I was shocked to see people keep coming and coming and filling up the chapel. We ran out of chairs! The attendance was 117, compared to the usual 70 or 80 and TEN investigators showed up, including Sister Eva and her kids. We were so excited. Even better, almost all of the youth stood up and bore their testimonies – the meeting went overtime because so many people went up. President Martino also got up and bore his testimony in Tagalog and the spirit was really strong. I was just amazed and so grateful that we were blessed with success like that. I don’t feel that we had much to do with it…it was just a huge blessing/miracle. If the attendance keeps going like that we might see this branch become a ward. Fingers are crossed.

We also went on splits with a whole bunch of the youth and YSA. Two Melchizadek Priesthood holders came, so some of the sisters in the ward were able to work with us too. I worked with Rodolfo Lucero and Bernie Sumaong as well as Rodolfo’s older sister Renelyn. The youth and YSA here are so strong. They have great testimonies. After three appointments, Renelyn went home to cook so it was just Rodolfo, Bernie and I. It had just gotten dark and our next appointment was some distance away…we would have had to walk all the way around the river until we got to the bridge – probably a 30 minute walk, so Rodolfo took us down this crazy path through the woods and down to the river. There was a bangka (a raft made of six or seven big bamboos lashed together and propelled by a person standing on the back holding a stick) there Rodolfo paddled us upstream a ways to get there faster. I would have taken a picture, but I was hanging on for dear life. The raft is only about 4 feet wide and falling in a dirty river in the Philippines in the middle of the night with my scriptures and camera didn’t appeal to me much, haha. It was definitely an adventure.

Health wise, there have been some challenging days. There was one day where I was having a really rough morning and I didn’t feel like working. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and not move all day because of the pain. I decided I needed to say a prayer, and as I prayed I felt strength come into my legs and air come into my lungs and I was able to stand up and go out the door and work. That same day we found an investigator name Venus…she is from Manila and is here in the Country getting treatment for breast cancer. She has already undergone an operation and is doing chemo treatments right now. We met her as we were walking…she was on her porch reading the Bible. She has gone through so many trials in her life, and I couldn’t help but think that the trials that I’m going through are so small compared to hers. It was a blessing to be able to share the joy of the gospel with her. She isn’t physically able to come to church yet, but she is interested. I know that the Lord gave me the strength that very day to be able to work just so that we could meet her.

Things are still going pretty rough, but I have faith in the power of prayer. I really hope to be able to make a solid decision soon. I know that the Gospel is true, and that true happiness really does come from following God’s plan for us. Everyone needs to hear this message, even if they don’t know it yet. It is the way that our families can become eternal and that we can really develop a relationship with Him.

The work is going well Dad. I'm not always going at 100% but somehow the area is starting to blossom. Mom said she noticed that I am often assigned to areas that need building and then transferred after. I've noticed that too. It makes me really happy though when an area starts to blossom, even if I'm not always there for the baptisms. 

I love you all,

Keep on doing work!



P.S: Oh! Elder Wilde's (Benson Wilde) trainee is from my area. Val Labisa. I went to his wedding the other day, haha.