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!

Love,

Jared.


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

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