Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 17, 2014

Dear Family,                                                                                        

This week was an interesting one. First things first - I got the package! Thank you so much! I loved the little valentines and stuff. I gave Elder Leduna one of the fruit bars and he didn't like it, haha. He liked the pull n' peels and the almonds though. It was great to get some new drops and stuff. Do you think you guys could make me a program for this week?

Also, please thank Jared and Rachel for the lotion...it is great stuff. I put it on every night and morning. 

I bought a new camera this morning too...so you can expect some pictures next week :) Elder Leduna and I also got pizza after...the third time I've had pizza in my mission. There wasn't any rice. 

We started off our work on Tuesday with a lot of great lessons and one of the members came with us to her neighbors house and introduced us to them. We were able to teach the message of the Restoration and it was so great to have Sister Lori there. I doubt they would have let us inside without her there. After Tuesday though, the work seemed to go downhill in our area and we were really confused about it. We felt we were really trying our best, but things just weren't working out. We also had one whole day with no work because we went all over the zone doing interviews. On of the areas, Burgos, is a one-hour jeep ride one way. After that area, we took a bus the other way for another hour to do another interview in Capas, and then a trike for one more hour out to Dapdap, which is literally a village in the top of the mountains. Beautiful place. I thought we were going to die going up some of those hills in that trike though. I love doing interviews...it was especially great to see one of them, a 20 year old man, share with us how he had been an atheist for many years growing up, and how he had come to know Jesus Christ and develop a testimony of him. It was one of the most spiritual interviews I've been in I knew without a doubt that this man had felt the blessings of the Atonement in his life. After the interviews, we took another trike back down the mountain and then rode a jeep for 2 hours back to Tarlac. Easily the most tiring day of my mission.

When Sunday came around, we were kind of down because we were nowhere near achieving our companionship goals and because a lot of baptisms in the zone fell through due to WOW problems and other stuff. We have a goal as a zone for 32 baptisms this month. It turned out though, that we were able to go on splits after church and we were able to hit a lot of our goals for the week. We were also able to extend three more baptismal dates for April. The members brought friends to church, and it turned out that almost all of the baptisms that fell through had back-ups that are starting to progress and will probably be baptized this month. Our two investigators who we weren't sure would be ready for next week both passed their interviews and are doing great all of a sudden. The Lord has blessed us so much this week. 

Elder Leduna and I were talking about faith last night in our comp. study and we were both just so blown away by what's happened this week. It was such a hard week but at the end it all turned out alright. It really strengthened my testimony that we really do receive blessings after the trial of our faith. We have to just keep going and always have hope and trust in him. 

I think it is so cool that you all got to listen to Elder Holland speak. He is one of my heroes big time. I can't believe Josh got to shake his hand. I would never wash that hand ever again, haha. I agree with him. We are so lucky to be members of the church in the area that we live in. The church is still growing a lot here, but it's been crazy to me to feel the contrast of coming from a place where the wards are solid to a place where it is hard to get 5 priesthood holders to come to church (the ward here has over 30 though :) ). We are so blessed to have the strength that we have there. The members and leaders here in Tarlac are amazing though. The church has really progressed here in this city. 

 I'm out of time. I'm sorry I couldn't reply to all of you today. I love you guys!

Love, 
Jared.     

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