Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014 Holy Week

Dear Family,

First off...conference was great. I especially loved Elder Holland's talk. He is right...God is not just something we can create in our own image or change for our own convenience. Religion isn't just a nice group we belong to for an hour out of our day on Sunday that we spend going to church. It's a way of life. There are so many people that do not understand that. "Even if I don't go to church, I still pray in my house." "I keep God in my heart, even if I do work on Sundays." "God understands my situation...he won't mind if I don't follow this commandment." "All I have to do is believe and then I'm saved by grace." NO THAT'S NOT HOW IT WORKS.

Thank you so much Elder Holland for saying exactly what I've wanted to say every day of my mission since day one, haha. I felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. His story about the sister missionaries at the beginning was hilarious too. Poor sisters. I've never experienced anything like that before, and I guess I'm lucky. 

This week is Holy Week! It is interesting here...they set up a whole bunch of little prayer booths everywhere with big speakers and people come and chant prayers all day and all night. I am so glad that there isn't one close to our house because I enjoy sleeping from the hours of 10:30 and 6:30. In a few days I'm sure there will be some beautiful parades and some not-so-beautiful parades (people whipping themselves or walking barefoot down the scorching hot road...I still don't get those ones).There was an amazing parade last year in my second area that portrayed Jesus's whole life in floats. It was probably 2 or 3 kilometers long. 

It was transfers last week...Elder Leduna left for his last area in the mission. My new companion is Elder Tsunoda. We were housemates in my second area. He's a convert from Cebu...he was baptized when he was eighteen and is the only member in his family. He's also half Japanese. He's a great missionary, I'm glad were companions. 

We were pretty busy this week with transfers and conference, but we had a few good days of work too. We were able to visit with the L. Family again. We got there barely before a huge rainstorm hit and ended up waiting for about an hour for the rain to stop so that we could teach (the rain is really loud on the tin roofs...you can't hear anything). So we played the sign game with them while we waited. Then we had an awesome lesson after the rain. I get annoyed sometimes when we aren't able to work, but at the same time I feel like it was a good opportunity to build relationship and trust with them. It turns out that the real concern is that Brother L. has a little bit of a Word of Wisdom problem. They aren't afraid to change religions because of their family. We taught them about family prayer and scripture study and how it can strengthen them as a family and help them get ready to be baptized. It was a really good lesson and Elder Leduna's last visit with them. They really loved Elder Leduna so I hope that they will continue progressing with Elder Tsunoda and I. 

I've really developed a testimony of family prayer and scripture study. It makes the difference for a family in the church. I like what Sister Reeves said in conference about family prayer and scripture study being a defense against evil in the home. We felt like dropping by the house of a member family the other day. The mom and one of the daughters are active but the dad has been struggling financially with finding a job and hasn't been coming to church along with three of the other kids. Both parents are RMs and very strong. We felt to share about prayer and scripture study as a family with them...and it was amazing to see this brother light up as we invited him with his wife to start doing those things again. It wasn't an immediate answer to his problem, but I know it will help him to find an answer and to become active again. We are going back to their house again to help them get back into the swing of Family Home Evening again. 

I've noticed that the strongest families in the ward are those who practice those two things. I've also seen the other side. There is a family that we visit - they were sealed in the temple - and now their whole family is inactive. They didn't do anything bad - the parents just stopped being focused on the church. They stopped doing the simple things that we need to do in order to keep evil out of our house. And now they have all sorts of problems. 

I should probably finish this email up. I love you guys! 



- Elder Hubbard 

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