Tuesday, April 8, 2014

March 31, 2014

Dear Family, 

It was great to get your emails today. Sister Missionaries, gardens, birthdays, Elder Hatch's homecoming...sounds like an exciting week!

Dad, I have slowly developed a fondness for gardening here. I have a 'malamig na kamay' (cold hand....it's like the Tagalog for 'green thumb') I planted a bunch of tomatoes and hot peppers back in Angeles but they got eaten by worms. I planted some more here in Tarlac. We're definitely going to garden it up after my mission. 

This week has been great but super stressful. We had a last minute interview on friday out in Dapdap (the middle of the mountains far away from everything) and a temple trip on Saturday! Several returned less-actives in the ward took out their endowments and we got permission to go with the ward and sit in on their session. We also got to see an older couple get sealed. It was amazing. The Manila temple is beautiful, and there was a special spirit in the session as these wonderful members made their temple covenants. I had the opportunity to be the escort of a brother who is getting ready for his mission. He came to the temple all by himself to get his endowment. As I helped him through the session it made me think of the first time that I went through the temple...being really nervous and just soaking in the spirit at the same time. It was a good experience for me. 

We didn't have too much happen this week (we spent a few days in other areas and 1 at the temple). We are teaching a girl named Jenna right now who is around Jianna's age and she is crazy smart. Her mom is a less active member and her uncle takes her to church every week. It just amazes me how humble and spiritual the youth here are. They learn 600x faster than most of the adults. It is very clear that the Lord is preparing them to be strong leaders here someday. The youth that go on splits with us on Sundays amaze me. Some of them come from homes where only one of their parents is active or a member (almost always the mom). One of them used to be a Muslim but when his Mom heard the gospel and felt the truth of it, she had the courage to be baptized and bring her children into the gospel with her. Their dad was also baptized but now has gone less active and the mom basically takes care of all of them. Another youth that works with us comes from a family of 9 siblings. Their father is always drunk, and their mom balances several jobs in order to support the kids. She is currently learning English so that she can apply at a call center. Her son works with us almost every day.

There are so many strong members here, but I am especially touched by the examples of the sisters and the youth. They go through so much but have never questioned their testimonies. 

Did you like the spider photo? We have TONS of them in our house. I had a lot in my first area too. They don't bother me so much now though. They run super fast and can get as big as your hand but they don't bite. I think cockroaches are still more gross. I guess there didn't used to be spiders in our house but Elder OIsen told me that back when he lived there they saw a really big one and smashed it, and that it was carrying thousands of babies that ran all over the house. Ever since then, he said there's always been tons of spiders. 

It's a good time. 

Anyways, I love you guys. The church is true.

 :) Jared.   

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