Tuesday, May 27, 2014

May 26, 2014

Dear Family, 

It's been an incredibly stressful day...a zone reporting day. I have a new companion now and I have to train him to be a ZL in four weeks because I might be transferring in four weeks into my last area. We were in here since noon trying to figure all of the numbers out...and then all of the power went out and it started pouring rain so we ran over to the 7-11 and waited there for an hour until the power came back on.  Now I get to email you all real fast before we run to family home evening, haha. 

My new companion is Elder Evangelista from Manila. He's my first companion who isn't from the southern Phils or from the Bicol region. He's just this short, big, happy guy who doesn't say much. He's a way good missionary and I love him to death.

There haven't been too many crazy adventures this week...just the good teaching experience kind. We had 6 investigators come to church yesterday but Nora and Alan still didn't show up. They are such great investigators and they say that they have received answers that this is the true church, but they just haven't come to church yet. It's so hard to solve concerns, haha. We have faith that they'll show up though. We also visited the Landingin family again (the parents didn't come to church either and haven't for the whole time I've been here) and taught them. Nanay told us that before, when they went to church, that a whole bunch of really bad things happened - her kids got sick, they never had enough food, etc. We were all like, "Nanay, when you come to church and have family prayer and stuff, the Lord will bless you," and she was all, "But Elders, whenever we do stuff like that our lives get worse." That was the first time I'd heard something like that but I told her about you guys and how our family has always been blessed because of the Gospel, even if it's not easy sometimes. I really hope they will come to church. 

It's so hard when you love these families and feel like you're a part of them but then you see them shy away from the Gospel. It's really sad. BUT, I know that, one day, both of those families will all become members and be sealed in the temple. 

It's really cool how the Lord prepares people for the Gospel. We've been teaching the Ombac family for a while and they are all strong and active in the church. There are five recent converts in that family, so we are there quite often. Brother Ombac, his wife and daughter, his two little sisters, and sister Ombac's sister have all become members. The only one left in that house who is a non-member is Sister Ombac's brother...who would always kind of avoid us when we were there. Sister Ombac has been hoping and praying that he would receive the gospel and last week, as he was driving his motorcycle (and slightly intoxicated), he crazed and got scraped up really bad. He ended up going to a hospital in Pangasinan and getting a bunch of stitches in his head. It's really a miracle that he lived, because here, if you crash on the highway, you will probably die. People just drive like maniacs here. Anyways, after his accident we talked to him and he had changed so much. He wanted to listen! We talked with him and he said he knows that God protected him when he was in the accident. We were able to start teaching him. The Lord really can and will open anyone's heart. 

That's all I have time for...it's been a crazy day. I love you guys and I hope you all have a great week. 



May 19, 2014

Dear Family, 

Yep. My companion was called last week as the new assistant to the President, which left me alone with the zone for this whole week. I worked in a trisome with our housemates in their area. Transfer day is this week and I am totally sure that I am staying here for at least four more weeks, which I am excited about. Right now I am working with Elder Mosquera, he's the AP that my companion replaced. We've been able to work in my area for almost three days now. 

We had some good things happen this week. One of the families we are teaching, the Garcia Family, has been interested in the lessons, but won't come to church or make any serious commitments until the dad has made a decision. The Dad told us before that he wanted us to show him, using the Bible, that Jesus Christ is God, and if we could, their family would be baptized. We prepared a short lesson from the Bible about the Godhead and the importance and unity of each member of it. It was a very simple and powerful lesson. The whole family understood and accepted the Godhead. Except Tatay. He wouldn't accept anything we shared...even the most simple verses. We explained to him that we had done as he'd asked, and then reverted it back to The Restoration and invited him to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it because that is really the only way to know the truth. We had a similar experience in our housemate's area with a Seventh Day Adventist. She believes that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is true, but she won't let go of the whole Sabbath being on Saturday thing. Nothing on earth can make her believe otherwise. We also invited her to ask again about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. 

It can be so frustrating at times when silly little things like that get in the way of the real important things. I just wanted to shout out, "Look! The Sabbath Day isn't a day...it's a commandment that needs to be followed, whether on Saturday like Moses and the Nephites did, or on Sunday like the apostles did. Or on WednesdayFriday, or any other day like the church does now." The church isn't built on the Sabbath Day. It's built on Christ and Revelation. It's not built on the Hebrew translation of LORD, or on Peter, or on the Day of Pentecost, or on baptism or faith healing. Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel! 

We love the Garcia family and really hope that Tatay will be able to feel the spirit so that they can participate in the blessings of the gospel. 

We are also visiting a guy named Matthew from Minnesota. He's been through a lot of stuff that no 16 year old should have to go through and ended up here in the Phils staying with his uncle. He can't speak Tagalog at all. He has a lot of faith though, and he brings us to tears sometimes with his story. I remember him praying after our last visit that the people who have treated him so badly would be forgiven. We've only been able to teach him twice so far, but he is really progressing. He came to church with us on Sunday and the members were really great at fellowshipping him in English. I was impressed. 

Nora and Alan (The family I told you about on Skype) are also doing really good. They all believe that the Gospel is true (they've been searching for 10 years) and are seriously considering being baptized. Nora has received a very interesting answer in the form of a sign. We are trying to help them come to church now, but something always seems to get in the way. We've seen so many miracles happen that allowed us to find this great family and it's evident to me that there is another force at work trying to stop them from progressing. I know they will make it to church soon though. 

We also had a baptism this week. Eulo is a primary aged kid from an active part member family. He is 9 and his dad isn't a member yet so it was a convert baptism - a low-lying fruit as we call it sometimes, haha. It was good though. Sometimes children's baptisms can be extra special.

That's about all for this week. I have been super stressed trying to handle this zone all by myself this week, but I've been getting through it. 

I love you guys, 


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

May 12, 2014 Happy Mother's Day

We got to skype with Jared on Mother's Day. It was so awesome to talk with him. He has some sort of accent! He is doing really well even though he is still experiencing health issues. He said he tries not to think about the pain and just moves forward with the work. Listening to him reminded me of the story of the People of Limhi and how their burdens were made light as they continued to put their trust in God. He is running hard to the end! I get emotional just thinking about how much he has been blessed to be able to continue to do the Lord's work. Here is his short letter :)

Dear Family,

It was great to see you all today! You are all looking great. It was great to talk with Grandma and Grandpa too. So many exciting things have been happening over there. 

This week was really good...we've had a lot happening with investigators. We talked about accidents earlier on Skype and as we were driving home with the APs I saw ANOTHER accident. This lady got hit by a motorcycle as she was crossing the street. I don't think she was hurt too bad but she was having trouble breathing. I helped lift her into a trike. The hospital was only 1/2 block away thank goodness. 
People drive like total maniacs here. 

We also ordered pizza to celebrate Mother's Day with. I can't eat pizza like I used to. 

I think we talked about almost everything earlier, but I remember something funny one of our investigators (he's 9...active part member family). We taught him about Adam and Eve and how they were commanded to 'multiply and replenish the earth' and how they are our first parents here on earth and he put up his hand and asked, "Didn't they get tired doing all that?" We had a hard time staying composed. I remember teaching him about the priesthood too. After we explained it to him we asked him what the priesthood was and he said, "So wait...if I get the priesthood I'll have powers like Goku?" We told him he needed a lot of hair gel to be like Goku...and then explained it again. Kids are so funny. 

I love you guys. The church is true. I am studying about the Atonement right now in the BOM and so far my favourite chapters are 2 Ne 2 and 2 Ne 9. The Atonement is such a great thing. 

Love Jared. 

May 5, 2014

Dear Family, 

I am so sorry for not emailing last week. We had an appointment at six and this brutally huge zone progress report to finish...I got about halfway through it and then Excel crashed...so I started it again. I had two lines left to finish and then Excel crashed again. I quietly excused myself from my chair and got down on the floor and did push-ups right there in the computer shop. I ended up finishing it later in the evening. 

The last couple of weeks have been good. We had our last Mission Leadership Council with President Martino this week and the topic was on Accountability and Stewardship. It reminded me a lot about the large amount of trust that the Lord places in us when he gives us a stewardship, whether it be as a stake president or a ward chorister. He expects us to give our best and use our talents wisely whatever the assignment may be. He will reward us equally for those assignments. The highlight of the evening was the testimony meeting. It was great to be there with so many of my batch and missionaries I've come to know and love and feel the strength that they have. Elder Clark, one of my roommates in the MTC is one of the AP's now, so we get to hang out a lot. It's crazy how much has changed since the MTC.

We also had a baptism this week! Charmaine Ombac was baptized...she is Brother Marlon Ombac's little sister (she's 16). It was a simple, but nice service. The ward arranged for some of the YW to give talks and I got to be the baptizer. The Ombac's are such an amazing family. Ever since Bro. Ombac became active his wife and her little sister, and two of his little sisters, have all been baptized. We are currently setting goals to meet with his parents and have been able to teach several other less-active families that live close by. They all live in this little compound on the side of the highway. 

One cool experience this week: One of our recent convert's kids got really sick this week and her husband wasn't home. This poor sister was worried about her little kid and didn't know what to do, so she fell back a little bit into her old traditions and took the kid to an abularyo (a sort of Catholic witch doctor type thing that they have here). She told us about how after they went there, her daughter didn't get better at all, but as soon as her husband came home and gave a priesthood blessing, she immediately began to heal and stop throwing up. She shared that her testimony of the church and of the priesthood has been strengthened. People here have such strong faith and I've seen so many simple and great miracles happen through the priesthood. 

Last last week we had some wonderful finding opportunities - I was on exchanges and we got lost and asked this lady for directions. Turns out, her and her husband are both "rebelling Catholics" as they put it. That is, they were Catholic, but then they read the Bible and decided that the Catholic Church isn't true (I wish more people would pick up their Bibles like that), and now they have no idea where the true church is and are LOOKING for it. We've been able to teach them and their youngest daughter (20 yrs. old) a few times and they are amazing. I can tell that they are really searching for the truth. Sister Nora (the mom) says that she already has felt the spirit testify to her that Joseph Smith is a true prophet. We just need to help them get to church. 

We have tons of great investigators but we are having trouble helping them come to church. I don't know why that's such a hard thing for people. I'm just grateful that the ward is so strong here. The ones that do come to church always feel the love of the members for them. 

As far as things go, I am doing good. It is so scary to think that things are coming to a close. I might be in my last area...and next transfer, I will have started my 12-week program again. I wanted to have a few things made before that happens and so I need to know a few things from all of you guys: 

- Favorite 2 Stories from the book of Mormon.
- (Josh) Requests for basketball jerseys...they can basically be made however you want, in whatever colour, size, design, or whatever, for less than $10. You design a few and tell me what you want.
- Anything else you want me to get while I am here. 

I love you guys. Have a great week!

- Love, Jared.