Monday, July 7, 2014

June 22, 2014 Last transfer of mission

Dear Family,

I have now been transferred into my last area! I am in Guimba. It's kind of a sprawled out little city with tons of farmland around it. We share it with a pair of sisters who work the city part of the area. It's a nice area but there are a LOT of less actives here. We had 35 less active/recent convert lessons this week as well as 18 lessons to investigators. It's crazy how many members there are here.

My new companion (and last companion) is Elder Lopez. He is from Bicol (I've only had one companion who wasn't from Bicol or the Visayas). I'm his follow-up trainer. We get along really well and have the same vision for the work...a lot of returned less actives...and he is super diligent. I am excited for the things that we'll be able to accomplish here. 

I am also the only native English speaker in our house. I live with two Filipinos and Elder Tebau from Kiribas (Micronesia). We all speak Tagalog though so there isn't too much of a language barrier. They are also all converts to the church which is cool. Elder Lopez use to be Iglecia, Church of God, and Catholic, Elder Bigbig used to be a Jehovah's Witness, then a Baptist, then a Born-Again, and Elder Tebau was a Methodist or something like that until all 9 of them in his family were baptized. It's good to be around missionaries with strong testimonies. 

This area presents a few challenges because it is really far away from the church building and most of the people are poorer farmers. We have a plan to focus on wealthier people to try and build the church. We had a really good experience this week that I wrote in my letter to President:

I had a good experience this week working with the Branch Mission Leader. We were on splits and he took me around the neighborhood and introduced me to several of his wealthy neighbors, including a teacher and an engineer who is married to the Barangay Captain. I am certain that if we had tried to visit them on our own they wouldn't have given us the time of day, but having this member who they knew take me there we were able to talk to these influential people and set an appointment with the engineer for next Saturday. I was terrified talking with this man at first, especially when he started asking me questions about my mission. One of his questions was, "In your almost two years of service, would you say that you have been successful in convincing a lot of people to join your church?" I thought for a moment and answered, "Engineer, if I myself have convinced anyone to join this church than I have failed in my mission. We only carry this message, and it is the Holy Ghost who testifies of it. When I see people feeling the holy ghost I am able to say that I have done my part." My answer surprised me, and him too I think, but I knew that the Lord had answered that question and not me. He seemed more interested after that and opened up a little more. 

Aside from there, I think the biggest adventure I had was eating rat, for the second time. One of the member's husbands had some friends over (he's not a member yet) to drink and they had some adobo style rat cooked up (people eat anything here with alcohol...snakes, cats, dogs, rats, crickets, etc.). She asked us if we wanted any and brought each of us a good sized leg to chew on. It tastes a lot like chicken actually. Don't worry mom, It was a field rat (they only eat grass and are really clean animals), not a house rat. I won't get leptospirosis.

It flooded in Magrath?! It seems like the Philippines weather is moving over there to Southern Alberta. I'm glad everyone is okay though. The last days are pretty crazy hey? We had this freak rain storm the other day that lasted about 15 seconds and then the sun came out and it got hot again. So weird. 

I love you guys! Have an awesome week!

- Love Jared. 

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