I feel I'll start this letter by paraphrasing Dave Nibley from Latter-Day Night Live: "Well, we was up to Tugue and *HOCK* *HOCK* *SPIT* and it was just gorgeous!" In all honesty, though, it was a gorgeous week. I've come at a good time of the year for Tugue (Pronounced "Too-Ghi"). The days get blistering at times, but heavy rainfall comes at night and keeps things a cool and comfortable temperature to sleep in. It's a nicely circulated apartment, despite the fact it has an identity crisis. I'll have to get pictures next week though, I don't trust the internet at this comp shop...
Last Monday and Tuesday were pretty slow, besides shopping and district meeting. Our district leader, Elder Labetoria, is in the apartment with us, and Elder McCausland is his companion. I don't know if I mentioned that before, but yeah. That's been pretty fun... To an extent. At times they can all give me a bit of a headache. But it's been manageable. We have a lot of awesome sisters in our Zone; a lot from my batch that came from the Manila MTC. Our Zone Leaders are really laid-back at times, but they can have their "reproving with sharpness" moments as well. The work here, in general, has a different feel than it did in Santiago, and I'm not sure I like it. It doesn't really feel like it's "hastening" yet here. That's something we've been able to work on this week in our area, which really has brought some blessings.
We were informed on Tuesday that there would be an open-house for the Tuguegarao South Stake Center in which investigators from all areas within were invited. We were given invitations to the open-house to give out. Consequentially, this last week was full of handing these invitations out to as many people as we could. And it was awesome! We've gotten to know a lot of people in our area because of this, and a lot of potential investigators are surfacing. You would assume with how small our area is, most of these people have already been talked to by the missionaries. Apparently not. We still don't have a lot of progressing investigators, but I feel that problem will most likely be solved by ourselves first, striving to be more obedient. Obviously there's a problem with not obeying mission rules, apparent as its necessity may be, and then trying to commit others to make similar commitments in their lives. Talk about hypocritical. As if the Spirit could promote action in any way on their behalf if we aren't doing our part as the missionaries.
On the day of the open-house itself, there was an enormous turnout... By the members. The investigator attendance was pretty low, but we had two major city officials address the attendants, expressing gratitude for the nonrestrictive, open-armed, compassionate feel they receive from the members here, and for the tangible good we've done to the community. Those were great words to hear from a die-hard Catholic and a devout Born Again, putting Christ first. There are some awesome leaders in the stakes and wards here, and it's great to know they are doing all they can to oversee the church in this part of the world in a meaningful, responsive way. President and Sister Rahlf visited the open-house and gave some remarks as well. President then chastised a lot of the Elders for being disobedient, and told me personally he placed me here for a reason, that hopefully I can help the situation. Your advice on being an effective leader is just in time. I feel like many Elders don't respect me at all, and it's made me shy away from being more bold with them. I suppose I need to be shown I am weak before I can be made strong.
I know that we are all children of God. I know that we need never fear in times of trouble, or depression, or loneliness, or pain, or even death itself, if we remember our hero, Jesus Christ, who has descended below it all, and conquered it. It is finished. We know who the victor is. We only need to choose our side. So choose today, that no matter how crappy(for lack of a better term) life seems at times, we will always remember who our Father is, and how much He loves us, and how much power we have in our hands, through small and simple means, to truly change our perception, our paradigm, and our hearts. We have an eternal capacity to love, and to live forever in it. We are being refined by a master craftsman, and we should give our will to Him. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.