Monday, September 1, 2014

September 1, 2014-- Email #45

September 1, 2014
Tuguegarao, Philippines

Dear Family,

Looks like I'll never get to see the new house, eh? I'll definitely continue praying and fasting for you. Sometimes we get thrown into pretty interesting situations. I suppose if that wasn't the case, we wouldn't be interesting people. 

We had a really good time this week. After district meeting on Tuesday we had some fun with Elder Cabaltica showing us magic tricks. He is super good at card tricks, and that kept us entertained for a bit. At one point he showed us that he has a little electrifier to keep dogs away, and we decided it would be a good idea to hold hands and see if we would all get shocked in a circle if one of us was electrified. So we tried it. It didn't work. But I got my thigh electrocuted which was pretty fun.

In developments concerning exotic foods, on Sunday morning we were talking with some on-their-way-to-getting-drunk people who were pretty confident we were their best friends, and I was offered some fried grasshopper. It was delicious. I nearly gave Elder Glassie a heart-attack when I actually put it in my mouth. The flavor was great, though. Fun stuff. 

Wednesday we had some awesome experiences out at work. We had a lesson with a long-time investigator here named Victor. He is a really eccentric guy. He is extremely passionate about his line of work... at a junk shop. The way he describes his job, however, would make you believe he's on his way to curing cancer or something. "I love it when I can take a piece of junk, that others might think is worthless, and turn it into something of use." It might help to visualize him saying this as he squints his eyes and gives ambiguous hand motions. He has had some awesome personal progress recently. In lessons, he has begun to really appreciate the things he's been learning and has gained desire to try them out for himself. I think it's finally clicked for him that he can't gain this kind of experience anywhere other than from this, the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Later that day we went down to the church to see if we could catch one of our investigators, Reymart, attending seminary, and share with him afterward. Unfortunately, he wasn't there, and so we kind of awkwardly ended up joining the seminary lesson. Bishop's wife is the seminary teacher, and she seemed kind of half-enthusiastic-half-confused with our attendance. As we were sitting there, however, one of the young woman, Camille, walked in with her non-member friend, Sophia, to attend seminary. Swiftly after the class, we asked if we could teach her along with Camille. The lesson went well, and Sophia prayed at the end, during which she mentioned "hopefully, this is a new start for me, and my participation in this church." There's no such thing as coincidence. It was awesome timing, and an amazing tender mercy from the Lord. 

Filemina is one of the recent-convert young women in this ward. After being baptized, she stopped attending church. Her family members are not members and aren't very supportive of her decision to join. Elder Glassie described her before I met her as being a "sad little girl". When I met her, I could understand what he meant, and it broke my heart a bit. The other young women in the ward I guess have not been nice to her, and she'd shy away from coming to church in an effort to avoid confrontation with them. Girls. So frustrating! We had continued inviting her to church, but she still wouldn't show. 

On Thursday, we went back to the church to teach Sophia after seminary, and we unexpectedly found Filemina there attending as well! She had a smile on her face that I hadn't seen before. Camille seemed to be really friendly with her, which really made me want to give her a high-five for not being a brat like the others. When we started the lesson with Sophia, we had Camille present with us, as well as another recent-convert young men named Jun Vincent. But before we prayed, Filemina stepped in and asked if she could join in with us! She contributed really well during the lesson, as well as the others, and the spirit was very strong. She attended church as well! I'll never forget the genuine joy on Elder Glassie's face when he said to me, "That's so awesome about Filemina, man. It makes me so happy to see her happy."

That's something important I've learned on my mission; what it means to be really happy, and how to have it last. Here's hoping for many more happy days to come, in the name of Him who has made it possible, even Jesus Christ, amen.

-Elder Kocherhans

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