March 30, 2015
To be honest, this computer shop is full of probing kids reading our emails and it's a bit of a distraction. This email might be a little scattered. All in all, however, it was a great week. We had your usual mix of rejection and acceptance, walking and riding jeeps, Tagalog and Ilocano... Good stuff. It's a bit strange to not have any meetings or events to discuss. It seems we always have stuff like that. Nothing this week. It was a great opportunity to really focus in on the area and our investigators.
On Wednesday we conducted splits with the Elders in Lamut. Guess who was my companion? Elder Rebojo! It was awesome to be able to work with my son again. He had a really good follow-up trainer after I left from Tugue and I noticed he's improved in a lot of ways. I'm still always taken back by his strong desire, and the way he talks with people in such a sincere, down-to-earth way, always inviting them to learn more about the restored Gospel. I had prayed that our splits would be successful and that we would be led to go where we needed to go. Interestingly enough, we were rejected from almost all of our planned appointments. The important thing was that we didn't lose faith. At the end of the splits, when we were discussing how things went, Elder Rebojo said he still felt our splits was a success, despite the trying circumstances and the low numbers to report. I learned a great lesson at that time that it was my desire, and not the Lords, that everyone would be at home and that we would have high key indicators, as evidence of a good splits. Of course, the Lord wants us to succeed and have us be worthy instruments in His hands to carry forth His work. So why did that day seem to be so difficult? God knows what we need, what we need to do, and where we need to go to be able to serve Him, and if a day comes that makes us feel like we failed, as long as we were obedient and sensitive to the Spirit, there was no failure, nor effort wasted. We had a great discussion about the subject as a result and I was so glad to be able to talk with my kid again!
On Sunday, we had a certain investigator that we've been inviting to church for some time now finally attend! Efren Oro came to our little meeting house in Lamut for the first time, and it looks like he loved it! The members were super supportive of him. He had conversations with many of them, including a less-active member who has recently started coming back. It was such a relief to see an immediate support base form under him. It is a plague to the Church in so many countries when members don't support the investigators that make it out to church. Anyways, he's doing super good. He's originally from Quezon province, but moved up here in Vizcaya because his wife is from here. He still doesn't know too much Ilocano. In past lessons, we have seen his face light up at eternal truths we teach, and his desire grows more and more daily. He has accepted the invitation to be baptized in the past, but now that he's begun attending church, his goal date will become a reality! How great is that!
I've been reading a lot of great things in Jesus the Christ recently, and I don't have all of my notes on me to share as of the moment... but one thing I remember is the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. It has a powerful lesson within it, and foreshadows the day when Jesus raised his beloved friend, Lazarus, from the tomb. In the parable, there is a rich man and a poor man. The poor man, Lazarus, lives in the streets, being afflicted with disease, and the dogs are his only company. The rich man has many friends and conveniences as a result of his vast wealth. Strangely enough, he isn't given a name in the story. It ends up that both of these men die at around the same time. The poor man gets called up to Heaven, into the bosom of his father Abraham, while the rich man suffers for his sins in hell. The rich man asks that Lazarus be permitted to cool his scorched tongue, but Abraham explains that there is a gulf in between them that cannot be crossed. The rich men then pleas that Lazarus be permitted to visit those of his friends who are still alive, to warn them of the awful fate that awaits them if they do not repent. Abraham responds that they already have the commandments before them, yet they do not follow them. The rich man interjects that if they saw someone rise from the dead, they would certainly be compelled at that point to change from their sinful ways. Abraham, in the parable, gives an instructive response: "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead."
No amount of evidence or persuasion can make us obedient to the commandments, and increase our faith. Only humility and submissiveness to the will of the Lord will allow us to receive a sure witness from the Spirit that what we believe, and more importantly, what we do, is right and true. Don't seek for signs. They're dead ends, and only satisfy a carnal curiosity. The mysteries of God will only be revealed to those who are ready to receive that knowledge; those who have Christ-like attributes and will use their knowledge for good.
I'm out of time! I leave these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.