Sa Aking Pamilya,
Let's go with 7:00 PM May 10th for you, 9:00 AM May 11th for me. Speaking of time travel, I just remembered again it's the year 2015. No pink hover-boards or self-drying jackets yet, unfortunately. Anyways, I'm excited to take you all to the Philippines Cauayan Mission over Skype this coming Mothers Day. It will be fun. If you could just prepare specific questions and take little time slots like you did last time that'd be great.
Wow, where do I even start this last week? So many cool things happened...
On Monday night we had a Family Home Evening at the home of the second councilor in the branch. It is a very nice home, and they had some delicious food prepared, including some amazing chicken cooked with pineapple, and an Ilocano vegetable dish called pinakbet. Oh boy, good stuff. We've really been enjoying the fresh fruits and vegetables we bought last week at the palengke (wet market), and we got some more today to stock up. Fresh mangoes, bananas, guyabano (I don't think there's an English word for that one)... I'm very passionate about food, and I hope it continues to stick to my bones.
Tuesday was very bizarre. We got a text from the District leader in the morning that he wouldn't be able to attend District meeting because his companion was sick. On top of that, the STL's in our Zone attended District meeting in Bambang, which they also have jurisdiction over. At this point, considering there was only 5 companionships in total, we just combined Districts and Elder Olson taught the meeting... That is, once we were able to enter the chapel. Turns out the Branch President who had the keys to the chapel was out of town so we had to contact his son to open the chapel. He didn't have a vehicle so we waited for almost 30 minutes before he got there. It was kind of hectic. It was kind of fun.
On Wednesday we left the apartment early ready to go work in one of the farthest barangays in our area, Pogonsino. Upon arriving, however, it turned out almost everyone was not at home, so we made a change of plans. I had a feeling I had to go check down by the large river bordering the mountains, which at this point I'd never been down to before. It was only about a 5 minute walk so we checked it out. Once we got there, we found a small boat with some kids swimming nearby a makeshift dock. We asked them if there were houses on the other side of river and they told us there was a good-sized community about 10 minutes away. Why not? We got on board, crossed the river, and then made our way to the foothills. We met a lot of people along the way that we were able to share the message of the restoration with, and I couldn't help feeling I'd made the right decision in coming down to the river. Finally we came to a house nestled in an incline above the river basin and taught a lesson to the people we met there. Who would have believed it -- They were a lesbian couple belonging to the Methodist faith who had recently come back from an extended stay in the United Arab Emirates. Sometimes you run into the strangest things when you cross rivers...
On Thursday we had a service project in Lantap, Bagabag, at the Bayon family property. It's actually in the area of the Lamut Elders, and it's a good thing we didn't get completely lost on our way there... like we did. We got off the jeepnee too late and ended up walking around for a while asking people where we were. Elder DelosReyes said to me, "hopefully we run into someone who knows where they live." A few minutes later of walking, we ran into one of our investigators, Dick, who was coming back from work. He was an angel sent in our path, so to speak. He pointed us the way and we arrived safely and not much later than the others. We cleared weeds for a good while and then ate some delicious tinola (a kind of chicken stew) and halo-halo (shaved ice on steroids). We had a good day of work as well despite having more appointments fall through. Bear with patience thine afflictions...
This last weekend there was a lot of really great spiritual experiences. It's kind of hard to explain all of the details, but perhaps I'll just focus on one of them this last fast and testimony meeting. There is a recent convert in our branch we've been teaching named Daniel Baclor. He's been a member with his brother for the past 6 or so months now. His mother has been an investigator for a very long time, and has received a witness of the truth for herself, but she's been very discouraged lately because of a difficult live-in situation with her partner, Dick (the one I mentioned earlier). There has been a lot of contention in their house as of late, and it hasn't helped that Sister hasn't been keeping reading or praying commitments. On Saturday night we tried to visit them, only to find yelling in the house and then Dick walking out, looking embarrassed. Sister started crying and told us to leave, so we headed out. The next morning, the only one who came to church in their family was Daniel. Elder DelosReyes and I had already got up to bear our testimonies and we felt the Spirit very strongly concerning the Atonement of Jesus Christ and being proud members of the Church. The last one to get up was Daniel. He's super short and only 13 years old, and has a super cute squeaky voice. He told everyone he'd been praying and reading that whole morning that he'd be able to be the last one to bear his testimony. He then started sobbing, telling us how he'd wanted us to teach their family so bad the night before, but because their family situation was so difficult, we had to leave. He then testified how grateful he was to be a member of the church and that he knew that it was all true. I could not hold back my tears the whole time he was speaking, as well as Elder DelosReyes. We were a mess. Haha.
It is such an honor to be a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to have the privilege of being placed in the path of others whom He would have us help come closer unto Him. He truly did suffer all, body and Spirit, that He might know how to help us in our individual trials. He has overcome the world, although it hated Him and rejected Him, and He is risen. I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Little kid yelling at me from the water "Bente!" (What I was to pay him for the boat ride)
Pogonsino and Elder DelosReyes
The Standard Work of Philippine Barbeque: Chicken intestines, blood cubes, and marinated chicken heads.
Also, someone did not get the memo that this picture was "wacky". Guess who? (Gospel principles class with Angie, Bryan, Brian(The one with the facial hair), Elder Rebojo and Elder Baclea-an.
(Editors Note... "Missing the memo" has happened before... :-D I think it makes it all the funnier...especially when Kara and Jordan are standing next to Sean and Brynn...the contrast...hahahaha!
My Awesome Companion