July 13, 2015
A Federation has been formed between the Roxas and Alicia Zones in the time elapsed this week. Unfortunately, it will be dissolved as soon as transfer day hits on Wednesday. Elder Larson's companion, Elder Monilla, was called to be the new Assistant to the President this last Tuesday, so with Elder Larson now without companion, and me still without as well, we were put together for the time being. It's been a hoot! We've been the Zone leaders of both Zones this last week and I got to work in Roxas for a few days. Here are some highlights:
On Tuesday, when I was still without companion, I got to teach the Zone Meeting all by myself! That was exciting. It was like a giant District Meeting. The lesson had a lot of elements, including extending and re-extending commitments, obedience in times of persecution, and the differences between doing and being. As usual, I got very emotional through it all. Perhaps I got that from you, Dad :) That seems to be my trademark as a teacher; I choke up super easily and then my voice starts fluctuating and I have to try very hard to get it to stabilize. I just love learning and teaching eternal truths so much, it's so hard to keep things together! My testimony always strengthens a ton when I'm able to love and serve the missionaries in this Zone. That evening we had a good work day with Elders Teikauea and Posadas, and Sister Glysa Mae accepted to be baptized! Wooh! However, just her luck, she got sick this weekend and missed some schooling and Church. She's close, though, and hopefully this week the area will become more stable with a permanent companion and no more commotion!
On Wednesday I traveled to Cauayan to meet with Elder Larson. President Rahlf approved me to travel alone from Echague to Alicia and then to meet up with Elder Cantero there who was going to the new trainers meeting. Traveling alone was the weirdest feeling in the world! Even the tricee drivers were asking me "where's your companion?" After meeting in Cauayan, we decided we would work in Roxas for the next three days and then go down to Echague to work for the weekend.
Roxas was quite the adventure! It's a town along one of the sub-highways here in Region II. It's on the border by Mountain Province and Kalinga Province, and isn't too much different from Echague. There are a lot of Indians working there, for some reason. Mainly they work with loans and such, and they're really good at Tagalog. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to taste any of the delicious-smelling curry they were cooking up everywhere we went. Too bad. We visited an older woman for lunch one day named Nanay Trinidad. She has a bit of a wandering mind, but is one of the nicest people I've ever met. When she gave us plates to eat on, they had obviously not been washed. Upon seeing the multitude of food particles on our plates, Elder Monilla (who was with us at that time) offered to wash the dishes for her. She refused, telling him that if guests wash the dishes, her pet cats would leave the house. Interesting. So Elder Monilla stood up anyways, ready to wash the dishes. Lo and behold, the pet cats sitting nearby simultaneously got up and walked out the door. He went back and sat down after that.
There weren't a whole lot of investigators in their area but the ones we met with were really cool. One of them had an extensive knowledge about the Bible and, unlike others of that particular kind, was very receptive and willing to listen and input what we had said. Another really cool thing happened when we started teaching a less-active woman. Her neighbor came by before we started and we invited her in. The less-active woman suddenly felt greater urgency to be a better example for her neighbor of what a Latter-day Saint should be, and they both committed to come to Church. That was pretty neat. It was also really funny during the lesson... We thought that her neighbor spoke Ilocano, considering it sounded like she had an accent and was having a hard time with Tagalog. We spoke Ilocano to her for parts of the lesson, and our fellowshipper went into a very deep Ilocano exhortation for her. At the end of the lesson, however, we found out that she was pure Tagalog, and didn't know a lick of Ilocano. The fellowshipper we were with face-palmed himself pretty hard at that point and we had a good laugh. The best language we spoke during that lesson, however, was the language of the Spirit.
We came back to Echague on Saturday and had some great success in Pag-Asa and a few other Barangays. We met with an investigator we'd not had the chance to visit in some time, Rose Ann. She was super receptive during our lesson about the Book of Mormon. Near the close of the lesson I asked her if she believed Joseph Smith was a true Prophet. She said that she did, and continued to explain "if Joseph Smith wasn't a true Prophet and this book wasn't true, it's as if there would be no God." Wow. That was a really powerful testimony coming from the Spirit working in this wonderful girl. She's still a bit attached to Catholicism, which is understandable, but she has great potential. We'll be following her up this week.
On Sunday we had a mega-splits with the Ward members and also got to enjoy some delicious Lechon Baboy (slow-cooked pork). It was excellent. No investigators were able to make it but there were a lot of less-active members that were able to come again which was awesome. I'm so glad I'll be dying (having my last area) here. The members are so great and I anticipate getting closer to them and seeing the Lord hasten His work through our combined efforts.
This is where I leave you this week! I love you all. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a missionary. I choose to live every moment here to the fullest, and not take these precious minutes, days, and weeks for granted. I love to serve the Lord. I know this is the true Church, and that witness of the Spirit cannot be taken away. I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Me eating at a Zone Conference (Courtesy of Sister Honeycutt & the mission blog)
Getting some photo-bombing in a said Zone Conference.