Hello everybody. Well this week was great. Especially this weekend. Elder Bednar came to Laoag this week and spoke to the mission. I’ll talk about that a lot more later on in the letter.
First of all, the weather absolutely changed this week. It was pretty hot and really humid again. I liked the cold a lot better. But apparently it’s going to get a lot worse in the next few months haha. I’ll be back to sweating every second of the day, just like it was when I first got here.
So honestly this week made me realize that I have never been this busy in my entire life, which honestly is good. Time definitely flies by when you are busy all day and don’t even have time to think about anything other than the work here or the Branch business. Every Sunday I realize more and more how different the church is over here than it is in America. Obviously, the Doctrine and teachings are all the same, but it is just a lot different. The culture changes everything. For example, I never thought I would be preparing the sacrament, blessing the sacrament, giving a talk, and teaching a class all in the same day haha. Sunday for us is definitely the busiest day of the week. Since Cervantes is Branch President, and I am Branch Clerk, we have tons to do on Sunday. But I do enjoy being busy.
Haha so I have a few funny stories to tell from this week. So the people that live next to us sometimes like to drink and do Karaoke at night. And the other night I was out hanging up my laundry for it to dry, and one of them walks buy. He gives the usual “Brotherrrrr” hello and stumbles by. But then he turns around and walks back to me and says to me in is best drunk English “Does you want to join with us, brother?” Hahaha even the drunk people here are so kind - asking me if I want to share a meal with him.
The other day I was on splits with a single adult from our branch, who’s preparing for a mission. We went to go teach an olddd nanay that we found last week. She is 85 and she only speaks in Ilicano. She absolutely refuses to speak in Tagalog. So Jonathan, my comp at the time, had to translate everything for me. We asked her how she was and if she was able to pray about our message. I had no idea what she was saying, but because of the way my comp reacted to her response, I begged him to tell me what she was saying. Apparently she said that she had a dream last night that she was walking down the street and there were a lot of different churches on each side of the road. And then she said Joseph Smith walked out of one of them and came and talked to her. She said she knows that the church that Joseph smith was in is the true one. So I mean, she might be going crazy and she could have made that up, but that is a pretty cool experience if it was true. We tried to pick her up for church yesterday though and she said she wasn’t feeling good. SO we will see what happens with her.
(editor: sadly I can't get the video to load correctly. But here she is - use your imagination.)
All right so now I want to talk about Saturday when elder Bednar came. First of all, I got a text on Thursday, that told me a will be giving the opening prayer at the David A. Bednar Conference. I was sooooo stoked about that. A little nervous, but mostly excited. So on Saturday, we were all packed into a chapel in Laoag. And when he walked in, it was just incredible. The spirit filled the room, chills shot up my spine and watered my eyes a bit. Never felt anything like it. And let me just tell you, this guy is funny haha. Everybody expects these apostles to be so different that us and act like perfect human beings, but he was just awesome. The prayer went good. I think I did a decent job at inviting the spirit. The first thing Elder Bednar said to all of us is to not take notes on anything he says. He said, “Strictly take notes on what you feel from the spirit, and not from me.” And the second thing is that he said he was not going to give a talk, and that we are going to do most of the talking. I was excited about that part, I wanted to speak with an apostle haha. And I guess the Filipinos get sort of nervous speaking English because they don't want to mess up, so I had plenty of opportunities to speak. But honestly my favorite part about him is just how straight up he was with us. He used the phrase “Just stop worrying about it!” like 3 or 4 times, and he was just so bold and real with us. We talked a lot about faith and being doers of the word, not just hearers. But my favorite part, by far, was his testimony. I’ve never heard and felt such a powerful testimony in my life. He testified of the godhead and so specifically about the three separate members. All of us could just feel without a doubt that he knows Christ. At the end we all got to shake hands with him, and when we shook hands I could just feel the spirit in him. He firmly grasped my hand and looked me in the eye and said, “Thank you.”
(post-conference trip to McDonald's??)
So having Elder Bednar come to our mission is an experience I will definitely never forget. It was a highlight of my mission so far. He gave us all motivation to work harder and to come closer to Christ. I know without a doubt that the Apostles are called of God and that they receive revelation from on high.
Love you all, talk to ya next week!!
(bwah-ha-ha...crocs with socks)