Monday, April 10, 2017

WEEK 34 - April 10, 2107 (Aparri, Philippines)

Hello everyone!! 

We are heading through April and it is scorching hot here haha. It’s the hottest it’s been for me so far in the Philippines. And it’s just gonna keep heating up. At night I set up 2 electric fans next to my bed and turn them on full blast. Still manage to wake up doused in sweat. It makes the freezing cold showers not as bad though:)

This morning we woke up at 5 to go play basketball at the church before the sun was beaming on us. But wow, it doesn't matter what time of the day it is, it is sooooo dang hot. The flies are constantly landing on my arms and shoulders, trying to get a drink. I'm a walking pond during proselyting hours haha.

So this week was a good one. Our investigators are progressing for the most part, and God is blessing us with success and more people to teach. We will have 3 baptisms this Saturday if everything goes as planned. One of the guys that is getting baptized this Saturday is named Jack. He often talks about how he wants to serve a mission in the future. He’s 17 years old right now. But he constantly is taking us to his friends house to teach them. We met one of his friends, Mae, and began to teach her. The spirit was soooo strong as we testified to her the truth of The Book of Mormon. She could feel it too and felt just from that experience that our message was true. She is eager to receive an answer for herself. She attended church this week and really has interest in the church and its teachings. Later, she introduced us to her cousin, CJ, who also wants to learn about the church. So we are being absolutely blessed with the referrals and finding people who are ready to learn. 

The language improved soooo much this week.  I've been carrying around a little piece of paper with 15 new words on it that I memorize every day. By the end of the week, 90 words. At night, I go through the dictionary and just find 15 more words I wanna learn. It's a great routine. Definitely helping me understand people too. Feeling and noticing improvement in the language is such a confidence booster. And when the language improves, so does the teaching. Now that I’m starting to get more and more comfortable with speaking Tagalog, I’m trying to get better at Ilicano. The people love it when we speak Ilicano to them. It’s a really difficult language though. Speaking of things the people love, we were having dinner with a family the other night, and they asked if I like Balut. I responded, "Siempre (of course)", and he immediately went and fetched two of them for me. I cracked em open and slurped em both down haha and they loved it. They thought that it was incredible that I liked it. I never thought I would enjoy a half developed duck fetus. But it’s quite the treat.

(editor: I was going to include a picture of balut right here...but looking at them made me queasy. Feel free to google for yourselves though.)

All right, so General Conference.... I loved it. And so did all the members, especially when President Monson announced the new temple here in the Phils. People loved that and are very excited. Half of them didn't understand what he said at first, but eventually everybody got the memo. So I’ll talk about a few of my favorites.

Elder Rasband's talk: I think his talk last year was one of my favorites too. He’s a great speaker. His topic was perfect for a missionary, "Responding to promptings of the spirit". I loved how he said we need to wake up in the morning and tell God that we are ready to receive these promptings, and that we will act on them. For me, I have realized that the harder I work and as I am improving in the language, I can feel those promptings of the spirit easier and more obvious. Then, the more we act on those promptings and have experiences with them, the more often we will recognize them.

I also loved Elder Sabin's talk, especially the phrase "When you get tired of walking, RUN!" He also constantly said the words "Go all in". This was also just a great talk for missionaries. We have no time to rest. I remember the words of Elder Bednar at the mission conference last month. He said to us, "This work is too important to take a break."  It’s so true. This work I’m doing right now is some of the most important work I will ever do in my life. It needs to be taken seriously every second of the day. When will I ever have another opportunity in my life to focus on this one work and not worry about anything else? Never again. This is some important work.

Of course, I also loved what President Monson spoke about Sunday morning. The Book of Mormon. He could only talk for 2 or 3 minutes and he chose to speak about the importance of reading The Book of Mormon. That goes to show what we need to be doing every day in order to live our lives how our Heavenly Father wants us to.

Love you all, have a great week:)

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