Hey-o! Its so awesome to get all of your emails, they certainly make my WHOLE day just so wonderful :D The week was off to a rough start, Monday was probably the hardest day I've experienced here... needless to say I wasn't getting a subject in the language and we had to prepare for our lesson, I had a breakdown... but I felt much better after talking to our Teacher, Brother S! He gave wonderful advice and a few scriptures that helped. Anyways, the rest of the week was MUCH better :) Though I did learn something, its hard being the only country boy in the zone,... because EVERYONE is totally germaphobic compared to me and talk so much about rap music. So I'm grateful for having the opportunity to live on a farm with a bunch of animals (no room for germaphobia sometimes...) and that I was raised with GOOD music :)P Also, the showers were finally fixed, so yesterday was the first day since I got here that the water was actually hot! it. was. so. amazing.
We were teaching a 'new investigator' named P who was really angry at God because his mother had gotten really sick and passed away despite visits from priests. He asked us why there were so many bad things in the world, and one of the Elders I was teaching with totally whipped out the scripture about "opposition in all things", and it turned the lesson super spiritual as we talked about Heavenly Fathers love for us and the purpose of trials that we all face in life.
It actually reminds me of an experience that I had yesterday with Elder G and Elder B. So Elder G was having some really hard stomach pains after lunch and we took him to the nurse, they though he might have appendicitis and sent us all to the ER. (don't worry, it gets better) :) And Elder G was in there for some 3 hours while we waited out in the waiting hall, where after a half hour or so, this Elderly couple walked in and this mans wife's eye was shutting down for some reason. We talked for a while about missions and stuff before they were admitted in to the hospital, just 10 minutes later this man comes back out and asked if Elder B and I could go and help him with a blessing for her! It truly was a special experience :) AND there wasn't anything wrong with Elder G stomach, so I kind of feel as if that was part of the reason why we went to the airport. I'm so grateful to hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and being a representative of Jesus Christ! :)
Now, by next week I'm going to be in the Philippines... so I'll go ahead and email y'all the address after I get there :) Its just so unbelievable that I'm going to be out of the country by FRIDAY. I really cant wait! Also, I learned that I can in fact call family from inside of the airport... so if you get a call around 7-9am, it might be me! (I'll also be allowed to Skype for Christmas... so family... send me your Skype adresses) :D
Until Next week, when I tell you ALL ABOUT THE PHILIPPINES!!!
PS- I TOTALLY forgot to say this, but I joined the MTC choir the first week I was here and went to the practices every Sunday and Tuesday and sung at the devotionals every Tuesday night... ;D
The choir is actually SUCH a spiritual experience, so much singing and devotion. Just before one of the devotionals, a prelude song was "I believe in Christ", and you cannot even imagine the spirit and joy that one hears when hundreds and hundreds of missionaries are singing that wonderful hymn!
PSS- There is an extra mattress in our room, so I decided for the last week that I would double up my mattress and cover up the sides. Its so comfy and dark in there... I slept better than I had for a while~!
I DID get your email! I loved to hear about all that has been going on, I understand with the getting confused about the days... I think it should be MONDAY when I get to the Philippines for P-day, but frankly, I have no idea.
Haha, I suppose that I deserved that "I told you so", the choir actually was a really amazing experience... though I did learn that I am nowhere near a decent singer. But I sung with my heart and that's all that one can ask for a choir to do. Speaking of songs, veggie-tales was life xD
Wow, I hope that you guys have enough wood for winter! That's a really big job for someone to do, but I know that the hard work pays off :)
I have found that the Lord does work in ways far higher than our own understanding, I'm really grateful for the people that He puts into each of our lives. I know that there will be experiences that I am going to have in the Philippines that may even feel like miracles! I feel like it comes down to a quote that my Branch President says all the time... "obedience brings blessings, but exact obedience brings miracles" I'm already finding that to be true with the ER experience and the progress that I've been making in the language!
Okay, so I only meant that I'm a country boy in the sense that I came from Virginia, helped with animals, butchered animals (nobody here except ONE elder has even killed or butchered an animal), and cutting wood. There's elders here that kind of look like that haven't worked a day in their lives. But that's good now because they're going on a mission where work is allllll we do :) I really can't fathom how one can even LISTEN to rap music and feel the spirit, let alone think it's good... not gonna lie, but I'm rather disappointed when they have those conversations.
Anyways, the hot showers have been so nice! Though when we're in the Philippines, a cold shower MIGHT actually be really really nice, too! I guess I should count my blessings that I don't have to be carrying wood everyday and burning it to stay warm ;) How is that, by the way? Are you guys staying warm? Are those fancy metal doohickeys on top of the furnaces working as well as they did when I left??
So, Jacob took my room, huh? Have you told him about the snake skins, or the house centipedes? ;) Just kidding, I hope that it suits out well for him! Does that mean the upstairs family room has a million times more room now? :D
It sounds like it does get quiet now... do you miss the silence being broken by Dobby?? xD
Oh no, I do hope that Starsha gets better, she's such a wonderful goat! And I totally cracked up when I read Adam skipping his puberty class! That and I'm actually kinda sad because I realize now that the school classes will never actually help anyone. I feel like in school- kids might start to be curious more about what happens and stuff and at home- kids would be too awkwarded out by that conversation with their parents that they would never talk about it again xD Annnnnyway...
I really love haring about everyones lives and stuff at home! I hope that you guys stay safe and stay warm the rest of this winter!
I got your package too, and I LOVED it so much!!!! Thank you so much for everything, it made me remember all those things back at home and I felt kinda fat too... for all the candy ;) Don't worry, I haven't eaten it ALL, yet... besides, I'll share with the other elders xD
PS- Tell Adam that we're choir buddies!!! :D :D :D I read Adams letter, has he really been wearing that bracelet I made him?? That's the sweetest thing!!! :)
Here's just a shortie about my week, I'll be allowed also to email after I get to the Philippines so that erryone knows that I made it safely :) This week has been really good, and a really great learning experience! We taught P just a few days ago and... well it went really poorly. But we got advice about directions to go and teach in and how to better teach by the Spirit. We then the next day went and taught A, who we felt really really good about teaching! We read a lot in 2 Nephi Kabanata dalawa, about Adam and Eve in the Garden and what would have happened if they didn't fall! Then about enduring to the end and feasting on the words of Christ. It was a really special experience even though our "investigators" are just our teachers roleplaying, but we can still feel the Spirit when we teach. It's interesting how all of that works! :) We also talked this week with our Branch President, President Howard... who was one of the first missionaries in the Philippines and served as a mission president in Manila. He shared a LOT of really great experiences about the Philippines and a lot with what it's actually like there! :) He described it overall like this: "There are two seasons, hot and hotter. And the wet and dry season... the dry season is when it rains half the day and the wet season is when it rains all day." So I'd better learn to LOVE the rain... that may take some time to actually get used to xD
It's going to be such a different culture and a different experience, but I'm so excited to be able to go out to the Philippines and serve there! It's just the language barrier that I feel is going to be hardest... but I trust that the Lord will help me :)
That's really all for this week! I'll email again in a little bit and tell y'all about how different the Philippines are!
ps- There's a scripture this week that I wanted to share! 1 Nephi 10:19. It really testifies that we WILL receive answers if we diligently seek out the Lord. It also states that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Which is really cool... because to me it says that this gospel was always true, is true, and ALWAYS will be true. We can ALWAYS turn to the Lord for comfort, guidance, and answers with the things in our lives!
Hey, so I was just wondering if you and Dad could buy me a really small wallet that can fit in the shirt pocket of my white Shirt? I learned yesterday that having it in my shirt pocket will be smarter because there are pickpocketers and such pretty bad in the the cities... xD You guys could just send it after I get the Manila MTC info to you??
Also- word of something... If there are any baggage fees that I have to pay on the way to manila, I have to pay for it with my own money, and the church will reimburse me for it somehow. :)
I'll be in San Fran. from 8-about noon. Would there be time somewhere around then to call, and if so, what number? :) If not, it's okay... I'll be able to Skype on Christmas!
(I had permission for this, by the way.)