Week of Christmas
On Monday our district activity was making gingerbread houses. It all started out good until the frosting wasn’t strong enough and ours fell down! It all turned out okay though because the Young Men from the ward came in and we told them that if they cleaned everything up, then they could eat the gingerbread houses and candy! No arguments from them on that!
Tuesday was our Christmas Party for all of the mainland missionaries. It was a great time and was not only extremely fun, but very spiritual. One of the best parts was when all of the missionaries sang “The 12 Days of Christmas.” We were split up into 12 groups and had to come up with a way to act out our “day” in the song. The best part by far was the partridge in a pear tree. There were two of the taller elders who lifted up Elder Lindaya (A tiny Filipino) behind a whole bunch of elders as the “partridge.”Then on the last time through, they lifted up Elder Clark instead! He’s a gigantic Samoan guy! It was really funny! We also got to watch “The Fourth Wise Man.” It was amazing and had a great message about what we can give back to Christ at Christmas.
The best present I received and also the best highlight out of the week was obviously talking with (and seeing) you guys! It felt like I was back at home just about to talk to Jessi and Scott and the kids on a Sunday when I heard Dad say, “Here we go!” on the other end! It made me smile! It was the best to see Kayla and Jerrod sing their Christmas song for me! I loved it! Right at the end of the call as I was about to hang up I just looked at all of you guys. I love you guys so much! It made me realize just how important my time here is. I realized that if I was there with you guys like I was wishing, I would have a lot of other things to worry about with school and probably a job and things like that. But, here on a mission, all that I have to worry about is serving the Lord. I realized how blessed I really am to have this great opportunity and also to have such a great family to write home to each week!
Another highlight from this week was a new investigator that Elder Zook and I found named JR. We taught him a lesson this week about the plan of salvation because we found out that both of his parents died when he was very young. His eyes lit up as we told him that, through God’s plan, he can live with his parents again. I know that this is true for all of us. If we accept the gospel into our lives and truly live it, especially as a family, we can return to live with our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with our whole family. We are so blessed to have the knowledge of this plan as it can bring us great peace in this life, no matter what happens.
On Saturday, Elder Zook and I taught Sister Erlinda again. She has now come to church 4 times (which is the requirement) and is reading in the Book of Mormon. She really understands the reasons for keeping the commitments that we give her. She is coming closer to Christ as she changes her life for the better. I know that she has received a witness through the Holy Ghost that the Book of Mormon is true and that the Gospel is really what she needs in her life. She is doing great and should have her baptismal interview on Saturday.
The last highlight of the week is when Elder Zook and I went to Sister Lanie’s house for dinner. We thought that it would only be us and her family, but when we got there 4 of the Santa Cruz Elders were there. We had a delicious dinner and got to play some Filipino family home evening games after. Elder Jones from my batch (MTC) was there and also Elder Vaivai who is Elder Zook’s old companion.
Anyway, that’s all for this week and I’m almost out of time, but I just want to say that I love you guys! I know that this is where I am supposed to be and even though it’s hard sometimes, I am the happiest that I have ever been! I know that it’s because I am preaching the truth of the gospel to the people here and it’s not only a blessing in their lives but mine as well!
Mahal ko kayo lahat!
Hey guys! It has been an amazing and also a very crazy week!
Monday night Elder Zook and I were headed home on a jeepney when we got a text. It said that Elder Zook would be transferring the next day. No surprise there since he had been in this area for 7 and a half months. The next text that came was the big surprise, it said that I would be training! At first I felt like I might just pass out. I had just assumed that because neither I nor Elder Zook had been called to the new trainers meeting a few weeks ago that I would just get a follow up trainer like normal. It turns out that President and Sister Ostler were still on Palawan (the island part of the mission) when the new trainers meeting rolled around, so they just decided not to have one! I’m not quite sure about how I am as a trainer at this point but I know that I’m never alone in this work. I always have the Lord’s help and I have really seen that this past week.
Later that night as Elder Zook was packing, we received another text saying that Elder Zook was being made the new Zone Leader in the Santa Monica Zone on Palawan! He started his mission on the island and now he’s gone back! I know that he’ll do a great job there.
So my new companion is Elder Lumanta. He is from Mindanao (Philippines) in the Cagayan De Oro mission, so his main language is actually Cebuano. It’s a nice balance though because he knows a lot more of the everyday conversational Tagalog and I know most of the language to use in lessons. He is really great and already has a lot of great missionary habits. The OYMing is no problem for him because he has an immense desire to share the gospel and fulfill his purpose. Even since the first day that he has been here, he just points out people and says, “Elder!” and then goes up to talk with them. His family is kind of split half and half. He has 6 older siblings, 3 married in the temple, and 3 married civilly. His only brother didn’t serve a mission so he is the first in his family. He is really great and has already been cooking us Filipino food!
Our New Years here wasn’t as exciting as you might think. We had to be back in the apartment by 6 and stay in for the night. The crazy part was that we couldn’t even sleep because of how loud the fireworks were! It was literally like all of the people around us had bought fireworks and were setting them off outside the front window!
Since it was the first Sunday of the month we fasted starting on Saturday afternoon. I have really gained a testimony here more than ever before that miracles can happen from fasting. We went back to Sister Joji’s house for a lesson that afternoon. I told Elder Lumanta beforehand that he would be the one extending the commitment to come to church and he did so very willingly. When Sister Joji raised a concern he faltered a little, but then I saw the spirit working in him and he was able to address her concern. She ended up coming to church yesterday! I truly know that when we are obedient and show our faith Heavenly Father blesses us with miracles! I love you all so much and I hope that you have an amazing week!
Magandang bagong taon! (Happy new year!)
Mahal ko kayo!