Elder Arninio Helped Decorate Our Christmas Tree
Magandang hapon sa inyong lahat! It has been another great week, especially with Mission Leadership Council and the Zone Conference that we had this last Wednesday!
Elder Valdez’s name is Mark, he’s from Ilocos Norte, is the oldest of 2 children, and is a crazy good missionary. I’m learning a ton from him! He’ll go home in April.
Thanks again for the packages! Hope you like our decoration of the tree!
Brother Edgar and Brother Andrei are still doing great and Brother Edgar is really progressing toward his baptismal date on January 9th. I’m almost as excited as he is! He came to church and we also taught him afterwards yesterday. We also found quite a few new investigators this past week, so I’ll let you know about their progression next time.
We had a pretty amazing Leadership Council and Zone Conference this past week. The main speaker at both was Elder Shane Bowen from the Philippines Area Presidency. He talked about a ton of things and I wish you could have been here to hear it because it was absolutely amazing, but I’ll just share some of my favorite quotes:
“We use a lot of numbers and talk about a lot of different statistics in this work, but let’s not forget what it’s all about. (He had his wife stand next to him at this part). To me Sister Bowen represents the fullness of the gospel… It’s the plan of Happiness…We go back together (sealed as husband and wife) or we don’t go back.”
“Those [missionaries] in your stewardship look up to you. They deserve to see a sermon and not just hear one.”
“The best missionaries in the church were released last week, and if they’re not they did something wrong. Your best needs to get better every day, that’s what we call eternal progression.”
He talked a lot about the Abrahamic Covenant, the House of Israel, Baptismal Covenants, and the Priesthood. He tied it all in with who we are as members, priesthood holders, and missionaries. He said this: “When you know who you really are, you will act accordingly.” Another thing that struck me from Elder Bowen’s counsel to us was when he said, “If you go home and ever feel comfortable in the world, shame on you. Shame on you because you are not of this world” I want to do all that I can now to make the changes that I need to make in myself, and to make them permanent.
Lastly and one of my favorites, “Quit Judging and talk with everyone. When finding becomes a way of life and not a missionary activity, miracles will follow.”
There was so much more and the Spirit was so strong. It renewed my testimony of the sacredness of our calling as missionaries and what we can really accomplish.
I wanted to share about something that happened this last week while Elder Valdez and I were OYMing. We had just knocked on the door of one of our investigators and, after realizing that there was nobody home, we started walking down the street toward our back-up. As we walked we saw a man just sitting on his moped. We walked up to him and started a conversation. After introducing ourselves we asked if he was waiting for someone and he told us that he was just getting some fresh air. He continued telling us that he was almost always inside of his house taking care of his wife who has Alzheimer’s. He said that it was nice to take a little rest outside. As he spoke, I could see the effect that his wife’s condition was having on him. He seemed tired, stressed, and worried. I felt the Spirit then, prompting me to ask him a question. I asked if he believed that he would be with his wife after this life. He said that he didn’t know, but he hoped so. We were then able to testify of the restored gospel and how, through priesthood power, he and his wife could live together again with no sickness, no sadness, and no worries. He seemed a little struck by this and even though he was saying that we might not fit in his house with how messy it was, he let us in to share a message. Elder Valdez and I have had multiple experiences like this over the past few days. Especially after listening to Elder Bowen speak, our consistency in opening our mouths to speak with everyone has increased.
I’m grateful for our leaders in the church and for the Spirit which guides and directs us. Make sure and share that spirit and that joy this Christmas season!
I love you all!