Time is short so let me just get right to it! Sorry for the delay for emails this week! We have a broadcast later on this afternoon with a General Authority from Salt Lake that our mission was invited to! It should be lots of fun!
Well, this is my LAST WEEK OF TRAINING. In a weird sense it went by EXTREMELY fast and I've grown so much over this period of training. I'm so grateful to have 20 more months to continue growing and becoming more and more Christlike through this missionary service. I can't wait!!!! Missions are amazing!!!!!
So this week we found two young men named Ryan and Algen. Ryan is 21 and Algen is 20. When we first made contact with them they seemed too accepting and we didn't even have to say anything really and we were already inside of their house. I kind of thought they were going to play a prank on us so at first I was freaking out a little bit haha. But as we started talking to them, Algen said that he had a dream where he saw "A big white church, everyone in there was wearing white and they were giving thanks and praising God. Then I saw a man holding a trumpet as if he was going to blow out of it." Elder Risenmay and I just looked at each other and we were just stunned. Then he said, "I felt something like you guys can help me know what that means." So we were like YEAH OF COURSE we'll help you know what this means. Apparently Algen has been to all different churches, Islam, Born Again, Iglesia ni Cristo, Catholic, Baptist, but he never found one that was right and he's been praying to know which one is right. So we extended a baptismal date after we first met him and gave him a Book of Mormon.
At first it was Algen who was extremely interested in the lesson because of his dream. But after we gave them a Book of Mormon, each one of them read from it and you can see the difference in both of them ALREADY. They are typical 20 & 21 year olds who don't have the gospel in their lives. They have problems that they'll need to fix before being able to be baptized, but you ALREADY KNOW, just by them READING THE BOOK OF MORMON, that they've received an answer. So, they went to church this Sunday. Even with the Parade in Laoag from February 1-10th and EVERYONE in the congregation missing because of that parade, they still went. They were shy and scared and timid, but they're coming back next week. They even are going to play basketball with us on Friday morning before we teach them later on.
How amazing is the Lord in preparing His children to hear the Restored Gospel and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ? How amazing is He to LEAD and to GUIDE us to the path that we needed to go in order to find these Sons of our Father in Heaven to receive the fulness of the truth that they have been desperately waiting for. And how AMAZING is it that they were able to recognize that we were servants of the Lord and can feel the spirit testify that we have what they need BEFORE we even said hi to them!!! HOW AMAZING IS THAT?? :)
Over the past week and a half I have developed more Christlike love for our Heavenly Father's children more than ever! Elder Risenmay said that the Standard of Excellence isn't there to show us how good or bad our performance is as missionaries, but he views it as opportunities to develop more and more Christlike love for MORE of Heavenly Father's children. Our love is not anywhere near the perfect love of the Savior, but we have been able to develop an amazing kinship with our Brothers and Sisters in the Philippines. At times, I talk to random people and just think, "I really, really love this guy." The most important quality of doing the Lord's work is LOVE :) I can't begin to tell you the amount of love I have for the people we teach, we talk to, and the amount of love for the language, and culture of the Philippines. I KNOW that this was the mission where the Lord needed me to go on. I get a spiritual confirmation of that EVERYDAY. I can't begin to thank Him enough for the blessing of serving this mission and serving Him after all He has done for me in my life :)
I hope you all have a great week and enjoy this email! I LOVE you guys back in the states as well :) haha
|On the back of a jeepney after running it down with Elder Risenmay|
|BOBBY BOY! He had a stroke recently and is by far my favorite member of our church. He's awesome!|
|Allen Rae (on left) with 3 Elders and one unknown young man!|
|Palting and Gudran family. What an awesome night it was! I love their little kids!|
|Just because it is beautiful|