Sunday, November 9, 2014

Transferred to Palayan and now training a new missionary!

Dear All,
Monday the branch threw a home evening for me and Elder Choresca, as we were expected to transfer.  It was really nice and cool, but unfortunately we didn’t get any investigators there. 
With Angie Mamaradlo and girls

Maria Branch farewell FHE
Tuesday we had Zone Training which went well and we visited our recent converts in Baubo one last time (Nancy Adelina cried).  We were able to teach Dexter the Word of Wisdom and apparently Fevelyn has refused to buy him anything but Milo [a chocolate drink] for a week now, so he’s started to drop coffee!  Afterwards I gave out remembrances to everyone at the Habala house and then we went and found out transfer announcements!
First off, I’m training!  AND I’m opening an area in the Bongabon Zone that just got white washed!  AND I’m in the same house as the zone leaders ELDER WESTOVER and Elder Tufete! AND ELDER ARMATAGE IS IN MY ZONE!!!  AHHH!  I was so pumped!  [Elder Westover and Elder Armatage are some of his best friends in the mission.  Elder Armatage is his batchmate who flew out to the Philippines on the same plane as him]  And Elder Gordon, who is coming from San Jose Ward 2, is taking my place in Maria!  Elder Jacobsen is transferring.  Sister Penales is training AGAIN.  Crazy stuff.  Wednesday we packed then headed down to Cabanatuan.  That night we attended a missionary fireside with some of the missionaries there, but it was kind of awkward because we knew no one in that ward…Oh well! 

New kabahays:  Elder Westover, Elder Tufete, Elder C and Elder Palabrica
And Thursday was the big day.  I went to Tarlac to meet my new anak!  We had some good workshops by President and Sister Clark, and then I met my anak! Elder Palabrica!  He’s 19, from Mindinao, and he’s full of energy!  Seriously he’s your typical spunky greenie, but like overcharged!  I love him!  He and his older brother are the only members in his family of 8, and he has the most incredible faith and optimism. 
With his new anak (son), Elder Palabrica
With his son (trainee) and his father (trainer)!
After lunch, we headed back to Cabanatuan, where we met up with Elder Westover and Elder Tufele.  We had to wait there a while because a member of our zone hadn’t arrived yet.  Then we went to our new area, Palayan B!  After we dropped off our stuff, the elders showed us the houses of a couple of members, and then went home.

Friday we had an odd weekly planning, as we knew nobody to plan for!  Afterwards, we had an odd emergency-type meeting in Cabanatuan.  President just laid out that in order to meet the 1650 baptisms this year (our goal as a mission), each companionship needs to get 4 baptisms before December 31.  They talked a lot about faith, promise and trust in God.  We were all pumped.  Once we got back to our area, we hit the ground running, but man it was like we ran into a brick wall.  We found a less active, then we taught one family who really was not interested and then one sister who is OK with us visiting, but refuses to pray to know the truth.  Her name is Roby Bautista and she was our only new investigator.  I told Elder Westover that I was glad the hardest day of my mission was over with, because it could only go up from there.  Oh, I was so wrong.  Saturday we had two return appointments we had set up with contacts,  Yeah, neither of them were around. By the way, in the past 3 days I’ve never talked to/been rejected by so many people.  It a good thing that my companion is the courageous ball of energy in our companionship!  We were able to teach one man, Jeve, who accepted a soft baptismal invitation.  We got a couple of referrals, but as we went to try to find them, some guy on a motorcycle and side car fired a homemade gun that shoots marbles at us.  We didn’t linger long!  I was seriously freaked out.  We eventually taught a recent convert, then wandered around looking for houses with lights on (It was about 7:30 at this point).  We actually were able to set some appointments for next week.  But man,  THAT was the hardest day of my mission.

Sunday morning I broke down.  I’m just not used to this kind of rejection.  I feel like I can’t get any revelation on where to go or what to do.  I just woke up with this dread in my chest.  I haven’t felt like this since my first couple of weeks of my training.  Elder Westover and I talked for a while and he really helped me get a better perspective on things.  We went to church, which was good.  We have a beautiful new chapel and the members were super nice and receptive!  And we had an investigator come to church!  He’s this 10 year old kid named Bien, and apparently he has a baptismal date for the 29th!  What do you know!   After church  we had CJ, the Branch mission leader, and Nathaniel, a 16-year-old young man, come and work with us!  We also had a special sacrament for a woman who has had a stroke and can no longer walk.  We also taught Bien and there’s a possibility that we can teach his mom in the future, and she is super nice!  We found Anarira along the way.  She is a former investigator from Cabanatuan who welcomed us with open arms.  We started to teach, but her baby was getting all fussy so we just set an appointment for Tuesday.  We taught Roby again, teaching from the Apostasy to the Restoration again, which she understood more this time, but she is very active in her current faith and she still refuses to pray and ask God.  We are going to give her a Book of Mormon and hope for a miracle there.  After that we went looking for a referral given to us by a member.  We went to one house to ask if they knew him and they immediately opened their gate and let us in.  It turns out it’s this less active family that had a cousin, Mitsel, who is not a member, over when we visited.  At first Mitsel told us she wasn’t interested in this, but then Elder Palabrica shared a super spiritual message about praying for strength in trials.  It was a great lesson and by the end we were able to give Mitsel a pamphlet and she said it would be OK if we visited her again.  Actually, a good day!

We are taking it one day at a time here, but Sunday was an infinitely better day than the previous two days!  And I’m feeling OK now.  And I feel like we are getting more established here.  I am still so happy I’m a missionary and so blessed.  The Church is true, ya’ll!

Pictures from his last Mission Leadership Council meetings at the mission home
One last pictures with his kabahays in Maria before transfers
-Elder Christensen

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