Monday, December 15, 2014

Miracles with some less active members!

Dear All-

Well, Monday started out with a miracle!  We had 3 appointments and two back-ups, and we were rejected from all of them in the space of a half hour.  Not really knowing what else to do, we went to the Planco family to ask if they knew any other less actives we could visit.  And in the Planco family all the kids are active, but the mom works overseas and the dad, Jonathan, is inactive.  We got there and it was just the right timing that Jonathan was coming home from work (he’s like never around).  We asked if we could share with him and his family.  He hastily said no, but if we wanted to share with his kids he was ok with that.  As he started to go inside, I asked when the last time he listened to the missionaries was.  He said he hadn’t since he stopped coming to church.  I asked him when that was.  He said that had been a long time ago.  Then (this is why I love my companion), Elder Palabrica pipes up and asks “Why?”  Boom.  He opened up like a book. We stood in his doorway for forty minutes listening to how he was wronged and offended.  He talked about old callings and how the Church “should” be.  I noticed that he had a lot of knowledge and ability and that he really could be a great leader here.  He started to soften and we eventually started talking about scripture study, which he hadn’t done in 6 months.  Eventually he said, “Well, I guess we should have you guys share a message.  Kids, grab my triple.”  Miracle.  As we shared a simple verse, his whole demeanor changed.  He was happy, smiling and laughing with his kids.  The spirit was there.  It was beautiful and it would never have happened if we weren’t rejected by 5 people earlier!

Tuesday was good.  We met and taught a man named Marlon who was really receptive.  His big question is, “Which?”  We’ve got answers!  WE also were able to visit with Mia, who committed to come to church, and the Solis family again.  I love them!  Wednesday was awesome as President Clark came and spoke to our zone.  He talked about how it was ok if we weren’t going to get 4 baptisms in our area by the end of the year.  He said not to worry about it and just to enjoy this great time to be a missionary and to pray that as a mission we’ll still reach our goal of 1650 baptisms this year.  The rest of that day was awesome!  Even though we got rejected a bit, and we saw Roby, not so discretely, run and hide from us.  It was all good!  We were trying hard and that’s what matters!
Thursday we had the trainers/trainees meeting, which was super good!  I was so happy to have Elder Palabrica as my companion! 
McDonalds after trainers/trainees meeting
Afterwards we went on exchanges with the elders in Kalikid, as they had an interview.  I worked with Elder Gallego, which was good!  We were a bit rejected at times, but it was good all the same!  Friday…I don’t know, I just had a dream about my parents coming to pick me up and I just woke up feeling homesick.  I couldn’t focus and it was hard to shake it.  The work was alright.  We taught Michael/Mariel’s cousin there, who listened to our message and accepted a baptismal invitation!  Cool!  We were able to teach Grace again, and she committed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon.  It was funny, we didn’t teach anyone on our daily plan—pure back-up plans!  But that’s why you have those!

Saturday was interesting.  We were asked to speak at a baptism here in the branch, so we helped out with that in the morning. In the afternoon we just were super rejected, pretty much everywhere we went. It's hard, because we make these plans that we think are good, and then we always end up scratching our heads at some point thinking what's next. Also, the family next door had their mom pass away (active members), and that was really hard for them, and the funeral service was on Saturday so we went to that. Afterwards we taught our favorite family, the Solis family, but they are still just not living the word of wisdom, and not trying to hard quite frankly (we visited with Brother Solis on Sunday and he was drinking, AGH I HATE ALCOHOL!), so that was kind of a tough visit. Then I made a mistake that night, in that I made my companion lead the nightly planning (which is a part of the training program), but I just kind of said “You do it”, kind of like throwing a kid into the deep end without knowing how to swim. Well, he did NOT react well to that. He was upset with me pretty much all Sunday, but I was able to apologize last night and we talked it out a bit, but I still feel like we're not as good as we were before. I need to rebuild some bridges. 

Only one investigator, Mariel, came to church, but a miracle happened in that her less active husband who hasn't been to church in years, as far as I understand it, came! White shirt and tie and everything! He's still working on the word of wisdom problem, but that was a HUGE step for him! So happy there. The highlights of the day was teaching our investigator Mia, who finally accepted a baptismal date for January 31, once she's received a more sure answer and she's "Really ready." Also, we're teaching this 11 year old recent convert of the past missionaries, and to get him to pray and read every day, we promised if he would do it for a week we would take him to get a snack and a soda. Well, news travels fast, and now we teach five 10-13 year old members who have organized their own scripture study class every day!  So cool! I was inspired by the faith of these youth. 

This morning we went to Dingalan, the farthest area in this zone for a zone activity, at the beach! It was like going back to Baler for a little bit! And I got to sit on the beach and talk with Elder Armatage for a long time. I love that guy.  He seriously is my best friend, and he really helps me out a lot!
Elder C. with his anak,, Elder Palabrica
Beautiful rainbow at the beaach in Dingalan
Elder C and Elder Armatage
And that’s all for this week folks!

Mini Christmas tree in package from home
As far as scriptures go, this is what I'm hanging on to! 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, 17-18 "...for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."

I love you all, and let us catch the real spirit of the season this Christmas!

--Elder Christensen

Mosquito net sent in package from awesome Aunt Jean!

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