Monday, January 12, 2015

Learning a lot and enjoying time in Palayan!

Wow, what a week it has been!  Monday we didn’t exactly have the greatest plan in the world so we only got one lesson in the evening.  Tuesday we went finding in Atate!  We were accepted by the nicest Iglesia ni Cristo family, which was a happy surprise!  We also met and taught Cezar, a 29 year old man who is struggling to find purpose in his life and wondering how much longer his trials are going to last.  His faith was a bit shaky, so I’m really hoping we can help him.  After dinner, we taught Alloy Mendoza the first part of the plan of salvation, as to where we come from, and he LOVED IT!  He had no idea where we came from before this life, and he was just enlightened, and he told us so!  At the end of the lesson, he taught us an overview of what we had taught!  It was awesome!  Then we taught Dave, who is just a fireball!  I don’t know that I’ve ever had an investigator as excited or energetic about this gospel!  We were teaching about the Book of Mormon and we had left the Introduction as a reading assignment and we used the Intro again when we taught.  The best part was when Dave was reading the second to the last paragraph and said, “…truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.  See Moroni 10:3.”  He said, “I LOOKED THAT UP!  I READ THAT!  OH MAN, WHERE IS THAT?”  I was startled, to say the least, but I was pumped as well that he read that!  And we also committed him to keep the Word of Wisdom so that he can stay on track for baptism! 
Elder C and Dave

Wednesday morning we taught Mariel about prayer, then in the afternoon we went back to the Hamlig family (members of Iglesia ni Cristo) and we finished teaching the Restoration and we set goal dates for them for February!  Later we met and taught Nanay Dalania, a  grandma with a big heart!  After dinner we taught Mia and re-committed her to be baptized on the 31st, which she accepted!  And that is an absolute miracle because a week and a half ago it was a complete and total no!  We taught Dustin and the Llamas family and there we were able to teach the mom and dad again so they’re softening up now too!  Thursday we had zone training meeting.  It was really good as we learned a lot about the atonement, as that is what we will be studying as a mission over the next couple months.  But the really big news is that we’re cracking down on the not being allowed to teaching women without an adult male present.  Before, it was approved by President to teach them outside.  You just couldn’t teach them in closed areas where we would not be seen.  Now, it really has to be that another adult of the same gender has to be there in order to teach anyone of the opposite gender.  Not gonna lie, I was a bit stressed about that whole thing at first, but I just kind of took a minute to think about it and it was ok!  We taught Cezar about our purpose in life and he had lots of questions regarding repentance and forgiveness, so we left a passage from Mosiah 26 to read.  We also met and taught Cesar (with an s instead of a z), a retired soldier who has been to Elder Palibrica’s hometown.  We got a referral from Emmy Oblero, Jerwin, who turned out to be Nanay Dalania’s 12 year old grandson, so we taught them!  We taught Alloy Mendoza about our purpose in life, but they’re going out of town this Sunday, so they won’t be able to come to church.  And we taught Dave, who is still the man!

Friday…in the afternoon we went finding, but found no one to teach.  BUT we ran into Dave’s grandma and we ended up helping her cut firewood for a bit there.  After dinner we taught Mia, but she also couldn’t come to church this Sunday because she had to babysit her nephews, but she promised to come next Sunday.  We taught the WHOLE Llamas family again, which is a miracle that just doesn’t cease to amaze me.  Saturday morning we visited Bien and found out that they are moving, but just to a different part of our area, so we’ll still be able to visit him.  As for the rest of Saturday, the beginning was alright.  We taught a nice, tall (as tall as me) young man named Jerry, but he isn’t sure when he’ll be around to listen again.  We taught Cezar and he really understood the passage we left for him  to read.  We taught lesson 1 and he was so into it!  After we taught about Christ’s life and the primitive church.  He all of the sudden asked, “Is that church still around today?”  And we answered that question.  When we explained about Joseph Smith, Thomas Monson and the phenomena of modern prophets in general, he asserted that a living prophet should be well known, because he agreed that the world needs one. We were happy to explain that’s what we’re doing  as missionaries, telling everyone that God  calls and speaks to living prophets again.  He also accepted a goal date for February!  

After that…it was kind of a mess.  I won’t go into detail, but we ended up teaching Jerwin and scheduling a service project for Tuesday morning for his grandma.  Later, when I called President Clark to have the service project approved, I started to explain Jerwin’s situation.  President kindly informed us that we can’t actually teach him, because the Philippines area presidency has established that we can’t teach kids under 14 if their parents aren’t present at the lessons and Jerwin’s parents both work out of the country.  After I got off the phone, I didn’t know how to feel.  A part of me wanted to be mad, but I wasn’t.  Another part of me wanted to be sad, but I wasn’t.  Before I could decide how I felt, I just felt the calmest peace come over me, and like so many other times here in the Philippines, the Holy Spirit taught me a lesson.  Missionaries have been reciting that “the field is white, already to harvest” since the 1800s and not all that was to be harvested was white back then.  This means that people are always being planted, nourished and harvested.  Jerwin is golden; he’s been asking us for his own copy of the Book of Mormon and when he can be baptized.  He came to church this week and he’s told us that he’s going to be a missionary one day.  We’ve just happened to find a fruit that will be good, but under the current circumstances, just isn’t quite ready to be harvested.  Praise be to God.  He helped me understand and accept that.
Well, Sunday we had Jerwin and Dave come to church, but we’re counting on a lot more next week!  And Jose came again, and so did the whole Llamas family!  So they’re coming back now!  So awesome!  After church we did the special sacrament for the Meotic family, then we had a Philippines Area Broadcast about the 2015 goals.  Man, the area presidency works HARD.  After dinner, we visited the Planco family and I just love them!  I’ve been so blessed to get to know them.  Then we visited Jose and April Abunan and after that finished up teaching Dustin.  All in all a good week!  I learned a lot.

The hymn we sang in sacrament meeting kind of sums up what I learned this week.  Eliza R. Snow said, “By strict obedience Jesus won the prize with glory rife.”  I learned that true humility is obedience to wisdom greater than our own.  But that being said, Elder Palibrica and I are having a great time, laughing all the while and thoroughly enjoying our time in Palayan!

-Elder Christensen
Basketball with Dave and friends

With Tatay Jose at church
Playing ball

Elder Palibrica in a nutshell

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