It's been so great to hear from you and the Orange "Halloweeny" colored background was great haha I'll think about it this coming saturday when we have to go home at 6:00 PM because they're is a curfew on Halloween and then the next day which is All Souls Day, it's kind of creepy all the Filipinos go to graves and eat food and cry? but then Monday is my birthday! woo haha who would have thought 8 years ago that I would be spending my 20th and 21st birthday in the Philippines, it's nothing more than I could ask for, I've come to love these people already... well most of them however some still get on my nerves;) But, I'm continually praying for love and charity for those I serve here, Let me relate a story to you. We have been teaching a family they are the Busa family, they have 6 kids, and live in a tiny house but Nanay and Tatay are amazing, they are really great. At any rate we've been teaching them quite a bit and it's getting to the point where it's you need to come to church or we have to stop: so the last two lessons have been serious, about the Law of Chastity and Sacrafice. In the LoC lesson, Elder Bondoc kind of skipped over it because he get's shy sometimes, so I said "Teka, Kuyah anoong inisip tunksal sa law of chastity" which translates into, Wait, Brother what do you think about the law of chastity--I was talking to the Boyfriend of a Daughter of the Busa who is pregnaunt. Well it got really silent and i'll admit...EXTREMELY AWKWARD. At anyrate we bore testimony that the Lord delights in the chastity of his children and commited them to come to church and talk to the bishop about getting married so all was well! Until the following sunday only 2 of our 10 investigators came to Sacrament...well that was a bit annoying SO we returned to the Busa families house. Shared a video on the Restoration (about Joseph Smith) and Bondoc and I were very serious, he basically said...you need to decide if we are going to continue the lessons or what. I replied, and keep in mind I love these people. "You have a responsibility, God has given you an opportunity to know if this is true, so you need to act on it and pray and ask, it's not about reason, intelligence, or debating, pray and God will answer and yes it is a sacrafice to for go working sunday mornings, but you need to sacrafice it all for God. I have given EVERYTHING, I struggled through a language for 3 months and still am, left my family, left everything I had, payed a lot of money...and it's all for you because I love you and I love God and we know this is true, I tesify that we are called of God and we have recieved authority from the laying on of hands in order to preach and administer the ordinances of Salvation."--- It was kind of sad because it was a very intense lesson, but I said all this out of love and I felt the spirit, very strongly. Nanay Busa started crying and told us she really wants to know if it's true so she is going to continue to pray and go to church. It's very difficult to grow to love these people, offer them the thing that makes you the most happy and have them forsake it...I just pray that they will accept it and enter the waters of baptism.
I'll be honest with you, and I think a lot of missionaries/Returned missionaries will agree, I didn't know what I was getting myself into, this is HARD and extremely lonely, walking down the street and have people run from you and kids yell curse words at you in english, struggling to speak a language that you can't make logical sense because people speak straight slang, exhausted because you've been rejected for 3 hours, and then people hide from you in their houses when you scheduled an appointment
But I say this now and I stand behind it till the day I return from my mission and into the eternities, these last 3 months of Hell, I would never trade for one single thing, I have given and I will continue to give all that I have for this cause, this cause being the Salvation of Human souls. I was talking to an RM here in the Philippines and he was telling me about the day when he had to remove his "Nametag" or missionary badge he started crying, I began to think about it and think about it and I got really upset to think my mission would be over I love it here, yes it's difficult yes it's hard, but I have an amazing family supporting me, I have great friends whom I love making huge changes in their lives for this cause, and I've never been this close to my God. Another interesting story I was thinking about all this and getting sad or in missionary terms "Trunky" --meaning wanting/thinking about home and I listened to a talk from Gordon B. Hinckley the last prophet entitled the Loneliness of Leadership, he began to say I guess that’s the experience of almost every missionary who has been there three months. There is scarcely a young man or woman who is called to go into the world in a position of great responsibility to represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who does not feel much of the time, I am sure, in the early months of his or her mission, the terrible loneliness of that responsibility. But he also comes to know, as he works in the service of the Lord, the sweet and marvelous companionship of the Holy Spirit which softens and takes from him that feeling of loneliness.” ---that is 100% true, of course there are times of sorrow...of course there are hours of concern and anxiety the gospel is a thing of joy it provides us with a reason for gladness, so I become optimistic and happy here and ako ay magiging Filipino sa wakas!
I just feel that I am rambling right now haha, but it's good for me I just want you to all know that I love you so much and I've come to know how much I really love you while I've been away that's a bit weird huh? haha but honestly I miss the little things the most, playing Fable with Zach, listening to the dreams and anspirations of tiffany from her crazy view on the world ;), hanging out with jessica and making her buy panda express, destroying Jason in EVERY Video Game that he has EVER owned, helping curt with the car sometimes, and having life talk with you mom and curt on occasion, Nana and Papa coming over every weekend was so nice, even just taking naps in dad's house on sundays, I'll even admit I miss the dogs---EVEN Michaela, I don't want to use the word "KIKI" because I found out this week that's an inapropriate word in Tagalog hahaha-----I miss you all terribly, and I regret the time I didn't spend with you.
I have unfortunate news for you.. I'm becoming more Filipino and it's annoying haha besides the tagalog that comes out of my mouth that I didn't know I knew, whenever I don't hear someone I open my mouth wide and open my eyes. haha it's a good sight i'm sure you will have fun with it when I return.
We had zone conference or in normal terms, we all got together with President Anderson and his wife and 3 other zones in the mission and had a FEAST and gave talks! I gave an interesting testimony and this won't sound at all like me.
Well, I walked up to the stand, related a story in the 14th chapter of Mark where Christ is in Gethsamene completing the atonement, and wakes up his apostles, Peter James and John 3 times and on the 3rd times says rest now for the son of man is betrayed, and then Judas shows up with the guards. I related that experience back to 2 Thessalonians where Paul the Apostles says " Let us not sleep as do the others, but be sober and watchful"---and said to all the missionaries in the conference "WAKE UP, if you are disobedient here, you willfully forfeit the privelage to participate in the salvation of a human soul and that's pathetic"...see there is a huge problem here in San Pablo Mission, not to mention it's been the joke of the Philippines for the last few years it's getting better. A lot of the missionaries have the notion that the mission rules don't mean anything, I mean there is everything here, Drinking, Sex, Gambling, Leaving companions, and not really working at all. Elder Mace and I have been talking quite a bit and it's our goal to change this mission so although the other missionaries may not be obedient to mission rules, I'm striving my best...keep in mind I'm being reasonable and not too hard...yes on occasion I sleep into 6:40 or spend 1 1/2 hours on email..I just avoid the big stuff and try my best...but a big thing I'm trying not to do is find faults in other missionaries, besides my testimony I'm not going to Tsismis or gossip or rebuke elders, only when it makes me disobedient, and some quote that stuck with me from the MTC which I'm not sure why is "Be the kind of missionary that you're mission president can trust" and that's my goal! In my arrival interview, I looked president in the eye and said "I have one thing I want you to know...I will do ANYTHING you ask me to do and I will try my personal best to follow all the mission rules"--he thanked me after I had said this and we have such an amazing relationship I really love this man and his Wife, they've become my mission parents seriously it's such a pleasure to get to know them, you should email them they'd love to get to know you..they told me they would be emailing you a pitcure when I arrived.
WELL Deleted my email again! good thing I remembered to Copy before it deleted it...at any rate I just explained about Elder Bondoc how much I love this kid and we get along our apartment is great, excpet our neighbors are loud at night because they try to sing Kaoriako!
I love you and tell my friends to email me I'd love to hear from them
Please Write a thank you Note to PRes. Rowe at MTC for me and maybe include a gift and give my upmost respect and thanks to Joanne, Marty, and Rowe.
and please Forward, Todd+Brett's emails! Love you so much!