I feel quite sad reading about Lola's situation. I wish I could be of more help to her. I was actually hoping that I would be able to come back and converse in Tagalog with her. But it all depends on what the Lord wants. Like it says in 2 Nephi 4, “Oh Lord, I have trusted in thee and will trust in thee forever.” God knows what will be the best thing for Lola. I will surely miss her…
Walking a lot in Mindoro has given me plenty of time to think about the things of life and I want to share with you all some of the things I realized, especially as it relates to Gospel Principles.
First off, let me tell you that Sister Missionaries and Couple Missionaries are absolutely essential to the mission. The sisters bring to district meetings or any meeting for that matter, a certain spirit that augments the Elder's reception to the Spirit and their ability to receive revelation. Many times these past 2 weeks I have paid more attention to the Spirit when the sisters comment about things in our meetings and have received myself truths and solutions to problems in our area because the sisters brought in the Spirit. I can tell you that Sisters are essential for a meeting to be productive and enlightening. In my last area, we just had all elders and I can tell you that we were not as productive as the district I'm in now. Haha! Although I did learn much from the last district, this one has a Spirit to it that I hadn't felt in my last areas.
Next Couple missionaries… Elder and Sister Whiting are like our parents on the mission. Making sure we get the apartment clean, getting us supplies we need, gives us spiritual thoughts that really pump us up as missionaries and drive us to far places in our area. On Saturday when working with them, we took the Whitings to a referral and the investigator said that during the lesson, just looking at Elder and Sister Whiting, she knew that that is what she wanted in her marriage. Even though the Whitings spoke English the whole time, the Spirit was there and the Investigators could feel the truthfulness of what they were saying and they could see the happiness in the marriage of the Whitings. It was really a great experience to see :)
I've personally learned here that there are no shortcuts in life. If you want to learn something new, master an art or a skill, or change a bad habit, you need to do it the right way, the long way, and the way that we all know works but don't want to put in the effort to do. I can tell you first hand that there are no shortcuts in life but you won't have any idea what I mean until you've experienced it yourself! The frustration of failure, adapting, trying again, or the joy that comes from true progress because of hard work. Until you put the effort into doing it the right way. Don't try to shortcut your way into learning something worthwhile, like a language or principles of the gospel. If you want to learn the Gospel, read and pray and ponder. There is no short way around it.
While walking down the roads of Mindoro, I've been thinking about why there are so many people that don't go to church, why people end up doing wrong things in life. I came to realize, through revelation, that this is true "because being good takes effort." I think this is one of the best things I’ve learned this week. Because if you really think about it, it takes effort to wake up early on a Sunday morning and go to church. For many people that takes too much effort. It takes effort to see someone on a bench crying and actually going up to them and ask them what's wrong. It takes effort to raise kids and keep commitments to your family when you can just stay out all night with friends. It takes effort, much effort, to forgive someone who has wronged you. I have come to realize that many people do not do what it right or do not do what's good because it takes effort. Most people aren't necessarily bad; they just don't want to take the effort into doing good. However, as followers of Christ, taking the effort to do what is good only brings blessings. Taking the time to serve another only brings blessings. If only people will realize and understand that what you do for others, you do for Christ and you receive more than you give in the long run. ^_^
Thursday morning we had the privilege of attending Sister Teresa Martinez (member) and Vicente Saus's (Investigator) wedding. Although this wedding was held in a Catholic church. Vicente is not a member yet and they were living together so they needed to get married first before he can get baptized next month. But the thing was, no one in Mindoro has a marriage license besides the Catholic Church. None of the Branch presidency does. Anyway, it was quite interesting for me. This was my first time in a Catholic church so I was lost the entire time. The whole ceremony was traditional and people were reciting things I didn't understand. The Pare (Father) was speaking extremely fast Tagalog and the microphone echoed in the vast halls of the cathedral. So I couldn't catch a word. To say the least, it was an interesting experience to see how Catholics do marriage ceremonies, but to me it seemed rather impersonal. Because 13 other couples were getting married at the same time. No one's names were called, nor were they brought up one at a time to make their vows. From what I understood, or at least what elder Olvido told me, was that the Pare recites a few words and so does the congregation and then they partake of the sacrament and boom! you may now kiss the bride. Anyway, that's just what I understood from it. Haha! I could barely understand because the pare spoke so fast. haha! Some people even came up and took pictures of the Mormon Missionaries in the Catholic Church! I have pictures, too. This was the most interesting day this week.
After the day was done, we went home. Elder O. bought balut and Elder Herr didn't believe me when I said I’ve had one in California. He showed us a video of my companion in the MTC, Elder McCoy, eating his first one and suffering big time! Haha! So, I got one and I ate it like it was nothing. The trick is you have to split up the hard and the soft part and eat them individually. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be for my first Balut in the Philippines.
Well, this is quite a long email already; I hope you all enjoyed my experiences and revelations this week. Being on a mission, you tend to learn a lot of things. I hope that you can learn from my experiences and not have to live in a 3rd world country for 2 years without hot water or air conditioning to get the point. Haha! It's been a very humbling experience so far, almost like a dream sometimes. But I hope that what I learn I can use in the future to help others.
Thank you, mom, for all that you have done for me. Just know that I love and appreciate you and all that you do :) Mahal Kita! Okay, I have to go now, Ciao! Yes, keep me updated. I'll email you next week. Bye!
Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^
|One of my areas, Barangay Bubog|
|A little bit of Mindoro|
|My area along the river|
|Sunset in Aroma Beach, Mindoro...one of my areas|