It's been a tough week, crazy week for the work! I'm sorry I wasn't able to send an email last week. I wrote my brother a birthday email and it ended up taking a lot of time. Anyway, so back to crazy. So, this week we had a Family Home Evening at our golden investigator's house, Sister Noemi and her family. I was in charge of doing a lesson about the Atonement so I did the food dye and bleach object lesson. It was so fun! Near the end of my lesson, Noemi's mother started crying and I bore my testimony and ended the lesson. ^_^ It was the best lesson I’ve had in a while and it definitely boosted my confidence in my Tagalog and the Gift of Tongues! Sister Noemi and her mother are the closest investigators to baptism but Sister Noemi can't be baptized until she gets married and she can't get married until the branch presidents start and finish the marriage license process. Sayang talaga!!! (That’s too bad!)
Another crazy thing that happened…my zone leader got emergency transferred to Quezon City. Apparently to cover for a zone leader there that is leaving in a few days, so basically, I've been in a tripanionship again with Elder Herr and Elder Olvido. Poor Elder Herr! He has to carry the district, branch, and the zone on his shoulders. I've been doing my best to help him out but it's all of the meetings and leaders not doing their jobs that are making things difficult. The branch is doing really well, though. Brother Carreon, the Sunday school president has returned (yes, he was less active) and is doing his calling nicely, like he's never left which is great for all of the teachers ^_^. Although, there was a little situation in Elder’s Quorum where a wolf in sheep’s clothing was causing contention. >.< Oh man, if we had an investigator there, they would lose interest in the church because of how they were arguing with each other. Sigh… Not going to lie, things are tough here. Because of the storm we only had 7 less actives attend church this week and a significant loss in membership’s attendance. But amidst all of the problems in the branch, we have split up the work and concentrated our focus to help the branch grow. Elder Olvido and I have been assigned to bring back the branch mission leader and help him learn his calling. We found out he hasn’t been able to do the responsibilities in his calling only because he was called 2 weeks after he was baptized! But it's okay now because we're training him and now he'll be taking over our missionary coordination meetings. So, I’m excited about that! There is much progress happening and we'll make sure that they continue to grow enough to take care of themselves.
I'm also super excited about the teaching workshop we have set up for Friday! We're trying to do a lot of workshops so that people can do their callings the way they are supposed to! We'll be able to teach the leaders and the members how to teach and what is expected of them when they give a lesson, like…
Preparation…which means not calling people 5 minutes before class to give a lesson and have them read from the handbook the whole time. Or, during testimony meeting…don't go up and start chastising people about not coming in white shirts (although it is needed, it should be done in private, not public). The branch and the district are really frustrating sometimes. That's why there are 10 missionaries here. Although, it’s not as bad as Magsaysay. They only have 2 active priesthood holders who didn't come to open the church till 9:15 (church starts at 9 and it was raining) and their entire sacrament attendance was Relief Society sisters and Primary! Not that that's a bad thing but they need priesthood to come, too. The 1st and 2nd counselors of the branch president and the EQP are less active. Man, that would be much more difficult so looking at things in perspective, things are just fine here in San Jose! ^_^
Saturday night, we taught the Montesa family (about 7 people) about tithing. They had promised to come to church for 3 weeks straight and haven't done so yet. We taught a really good lesson. I shared my portion of the lesson, my testimony, a promised blessing that they would have clothes on their backs, rice in the bowls, and a roof over their heads if they paid their tithing and I felt the Spirit so strong in there. The tatay (dad) was getting emotional and I asked him how he was feeling. He really liked what we said and said, “We're going to come to church now… we need to.” I felt the Spirit so very strong at that point and I knew they felt it too. The mom was emotional as well and I was so happy that they had made that decision. ^_^ There are few things that really make me frustrated in this world…and one of them is, when I KNOW that the family felt the Spirit, made a commitment to come to church, and then not show up. That really makes me so sad for them. I know that they'll receive blessings from coming to church. They know it. I made a promised blessing to them and I know they felt the Spirit, but they used their agency and did not go to church. Sigh. I really do feel bad that they couldn't make it. But who knows, it might have been because of the storm. It’s been raining so much lately and the winds have been so strong. But you know, I'm never going to give up on them. I know the Lord wants them to come to church and receive the divine help he's promised them. I know this is true because I have seen His Hand in the lives of those who have returned and I know He will help them too, if they keep His commandments.
This week's spiritual thought is going to be based around Noah's Ark, as taught by Elder Perez of the Philippines Area Seventy. As I am sure you all remember, Noah's ark was built through revelation given to him by God that a flood was coming. We read in the scriptures that he pleaded and taught the people for 120 years before God sent the flood on the Earth. And those who were faithful were able to make it to the boat before the flood came and were safe. Now, there is much to be learned from this story in our day.
First off, what does the Ark symbolize in our day? The Ark is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While Noah was building the Ark, the wicked people were laughing and persecuting Noah and the righteous people. Since the Restoration of the Church, we have been persecuted and laughed at for our religion and our beliefs. But why?
Well, if we think about it…since the Church is the ark and if the flood is like the Second Coming, then people see us, members of the church, like being in an ark on dry land in the middle of Kansas saying there is a flood coming. So, of course they are going to laugh. We're safe! It looks and sounds weird to them and they don't understand why the ark is necessary. The next part I really liked…
Elder Perez said, "Now, about the Church like the Ark. You cannot be safe from the Flood if you are hanging off the sides of the Ark! You need to either jump in or you're going to fall off. This is about the less actives or even those who come to church but are not active in the gospel. You need to decide for yourself whether or not you will be in the Ark and safe.”
Anyway, I really like this thought. And I wanted to share it with you. ^_^ So this is my letter for this week. Sorry, there are no pictures because I left my camera at the apartment. Kasalanan ko ito! (My bad!) Thank you all for your prayers and support! I love you all!
Doing you Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^