This week has probably been one of the most stressful weeks but one of the biggest learning experiences of my life. Well, let's start with Tuesday. Last week, we found out that one of the members of our branch that lives with an investigator family for school, found a potentially cancerous lump on her breast. So, she went to 3 different doctors who decided she needed surgery to have it removed. Well, she's only 17 and needs parents’ permission. After a long stressful time of trying to get the number of a less active family on another island to tell her parents, they decided not to approve the surgery and the girl's older sister threatened us with legal action if she goes through with the surgery. (This whole time I’m translating from Tagalog to English, the telephone conversation that they were having.) So we said, okay, we aren't involved. It was her decision. Anyway, it was a big headache and I’m worried things will get worse before she can get the mass removed. It takes 4 days and 5000 pesos for her to get back to her home island and she doesn't have any money or support from her parents. So, they're going to have to deal with that.
It's just that all this third world poverty is really depressing. We teach great people, people who are so close to baptism but cannot be baptized because they don't have enough money to get to church, or like Noemi's family, they can't go to church because her husband doesn't have a job until bukid (harvest) season in November. >.< I just feel so bad for them. That there are many people here who are willing to listen and accept the gospel but cannot come to church because they are so far away from the church building. Around 6km! Elder Coe and I have been praying for a solution and so we'll see what happens. But you know, it might not be their time yet. And I'll have to be humble enough and accept that everything happens in the Lord's time. If he wills it to be IT will be done. So, we'll just do all that we can for them in the meantime.
You know, I have been thinking a lot about life lately just seeing all of these people here in the Philippines. I wonder what I did in the Pre-existence to deserve all of the blessings I have. A complete family in the gospel...a loving mother and father. A father with a good job. A nice house, air conditioning, reliable electricity. A good education and toilet paper and such. I don't know what I did to deserve all of it. But I am very grateful for it. So much so now more than ever. Why me? I ask myself a lot of the time. When I teach people and see that their kids have no clothes or the family eats by candlelight during a storm and such. Very humbling indeed.
On the brightside, my district leader, Elder Quinton, committed us to OYM (Open Your Mouth, which means build relationships with random people) 35 times a week. Haha! We only hit 16 but in the process we got return appointments to teach 2 middle class houses (DelaVega and Ducalang family). Tracting actually worked!!! Haha! I haven't done much tracting because of our LA focus, but we've been punted a lot by LAs lately, so we're focusing on Investigators and finding more. So, we did a little bit of tracting and got into the door of the DelaVega family and we taught the whole first lesson. It was great! Not many of my companions even taught me how to tract so I’m kinda doing a trial and error kind of thing. But as always our focus here is establishing the church and the leadership. There have been so many great changes and miracles. Things are looking up! We are working with the leaders to the point that when we leave, they will be able to support themselves. I mean, how many branches have you heard who have 8 missionaries? This is definitely important!
I haven't had mail run for a month! Mail is coming though on Saturday, so if you've sent me something from 6 weeks ago, I have yet to get it. Sorry! Please bear with me.
Besides that, things with Elder Coe are doing great. I am definitely having a lot more fun and enjoying myself in the work. Sure it's a trial, but in this trial I am learning so much, especially in helping Elder Coe grow as well. It's a strange thing; the more you need the Lord's help, the more He helps you. I have definitely been able to exceed my own abilities as a missionary this week just trying to help these people overcome the problems in their lives. The most receptive are the investigators. They love us! Haha! I love being able to just talk to people about their families and such. And get to know people. It really is all about love and charity. If you have charity for the people you work with then the Lord will work miracles through you and make up what you lack! Charity! It's a gift from God, so ask for it. He wants to give it to you. :)
Spiritual Thought: Doctrine and Covenants 3:3; "It is not God's work, but the works of men that are frustrated."
Ponder it and see how that applies to your life. I know God loves us and that he's given even his own life for us. In return he asks for little. The more you sacrifice for Him, the more you realize everything already belongs to Him. I know that there is a plan for us all and if we keep His commandments, He'll give us the strength to overcome all things. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Doing You Proud,
Elder Froude ^_^