Tuesday, September 24, 2013

We are a Peculiar people!

Hello again.  I am feeling a little bit better.  I'm not as tired anymore.  Of course I'm still tired because missionary work is a full time gig but its not overwhelming.  Don't worry about the Typhoons.  We have barely even had rain here.  We heard that it hit Zamboanga, really far from Luzon.  This week has been great.  Elder Franzuela is adjusting to missionary work; hopefully we will be able to do the best we can and move forward. 

So we have been really working on finding this week. I have really been striving to become more bold and loving this week.  I haven't been as bold as I should be, but I'm working on it.  I really do like being bold because if you aren't bold then nothing will happen.  We won't find people, we won't teach with power and authority, our investigators won't understand the importance of commitments and thus will not keep them.  So that is one of the many things I have been working on this week.  I think that we have had some success this week because of it.  We never get referrals but we had two referrals come out of the blue yesterday and now one has a baptismal date.

Our branch was reorganized yesterday.  The brother that fellowships with us the most out of the whole branch became the branch president.  I was so excited.  I had this spiritual conformation that this was the way to progress the work here in this area.  He is still super young and unsure of his abilities but his testimony is strong and he gets that missionary work is essential.  His story really shows that the gospel can change peoples lives.  I'm super excited for where this branch is going to go.

A topic I have been studying this week is what it means to be peculiar.  We are told that we are to be a peculiar people but the Hebrew word for peculiar is translated many different ways in the bible.  Look it up in the bible dictionary.  Think about how being peculiar can show others that we are living our faith.  Here is a quote from President George Albert Smith:
“Within the last year, I have had the privilege of meeting and conversing on the gospel with some men who live in this community [Salt Lake City], not members of our Church. One man had resided here for twenty years, a man whose life is above reproach, a good citizen, a splendid businessman, one who has kindly feelings towards our people. He told me that he had … come to the conclusion that we were just as good as our neighbors who are members of other churches; he could not see any difference in us. I want to say to you, my brethren and sisters, that is no compliment to me. If the gospel of Jesus Christ does not make me a better man, then I have not developed as I should, and if our neighbors not in this Church can live among us from year to year and see no evidence of the benefits that come from keeping the commandments of God in our lives, then there is need for reform in Israel. A member of the Church who is worthy of a temple recommend should always stand out in whatever professional circles he or she belongs to. Dare to be different. Never worry about offending others by living up to the standards of the Church. I promise you that living up to temple recommend standards will bless and never hurt you in any situation in which you may find yourself."

So think about what ways we can be peculiar in the many things that we do as members of this true church.

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Companion fresh from the MTC


Another week has flown by.  So we went to transfers on Wednesday.  I think I was like the second to last person to get a companion so the wait was agonizing.  When it finally came I heard, "Elder Cousin's new companion, fresh from MTC is Elder Franzuela."  So I'm training again. He is from Samar.    This elder is from a part of the country where the modern world doesn't exist.  Tagalog is his second language so its alright but still kind of mixed.   In the past week I have grown to love this Elder.  He is simple and humble and willing to follow without question.  The simplest things I took for granted before, I have now learned to appreciate.  I I taught him how to use the gas stove last night.  The first lesson he said he just wanted to share his testimony and have me teach but I have learned that he is good at teaching.  I am still district leader but I've gotten used to it so it isn't too much of a stress.  

Last thing.  I've learned to love the Liahona (magazine)  We get a copy as a companionship each month.  I typically blow through it in a couple days but one article struck me this month.  It is for youth but it applies to us all.  Here is the link.  http://www.lds.org/liahona/2013/09/youth/learning-from-living-prophets?lang=eng. Read it and see if you could be doing more to support and follow these latter day servants of God.

Love you all,

Elder Franzuela (my second new kid)

Monday, September 9, 2013

It's been a funny week

Aurora Zone before Transfers

So this week has been really funny.  We had some very funny experiences that just made us laugh outrageously.   The first was on a tricy.  Elder Dionisio and I are both pretty big guys and typically one of us rides on the back of the motorcycle and the other goes inside the cab.  During this particular instance that option was not available because someone was already on the back of the bike.  So we squeezed into the cab.  The driver looked at the cab and did a few double-takes and then grabbed the compressed air and started filling up the tire... 

The next story is even funnier.  We went to a less-active family in our area.  It is super far.  We walk for probably an hour just to get to their house.  We have to walk through a corn field and around a canal.  The only way for them to get to church is to walk or they have a bicycle with a little wooden side car.  They don't come to church very often but when they do it is like Christmas.  So we had just finished teaching them and were leaving when it started to rain.  We decided to keep going and the rain got progressively worse.  We only had one small umbrella and it was barely working because the rain was so hard.  There was a calf in the middle of the path that we were walking on and Elder Dionisio kind of avoided it.  I told him not to worry because it was only a calf.  It then started to chase us for at least 50 yards.  Every time we would look back it would put its head down like it wanted to head-butt us.  I couldn't breathe because I was laughing so hard.  It finally lost interest and we stopped at little store to wait out the storm.  It only lasted a few minutes.  The cow was white and Elder Dionisio  commented that the cow probably thought I was its father because I am so white.  

Elder Dionisio has been a great companion.  He has taught me many things including how to love people.  So he is getting transferred and I will find out who my new comp is on Wednesday.  I am staying in Aurora.  The area is not being split until October so I will have another 6 weeks here maybe more. 

Elder Dionisio after rainstorm

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

Merry Christmas from the Phillippines (It is September)

So It is September.  Yesterday morning when we woke up Elder Dionisio wished me a Merry Christmas.  I was rather confused but he then explained that September 1st is the start of Christmas in the Philippines.  I didn't quite believe him but then at church our opening sacrament hymn was "Angels We Have Heard On High."  So basically it is Christmas now. 
This week has flown by.  Our area is being split sometime in the near future so we spent a few days looking for a house.  We found a really nice one that should work.  They will work the details out next week but it should be the elders apartment and I should still be here so it will most likely become my apartment.  It's exciting!  
I've had a cold for the past two days so that's been a bummer but I seem to be getting over it.  This is the last week of the cycle.  Elder Dionisio will probably be transferred because he has almost been here six months.  So I will let you know next week.  I have no idea where the time has gone, It blows my mind. However I have seen considerable improvement in my Tagalog and teaching.  I have stayed away from reading Tagalog thus far because written Tagalog and Spoken Tagalog are essentially two different languages and written Tagalog is fairly difficult but as I was laying in bed feeling awful, I started reading Preach My Gospel in Tagalog and it all made sense.  I was kind of surprised but I guess I have finally hit fluency.  Yay!  
We had a really awesome lesson with a part-member investigator.  His wife is a member and they have two really cute little kids.  We asked him if he prayed about his baptismal date and he said that he received the answer that he needed to be baptized.  It was super amazing and the spirit was amazingly strong.  
Oh by the way, Sister Rahlf set up a mission blog I already setup a hyperlink on my blog that shoots you over to theirs.  Its just on the right side next to my email.  I hope that you are all doing awesome.