Well, sorry that I'm writing pretty late this morning. You're right, I am late writing because we played basketball this morning. It’s always fun, but I did terrible today. (Darn.) We're still working on getting zone jerseys, so that should be sweet. Yes, I received my box this week. Thank you! I got it after zone conference. Too bad, because that miniature Preach My Gospel would've been really helpful. Oh well, I'm glad I have it now. I can use it for interviews and zone conferences without bringing the usual giant one. It gets annoying fast to carry it along with my scriptures. But now, my burden is light! Woo! And yes, I did receive the ATM card. But no, I haven't tried the number yet. I always forget the number, anyway. Oh well, I have it saved somewhere so I'll look at it later.
|Jordan with 09.05.12 Elders Saldino, Garcia and Dela Paz|
Work was a little difficult this week. The rain has stopped, so it's harvest season again, which means that NO ONE is EVER in their homes, because they're all in the bukids planting that good 'ol rice. And when they get home, it's straight to the liquor. (I’m speaking generally, of course.) I was worried when we went to Michael Razalan's house, because his older brother, his father, and their friends were drinking in front of their house. Michael is a less active member who just returned yesterday (woo!), and his family is all less active except for his other brother and mother. So, I thought Michael was drinking with him. But, I was relieved when I saw him inside the house with his mom watching TV. Awesome. We've really made progress with him. His life has changed so much since we started teaching him. There are some rumors that Michael drinks, but we're not going to force him to tell us. We've gained a lot trust with him, so if he has been drinking, I think he'll honestly let us know. We also had another less active return yesterday, Nanay Juan. I met her on my first day in the area six months ago, and she hadn't made any progress at all. I was starting to think that we were wasting our time teaching her family, because she would always get mad at her son during our lesson. Also, she was depressed, stressed, and always complained of being tired. Over the past several weeks, we just decided to visit them, without teaching - but just to say helld and see if they needed any service. When we would visit them, we would just invite her and her family to church and promised that Heavenly Father would help her situation. Four weeks ago, Nanay Juan attended church for the first time in years. Once she started coming back to church again, she slowly began changing her attitude. Now, she's happy, joking, and giving, even though they are extremely poor. We promised that her life would change if she returned to church, and look what happened! There are other less actives who aren't nearly as poor as Nanay Juan, yet they refused to come back to church for various reasons - usually because they were offended and cannot forgive and get back on track. All they have to do is apply just a LITTLE bit of faith, and the Lord will do the rest (Alma 32). For some people, that's the hardest thing to do. When the Lord sent poisonous serpents to bite the Children of Israel for their wickedness, the cure He gave them was to look upon a brass serpent raised in the air by Moses (which represented Jesus Christ). All they had to do was look and live. And that was the lesson not only for the Children of Israel, but for us all. It is as easy to cure ourselves of the effects of evil as it was for the Children of Israel to be cured of a poisonous snake bite. If we desire to truly live, all we have to do is look to Christ. God does not give us commandments that we are not capable of doing ourselves (1 Nephi 3:7). He even helps us with the easy things. I'm baffled sometimes with our less actives. Some of them are just like the Children of Israel who wouldn't look, because it was too easy - they had no faith. They expected bigger, harder or more spectacular things (money, bigger house, members to personally come up to them and apologize without going to them, etc.). So sad. Happiness for us all is a mere look away . . . so long as we are focused on Jesus Christ. He is, always has been, and will always be the answer.
|Jordan with Elder Tuitema, who is also from Las Vegas|
We had a really good zone conference this week. Our theme was how to become a “visionary man.” President Martino used the story of Lehi from First Nephi, noting that the term “visionary man” is used mockingly. Lehi acknowledges that he was, in fact, a “visionary man” because without that blessing, he and his family would have perished in Jerusalem (1 Nephi 5:2). President used examples of “visionary men” in the scriptures and also from modern times. He defined a “visionary man” as "a person who is spiritually determined to accomplish an objective." I think that's a pretty good definition. He used a quote by Henry Ford that I really liked: "If you think you can't, you are right." I also like a quote from Thomas Edison: "I didn't think 1000 times in making the light bulb. I just discovered 999 ways NOT to make a light bulb.” Inspirational, right? Zone Conference was awesome (as always). We saw Edel Pal there, who is serving as a part-time missionary in the Tarlac Zone. Edel is from our area and will be leaving to serve in the Philippines Naga Mission on October 13. His family will have three full-time missionaries serving at once! They're son just turned in his papers a couple of weeks ago, but hasn't received his call yet. Speaking of my area, this will likely be my last full week serving in the Mamonit area. Transfer Day is on the 20th.
So Bessie, Rechelle, and Ruben all attended the temple to do baptisms with the ward on Saturday! Awesome! I can't believe the growth that I've seen in all three of them - especially Bessie, who once said that she would never join the Church. I'm really glad she did. They all enjoyed the temple very much. While visiting Ruben and Rechelle one night, we met their grandmother. She just turned 80. Her husband died back in the 70's, so she's been alone for a while. Her only child also died. She's not from our area. She's incredibly poor and has to sell her clothes to get enough money to buy sacks of rice for herself. We taught her the Plan of Salvation, because she really wanted to know how to be with her family again. She was really accepting and wants to know more. We referred her immediately to the Elders in her area, so hopefully they'll start teaching her this week. I definitely imagined her in the temple being sealed to her family for eternity. Awesome stuff. I really love this work! Sharing the gospel light with others is the most satisfying, rewarding, joyful work in the world.
Well, I think that's it for this week. If I'm forgetting anything, sorry. Mahal ko kayo lahat! Ingat! I hope that you guys are safe!
Elder Jordan "18 days until I’m out a year" Royal