August 31, 2014
Another week or two has passed. And they have been crazy weeks! Week before last we had 5 flat tires! We had a total of 8 or 9 for the month. So that week we spent a lot of time changing and having tires repaired. Mostly dad did that. We were blessed because we never got stranded. We had a flat Sunday while heading to Rizal. So we turned around and came home. Then we decided to take a chance and go to Aborlan, which is only about half an hour away, compared to about 3 hours to Rizal. (And the road to Aborlan is much better than to Rizal.) We made it there and back. Monday we were heading to Puerto for tires, after having the flat repaired, which they really did not want to do because they knew it wasn't really repairable, and we had another flat. We put the newly repaired tire on and went back to Narra. The owner of the tire place let us borrow a used tire, which he had to repair, twice, I think, before it was usable. But that was really nice of him, and the Lord blessed us to make it to Puerto, without a spare. The flat we had that morning completely destroyed the tire. We have been on the road 6 of the last 8 days. Today and tomorrow we will be home, and then to Puerto again for Zone Conference, with Elder Ardern of the Area Presidency.
The work here is kind of slow right now. We did have a family, without the father, baptized last weekend. The father is working out of the country and the family were going to wait, but he was very supportive and encouraged them to go ahead with it if they felt it was right. Not sure when he will be home, but hopefully he will be interested.
We have been visiting a part member family. Sister Sevilia just had her 8th child. Her husband has been very sick with TB and out of work for, I think more than a year. They had moved him to Brookes Point to a rehab center there, but everyone was pretty convinced that he was going to die. Sister Sevilia requested the Elders in BP to give him a blessing. They did and almost immediately he started to recover. Right after the blessing he told his wife that when he got better he wanted to be baptized. He was able to come home shortly after that, but was quite weak. However, he has been gaining his strength and the last several times we have gone to visit he was out trying to do some work. The Elders have also been to visit to try to teach him and he has avoided them. But yesterday our new district leader said they went out and were able to teach him and he was very receptive. So that is good news! We don't really know him well, actually only visited with him once, but Sister Sevilia is a good, strong woman and it would be a blessing to them if he was baptized and they could attend church. She has not come since we have been here because she has had to work. They are very poor, as you can imagine.
More good news with the Mondares family. They were baptized several months ago, except the father because of WoW issues. While they were all being taught he was very interested and involved in the lessons. But I think quitting his habits was harder than he anticipated so I think he got discouraged. Then, apparently he was offended by the Elders, and maybe that was just an excuse, but he became very disinterested and cool towards them. But, he has had a change of heart and is again being taught. We hope he will continue to move forward. Our Branch needs good, strong, committed men.
The average attendance in our Branch is between 165-200, but we cannot become a ward because there are not enough active, full tithe paying Melchizedek priesthood holders. Brother Magsino is doing well on overcoming his addiction. He is such a good man and has a good family. He continues to come to church, they have actually been going to church since we arrived here. He truly does desire to live the gospel and to become an eternal family. I remember when he was taught about the priesthood, and that he could hold the priesthood to bless his family and others and he became very emotional. I believe it is just a matter of time, the Lord's time, before he is ready.
The Sandoval group is doing really well. We go there for Sacrament meeting and then back to Narra for the other meetings. We love going there because the Spirit is strong and the members who attend there are united and really want to establish a Branch there. Right now we are waiting for a mileage report, something like that, to determine if they are far enough away from the Narra chapel to warrant building a chapel there. We really hope so.
We are still going out with the Gatuds to visit on Thursday. They have been great visits and some of those we have visited are returning. We just need to get established as a branch so we have leadership there and can have all the meetings. Right now they just have Sacrament meeting and then Sunday School.
Well, in closing I would just like to share an experience I had on Saturday/Sunday. I have actually really been struggling the last 3 weeks. I haven't wanted to study the language, no motivation, I've wondered if we are really making any difference, and I have just been really tired. I have prayed and fasted about it. I've wondered if I shouldn't be trying to learn the language. I've wondered if my heart was not right or something. Not really depressed, maybe discouraged, and kind of just unmotivated and lost. So, again on Saturday I started another fast. I just pleaded with Heavenly Father to help me understand what was going on with me. Was I not to be studying the language, was it Satan's influence, was I doing something wrong, not doing what I should be doing. I just needed to know. I went to bed that night with the thought that no, the Lord had not forsaken me and I just needed to press forward. About 3am I woke up, just almost fully awake, not groggy or anything, and almost immediate the words to a hymn, "Satan will try you, the weight of you calling he perfectly knows". I realized that that was my answer. The hymn is #266 The Time is Far Spent. I read it and it was very inspiring. It was just another testimony to me that the Lord does hear and answer our prayers, and sometimes He does it in amazing ways. I thought, if we had of sung that hymn in church I may have missed the message, but it was very clear to me. I also looked up the scriptures that are listed with that hymn, and that was something else that I know I needed to be reminded of. One of the scriptures was D&C 32:2-10, I think. In those verses it says 3 times open your mouth. I know that I need to do that. It is not so hard to do it in English, but it is SOOOO hard in Tagalog! But, I need to do it. For me, I believe this is what the Lord wants me to do. It is really stretching me, and it is painful and humbling. I know I cannot do it without His help. But, as the hymn says, "the path may be thorny but Jesus is nigh you, His arm is sufficient, though demons oppose." I need to have faith in that! His arm is sufficient. I know that. I need to trust it.
Well, once again, sorry this is so long. I'm sure you don't have time to sit down and read the whole thing. But, we sure love hearing from all of you.
We love and miss you all!! Thank you for your prayers - they are much needed and much appreciated!!
Love, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma