October 6, 2014
What a great couple of weeks we have had!!! Well, except for 2 Saturdays dad cut his had. He was trying to get some coconut out of the shell (we love the coconut here, and it is really cheap, only 10 pesos. It is cheap because here they like the young, immature coconut. They call it buko. The mature coconut that we are familiar with is call niyog. Buko is really soft and mushy and yucky!) anyway, Dad was trying to get it out and the knife slipped a d cut his hand. It was not a long cut, but very deep. The way it was bleeding I thought maybe he had cut a vein or artery. We were going to go to the hospital but I was really worried about that because the conditions are not sanitary. I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but the misssion doctor had me go check out the hospital because we had an elder here that they thought may have had appendicitis and he wanted to know if they could take care of it there and what the coditions were. They can’t take care of appendicitis and I don’t think I would ever send anyone there. Seriously I think you might become sicker, maybe much sicker than before you went there. Anyway, we finally got the bleeding stopped. The doctor told us to get keflex – you can get any antibiotic here without a prescription, and actually it is healing really well. Dad usually has a little trouble with healing but not this time. We are blessed, and I think the medication really helped also.
On the 21st we attended the Quezon Branch conference. It was really good. They had both a Primary choir and a YM/YW/YSA choir. They were amazing! They sang with such feeling and testimony.
Through the week we were able to go on visits with the missionaries on several occasions. On Thursday we went on our regular visiting in Bagong Sikat. But this time we had Sister Gabil with us. I think I mentioned that she said she had family that she wanted us to visit. I just felt like it could really be good because she said they really didn’t have any religion so I thought they might be really receptive. So a few weeks ago we’d planned to visit them but Sister Gabil was in Puerto (because nothing is ever scheduled here –because, according to the Elders they don’t keep appointments anyway) so we talked to her husband and found out where they lived. We went there and taught but they were not receptive at all so I thought oh well, a seed was planted. But, that was not all of her family. That was just a very, very small part. So she took us to some of the do rest of her family. I think we visited 5 families, and they were all friendly and receptive, some more than others. And, she still has more family to visit, so we will go with her again next Thursday. The Elders were really excited because they were all just in this small area and it seems like so much potential. (Oh, just a side note, when I say “we” we are involved, but the Elders do the teaching mostly we testify when they ask, and in Bagong Sikat we always have the Gatuds with us so they are the ones that talk to the people. I just didn’t want you to get the idea that we have any real communication skills here. A little bit of get acquainted stuff is mostly all.)
On Friday we checked out a house that the Elders found in Sandoval. We have been looking for an apartment in that area for them because they spend most of their time there and it is quite far from their apartment, which costs them quite a bit for travel. Anyway, it was great! We are so excited because everything else we have found was really unsuitable.
After we got back to Narra the Elders asked us to go on visits with them. We visited our neighbor and they taught her again. Then we visited two less-actives – one was the branch president here about 12 years ago – good visits. Then we visited the Fetalco family. They are recent converts and just such a good family. They are the ones that the father is working in Saudi Aradia so he was not baptized. Sister Fetalco is just really on fire and has referred several people to the missionaries. It is so inspiring to see the fire burnning in these new converts. The problem is if they don’t keep the fire burning it is quenched with the trials and hardships of life and they lose the faith. After the Fetalcos we went to the Tanna family, who are ready for baptism. And they are incredible. In missionary work they use to talk about “golden” families, and they are that! Brother Tanna was raised 7th Day adventist. All his family and extended family are SDA and his eldest brother is an SDA pastor. They were very active. Growing up he said they went to church on Wed, Fri, and all day Saturday, every week. Very faithful. But for some reason he and some others broke off and formed their own church. They ended up leaving that church and going back to SDA but they were not well received because they had left the church earlier. One time the church was fasting in order to make some decisions about the church and they did not invite them to fast with them. Brother Tanna was really hurt so he said he “cried to God” asking for help to find the true church. He had always had questions and doubts. I’m not sure what religion Sister Tanna was but from a very young age she had questions. She always wondered why she couldn’t remember her life before she came to earth. When she asked the pastors they would tell her she didn't exist before this life, when she was formed in her mother’s womb that was when her existence began. She just felt that wasn’t right. She asked about what would happen to her family when they die and she was told that there would be no sorrow and no tears and no family, that she wouldn’t remember them. She said of course she would remember them and there would be tears because she would miss them. They said “God would wipe away the tears and the memories” and she told them, He might wipe away the memories in my head, but they will always be in my heart. (I just thought it was amazing that at a young age she would be thinking and feeling these things.) Anyway, she said she was always sad growing up because of these things she was taught. She just knew in her heart that there was more but she didn’t know how or where to find it (they are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it). Well anyway, they have been searching and kind of discouraged. Then one night Sister Tanna had a dream. She saw two men in white shirts coming down from heaven. And she knew they had the truth. But then nothing happened for a couple of weeks so she thought she had missed them. I’m not sure how the elders got their names, but they had been looking for their house for about two weeks. When they knocked on the door she was so surprised and not prepared because, as I said, she thought she had missed them. Brother Tanna said when he met them at the door he just felt that he knew them from somewhere. He said they are very careful about inviting strangers into their home, even though they were in white shirts and ties, with name tages, but he just felt really good with them so he invited them in. The first visit they did not even teach a lesson, they just answered question after question. I wish I could have been there because I can just imagine it – all these questions that they have had all their lives and then in one evening their hearts are just so full as all of these truths are brought into light. Truths that were buried deep in their hearts but they did not really understand and could not express. But, as they did with every other religion they had checked into, they got on the internet and searched out the”dark side”. When they read about poligamy they were horrified. They just thought this is of the devil, we can’t be apart of this. That’s what their minds were telling them, but their hearts wanted it to be true. They had trouble sleeping. They said they had decided that they were not going to go to church, but somehow, they ended up on the front row at church, listening to the speakers. They continued to pray about it and to struggle. But finally one night Brother just cried to the Lord again and the Lord said to him, Son, this church is true. What you have been reading on the internet is of the devil because he is trying to destroy my church. And from then on they have just progressed. They read and study so much. Anyway, on the 27th Brother Tanna was baptized. This is so unusual. Usually it is the wife and kids that get baptized first because the WofW problems. But Sister Tanna had a hard time giving up coffee, so she and the kids will be baptized in 2 weeks. And I think it will be awesome because Brother Tanna will be able to baptize them! Elder Saipa’ia, who is the district leader here, said when he interviewed Brother Tanna for baptism he asked if he could start paying tithing before he got baptized because his family needs the blessings! Unbelieveable!!!
I know this goes on and on, but it was such a great story and we are so excited for them and about them. This past week was great too! More family of sister Gabil to visit, and a couple that seemed really interested. We had a great zone conference. President Ostler is really focusing on getting the members to the Temple and helping them do Family History work. I am really excited about this new focus because I have felt that we really needed to focus on getting families in our Branch to the Temple.
Anyway, we hope you enjoyed conference. We will watch it next Saturday/Sunday because of the time difference.
Jus a closing thought - I was thinking about the rock sculpture of the faces of I think 4 presidents - is it Mt.Rushmore? I can't remember and don't have time to look it up. I'm not sure why I was thinking about it but I thought, wow, wouldn't it be cool to have an accomplishment like that, that has lasted for many, many years. But then instantly the thought came to me that sharing the gospel with others and helping them to come unto Christ, receive His gospel and become eternal families, and gain eternal life - there is no greater accomplishment than that. The rock sculpture has endured many years, but an earthquake could destroy it instantly, and even time can wear it away. But those who embrace the Gospel, the only way it can be taken from them is if they give it away. So, I hope that you are all striving to share the Gospel. I was never very good at that, but you are all much better than I am. And we all have the responsibility to do it. One really important way that we can assist in the work is by really, conscientiously fellowshipping new members and less-actives. I see how very important this is and it is missionary work! In our Branch members are not very good at fellowshipping, so we have seen people who really gain testimonies come into the church, and then as the missionaries move on they feel alone when they go to church and it is hard and many of them go inactive. We are really hoping that, with new leadership we can build a missionary spirit in our Branch and help our members feel that and recognize their responsibilities. Again, I was not a good example of this, but I hope and pray that I will be when we get home.
Sorry, don't mean to lecture, just some thoughts. We love and miss you all and love hearing from you. Can't believe it is already October. The weather has been hot here, and not much rain, which we are concerned about for some of our members. But, the Lord has a plan.
Remember, Life is good! Life is better when you are happy, but life is at its best when others are happy because of you! We are happy because of ALL OF YOU!!! Ingat palagi!
Love, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma