December 3, 2014
How was your Thanksgiving? I would love to hear all about it. We just seem to get busier and busier. Last week we had the opportunity to pick up President Ostler and Elder Adduru, an area Seventy, from Puerto and bring them to Narra for District conference. We had a great visit. Elder Adduru is a very successful salesman, but he had a very hard life! His mother died when he was 8 so he started working in the rice fields because his dad had to stay home and take care of all the kids. It is VERY HARD, back breaking work! Think of Neal, Willie, and Dallin having to go to work everyday, probably 10 hours a day to support a family. But he learned to work hard and went to college. His brother and sister helped him and he promised them if he could get through college he would never ask to borrow anything ever again, and he never has.
He and his father were taught by the missionaries when he was still young. His dad joined but he did not because the first time they went to church they had to walk 8 kilometers to get there and as they were going into the building, there were other investigators and I guess he was the last in line and they shut the door in his face. I'm sure it was not purposeful, but he was so humiliated and thought that it was because his skin was so dark because he had to work outside all the time, so he turned around and walked the 8 kilometers home and told himself he would never join that church. But when he was in college I think his brother introduced him to the missionaries and they taught him every day that week and he was baptized at the end of the week. He said since that time, about 40 years, he has only missed 2 Sundays. He was a great speaker and we had almost 600 people total at conference. (That includes the broadcasts to Quezon and Brooke's Point.) The Spirit was strong the members were really engaged.
Last week and this week we have been working on a report for President Ostler so he can submit a proposal for the Sandoval group to become a branch. So we have had to track down ALL the members in the Sandoval area, which was over 100. But it turned out not to be that difficult. The Lord blessed us and we had the help of the Elders there and Brother and Sister Gattud, and Sister Gabil, who knew everyone in Bagong Sikat. We met a Brother Alda who was really receptive. He and his family had been very active but then his wife left them and he hasn't been back to church since. I am hoping the elders will go out with us to teach him because I think he would listen. He was very kind. Three of his kids still live with him, and at least one of them has children because he had baby clothes hanging up in his house. We also have to make a map and indicate where each family lives. They have no maps of the area here. And we have to submit a proposal for a building as well. The Elders out there found three possibilities so we are just going to take pictures of them and send them. We have no idea what the criteria is for meeting houses here.
This week is my last week for language training. In 8 months of training I haven't progressed very much. And on Sunday we will start our visits with the recent converts to help them prepare to go to the temple. I am hoping to teach in Tagalog, but we shall see. It wont happen without Divine help. Your prayers are appreciated!
Well, it's late and we need to get to bed. Another busy day tomorrow as we have to go look through old records to see if we can find baptismal info for several members. That is another requirement for this proposal - all the records need to be in good shape for the members in the proposed branch. And the records are an absolute disaster!!! We have a full page of people who have been baptized but there is no record of it. So we are doing what we can to find the records.
Anyway, we love and miss you all so much and hope everything is going well. We know you are all very busy, especially with the holidays. Just know that we love and miss you. Love, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma
P.S. This is a picture of Elder Adduru on the left, then President Betita, district pres, Sister Angoy, wife of the first counselor in the mission presidency, President and Sister Hiatt, and me and dad.
This picture has Pres. Ostler at the left, and President Angoy is also in the picture, along with their "adopted" son, RJ.