Naimbug Nga Aldaw!!
Well we had a zone conference this last Monday so they changed pday to Wednesday, hence the delayed email! Let me first just talk about zone conference and HOW AMAZING it was. There is nothing I love more than being a missionary and being able to be taught in such a different way and actually to learn HOW to be taught. That is a very important thing to know I've come to realize. I've only just begun to know how the Spirit teaches us....it definitely takes work on our part, but how much more worth it is the knowledge you gain from the Lord Himself. We had Elder Keith R. Edwards of the 70 here with us......he was just incredible and by the end of the conference, you could almost see the Spirit that was in the room.....I was left completely speechless, couldn't say "amen" and couldn't sing. Very few times has that happened. I knew without a doubt he was a man of God. I learned so much in the few hours we spent at conference....I wish I could write it all, but that would be impossible. Actually mom, it's a lot about what you wrote to me about the necessity of going through trials. We NEED them, there is just no other way around it. Through our trials we are able to become something or someone that we would never be able to become without them. I love my trials, right now, I am experiencing more trials and recognizing more weaknesses than ever before in my life and at the same time, I have never learned so much in my life about myself, my Savior and my Father. I wouldn't trade my trials for the world. President Odgers told us an awesome quote by Elder Hafen of the 70..."If you are seeing more of your weaknesses it may mean you are moving nearer to God, not farther away." I love that, in the hardest and darkest of times, that is when the Lord is the closest. He is doing everything He can to refine us and perfect us that we may be worthy of everything that is waiting for us in His kingdom.
I also learned how much we need to rely on the mercy of the Savior's atonement to make up for what we can't give. It is already there for our use, but it is our choice whether we want to use it, or continue to try things on our own, which we just cannot do. He will ALWAYS make up the difference when we turn to Him. How inadequate and unworthy do we sometimes feel to take on a calling or move forward with a decision based off of a prompting? I know everyday I feel that inadequacy, I can't do this work that is 100 times bigger than me. President told us that it is necessary to feel inadequate so we turn to the merits and mercy of Christ. He said His life goal is to become completely and totally reliant on the Savior. How incredible is that, if you really think about it, if we are 100% reliant on HIM, what miracles will be wrought within and around us.
I love Moses' reply to the Lord when He is called to preach....."wherefore am I thy servant?" haha, I've probably asked that a time or two out here, but we all know the quote "whom the Lord calls, He qualifies" ....if we were all qualified, no one would be called. We NEED to learn to rely on the Savior, only then are we "adequate and worthy"
I put this into play Monday night and yesterday during my lessons.....I don't think I have ever felt this good about teaching before my whole time here. With everything we did the last 2 days, I prayed hard and gave all to the Lord and every lesson we have had so far has been full of the Spirit and we have actually had 2 people come to us unexpectedly saying they want to learn more and change. The Lord doesn't lie when He says "inasmuch as ye keep my commandments, ye shall prosper in the land" that "prospering in the land" can be applied to every aspect of our lives.
So mom, you asked about the lady we found off the beaten path.....actually there were 2 of them, 2 different paths and turns out they are best friends Carmen and Nora haha, the Lord is awesome. We are still teaching them, we've had our struggles and also our moments of rejoicing with them. Actually one of the people who came to us yesterday and wanted to change was Carmen's husband (that was such a break through because we were considering giving the family some time since they weren't progressing at all, so hopefully good things come of this!) As for Nora, they are the family we teach at night without electricity and every lesson is so good, they all listen intently....all except for the dad. This family has a lot of problems, they aren't married, he drinks and gets super angry and violent when he's drunk. In every prayer that the kids give at the close of each lesson they pray for their dad to change. its heartbreaking. They also have yet to come to church because they literally have no money. The mom is the only one with a job and what she makes in one day is only enough for food for that day....no extra. We have promised and promised blessings if they will just go to church. I think this week is their week. We taught them last night and were more bold and I think Nora's eyes were opened. The kids all want to go to church, so if she doesn't come, we will pick up the kids and ride with them to church.
On that note, sis Estrada was telling me how when she was way young they used to walk like 45-60 min to church cause they had no money, and they were barefoot. I immediately thought of our 5 minute walk to church that we have always DRIVEN to make it there in 30 seconds. I just cant believe the sacrifice of the truly devoted and faithful. The RS President as well as the other leaders are so amazing in this ward! I love them so much! There are a total of maybe 15 solid members who do their job in the ward and when church starts there are maybe 8 of us in the room. It's so crazy, so different. As for my piano skills....they are still lacking. Haha, sometimes I accidentally pick songs they don't know so it's super quiet and when i mess up on the piano its very apparent and like dead silent. Can't wait for this to be over lol. This experience is making me want to take piano lessons when I go home! They do not send around sign ups to feed missionaries unfortunately.....however, we just get fed a lot. There culture is if they are eating....so are you!
Funny bathroom story, I know you all look forward to these:
Last Saturday we had just travelled really far to contact a referral and I had to use the CR (bathroom) so I asked (always hesitantly) and I was directed to an outside, tarped off pile of rocks. Sweet, this was a new one! It reminded me of when we used to go camping and dad would set up a shower and tarp it off--exactly like it! This was just out front in the middle of the yard haha. Well while i was squating over the rocks.....a mouse comes out of the corner of the tarp and just stares at me......um, can I help you?! Hahahahaha!!! Life is good. Also, this morning during one of our companion prayers we hear a "meeeyowww" and turn to find a cat sitting in the doorway of the kitchen staring at us....super funny! I love this place!
Okay this is a long letter! Life really is awesome right now, I'm happy and struggling hahha, and now realize that those 2 definitely go together!
The pictures are of the beach on our way to zone conf., my "digs" and part of the balut experience, i will send some more in another email!
Mahal na mahal ko kayo!!!!