before i start i have to say i feel a little self conscious writing these letters now that i know there are members in my area that read what im writing and have written. hello sherwin. she said it helped her understand me better as to why i am the way i am so i guess some good has come from all my preaching all the time ha ha. i honestly forgot i had a blog going on until she said she had read it ha ha.
this week has been more than full of experiences that ill probably hopefully never forget. ill start off with my thoughts and feelings about a special family we have been working with. due to the fact that there are people reading this from here for the protection of this family i will name this family family R. ha ha joke lang. this is the revilla family. we have been working with this family for the whole time i have been here... and we have seen a lot of progression and change with them. before we ended up being punted a lot because they were drinking or gambeling... but now they have come to church a couple of times and are praying about joseph smith (when they dont forget ha ha) and starting on the road to being active. i love this family. they live in a small house made of bamboo cinderblocks and a tin roof, they collect glass bottles and metal and cardboard to sell to junkshops for a living (if you could call it a living) and work odd jobs when they are lucky enough to have people hire them to work in the bukid (rice fields) they are whats called squatters here, meaning their house is built on someone elses land and they are basically the poorest of the poor because of the hard life they are living. they are a very happy and faith filled family.. they dont always do the things they are supposed to do but when you live in those circumstances you HAVE to believe and trust in god. its hard to imagine struggling to just buy food, and really not knowing if your going to make enough to pay for 3 meals a day. anyways.. we went to their house on friday and we sensed immediately they had a problem.. we found out the owner of the land where they are living told them they have 15 days to find somewhere to move and they need to be off the property by that time. these people dont have any money to eat let alone find somewhere to live. they have little children and have lived there for a long time. you cant really blame the owner of the land but i mean these people have absolutely nothing. i cant imagine after struggling and struggling and finally feeling like youve stocked up a little rice you get told you have 15 days to pick up your life and family and find somewhere else to go. we ended up talking about doctrine and covenants section 121 and the suffering of the early members of the church and all the horrible things that they were forced to go through. and i will never forget the closing prayer of nanay katubig (also effected by this) pleading with god for help and hope. and seeing brother revilla obviously effected emotionally but not showing it, while his wife was crying and they were kinda rushing us to get out of there because they need to go and find out where they are going to go. its just the kind of things you dont see back home i was a little taken aback when my companion wasnt very effected by this but i realized that its just sort of a part of life here for some people. it makes you think about whats important in life right? of course family and the lord but sometimes you dont realize exactly how important those things are until you see someone without all other things clinging to the hope that the lord will provide and at least they have each other.
next is the anghel family. here i got a testimony of what president packer said and is quoted in preach my gospel " a study of tru doctrine will change behavior faster than a study of behavior will change behavior " weve also been working with this family since ive been here i talked about them before. they were deeply offended in the 1980's and since then inactive, nanay had since been attending different churches and lately for the past few months(i donot know exactly for how long) has been taking lessons from and going to church at jehovas witnesses. its been amazing to slowly see changes come to them as we taught them the "plain and precious truths' lost in the apostasy. for the first few weeks we couldnt get nanay to stay in lessons she was good at finding reasons excuses to leave ha. we even had a few uncomfortable run ins with jehovas witnesses at their house.. once while we were teaching and a few times while they were teaching. in the end i can remember so many times just feeling and seeing the spirit working on them. in the words of tatay "when you taught me about the apostasy and why theres so many churches now, and that god called joseph smith so be a prophet,, it was light something clicked in my head and things started working again, and after that i have decided that i want to be active at church every sunday " and nanay this past sunday was the first time shes been to church in who knows how long. it was like ... really feeling like you are an instrument in the hand of god. i really felt and saw how true what im teaching is. after a mountain of doubt hurt feelings and misunderstandings... the savior came into their lives, the spirit taught them the truths of the gospel and their behavior has been and slowly is changing as the holy ghost brings all things to their rememberance.
lastly i just want to talk a little about myself if thats okay. i remember when i was new here in roxas the first day i met the members i felt very lonely. everyone loved my companion and i felt like it was going to be another cabagan where i was going to be the over strict american thats no fun to be around. its not that it matters all that much because in the end the only relationship one needs is a relationship witht he savior and thats one im not willing to risk for the acceptance of others. but it is lonely sometimes. from them until now i have been very impressed not only with my companion but with the members. noones perfect but ive felt at peace that theyve tried to understand me and tried to accept how "stricto" i am. of all the things ive learned (ive learned a lot) one good lesson ive really tried to live is its not enough to just be obedient. or strict. you need to be faithful to what you believe. theres a natural man intention in all of us especially me to feel that because you are obedient you therefore are more highly favored and important than others that havent quite understhood how they need to act. this is not so however. gods love for all is equal no matter what they are doing. if you can set aside your pride to the point where you can be obedient because of the love for your god and savior and all they have done for you, and you do all you can to helo others around you be obedient too because you are trying to love your neighbor as yourself.. thats where the promised blessings come in." nephi was never popular" was something president carlos told me once that helped me understand. and as i studied how nephi was obedient there was always that extra aspect of love. he always seemed to be praying for his brothers and counciling them and encouraging them. they chose to harden their hearts but nephi did things for the right reason and he did not loose his reward. im very happy i love my area i love the members here i love my companion even though they dont always understand me... i pray for them and for all of you. and i know that im doing the right thing with my life because i feel it every day. that primised peace that even though you are doing a very HARD thing... its not so hard when you have the peace of the holy ghost in your heart.
times fast. elder wooden one of the last of my good friends in the mission goes home tomorrow. the next will be elder coleman and then i will be (with my batch) the oldest ones in the field. hard to imagine right? right in time for a new mission president.
oh yeah this week 7 missionaries are going home.. and 24 are coming to the field.thats definately what i call the lord hastening his work.
i love you all! elder landeen