Monday, October 17, 2016

Week 33 in the Philippins, Laoag Mission: Preparing for Typhoon "Seahorse", and lots of missionary work!


So this week has been incredible. Ive lately taken up memorizing scriptures. So far I have 2 down. 1 Nephi 13:22 [and I said unto him: i know not] and St John 1:21 last line,  [and i said unto him: no.] When I was teaching Gwyneth she talked about how she is going to seminary (she is 13) and is memorizing the scripture mastery (we aren’t on the doctrine mastery yet over here) and so I felt a little silly for memorizing these scriptures but it made her laugh. I received a huge bundle of letters last week ( you may have seen the picture) and I can’t wait to read them all. Ive saved them so I can read them on my birthday. It's been fun, her in the Philippines it's not rude to ask people’s ages so basically the whole ward is aware that my birthday is this upcoming Sunday. Aiko, my best friend in the mission, and I are seeing if we can plan a mini party Saturday night so we will just have to see how that goes.

We will be experiencing a typhoon this week (anywhere from Monday through Sunday sort of thing,) not entirely sure when it’ll hit. But they named it Haima which is Chinese for seahorse. So that is cool. Do not worry about me, I’m located next to a storm drain lake as well as several canals and we live on the second floor so we will be just fine. However, please pray for the safety of my investigators and the less actives we are working with- many of who live in dirt huts or are camping in old ruins. They are much more exposed to the elements than I am.

I’ve been praying for humility and charity lately and I think my humility lessons are starting to come in. We have a new elder fresh from the states- I may have mentioned him last week- but he speaks about as much Tagalog as I do… so… but at least I actually understand when people respond? Anyways it's humbling to see how doggedly he is seeking after the gift of tongues and how he is really getting it. I have lots to learn from him. This last Sunday all the new missionaries bore their testimony (so Sister Hermosa- who is Sister Aquino’s companion, Sister Ganaden, and both the elders; Elder Nicholes and Elder Cervantes. ) That means only Sister Aquino and I didn’t bear out testimony, however it’s the third Sunday so that means a missionary is asked to give a talk… so guess who gave the talk. I think my talk was about the same length as Elder Nicole’s testimony but I hardly looked at my notes and really just spoke from the heart. It’s a big shocker but my topic was missionary work. I tried to encourage the ward to continue in their already amazing efforts to help the work progress.

For Investigators we have Gwyneth and Jimuel, Daniel and Andria, and Mery Jane and Jennifer. They are all getting close to their baptisms and are studying the BIQ’s (baptismal interview questions.) However yesterday when we visited Gwyneth we not only had to re-extend the day of her baptism to the 29th instead of the 22nd but they had received a call from their mother (they stay with their aunt) that she didn’t want Jimuel to be baptized. Its heartbreaking as he was so excited, but he was able to negotiate with his mother so he will be baptized next year when he is 10 (he’ll turn 9 later this year)

Then we have Nanay Tina. She has been investigating since 1991 (or at least that’s the date written in her Ti Libro Ni Mormon) and she has TONS of questions. Mostly ‘why are all the prophets American’ and ‘why America, why not the Philippines?’ At first we thought this may just turn into a bible bashing, as she would demand us to prove things out of the bible and when we asked her to do the same she would brush it aside. However when we got to the Book of Mormon, talking about how God not only spoke to those in Israel but in ancient America (Why America?) she started to listen a bit more. I talked about the temples they constructed and how they can still be viewed, but that those temples are all in Mexico and how they have legends of a great white God who will come and establish peace and perfection when he comes again (thank you sophomore AP History class, Uncle David, and Joseph Smith History which all talk about this) She began to understand that when we say America we don’t mean USA we mean the North and South American continent. We discussed the stick of Judah and the scattered 12 tribes of Israel. In order for some to be lost they would have to travel to areas unknown to the world at that time. She listened and when we shared similar scriptures from the bible and the book of Mormon (3 Nephi 15:21 and St John 10:16) that’s when the spirit hit. It was so powerful and I know that she felt it. In our previous lessons the spirit has been just as powerful but this time I know she not only felt it but acknowledged the fact that it was the Holy Ghost testifying of truth to her. It was incredible to watch the turn around. She went from debater to a touched soul.

Of course there is Nanaly Salvation; we wanted to take her with us to church this week but we missed her son who had already gone out to work by the time we arrived at 7am to help her get ready, so without the son’s permission we can’t take her anywhere. It was super sad because as soon as we told her we we’re there to take her to church she began fussing around to find a dress suitable for church but couldn’t find one. Luckily we had brought a dress (a leftover one from a giant bag we have at the apartment- whenever sisters don’t want clothes they just put it in the bag. So when she was the dress we brought she started crying, saying it was too beautiful. We did our best to console her and tell her that we would send the brothers later so she could still have the sacrament even if we couldn’t take her. Before we left we asked if she would like us to pray with her, she insisted she prayed and in the prayer she asked God to bless us as she pitied us having to walk everywhere, even in the rain. She thanked God that we can visit her so often and that we will always be safe. It was really touching to see this 80+ woman pouring her heart out to God asking Him to bless us! It was so strange, but she has such a powerful spirit. After church we held a meeting to talk about investigators and were able to arrange for special sacrament to be brought to her as well as for someone to help her go to church so it will be her visiting teachers bringing her every week. So sadly we won’t but it will unify the ward. And he son will probably bit more trusting to the locals than to two sister missionaries from far flung places.

We also got a referral this week who’s house just happened to be only accessible by bridge. And guess who is scared of bridges? Not me! My poor companion is scared stiff of bridges. It was after 6 so the sun was hiding behind the mountains so I just waltzed across the bridge and shouted encouragement as she inched (or more like centimeter-ed) her way across the bridge. Eventually I jogged back to her (the bridge bouncing as I go) and then told her to only look at me while I walked backwards to cross the bridge. She may or may not have punched me for running on the bridge but we made it across in a quick 20 minutes… only to find that the referral didn’t even live there !! Sister Ganaden didn’t think it was as funny as I did.

From the sister who is perfectly safe and loving the Philippines
Sister Eldredge

Apparently sister Ganaden is scared of bridges. it took her 20 minuets to cross this bridge to get to a refferals house. i may or may not have run across the bridge just to make it shake... but i was trying to show her that it could hold her! hahah sorry, that's mean

the kids are fishing for frogs.  the frogs bite the bit of rubber and they fling the frog into the air and catch it.  its funny because the frogs are freaking out as they fly through the air.  they sell them at the market.  we are thinking of buying some from the kids to fry up and eat.

A chicken tree.  idk, it's just funny.  Back home we have chicken trees, but here when they say chicken tree, they really mean it!

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