Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Week 57 in the Philippines Laoag Mission - Florence & Ivy & Goose-bumps

My Adorable Self

This week was hectic. I still don’t know what I’m doing but somehow we found 34 new Investigators this week, and 41 lessons. Yet I seem to keep asking my companion “What are we doing next?” We plan as best we can and try to always follow the Spirit so that tends  to make things interesting as we drop investigators and find new ones. It seems that all the previous missionaries here mostly stuck with the eternal investigators- we have found several receptive people who said :
“oh, I know Mormons, they are always walking somewhere.”
“They never talked to you?”
“No, they seemed too interested in where they were going/”
Which is a shame. These people were literally ‘perishing on the wayside’ in search of the truth and the missionaries forgot to open their mouths and speak to everyone they see. It's not that hard finding 34 people weekly as we live in a GIANT city (that probably is about the size of Spring Texas) and everyone is out on the streets.
This Monday we tried doing some finding in the public square… that was frightening and unfruitful. People kept giving us one-word answers as we tried to strike up conversations or even try just going straight to the point. After about an hour with only one person that gave us more than a two word sentence we decided that the field was not white and ready to harvest there and moved on to the whiter fields (see Doctrine and Covenants section 4.) and boy did we find those white fields! We then had an incredible lesson with Vanessa Dela Cruz and extended a baptismal goal date and she even invited her friend to the lesson. On our way to the lesson we ran into a Less Active Mormon and her partner. Raymond is very versed in the Bible and asked for a Book of Mormon because he wanted to compare it to the Bible. I dared him to prove it wrong, and he seemed a little surprised by my confidence. When we met with him later this week he had read the introduction, the testimonies contained therein, and begun the first book in the book of Mormon and could remember very clear details about it. We answered a few questions he had about Joseph smith and he kept saying ‘you have to have real intent! Real Intent!” His friend was quiet as he listened in too but quietly asked for us to come back again. Really cool.  It just goes to show that sometimes some areas are ‘not ready’ but that will NEVER mean your whole area is hard. We will go back occasionally to the plaza and try again and give it a chance to be fruitful. We Never give up hope, after all “we hope for all things.” (Articles of Faith 1:13) I’ve always had a soft spot for the number 13…
We continued  contacting some of the Investigators from the previous group of missionaries but they all seem to be the same ‘I'm not really interested in acting, but I like listening to your message” or “teach the kids but they can’t be baptized because we are going to die catholic as it is a family tradition. A family tradition of the Great and Noble House of Black was stuffing the heads of the house elves and mounting them on the wall. That doesn’t mean you keep following the tradition… I’ve been humming the tune to the song “Tradition” From fiddler on the roof and enjoy remembering that there are differences between the Lord’s traditions and worldly traditions. Godly Traditions: Ask Him and follow His guidance. Worldly Traditions: This is what always has been done so shut up and do it, no questions asked.  Am I a little biased? Yeah, but everyone has an opinion, even the referees at the ball game. Sometimes it is not about opinion but about truth and real truth only comes from God. So just ask Him! He actually said, “Weary thou me with thy petitions.” He wants us so badly to ask Him, so just do it and He will answer; maybe not in your way, but He will answer.
Another killer lesson we had this week was with Ivy Carmen, and her friend Florence. These two girls couldn’t be more different and they are close friends. We were teaching Ivy about the Book of Mormon by going through the Introduction and I flipped through the pictures at the front and told the basic story line (thank you mother for making me learn how to do that before my mission.) And in the middle of the lesson Florence sticks her head out of her room and asks if she could join. Florence apparently reads the Bible every day and is very religious although she does not attend any of the local churches as she believes they have drifted from the true word of God, and wanted to know what made our church different and if we followed the original teachings in the Bible. Which just so happened to be what we were talking about. It was honestly a kick-butt lesson and they only had one downside. They both live in the area boundaries of Baguio Mission! So if we don’t get them baptized by the end of May we will have to refer them to the Baguio missionaries!! Not to mention every weekend they have to return home to do school work as the wifi shuts off in their dorm on the weekends. Ivy has many Mormon friends so we are trying to coordinate if she can stay weekends in members’ homes so she does not have to travel so far and not be able to go to church as the closest church to her house really is here in Vigan anyways. Same for Florence, but we first have to find fellowshippers for her first. It’s funny as Ivy’s closest friend in the branch also happens to be a rather attractive single RM so we are having fun with that.
And at the end of the week we were blessed with 4 Investigators at church this week- 2 of which we think are really interested in baptism, and 1 who paid his tithing to the branch president! Which is funny as that Investigator likes to say all the time how he will ‘never become Mormon’ but he- besides coffee and wine- acts like a Mormon.
The reason I didn’t mention Conference is because that is actually next week for us so we can get the videos and translation done… but I do know that they announced another temple here in the Philippines! Last April when I was in the MTC they announced the Urdineta temple- which they still haven’t done the ground breaking for- and now another one is announced, this time in Manila.
Ether 12:40 “And only few have I written, because of my weakness in writing.” And shortness of time.

From the perpetually tired but excited sister,

Sister Eldredge

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