Looks like you guys are having a great time in NYC. The pictures look like way fun. I hope all the students are having a good time too. Tell them all hi from me!
My week was pretty great. I didn't know this, but they don't celebrate Easter here. The other missionaries in my apartment had never heard of it before. And they said that yesterday wasn't even a holiday. It's weird because Easter is a church-wide thing. I don't know haha, so, no we didn't do anything special or celebrate. And yes, conference is next week for us. I'm looking forward to it. I just can't believe it's here already again. 6 months have already passed somehow.
On Tuesday, we had our zone training meeting, so us zone leaders and the sister training leaders each gave a 30 minute training. We counciled about what our zone needed to hear and what would help them the most. I ended up giving my training on how to increase our personal revelation. I talked about specific things they can do to have the spirit more and to receive more revelation like keeping a study journal, using ideas from Preach my Gospel and about how to have more effective prayers. I thought it went very well. I learned a few things myself as well.
Friday apparently was Good Friday for Catholics. I'm still not really sure what it all means for them, but I think it's their day to remember the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I don't remember it being that big of a deal back home, but here, it's a big deal. All of the stores were closed, as in all of them. There was nobody selling anything. Little shops on the road, nothing. There was some fiesta and parade in the banwa, which isn't in our area, so there was not a lot of people in our area. The bad part is is that we planned to go tracting for 5 hours that day. It was the most frustrating day of tracting of all time haha. From 12-3 there was this broadcast called the 7 last words or something like that. And it was being played in almost every house we tracted. It's tough because usually, when we say that we want to share a message about Jesus Christ, people let us in because every one is Christian and will listen to a message about Jesus Christ, but on Friday, it was tough because I think people were thinking, well, why should I listen to a message about Jesus Christ from a different sect when I am already listening to one from my church. I don't know. All I know is that it did not make for good tracting. haha. We went to one house that Elder Gan said he tracted out about 2 months ago. She let us in, but she was NOT happy about it haha. She is a professor at the local university apparently. She was super rude to us though. I would even maybe say that she was the most rude person that I have ever met, and that's crazy coming from a Filipina. haha. I have no idea why she let us in and then made it soo obvious that we were not welcome there. She apparently was watching the 7 last words thing. She said something like, "I have been so busy lately. I am a professor and work with administration. Yesterday, we had a series of 6 meetings. That is how busy I am. And today is my only day off and I am exhausted and right now I am watching 7 last words which is very special and sacred to us Catholics, but now you guys are here, so if you guys just do whatever you need. I'll listen to your Mormonism." I was kind of caught of guard and speechless. haha. We just said that maybe we can come back at a time when we are not such a disturbance, but she said no way after we have already used up this much of her time (we were there for maybe 1 and a half minutes haha), not for nothing. Yeah, so can imagine how that lesson went. It was bad haha. After that, we just went and sat on the beach for like half an hour so we could loose our frustration and get the spirit back. Lesson learned though, never tract on Good Friday! haha
Overall though, we had a very good week. We will have a baptism in a week and half. Carla passed the baptismal interview, which is a BIG deal for her. She is 16 I think, but I don't know if I've wrote about her yet, but she has some sort of anxiety thing. When we ask her questions in lessons, she just locks up and starts breathing really hard and won't say anything. In the baptismal interview, you obviously have to talk and express yourself so you can show you are ready to be baptized. We have been working with her like 4 days a week to get her ready. We are so excited for her. She has had a rough life, but it seems like things are turning around for her. We are teaching her step mom as well right now.
Elder Gan had a cool experience this week too. This might be a little personal to him, but I want to share it with you guys. So, he had been approved to go home 2 months early so that he could start a semester at his college, but his friend who is also serving a mission sent him an email. His friends email said something like, "Hey, my mission president sent me this. I don't know why though, I am not going home early, so maybe it's for you. The Mission President had sent a letter about sow it is not appropriate to end your mission early for temporal reasons. Seek the kingdom of God before temporal security. Elder Gan had thought pretty hard about that and I could see it bothered him a little bit. Well, a couple of nights ago, he prayed and asked God and got an answer that he needed to extend his mission, so he called President Aquino and now his mission is extended. After that, he was the most happy I've ever seen him. "I'm following the Spirit... It feels amazing!" haha. I'm pretty proud of him.
What else.. Oh, we started playing basketball in the morning with some of Elder Cruz's and Elder Palzario's investigators every other day. It is a lot of fun, but I am completely exhausted at the end of the day.
Overall, this was a really good week though. The first couple of weeks here I really just missed Culasi because this area is a lot harder than Culasi, but it's ok.
I feel like I have gotten to be a lot better, more mature, and actually I feel like I am a little closer to Heavenly Father. Our area really took a step forward this week. We found some really good new investigators. I am really starting to enjoy it here. We have fun.
Anyways, I hope you guys have fun in NYC! I'll write you next week!
|Some of Stuart's batch mates form the MTC|
|Elder Gan and Stuart|
|The Kalibo Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders|
|The Kalibo Zone|
|Stuart's new house...A step up from the house in Culasi|
|Bigger living area|
|Not so clean bedroom...tsk! tsk!|
|Lot of trike traffic|
|Biggest bunch of bananas ever!|
|Puffer Fish that the fishermen just discard|
|A member in the New Washington Ward that works with the missionaries alot|
|The Bishop's son|
|This lady is making sticky rice by wrapping the rice in leaves and then boiling it|