Dear Family and Friends,
I've been in the Philippines for a week now and things are going well. It definitely does not get easier, you just learn to adjust. Some of us were talking and we've decided that you just get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We had a mission tour this last week where Elder Bowen from the area seventy came and talked to us. He was very straightforward and blunt. He said that there were things going on in our mission that needed to stop immediately. He talked about the Priesthood and the Abrahamic Covenant. He said that once we realize who we are and what we have been promised, everything we do in life will follow that realization. He said, "Right now, you have the exact same priesthood power that the Lord used to create worlds without number." Let's just say that we all left feeling very humbled.
Everything is still going well with our investigators. We still have seven investigators with baptismal goal dates, and everything that we do is centered around them. This week, we decided to get at least two OYMs (open your mouth) on the way to each appointment. This means that you introduce yourself to someone, share a simple truth about our message, and then extend an invitation for them to learn more. It doesn't matter if they say yes or no, it still counts. We have a mission-wide goal to get 50 OYMs a week. We are starting to realize how easy it is to relate the restoration to everyone. We've also realized that everyone here has a family, so we just tell them that through the restoration of the Gospel, they can live with their families forever in the presence of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. That almost always gets them interested. I'm realizing how blessed we are to have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. In Tagalog, it is Ang Plano ng Kaligtasan or the Plan of Safety. This really helped me realize that God's plan really is just like a giant safety net for all of us. He has provided a way for all of us to return to Him. This has become one of my favorite lessons to teach.
I just got my first haircut in the Philippines, and I've realized that haircuts are a rip-off in the States. I got the best haircut that I've ever had, in this really fancy place for about $2.50. We also buy all the groceries we need for the week for about 1000 pesos or 20 dollars. My companion is an amazing cook, so we get home cooked Filipino food for every meal. I'm in the mall right now and there is Christmas music blasting everywhere outside. I thought they were joking when they told me that they start celebrating Christmas in September. It is definitely taking a little while to get used to that.
Anyway, everything is going great. It's definitely not easy by a long shot, but my companion and I are always happy! I don't have very much time and I wish I could write more, but we only have one hour on the computers and I need to email my mission president and send in our numbers and a few other things. Thank you for your continued support!
- Elder English
"Jeepney ride in San Pablo. This was forwarded by one of the other elders. Just some of the people in our district."