Pamilya at mga Kaibigan,
This week we had the opportunity to see quite a few miracles in our area (this might be a long email). We got back to our area afternoon and we decided that unpacking could wait. We threw our packs on the ground, had a quick companionship study, and headed out. We visited all of our members and investigators. We were very surprised to find that none of their houses had been damaged by the typhoon even though we got hit by the weakest part of it. Most of the houses where we work are designed to be able to be rebuilt quickly after a storm instead of withstanding the storm. Most of the people we teach just don't have the means to buy building materials. Surprisingly, we heard from almost all of our investigators and members that they would be able to attend church and all of our investigators had been reading the Book of Mormon. I guess no electricity for 5 days was a blessing in disguise.
My companion and I had a pretty intense experience where we both had to become really bold. We are teaching an elderly couple who have been taught by three sets of missionaries now. We taught two lessons to them and it felt like we were getting nowhere. We taught them again and the same thing was starting to happen. They were saying that they believed the Book of Mormon was true, but nothing was happening. I was getting really tired of just teaching in circles with them. I finally just asked, "Tatay, bakit hindi pa kayong mabinyagan?" (Brother, why haven't you been baptized?) I'm pretty sure that the grammar is incorrect and my companion looked at me like I had just said something horrible. Then he proceeded to say that he was born "a certain religion" and he was going to die "in that same religion", and that he didn't think it was necessary to join another church because God knew his desires. My companion and I proceeded to tell him that faith isn't actually faith until we act. We left feeling like we had just insulted him and his wife. Then we saw his wife walking down the street the next day pushing her husband in his wheelchair on their way to our sacrament meeting. It was pouring rain and they didn't have an umbrella, and it's about a two mile walk from their house to the chapel. My companion and I just stared at each other for a while and then ran out into the rain to help them.
This experience has helped me see that sometimes we need to be bold. One of the biggest things in the missionary training is to be bold, but loving. It can be a hard balance to find, but it really shows that we care about what we are teaching and who we are teaching it to.
Well, that's my miracle for the week and my companion and I are starting to see our hard work pay off as the district presidency is starting to talk to us about getting a new meeting house for Socorro and for the Socorro group to become a branch as we have really been focusing on the priesthood holders. The Group has really come a long way in the past few weeks and all the leaders in the area have been surprised at the progression. The Lord really is blessing the members here in Socorro.
Thank you for all of your support and emails. I really don't have much time to respond, but please know that I really do appreciate it. The work is moving forward here in the Philippines!
- Elder English
Some fun at the beach on our zone p-day. The picture actually happened on accident. There's a soccer ball, you just can't see it.
10 elders in one apartment waiting for the typhoon.