Monday, November 2, 2015

All Saints' Day

Dear Family and Friends,

     Another week has come and gone in Alaminos, and surprisingly, I am starting to like working in the office more and more.  We have really been striving to get out and work more.  Even if we just walk down the street behind the mission office and try to find someone who we can teach a lesson to.  It has really helped me understand the difference between being an effective missionary and just being a missionary who's outside.  It's really easy to go outside and wander around, and then say that you worked hard because you're tired at the end of the day.  It's another thing to be able to say that you were able to utilize and maximize every minute of the day.  I have really been trying to bridge the gap between "hard work" and "effectiveness".
     As I said last week, I have been enjoying having the opportunity to have all of the words of all the prophets at my fingertips whenever I want it.  I was reading a talk this week called "The Inconvenient Messiah" by Elder Holland.  He said some things that really related to a few things that I've been trying to improve on when it comes to missionary life.  It says that Satan knows that most members of the Church, or believers of Jesus Christ will not be tempted by the blatant and obvious sins of the world.  Instead, he "counters our discipleship with the offer of 'Convenient Christianity."  He is constantly bombarding us with all these decisions to make things more convenient at the cost of  losing just a little direction on our path of discipleship.  It really made me think of all of my personal "sins of convenience" that are making things easier for me at the moment, but are ultimately leading us away from our Heavenly Father.  
     I had a really odd realization the other night as we were out working.  I kept feeling like there was something that I should be remembering or that I was missing.  I then realized that it was October 31st.  I stopped dead in my tracks, and shouted at my companion, "Elder, Halloween pa la ngayon!"  (It's Halloween today!)  He just shrugged his shoulders and kept on walking.  Apparently, Halloween doesn't exist in the Philippines.  Instead, they have All Saints' Day.  It's on November 1st and is basically the equivalent of our Memorial Day in the States.  Everyone sets up a big tent at the cemetery and just hang out there all day.  Anywhere in any city that is close to a cemetery is completely shut down, and we had to be in at 6:00 on Sunday.  Apparently, a lot of people also like to drink with their ancestors.  Even though I've been here for a little while now, there are still these huge differences in culture that you would think would be really obvious, but that I'm just realizing.

     Everything else is going well and we have the District Leader Training and MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) that we need to get ready for this week.  Thank you again for all of your support and all the advice that you continue to give!
- Elder English   

There was a member that fed us after we played basketball on pday.  
You can see that we're all really, really happy.


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