Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 15, 2014 - Escalante City, Negros Occidental

So this week, it rained.

It didn't rain, rain, rain without stopping, but it certainly did come down, down, down. I feel like I've finally really gotten a taste of just why this place is tropical. And I actually got to use my rain jacket thing! That may well be useful here if I get caught in a real storm and do not feel like being soaking wet.

When we came around the bend, this goat called out "Elde-e-er," so I got a picture of us.
We walked out to Sister Aberido's house far from the road in Washington, only to find she wasn't there, but that was okay because it was a really cool walk across the rolling hills and crossing streams and all.So this week has gone pretty well. The rain has kind of cooled things down a bit, insomuch that while it's still hot in the day, it's not blazing hot, and it even gets a little cool at night! but according to the weather I've seen it's supposed to really get hot after this washes out, so I am appreciating the rain while I can. 

On Saturday and Sunday, they played all the sessions of Conference at the Escalante chapel, so I was able to watch Saturday morning, Priesthood, and both Sunday sessions. This was a great thing for me. I think this may have been one of the first times I really entirely enjoyed watching all the sessions of conference, and I was really able to learn a lot from it. I think really just being so focused in this work and being able to appreciate all the things that were taught, really seeing how I can use this for my life, especially since I'm teaching people how this can be used for their lives. But I think it was in Priesthood session, when President Monson started recounting the teachings and stories of prophets of old and the apostles, and I just felt something, there was something in his eye that testified that he speaks these words with the same authority with which they were originally taught. 

But I also have a question: Heinrich Eyring, of whom President Eyring talked, first came in contact with the Church with a coworker in St. Louis, do we know, is there any relation there to the Isaac Dunford group? I just noticed that and figured that someone would know.

I've come to start to doubt that the garden of Eden was in Missouri, because this would be a suitable substitute.

Elder Cantago with a ludicrously large citrus fruit. It's called a pomelo, and is freaky to eat, because it's totally citrusy in anatomy, except it's completely dry. So even when I thought I found something to remind me of home, it was a no. 
So our work is still a lot of work with the recent converts and members in the branch, though we've also done a bit of finding a teaching pool of our own. Last week, we met in Alimango Sister and Brother Lunod. They are an older couple, and Brother Lunod likes to talk a lot, and he has a lot of questions. (Sometimes, he's so excited about these questions, he interrupts our answer to the last question with a completely new idea! Including where does Joseph rank, above or below Christ, and if Joseph Smith was embalmed and preserved. Talking to him is a nice taste of home.) But He and Sister Lunod had talked to missionaries long ago, and they are kind and listen to our message. Last week, in our first meeting with them, Elder Cantago had kind of been struggling through a consistent lesson what with constantly changing questions, and I had been fairly quiet, unable to really butt into a conversation. But after one question, of "Where is the proof that this can be true? Where is something I can hold, that's real?" the lesson had started winding down and coming to a "Well, it's nice anyways that you do this mission, you sacrifice for what you believe in (italics added by me, not by them)." I just felt that this would not do. (Before the mission, I have been content just with showing people that Mormons are good and normal, and that was enough, I will say that.) But I'm a missionary now. What we have can help these people, I know it, and I know that they can accept this, they can know this to be true. I am not satisfied with a patronizing "Good for you!" So I told them that The Book of Mormon really is that physical thing. That you really can read this book and you really can know that there's more there than just the words on the page. That it really teaches truths, plain truths, which stabilize and nurture the Christian faith into one Lord, one Faith. And you can read it, and you can ask the source of truth if this is real, and that you will receive an answer. This kind of "missionary answer" did not really satisfy me before the mission, but I know that this is true now, and I shared this with them. It was the most powerfully I've really felt in bearing this testimony. So I gave Sister Lunod a Basahon ni Mormon, and she said she had read a bit at our next meeting yesterday. I think the Lunods together are still pretty far from baptism, but I think that there is a real potential of faith there. This is something I've really gained a testimony of on my mission, is the necessity of a Restoration. Because there is so much confusion, so many questions, conflictions, which the restored gospel of Christ truly answers.

The meetinghouse in Old Escalante sits alone on this rise above the fields of sugarcane, overlooking the sea. 

After having rained all Saturday and Sunday morning (We were watching conference at the church in Escalante for most of that time, so that was nice to be inside), the clouds parted to let in the last streaks of sunset as we walked to the Belahajia family's house, over rice paddies and all.

President Schmutz recommends in the first few transfers, to study Book of Mormon and Preach my Gospel lang. But I have been reading in the Gospels and a little Old Testament in spare time, as well. I have really gained an appreciation for the different testimonies of Christ each standard work gives, from the Great Jehovah of Israel, to the Lamb of God of Nazareth, (then kind of reprising his role as Great Jehovah in Doctrine and Covenants.) But I am just getting into the Isaiah chapters of 2 Nephi, really trying to get all I can out of them. I really like the Old Testament, it's fun.

Me at a family home evening. When you lose in a game, you don't get out, you get your face marked ridiculously. It's nice. 
And last week I had my first balut! It was a 15-day-old, which is pretty small in the development of the fetus, and I just swallowed the whole chicken without actually eating it, so it was kind of boring. It was basically just a hardboiled egg that was really difficult to eat.

But that's about it. Things are going well. I am supported in this work. We are never alone if we seek help from its source, our Lord Jesus Christ.


Elder Dunford

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