Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May 28, 2014 - Escalante City, Negros Occidental

Maayong gabii sa inyo-a!

So for the last few weeks there have been thunderstorms brewing all around us, and every night we can just watch as lightning flashes all around, over the North shore, out over Cebu, and over the mountains of Negros. But, a couple of days ago the storm moved in over the plain and all night we had, essentially, continuous lightning all around. There is something about it here, it just feels to add to the life that exists here. Not only do plant life and animal and human life flourish in this land, even the Earth itself has something to add here. Maybe it's because I'm just so focused on it, but you can just feel the power of God. So of course, I had to capture it with a tripod and long-shutter exposure.

This week has been good. We've been pretty busy lately, with lessons and talking to people and all. This week is Fiesta here in Escalante, and the town is in various stages of being painted red (not literally). But, for the last week banner flags have been going up over all the streets and the city hall plaza has been filling up with places selling all sorts of food and t-shirts. The festivities are supposed to really happen this weekend and, apparently, if there's a fiesta going on, there's no one home to teach, so we've been trying to do all we can now. But it's all very fun and exciting here for the time being.
I really ought to carry a tripod with me, because the camera-in-the-tree method doesn't seem to work too well. 
Last week was Zone activity. We played ultimate frisbee at a basketball-han in Bonifacio area. And people were leaving without taking pictures, so I took one. 
Also, it has been officially announced that Escalante District has been approved to become a stake, and our branch a ward, which is very exciting! I do not yet know when this change is to actually happen, but a branch presidency member spoke on Sunday that the people here really need to prepare for this change. But these people are really fit to become a stake, and I know that with this change, that they'll really be able to see a great growth in the work. 

Walking in the Habitat with Juvy, Elder Montano, and Leonardo.

I liked this old, rusted carabao plow.
Kind of in the same vein, and along with what I said last week, that we've been told to really focus more on families as a whole, particularly men. Because we've kind of seen just on its own this has started to happen. We have one family in the branch who has been less active since the mother died a few years ago, but we've really been able to see the children, youth and young adult age, come back to church. However the father sometimes goes to church, but is has not been living entirely solidly. One evening we went to their house and found the whole family there, but the father was impairedly drunk, which he told us quite soberly. However, they listened to us as we did little more than bear our testimonies, after which, Tatay told us "I have problems, and I know it. Since my wife died and I've stopped living this gospel, I've felt this change, this loss. I want to change and follow this again." Follow up visits and going to church have shown us that this was more than just the alcohol speaking, and last sunday, he was called from the pulpit to share his testimony (It was rather olden-times-of-the-church-like, as he said he did not expect it), which he did. It was simple and short, but he told us later that that was the first time he's stood in front of a congregation in a long time. I think it was a good experience for him. 

As we were walking back from Sister Aberredo's house, when we these two passed our way and we started talking. The kid was pure Tom Sawyer, speaking with the confidence and charisma of someone far older than he was. So to top it all off, we skipped some rocks across the pond. We talked to their Nanay, who told us that Sister missionaries used to come by and play with the kids and share lessons, but they had long since left. It was a good experience.
There's a lot of people here. There's a lot of work here. Thank you for your examples, and for all that I have been given to do this work. Now I too must give.


Elder Dunford

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