Punxsutawney Pete says six more weeks of Escalante!
Which is really good, because this is an incredible place, the people are super good, and it's starting to cool down a bit!
But last week on Thursday we went down to Dumaguete, way over on the opposite end of the Island of Negros! We got on a Ceres bus, which are just big, yellow busses which I would guess would be comparable to a greyhound (though I've never been on a greyhound, so I'm not sure) and rode the way down the coast. It would be a really cool drive in a car with good suspension and it reminds me of the 101 a lot; except with the green hue turned way up. We stayed in a missionary apartment on Thursday night in Bais City, where we had a little group suroy-suroying (hanging out). I was feeling a little tired from the biahe (travel) and a little left out because I was the only one who knew no one at the house, and people tend to start throwing in Tagalog when they talk, which is confusing, when a football emerged out of the house. Apparently, an American who lived there before had left it there. People started trying to throw it around, though it was rather hard for some of them (some of the others were treating it like a rugby ball, the poor thing) and gave it up. But I got to throw it at Elder Jamil, who picked up the technique of it. I tell you what, there may have been nothing quite as satisfying as throwing a football around for a couple of minutes that evening.
But in Dumaguete we had our Zone Conference, for all the Cebu missionaries on Negros. This was the farewell conference of President Schmutz, and as such it was all tender and nice. But it was really good. President and Sister Schmutz just spoke, and gave really good messages. The overall theme was kind of a "Learn from your mission (about Jesus Christ) and let it (meaning Jesus Christ) change you." It was kind of mingaw (to miss, kind of hard to define in English. It means homesick, but more than just that.) because they kept talking about life after the mission, and President talked a lot about his life experiences when he learned to trust in the Lord. To follow in his way. It seemed a little out of place for a still pretty new missionary, but I really learned a lot from it. Mainly that we are given the way to be successful, whether in the mission or in life. If we follow in the way of the Lord, and follow his commandments he has given us, we have his blessing. We can have the power of our God with us in our life, and it all starts if we give a portion to the words of prophets. If we build our faith in him, which means to act upon that which he has given us, we have His blessing.
But this week was transfer week as well and both Elder Montano and I are staying in Escalante! Our kabalay (housemate), Elder Lagundino is moving to Cebu, and Elder Jamil, our other kabalay is training a fresh, new missionary! He is going to Cebu now to be assigned his anak (child) and they come back tomorrow. So that will be exciting, and the first time for me to not be the newest in the house!
We have two really good, progressing investigators. Sister Elsa (wala na frozen siya, Elder? [She's not frozen anymore?, as our Branch President says]) is really good. She had been going to church pretty frequently, but the last few weeks, she hasn't been there. She's been having trouble really recognizing the Spirit, though we know she's felt it. She always has good insights from her reading of the Basahon, and she always tells us how much she likes going to church, how this feels good to her. So yesterday we taught her, and she said that she hadn't felt like she had really received the sign from God that she needed. So we taught Alma 32:28, comparing the word to a seed. I testified that this is the way of our God. This is the way he answers our questions. We do not search for signs, if we do, we miss the whole point, and we may miss what he does give us. I know that we can receive a sure witness from our God, like you said, Dad. I know that we can and will receive what we need. But sometimes, what we need is to be quiet. We need to think about it, and listen. And remember what we know to be true. If we do this, we will receive what we need. Our Father knows what we need, we just need to be ready to receive it, and we need to be ready to follow the word he gives us.
I love you. The other day in Zone Training, our ZL's asked us to share our desire. I said I want to live up to my heritage. Not to stand on the shoulders of giants (because we're not holding hands here.) But to show my respect, and my gratitude, I want to live up to what I have been given, so it can be passed on after me. I thank you for all that you have given me.
Elder Adam Dunford