Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 9, 2014 - Escalante City, Negros Occidental

Elder Mantano "stealing" a child's bike.

(Elder Dunford's letter this week was mostly in response to my letter.  First I told him about sending a package and at the shipping place the people were speaking a Tagalog/English mix.  I asked him if he thought he'd be able to understand Tagalog by the end of his mission.)

Oh, Tagalog.

That actually sounds kind of like the my apartment right now, except throw Cebuano in the mix, too. Elder Omugtong is starting to really pick up a bit more Cebuano, but as all three of my housemates are from Manila area, the Tagalog gets around a bit. But I'm starting to get to where I can follow around what's being said. But I really can't understand Tagalog all very much, but my Cebuano is getting pretty well solid. But there's enough tagalog around here (it is the national language, pretty much everyone knows it), always that by the end of 2 years, I should be able to get pretty good. 

(I told him about our 4th of July BBQ)

I tell you what, this week I was really feeling like a nice homegrilled burger and hot dog with all the fixings and stuff. I don't know why, but I was actually really feeling this week a craving for a good burger. Probably just because my body knew it was the 4th of July.

(Gene asked him about the effects of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda on his area.)

I would bet there wouldn't be much publicity of Yolanda's effects here, because it didn't cause much destruction to the city like in Tacloban (not to mention the city of Escalante is pretty much a spot of civilization way out in the middle of nowhere, probably not much news would get out of here), but there still were a lot of people affected by the storm. It hit here pretty head on, after it passed through Tacloban, it crossed and hit the northern ends of Cebu and Negros (Like you may remember Bogo City over on Cebu was hit pretty bad, and we can see that end of Cebu from here.) But a lot of people whose houses aren't concrete structures (which I mean literally) were affected one way or another. A lot of times, we'll visit less active members out in the more bukid areas who we'll ask "How has your reading of the Basahon ni Mormon been?" and the answer is pretty much always "Oh, Elder, nawala siya sa bagio, pang-Yolanda. (It was lost in the storm.)" There are a few people whose houses were destroyed, either partially or completely, whose houses now are pretty scrapped together from the materials, the bamboo that was left. But for the most part everything's been built back into shape, but people do still talk about Yolanda here, it really did shake the town.

So it turns out that the "Habitat" was a Habitat for Humanities project. The Church of Jesus of Latter Day Saints helped here. I decided that this actually isn't that bad of a variation of the Church name as some I've heard, though it's a little unclear on just which Jesus we're talking about.
(I told him about the goings ons in the Mar Vista Singles  and Granada Wards)

I should probably tell you to say hi to all the people in the wards and back home more often, so hi. 

(I told him about teaching the first Temple Preparation Class which was about God's Plan of Happiness for His Children.  CLICK HERE if you would like to know more about it!)

One thing that I've noticed in my studies is a lot of times I come back to statements of the divinity of Christ. This isn't really something I've ever noticed before (but hey, I wasn't on a mission before), but just the power in the statements of Jesus as the Christ in the Scriptures. One of my favorites was in John 8, I just read the whole chapter. I just love the "boldness" that Jesus uses, just always rising up, confounding the growing claims of the Pharisees and scribes, of their greatness of the Law and of Abraham, until he says nothing more but the simple truth behind it all, that "Before Abraham was, I AM." I love how not only was that a totally bold statement, it is so simple and so true. It's as true as when he told Moses the same. He is the Christ, the God of all. He knows all, he has a reason for all and he has a plan for all. If we follow him, we can get His help with it all. I also read in 1 Nephi 19, where Nephi is commanded to make new plates and he of course follows. He just testifies of this, that God has a plan and a reason. Sometimes, we need to just follow, knowing there is wisdom in this. If we do, we have his help in all that will come up to us. I know this this is true.

Thank you as always. I am really starting to get into this mission stuff here. Now that I've been in Escalante for more than half of my mission, I really do love this place. I love the people here, it's so good. Take care over there.


Elder Dunford

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