Sunday, August 24, 2014

August 20, 2014 - Ayungon, Negros Oriental

This is the view across the street outside our house every day as we wait for a tricycle (called pedicabs here, because they're basically a full-sized can built on a motorcycle) to Ayungon.

We had a baby tuko get inside our house the other day. If I haven't told you about tukos, just look them up on youtube. There's pretty much everywhere, even if you don't see them, you can always hear them.

This week, a lot happened. Last Thursday, the Zone Leaders came and worked with us in Ayungon. Elder Young worked with Elder Castro, and I worked with Elder Gama! Wow, my tatay is now my zone leader! So yeah, I was able to work with Elder Gama again, who, being my first training companion, is my tatay (dad). I was really super glad to be able to learn more from him again. I was able to see so much growth in myself as we worked together again, because I really felt I could see the changes in me from the last time we were companions, and I was a much more able to learn from him and his teaching. I was also able to see how his style of teaching had really influenced how I teach and live the missionary life. I was just so grateful for that opportunity to see what I had learned and to learn even more. And the thing I really saw so clearly, which was probably obscured in my time in Lawa-an by something like unto shellshock, was just how keenly he follows the Spirit. He truly knows the scriptures, and he knows how to teach to the needs of a person, and he teaches with authority. I was really excited to be able to learn how to refine this skill in my own work. We were also able to go through Ayungon proper to try to find a house for us, so that we could live closer to our center. We found something that they were going to follow up on, but we also found a lot of people, we even found members who were active until they moved out to Ayungon, but they said they would totally go to church if it were closer than Bindoy. It was good to be in my real town.

We walked the other day from an area on one side of a valley to the place where Johnny and Rose live, which took us on a little trek through Mango groves and some pretty old-growth looking forest.

The next big thing that happened this week was on Sunday, after church in Bindoy, the Andersons came and held temple recommend interviews. The Andersons are the couple missionaries in San Carlos and Escalante Zones, so we got to know each other pretty well while I was up there, but now Elder Anderson is also in the Mission presidency, so he was able to hold interviews, and I was able to be his interpreter for several of the members in the interviews. This was a very cool experience. For most of the questions, the members didn't need any translations, but for some of the questions Elder Anderson really wanted me to clarify some of the points and make sure that they were fully understood. Elder Anderson really took the opportunity to teach me a bit about the interviewing process, and it was very interesting to see an interview from a somewhat-outside perspective, but also in a very included perspective as well as interpreter, just to see the spirit that testifies and the power in the questions that are given. One thing Elder Anderson told me was that the interviewing process gives us as members the opportunity to report on our doings, to show our accountability to our actions. I was really able to see again the love Elder and Sister Anderson have for this people, even if there's not a whole lot of understanding vocally. They were both converts to the church after they were married, and I really just love their testimony of Christ. They really have a strong testimony of the power of the Atonement to make us better people. 

And this upcoming week, we are going to Cebu for a conference with Elder Bowen of the Philippines Area Presidency. He has asked us to study beforehand the Abrahamic Covenant, the House of Israel, the Baptismal Covenant, and the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. I am excited to see what we are to learn, but what I have learned is just how wonderful the promises of God are for us. He has promised us that we can all receive his Glory through these covenants. We can be a part of that, as infinite as the stars of heaven. I know that this is true.

This is the view from the Romano house. This was the place last week where we watched the super moon rising over Cebu. The Romanos are so good. Ely was baptized the week before I got here, and his wife and daughter are recent converts, too, though they have three youth-age sons who are going to be baptized by Ely in September. The thing I always find so amazing about Ely is he truly understands how important the unity of his family is in the gospel, and he knows the significance that he is able to baptize his sons. It is just incredible how truth rings to all the world.


Elder Adam Dunford

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