Thursday, December 4, 2014

November 11-19, 2014 - Ayungon, Negros Oriental

Sunset above Anibong

The Pastors with the family of their Daughter (lives in Amlan, in Tanjay District as well.) The Pastor's grandson is on a mission in Angeles now, and they were able to come to Tanjay District Conference with their daughter's family. Their Daughter is in all ways exactly like her parents. It was a really sweet experience, too. I love the Pastors so much.
So I really want to tell my story that I now have of Pentecostals on my mission.

On Monday, we got out of the house at about 8 o clock as usual to get to District meeting in Bais. As we were waiting up on the highway at the tindahan ("a place to sell", a common little house-shop) by our house for a ceres bus to pass, a big cargo-type truck full of people standing in the back came up the road, so we flagged it down and hopped in the back.

So the four of us were standing in the back of this truck along with about 30 other people, and Elder Pascua started talking to the group in the corner by us, just getting to know them. One of them, a man who was certainly an elder of the others, being about 60 years old, started asking and answering our questions in a very confident, though not entirely fluent English, a common sign around these of someone who is (considers themselves) well-educated. Elder Pascua asked them where he was going, and this man answered "We are pentecostal, we are going to a retreat activity in Mabinay." Elder Pascua answered excitedly, "Mao ba? (really?) Well we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints!" So this older man started, very excitedly as well, asking Elder Pascua what our message was, what the "good news" is, and such. Elder Pascua answered his questions and told this whole group of people of the restoration, of Joseph Smith, of continuing revelation, while this man kept asking simple questions, just questioning everything Elder Pascua was saying.

So at this point, Elder Pascua had gotten just about as much as he was going to get through to him, so I started to take a try, testifying of the restoration. This man asked us "Why do you need a prophet, God gives to man his Spirit to guide man." At this point I also noticed just how much all the other people on the truck were watching, and very much in tune to what we were discussing. I answered "He gives prophets to give his law, so that we can be worthy to have his spirit to guide us." To which he questioned again, "Well, how do you know Joseph eSmith is a prophet? What exact scripture can you read that will tell me Joseph Smith is a prophet?" I answered that "He came after the Bible, you can't read his name there, but if you pray and ask your Father in Heaven if it's true, he will answer you!" This brought about my favorite part of this experience, because our friend answered this by saying "Why would you ask the Father? He's not the one who deals with you, the Father sent Christ, and Christ sent the Spirit to man, so the spirit is the only one who works with man!" (These are all in exclamation points at this point now, because remember, we're standing in the back of an open-air cargo truck riding down the highway at a good clip, which made this whole experience a bit more spirited.) But this was my favorite part because I got to testify this, that "You can pray to your Father, because that's what he is! He's your literal Father in Heaven, and he loves you, and he wants to help you and guide you, because you are his child. He gives his Spirit to guide you and to answer you, but you can pray and ask your Father personally, and He will listen to you, and answer you!"
At this point, we had gotten to the point where we had to get off the truck, so we wrapped up our discussions very good-naturedly and started saying goodbye to the people around us, and asked again what the name was of this man, and he introduced himself as the pastor of their congregation. As we hopped off the back of this truck, I just felt so greatly and happily the joy of having been able to bear this testimony, that our Father in Heaven does care for us personally, and that our God isn't just some Spirit in the Sky, where you're gonna go when you die. But he's our Father, For we are also his offspring (Acts 17:28) God isn't some thing we can't understand. Rather he's someone we already know.
I love you all. I love this missionary work stuff. I love this area, and these people. I just want to help them all (alma 29), but I know the Lord will help us where he needs us. He will give us success in his own measure, and I have seen that a lot here. This is true.

Elder Dunford

This picture is awful because we had just come from a very cold church to a very tropical Dumaguete. But these are my ward-mates from my first area, Lawa-an Ward. Elder Gama, Sister Loquias, ako (me), and Elder Marzan.(Missing are Elder Haws and Sister Tune)
I am not in this picture. We had Zone Conf. in Dumaguete, all of Neg Oriental was there. 

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