Thursday, December 4, 2014

November 25 - December 2, 2014 - Ayungon, Negros Oriental

 Me, RJ, Ram Ram, and Elder Pascua, eating a fruit called "Eba." It was very sour. Ram is an investigator of ours, who is the son of a member who was baptised years before she was married, but never continued to church. Ram's uncle is a bishop in Dumaguete, though, and so he's grown up knowing about the church and going every once in a while. But we found their family my first transfer here, and since then, we gave Ram a Book of Mormon and found he loves reading, coming to church, and learning, and simply knows that this is true. He's gotten a hold of a ton of old church materials of his uncle which he's been reading (including a blue handbook [?]) and he is juts super bright. I love this kid. We've tried a lot to teach his mom and Dad, but they are very busy, but last night, we got his dad to say he'll join when his project finishes in a few months (He's building a birthing house [what do you call this in english] somewhere in the mountains)  Ram is just so clearly a door into his family, and he is so good.

The bridge in Ayungon is out! Last wednesday night, we had a storm come in
and hit Negros Oriental! All night, we had strong winds, rain, and coconuts
falling very loudly on our tin roof, and got up in the morning to find
everything blown about a bit. The corn and sugarcane outside our house was
fallen, coconut fronds and unripe mangos everywhere, and everything was
covered with little, shredded leaves and wet. There were many places that
were na ba-ha' (flooded, with accent mark for pronunciation), and most
every banana plant has been snapped in half, but there was only a few
houses I know of that were hit by trees or washed out.

However the big scene of destruction was at the bridge in Ayungon, across
the main river. The concrete bridge was destroyed a couple of years ago in an
earthquake, and they've been working on it, rebuilding the concrete span
since. There was only a rickety coconut-wood one-way detour as the path for
the highway, which in the flood last week, was washed out! I haven't
gotten a picture of it yet, but it is quite a scene.  Luckily, in just the last month, the new
concrete span was completed, and by yesterday, they jerry-rigged together a
way for cars and buses to get across, because this bridge is the only way
for the highway to get across the river, so Negros Oriental was cut in half
for about a week there.

So my Thanksgiving Thursday was actually filled with grey skies and a
passing baguio (storm) and splits with the Zone Leaders. I worked with
Elder Snyder, from Thousand Oaks, Ca. He was super cool and taught me
a lot. But for our thanksgiving dinner, we were invited to the Romano
house. There the four of us, (Elder Pascua, Elder Gama, Elder Snyder,
and myself) ate with our Recent convert family. They cooked one of
their chickens for us and mais (corn grits, cooked like rice, which I
found nice I was able to have corn for thanksgiving too.), and we had
a good time. I loved the fact that I was able to eat with this family
for my Thanksgiving dinner, because they truly are always so grateful
to have us and to have this gospel.

We had an experience beginning last week that I want to report on.
Last Tuesday, we were tracting around in Tampocon 1, one of our areas
that we've been trying to build a teaching pool, and we ayo'd at a
house with a very nice yard and garden. We were welcomed in by a
teenage girl cleaning the house, who said that elders had visited her
mother a few times earlier this year. We went in and came to find that
she was the care taker for her father, Rafael, who was bedridden, and
had a obviously very ill body. She said that he had a multitude of
sicknesses, and had been deteriorating for the last year. He could
hear and could speak a few words, and was aware and listening. We
taught a short message about the Gospel of Jesus Christ to him and his
daughter, and Elder Pascua said that he felt very prompted to give
this man a blessing. He was caused to sit up and we taught a little
about priesthood blessings to Rafael and his daughter. When we stood
and came around him, we told Brother Rafael we would give him this
blessing, to which he answered clearly, "Salamat." Elder Pascua gave
him a simple blessing, saying that through his faith in Jesus Christ,
he would be healed. We closed and left. Elder Pascua and I discussed
as we were walking out that he just truly felt that they needed to
feel the power of the priesthood. We were unable to go back to this
house until yesterday, where we found at the front tables, chairs, and
easy-up tents, indicative here of a funeral, and the teenage daughter
sitting outside. She told us that the day after we visited, Rafael had
passed away. We talked a little, but did not teach, because there was
still visitors of the funeral party. I know that in our visit, this
family was able to feel the power of God. I know they received a
blessing through the direct power of the priesthood, and we now have
the great responsibility to show them the way that they all can be
healed through their faith in Jesus Christ.

Also this week is transfer week, and not much changed! All four of us
here in Bindoy Branch are staying, which I very am thankful for. I
have seen so much growth in myself here, and I know that the Lord
still has work for me here. I love you, and I am so glad I am here in
Ayungon for this Christmas season.

Elder Dunford 

 Us at a pizza shop after District meeting. I promised I wasn't going to have pizza much here, because I'd be better off just to wait till I get home, though this shop was cleaner than many pizza shops back home.

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