Wow, what a week! It has been really great though. First I want to share an experience I had on Friday that was so great! So it was Good Friday and we weren't allowed to do any work (because it was dangerous? I don't really know. People always said tons about how crazy holy week, but I didn't even notice a difference at all!) so we stayed inside and studied all day. If you know me, you know I love curling up with a good book and reading for hours on end so that is exactly what I did, I read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John! All in one day, can you believe it? I kinda felt like I was reading Harry Potter haha but when I finished, I thought I just read all about Christ's earthly ministry among the Jews, I can't think of a better way to spend Good Friday! At the end of my reading, all I could think was I am SO grateful for the Book of Mormon and the restored gospel of Jesus Christ! How can reading the Bible all day long increase my testimony about the Book of Mormon?? Good question! The Book of Mormon beautifully expounds upon the nature of Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice. I read about his many miracles, his teachings, the intercessory prayer, him tarrying in the garden while his apostles waited, his unjust trial, his crucifixion and resurrection 3 days later. But it is in Alma and 2 Nephi that we learn we cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven save it were for this great, last, infinite, and eternal sacrifice. He shall atone for the sins of the world, go forth suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind and take upon him the pains of sicknesses of his people.(Alma 34:8-10 and Alma 7:6-8). Not only does the atonement allow us to return, but it allowed him to be "filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know how to succor his people according to their infirmities."(Alma 7:11-13). Wow! What a knowledge we have! Than add the revelation given to the prophet Joseph Smith, "For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; but if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I; which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit-and would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink." (D&C 19:16-18) Wow. Would anyone want to suffer like that if they had the choice? Then add the Modern Revelation we have received and continue to receive by listening to General Conference! How blessed are we?? In Preach my Gospel, it says, "As we rely on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, He can help us endure our trails, sicknesses and pain. We can be filled with joy, peace and consolation. All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Christ." The Atonement is the single most important doctrine we need to be happy in this life as well as the life to come. This is why I'm here! I get to share this message everyday and it is awesome.
So, it's ironic that I had this experience on Friday that made me thankful for all the knowledge that we have readily available to us as members of the church and then on Easter Sunday I had some experiences that made me even more grateful! I want all of you to hug your quadruple combination of the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price because we need all of them to fully understand the gospel, but many, many members here don't have access to them! We can only teach from the Book of Mormon the lessons because that is the only book we have in Tagalog for them to read. Which is a pretty hard thing to do even if it is the keystone of our religion! And then, even after they are baptized, many members in our ward have access to them in English and they know english quite well because of their work, but some do not. They need to rely on the members during church to read the scriptures in english during the lesson and explain in Waray-waray. Same with General Conference! We will watch it a week later in english and many will not be able to fully understand, but will have to wait until these lessons are taught in church. We taught a couple that have been inactive for 8 years and when we visited them Saturday, they expressed a desire to get married and return to full activity so they could receive the blessing of the temple and we hope to witness their marriage soon. While we were teaching them on Sunday, Sister Weng had a question about Pontias Pilate and how the Jews wanted to Crucify Jesus, as told in Mark. All they had was an English bible, so we read with them, verse by verse what it meant. Now this wasn't even particularly deep doctrine, but they needed our help in understanding. And then later we taught the Ordonez Family (who just got baptized) and they asked about the Doctrine and Covenants and how they could read it. They have a desire, but even if we can get one for them, it will be in english and very difficult for them to understand. How blessed we are! Not just temporally, but spiritually as well! Even though many people around the world have been blessed to have scriptures translated into their own tongue, these people have not. Although it is so wonderful that they have the capacity to learn through going to church, they cannot read on their own and know for themselves which is something I will never again take for granted.
Wow, that was long! But I really can't imagine a better way of spending Easter weekend. And now on a lighter note, yesterday I helped Nanay Ordonez wash her car (pictures soon to follow) and we had to pump our own water across the street and then when I was helping, there was literally a crowd of like 10 kids crowded around watching me help haha it was so funny! And everytime someone passed (which is often, the streets are very busy) they would do a double take and just smile. Also good things about Good Friday is Sister Karagdag (who lives with us) made us very delicious mango smoothies than a delicious grahamcracker-mango-ice cream cake! They (filipinos) definitely have a sweet tooth and it is perfect for me! I even tried some homemade peanut butter and it is so sweet! There is no way you need honey or jam! And the bread, spaghetti, even the pizza is made sweeter. At first, I didn't like the peanut butter that much and I preferred American, but it grew on me fast. Maybe I'll return home and add sugar to all my peanut butter or something haha The work has been progressing well. Lots of teaching to investigators and Less actives (almost more to less actives) but getting them to come to church is pretty hard, but we won't give up! A couple that promised adamantly Saturday that they would be there did not come, why? It was rainy. It's the Philippines! It's rains every other day, at least. haha I'm patient though and think, next week!
I hope through my experiences you are able to feel so blessed, because you are!!! You have a loving Heavenly Father and he has given you all so much. Never forget to thank him, for even the things that might seem small like scriptures in your own language. And most importantly, use that gift! That is the best way to show appreciation. Until next week!
|Me and Sister Somera with a Sting ray at a local fish stand.|
|Washing Nanay Ordonez's car. They fit a family of 10 in here! What?? And it wasn't actually that dark, I think the flash made it look darker.|