I'll just reply to your email today. Thanks to you and dad for all the updates! That was a really cool topic that dad shared in church; I'm sure it went really well. His topic is something I was reminded of just a few days ago as well, how studying the gospel will create good habits better than studying good habits will create good habits. It may sound a little confusing at first, but it really is so simple. Living & learning the gospel goes beyond becoming a good person, it leads to becoming the best person we can be, even unto being like Jesus Christ. The more we learn about Christ the more we will love and desire to serve Him, and others. Elder Gatus (I'll talk more about him later) showed me 2 talks from his jump drive this past week: https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/brad-wilcox_his-grace-is-sufficient/ & https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/todd-b-parker_true-doctrine-understood-changes-attitudes-behavior/. They're both pretty long, but so powerful! Please try to find time to listen to them this week. "His Grace is Sufficient" was especially powerful for me personally and greatly changed my point of view on some things. I'm not gonna spoil it though; you guys will have to watch it yourselves haha.
As for this past week, it was a great one! I finally got my birthday package; thank you guys so much! You don't know how stoked I was about the clothes haha. The snacks are perfect and I so enjoyed reading your letters again and going through the pictures. Along with that I also received a bundle of small green letters from other members, which I also greatly appreciated. Thank you guys! They're very motivating and makes me more grateful and excited to be out here in the Philippines.
Now as for Elder Gatus. He's my new companion here in Bambang, and we already have a pretty awesome companionship haha. I was a little worried of him becoming my companion since he's really good in English and I thought I wouldn't be speaking Tagalog a whole lot with him, but he's nice and speaks Tagalog with me anyway so I can practice. We've only been together for a few days but I feel like we're gonna have a great cycle. He's kind of just like a brother and we already tease each other all the time and joke around, which I enjoy. I also noticed that he's a great teacher and missionary overall. I'm pretty stoked about this cycle, assuming I'll transfer by the next one.
The biggest event last week, besides transfer day, was Mae Pearl's baptism! It was a pretty memorial day for me even from the beginning. We started our day with a CSP at some members' home in the sisters area. The elders' job was to take the pile of wood stumps and branches that they had and cut them up so they could be used as fire wood. Obviously, being hard-headed, I went for the thicker pieces of wood and left the thinner ones for the others. After 30 minutes or so of chopping my back was suddenly struck with pain. I couldn't even walk over to take a seat for a minute, it was so sore. Eventually I worked my way over to a small bench and after some rest got few more branches done before leaving their home. I was supposed to baptize Mae Pearl but asked Elder Gatus to do it instead because of my back. Luckily Mae Pearl was really cool about it. We were also wondering if I'd even be able to work after the baptism. Once the baptism was over Elder Gatus asked if I wanted a Priesthood blessing and I said yes, and was kind of surprised that the thought of asking for a blessing didn't even cross my mind. This was my first time getting a Priesthood blessing since leaving the MTC. My testimony on the power of the Priesthood was strengthened all over again through Elder Gatus's blessing. As soon as he closed I jumped out of my seat and my back felt great! It's still not fully back to normal but it was more than enough to get through work comfortably. It actually was a miracle the way I see it. And the baptism overall went really well :) Our other investigator, Maria, attended and has a strong desire to be baptized as well. The only obstacle right now is that she and her "husband" aren't yet married. She almost lost hope and decided to not follow through with the baptism thing but changed her mind again after our lesson with her yesterday. She's great and I have high hopes that she'll be baptized by December.
Alright, those are the main things that happened this past week! The quantity of lessons wasn't so high this time, but the quality was right on I think. Like Elder Ishibashi (Fiji) said, it's not about the numbers. But it is nice to have a lot of lessons too haha. This week will be a great one! I'm excited for it. I love you guys and hope you have a great week as well!
Ingat po kayong lahat,
Last picture with Elder Labrador before he got on the bus. Transfers were a little different this time; he traveled alone and I waited with other elders here until Elder Gatus arrived.
Biggest grasshopper I ever seen in my life! And Elder Gatus tried to eat it...good story for when I get home
Baptism ni Mae Pearl! Did I mention she's the firstborn of Sis. Susan, our recently returned LA member? They're doing great things! Next step, family sealing :)