This week has been a good week. Then again, aren't they always?
So a cool story. Back on Tuesday, we had district meeting. One of the zone leaders shared an idea that when we get punted from an appointment, we should try talking to people who are nearby. There is always a reason for being punted. Some other opportunity you can capitalize on. I am not super good at that. If I get punted, we usually head to the next appointment. So we decided we'd give it a try. After district meeting, we of course went out to work. Funny story, first appointment; punted. So we headed off to the next appointment. But as we were walking past one of the nearby houses, a lady out front said, "Hi Elders!" If you hear the word Elders, that is a good sign. They know something about the church, even if all they know is that we are called elders. So we stopped and went to talk to them. It was a delightful conversation that ended up with us having a return appointment to teach. They are GOLDEN!! They are a nice young couple. Girl is 18, boy is 19. We have taught them twice now. They have a baptismal date for April. They are so willing to make changes and they are loving the gospel. They are actually reading the Book of Mormon, which is a miracle!! The Tagalog in the Book of Mormon is so deep, that Filipinos don't like to read it. It's too hard. It's so hard to get people to read the Book of Mormon. But, it's incredible the difference we have with them, a couple actually reading the BoM, to people that we teach who don't read it. I always say it, and I can and will keep saying it. We need to read the scriptures!! And that is a whole different ball park that I will get to later. The point is, we followed the advice of our zone leader. New investigators of the golden status!! Later in the same day, we did the same thing and talked to some older gentleman. He also wants us to come back, but we haven't met with him again yet. But basically, the idea has worked and we are having success from it. Yes!!!
We had ward conference this week. Basically on Saturday, some of the stake leaders came and laid down the law on our ward leaders. Told them to step their game up. It was great! We are trying to get the hometeaching program rolling. So we went out with some of the priesthood brethren of the ward to visit with them. It was sad to see how hard it was for our older brethren of the church to share a message! Practically incapable!! But that's ok. It takes practice. When you haven't done hometeaching in 5 years, you get a little rusty. So hopefully that will get rolling!
Sunday was still ward conference. We still had stake leaders there laying down the law. But this time, it was on the members!! And it was wonderful!! Our bishop gave a wonderful talk with a thought I'd like to share. He talked about how we all have agency. We have some things that we have no control over. And our life will play out with how we react to those situations. For example; a mom cooks breakfast; dad and daughter are eating. Daughter spills milk on dad's shirt. Dad reacts. Gets mad at his daughter for spilling the milk. Tells her off for it. Girl starts crying. Dad tells mom that she needs to take better care to raise the daughter better. Dad and mom fight. Girl misses the school bus cuz she is crying. Dad changes his clothes and then has to drive the girl to school. Leaves without even saying goodbye to the wife. Is driving fast cuz daughter is late. Gets pulled over. Ticket and daughter is now way late for school. As result, she is in trouble. Dad is then late for work. Gets chewed out by the boss for coming in late. After a long day of work, goes home cranky. Pretty lousy eh? Is that all caused by the spilled milk? Maybe not. I heard a quote once. Our problems our not always the problem, but the way in which we deal with the problem. Lets hit rewind. What if this is the situation. Mom cooks breakfast; dad and daughter are eating. Daughter spills milk on dad's shirt. Dad chooses to act. He says don't worry, I'll go change my shirt. Be careful next time though! Smooches the daughter on his way up the stairs. Daughter heads off to school. On the way out the door to work, dad thanks wife for breakfast and leaves her with a kiss. Wonderful day of work. Comes home to a happy family. The ending is completely different. All because of the way the father handled the situation. In the second, he chose not to be upset. The deed was done. He chose to be happy about it and move on. We all have problems every day. Some are not as simple as spilled milk. But life will be so much easier and happier if we choose not to be acted upon, but to act. "There are two types of people in this world; those who are acted upon and those who act." Story of John Rowe Moyle, Stonecutter Video. 2 Nephi 2:14 "For there is a God, and he hath created all things...both things to act and things to be acted upon" Satan would have us be things that are acted upon. We had milk spilled on us so we have no choice but to be angry. But our Heavenly Father would have us be things that act. We did have milk spilled on us, but instead of letting that make us mad, we choose to act and to be happy. We have things that we cannot control. Our happiness and eternal salvation can depend on how we choose to act. Don't be acted upon. Choose to act. Choose to be happy.
Alright, as long as I'm up on my soap box. Thought from earlier about reading scriptures. I will not punish you with the whole personal study I had, but I will give a few brief thoughts. You may want to go check this out if you find this interesting at all. I'm sure the study would be better coming from you than from me. Unfortunately, I have no notes. So we are running on memory. Yeah, good luck. Ok, so I was reading in 1 Nephi, about Lehi's dream, and the tree of life and what not. Loving it. Get to 1 Nephi 8:23. It talks about mists of darkness. The mists of darkness that cause even those people who are in the way (members?) who get blinded and become lost. Wow, if this stuff is pulling off members from the way and causing them to be lost, we'd best know what the mists of darkness are so that we can watch out! What are the mists of darkness? Footnotes. I highly recommend them. They change the scriptures. 1 Nephi 12:17. The mists of darkness are the temptations of the devil which blind the eyes and harden the hearts and lead people away to destruction. AH! The temptations of the devil. If we follow another footnote to 2 Peter, we read that the temptations of the devil are wells without water, which to me means they have no reward. Why do we go to wells? For the water, of course. We expect to receive that reward. But his temptations are wells without water. We expect to get something, but there is no blessing. There is nothing there. Empty promises that leave you lost. Ok, so we know what the mists are. But it says the mists cover the path. So no one is escaping them. Everyone has to pass through them. How do we be sure that we aren't being fooled, blinded, and becoming lost? What do we do? Ha, of course, the answer is in the scriptures! 1 Nephi 15:24 talks about the iron rod, or the scriptures. Those who hearken to and hold on to the scriptures will not be overcome or be blinded and led away. We hearken to the scriptures by studying them and applying the things we learn in our lives. So we overcome the temptations of satan with the scriptures!! We have to read them every day! And not just read but really study them. Then if you flip to Ephesians 6:16. Above all, we take the shield of faith which quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked. What's up!!! So as we study the scriptures and apply them to our lives, we are more able to overcome temptations, which in turn builds our faith. Our faith then becomes our shield that we use to put away doubts and temptations and whatever else satan has to throw at us. So!!!! STUDY YOUR SCRIPTURES!!!! No excuses!! If you don't, you wander and become lost. Don't get lost. Read. Wassup.
Ok, I am throwing my soap box in the trash!! I will try to never do that to you all again!! I'm sorry, I just get so excited! And just like that, I've preached to you all and run myself out of email time. Woe is me. Sigh. Sorry!! This was a wonderful week! We are having tons of success! My area is great, my comp is money, and life is the best!!! Everyone should just serve a mission and then I can stop emailing you all cuz you'll already know what's up!! Do it!!
The pics! The first is a couple of future missionaries wearing our shoes. Looks good. I'd like to say they'll grow into them, but in reality, their feet will never be as big as mine. Filipinos are small. It's just a fact. The next pic is how I spend my time here. You all thought I was teaching the gospel? Na, I'm livin it up!! The next would be me with some kiddies. Don't I have these every week? The next is Elder Sumagaysay during comp study. I was trying to explain a principle in the training program we're doing. Looked up to see that face. Man, people enjoy my teaching!! And the final picture pretty much sums up my life as a missionary, and my missionary character. As you can see, I'm a serious man. Sorry about the pics and the lack thereof, but the cam just didn't come out much this week. Too much work!!!!!
I love you all! Have a wonderful week! Don't let red heads preach to you! RUN!!!