Magandang gabi po, minamahal kong pamilya.
I'll have you know, I appreciate the real letters instead of the hastily written lines done at 10 pm on Sunday night. :D (Though even the hastily written lines done at 10 pm on Sunday night are better than nothing, I guess. I don't envy those who don't get emails from family every week, especially those who only get them once a month or less).
Good that my transcript stuff's all taken care of now. Now I just need to get around to completing those essays... :P Haven't had time yet...
Funny how I never actually heard anything about the earthquake until now... o.o Don't get much chance to watch the news a lot.
Glad to hear that the jazz band's still alive and didn't get lost in the snowstorm (yay for rescuing Timberline! :D ). (Snowstorms are still kind of a foreign concept to me now...) Also glad to hear that they're still doing recordings for KPLU. Way to go! :D I'd like a copy of that CD after my mission.
We've actually been blessed this week with quite a number of people to teach. Through member referrals and sometimes just by being in the right place at the right time, we've picked up a number of really good investigators. One of them, named Jobelle, has a ton of questions, and flat out studied the snot out of the pamphlets and Book of Mormon that we gave her (by the time we came back for the second appointment, she had already studied everything we gave her, so she basically taught us the first lesson about the Restoration. It was like, "...Well... Yes. Yes, that's correct..."
This last Thursday and Friday we had a really cool spiritual experience. Last transfer, Elder Gillette and his previous companion, Elder Bautista, were teaching one family that never progressed, who they always simply argued with about authority and never got anywhere. But one day one of their relatives, Sister Tinsay, sat in on the lesson and listened. They invited her to church, thinking that if she went, then they would try to find her address and come back to her, but if not, they wouldn't bother coming back. She didn't come to church, so, consequently, they didn't come back. But she waited for them. Weeks later, some of the other missionaries in our zone talked to her husband on a jeepney. He gave them their address, and then they gave the address to us, since it was in our area. So we went to go find it on Thursday, treating it like any other referral. The place was a complete maze of little, tiny alleyways, so we asked around for Lanzones street (which, with Filipinos, is sometimes like trying to ask rocks for directions...). Sister Tinsay, in the meantime, ever since that first lesson, had been trying to get our attention every time we passed by that area so she could talk to us, waving at us, etc, but in a crowd where everyone and his fourth cousin, twice removed, is trying to get our attention by waving at us and shouting at us, we didn't notice her. But Thursday, when she saw us looking for Lanzones Street, she thought, "Ah! They're looking for me!" So she came up to us and talked to us. She seemed to know Elder Gillette, but he didn't immediately recognize her. As we talked, though, he remembered that lesson way back in his first week in the field. We set a return appointment and came back the next day. She's been waiting for us for weeks now, ever since that first lesson, because she enjoyed how well the missionaries explain everything. Every time she would see us, she would sort of pray to herself, "I hope someday those missionaries come and teach us." Every time she passed by the church, she told her husband, "Hopefully, someday, we'll be able to go to church there." I've already mentioned before that I don't believe in coincidences. One way or another, the Lord led us back to that family, like, "No, don't drop her! She's ready to listen! Get back over there and teach them!" "Okay..." ^^''
We went back and visited Molino 1st on Saturday night for Mexi's baptism. It's always fun going back to visit previous areas, especially for baptisms (I wanted to go take Elder Gillette on a tour of the area and everything, but we're not allowed to do that... ^^'' ). I'm really happy that Mexi's finally been baptized. It took her long enough. ^^'' Again, like I've said before, she's wanted to go to church and be baptized and everything for a long time now. It's just that so many trials came in the way week after week that her goal got put off again and again. She wanted to give up. She wanted to give up several times along the way. But for six months, I wasn't willing to give up on her, and neither was the Lord. Now, in the end, she's finally reached her goal. Her testimony is very strong. She knows that this Church is true and that she's made the right decision. Now her big wish is for her family to follow her. I was hoping her parents would attend so they could witness their daughter's baptism, but they didn't show up.. :/ But hopefully someday, they'll finally open their hearts enough to listen to the message. They're nice people. I love that whole family and want them all to enter the covenant of baptism. But so far, they've let the cares of the world keep them from the truth.
There were a few times when I wondered if it was right to just baptize Mexi without the rest of the family. I really wanted to teach the whole family, I really wanted them all to hear the gospel, to come to church, to feel the joy that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ. But they wouldn't listen. Only Mexi would ever listen to us; everyone else would always just sorta half-listen or find something else to do, never showing any real interest. So I was left to wonder: Is it right for us to teach her and baptize her without the rest of them? She's only 16 years old. I didn't want to give up on her, because she had a strong desire and strong testimony, but I'm always very hesitant to baptize anyone under 18 who has no family support. But then I remembered about Mom. Mom, if I remember right, was only baptized at age 15, and for a very long time, was the only one in the family to get baptized. The missionaries likely asked themselves the same thing: Is it right to baptize her alone? We see the result now. Now she's remained faithful to her covenants, she's married in the temple, she's helped raise and lead a strong member family. Because of her, I'm out here doing the work of the Lord. So... I have faith that if Mom could do it, Mexi can do it, too.
I saw my old friend last weekend, too... ;P He also attended the baptism. While everyone was changing into the baptismal clothes, he decided to go change into baptismal clothes, too. O.o So he spent the evening sort of hanging around dressed in white like some sort of creepy ghost. Elder Gillette, who'd heard all my stories about him, found the whole thing somewhat hilarious. He thankfully didn't cause any trouble other than that. I don't know if he ever changed out of the baptismal clothes...
Anyway, I'm out of time now. I'm including some pictures this week. :D
Love you all! Until next week, inggatz! :D
Elder David Jones
1. Elder Gillette and I. We're pretty astig. :D
2. The baptism of Mexineth Surigao. All of these missionaries taught her at some point along the way (except Elder Gillette. He's just there for looks. :D ) (Elder Feinga's not here, since he's still chillin' out in Palawan...)
3. The Great and Spacious Building, right next to the River of Filthy Water... Bahahahaha... ^^''