Good thing it's a Wednesday week...
I hate this keyboard. It's the kind of keyboard where they moved some of the keys around (put the backslashes in the wrong places and whatnot), and it's driving me crazy. :P
This week's been pretty good. I'm really happy with the progress of our investigators so far. Claire unfortunately gave into temptation last Tuesday and had a few drinks with her new boss, and when Mona and Hanz came home to find her drunk, Mona yelled at her and chewed her out. The whole experience made Claire realize that what she did was wrong, and that if she wants to maintain a good relationship with her family, especially with her sister, Mona, she needs to stop. So she did. She's stopped everything now--smoking, drinking, coffee, gambling, everything. Hanz has made similar changes in his life. He's also stopped gambling, and he's stopped watching porn. He now has more time to spend with his family, he now has time to go to church. Claire got a job as a live-in cook, and fortunately, can still go to church and we can still teach her occasionally, so her progress will not be hindered. Hanz and Mona, after wavering a bit, have recommitted to shoot for early September for their wedding and for Hanz's baptism (they have a quite a bit of paperwork they need to get together to fulfill all the requirements for a marriage license, so they were thinking of putting it off till December. I was like, "NO. THAT'S TOO FAR.")
I'm really really happy with the progress they've made so far. I think they're probably some of the first of my converts who have completely turned their lives around like this. Most of my other converts only had to make a few minor changes in their lives to prepare for baptism, like quitting coffee, etc., but Hanz and Claire have made huge changes to live according to the commandments of God. When we taught Claire about the Law of Chastity, she was like, "You know, Elder, almost all of those things you've mentioned that aren't allowed--gambling, tatoos, buttloads of earrings, immodest clothing--I used to do." The thing that's probably the most amazing about their conversion is that fact that they made almost all of these changes in their lives BEFORE we even taught them that those things are against the commandments of God. They just sorta realized on their own when we started teaching them about the gospel that those things are wrong, and that they need to stop.
Our other investigators are doing well, too. Lyka Dublan will be baptized this coming Saturday. The Dublan family has been getting more and more involved in scripture study, coming to church, paying tithing, etc. They're pretty excited about Lyka's baptism.
One reason I really like working with part-member families and referrals is that with regular tracting, if you show up at some random person's house and try to invite them to come to church on a first visit, more often than not, they won't do it. It often takes them a good couple of weeks of teaching before they'll even try going to church, if they do it at all. But if you go visit a part-member family, especially if the members are active, you can often successfully invite them to come to church on the first visit, and they'll come that week. They already know people at church; they already have a support system. Those people gain a testimony much faster, progress much quicker, and become much stronger than any other converts. Such was the case with Hanz and Claire, and such was also the case last week with Mac Mac and Carla Geli, who we visited and taught for the first time on Saturday night, and then came to church the next day for the first time in years (they've been taught before, but it was a long time ago). The work's been progressing very quickly lately.
I had to say goodbye to Elder Casio today. He's been transferred to Naic, and I'll be staying another transfer--actually, most likely another two transfers. I'll be training a new missionary, fresh from the MTC. I think his name's Elder Swainson. I haven't met him yet. I'll meet him tomorrow at the mission home. My companion for today is actually Elder Magbanua again. He's going to train this transfer, too. We have a bunch of meetings and stuff to go to today and tomorrow in preparation for training. President Stucki takes the trainer position very seriously, viewing it as the most important leadership position in the mission. I remember how hard the first few weeks in my mission were, and they were made harder by the fact that my trainer wasn't the greatest in the world. I'm going to do my best to make sure my anak has the best experience I can give him for his first two transfers (they've started a new 12-week training program, so it's pretty certain I'll be with my anak for two transfers). I'mma be a tatay now! :D (Currently, I am what they call "pregnant," in missionary terms. I'm about to have a kid, but it hasn't come out yet, so I'm still "pregnant." Hehehehe.... ^^'' )
Anyway, that's about it for this week. I honestly can't think of anything in particular I want for my birthday. Just send me cool stuff. :D ... >.< Sorry, Richelle, I keep forgetting to pick a landscape picture for you. Next week! Promise! ^^''
In the meantime, you guys should start thinking about what sort of souvenirs and gifts and stuff you want me to get for you here in the Philippines before I come back home, because it's coming up pretty quick. Mga 5 months na lang.
Love you all! :D Ingat kayo lagi!
Elder David Jones