We had transfer calls last night (or more like we gave out the transfer calls!). And might I say that my time in San Nicolas has been short! 3 months is a short time and I am staying another transfer so it shall be 4 1/2 all together. Same companion, the only big difference is that my trainee, Elder Fernandez is coming to my zone! Hooray!
Not quite sure where to begin with my stories. There was a ton of things that happened this past week. One of those experiences I will have to email my parents with and sorry but you will have to contact them to hear it.
While walking home the other night this guy walked past me and asked (translated to English), "Is Joseph Smith handsome?" So my reply was, "Am I handsome?" He didn't like my reply cuz within a minute a HUGE debate sprung out - so much that a crowd of college students gathered around us. This guy was angry for some reason (usually offended) and he was just yelling and railing. Yeah, I admit that I didn't handle that one quite well but if I learned anything from debate class in Jr High, it is that he who gets mad first loses. So...what is my strategy to debates? Put a huge smile on my face and let 12 years of hockey do its course. He got mad. I confounded him and made fun of him (much like my dad would haha) to the point that I think I need to repent haha! My comp. came rushing in after about 10 minutes and pulled me away. It has honestly been a while since I've had such an adrenaline rush. It was probably the most heated debate I have ever been in. But over it all I did learn a ton!
For one, I shouldn't do that again.
Two, my friend used what is called "scriptural rail splits". That is where you use a verse or line WAY out of context. For example, Hebrews 7:12 talks about a need for a change in the Law because of the change in the priesthood. One could think this means that ALL old things are done away (from the time of Adam- Abraham- Moses- Isaiah- Jesus) but the context (Hebrews 7 and other surrounding chapters) is talking about the Levitical priesthood being given (the lesser law) because the higher law "or the order of Melchizedec" couldn't be upheld so the lesser law given. The lesser law is what is fulfilled (the Law of Moses) and the higher law or the order of Melchizedec restored through Christ.
What I learned from my friend is the need to really study the scriptures yourself with the companionship of the Holy Ghost INSTEAD of listening to the words of preachers alone. If we listen to the words of preachers only, then we have only their understanding and thus we are ‘sheeple’ (people acting like sheep). I bolded a few words because people can help us understand the truth. But our studies shouldn't be their words only. A leader’s wisdom and God’s wisdom as well can help us see beyond our own wisdom. We just need to be able to discern between the two at times of question.
I hope you can understand just a bit of how passionate I am about this subject - false vs true doctrine. James 1:5 tells us to ask God for wisdom and He will give it freely. Why should we rely on human understanding of godly things when God Himself can teach us like He does to me SO much here in my mission, and like He always has throughout the history of the world to prophets and the earnest seeker of truth.
I cannot describe my feeling this past week. Down hearted? Depressed a bit (but at the same time not depressed)? Hurt? One of our stake families here in my area took a huge fall lately and unexpectedly I found the skeleton in the closet. We teach just about ALL of our lessons in their house because almost all of our gators are coming from that section of the Drug Den area nako. I am not quite sure how we are going to start this new transfer with the issue that came up.
My Filipino sister batch went home actually a few hours ago! I got close to 2 of them here in my zone. It is sad to see your friends leave. It feels a bit empty. Elder Espiritu (my previous companion) went home last Friday on a medical release. Puntedness!
We also had the chance to talk with a few people in the burned down area. One of the men came to church last Sunday, Si Gayford. When we met with him, he just looked down the whole time, took several long pauses to respond to my questions. In the end he told me, "Brother Morris, very hungry". I cried a bit when he said that. Because a stupid fight between a boy and his girlfriend lead to a candle being knocked over, 300 houses burned to the ground in a squatters area! These people have NOTHING and a fire took even that. We had a very tender lesson as I exhorted him to come to Christ who will help!
Drugs are rampant in that area as well! I have seen SO many exchanges to the point where without even asking I know who to go to, prices, and products. It is so crazy. The grasp Satan has here is really torturous. So many people come here on vacation to the nice beaches (think Siquijor) and never see the real life here.
This week had me pondering a lot, not just how I can even try to help but with my life when I go home. A few things stand out. Alcohol will never pass my lips. Cigarettes and drugs will never have a part of me. I will never hit my wife or kids. God will be first. Families are godly so them too first. Education - I will do all I can to become a successful doctor of some sort (not sure yet). Food will always be on my table even if that means that I don’t eat. My children won’t have to ever suffer because of my mistakes. I will be like my own parents and give my children every opportunity to do what they would like to (sports, music talents, trips etc.). I understand that things get difficult but I will make sure that I am not the reason to my family being held back.
It’s been a long week.
We have a tatay who came to church for his 5th time and he is looking really good! The ray of hope is the baptism of Tatay Rico this transfer! He is persecuted so much at home but always stays strong. The other investigators are still investigating.
Well, I feel a bit drained right now - haha! I do hope that you all are doing well! At home or abroad I pray for you all. Take care. 4 1/2 months to go:/
The pics below are some of my friends in the area.
(The little girls is super cute! The older one is MicMic; one good friend nako.