Saturday and Sunday. We were up in the Cabagtasan area that weekend where we stayed the night there and went to church in the small group out there. We only had 16 people show up to church at the small group and I got to give an amazing talk that was prepared in the 5 minutes that the sacrament was passed! I talked about Easter and the resurrection. I will admit that my talk was the only time that I heard about Easter OR the resurrection. This past Easter was quite different than I had thought. Due to it being a Catholic nation here they celebrated Holy Week.
On Thursday we went on splits with the Elders in Valehermoso. On Friday morning when returning home we were waiting at the bus stop and I look down the road and see 2 guys dressed in red robes with their faces covered marching down the road carrying a huge wooden cross. People were behind them beating them with sticks and branches and such. I videotaped it because Y.O.L.O. What I learned later is that this is common for people to do! I was told that they believe that if they suffer like Him they will receive a forgiveness of their sins...
On Friday night we parked the car to go and eat some fried chicken (cuz every other place with food was closed!) and the next thing we know, a police brigade comes by and cuts off all traffic to the road on which we parked and a HUGE group of people came marching down the street with super loud microphones shouting a rehearsed Catholic prayer. They had some big named Bishops and Priests in the lead. It was quite odd for the Mormon missionaries to be 30 feet away from a group of about 1000, especially since we have been warned to stay away from big groups of people.
On Sunday morning we woke at about 4:30 in the morning (this is in our other house in the middle of the jungle of Cabagtasan) to another loud speaker going off shouting a rehearsed Catholic prayer and a rather large group of motorcycles tailing behind the microphone. Elder Eberhard and I yelled at them from inside the house haha.
Sunday, the alleged day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead, was dead silent and clear that it went by unnoticed...I have a thought about all of this. So if the Lord Christ did not raise from the dead then His sufferings would have been in vain because we all would be cast out in the last day, good or bad (see 2 Nephi 9). But because He lives we all will live also and thus there is purpose in His sufferings. I don't understand why the Resurrection was the thing least celebrated?
One thought. It dawned on me that there is a difference between these two: commandments and traditions. Commandments come from God and must be kept at all times. Traditions come from man and are nice as long as they are in compliance with the commandments of God. When a tradition interferes with upholding a commandment of God or contradicts a commandment of God then is the tradition to not be upheld by the people. Sadly I witnessed a lot of traditions being kept by the people here. Hardly any of the commandments were though... A handful of these traditions here were actually in contradiction to the commandments of God.
The rest of my week was good. A lot of just plain out working:) We have a handful of really good investigators! I will admit that this is probably the most fruitful area I have been in since my first area over 1 1/2 years ago with 9 baptisms. We have the Martinez family, 5/6 people in the family our progressing investigators! They are really golden – I can’t describe how golden they are! We then are teaching the sister of one of the parents of the Martinez family. We have just recently started to teach her but she has come to church 2 times (3 times for the Martinez family). Her name is Josephine and she has a child that is joining her.
(Martinez family on the bday of their eldest daughter)
We also have tatay Tony. He suffered a stroke a few years ago and in partially paralyzed. He speaks with a slur and can’t really move so he requires assistance to get to places such as church. He is the only one in his family that is really interested in our message but he still makes his wife or daughter take him to church. He told us that he wants to be baptized! We then have the Ricamata family. We honestly have been finding so many investigators through that family. We have 3 main people from them— Josephine, Lary, and Alfredo. The two tatay (Lary and Alfredo) have already made it to church and they told us that they planned to go last Sunday but due to the rain they couldn't make it off of their mountain they live on. Josephine is the nanay and is always reading the Book of Mormon. I will admit that it is rare to find someone who is actually reading the book! like not just the assignments that we leave but reading more on her own. She is really good.
We found two new young ladies this past week. A sister Irene and her sister Christine. They are 17 and 18 and are really good! They truly pay attention in the lessons! -that’s not common BTW. They even have read more from the Book of Mormon than what we have assigned! Again, uncommon. Their parents told us when we asked them if we could teach their kids that "they have their own agency" and left it at that. One issue here is that once you find a really good person to teach they usually are killed off by one faithless person:/ Gina from Pardo. Jovie from Siquijor. Bibot from Siquijor. I forgot his name but a tatay from Argao. etc. But the parents are letting us teach their kids:) so I hope that all goes well! We will have to wait on teaching them though because there was a recent death in their family. It is mango harvest season now (YES!!!) and their uncle fell off from the top of one of the trees and died so they are going to the Mindanao Island to help with the newly widowed wife and 4 kids under 11 years old.
Our really progressing IBD recently moved, Jahar.
We have 2 kids who are part members to member parents that we teach every Wednesday. They live so far away it takes us 1 1/2 to drive out to their house. It is so far into the mountains that it is cold there at nights! WHAT! COLD IN THE PHILIPPINES! Yup, that’s how far up a mountain they live. We also have a handful of other part-members in that region that we are returning to tonight because they have recently returned from Bohol (The place where that terrorist attack happened last week) because their father was shot last month (and survived:)). So we shall hit them up later and begin visiting them again. One of the members is our recent convert.
Yeah that about does it for our main investigators. We are flying through a lot of people lately that it is crazy! We always have something to do and someone to go to here. We are kept pretty busy.
Other than that the week was a "Semana ra gihapon". Just another week. A handful of other things happened that I don’t have time here to write but have it all in the journal:) I will honestly be sad if 3 things were lost: 1) my camera with all my pictures, 2) my quad, it has all my written notes and tons of wisdom in it:), 3) my journals. The memories are worth it to me :) I can honestly look back on any day of my mission and remember what happened on that day due to the journal. It is a blessing.
(Eating sugar cane!)
(I got to ride a bike again!)
(My project last Wednesday)
(I have a car!)
(If anyone can tell me what is funny about this last picture I will buy you a chocolate bar. Oh and my Filipino friends can’t answer it! Sorry:/)
Well I hope that you are all doing well! I wish the best for you all! Love you all too! Amping! (Cebuano), Halong! (Illongo), Ingat! (Tagalog), Tsues (German), Ofa atu (Tongan), Adue (French), BYE! (Murican).