Saturday, June 26, 2010

busy week

Dear Family-

So, it would be extremely difficult for me to journalize my adventures that have happened today. Today was one of the most amazing days of my life haha:D:D:D I went to one of the capitals of the world, I went to the biggest mall in all of Asia, and I had delicious food (the only place in the Philippines that has a TGI Friday’s, Subway, starbucks, wendy’s, dippin dots, and cinnabon. Outback steakhouse and chili’s are in downtown manila). I cant even begin to explain how TRUNKY today made me haha. I went to a huge capital, I saw skyscrapers, I was with 50 other Americans, we passed the American embassy and I saw the first American flag in coming up on 8 months, I went into countless sports stores and was reminded about how much I miss running, and I hung out with kids in the biggest mall in Asia for 2 hours. Man oh man. Before I briefly touch down on such things I do have some stories to tell. There wasn’t any real spiritual bombshells this week just some kind of funny stories and one inspirational (for me) one…

So, I think I might have made the biggest fool of myself than I have ever before. We (as in De Leon and I) have 2 investigators that have the quietest voices I have ever heard. One of them is this little girl named Xavior Deanne. She is REALLY shy and we are trying really really hard to get her out of her shell. She has been going to church for the past couple years, her grandmother just hasn’t had the will to come ask the missionaries to teach her so she can be baptized. She is 11. Well, with these 2 investigators, out of De Leon and I, whoever is sitting closer is the one who listens to the prayer and says amen so that the other companion knows when to say amen. When I say amen to the really quiet prayers I say it really loudly and clap my hands (what am I, Baptist?) to kind of get the shyness out of the person praying. Well, we were teaching Xavier last Saturday and we asked her to prayer. She accepted and started to pray. With her prayer, you have to listen for the amen cause you cant understand anything else. Well, as I was listening I thought I heard her say amen, thus, following protocol, I said amen really loudly and clapped my hand…only to look up and see that she was still praying. I was like “oh…uh…just kidding” and went back into arms folded, head bowed position. Now, I feel like a fool right now…and De Leon makes it so much better by busting into uncontrollable laughter while this girl is praying…which makes the two nanays who were with us start laughing and then Xavier says amen and looks up and she is laughing. Cool. So, basically I ruined this girls prayer and made her think that prayer is a time to joke around. It wasn’t a submissive quiet amen either, it was a 120 decibles amen, and a loud clap to go with it. Not one of my best moments…

The second story deals with us tracting. Tracting is one of the funnest things in the world. If you are having a good day, you can spread the gospel. If you are having a bad day, it amuses you to hear the reasons as to why we “cant” tell them about the gospel. Last Friday I heard one that I have never heard before. We were going house to house (which is really hard in the Philippines cause you need to go to a richer sub division to be able to) when we tracted this older gentleman sweeping his house. We were like “tatay, how are you? (after a little bit of conversation) well tatay, we are missionaries and are trying to get to know people in the area…” and before I could finish he was like “im sorry, im a senior citizen.” Now, I am good with coming up with clever rebuttals to people’s attempts to kick us to the curb…but I had no clue what to say. You are a senior citizen…which prohibits you from meeting young people? Am I understanding right? He was like “im really sorry, im a senior citizen…” and walked away before we could say anything. I honestly had no clue what to say. Honestly, what do you say to that? Unfortunately, I had to admit defeat on that oneL but De Leon and I had way successful lessons for the rest of the day so I guess it kind of balanced it out…kind of…

I have another story that is intense. Someone told me that there is a guy in the Manila MTC that is Filipino and is tall. How tall? 6’? Taller. 6’6”? Taller. 7’? Taller. 7’6”? Taller. There is a Filipino in the MTC here in Manila that is 7’9”. He is the fourth tallest person in the world. I kid you not, he has to wear tire treads with rope for his shoes. The church had to make him special garments and is making him a special pair of shoes. Yea mom, so for all those jokes about my shoes being used in the case of a flood to save our family…we can just use that guys ark-like shoes. He needs 3 chairs cause he cant fit in the desks. Man…good luck in the jeepneys…

My last story is not important to other people cause it is a personal experience. It was just another of those goals that I got to check off on my “mission to do list” before I go home (which, at the end of next transfer is a mere year away…). We are teaching this girl named Caresa. She is 17 and is such an awesome person. She comes from rough background so it is interesting how the process of finding the “diamond in the rough” is coming along. Well, the other day Elder De Leon and I taught the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. The Law of Chastity is taught differently here in the Philippines. Because of the translation, there is no sufficient word to explain the Law of Chastity as a whole we need to go step by step and explain everything in detail. It is a heavy lesson because the world has no cares about chastity so when the principles that we teach are brought before an investigator, they hit home pretty hard. It is different here in the Philippines cause you have to touch EVERY single corner and crack of the LOC because if you don’t people wont know about them-clean thoughts (pornography, immodest clothing), clean speech (profanity), and clean actions (homosexuality, body piercing, body disfiguration(tattoos and brands), sexual relations outside the bonds of matrimony, and abortion). It seems like a lot, but they all need to be touched-that is what we were taught. So, we went to Caresa and De Leon taught Word of Wisdom and I taught Law of Chastity. After we got done we told her that none of us are perfect and that if she has any problem with what we taught, that we are here to help her through the process of repentance. Poor kid took us as meaning we wanted her to break down her life in front of us. So, with tear filled eyes, she proceeded to tell us all the problems that she had with what we taught-everything that she had done from a little kid until that very moment that we were teaching her. It was a hard thing to see cause she is such a strong girl and she assumed that all was lost. It was a humbling experience to take her by the hand and pull her back out of the darkness and into the light showing her that things that may seem hard with the darkness of doubt and disbelief are shrouded about them, but when the light of the Gospel of Christ lights up the way, we see that things aren’t as the world makes them seem-life gets simpler and we find out that, no matter what, we can receive forgiveness from past disobedience. It was cool to be able to be that guide to lead her back to Christ-yet another privilege that the Lord gave me. Why the Lord is so merciful to me I don’t know. I most definitely am NOT 100 % obedient and am more blessed than I should be-in my eyes, but that is why the Lord blesses the world and Elder Muller doesn’t. I think of that hug the father must have given each of his children personally before they left his presence and traveled through the veil. The tears that were shed by both father and son, and the pleads of “please father-please help me come back to you.” Powerful stuff-the love a father has for his sons and daughters…and even more powerful-so powerful that we don’t even understand it-the love the father of us all has for every single one of us. Haha random tangent, but sometimes I just want to go up to random people and be like “you don’t know me, and I don’t know you, but, if I were a betting man, I would say that we hung out in the pre-mortal existence. Maybe played some go fish…some hop-scotch…had a few ice pops (NOT OTTER POPS…people from Utah man im telling you…)” I am wondering if Utah State has a minor program in religious studies. The more I study the gospel the more I want to teach it to people. I think becoming a seminary teacher would be one of the coolest things in the world haha:D:D But for now, elementary is at the top of the list!!

That is all the stories for this week. Last Wednesday was zone conference, meaning we each got personal interviews with president. President and I are extremely close because of some talks that we have had about my past and upraising and maturing and so I always look forward to interviewing with him. He interviewed De Leon first and then like 30 minutes later De Leon came out and president called me in and when I got in he had a angry look on his face and was like “Elder, lets talk.” That is NOT what you want to hear from your mission president:/ But, he just wanted to clear things up about De Leon. He (as in President) found out our (as in De Leon and mine) story and totally tore him (De Leon) to shreds. He shared something to me that I will share in another email sometime because it is really long and means a lot, but it was in regards to my testimony and protection when I get back against old things that are guaranteed to come back and be used against me. Oh, I cant wait to step back into the filthy world…SIKE.

This email is really really skimpy because I have no time. Manila is one of the most amazing cities I have ever been to. I saw the American embassy with this enormous gate with guards, guns, and 1000 people trying to get in but couldn’t because they had no passport:/ I went to the biggest mall in asia (I think it is the biggest…it is like a square mile…), and I went in a sports store and drooled over the running shoes that I cant use. Today was a fun day. This email is way weak cause I have no time at all to do anything. Love you all and hope you are all doing well. Tell Grandma to hang on there and keep on being one of the strongest women I have ever known. Tell Brady that I am proud of him for becoming a teacher and for him to NOT underestimate the responsibilities and duties of the teachers-they are napakahalaga or really really important. Salamat sa halimbawa ni’yo sa ‘kin. Syempre, ang hirap ng gawing missionero pero ‘pag may supportahan ako galing sa mga membro ng pamiliya ko tsaka galing sa mga kaibigan ko, maging mas madali ang Gawain ko!!! Thanks to you all!!! The Lord loves you all, I saw a 2010 subaru sti earlier, and cinnabon is absolutely amazing!!!


Elder Muller

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