Monday, August 30, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
The Lord continues to make his arm bare we go about house to house spreading the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t think this week could have gone any better than it did. Elder Quimsing and I seemed to be sitting on a cloud as we traversed the dingy side streets, escaped people intoxicated past their physical capacity, and tracted outside of the major churches in the area. This week was definitely a week to remember. I have given more blessings this week than I have my whole mission (everyone in the area got sick) which gave me even more opportunities to express my love for the Lord by using his priesthood worthilly. I think things started getting good when the APs (Elders Lee and Byers) came and worked with us.\
The APs surprised us when they showed up at our door to come work with us. Elder Lee was my Zone Leader in Lopez and me and him got really really close and elder Byers is literally the man. He is awesome. Well, Lee went with Quimsing and I went with Byers. I started talking with Byers and brought up to him some concerns that I was having. One of them was the lack of patience that I have. We have been tracting for 3 weeks and we had nothing to show for it-not even a return appointment. Doors were shut, and hearts closed. I asked Byers how I could further increase my releationship with the Lord and Elder Byers said something that really made me think. He said Muller, what are you holding back from the Lord. I was almost taken aback-I was like what do you mean? He was like Elder, do you remember the Saviors teaching of the Widow’s might? I said yea, it is the story in the New Testement about the paying of tithing. He was like yes, and what happened-what is the lesson to be learned? I was like well, while the rich were paying their shares to be seen of men, the widow put in that which she could-2 mites which, in the eyes of the Savior was more than all others’ shares. Byers was like yes Elder…what is your mite? Are you keeping it from the Lord? Sometimes our mite is studying the gospel-we hate studying so we brush it off and assume we will learn in good time. Sometimes it is talking to people about the gospel-we are too shy so we don’t take the initiative to talk with people. Elder, you want to get closer to the Lord? Find your mite and give it to Him that gives you everything else. It really got me thinking about the Law of sacrifice. Yea, some things are easier for other people. I love studying the gospel. It is something I have found on my mission. I cant get enough of it. I have no problem talking to people…actually most of the time you cant shut me up:/ It got me thinking about what my mite is and how I can go about giving it to the Lord. As we all know the Lord “[makes] weak things become strong unto [men]” so we shouldn’t have any problem giving our all.
This got me thinking about those things that I struggle with. One of them is charity. We all know that without charity for our fellow men, we are nothing. It is really hard for me to love everyone-especially those who blatantly spit in your face and tell you that you are wasting your time. I was thinking about this all day Wednesday until Thursday arrived. Thursday was our zone conference-which I was looking forward too because I was going to see a whole bunch of really close friends from other zones. Hansen, Davis, Bernard, Lee, everyone was there. The workshop of the APs was about giving baptismal goal dates in the first lesson. Elder Lee (who knows I love to talk-that is why he called on me) called on me to answer the question “why do we need charity in our work?” I told him it was because if we have no charity the people aren’t people, they are merely a number written down in our planner to be tallied up at the end of the day and they deserve more respect than that-plus they are no different than us. Their father is our father and the love for them is just as great as the love for us. Elder Lee than said something that got me thinking. He said “Muller that is exactly right-you know there are 2 types of people in this world-those you love, and those you don’t understand yet.” This immediately got me thinking-reviewing the past fights I have had with friends, teachers, family members, and leaders. Why did the fight ensue? Because of a simple misunderstanding things got thorny. It gave me that much more initiative to try to develop that love that our redeemer showed, for our brothers and sisters.
I also learned at zone conference that my emails seem to reach the ends of the earth. I have known for a while that a certain sister that I am really close with her mom read my emails every week and my email about the bagyo that happened got circulated around the moms of the mission. Cool. The only way I could be more publicized is if CNN ran a special… “Elder Jake Muller: Ecclesiastical Expert or Foreordained Flop?” I was under the impression that only you who have blood relation read my email…I didn’t know there were other people who waste their time reading it haha:/
Zone conference was also a bit of a heart wrencher. It was the last time I will see Elder Banawan (my trainer) for a LONG time (as in until we meet under the heavenly lights of the Celestial Kingdom). It was actually the Last time I will see Byers and Scow (Byers and Scow were companions in the MTC and were our APs here) for the next year. They are actually, right now, sitting in Provo waiting for BYU(Scow) and UVU (Byers) to start up. They are gonna tear it UP. It is so weird that they are right now sitting 2 hours away from you, and I talked to them on Thursday. I am gonna miss those guys but ill see them in 12 months anyways haha so no need to worry:D
Friday we had our weekly planning and it really opened up my eyes. Our endless tracting has turned into 12 people we are focusing on. The Lord truly rewards those who trust in him. Am I saying that all 12 will be baptized? No. I am saying that the Lord has given us 12 people who are somewhat ready to hear about the restored gospel.
Sunday was a really really good day. Not only was the Sabbath, which gave us to renew our covenants in the House of the Lord, but it was the day we dedicated to visit less-actives. Less-actives are some of my favorites because it gives me a chance to help those who have gone astray return to the straight and narrow path. In sacrament meeting the speaker gave an interesting talk. It was about “growing up” but not what people normally think of. Her talk was centered around:
G-Go to Church
R-Read the Scriptures
O-Obey and Respect Parents
W-Work on Your Genealogy
U-Understand the Plan of Salvation
P-Prepare For a Mission
It was definitely an interesting talk. Hopefully it got the youth thinking! Prepare for a mission is definitely one of the most important things a young man or woman can do-after all, according to the Prophet Joseph Smith, “A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge” and what is a mission but an enormous class with the Lord as the professor?
I was recently reading amongst the teachings of President Kimball and he said something that interested me: “Pure hearts in a pure home are always in whispering distance of heaven.” Interesting. How blessed we are to have the ability to be sealed to our families for time and all eternity!!!
That is pretty much it on my end of the internet. Things are going smoothly here in Majayjay. We have a missionary FHE this evening in Sta Cruz (an hour drive away) so we are really looking forward to that cause they are always crazy spirit filled. Hope you are all keeping safe. Autumn is slowly creeping up…as is the school year. Good thing I don’t have to worry about cold or school or anything like that for another year:D Love you all. Read something interesting this week:
“And the Lord spake unto Adam, saying: Inasmuch as thy children are conceived in sin, even so when they begin to grow up, sin conceiveth in their hearts, and they taste the bitter, that they may know to prize the good.” -Moses 6:55
Let us learn to prize the good for it is the thing that will bring true and everlasting happiness.
Ps-that picture of the cat is creepy. I swear that cat is the cat of Satan…and in the picture of the 4 elders, left is Hansen, then Byers, then yours truly, then Elder Harris (Hansen, Harris and I are batch)
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
This week, I am sorry to say, has had nothing interesting for me to tell you all. We once again spent the whole week tracting to find people to teach. I did give 2 blessings this week though, I guess that is significant-2 more steps towards becoming proficient at using the priesthood. The days flew by this week though.
This last Saturday was our stake’s temple trip. Our ward left early in the morning and was expecting to meet up with the other wards in our stake but it turned out they were the only group that decided to go. We have this family in our ward that, in an understatement, could be classified under “easily offended.” This is the brother that postponed the baptism of his child. His child’s baptism was on Thursday…happy right? Well, neither brother nor sister attended. They were gonna have people at their house after the baptism because it was their daughter’s 20th birthday so they decided to stay home and cook. Elder Quimsing ended up baptizing Jonathon which shouldn’t have happened-his father (Jonathon’s) is the young men president. Well, Saturday we went to their house to ask if they knew any less actives in the area and sister opened the door agitated. We told her that we were looking for less actives in the area but she was really really agitated. While we were talking to her, the jeepney with the people that went to the temple trip pulled up next to us and brother got out. I greeted him and told him why we were there and asked him if he knew any less actives in the area that we could visit and he was like “US. SOON ENOUGH WE WILL BE LESS ACTIVE” and stormed into his house. I looked at elder Quimsing and I was like “uh…well sister we…we’ll see you guys tomorrow…maybe now isn’t the best time…” she nodded and shut the door. The next day we asked bishop what happened and he said that they couldn’t go inside the temple because they didn’t get interviewed. I felt bad, but kind of chuckled at the same time because this family is, to be completely honest, extremely disorganized. Brother, although he has 100% pure intent, has been released from numerous callings because of carelessness. He paid the money to go to the temple and couldn’t even enter because he forgot to be interviewed. But, his daughter did get to do baptisms along with his son so it wasn’t a complete loss. Just a little side story.
Sunday proved to be an interesting day. The confirmation of Jonathon was about to take place when bishop called to Elder and I to stand in the circle. We graciously accepted (his father was in the back of the chapel and wasn’t in the circle) and stood up. Bishop then looked at me and was like “elder Muller, you are going to confirm.” I was like “uh…I’m sorry, there must have been a bug in my ear, what did you say? I thought you just said I was going to confirm brother Pableo’s son” He was like “yes elder.” I had no problem confirming the child but I handed the mantle to bishop so the child will grow up with someone there to look up to. It is the same reason that, if possible, missionaries shouldn’t baptize their investigators-members should. The missionaries are going to leave the area soon and won’t return for a LONG time, but if a member baptizes the investigator, they have a friend in the ward with a special link to them. Elder Quimsing, Bishop, his councilor, and myself confirmed Jonathon. Interesting experience giving another the gift of the holy ghostJ
Our sacrament meeting is last so people are anxious to get out and eat. Our ward is really weak in the Aaronic priesthood department so sometimes the standards that our sacrament meeting should be held at are…bent. People pass with no tie and with shirts unbuttoned 3 or 4 buttons from the top. Sometimes it is just a t-shirt and jeans. I could understand if we were in Kenya where no one has acceptable clothing to wear, but here people are blessed with clothing that is appropriate to wear on Sunday, they just choose not to wear it. Well, elder and I blessed the sacrament last Sunday and we had 2 Aaronic priesthood holders pass. The bread went fine and no problems arose, but after elder Quimsing blessed the water he stood up, we picked up our water and handed it to the deacon across from us. Elder Quimsing’s deacon took his and was about to leave, but mine wouldn’t. His head was down on the table and he was hunched over. At first I was like are you serious, what are you doing so I tapped the young man on his shoulder with the water tray…he didn’t move. I tapped him again like 5 seconds later, but he still didn’t do anything. He slowly got up and jerked suddenly spilling the extra cup of water (a normal sized cup to refill little cups if necessary) and started grabbing things violently and shaking. I was like what in the world but then his father came running out of the back of the chapel and grabbed his son and was like “why…” his voice had a shake in it so I had no clue what was going on. The kid started shaking and contorting in all directions so his father grabbed him and set him down on a chair and was like “elder, give it to me, I’ll pass” and took the water out of my hand. Turns out the kid had a seizure while Elder Quimsing was blessing the sacrament. He is alright now though.
Other than that, life is pretty much the same. I don’t have any interesting stories because we are still looking for people to teach. The Lord keeps teaching us and we keep listening. Yesterday we watched this video called “to this end was I born” and it was really really good. Ha not too many can say that their boss created the earth:/ It was one of those moments that revived that fire inside and makes you want to be your best self. It also really made me miss the temple and the experiences that I had before my mission in the temple and at the provo temple.
Earlier we put up a tent for this sister that is moving from her home…into the tent that we put up. Poor sister-her husband had no clue how to put it up and neither did elder Quimsing so I was like ok, well what are we working with and it turns out it was one of the tents that the scouts use so we were able to put it up in like 3 minutes. Ha it reminded me of back in the day when I was a strapping young…akela (I hope you laughed at that mom).
That unfortunately is pretty much it for this week. I am not going to lie, I never realized how blessed we are in the states-especially in Utah. I can reach 13 temples within 3 hours. People here sometimes save for years to afford the boat ride to the visayas (the middle section of islands) so they can go to the temple…and we have people who live right next to the temple in Utah that aren’t worthy to go inside. I will never again take the temple for granted.
Well, that is all from Majayjay. Hopefully this coming up week will be more interesting. Hope you all are well. Till next week-
This week was definitely an interesting one. The Lord truly has poured his blessings out upon us in this work. You guys are expecting cool stories right? Well…I am at a lack of them. This week was pure tracting. Some people work 40 hours in an office…I spent 49 hours going from house to house looking for people to teach. Haha it was truly an experience in itself with people screaming at us, swearing at us, rejecting us, and hiding from us, and literally running in the opposite direction, but the Lord was with us and what would have been an exhausting week of rejection turned into a week filled with learning and personal progression. Saturday we actually almost barged in on a wedding that was taking place in this church up in the mountains-that was interesting and awkward. Friday we had one of the most interesting lessons I have taught…
Meet George. He is a middle aged man who lives with his mother in the city proper. We were walking home one day when out of the blue I felt the need to tract this completely random house in the middle of a billion other houses. I have learned to just do what you are told so I immediately walked over and did the vocal equivilent of knocking on the door. George answered and was like “what do you want? You want me to come to your religion?” I was like “…well hello to you too brother:D I am elder Muller, this is my companion Elder Quimsing and we are missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.” He looked at me and was like “I am Roman Catholic and I am not changing. Sorry” and started walking away. I stopped him and got him into a conversation and told him about the restoration. He became interested (which he should have, how often do you hear of a golden bible?;D) and told us to come back another day (it was like 8:45 at night) and so we scheduled a return appointment for Friday and went on our way. We returned Friday to be greeted kindly and let into his patio area. We spent the next 45 minutes or so talking about him about his history. I don’t know why, but he felt an obscure need to put his trust in us so he let us in on his medical history. In 1988 he had a complete mental breakdown. He basically failed at everything-mental processes, daily function, everything. His wife left and his mother took him under her wing. Slowly but surely he returned to “operating status” and was able to take his life back into his own hands. He was doing alright for a little bit, but eventually relapsed again and was admitted into a mental hospital in Manila which he basically said was the earthly equivalent of impyerno. He said the guards were corrupted and used the prisoners to their advantage. Cigarettes in the Pilipinas are dirt cheap (the cheapest at 1 piso a stick, and the most expensive at 2 pisos a stick…that’s 2-4 cents for a cigarette. That is the reason that you see eight year old kids smoking on the street-because they only need to find a single piso on the street and they can buy cigarettes…) and he said that if they made their way into the prison the guards would blackmail the prisoners to get them. The second a guard would get them the other guards would fight with them to get the cigarettes. He told me about the treatment of prisoners, the food, the rooms, everything. He was in the mental hospital for 2 years, but was eventually released. He still cant find work because of his mental status, and is a little impulsive. Well, we spent 2 hours teaching a lesson that can be taught in 15 minutes because he went off on random tangents about his religion. He has WEIRD beliefs. I don’t just say them because they are different than my beliefs, I say them because they are way out in left field. He has disgusting beliefs about women, their purpose here, Christ’s crucifixion, and misinterprets everything. I showed him the picture of Christ appearing to the Nephites and explained that the book of mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ and he got all mad and raised his voice and was like “SO YOU THINK YOU ARE THE MESSIAH?” I was like “uh…george, with all respect intended, where in the world did that come from? That may have been the most random thing I have heard in my life…” He was like “oh…what do you mean then?” It was like that the whole time. I got a little frustrated at the end because I said, and I quote “George, if the Lord Himself appeared to you right now-if he decended here-right here where we are sitting-and addressed you saying ‘George, I have sent you my missionaries to tell you where my church is-start worshiping me there’ would you?” he looked at me and was like “nope.” I was like “are you serious? Uh, can I ask why?” He was like “because I wouldn’t forsake my religion.” He was like that the whole time. It took us 30 minutes to get him to commit to pray about Joseph Smith. It was probably the most interesting night that I have had in my life. The biggest problem is that he believes that the priesthood continued in the line of authority after Peter died until now-the pope. We tried to explain that not only was the authority not passed down, but at one point there were 3 people who claimed authority of the Catholic church and they decided who had the authority, not by revelation, but by council. Tsk tsk. And that was my Friday night…
Yesterday was also an interesting day. We arrived at church and went to priesthood class. The teacher was teaching us about the path of our duty and fulfilling our callings. Mind you, our ward has a BIG problem. The bishop and his one counselor stand solo in the leadership because everyone else cuts everyones throat. When someone does something wrong he blames the bishop and tries to convert the members to take his side-thus our ward, leadership wise is divided. That isn’t easy for our bishop being a father, living 2 hours away from his wife and kids cause he is a full-time student, being a bishop, and being only 26. Yesterday, randomly, the subject of tithing came up and the dookie hit the fan. One person blamed the bishop because he was told that his tithing wasn’t complete when it was so another came to the bishops aid and another attacked the aid of the bishop. Eventually there was like 3 people yelling at once and the bishop was like “brother, I believe it is your duty to be teaching the class about callings…” and the teacher was like “yea…but before I return, I have something to say…” and he returned to the contentious debate which raised voices in that room to screaming. It was interesting-the first time that people had actually like fought in the church that I have seen. Other than that, yesterday was a really good day. Every Sunday elder Quimsing and I carry this old nanay from her house to the street, ride the trike with her, then carry her up into the chapel (our chapel is 2 floors). She cant walk at all so she needs help going to church. We are fully able to help her so there is no reason that we shouldn’t. We carry her from room to room, then, after church back to the trike, then back into her house. After each Sunday she looks up and says thank you and the feeling that comes from her gratitude is enough to keep me carrying her small, fragile body to and from church every Sunday.
Yesterday, we had a guy named Brother Benny work with us. Brother Benny is an interesting person. He is 40 years old. He lives with his parents and works as a person washing clothes and dishes for them although he is kind of shy to tell people. Benny is a ball of sunshine; whenever you see him you get “ELDER, ELDER-HOW ARE YOU?” Brother Benny has a mental impairment. Yesterday we had the opportunity to take him with us to our lessons and it truly was a privilege. Benny offers the most heartfelt, sincere testimonies that I have ever heard. Yesterday, I think he scared one of our investigators because, as she was telling us that the missionaries from her own church started visiting her ever since we started visiting her, Benny said in a loud voice “AH THEY ARE SCARED THAT YOU ARE GOING TO LEAVE THEM AND COME TO US” It was kind of an awkward moment…but it was exactly what we all were thinking:/ It got really frustrating though because as we were walking Benny said “Look elder, that is my friend. We are friends elder. Him. He is my friend.” The guy would made some snide comment about brother Benny and how he called him his friend and how he (Benny) had an American walking with him. I looked at the guy and was halfway about to go over and confront him but decided it was a 10 to 1 ratio of bad to good consequences so I merely put my arm around Benny and said “well Benny, that man is one lucky guy!” Benny is one of those lights that Christ talked about-one of the people who want to get to know Christ because they know Him. Its funny how the Lord can use the simplest things to teach us the greatest lessons. Benny is oblivious to the people on either side of him making fun of him. Mental Retardation, atleast in Majayjay, is looked down upon. People are called “special children” and are not accommodated. There is no such thing as “down syndrome” in Tagalog, and people believe that if you have autism, you shouldn’t be baptized. Mental handicaps are EXTREMELY misunderstood-hence so is Benny. One day that man, he who is considered underneath all by everyone else, will be exhalted in the Celestial Kingdom-free from his worries and cares, and in fulfillment of the promise and the last shall be first, and the first last.
That has pretty much been my week. Elder Quimsing is doing well. He is a really good teacher, but he doesn’t take charge. Sometimes it bugs because of how I live life. Before my mission I was more of a “I don’t know what to do now…what do you want to do? I have to take charge to do something? Lets just sit here-im fine with that” kind of dude, and now I am more of a “lets plan what we are doing efficiently, effectively, and then lets follow the plan. This is what is going to happen-what is your feedback so we can adjust it?” and whenever I ask that I get a “uh…what do you want to do?” back but I am completely fine with making 100% percent of the decisions…although that is NOT how it should be. Obviously a companionship is 50/50 so slowly I am turning Elder Quimsing into someone who makes decisions and doesn’t rely on other people to make them for him:D The weather here is still absolutely gorgeous. At night I actually have to use my top sheet or I get too cold. We are way up in the mountains so airconditioner is free. The only problem is the water. The water up here is pure cause it comes from the mountain…but because it comes from the mountain it is FREEZING. We don’t have a shower, we use a little bucket that we pour on top of our heads to get wet with. The bucket sits there overnight and gets REALLY REALLY COLD so, there is no problem waking up in the morning…especially after the shower slash body dousing…
Ha that is really cool that you get to fly like 5 times these next coming 2 weeks. That’s always a nice break, fly a couple hours, visit a part of the united states, have a few meetings, fly back. Do it again the next week. Haha cool stuff. Is it people from your company all over the states, or just the westeren conference (if you will?) Plus white water rafting? Haha remind me to tell you at a different time about the white water rafting trip I took with Jeremy and Brian and Brannick and all them up to the snake river. Haha CRAZY.
Will Brady really start his freshman year this year? What the DEUCE? Who does that kid think he is? Holy cow, time FLIES. What happened to the days when we would ruin everything in the house by having baby powder wars and stuff like that? What happened to the days when I would walk home from Monocacy middle, and he from monocacy elementary and I would hear “jaaaaaaakkkkkeeee, you waaaaaaaalk toooooooo faaaasssstttt” “well brady, maybe if you weren’t SO SLOW you could keep up” “jaaaaaakkkkkkeeee, my legs hurt” “well brady maybe if they were longer they wouldn’t hurt” “jaaaaaaakkkkkeeeee…” “what now brady” “uh, I forgoooooooooot cause……myyyyy leggggggs huuuuuurtttttttt” Haha that kid is awesome. Love ya Brady:D (ps brady-woman…ohh ohh) I remember back in the day when I was walkin into TJ. Back in the day when I was 5’10”…makes you think…had I not have served a mission I would be entering Junior year at USU right now. Tell that kid he better rock freshman year or I will yell at him in Tagalog. I am actually feeling really really well. Recently I have acquired this spiritual hunger that I can not satisfy. I spent a good 2 hours a day reading the scriptures, and then any extra time reading books like Jesus the Christ, institute manuals, etc. Its crazy, but I feel good. No problems here:D
Please tell grandma that I loved her package. I absolutely loved the ties that she sent me…but there is one problem. She sent me like 15 or so…and only 2 of them are polyester. I wash my ties every 3 or 4 weeks cause they get SO dirty…hence I don’t want to mess up the silk ones cause I will have to go find a dry cleaner and I don’t know where to find one:/ Tell her that I love her and that I am extremely thankful for her package!!!
I hope you are all doing amazingly. Tell grandpa that I laughed EXTREMELY HARD at what he said. Haha mental image to the max. Where was that? Like in Iowa or something? Haha oh man funny funny stuff. Legacy. Only 5 more months until Christmas. I have already started singing Christmas songs as we are walking. The other day I was singing one from my favorite Christmas movie of all time (of which mom is the only person on the whole earth who knows) and it made me really trunky. Woo, go Rankin/Bass!!! Love you all and hope you are all doing well:D
Ps-Brady, watch out for your best friend…Bailey…ah ga ga ga ga ga
pss-that picture with the bamboo trees is really cool. The people walk on that bamboo to cut down the coconut. Cool stuff huh?psss-the talk given by a lady in sacrament meeting yesterday was interesting...are we assets or liabilities to our father in heaven???