How is it going in good ol' Roy? Majayjay is still going strong...except, oh wait a minute-I am transferred!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! President actually told us last week that we were going to be closed down and pulled out...good thing we are NOT! That would throw missionary work for a fat loop and destroy all that which we worked to achieve. Something interesting happened this week which I want to share...
So, we have this investigator named Maria. She is around 31 years old and has been an investigator of the missionaries for a good 8 months. She started as a referral, and slowly progressed over the missionaries that went to her. I met her when Quimsing was my companion-a little while back. Ever since I met her, I have seen her progress every single time that we went to her. She has a long long story which I found out in fullness when she testified to me this past week. She met her going to be husband back in 1993-when she was 14 years old. When she met him, they moved in together and started their co-habitation. The problem here in the Philippines is when you want, you can go with whoever you want and live in a kubo (a bamboo shed like thing in the woods) in a community of other kubos and start co-habitation. If you both are 16-nothings stopping you. Go buy a kubo and move in together. This is what Maria did. Ever since then, she has lived with this guy named Seriyako. Before the missionaries found her, she was a drunkard, and was addicted to cigarettes. She felt as if she was in this rut in her life. She always fought with her husband and her children. Then, she started coming to church and everything changed. She got rid of Alcohol, threw her cigarettes out the window, started looking for the good in her husband, and started looking for the truth. It would take a thousand years for me to tell of all the trials that she has gone through in my short 4 1/2 months here in Majayjay. The other day, we were at her house because we were hoping to get their marriage scheduled (that is a whole nother story. It involved people running back and forth to Santa Cruz getting affidavits, postal IDs, scheduling time with the mayor, getting their marriage licence, meeting eligibility requirements, attending family planning classes, going to the Municipal building every single day...it took FOREVER. We had like 3 people running over the Philippines at once. The problem is, the government here is corrupt. If you know someone high up in the town government, you can have anything you want happen-just ask and pay them under the table. If you dont know anyone, you have 200% of the normal process to go through-especially if you are poor because they look down on you like dirt. BUT-when you dont know anyone, but you are a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you merely go to Santa Cruz to the lawyer who is a member and they take care of half of it, then you go to the member who has practically been here since 1857 and have them talk to the mayor and they do the other 50%. SO, LONG LONG LONG story short, after much sweat and tears, their marriage is scheduled at the chapel at 9 am tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and I felt this weird feeling to review the 4 of the principles that they NEED to know in order to pass the baptismal interview-Law of Chastity, Word of Wisdom, Law of Tithing, and the day of the sabbath. I opened my planner to the baptismal interview and the second I opened it the line that had the law of Chastity practically smacked me in the face. I felt this weird feeling that something wasnt right-that I needed to go over the law of Chastity again. Its a hard feeling to explain, pretty much uneasiness. We started going over the law of Chastity when we came upon the word abortion. The second I said the word I knew that was the problem. I dont know what it was, something just told me that that was it. With dire reluctance-almost as if I didnt want to ask the question, it rolled off my tongue-"sister, have you ever participated in, or been a part of an abortion?" She looked down at the ground for a couple seconds and looked back up at me and was like "you know elder, im not going to lie to you...(tears fill her eyes)...I have" What I felt next was a weird feeling. It was obviously devastating...but there was something at the back of my mind-this feeling. The best way to describe it is by saying "thats what I was waiting for...she is ready..." It is a hard thing to describe really, but I suppose that is the best way to describe it. We stopped the lesson and told her that our mission president would have to come and interview her because we needed someone more mature and with more experience to help make the decision if she can be baptized or not. She asked if she would be able to be baptized anytime soon with tears rolling down her face and I had to practically force the words out-"Im sorry sister, but we cant promise you anything-that is up to our mission president. BUT, always remember the sweet gift of repentance-the gift the Savior gave to the whole world. I can promise you that you, in due time, will be able to repent of that which you have done!! Dont lose hope-there is always hope!" She then said something that I think I will never forget-"Elder, even if I am not baptized, I will never leave the church. It is the only true church of Jesus Christ on the earth. I know that what the Lord wants is what needs to happen. If that means I cant be baptized...(tears pour out again)...well then that is what it means-but I wont stop going to church" I couldnt help but share a few of her tears. Here we have a person that may be denied baptism (mind you, that may is extremely limited. I called president and told him the situation and he said that it most likely will pass-she has suffered enough these past years), and yet she is more faithful than some of the RMs in the church. Amazing. We left her after a prayer and got a return appointment. She was planning on telling the bishop AFTER her baptism. Uh...big no no. We visited her the next day, and the day after, and every single day until yesterday when the bishop called her into his office. He came running up to us right before sacrament and was like "ELDER, ELDER! I have something I need to tell you!!!" We went into a room privately and he was like "elder, I just interviewed sister Maria and she told me what happened...and I cant help but feel that she is 100% ready to be baptized." Sister Maria had an abortion back in 2000. She said that every single day she wakes up to the memory of what she did. It constantly occupies her mind, and her heart. She cant forget it, although she has tried. If that isnt suffering enough I dont know what is. SO, president is coming to Majayjay on Tuesday in order to interview her. I have this feeling in my heart that he will call upon me to be his translator. Maybe, maybe not. Obviously the APs are much better than me at tagalog cause they have been here 8 months longer so they might be who he uses, but I dont think he would bring third parties into the situation so I might be the one. Cool experience. Anyways, her marriage is at 9 am tomorrow, her interview is at 10 am, and hopefully her baptism will be straight after the interview. Then, we have a ward FHE/farewell party for me tomorrow night at 5 pm. I am really going to miss Majayjay. It is my favorite area-the members here are awesome. If I could, I would live here no doubt!!! (Well, maybe vacation house style live). Anyways, that is the story.
I have a hard time sleeping past 6 in the morning, so I am usually up by 6 or 530 or something. Its really dumb-even if I go to bed at the latest the night before (1030) and I walked 18 kilometers the day before, I still cant sleep in past 6. I try on sundays-I dont set my alarm until 6:30, but I wake up between 530 and 6. EVERY MORNING. I have given up sleeping in. If it is p-day, you can wake up, eat breakfast, and go back to sleep-its p-day...but even on Pday, I cant do it. So, the other day I woke up and went to go use the bathroom, and what do I find? I find that first picture that I attached to this email. Nice right? I blew on it cause I thought it was dead and it started moving and pinching its pinchers at me and stuff. So, I fetched the stateside illegal pesticide (cause it kills small animals and people) and blew that sucker to Alaminos. It was small which means it was a mere baby...but where is the baby momma? I suppose we shall find her here in a bit:/
Anyways, that is my email for right now. Its kind of lame because I am crazy busy with packing and we are going to move apartments to this rich people neighborhood and teaching and stuff so I really dont have any time, but I send my love and hope you all are doing well.