This week was SO great! I have been happier this week than I have my whole mission! I have found a greater love for the people and am finding ways to serve them. We have a lot of wonderful and progressing investigators and I am really pleased at the progress we have been making here in Cabiao!
One day we had a service project with our zone and we used big sickles and machetes to clear a field to become a basketball court for an elementary school. It was really hard work and I got so sunburned! It was very fun! Afterwards, they fed us and instead of plates they put a bunch of huge banana leaves on the long table and we all ate our food right from the leaves. It was weird at first, hahaha.
I sure love the Philippines! The people here are so genuine and honestly the nicest most respectful people I have ever met! I have never had anyone treat me rudely. Most of the time when people reject us they just come up with excuses that vary from; "I have no time, I am busy" to "I will try" Which pretty much means no. It's sad but it is part of the process of separating the wheat from the tares. I am constantly praying to find the pure in heart.
Lately, I have felt a little emptiness inside and didn't know what to do. I was talking to an older missionary who is going home soon and was just the Assistant the the president. I asked him what advice he had for me on my mission. He told me as cliche as it sounds just love the people. He continued to say, that because people can feel when you really care about them and their well being, it is the most important part of being a missionary. After he told me this I decided to pray for the gift of charity and opportunities to serve. It was really cool to see all of the little opportunities I was able to find to serve people in simple ways. One experience I had this week that was really touching for me: one of our investigators had an accident at work in which a nail punctured his eye close to the center. It was really painful as you could imagine for him and the doctors said it would have to be removed! When we found out about this, me and my companion were on splits, and I was with a member. We decided to go visit this man and ask him if he wanted a priesthood blessing. As we went to his humble shack of a home, he accepted our invitation and I gave him a blessing in broken Tagalog. I felt the love that God had for this man and it was overwhelming for me! I felt an overwhelming feeling of joy and love for him. I looked into his eyes and his eye didn't make me even cringe. I told the man that if he had faith he could be healed and would be able to find work to provide for his family. I am so grateful for the priesthood and the opportunity I had to give this man a blessing. I have felt a great joy in serving others and forgetting about my problems and worries. Every night I ask myself as I evaluate the day to my Father in Heaven, "Was I help to someone in need? Did I help ease someones burden? Did I observe then serve? As I have been praying for those to be put in my path that need relief, I have felt a greater joy than I have my whole life. I know that Satan wants us to focus on our needs, problems, and worries. But as we focus on others, our burdens become lighter and we are able to refocus and have an eternal perspective on what is important. I love my Savior! I love all of you! I am forever grateful for the joy and peace that the gospel brings into my life! That is why I am on a mission and that is why I stay on a mission! One thing that can never be taken from us is our testimonies! When we lose our testimony its because we willfully give it away. I love this work! I am grateful for all of you! You have made a great difference to me in my life! Let's all see what we can do to change the world by our testimonies!
You have a great week!