Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 49 (June 22, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

Dear Mom and Dad,

First off, I feel like a failure for not thinking of writing to both of you earlier in my Mission. Sorry. But Happy Father's Day Dad!! I love you!! I bought 2 liters of Pepsi and a kilo of Ovaltine-ish powder to celebrate. It was delicious, and I thought of you with every glass. I even pulled up a couple blades of grass outside our apartment before I drank the Ovaltine :)
There's this house behind our apartment that plays music every morning just as I'm stepping out of the shower, and because there are no sound restrictions in the Philippines, it's really loud. But I enjoy it (is that a sin?), because it's the stuff Dad always listens to!! I don't really know the groups but I recognize some of the songs, so that's really cool. Plus, they've added some that are the same style of music, but are Filipino songs. I still think Dad would enjoy them, and I'd love trying to translate them, so I'll probably have to find out what it is and get some when I come home. Just for you :P

So, about Rhomel... I don't even know. We finally found a time and place where we could teach him, and he accepted, and then out of nowhere, he texted us and said he straight up wasn't interested. We pushed him to at least just give it a shot, and he gave in. He told us it was going to be three days later though, so he had some time to prepare some questions to determine if we really knew what we were talking about. I thought it was gong to be some sort of insane debate battle, so I studied the Bible like crazy, and even had all these cross references, both within the Bible and then as well in the Book of Mormon. I was determined not to argue, and just to share testimony and let him reject or accept it. When we got in their though, everything was super chill. He's like, "I have some questions, but you guys can teach first." So we shared the Message of the Restoration, and bore testimony of Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. I felt the Spirit really strong, but he just nodded and then started asking questions, but they were like really weird ones. I guess a few were pretty valid, but others were just like.... what? He asked if we had ever lied before, or if we got angry. He asked if the picture of Christ on the pamphlet we gave him was what He actually looked like, and we just told him it was an accepted artist's rendition based on Revelation and historical evidence. And then he started telling us we'd be guilty of idol worship if word got out that it wasn't what Christ really looked like. We tried to explain to him that we didn't worship the picture, that it was just there as a visual aid and a sign of remembrance and respect towards Him. He wouldn't budge though. Apparently, that's why every other church I've ever heard of in the Philippines is wrong, because of Idol worship. He's a Catholic by birth, but not by any sense of affiliation, because of the 2nd Commandment. So.... ya. That's Rhomel. He won't let us teach him anymore. I don't really know if we could get anywhere with him anyway, so...

Joseph is also an interesting story this week. His interview was supposed to be last Saturday, but he backed out because he doesn't have a job and feels like it would be too easy to give in to temptation with nothing to do all day. So he wants to delay until he has a job, which could be a while :/ We're going to try and explain to him that he's already accountable for any sins he makes, and that Baptism is actually going to be a huge help in his life to resist such temptations with the guidance of the Holy Ghost and everything. Hopefully he'll accept it.

Little short on time again, so I'll end this with another scripture for you guys. I've been slacking the last two weeks, so I hope this makes up for it. Sorry :/
Anyway, This comes from the Book of Alma in the 7th chapter. Here, Alma is speaking to the people of Gideon. He says:
5 And I trust, according to the Spirit of God which is in me, that I shall also have joy over you; nevertheless I do not desire that my joy over you should come by the cause of so much afflictions and sorrow which I have had for the brethren at Zarahemla, for behold, my joy cometh over them after wading through much affliction and sorrow.

I feel like we can sort of relate this to what our Father in Heaven wants for all of us. Though His joy is great at the sight of a son or daughter returning after a time of sorrow and struggle off of the Gospel Path, he would still rather joy in us as we continue in righteous works. I think this is because although His Joy is complete in our Repentance, we still have to suffer from the guilt and memories of our sins. I feel like this is a powerful message urging all of us to follow the path of righteousness and avoid the pain and sorrow that sin causes to both the sinner and those he loves. Make good choices!!

Elder Syphus

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