Magandang Hapon po!
Well I was hoping to send some pictures this week but it looks like I got one of the "special" computers that doesn't quite want to cooperate. Maybe next week. After spending about 20 minutes fussing with it I decided to just start typing instead!
It has been another great and incredibly fast week. We had a real special treat as we got to meet with Elder Nielsen once again. This time it was a special training for just missionaries, and he did it in 2 different sessions so there were only half of us there (about 70). And don't worry, after thinking really hard, I was able to refrain from speaking to him in Tagalog again. His wife was there too and it turns out that her mom grew up in Mapleton too. Small world! He started off the meeting by introducing the concept of using agency to ACT and not wait to be acted upon. When we aren't active, we're just subject to have other people act on us, which makes us so much more vulnerable to do things that we shouldn't be. Then he gave some interesting statistics about the Philippines. In the last 50 years, there have been over 659,000 baptisms, 77,000 which have been in the last 5 years. That is a great number, but unfortunately only about 115,000 are actually attending church every week. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that there is a big difference between the 2... Which is why Philippine missions are now different as they are more turned into reactivation missions. The church isn't looking for quantity, we need quality. Everything we do is now revolved around working with less actives and trying to bring people back to church, especially the priesthood. The church here is lacking so much worthy priesthood that it is becoming more and more difficult to fulfill the necessary leadership positions. Looks like too many people have decided to wait to be acted upon rather than acting. They are confident however that the amount of baptisms will not suffer, because as people are reactivated, they will want to work on completing the family and getting them baptized.
He also discussed the process of personal revelation, which is the most unique thing in our church. If He answered a 14 year old boy's prayer, He can answer anyone elses. But, it all starts with having the faith and actually asking for what you need/want. If we don't act, nothing is going to happen. Then it is up to us make ourselves more vulnerable to receive an answer by doing the things we are supposed to and searching the Book of Mormon. He brought up that all sections of the Doctrine and Covenants came from a prophet that ASKED in prayer certain things.
The last 45 minutes or so was just dedicated to a question and answer session which was very interesting. Why is it that we can always think of things to ask a general authority, then when it comes time to ask, the mind goes blank? Any type of question was fair game so it was interesting what some people came up with. And of course, his answers were always enlightening.
It's hard to top that day of the week, so the rest of the week was just a regular day of the week booked with appointments and going on more splits to cover more territory. It's getting hard having people give us referrals and less actives that we want to be able to go to, but they are on opposite ends of the area and it is hard to justify the travel time and expenses, while we can have just as many appointments closer to our apartment. It really requires prioritizing the time and who is progressing the most. The sacrament attendance was up to 145 yesterday, so if that keeps up, there is a good chance that the ward will be split.
Today we made a special trip down to Ilagan for their zone activity. It was more of a zoneS activity because there were missionaries that came from all over the mission. I think we tied for the longest travel time of about an hour and half. The ride down was fun because it was on one of the cheap "chicken bus" where the floors are rusted out that I could see the road beneath me. It is the last activity I got to have with Elder Tangi before he goes home next week. Crazy he's already leaving! He'll probably come up next week to visit Cabagan one last time.
Happy Birthday to my favorite sister tomorrow! I guess I can take this time to point and laugh at all of you now for having to be in fancy clothes and have pictures taken for an entire day. It should be fun though to have everyone there for a little bit, including Bill and Carol! It will be interesting to see who Bill chooses to pick on since I won't be there. Ashley could be a fun and unsuspecting target. :) Haha have a fun day getting married!
You asked about my shoes-well, the gore tex ones are pretty much shot on the bottom but still have a little bit of life left. I only use them if it rains which doesn't happen very often anymore because it's not typhoon season. I only use the softer ones that seem to be holding up really well, especially since I've had them for about 3 years now. My heels have some lovely callouses on them from having to live in them all day and walk so much.
Well, until next week.