Magandang Hapon po!
Kamusta na kayo?
As always, it was a pleasure to hear from all of you. Glad everyone is doing well and school is still kicking butt and babies are still growing. Seeing pictures of Jenna is just weird because I keep trying to picture as a little thing with a peach fuzz head.
I couldn't help but laugh that mom noticed I must be a fillipino now because nothing is weird anymore. I guess it is kinda true. For some reason, I just don't get surprised anymore at seeing ridiculous things or eat weird food because I've been seeing it for so long. Oh yeah, that reminds me I ate some more snails yesterday. They were cooked differently than when I ate them months ago in Mallig. This time they were chewy kind of like a gummy bear. It was kinda weird but not too bad I guess.
President Carlos told us some interesting facts about missionaries since the recent new age requirement. He said the usual average number of missionary applications before the announcement was about 700 per week. Now, it is 4,000. Obviously, those new missionaries have to go somewhere! Right now in the Philippines Cauayan Mission, there are 150 of us. It is anticipated that over the next year, that will go to 250. There is bound to be several new missions created. Pretty crazy numbers! The work of the Lord is definitely hastening. I'll forward you President's email about it.
This week was stake conference in Tuguegarao South, and it was great to see the church building packed with people from the stake. It was just a year ago that the Tuguegarao stake was split into 2, and now it is obvious why. The work of the Lord is going forward, and it is going fast! What a privilege it is to take part of it.
It rained for several days straight this week, and as a result, flooded the little bridge going to our area. That means instead of traveling 15-45 mins to get to our area, we have to take a huge detour for 1-1 and half hours on a tricy (through 3 different areas in the zone) just to get to ours. I couldn't help but laugh when I had to get out and help push the tricy we were riding because it couldn't make it up the steep hill with us on it.
We are using the everyday tricy rides to and from our area as an opportunity to talk to the other people next to us because there is no better opportunity-they can’t avoid talking to us because they can’t go anywhere for the next 15-90 mins. I have observed a couple things in my talking to random people. First, some of the stern faced, intimidating looking people smoking a cigarette with an appearance of no intention to talking to anybody can often be very nice and easy to talk to. This has helped me in my recent efforts to look and treat people as they could become, despite their appearance or differences. After all, part of our message is that we are all loved by our Heavenly Father, despite our disobedience or differences. Second, a lot of people are interested in our message and they just don’t quite know it. Some people even offer, “Stop by our house if you ever have a chance”. Almost all of these people would have expressed no interest or have the chance to learn more if we didn’t open our mouths to start the conversation. Earlier this week, looking at our empty schedule of nobody to go to, we decided to follow up with an OYM (open your mouth=talking to random person) I had in a van ride a few weeks ago. Because we didn’t have much time to talk, I wasn’t able to get her specific address but she did say her barangay and name as the van was driving off when we arrived at our destination. Luckily, here in the Philippines where everybody knows everybody in their barangay (neighborhood), we were able to ask a bunch of people to point us to her house (and in the process get even more OYM). When we found her and talked to her, she was utterly shocked that we actually took the time to track her down. As it turns out, she read the pamphlet I gave her weeks ago and loved everything in it. Even her 3 year old girl loved it because it had cool pictures! Haha. She immediately forced us into a merienda (snack time, way of showing kindness and respect to visitors) with her and her relatives, in which we also happened to meet the barangay captain who also expressed interest after talking to him for several minutes. He even offered to help us in our efforts to find a new apartment in his barangay! Unfortunately, despite our contact’s begging us to teach her, we weren’t able to share an actual lesson because her husband refused to come out of his room and talk to us and we had to explain that we can’t teach if her husband doesn’t agree/participate. That is one of the saddest things for me to see-people that want to hear our message so badly, but we have to tell them we can’t teach them. We can only pray that God will soften the hearts of their husbands so that they can fully experience the blessings of the gospel.
On the other hand, with the Lumawan family we've been teaching for several weeks now, they are now reading the Book of Mormon together as a family and they were the first to suggest that they get baptized as a whole family.
If I'm not mistaken, it is Brian's birthday this week along with a wedding anniversary to my favorite sister! Happy birthday and happy anniversary!
Thanks for everything! You are the best!
Mahal ko kayo!
This is an excerpt from an email to the missionaries from Pres. Carlos:
I shared with some of you during district meetings last week the status of new missionary applications since President Monson's announcement. Prior to the announcement, the church receives around 700 new applications. Since the announcement, that number has risen up to 4,000 per week. That is an astonishing 471% increase!
Then on Tuesday, I received an email from the Missionary Department with the following information:
1. The Philippines Area will receive an additional 804 missionaries. There is an average of 188 missionaries per mission so that number is more than the equivalent of 4 missions! No mention of new missions being created as of yet, but you see the writing on the wall.
2. The Philippines Cauayan Mission presently has a complement of 180 (that's how many we are supposed to have if all of our slots are used. Right now, we have 150 missionaries). Our new complement is now 250!. That is 100 more than we have now. While the missions around greater Manila (Manila, QC. QC North) maintains their current complement, our mission along with the other "provincial missions" are going to receive the bulk of these increase.
Can you see how the Lord is truly "hastening the work"?.
It is more critical then, for every single missionary in the Philippines CauayanMission to be prepared to welcome, train, and assist these new missionaries get productive fast in the field. The Lord needs all of us to step up and be counted. Now is the time to prepare. We can not wait until they are here. They are coming!
With love always---for each and every one of you,
President Rudy A. Carlos