Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 36

May 30, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

Magandang gabi (good evening). This has been an exciting week for us. We were delighted to hear from President Howard the great news that Sister Howard was released from the hospital on Wednesday. She is weak but is making wonderful progress. She has truly been a miracle for this mission. We all continue to pray that she will improve each day.

Our visits last week were great. As we visit we continue to ask if they have scriptures in their homes. If they don’t have scriptures, we make sure that they have them and we challenge them to read from the Book of Mormon every day. As we have studied and thought about how we could do the most good in our area, the impression was strong to get them to read the Book of Mormon and to pray about it. We feel this will do more to revitalize their testimonies of the gospel more than anything else. This work is great.

We made a ‘drop by’ visit to a family on Friday that turned out to be a ‘faith builder’ for us. This member family has been visited frequently by visitors from another church that has played on the scare factor with the ‘end of the world’ prophesies. Of course that brings up many questions in the minds of anyone that is concerned about the future. They wanted to ask us some questions and then they brought out some papers that this other church had given them about the questions everyone should ask about the Mormons. He gave us the papers to look at and then asked us what we thought about this. We asked if he had read this material and he responded that he had. We began to talk to him about asking the right questions and talked to them about Joseph Smith. Our situation today is really no different than Joseph’s situation – where is the truth? We spoke positively about the other church and then said that everything we teach comes down to whether Joseph Smith really saw God and Jesus Christ. If that is true then all of these other questions really don’t matter for now. About 20 minutes into the discussion he began to tear up the anti-Mormon literature. We know he felt that feeling again. The teenage daughter then asked us if she should read the Bible or the Book of Mormon first. She had felt the need to read the Bible so she started to read Genesis and had become discouraged. We read the promise made by Joseph Smith that she would draw closer to God by reading the Book of Mormon than by reading any other book. We told her that she should read the Book of Mormon and then read the Gospels in the New Testament and promised her that she would understand the Bible better by reading the Book of Mormon. This was a fun discussion. We were invited to return. We are excited to come back.

We also visited a sister in one area that was interesting. The only way to get to their subdivision was to squeeze between two buildings. The members call it the ‘straight and very narrow path’. We gave her a triple combination and a copy of the Liahona. She is a sweet sister. Her son was the pianist for the branch until he moved away to find work. He visits periodically and is a very talented young man. Sunday he came to church with his mother and she brought the grandchildren (we counted 9 grandchildren). After the meeting I asked Alan where he learned to play the piano. He said that a missionary gave him a bamboo flute and in the flute package there was a small piece of paper that had the notes written on the music scale. He learned to play the flute but became bored with that so the missionary told him to come to church and try to play the piano. He had memorized the scales so he began to play the simplified hymns and then went to the hymn book. He is very talented. We can tell when Alan is in church because there is a definite increase in the volume of everyone’s singing

We are also very delighted in the power of the Liahona magazine. We have given out many issues to less active members (especially the April issue about the Resurrection of Christ) and shared our testimony concerning living prophets. There is always such a peaceful and secure feeling that comes into their homes when we share these things. Just speaking about the Savior brings a different feeling into the home. We are grateful for these experiences. Visiting members with the right motive is such a simple way to bring them back. Three weeks ago our attendance in Sacrament Meeting was 42. Last week it was 65. Yesterday there were 103 in attendance. In no way are we taking any credit for this! But just a simple visit is very powerful. In one home I was trying to speak in Tagalog to the mother about our challenge to read from the Book of Mormon every day. As I was doing this, Mom motioned to the kids to come and look at the Book of Mormon children’s stories with her. As they came to the picture of the Savior’s appearance to the Nephites, one of the boys became so excited and pointed to the picture of the Savior. He really became excited as he thumbed through the next few pages. We left the Book of Mormon reader and a copy of the Liahona with them. This was another wonderful experience with a people that love the Savior.

Well, we had our monthly Family Home Evening tonight. We made sweet pork and Brazilian beans and rice for them. They loved the food. Our smallest Elder ate the most of anyone. Many of us just sat and watched him eat. This time our meal planning was good – we did not have a lot of leftovers. Our Zone Leaders asked us to talk about the importance of stewardship.

After eating in the house we decided to go outside under the carport and have the lesson. It was a few degrees cooler outside and the bugs were tolerable. We hope that the