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Monday, October 15, 2012

Week 103: Zone Conference, General Conference and more miracles

Tatay Sadri Salarsen and his 3 grandchildren (from left to right Majorie, Princess and Diane) at general conference. Tatay Sadri will be baptized on October 27.
 His grandchildren and wife and the girls parents have a goal date on the 24th of November.

Dear family,

Wow what a great week. We had zone conferences and general conference and it was a really quick week. So I am really grateful to be serving as a missionary. I really know that this work is true and we see miracles everyday. 

So one of the coolest things that happened to us was this, we were going to a LA (less active) family and on the way saw a young father and mother and their two little kids. We felt inspired to talk to them but we went to the LA first and they weren't home so we went right back to that family. We started talking to him and it turned out to be a tryce driver that had given me and Elder Mclauglhin a ride my first week in this area. We were going really far and hadn't negotiated the price before so I thought we were gonna get charged a ton. We asked him how much when we got there and he only charged us the minimum. We were shocked because everyone always tries to rip us off especially when it's 2 Americans.  So being inspired or because he was just so nice we gave him a Book of Mormon but weren't able to get his address or anything. 

When we met him again this week he invited us in and we were able to share with him. I guess he has read a bit of the Book of Mormon and is interested but his sister that lives in their house has been reading all the time in the Book of Mormon she took with her that day when we visited. (We didn't meet her yet but will be going later tonight). They are really humble family. His wive's business of selling stuff actually all got burned last week (all at a loss, there is no fire insurance at least not for small business here in the Philippines) (A big departments store and like half the Santiago palengke caught fire and burned destroying everything like 2 weeks ago). We are excited for them and we go back later today.

So I think I mentioned Brother Harry a few ago. I guess he talked to parents and his parents don't want him to become a Mormon but he can still be taught and go to church for the time being. His cousin and grandpa have been listening as well. His cousin is like 17 and she is in college. We taught them the Law of Chasity last week and this week she told us that she had a debate class thingy at school about whether unmarried couples should have sex. She told us that she went against it and explained what we had shared to her and used the Law of Chasity pamphlet as a source and that she also won the debate. I thought that was pretty cool. The weird things is she hasn't really been reading assignments and has yet to come to church but it sounds like she is more bold than most members about that.

So Jason (see the pics) came to general conference this week. We actually went to him on Saturday but he was gone but his mom said he had bought a polo and had it all ready for Sunday. So far we have only taught him that first time but we were able to share the story of the Prophet Joesph Smith and It was really powerful discussion. He seemed to enjoy conference on Sunday and he actually knows quite a few people at church and was sitting with friends. His mother seemed very nice too and said she would listen next time we come. 

So the Salarsen family is doing very well. Tatay has come to church 5 times now and is really excited to be baptized. He is being interviewed on Saturday and will probably be the last baptism of my mission. His wife always listens and promised to go to church before I go home but doesn't seem quite as ready. She did however accept a goal date on Nov 24. The 3 girls you saw in the picture have goal dates on the 24th as well as their parents. (They all accepted but the girls and tatay are the only ones to come to church so far)

I can't remember if I told you how we found Tatay Salarsen but maybe I'll tell it again because I don't think we have yet. 

AJ broke Elder Valdez -- He doesn't eat rice anymore.
He packed a giant ham and egg sandwich for general conference.
So E. Mclauglhin and I had got kicked from our appointments and were just walking trying to figure out where to go and we saw a Tatay chillin' in a hammock.  So I said, hey, lets try him. We talked to him and he invited us to sit down and to share with him. We were just talking to him and asking about his family and he told us that one of his children had died.  We asked what happened. He said that when one of his daughters was 7 she was coming home from school and got hit by a car and was killed. 

I had just listened to the Holland talk about how we need to listen and teach to others' needs. He told a story about how a widow in the 50's got tracted by missionaries. What happened was she slammed the door in their face and but the Elders didn't give up, and knocked again. She said, "you're ministers right?" 

The elders said yes and she said that's enough get lost.  The elders got a foot in the door and said we are just innocent young men we have message.  Why don't you like ministers? 

She then told a story about how her child died at a young age.  She went to a minister of a church and the minister told her that her baby was in hell and she was going to hell too because she didn't have her baby baptized.  The Elders than asked her if she wanted to know where her child was.
She said more than anything she wanted to know. The Elders then opened up to Moroni 8 and were able to share their testimony and win her heart over.  The lady said that was the first she had ever felt the spirit. 

Then years later in the Czech Republic she was a legend because her and sister kept the church alive in Croatia, keeping their tithing in glass jars for decades during the world war II.

Elder Holland said it all started because of a missionary that had the sense to know what was in Moroni 8 and he also said it might not be Moroni 8 --  any given day or investiagtor --  but that if we are obiedient, giving our all and being worthy of the spirit we are entiteled to know what that investigator needs. 

So returning to Tatay Sadri,  I had listened to that talk like just a few days later and it really was Moroni 8. So we asked him if he wanted to know where she was and then read the words of Mormon in the 8th chapter on Moroni. Tatay shared with us afterwords the peace and joy he felt because he knew where his child was. So that's where it has started and he has been amazing ever since. You'll have to listen to that talk by Holland when I get home.  It's on my SD card

I am so grateful for everything that has happened. I am near the end of what has been a faith building, life changing experience and we see miracles everyday. I know that the Lord works though small and simple things and also through the weak and unlearned people. I am excited to be coming home soon but I will definitely miss the wonderful people here and a part of me will be missing as I have really come to love being a missionary and using all my time to invite others to come unto the savior. I love the savior and have come to know him more in these last 23 months. I will never be the same and I will never forget the people I have met here especially those that changed everything to forsake their old lives and follow the savior.

Nanay Ester, on the left -- She is 73 and a widow and is really golden.
She came to general conference as well and this was her 2nd week at church
I love you tons!!!

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