So the big news for this week is they topped Christmas by bringing in David Archuleta this last Sunday! It was so so awesome. His voice is amazing live. We also had the opportunity to hear the organist from the Mormon Tabernacle play for us. Music is such a powerful testimony of God’s love for us. They both spoke a little before their performances. When we hear the chords of music strike our ears, it has the capacity to penetrate our hearts and captivate our souls. What is a soul? It is the part of us that calls out to heaven. It is the reason we both recognize and crave beauty. Listening to these magnificent people perform really emphasizes the beauty God blesses us with here. It was awesome to hear David Archuleta sing and he performed quite a few songs including the ending song from Meet the Mormons, Glorious, which he actually recorded while he was still a missionary. One of the songs he sang made me cry a lot because he told this story about how his Grandma was converted in Honduras when she met the Elders on the bus and they asked her where she lived and she pointed in a general direction because she didn’t want them to find her. Then one day they were playing basketball outside and the ball rolled down the street and someone picked it up and it was the same Elders who they had met before. They invited her to Church that Sunday. When she got to church and heard the opening song, she began to sob. The Elders asked her why and she told them that the night before she had a dream of angels singing this beautiful song she had never heard. When the opening song started to play, she recognized it as the same song from her dream, it was Come, Come Ye Saints. Maybe my memory is wrong, but I remember this being the song we sang at Bapa’s funeral so hearing it again made me cry. It was an amazing and emotional performance from David though, he got sort of choked up in the middle and missed a note or two.
The other devotional we had this week on Tuesday was also really awesome. We had a member of the Seventy come with his wife. I loved his wife’s talk a lot. She spoke about this flower lady she met in Taiwan when he was serving as Mission President there. This lady would walk up and down during the red light at this intersection and sell people flowers to hang on their rearview mirrors. She would go right up to their window and stand there until they rolled their window down or shook their head. This was her entire living for her family. If they bought a flower she would hand it to them and then say in “Jesus loves you,” in Chinese. After awhile, she would recognize this Sister’s car and go right up to her. They got to be friends. This Sister talked about how this Flower Lady was a perfect example of missionary work, that we should, Be Bold, ready to walk right up to people, that we should Be Diligent, willing to persist and persist, and that we should tell people about Christ. I added a last one that we should Be Humble, willing to do small tasks, willing to do whatever without recognition as missionaries.
So those were the two talks this week that were the very best and I really enjoyed them. We also had a mini celebration as a district on New Years Eve with some poppers that someone’s mom sent and some whistles. It was a good time. I can’t believe it’s 2015 already. This week went by so so fast and time is starting to accelerate here at the MTC. It is going to zip by and we will be in the Philippines so quickly. I can’t wait. My companion and I talk about how we wish we could just go already, even though we probably don’t know near enough Tagalog. (Though we do a crap ton about the Gospel!) Haha, Nacho Libre references have been my forte lately. It’s amazing how many quotes from things I can remember to apply to missionary work. We try to have a good time while we are here while still staying focused and hard working. My companion and I work hard but we don’t get too stressed out about anything.
This last week we had two amazing lessons with our investigator Peter(who is actually our teacher role playing). We do a lot of role playing here. But anyway, our investigators feel very real to us and we pray for them like we will in the field. Our lesson this week on The Restoration went so well, and we were able to keep it simple and clear and use Tagalog the whole time because he doesn’t understand English at all. He is kind of tough because he has been pretty closed off and he says No to our invitations sometimes or doesn’t read the Book of Mormon like we ask. But we were excited to teach him this week and prepared really well and it gave us a lot of confidence to be able to teach him effectively because he has been a challenge. Really what we try to do is to focus mainly on the person we are teaching and not how good of teachers we are. Are we helping that person come unto Christ? If so, we are doing our jobs and we can be happy.
My companion and I both finished the Book of Mormon on New Year’s Eve so we started it again New Year’s Day and now we have a goal to finish it before we get to the Philippines. I want to share something briefly about the blessings of the Book of Mormon and the power it can have in your life if you will let it. I realize that I am too hesitant to ask for a testimony of the Book of Mormon. For some reason, I have always felt I need to finish the Book or Mormon in order to be worthy to ask for an answer to my prayers about the truth of it’s words. This is completely false and not how God views gaining a testimony of The Book of Mormon at all. Truly, if you were willing to pray sincerely and with real intent about even a single word of the Book ff Mormon, the Spirit will bear witness to you of the truth of that one word. Talking to someone in TRC last week who was converted in the Philippines she explained how once she heard the verses in Moroni 10:4-5 and followed them, she knew of the truth. We can pray for an answer to know the truth even if we are willing to make the effort to read a single verse and then pray sincerely and with an open heart to know if it is true. The entire conversion process that we should all be going through for our entire lives is based on this simple principle of following and testing a truth and then asking sincerely to feel of that same truth. I challenge any of you who read this to do so. Read something in the Book of Mormon, whatever chapter, verse or anything really. I have loved verses 1 Nephi 11:22-23 this week about how the love of God is the most desirable above all things and how it truly is the most joyous to the soul. We can gain this wonderful gift if we hold to the Iron Rod, or the word of God. It has the power to change lives more completely than any other source. So this time of reading the Book of Mormon I am trying to pray sincerely every single day about the truth of it, or about questions I want to find answers to in the Book of Mormon. I am finding that I am so eager to read and with the amount of study time we have here, finishing it this month will not be too hard though I will have to stretch myself a little to reach this goal.
Anyway, I love all of you and appreciate those who have written me very much, sorry if I haven’t written you back but thank you for your words and support. I pray for all of you and hope you are well.
Alam ko po na sa pamamagitan ng panalangin, pweude po tayo magiging mas malakas kaugnayan natin sa Diyos. Alam ko po na totoo po ang Aklat ni Mormon. Alam ko po na propeta po si Joseph Smith.