First thing was something taught by Elder Niel L. Anderson. He told a story about how we need to always be ready to testify about the Savior. He said, "Have the Savior on your lips." If we always have him on our lips we will always be ready to testify of him when the prompting comes. Plus you will most likely receive more of those promptings (or at least recognize them) when you are ready. This is something we can apply our whole life and especially as a missionary. Elder Anderson then went on talking about repentance and how it relates to the other principles of the gospel. David A. Bednar focused a lot about the spirit and our role in bringing it unto others. Some of the things he said made me remember a few things from my mission so far. He talked about how we as missionaries, having the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost, bring it into people's homes to those that do not yet have that constant companion. As soon as he said that I thought of our investigator Neo Cuntapay. Many times he has told us the different feeling we bring to his house and himself personally when we are able to teach him. We have taught him about the Holy Ghost and he knows how it works but I think he is still scared to commit to something different then what he is doing now. I also thought of the Chakino family from Bambang. They too loved it when we were there. I remember very well the night Sister Chakino bore her testimony to us and also thanked us for always coming to their house and the spirit we brought and left every time we went. Elder Bednar also talked about how to use the spirit in teaching and how you don't need to know it's revelation to say something. Those were two standout things that I liked. We also learned about teaching less actives, giving commitments and the best ways to find new investigators. Overall a very good conference and learned a lot I need to add/do differently in my teaching.
Like I mentioned last week, found out on Monday that I wasn't being transferred so I'll be here for 7 more weeks! This cycle is 7 weeks to push us back a week because of the change in the MTC. We've had some crazy cycles recently. 4 weeks then 8 weeks then 6 weeks and now 7 weeks but it should all get back to normal after this 7 week cycle. Tuesday this week was the prepare day and farewell for Sister Villa and Elder Romo. It was also a birthday for Nanay Layugan so they just combined it all and had a little party at the church Tuesday evening. We played some games and ate some pretty good food. By the way, my team dominated at the game I was in. It was a math game and I brought my team the victory. We swept the other team like 4-0. Ended with eating dinner, taking pictures and saying goodbye. Oh also on Tuesday, AP's called us and told us to have those transferring in Alicia zone to just commute on their own instead of us lining up a van. We had already lined up the van so we had to call him again and cancel. Everyone transferring in the zone was angry we didn't have a van but they all still managed to get to Cauayan on time to read the lists. Elder Labrador and I went and helped the sisters in the morning with their bags so they didn't have to carry them by themselves on the bus. Transfer meeting in Cauayan was pretty fun. Got to see some of the other missionaries I haven't seen in a while. I would have to say though there are a ton of missionaries that I don't even know the name of. Anyway, after we read the lists we helped the missionaries get in their vans and then we left. We got some great new additions to the zone which was good because I was pretty close with a lot of them that left. So I don't know if in your missions you would say like you have a daughter and son in the mission and stuff like that. If you are the district leader and you have a brand new sister in your district, then she becomes your 'daughter'. Then of course if you train then that is your son. So in the mission I have one son and two daughters and both my daughters (Sis. Baldomaro and Sis. Argonosa) got transferred to Alicia zone. They are so cool and really funny! And of course hard working! Also my new kabahay is Elder Palas. I was with him in Roxas for 4 cycles then we went to Tuguegarao North together and now we are together again here in Echague. He's pretty funny as well. So I'm pretty happy with the new zone even though I think I will only be here for one cycle longer.
Elder Labrador and I taught zone meeting on Thursday. We introduced the mission wide power read of the Book of Mormon then taught about charity. The zone made a pretty good discussion out of it and also the sister training leaders did a great job teaching their part of it. After the meeting the AP's came by and dropped us off some papers about zone conference this week. Elder Labrador and I are the hosts so I believe that means we are conducting. Our zone conference is tomorrow so we are really looking forward to it.
Friday morning we did a deep clean of the apartment. Mainly because Saturday was our apartment check but also because the apartment needed it. We cleaned out everything and even moved stuff out of rooms so we could sweep and mop it. We cleaned for like 2 hours straight and got rid of a ton of junk. We also reorganized where things are in the apartment which opened up some room in the main room. The apartment was super clean when we were done. Probably cleanest it's been since I've been here at least. It was good though because we passed the inspection Saturday morning. This was my first apartment check with the new housing couple and they check way more than the last ones did. Elder and Sister Shorter usually just came in, shared a message, talked a little, checked a few things and were on their way. Elder and Sister Jones asked way more questions about cleaning and then checked pretty well the entire apartment. Good thing we cleaned so well!
Go back to Friday real quick, we had Aaron's birthday party. I guess they all thought that I was gone so when we showed up they were shocked I was still here. It was a happy shocked not a sad shocked so that was good! We spent a hour with them celebrating his birthday then went to dinner with Nanay and Tatay Rivera.
For the second week in a row we were able to teach Neo. We saw him driving in his car Thursday evening while we were waiting for a tricy on the side of the highway. He honked at us but didn't stop. We got a hold of him over the phone but weren't able to set a time this week to meet up with him. He said he was too busy and would be out of town. I don't like letting people go this long with out being taught especially if they show signs of progression. We'll pray we get to meet up with him this week and share to him.
One of our less actives, Sister Heia, came to church for the third time in a row this week. We had stake conference so it was in Alicia and she was still able to go. She has made a few mistakes in her life but has been doing well on returning to church. Sometimes less actives don't get noticed when they come back to the church. Or at least the part of the missionaries helping them come back isn't seen. I think last week is when this happened... someone came up to us and asked if we were the missionaries helping Sister Heia return to church. We were really happy to be recognized for helping Sister Heia.
Another less active, John Garcia, hasn't been to church the last two weeks either. We were able to visit him though on Sunday night along with his sister and her husband who are also less active. We had a great BRT with them where they talked about their conversion to the church. They were some of the first 10 members of the church here in Echague. It was cool to have them tell us about what it was like back then. It was back around 1988. Just having about 10 of them at church in a house. Pretty cool to see it grow into two wards since that time.
Sunday we had stake conference where we got a new stake presidency put in. Elder Haney from the area presidency was there along with another member of the Seventy. Can't remember his name though. Then President and Sister Rahlf were there as well.The old stake presidency and the new stake presidency all bore their testimonies then we listened to Sister Rahlf then President Rahlf talk. Then the two members of the Seventy. Great meeting. I was thinking we were super lucky to have them here in Alicia stake speaking to us until Elder Haney mentioned Elder Nelson was also in the Philippines but in Naga mission. Just kidding, they still did a great job and we were very lucky to have the privilege to listen to them.
Overall we had a pretty good week this week. Got the new zone all settled in and we are looking forward to zone conference tomorrow! Should be another great week this week! Take care and I love you all!
Elder Labrador and I with some of the Sisters at stake conference.
Elder Labrador, Sister Delinila, Sister Baldomaro and myself at transfer day.