Anyways now that that seemingly unrelated thought is over with, I will get into how my week was. I feel like I am learning faster now and I am getting a good grasp on how to teach in Tagalog. It can be very frustrating when I have something I want to say and I can't explain it adequately. Then I must start over with my thoughts completely. It really, truly, makes you think about what you want to say – long before it comes out of your mouth. That being said, I have also been working on listening. Not just understanding what people are saying, but seeing their needs through their tone and their eyes. It is impossible to teach someone to their needs if you don’t know what their needs are.
One thing that I would like to say is that the people here love Jesus. I think that missionary work in other countries tends to follow along the lines of telling people about the restoration of the gospel as fast as possible and bearing witness it is true. Whereas here, if you do not spend 15-20 minutes talking about Jesus Christ and what he has done for us – then the people might question what our message truly is about. It makes it easier to teach about the reason why we do anything, why missionaries exist: to invite others to follow Christ, to testify of Christ, to give witness of His life, and His true church and gospel. I really do love teaching the first half of the first lesson now. If you are unfamiliar, the first lesson is about the restoration of God's true church (the same church that Jesus Christ established when he was on the earth). The first half of the lesson, we are supposed to talk about prophets, Jesus Christ's life, and why it was important. We get to share doctrines from Jesus that some people don’t understand. The second half of the lesson is about the restoration of that same church through a modern day prophet.
I realize the importance of Christ's life more every time I teach that lesson; every time I help people understand what Christ did for them and what he wants us to do because of it. Christ spent his whole life inviting people to follow Him and keep God's commandments; and it is my job to do the same thing.
We had a small cleansing of our teaching pool. We are shifting focus away from those that are unwilling to keep commitments and pray to know the truth of what we teach; and we focused a lot on finding and teaching new investigators. We were truly blessed as we found many people that we were able to teach and have started to keep commitments. One in specific is Brother Kamarlon. He was unable to come to church this week because he couldn’t get work off, but he told us when we checked up on him yesterday that he wanted to serve a mission. He said he has a strong desire to know the truth and share it with others.
I would like to share a spiritual thought out of the book of Enos in the Book of Mormon. After Enos prays all day for a remission of sins, he receives the answer from God that because of his faithfulness he is forgiven. He gains a testimony of the truth. Then in verse 9 he says: "And it came to pass that when I had heard these wordsI began to feel a desire for the welfare of my brethren, the Nephites;wherefore, I did pour out my whole soul unto God for them." If you have truly received a witness how are you sharing it? If you have yet to receive a witness what are you waiting for?
This language is very much one of intent. People understand you based on how you say things and quite a bit less on what you say. The lesson I am going to teach is on the word "Lang". It means “only”, or “just”. It is used much how we use the word “just” in English. It is a word that you tack on the end of another word (almost always an English word) and it means about what you would expect it to mean. The only difference is that the way this is used it mostly based on tone and a lot less on the word itself. For example, 90% of the time if I ask how someone is they say "okay-Lang" meaning "just okay" but this varies depending on how you say it. Think of when you ask how someone is in America, and they reply "Good" but if they say that with a frown and a sigh it probably isn't. “Okay-lang” doesn't really mean "I am just okay" it means whatever the person wants based on how they say it.
I don't know if I have a lot to say, other than the weeks are moving by really quickly. I am almost half way done with training and by then I will hopefully be able to teach with confidence. Right now I am focusing a lot on how I say things and the inflection I put behind my words. The two things that go through my mind are. "The people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" and "It doesn't matter what you say it matters what the people feel."
The message I share is true and I need to share it in a manner that bespeaks that truth. If you have but a desire to believe, find a copy of the Book of Mormon and go to Alma32 and read the chapter. If you are reading in English it starts on page 288, you are halfway there.
Keep on keeping on people I didn't take too many pictures but I will give you what I got. Some of these will be roommates and one of them should be a house we got to visit that we had to travel on a small bamboo bridge to get to.
I wish you all a good next week. If you are having a hard time, focus on improvement. I have learned that improvement can be pretty easy if you feel like you are at the lowest in life. Start with your smallest flaw and work on it then move to something bigger. Baby steps will get us to wherever we want to go as long as we are constantly taking them.
I love you all.