(That's the name of the new jungle village we found this week. It's not said Bang like a gun, although I do have to think of ChittyChitty BangBang every time we go there. I think the name might actually be from another Visaya word- butterfly is Alibangbang. And we did see some mga alibangbang there, plus lots of miracles, so we'll be going back to BangBang)
Are you all excited for the stories of the week? It's been a good one. I've learned a lot. President Schmutz taught us all about the foreknowledge of God, combined with our foreordination, and what that means for our discipleship. If you get time, read Elder Maxwell's talk about the same thing= https://www.lds.org/
ensign/print/1979/02/a-more- determined-discipleship?lang= eng&clang=eng, I'm sure he'll explain it much better than I can in a manner of minutes. But I know that God has a plan for each of us, and we have to work to fulfill that. Some of the most sublime moments on my mission have been those times when I could see myself coming in line with God's plan for me.
Updates- Sis. P is doing really well. But she didn't come to church! But she wants to tell her whole family about the gospel of Jesus Christ and that we're his representatives! But she didn't come to church! But she read half of 1 Nephi! So we're confused, but when we go back, we'll figure it out. Hopefully, we can get there soon, not only so that we can cross in the river boat, but so that we can make it to this special daughter of God.
The DumDums are also doing well. the oldest son just got a calling as the YM secretary, and he hasn't missed an activity. We were riding in a tricycle to our next appointment and we saw 3 young men in white shirts and ties- I almost thought it was the Elders, but it was 2 other prospective missionaries walking with Ronnie to institute. So happy! A recent convert we're teaching also was called as YM President and he's doing so great- Bro. Racquel only been a member for 4 months, but the Spirit has enlightened his understanding- he's so ready.
New stories- we had some great member help this week. First,, we had branch conference, and we got to sing in the choir. We stuck out a lot- but what's new? I just was so happy to be singing "If the Savior stood Beside me" with my favorite Filipino people, and knowing that he really is always near us.
As part of branch conference, we had a branch FHE in this tiny home- I think we fit 25 people in a room the size of 5-C's kitchen. I'm finally at a point in Visaya where I can be funny and get jokes and things, so these opportunities are a delight.
We also had help in BangBang! Pres. J (branch president) came with us and we all looked for some inactive members. We found one house where the women were all gambling and invited us to join while the nanay ran away. but we'll go back! Even better, we found the Sugabo family. Three of the 8 sugabo children need to be baptized, and that's exactly what we're here for! We really want to help unite this family- the Philippines area presidency has put a focus on those part member families, and we'd been praying for those opportunities and here they are! We also met all sorts of children in BangBang who were shocked to see an American. One little boy asked me if I was born white- it had never even crossed his mind that this was possible. But their families were also really kind and seemed like some of them might be looking for something more.
Also in Bang Bang- the Copas family! Referral from the Elders and they are incredible. The 18 year old daughter is from a Born again background, but is really willing to learn. She had some wonderful questions, and I was so excited to help her see the truth. She’d share her belief, ask ours and we’d discuss it. It was so interesting to see the way that these other churches compensate for lack of truth. She believed that baptism wasn’t a requirement for salvation because there are good people who never had a chance to be baptized. It seems so obvious to look to baptisms for the dead, but that is only in the true church of Jesus Christ. The doctrine truly has the answer to everything- and it, more than anything else, will lead to change. They're really busy this coming month because the oldest daughter is getting married ( like married for real!) so please pray that we'll be able to visit them.
Lots is going on- I don't think I do a very good job of conveying the blessings I see everyday here. But I hope you all feel it a little- it's true joy going on- and even when we can't see it immediately, maybe we have to wait to figure out why things are happening, and maybe we won't know until we get to understand like God, but we do the good things anyway, because we know they come from God.
I'm grateful for all of you, for being good things in my life! Thanks for being you. Smile and love a little more today!
Love all the way from BangBang, Nangka, Balamban, Cebu, Philippines,