Another fast week! I'll start though with my hectic day on Sunday (yesterday). First of all, because we're a Group, every other week we go over to our "Mother Branch" to coordinate with the Branch Presidency. Anyways, as we were walking up o the church, I heard an Americano voice say good morning to us so I said hello and knew it was a guy that some other Elders told me they met a while ago. We then continued on our way (the church is on the same street). We were in the middle of our coordination meeting when a lady poked her head in and whispered to the Elder siting next to the door (assigned in the Branch) that there was an Americano outside and she needed help with English... Uhh.. She must not have seen me..... I was soon summoned though and met a guy from RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA!! His wife is Filipino-American so they moved here with their family of three kids three years ago. We talked for a bit until the meeting ended. Then this nice Americano gave us a ride home plus a few referrals for people to teach. The Elders where he lives will be going to him next week!
Anyways, we got home, had a rushed lunch then went to church at our Group. Almost no one was there! 15 in total (including us), but there were only three other semi-active priesthood holders there! Luckily one of them was the old Branch President (Pres. Botor) so he had most everything set up and ready. When no one else showed up, it was time to start a half hour late. Before that though... Pres. Botor handed me the manual for the adults' class and said, "I hope you can teach." Then, since the youth were supposed to speak (and none where there!), he looked at us and said, "Elders, looks like we're speakers today." (Third week in a row). When we needed to choose what we would sing, he handed me a hymnbook and said, "Elder Brown, you are the chorister." In short, we basically were in charge of the whole Sunday Service with about a four minute warning, including of course blessing/passing/conducting. It actually turned out pretty well though and I didn't really get any complaints on my ill-prepared (or in other words, not prepared) lesson. The whole deal was a good experience, but it means we really have some work to do. basically, some serious hardships are hitting the Baao Group. After instruction, we are almost focusing solely on strengthening the members here, becoming the 1st/2nd counselors.
Okay, other news from the week:
-We worked on Family History on Thursday with couple missionaries from Idaho. They were laughing at my retarding English. The Americano I met yesterday at first thought I was German "because of my accent." Not sure where he got that from... I guess that's what I get for having zero contact with English other than the Standard Works, journal writing, and weekly emails.
-Saturday we got a text of mission news: Starting July 1st, the Philippines Naga Mission (my mission, duh) will be splitting to add the Philippines Legaspi Mission. If I stay in the area I'm in now, I'll be moved under the Philippines Legaspi Mission. but that's a whiles away, I'll keep you posted there.
-I'm reading the Four Standard Works along with the BYU Student Manuals right now. I finished the Old Testament yesterday, here are my thoughts I recorded in my journal: I can't believe I've already finished the Old Testament. I feel as if I could talk forever about what I felt as I both read AND pondered the messages inside. Everytime I prayed for understanding, I felt the Holy Ghost in me clearing my mind and bringing things to light, connecting ideas I never would have thought of alone. The overwhelming feeling I had while reading is that God loves me. So, so much. He wants the best for me and it's through His commandments that I will achieve that. I can't let myself be the only benefactor either though. I need to always have family scripture study so my children can grow up in the same knowledge, "and not depart from it." (Proverbs 22:6). More than anything, I can say without doubt, my testimoney, my understanding, my love and devotion have deepened in Jesus Christ and His Gospel. "I am convinced that each of us, at some time in our lives, must discover the scriptures for ourselves - and not just discover them once, but rediscover them again and again." -President Kimball. It was inspiring, I can't say more.
-Lastly, I have some great news. Along with my Old testament rading, I have been having so many spiritual experiences. It brings such inexpressible happiness to me. That all really hit a high point on Wednesday. We were just walking down the road at night and I was thinking about how short my time is here, and what I have enjoyed/ will miss. All of a sudden, I impulsively threw my hands in the air and shouted aloud (in Tagalog), "I DON'T WANT TO GO HOME!!!!!!!!" Sorry Mom, but it's true.
Whelp, that's it for this week. Until next time, love ya!
Elder Shane Scully Brown
1. So, SO pretty here!
3. I <3 IRIGA... Iriga is the city where we Pday
4. This is an example of the five-star buses we ride on