What a happy week! Went to Catanduanes (one of the islands) had exchanges with Elder Moncur, taught Ed finally and more progress with Vern! It’s a little longer this week but each one of those points has a good story – read it! It’s a wonderful life. Also, we went to a really cool cave for zone activity this morning (see pictures) then this afternoon we went to the apartment to change/shower and when we got out we were all ready and excited to email, but much to our chagrin, we had a flat tire! Luckily it was in the same place where we had to fix one a few months ago so we were able to do it super quick.
So, Catanduanes. Remember (I assume not, so here I am, explaining it) how when I first got to Tabaco in July (wow! That was almost a year ago) that I got to go to Catanduanes once a transfer for exchanges and things until it became its own zone so we didn’t go anymore? Well now, since I’ve been here I’ve been able to go back a few times, but just to the city mostly. This week though, we got to go on exchanges in one of the areas I haven’t been to since September maybe. It’s just this super super small little community. We went with President because he was giving a workshop and we went on exchanges with the Elders there. It’s a really small branch, and the Elders are the Branch President and Branch Clerk so it was good to visit them. After the workshop, we all drove out in President’s van to a faraway community even further away from the city (small). In missionary work here, we really try to stay close to centers of strength, but President felt to go visit this place that has probably never seen a missionary before. As we drove through the little town, we could feel a peaceful Spirit. All the doors were open and it was as if the people were just begging to have missionaries. After looking around, we began to drive back to the city, but just as we got to the outskirts of the area, President stopped the car and asked Elder Madsen to offer a prayer and ask for a blessing on the missionary work in this area (Manambrag). We all had a Spirit of peace come over us. It was an amazing experience. Probably a tiny taste of what apostles felt before when they would go out and dedicate a land for missionary work. And the last thing I’ll say about this is I was again reminded why I’m happy that I get to visit the islands, but secretly glad that I was never assigned on them – the whole time we were there, the Elders’ apartment had no water, and we only had electricity for a few hours of the two days that we were there. ....hot.
Exchanges with Elder Moncur on Saturday. Another great day. I worked with Elder Moncur in the morning, then after lunch and studies, we switched companions so it was me, Elder Yu (my comp) and Elder Quinto (Elder Moncur’s comp) in the afternoon (remember, we're a trisome so Elder Madsen was with Elder Moncur in the afternoon). Elder Moncur and I went out to this super beautiful far out place. Incredibly pretty (see pictures). And of course, it’s always fun to talk about things from home since of course he’s from our old stake. We had a great time together (: My favorite part though of the exchanges was a lesson we taught in the afternoon. We taught this 22 year old who’s mom is active, but he is married and is not a member. We were actually the first ones to teach him and as we taught, we felt impressed to teach him about the Gospel of Christ and really emphasize baptism and how it will bless his family. We invited him to be baptized and he, of course, said yes. We talked a bit more then invited him to be baptized on the 26th of July. Maybe a bit taken aback that we gave him a specific date, he sat there pondering. For maybe 30 seconds (a long time in a lesson!) we were silent and I was praying he would feel the Spirit prompting him to say yes. All of a sudden I felt confirmed that he was feeling the Spirit and he just blurted out, “Okay. I will do everything for my family.” We were overwhelmed with joy for the whole evening after that.
Other points worth mentioning are.. we finally taught Ed! I’ve never said anything about him because well… we’ve never taught him until last night but basically he’s this guy we tracted forever ago and he’s really cool but for one reason or another we were never able to teach until last night when we sat down with his family and taught them. He was good work friends with a previous Bishop in the Legazpi Ward and he is also the owner of the Elders’ apartment in the city we live in so hah we called them and said they better be the best ever so it goes well with teaching Ed. Also, Vern came to church so that’s going well.
I’m really happy right now. I’m making the most of my remaining time. I just want everyone to know how much I love this work and how much it’s changed me. And when people say things like this in their big emails to everyone, it’s really easy to just start skimming over it and not take in what’s being said, but I want everyone to know how much this work has changed me. I really am a different person. Not just in the sense that I’ve been away for two years and will come back slightly awkward no doubt, but I’ve really, truly been changed. And will continue to be. I love God so much, and that’s not something I prioritized too much before in life. But I do now.
Thanks for everything! You’re all the best!
Love, Elder Shane Brown
1. May or may have not done this before...
2-4. Exchanges with Elder Moncur - his area is so pretty!
5-7. Pretty Catanduanes
8-12. The Caves