Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Semana Santa‏/Easter

This week was a little better than the last. The people here do not really celebrate Easter. They celebrate Semana Santa. Holy Week. It is really just an excuse for everyone to get really drunk. And in every house they make "dulce". Which is paste, like a consistency of Peanut Butter, but made of straight up sugar and whatever they can find around the house. Dulce de: Arroz, guandú, Ñame, Mango, Papaya (crap), Leche and so on. We also watched General Conference (the first time ever that Arjona had it broadcasted in the chapel), but just about every talk had lots of pauses due to internet issues. I got very sick and vomited during the Saturday Session (Because of all the Dulce). I heard those who opposed the Prophet which makes me sad that some people cannot follow the prophet. we can see the consequences of not following the prophet through the scriptures. This week was pretty good. I had an interview with President and Sister Searle and I felt a lot better about my outlook on missionary service and companionship. I read the chapters of Alma 59-61 that Presidente Searle asked me to. He told me that I will need to suffer with pacience just like Pahoran suffered with Moroni. It was powerful to see two strong leaders see past their differences and unite to defend what mattered most to them. There is a talk that I read from years back that said something to the effect of: if you don't love someone it is because you have not served them enough. I said to myself at first, "I serve my companion everyday!" But I tried even harder to serve him. I am still the happier missionary of us two. I realized that my companion maybe isn't enjoying his mission very much. We got along better this week. While things aren't perfect, I am enjoying my mission more than ever. I studied my Patriarchal Blessing, and two words found within it: Compassion and Tolerance, is what I need to gain to be an effective companion. I have put it into practice and we are steadily becoming more united to defend what matters most to God. The Famlily. This conference was centered on the family and I wanted to know what I could do now to have a strong spouse and family in the future. The guidance of church leaders is the best remedy for wanting to improve, and now I know what I can do to change. We decided to spontaneously put aside our plans for this last Friday, because I felt very strongly that we should visit a town that is pretty far from where we live, and work there. This town had never heard of the church nor even seen a missionary! The whole town seemed to want to talk to us! We programmed 9 people for baptism, and all of them attended church together, along with about 6 or 7 more people that they had invited! We had 20 investigatores listening to the words of a Prophet! One in every 6 people there in the Arjona ward building was an invesigator! They enjoyed conference and a ward lunch and it really brought the ward family together. After conference, my companion and I visited a family of young converts and their parents. We taught the message of the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We had their attention well captivated and they had several great questions. The spirit was strong in the house. We asked the Dad to give the closing prayer. We all kneeled down and he started praying. He asked if the Church was true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. As he did I felt as though the room had changed, even though I didnt open my eyes to see. It was just us in the room, but it felt to me as though there was a loving presence in the center of the circle as he prayed. He ended the prayer and one of his children said "I think that Jesus Christ was here. Just for a couple of seconds. I felt like there was a light in the middle of us as we prayed." The Mom immediately said "You felt it too? I knew that there was something in the middle of the circle, and it was bright and warm!" The Dad also felt it, and described the peace he felt after. They were all very emotional, as was I :). They told us as we left "We have felt a little portion of the light every time you guys come. But now we felt the whole thing." I told them that even THAT is a small portion of the spirit we will feel with God in his kingdom. A very powerful experience. I hope you guys had a really great Easter and ANNIVERSARY! Woo hOO! You guys look awesome with the temple in the background. Literally no one is married here, much less sealed in a temple. They do not go on dates. They do not show affection to their children, and so their children grow up to be adults quick. So they are noisy, drinking, and crazy young adults. I appreciate more than ever what you guys have done for me, because I never felt like you guys didn't love me! Thanks for all you do! 20 years compared to La eternidad, only a small portion of the adventures you guys will have together!I want my siblings to focus on things that matter and not miss me so much! I have thought a lot about you guys this week, I am really proud to be your son and represent two names... the name of my Savior Jesus Christ and my last name of Manwaring. Two names that have influenced my life! I know that we have a loving Heavenly Father that watches out for us. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that he died for us. The two experiences in my life so far that testify of this was watching Ava battle cancer, and being on my mission and witnessing people every day reject Christ, as well as those who embrace Him. As the hymn says "Oh it is wonderful that He should care for me enough to die for me." I really am having the best mission a missionary could ever have. Happy Anniversary! Thanks for being the best parents ever!

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