Hello!! Its been another week here in the Philippines. I know I say that a lot, but it really has. I catch myself grinning to often. Mom, that was a great suggestion to make Mango Salsa. Lucky I have all the ingredients stocked in my fridge everyday, right? They don't have salsa here so my house mates were excited to try it. After I made it I explained to them that we could eat it tomorrow with chips or on top of fish. Well to my surprise, the next day my cute little natives had eaten almost all the salsa with Cheese potato chips. I should have been more specific when I said "chips".
The Filipino people teach me so much, i'm wondering how many lessons i'm going to learn from them. I want to share with you all about how Filipinos sincerely care for other people. One night we were invited to have dinner at a families home. They really do not have much, and all that was for dinner was a small roll, with a little relish spread. There was enough for everyone to have one, although I noticed Tatay didn't eat any. He wasn't eating one, so that we could have seconds. They offered it to me three times, by that time my companion nudged me so I took it. I told my companion afterwards that it breaks my heart to take food from them, and that I would rather starve, because they really needed the rolls I ate. My companion told me that because they are so giving, God will bless them. Also, that if I decline, then it is considered an insult. When you take its a way of saying your grateful. Well this little story is something that happens at least 5 times a day. People just give and give and give. There is this one sister, that whenever we come visit her, she takes off her sandals and gives them to me so I can wear them inside her house, so that my feet don't get dirty. People are extremely thoughtful. Its teaching me probably the most valuable lesson I have learned thus far in my life. For example, the other day I ate a lot of my companions chips and I offered to pay for them. She said that I should never offer to pay for something, and that it could be offensive. She continued and said, here in the Philippines its every ones food. I've been thinking a lot about this, and I think this has been the biggest culture shock to me. Because in America I have ingrained in my mind its polite to help pay for things, yet now I am realizing that its all about the after feeling that people are receiving. Its about after you give something its "I did something good" and not "look at what I lost." The Filipinos got this service thing down perfectly. If I didn't accept something given, its an insult because I am depriving them of serving, and receiving the wonderful feeling and blessings they receive afterwards. It has opened my eyes to be more aware of people. Especially because the Filipinos are such a sensitive and delicate people. In my companionship it is teaching me that people love to see actions and not just be told that you care. I care so much about her, and I love her so much, so Its helping me put those thoughts into actions. I am now learning how to look how little things to do constantly throughout the day. I think this is helping me with any relationship I am in, because I am learning to totally forget about myself, because that person means more than myself. Also to genuinely care, you never count who's doing what. Thats the old American mind set that I am changing. Its not about what I paid for or what I did, its about how can I show that I care more.
Well now I want to tell you some thoughts I've had about out dear investigator Gener. This past week its been an emotional one for me because of him. He was progressing so much, and he has such a great desire for truth. Although this past week, come to find out, that some temptations entered his home this past week, that I am rather shocked happened. Makes me realize that Satan knows us well. He knows our weaknesses and what would be the perfect thing to stop us from progressing. I'm realizing that its been am emotional one for Gener, my companion and I because we are in a spiritual war. It needs to be hard because we are fighting for the salvation of people. We were rather told with him about the pathways he can choose, and that God knows what will bring him true happiness. Gener is the type of person that we can be bold to, because his heart is so soft he understands truth and accepts it. Nephi talks a lot about hardness of hearts (ex. 1Ne 15: 2-3) and also in 2Ne 9:40. From Nephi's teachings I conclude that we shouldn't take the truth hard, the truth is how we progress. A lot of times we may feel guilt when truth is spoken. Its up to us to steer that guilt. Whether it hardens our heart, or we sincerely ask God to help us through it. A friend once told me that Guilt is the sense of a lock of duty. I think my friend was spot on. I think that the holy ghost can help you become aware of your duty. Your duty being what God would have you do and what is right for you. When we ignore the holy ghost, and choose the carnal man instead 'you remain in a fallen state, and the devil hath power over you' - Mosiah 16:5 Which explains the guilt. Because you are remaining in the fallen state, there is no progression, and no progression in this life, gives us a sense of a lack of duty. To progress in this life, in other words, means to become Godlike. The only way we do this is through listening to the holy ghost. SO we need to prepare a comfortable home for the holy ghost to nestle in and stay with us. I hope my investigator Gener realizes this. I like to compare these thoughts to the conversion on Enos. How he states in Enos 1:2 that he had to 'wrestle' to receive remission of sins. Meaning, facing his guilt. Sins make us feel vulnerable, like not protected anymore. Open to Satan. Sometimes it makes people feel like wanting to go hide under a rock, so sometimes its tough to face God, because he knows what we've done. well in verse 3 of Enos he mentions 'joy' of the saints. Billy Joel once sang a song with the lyrics "I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints" well what Billy Joel hasn't figured out, but Enos did, was that the saints are crying tears of joy. Joy of repenting, and having the knowledge that your safe through the atonement. Well the next couple verses of Enos is a beautiful story of someone sincerely asking for forgiveness, and how it is given to him. Gods forgiveness always giving.
Anyway. God Bless, take care, much love.