We had a different kind of week here in the Bay Area. I’ve been a little more than stressed out, to be honest, but I’m getting better. In all we’ve done, we’ve been trying so hard to seek the Lord’s will for this area. Tracting and street contacting just aren’t doing anything for us, and working with members has been less than successful, too. We need to know the mind of the Lord.
Additionally, we had to drop more of our investigators, but we did add one new one! His name is Anand, and he’s from India. I believe I mentioned him last week. He came to church just because last Sunday and we taught himon Wednesday. Hindu background. Works in tech. Super friendly guy.
Aside from Anand, we weren’t able to teach any investigators this week, which was kind of a let down. However, we did meet with many less-actives! We had several miracles occur in that regard.
One of them, a man who missionaries affectionately refer to as “Uncle Joey” asked us to come by and give him a blessing because of his health troubles. We also were able to teach him a brief lesson. He asked us why it is that the Lord lets bad things happen, so we got into a discussion about the importance of agency in the Plan of Salvation. We also felt inclined to share the story in the Pearl of Great Price where Enoch sees God crying over the wickedness of his creations (see Moses 7:23-33). Joey told us that after we had read that story that he felt the Spirit for the first time in years. This week we are going to begin teaching him the missionary lessons from the beginning again because he wants to start coming back to church.
In regards to discovering the Lord’s will, we have felt more than inclined to work with less-active members to 1) strengthen and help reactivate them and 2) to find people to teach. This week was lined with miracles in regards to less-active work and we kept feeling inclined to work through them. So, since the Lord teaches us by sending the Spirit to impress ideas and thoughts into our minds, we have concluded that less-active work should be our focus for the time being. We hope to use it as a means to find people to teach as well!
A couple other interesting things happened this week. Elder Apostolos and I went on exchanges, which was great. He was my zone leader when I arrived in the field and he is out here in the neighboring ward as a zone leader again. I wish there was more to note on that, but there isn’t. He’s a funny guy. It was a funny day. Much was accomplished.
We also went on exchanges on Saturday with our district leader in the Serramonte Ward out in Daly City. Let it be known that Daly City is also known as the “Little Philippines” out here since 80% or so of the population is Filipino. The Serramonte Ward is the Tagalog Ward for the peninsula.
Elder Perandos, my district leader, and I went out to work in Daly City and San Francisco all day (woo, back in the city again!) and witnessed some crazy miracles. We taught two lessons, one of which (an investigator named Bonifacio) I couldn’t participate in too much because it was 15% in Tagalog, 5% in English, and 80% in Ilocano (another dialect of the Philippines).
I specifically want to talk about this lesson because of the crazy experience we had. I will tell you that the gift of interpretation of tongues is very real because of what happened when we taught this man:
Bonifacio has lived in the United States for a very short time. His wife still lives in the Philippines. He speaks almost no English whatsoever and speaks little Tagalog. His native tongue is Ilocano. Elder Perandos and I brought a member with us who speaks Ilocano.
After this lesson started I was lost, almost immediately. However, once Bonifacio and this member who speaks Ilocano started speaking that language, I began to pick up on what they were saying and I understood, loosely, the subject matter. I asked the member and Elder Perandos after the lesson if they were talking about what I had picked up on, and hit it right on the nose.
Additionally, at the end of the lesson, Elder Perandos asked me if I had anything to add. I shared my testimony, as simply as I could, and, apparently Bonifacio understood it perfectly despite his very limited knowledge of English.
Discussing this experience later, Elder Perandos and I realized how crazy it was that we (myself in the middle and Bonifacio at the end) were able to understand what was being said. I know that it was by the Spirit only that that could have happened. The gift of interpretation of tongues as spoken of in 1 Corinthians, Moroni, and the Doctrine and Covenants is real and miraculous. There is no way I would’ve known what they were talking about without it (they strayed from the lesson plan), but somehow it came to me.
The Lord still works miracles amongst His children. I know that to be true. I’ve seen them more times on my mission than I can write about.
On another side note, my time in Daly City was very interesting. I had rice for all three meals and was exposed heavily to Filipino culture. It was a lot of fun and we got a lot done.
I love you all! Have a great week!