How do you not have money for the bus? Did you not have your wallet? (Kelli told him how she took her car in for repair and then realized she had only a small amount of change and her phone couldn’t connect to get the Trimet Ap for a ticket. She walked 3.2 miles home!) I walk probably an average of 4 miles a day, so it’s not too much, but sometimes is waaay up in the mountains. Sometimes we will walk 2 miles on our way home at night.
We had a record number of people attend Sacrament meeting, 99. The number really goes up if we get all the less active families to come. We had a recent convert and a newly ordained priest bless the Sacrament, but Elder Salingay and I passed the sacrament. The new priests kinda broke the bread really big, and since there were so many people we nearly ran out, which is an easy fix but if the church service doesn’t run smoothly it looks bad to our investigators (if any of them ever come to church).
Here in the Philippines, Ghost stories are real. Straightup, real. Elder Maners and Beck have even given blessings to cast out Devils, because the Priesthood is real. But seriously there are, so last night me and Elder Salingay are making dinner and we're talking, and he is telling a story and right when he says the word "ghost" there is such a loud ruckus upstairs, it sounded like some really big rats just running like crazy right above our heads. Of course I thought it would be cool to jump up and hit the ceiling to make them stop but it made them go even crazier. Then they must have found a hole in the wall cuz they busted out onto our tin roof and made a big noise. I was so scared because, yeah, we have rats, I already knew that, but that they started going absolutely nuts when he said "ghost"...I don’t know man, that sounds pretty spooky to me. It’s believable because there are so many people that die in their houses, that there’s so many haunted buildings in Agoo, and just the Philippines in general. I've even heard stories about missionaries getting possessed or visited by spirits, good and bad, but mostly bad. We only go upstairs to get supplies, but if its dark outside we just wait until morning. Call me a scaredy cat if you want, but I don’t mess with ghosts.
One thing I really want to do after the mission is come back and give service/aid to some of the people here. There are so many instances when just a little bit of support from America can go such a long way. As missionaries we can do service projects but we can’t just give aid to people. One experience that Elder Beck had in his area was when he visited an inactive member. The cause for going inactive was he started working every possible second to pay for an MRI for his wife. They had done the MRI already but the hospital wouldn't let him see the result/diagnosis until he paid the fee. The fee was 5,000 pesos, the man had been working and saving for 2 years and still wasn't halfway there. The worst part was Elder Beck, having just withdrawn from the ATM, and granted the exchange rate is 50-1, had 8,000 in his wallet. There are programs where the church leaders can work with members to give aid like this, so Elder Beck struggled to get the leaders to help this family.
I encourage us all to try and help those in need, we don’t need to do anything enormous, just enough to make someone smile can go a long ways sometimes. And I know that when we are in the service of our fellow man, we are only in the service of our God. (Mosiah 12:17) And we will feel and receive the blessings when we extend the helping hand. There are a lot of things I can’t do here, but I try to look for service projects and be helpful in any way I can. These people are so humble and sincere. I am really thankful that I am able to spend two years here learning and loving the people of the Philippines.
Have an awesome week!