ALRIGHT!!! Where do I start this week? It was such a successful week! We spent all week preparing for the very first sacrament meeting in Malay, Aklan! This is a huge deal! We tried to make this unfinished building look nice. So we made some curtains and put a bunch of pictures on the wall. We even scored a keyboard! Such a humble meeting house. I just think back at home how many class rooms we have at home....a indoor basketball court and just how lucky we are. Any way we tried to make it not look scary! We were so excited but way nervous for how it was going to start! Two weeks ago we didn't know a single member! But on Sunday we had a total of 42 people come to church! Which exceeded all of our expectations. Everyone was so excited!!! About 12 of them were investigators. There rest are all less active members who are so excited to partake of the sacrament again!
We had a testimony meeting and the spirit was so strong where members who have not been able to partake of the sacrament for years felt so privileged to renew their covenants. They all just shined and there will be no way to explain how amazing it was to be there! Since there we have no leader yet I presided at the meeting. Which was way crazy! Then afterwords Elder Palzario took the primary and then I took the rest and we all counciled together about how we are going to organize this. We made goals and plans to make it a branch and talked about we have to work together to build the kingdom of God here in Malay! Never have I felt more led by the spirit in my whole mission. I was way nervous and had no idea what to do. But by the guidance of the Spirit! IT WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!!!
We found some amazing people. Mark Baldismo. He has been less active for 10 years he even served a mission. Now he is a head manager on a really nice resort! We got his number and asked him where we could meet. So he took us to the beach of his resort and bought us real hamburgers! REAL HAMBURGERS! (I sent pictures). He got really excited about coming back to church and helping it grow here. He is such a nice guy! I love him so much! The people on this island didn't go less active because of their lack of testimony that is for sure! They just didn't want to be poor anymore (which is good) and wanted a better life for their family! Which is so good to see. These are the people who want to improve their situation. Tonight we are going to a birthday party of an owner of a hotel who is also a member! She is so nice and said we can eat for free at here restaurant every time we come!!!!!!:):)
We found two Americans who are members. They live and work on Boracay! We talked to them in full English!!! So not used to that. It is so funny! But I love it! The both came to church and I really like talking to them. It gives me a small taste of what it would be like to be a missionary in America. I have always been so curious about that. This area is the closest I will get be.
This place is such a mixing pot of so many different cultures. So many different kinds of people! It is so cool and makes me want to travel all over the world! O ya we met a member from Russia!!! We are going to be so so so busy the next few weeks! We have a lot more work to do and I am so up for the challenge! I now know more than ever that it is not me. We as missionaries have such a small part in building the church, conversion, and reactivation. It is the Spirit. He guides and we follow! I have felt it more than ever right now and it is now all I want!
I love you all so much and hope you all are having fun at the cabin! And A BIG SHOUT OUT to Lexi Craythorne for turning 9 years old!! She is such a sweet little sister. I love her and I miss her great big hugs:) HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
THREE DIFFERENT LANGUAGES I HAVE LEARNED HERE!!
Tagalog: Ingat (language I had to learn in my first area)
Illongo: Halong (language I learned in the MTC and the language I know the best)
Malaynon: Dahan (current area)
English: Take Care
Elder Jackson Erik Craythorne