I had hoped to send some pictures home right now, but it turns out I didn't bring a card reader so I can't. We took a lot of pictures this week.
This week was fun having Christmas and all. We bought a lot of little things and gave them children in families we are teaching. We also gave families December editions of the Liahona in Tagalog and we gave away a few movies(like The Testaments) It was a good Christmas. We also attended the Birthday party of one member on Christmas eve.We have an investigator right now from Iglesia Ni Cristo. The members are not allowed to have a bible or say prayers. We talked about prayer and now they are saying prayers every night and have already related to us several great experiences about prayers. One time we were praying as a companionship and I felt inspired to pray to help her with a certain problem. Later that day when we were teaching her that very problem came up as a concern. It is great to be able to say with confidence to someone that you have prayed for them to help them with that specific concern.
Saturday we baptized Jamaica. I'll try to send pictures next week...I did the baptism and then Elder Sta.Ana the confirmation in church. Everyone wanted me to say the baptism prayer in English and I fully intended to do so, but when I went to give the prayer, I forgot the wording in English... So I just did it in Tagalog. It was a good experience for the family. We had 2 other investigators at the baptism service, and after the baptism one of them said " Elders I'm next". That was pretty exciting to hear. This is the longest it has taken me to get a baptism in an area and now we have baptisms lined up. I'll probably only see about 3 more before I leave but my companion will finish the work for the rest. We also have a lot of returning members. Yesterday when church started about 1/4 persons there were people we were teaching.Last Saturday, after Jamaica's baptism was the ward Christmas Party. That was fun. And all of our investigators were there as well as the returning members. Almost everyone we were teaching was there, except for people we just barely started teaching and a few other exceptions. They really know how to party in the Philippines and even our investigators participated. Another cool thing that happened at the party was that a member told us that Jamaica's countenance seemed brighter. He asked us when she would be baptized and we told him this morning. He concluded that must be the reason.We had one great lesson yesterday with an investigator. We explained to them very clearly about the Holy Ghost and his mission. After we talked about how the Holy Ghost feels and what it means when you feel the Holy Ghost the eleven year old told us that she was feeling the Holy Ghost so it means what we were teaching must be true. Another thing that happened, that I've never had happen, was that while we were teaching one lesson I just opened my scriptures and there was a perfect scripture. Of course I use scriptures, and I've often felt inspiration for what scriptures to use, but this time I opened up, saw a scripture on the page that I wasn't familiar with and then shared it. While I would not recommend simply opening the scriptures and sharing the first one you see, I would say that on occasion God can guide you in that very way.New Years here is insane. They have a ton of fireworks already, and it's not new years yet. It is very loud. They have one firework that I've only heard about because it has been banned. It is called the 'Goodbye Philippines'. They say it cracks the cement. All in all New Years is pretty fun. We have an early curfew of 6 pm .
Have a good week, keep your head up, and smile.
Elder Nathaniel J. Merrill