Monday, February 24, 2014

Irvington North. The hood.

Dear,
Well, these past two weeks were a wreck.  Two weeks ago, Elder Walker and I were in Kearny, rushing to do our normal missionary labors, and struggling to clean the apartment for the new sister missionaries in Kearny, and shoveling the 16" snow, and preparing the information that the new sisters are going to need, and saying goodbye to Hna. Basantes and her family, Gma. Jackie, and the Pesantez family.  I totally didn't cry at all.  7 months in Kearny....
But now I'm excited to immerse myself in police sirens every 5 minutes, loud conversations in front of stores, and hip hop blaring from every other car.  As a plus, the Bloods and Crips got our backs!

Last week, Elder Walker and I were doubled into Irvington North.  We didn't even have the area book or a map, so we didn't get to start working until Thursday, when we just called people and planned all day.  Friday was when we knocked and contacted as many people as we can.  We also met Sakinah, who is Black and into white guys, and has half-Asian babies.  Way to flirt to convert, past missionaries!  We got talking about white guys, and how her last missionary is the whitest of the white: blond, blue-eyed, and white.  She immediately said, "That's how I like 'em!"
Then on Saturday, we met Sis. Francis, who is less-active because of health issues.  She talks.  But she loves the missionaries and has a wall of our names in her house.  We then taught Manuel, who is an investigator, for the first time.

When we came into the house, we were greeted by a family of Nigerians.  They were so nice and got us excited to teach Manuel.  He invited us to his room and took off the hookah from the center table/box.  We sat on the floor of that chairless room with turf and he offered us some carrot cake.  It was good.  He sat on the floor across from us in an awkward mermaid pose and began firing questions, some of which were about how we can be promoted to President of the Church.  We told him that it is by revelation and he kept asking how to be good enough to be voted into presidency.  We bore witness to him about the reality of modern revelation and left.
New investigator our first week!  As bizarre as that visit was, we felt the Spirit bear witness to him.  He invited us over again.
I am amazed at how much I am reminded that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true every time I or someone else bears testimony.  The Church is true and changes lives!

Elder Walker was impressed at how well this week has been going so far.  He said that it was better than when he was first doubled into Sparta.
Sunday was spectacular!  We had a linger longer, which apparently never happens in Maplewood Ward.  It was a very warm welcome to me, Elder Walker, and Elder Page from Utah and Elder Cuyon from the Philippines.  The ward itself is multicultural, ranging from Guyanan, Ghanan, and Haitian, to puertoricense and Filipino!  Yes, there is a Filipino family from Pangasinan in our ward!  AAAHH!!!  I love this place!
Keep it hood.  Maple hood.
Love,
Elder deJesus

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Gaah. First New Area.

Friemily,

7 minutes.

Yesterday was transfers!  I finally get to leave Kearny, which is the suburbs of Newark, which is the hood.  I was sent to the sparkling Irvington North Walking, which is the extension of the hood.  And, surprise, I stayed with Elder Walker!

The reason that that is interesting is the he, as my third companion in Kearny, was doubled out with me.  All week was spent [15 additional minutes on this computer] preparing the area book and the apartment for sisters, as well as trying to keep it a secret from our zone that the second set of sisters are finally coming into the Newark Zone.

As we were doing that, a few thoughts garnished my mind: that I only knew Elder Walker for 6 weeks, I have known Kearny for 7 months, the apartment is not worthy for sisters to live in, and they need appointments set for their first week so they can have a good head start to working the area.  As I thought these things, I bawled like a baboon!

Yesterday, we found out that we were going to be doubled into Irvington North Walking, and they just don't usually do that.  They don't usually double a companionship out of their area and then transplanted into another.  But they did for us, and we are so happy!!!  Irvington!  Hud lyfe 4 lyfe.  Goodbye, Peruvians and Ecuadorians in Kearny.  Hello, Haitian food and Elizabeth Zone!

Anyway, we found out on Sunday night that one of our many members who have difficulties with the branch presidency told us about his marital problems that we weren't aware of before. Monday morning, we met with him at Vicente's and talked.  We went in knowing that the only things we can teach him is the gospel of Jesus Christ and we cannot be involved with marital issues.  It was a nerve-racking idea.  But it was the most spiritual lesson that we have ever taught.  The Spirit truly did all the teaching.  He told us that he knew what he had to do but had been denying it.  We bore testimony to him that the best way to fix any problems was to follow the personal promptings that he has received.  Many tears were shed.

I do love this work and I am excited to establish God's kingdom in Irvington!

Love,
Elder deJesus

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hello!

Hello!

10 minutes.

If you're confused why you're getting this email from a Filipino, I finally added you to my weekly email updates because I think that I promised that I would....  If you don't want them, let me know in the subject line!  Thanks!

So...next week is transfers, and I don't want to leave my first area!!!  I've been here 5 transfers and I've known and loved these people for so long.  And Elder Walker is the bomb, is tight, dope, and swag, and the best district leader and companion I have ever had.

On Tuesday last week, I went on the most productive exchange in what used to be part of my area, Harrison, NJ.  Ever since it was split from Kearny/Harrison, there was just barely any work to do there.  All the elders did was pray, knock, and street contact.  That is what we did on Tuesday, and voila, miracles.  We met a lady who was actually willing to talk to us about her dog and gave Elder Anding the run-down of how to find Christians looking for the truth in Harrison.  Then we knocked into a family of 5 people who were "looking for some sort of Christian teachers" since the mom was pretty much bedridden, and we found a referral for the Portuguese elders, among other miracles.

Yesterday, in my own area, we talked to a lady on the bus about things other than the gospel and gave her a card before she got off.  Then a man who was getting off at the same stop as the lady asked us if he could have a card as well.  That never happens here unless they are Hispanic, which that man was not.  Also, when we checked for a potential investigator on Schuyler, a different man told us that Paul had moved a couple years ago but "I'm interested in learning about your religion; here's my number."

Oh!  And we moved a family of gypsies too!  One of them has Tourette's Syndrome and is a deacon for a church.  He wants to teach me Gypsy.

And Don and Jack the Chinese man are progressing.

We also taught President Mitchell, Sister Mitchell, and Miriam and Svetlana.  Best lesson ever.  Sis. Mitchell said, "That was just what we needed to hear."

Other than that, we just shoveled and pushed people's cars out of the snow and freezing-rained-on snow, or, in other words, ice.  Now I'm yoked, or, in other words, swoll.

I love this Church and God!  And I love you, random citizen.

Love,
Elder deJesus

A Message From My Brother

The Atonement is God's way to show us His love for you.  As we use it, we show our love back to God.  When we find out that perfection can be the enemy of righteousness, we see the boundary between using the Atonement and using our own works to save other people.  Mahalin mo ang Diyos, tapos, mahalin mo ang sarili mo, tapos, mahalin mo ang kapwa.  Realize that when you repent, God sees that the [person] who could have done better yesterday is now irrelevant to [his/her] present self.  If you are really using the Atonement, you will forget about yesterday and live today even when you make mistakes.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Tagalog Entry - From my brother to my mother

Inay,

Ang nakalipas na lingo ay mas maayos na. Bago dun, nalunkot ako. Hindi kami nakakapagturo ng kasing karaming lesson na gusto ko, kaunti ang nakakausap sa daan o sumasagot sa telepono, at maginaw sa labas! Pero nakikita ko na ngayon na hindi ito ang gawain ni Elder de Jesus, pero Gawain ng Dyos.

Nung Lunes, nagplano kaming tumawag iang buong oras pagkatapos ng preparation day. Tawag kami ng tawag, at walang sumagot. At sa buong araw kami nasa loob ng bahay dahil sa snow. Natapus kaming tumawag sa cell phoe.

Inisip naming ni Elder Walker, kinansel ng aming isang appointment yung isang appointment naming sa buong araw. Ano ngayon? Lalabas ba tayo o mananatili sa bahay? Lumuhod kami at nagdasal. Tinanong naming ang Diyos kung dapat lumabas at katukin ang mga bahay o manatili at tumawag ng mga hindi sasagot. Naramdaman naming magiging mahirap pero dapat tumawag pa. Tumawag kami isang oras pa. Ang huli naming tinawagan ay si Ramone. Sinagot nya ang telepono! At saka, sabi nya, “The missionaries set an appointment with me once upon a time, but they nvere came. Can you come over on Monday?” Ma, may appointment po kami mamaya dahil nakinig kami sa sagot ng Diyos!

Sa Martes po, tinuruan naming si Gma. Jackie na magdasal kay Heavenly Father lang at hindi kay Jesus, haha. Siya ay nagdarasal sa parehas nila dahil “Jesus died for us. He deserves our thanks.” Basta po sya ay sincere. Pero binasa namin ang 3 Nephi 18:19 – “Pray always unto the Father in my name,”sabi ni Jesus. Tapos tinulungan naming si JP Money ($) sap pag-apply nya sa BYU at mission. Kailangan po nyang magsubmit ng high school recommendation, $35, at ecclesiastical endorsement sa apat na araw! At baka ko po rin kailangan isang bahay. Sabi ko po, “Eagle Mountain, my house?” Sabi nya, “Maybe.” Ano po ang sabi nyo? Tapos kinausap namin (naming in Elder Fage, galing sa Harrison, dahil nasa exchange kami), si Bro. Artiga! Sya ay Pentecostal na asaw ng Primary President naming sa branch. Gusto po nyang maglaro ng Basketbol sa sabado.

Myerkoles, tinuruan namin si Don. Sya ay depressing. “I was a journalist, but it’s a dying field now, what with all the new computer software you have to learn. Where does it say anything in the bible about the internet, which is responsible for massive significant changes in people’s lives today?! Not more than 2000 years ago, folks still communicated via stone tablets.”

Yung gabi na yun, tinulungan naming si Sis. Pesantez ilipat ang kanyang refrigerator mula sa lumang bahay papunta sa 2nd story ng bagong bahay na naka tabi ng lumang bahay. Ang probelema ay madulas ang snow; dinala naming sa loob. At may mga patay, buhay, at mababahong ipis sa ilalim ng fridge na gumapang sa aming damit habang binubuhat ang fridge. Masarap. Gumapang ata sila sa bibig ni Elder Walker at nilunok nya. Haha. Next week ang oven.

Nung Huwebes, tinuruan naming sina Justin at Estela Kasama ni Ronald galing sa Belleville. Tinuruan din naming si Sis. Roa. Nakakhanga kung gaanong handa ang youth ditong mag-misyon. Pagkatapos noon, tinulungan naming syang maghanda para sa Algebra 2 midterm sa library.

Sa Biyernes, tinuruan naming ulit si Gma. Jackie. Natandaan nya ang tinuro naming sa kanya miske may amnesia sya!

May miting si Elder Walker sa Sabado, umaga. May miting din ang Spring Garden Branch Missionaries. Pinag-usapan naming ang Branch activities. Tatanungin naming ang Branch council kung pwedeng maging activity planning committee kami para i_train ang branch na gawin ang Family Home Evening.

Dahil hindi pa tapos ang miting nila Elder Walker, sinamahan ko sina Elder Packham at elder Wedel sa North Newark para turuan sila Latoyaat Janelle tunkol sa Word of Wisdom. Tapos, tinuruan naming ni Elder Walker si Don sa Kearny. Sinabi nya sa amin na nakakuha na sya ng sagot faling sa Dyos! Mas marami na ang hope ni Don!

Tumakbo kami sa bahay ng recent convert ko, si Hna. Basantes dahil may 14th birthday party ang anak nya, si Dana. Sina Dana at ang panganay, si Jose Anotnio, ay may baptismal date para sa February 23! Sinabi sa akin ni Hna. Basantes, “Elder De Jesus, you have changed my life. I am closer to my family and God than ever before.” Nakakaiyak na isulat to. Masyado ko silang mahal! At pinagsasalamatan ko ang Spanish sister missionaries na iaalagaan sila at binigyan sila Dana at Jose ng baptismal date!

Tapos po sa fast / SuperBowl Sunday, binigyan naming ng blessing si Sis. Bazan para sa ulcer nya sa paa. Kasama ni Bro. Lewis. Tinuruan naming si Niko tungkol sa mga decision ditto sa buhay bago sa Judgment. Sa umaga din pala ay may branch council meeting na pinag-usapan yung pinag-usapan nung Sabado, tungkol sa branch activity. Aproved! Nandun sa miting si Carmine, isang less-active member na nag-mini mission noon at talagang active.

Tapos, dahil ang Diyos ay Diyos ng mga milagro, may pamilyang hindi nanonood ng super bowl sa gabing iyon, sila President at Sister Mitchell sumama sina Hna. Miriam at Svetlana. Nakakatawa sila at masarap ang grilled chicken, salad, at Brazilian rice and beans with yucca powder. Bago kami pumunta sa kanila, nasa bus kami at hindi alam ang ituturo! Nagdasal kami habang nasa bus at napag-isipan ang Mosiah 4, tunkol sa hindi pag – “run faster than [we] have strength.” Malakas ang Espiritu Santo habang tinutuo naming, at lahat ng sinasabi naming ay medaling lumabas sa bibig. Alam kong iyon ang salita ng Diyos, at hindi sa akin, lalo na pagkasabi ni Sis.Mitchell, “That was what we needed to hear. Thank you.” Hindi namin iyon malalaman kung hindi kami nanalangin! …Ito po ang simbahan talaga ni JesuCristo! Mahal ko Siya. Mahal ko ang Diyos ko. At mahal kop o kayo! Salamat po sa tulong nyong manatili at mag-umpisang magmisyon ako.

LOVE YOU!

Love,


Elder de Jesus