Another Saturday already.
Last Sunday, we went to church in Baao. It is a small Branch south of Naga about an hour. We had met the Branch President the week before at a District Conference and he had invited us to come and visit his Branch. He has no clerk and if he did he would need a lot of training. I volunteered to help them and so we went to church on Sunday. They are new as a Branch (8 months) but have a very adequate computer system and internet. They meet in an old house and it is frankly too small. Their numbers have grown dramatically in those few short months and they now have over 80 people coming to Sacrament Meeting each week.
After Sacrament meeting, I met with President Botor to review his records. After looking at and printing the Branch membership records and a ward directory, we printed his Action and Interview list. This list had several people on it who should have been baptized or another section showed YM who should have been ordained and weren't. In several cases, he said, "We did that" and I responded but it is not recorded. He was able to get some information and we updated several records and printed some Certificates and he was just ecstatic. I left him with a list of things to work on and we will go back again and help him get things entered in the system. I also met with the missionaries and invited them to help him find information. They were really great and eager to assist.
While meeting with President Botor, he told me about a member whose records they could not find. Either he was never recorded or somehow lost and this man became really angry (he hadn't been active anyway) and said if it wasn't important to keep track of his records then the church obviously didn't care about him and he left the church. I have thought a lot about this man. Certainly there are several issues here. One is keeping the records straight but there is a deeper issue. This man had not been active so he had already withdrawn himself from the church and then was looking for an excuse to completely leave. We were reading in the Book of Mormon in Mosiah 2:36 where King Benjamin tells his people that after they have been taught so much, "that ye do withdraw yourselves from the Spirit of the Lord" then "the same cometh out in open rebellion against God". This is exactly what happened with this man and it is the way that all apostasy occurs. We saw this in the early days of the church where many had a testimony and felt the spirit and then withdrew from the spirit and came out in open rebellion. It is still the same today. If we are not careful, we withdraw from the Spirit and ultimately rebel again God. It usually happens quite unconsciously but nevertheless occurs. Simple things like praying, reading the scriptures will help to keep us in touch with the Spirit.
The day before on Saturday afternoon, we picked up Sister Reeder and drove to a District Conference meeting in Pamplona. President Reeder had driven out earlier in the day. We had a very enjoyable time visiting with Sister Reeder on the way out.
This picture was taken after the evening meeting. There are 3 sets of Sister Missionaries in the Pamplona Zone. 2 are American, 1 is Tongan and 3 are Philippino.
Two of these Elders are the Zone Leaders. The Elder next to me is Philippino and the Zone Leader. His companion next to him is from Mainland China. The next is American from Providence, Utah and the last is from Samoa (we think).
After the meeting, the Elders all loaded up in the local transportation called Jeepney. These were originally leftover from World War II. They are very unique to the Philippines and are everywhere. There must be a place where they still manufacture them as there are so many. They can't all be leftovers from the war.
This Elder couldn't fit inside so he was riding on the back. He told us that it was no longer allowed for them to ride on top (I think Mission safety rules) but they could hang on back. We see Jeepney's with the inside filled, top covered and people hanging from the sides and back.
While driving home that night, this truck was driving quite slow in front of us. We realized why when we got closer.
Friday, we drove to a Zone leader training meeting in Sipocot. This is the same area where we were on Saturday but a little further North. There were about 32 Missionaries there and we did a little training on the MLS system and the importance of keeping the records correct and current. We also talked about how the Missionaries could help the Branch Presidents as well as finding people to teach at the same time.
We tried to get everyone in this shot and did but it was tight. About 60 % are Philippino's. An amazing army of Elders and Sisters for the Latter Days.
Just outside our apartment! This our our local Geico insurance Gecko. (Sorry ANPAC, we've switched) There is one that lives in our apartment (maybe this one) but they are our bug insurance. I hope that is true!
Uggh. Enough for this week!