Monday, February 9, 2015


What a wonderful week! I'm feeling the Spirit more and more in our lessons. I love teaching with Elder R. We're both getting along really well and sometimes I hear a joke from him here and there. 

I'm pretty well known here in Aringay. Everywhere we go people yell, "Elder Strateeer (That's how they pronounce my name) where are you going?" I try to introduce and talk to everyone that I meet. Which is good but I forget that I'm horrible at remembering names...especially Filipino names.  I've learned that the more I immerse myself in the culture the more Tagalog that I learn. So that means eating from the weird street vendors and so on. I'm trying to convince myself that I'm a Filipino. I'm not sure if the people love me or just love to make fun of me. Maybe both. 

I had a special experience this week that has strengthened my testimony. Remember Sta Cecilia? Well it's about 7 miles away from our apartment. So in order to save money and time, Elder Reyes and I requested bikes and we've been biking there 3X a week. With a bike I feel like a real missionary now haha. One night we riding back home and it was pretty late. It was dark and we usually have flash lights while we ride, but we forgot to bring them this time. There are some street lights but people are so poor here that they climb the poles and steal the light bulbs to sell or use them for their families. So most of the time the street lights are never in use. On the way back from Sta Cecilia is full of hills and sharp turns and the road for the most part is not paved. So we're riding through the dark night and not having too much of a problem. But I knew the upcoming down hill had a sharp turn at the bottom and if we didn't have any light we wouldn't be able to see when to turn. Did I mention that there is a 50ft drop along the side if we don't turn? Knowing this I was trying to figure what I should do. As I was riding down one of the street lights suddenly turned on. Just one street light out of the blue as if it was like one of those expensive motion senor lights that turn on when you're close by. And we all know that no one installed or could have afforded to install one of those motion sensor lights on the poor road to Sta. Cecilia. The street light turned on at the right time and I was able to turn safely. As we biked away I was amazed. It happened out of nowhere and my mind was trying to figure out a logical explanation. As I looked behind me I saw the lonely street light turn off once we were some distance away. And then a scripture popped into my head that I read in personal study earlier. In it's the Book of Mormon in 1Nephi 17:13 and it says;

"And I will be your light in the wilderness; and I will prepare the way before you, if it so be that ye shall keep my commandments; wherefore, inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments ye shall be led towards the promised land; and ye shall know that it is by me that ye are led."

What a wonderful reminder that God is not only there but He is involved and mindful of His children. A simple tender mercy for a missionary in the Philippines. On that poor road from Sta Cecilia He was my light. And I know that it is by Him that I am lead.

Till we meet again.

Your Valiant Missionary,
Elder Strader

P.S. To celebrate my 6 months, here's a picture of me at the MTC and now....I've only changed a little bit (Top picture - MTC, bottom picture - today). 

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