Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May 25th, 2015

Family and friends, 

First off, don't ever ask old Filipino ladies if they have any single granddaughters as a joke, because there may or may not be a Filipino woman flying from Hong Kong excited to meet her arranged American husband from Spring, Texas. I'm sure everything will work out...Mom don't worry.  

Well after our mission tour with Elder Bowen, from the Seventy, he challenged us, as Baguio Mission, to get 30 testifying contacts (TC for short) each day. What that means is we need to talk to random people and testify about our unique message (Restoration, Joseph Smith, and Priesthood). For a lot of missionaries that's out of their comfort zone, especially for the foreigners because of Tagalog/all the other dialects we have to learn. But for Elder Strader talking has never been a big problem, ask all my teachers from grade school. The problem I have found myself in, is that I can easily go up and talk to people and make them feel comfortable with the Strader charm and smile, but I usually testify about Jesus Christ and about how our message can bless families. I do this because it's usually a nice, non-threatening transition to a return appointment and then we share the "unique message" when we go and have have that first lesson. That's not a bad approach. But here in the Philippines 95% of the population are Christian and a family based country. For example when you go to college and get married you still stay with your parents for the rest of your life because that's just the culture here unlike in America where on your 18th birthday you're kicked out of the house if you like it or not hahaha. So what Elder Bowen said was that my approach lacked faith...ouch. But he's right, I am a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ, I bear His name on my chest. I hold His power and in His name anything is possible. So I repented and decided to do it the right way, even though it might be a little more scary or awkward. I just told myself that I'm not going to play it safe and just go to random people and bear my testimony of the Restoration and if they make fun of or deny me....I'll probably cry. Just kidding, and I'll just do what my idol Rocky Balboa said in RockyVI;

"It's not how hard you get hit, it's how hard you get hit and keep moving forward, that's how winning is done!" 

And that's what I've done this last week. When I say I literally talked to everyone in my path, I literally talked to everyone. Beside drunk people, most of the people haven't responded well to our unique message. I kid you not when I say that I've been spat on, cursed at, hit with a broom (now that's a funny story) told to never come back to their house ever again. Now, you would think I would probably get discouraged or something. Absolutely not! I loved every second. When we're on a jeepney full of over 20 people and I just awkwardly start shouting my testimony that we have a living prophet today and everyone just stares at me. It's the best. I tired to explain to my Filipino companion what, "haters" meant but he doesn't understand haha. I told Elder Y when there's persecution you know you're doing something right. It wasn't easy for the prophets of old. It wasn't easy for Jesus Christ and I'm grateful and honored that it's not easy for me. 

I want to bear my testimony and special witness that Jesus is the Christ. I love being a missionary. I know that we have a living prophet today that can lead and guide our families. Speaking of families, I love mine and I know I can be with them forever. I testify that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and can bring more peace in your life. I've seen it fix broken families. I've seen it heal broken souls. I love ya'll and don't worry I'll be home before you know it. 

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

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