Monday, July 20, 2015

Mga Tao ko (my people),

What a crazy week and I'm sorry I can't give a long email again haha. But I have a funny story to share that happen this week.

So we just had transfers and I got a new companion! His name is Elder B! He's my 5th Filipino companion! He's a new zone leader but he's taught me a lot. We're having a blast.

Anyway, the first day I picked up Elder B we went to go to work in our area. There's this one part in our area that we have to cross a river. It's not a big river, maybe about 2 feet deep, if that. The river is pretty wide and there are some big rocks that we jump on to cross the river. STOP THERE BACKGROUND FIRST- Right now in the Philippines it's the "rainy season." And it's TERRIBLE. It literally rains 24/7 I'm not joking. Our apartment doesn't have power and other missionaries apartments are getting flooded. It was cool the first 2 days because the sky was really dark and it's really cold but it really hinders the work. OKAY I'LL CONTINUE- It's raining harder then usual and we approach the river that we're supposed to cross to go to our appointments. Well it was a river on steroids now. The water was so DEEP(almost 5ft) and the current was so strong. The rocks that we usually jump on were completely under the water. Elder B and I just met so we really don't know each other. And to be honest I really didn't have a desire to try to cross this river that most likely is full of poop and diseases. But this is how the conversation went:

(We both stare at the rushing water, both not saying anything)
Elder B: Is there any other way?
Me: Wala (which means no or none)
Elder B: Are you sure? 
Me: (I don't say anything and just continue to stare at the giant river)
Elder B: The current is really strong...probably dangerous...let's go back
Me: I think I can do it.
Elder B: Elder, where would we cross? There's no bridge or rocks...
Me: (no response)
Elder B: Elder Anong nasaisip mo? (What are you thinking?)
Me: Elder B do you have faith?
Elder B: Elder! The river is too strong, we can't see any path to walk...
Me: (Rain is pouring down on my face and I dramatically look at Elder B and in a deep voice, say:) Welcome to Baguio Zone (okay I probably could of had said something cooler)

And then I crossed the river. 

The water was cold and I couldn't stop thinking about all the bacteria that is probably infecting my foot. I can hear Elder B yelling in the back ground. I couldn't help but laugh when I saw my new Filipino companion (whom's height is 4"11) cross the river like a champion. I gained a lot of respect for Elder B that day. 

As I reflect on that experience, I feel there's a lesson to be learned. Sometimes in life we feel that there are river's in our way. Maybe the river represents trials or hardships. Or maybe new laws that are passed by the government or social problems or pressures. Whatever it is we can't turn back. As followers of Jesus Christ we keep moving forward. No matter how strong the current is or how deep the water is. We stick to what we know. We hold on to that little faith that we have and press forward, hoping things are better on the other side. We might get wet. We might get cold but we have a Savior who is waiting for us with a warm embrace. We can't stop believing in Him. We won't stop believing in Him. We won't turn back. 

I want to bear my testimony that I know that God is the Father and He loves us. He loves us so much that He sent His son Jesus Christ. I know His church is here today through the prophet Joseph Smith. I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and can change lives because it changed mine. I know we have a living prophet today, Thomas S. Monson. I love my family. I know I can be with them forever. I love you all and I thank you for your prayers, emails and love. I'll be home soon but I have some rivers to cross first.

Your Valiant Missionary,

Elder Strader

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