Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear Mom, Dad, and Cole Family,

There are way too many people in Manila!!!  Just coming from the airport going to the Immigration Office took us almost an hour in what could have been a 10 minute drive.  I didn't help that I had to pee the whole time we were in the car so I headed straight for the CR when I got out of the car.  I've never seen more foregin people in one place than I have at the Immigration Office.  Koreans, Japanese, Jamaicans, Indians, and of course good ole Americans wearing Kobe Bryant jerseys and cargo pants; all of whom were amongst the population of the overly crowded Immigration Office.  We waited a good 2 1/2 hours just to get our finger prints and picture taken.  Everything is all digital now so I didn't even have to get my fingers dirty with ink which was really nice.  But any ways after the long wait, we were able to go to the biggest mall in all of Asia.  Let me just say that I'm glad I wasn't assigned in Manila because it would be way easy to be distracted from the work.  It took me a little bit to adjust back to provincial life once we got back to Naga and we weren't even there for a full 24 hours.  But being able to go bowling (which was approved) was probably one of the funnest things that I've done in a long time.  I got four strikes in one game which made me get a little more excited that I should have been, especially because there were a lot of people looking at us.  But unfortunately I still didn't win that game!!!  Why do Indians.... sorry.. Why do Sri Lankans have to be good so good at bowling?  Elder Wjendran doesn't like being called an Indian ha ha.

Our numbers this past week weren't super high but we've really got some good progressing investigators.  We were able to teach the Pasciona Family and now they all have a baptismal date for April 18th!!  The only problem is that only one member of the family (Teresa) attended church yesterday so I really hope that they can be baptized all together.  Teresa's birthday is on April 18th (which we had no idea about until we extended the date) so it would be so cool if they could all be baptized on her birthday.  Then we have another fairly new investigator Baby Cam who is awesome!  She's an active Catholic but she listen's to other religions because she is so interested in the differences of churches.  Any ways, yesterday Elder Beinvinuto and I taught her about the First Vision and the Book of Mormon and she had a lot of questions about Joseph Smith and especially about Baptism.  But when she prayed at the end of the lesson she prayed to know which church is true and to help her understand what we taught to her.  She also invited us to come back later tonight which is a great sign!  

I have truly learned to love reading my scriptures since I've been here on my mission and I wish that I would have treasured them more before I left on my mission.  This past week I was reading in Mormon and there was a verse that really stuck out to me in Mormon 9:28.   "Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God".  It was funny because I read this after I went to Manila.  But it really made me think of "How many of the people that I saw at MOA are really giving into the natural man and satisfying the lusts of man".  I know that it's not an easy thing to overcome the natural man that dwells inside of us, but if we heed the advice of Moroni and "ask with a firmness unshaken" that we can overcome the trials and temptations of this world. I know that our Heavenly Father will help us control our natural desires.  Even just playing bowling and walking around the mall made me feel different than when I was in Naga.  I felt the influence of the world on my teenage mind/heart and it was a hard thing to overcome; but through our Heavenly Father nothing is impossible.  

I love you all so much and I'm grateful for everything that you guys have done for me.  I couldn't be a happier missionary.  Just thinking that I have less than 100 days left is mind boggling and that number is only going to get smaller.  Mahal na mahal ko po kayo.  May God be with you till we meet again.

                                                         -Elder Cole

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