Monday, July 22, 2013

Ugh....the Philippines!!

One thing that we were excited about Ryan going to the Philippines was that they are 14 hours ahead of us here in Utah. We thought this would mean that we would get his emails earlier on Sunday evening and we could email back and forth with him more awake :) This hasn't happened in the 2 weeks that he's been there.....he sends them at 3:30am instead. We just thought that perhaps they wait until p-day is almost over before they hit the Internet cafe.....until we got his letter at 3:30 this morning. I looked over at my phone on the nightstand and saw that he'd emailed and quickly read it. Needless to say my heart was just aching and I just wished that I would have seen it earlier so I could have chatted a bit with him. What a helpless feeling it is to have read his letter and wishing that I could call or better yet fly over to there and comfort him. Neither option was available so the next best thing was to shed tears and offer prayers in his behalf, which I did for the next couple of hours :)  What a blessing it is to have the knowledge that our Heavenly Father is always there for us! I am grateful that Ryan is obedient and loves sharing the gospel with those eager to listen. We pray that his visa renewal process goes quickly.....or he gets different companions too :) 
I loved the scripture that he made reference to in his letter in Alma 17:11
"And the Lord said unto them also: Go forth among the Lamanites, thy brethren, and establish my word; yet ye shall be patient in long-suffering and afflictions, that ye may show forth good examples unto them in me, and I will make an instrument of thee in my hands onto the salvation of many souls."
Here's his latest letter.....

Hello everyone! 
Thanks so much for all the emails and letters! It's those things that really keep us going. 
    Uh.. I really don't like being here. The Philippines is a cool place, but I am an India Bangalore missionary and not a Philippine Quezon City Missionary. I am just not cut out for the type of work that they do here. The people in my house just have no desire to do missionary work and the schedule is just stupid. They don't start proselyting until 1:00 PM. So I have really developed a love of the scriptures. I still wake up at 6:30 even though no one else in my house gets up and I get ready by 8:00, still alone. I do my studies alone until about 10:30 and that's when they get up and begin to make lunch. After they prepare, we eat at about 11:00 and then they all sleep again until about 12:00 and then they start to slowly get ready. We don't end up leaving until about 2:00 and proselyte for a few hours before my companion gets trunky and then our day is finished usually around 6:00. I have never been so frustrated in my entire life. Yet I just bottle it up and do my best to be obedient and do what I can.
    Yesterday was a bad day for me. Church was in Tagalog and so I don't understand anything. Everyone tries to tell me to learn but my companion has no desire to teach me and so that is not an option. And I just had a feeling of despair. Why was I here? Why did Heavenly Father send me to this mission? I had so much doubt and I was just really frustrated. I could not think of a purpose for my being here, until I looked through my study journal and I found that I had found an answer a few days before in my daily Book of Mormon reading. It is Alma 17:11. That brought some peace to me. After that I had this feeling to read the scriptures and so that's what I did. 
     Lately in my abundant free time I have been studying the Doctrine and Covenants and while I was reading I just had this sick feeling like I was unsure if God was there. Why would He send me somewhere that I was incapable of doing His work. Why would He intentionally send me somewhere that I would struggle and have such a hard time? In this moment of doubt, a little question that my companion had asked me earlier popped into my head. "Have you taken it to the Lord?" This really struck me. I never had. I had never had any doubt. But I knew that that was what I needed to do. So that's what I did. In my moment of despair, I dropped to my knees and just poured my heart out to my Heavenly Father. And after I finished I just knelt there at my study table, waiting for an answer. It never came. 
    At this point I just decided to continue studying my scriptures and as I did so I just had this amazing feeling of peace and warmth spread all over my body. I know that God is there and the He loves me. I know that I am never alone that He is always there for us. I am so grateful for the trials that I am facing. I don't know why I am facing them, but I know that they are for my own good and I will continue to do my best and leave the rest to Him. 
Elder Head

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