Friday, October 23, 2015

E-mail Oct. 19, 2015: "Congratulations, you have lived through a Super Typhoon."

Those were the encouraging words we received form our zone leaders last night after Typhoon Lando finally moved away. We came in early Saturday night because of the approaching storm and were in lock down the next two days and couldn't even leave our apartment. Although our area was not affected as heavily as others, we still experienced torrential rain, howling winds, more torrential rain, and a slightly flooded apartment. Thankfully though, the Lord was with us and it looks like everyone in the mission was kept away from harm. It was weird not going to church on Sunday and having to stay inside and find things to do all day instead (although I will admit it was nice to have a little time to rest). It was a little surprising though when on Monday we were still under partial lock down even though the storm was almost passed and we probably would have been perfectly safe outside. The church took heavy precautions to ensure the safety of the missionaries, even at the expense of missing church and preparation day.

I think there's a lesson to be learned there. This experience taught me that the Lord greatly values our physical safety, but equally important to Him is our spiritual safety. The mission, under the direction of the Lord, did everything they could to keep us safe during the typhoon, and in the same way the Lord does everything He can, while still respecting our agency, to give us commandments and guidance to ensure our spiritual safety. As we saw the winds howling and felt the heavy torrents of rain beat against our home we weren't very tempted to see what it would be like to go outside. Why is it then that when spiritual storms of temptation and sin come into our lives that we sometimes decide to wander out into the gale, despite God's constant warnings, to see what it's like? I think it's because Satan is a master deceiver, and his expertise lies in covering up the winds and pounding rain so we don't realize how threatening the storm really is until we've been swept away. That's shy it's so important to listen to the Ultimate Forecaster who urges us to stay safe inside His shelter by keeping his commandments and preparing ourselves against temptation. I pray that we'll all be wise enough to recognize the spiritual storms in our lives for what they really are, and that we'll have the strength to do everything we can to stay safe when they come.

We've started teaching an Indian man from Punjab who's living here with his family. His name is Darshen Singh and he's very nice and receptive to the gospel. I cannot adequately describe the nostalgia I felt as he greeted us in his Indian accent and invited into his home where Bollywood was playing on the TV. I remember when I first got to India and every time I saw an American it brought a feeling of familiarity and kinship, and now every time I see an Indian here (which happens surprisingly often) I get the same feeling. I was a little disappointed when we learned that he's so proficient in Tagalog that he'd rather be taught in that language, but his whole family is receptive and we have high hopes for them accepting the gospel and being baptized so I'm still happy. :)

Anyways everyone until next time, stay awesome. :)
-Elder Cloward

We finally have a snail mail address for him in the Philippines:

Philippines Angeles Mission
F. Tanedo Street, Brgy San Nicolas
Tarlac City, Tarlac 2300 

That's to the mission office where they sort the mail and deliver them to the missionaries. It looks like I may be here for a little while longer so if anyone wants to send letters or packages it's probably okay right now.  - Elder Cloward

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