Monday, November 17, 2014

The Refiners Fire

Magandang hapon so inyong lahat! ( Good afternoon to you all!)

Elder Olsen and I had a pretty interesting week, and I will start with a few stories, and then some stuff I have learned this past week that might help future missionaries understand what the mission is like, and what to expect.

First thing is first! Elder Olsen ate Balut! for the first time in his mission! Ha, he didn't like it when he ate a crunchy part. For those who don't know what balut is... look it up on Youtube ha. I think it taste good, maybe its because i am now a Filipino! To top that both Elder Olsen and I ate DOG! yup thats right, dog. One morning I watched a family kill their dog (and for those who are dog lovers I wont describe how they did it, but lets just say it wasn't very nice.) and asked us if we wanted some and I wile, "Heck yeah!" Just one more thing to cross of the Philippines bucket list. Elder Olsen only took a bit, and I ate the whole bag. It was soo Good! I was shocked how good it was! It tasted exactly like roast beef with a beef jerky taste to it. So yea, I am pretty satisfied now with my experiences in the Philippines, I pretty much hit it all. I am now complete...

Another story I want to share happened while Elder Olsen and I were walking a long side of the highway around 7pm. We see this lady at what seems like a restaurant and she said hello to us, so we engage her in a Gospel conversation. as we were talking I noticed a girl inside who was scandalously dressed, and I thought to myself, Thats odd, Filipino Girls don't usually dress like that. We kept talking to the lady. There was another Girl who came out who was also dressed the same way, and I started to think where we were at. I saw a sign on the wall that said "bawal na umutang" which means you can't ask to pay back, or create debt. SO with out putting two and two together I thought it would be funny if I would ask "pewede ba ako umutang?" which means can I pay back later? Because on the wall its says you can't. Sometimes here in the Philippines when your white you can get away with anything like that, or get a pogi discount, pogi means good looking. anyways, I said "Pewede ba ako umutang?" and right when I said that the girls inside started to giggle. I was like, oh o what did I just say. I finally asked the lady if this was a restaurant, and she replies in English, "No! This is a bar!"... Which is the same thing as a strip club here in the Philippines. Then is just came to me that I just asked two strippers if i could pay them back later... smooth move kikel.. haha. I turned to Elder Olsen and I told him we needed to leave right now. and we left. The funniest part was that after I asked that question they said "Pewede!" ha! which means you may! even though there was a sign that says you can't. Pogi Discount... 

Okay, on a more spiritual note I want to share some personal feelings about the title of this entry. "The Refiners Fire" I read this in D&C 128:24 how the Lord refines us like Gold or Silver and shapes us into who he would like us to be. When I read this I thought about the Samurai! I love that whole time period and them its awesome! I remember watching a documentary about how real samurai swords in modern times are still made by ancient tradition. It was about an old guy who makes samurai swords for a living. Its a big long, exhausting process that takes up to 6 months i believe. In the actual creation of the swords they pound, beat, smelt, and fold the metal of the sword over and over again until its as strong as they want it to be. I feel that is what the Lord does to me personally in my mission and probably to all his missionaries. This has been the hardest and most demanding work I have ever done. I thought I was a hard worker back at home working two jobs and even cleaning windows on the side of that sometimes, but this, this is 24/7 for two years and it truly beats, pounds, and shapes yo in who the Lords wants you to be. I have faced the biggest challenges in my life on my mission, and has really helped me to be who the Lord wants me to be. I feel like I am 10 years a head of my life before my mission, and never would I have gained a testimony that I have now with out serving a mission. I now know whats important in life, and how important the gospel is, and that we follow it exactly! I am not saying this to scare those who are preparing for a mission, but to help you get excited because it will be the best experience in your life that I cannot explain to you or could you understand until you experience it yourself. As the saying goes 'Hard work ALWAYS pays off" so too in the mission, because its the hardest work its also the most rewarding thing in your life in so many ways. So prepare now, and get ready to work hard because if you don't your wasting your time, resources, and sacrifices, and most importantly the Lord's time. He doesn't expect you to be perfect but he sure expects you to do your best and to always be humble and seek improvement. I am so grateful for my mission, and how its has completely pounded, beaten, and shaped me into who I am today, in way I couldn't even imagine. I left as a boy and I am coming back as a man ( 1 Cor. 13:11) Thanks to the Refiner's Fire!

I hope what I have said helps Young Men and Young Women to be more diligent in preparing for their missions so it doesn't have to be as hard as it was for me, and also for everyone else to strive to keep the commandments more closely, because the Lord is refining us through out our lives. I love you all, and I thank you for all your prayers and support!

Yup Elder Mack is now gone, but this is a picture of our "Family"  

Yeah.. thats me eating DOG!

Elder Olsen and I under the Rainbow!

A sweet Rainbow in the Philippines!

The Philippines!

Elder Kikel
-on the Lord's errand-
San Pablo Philippines Mission

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