So this week was fantastic! SO incredibly busy though! As I believe I told you last week, Tatay William Vergara passed away. Well they have funerals quite different than we do. First off the casket is brought to the home where it stays for about 9 days...During this 9 day period nobody works and it is basically a 24/7 party! Haha. They have videoke and everytime you visit they give you a huge plate of food! haha. Its different. Then on top of that they allow whatever church to give a service all throughout the week! So we had to ask them if we could have a service! Haha. BUT the service was amazing! Nanay actually asked me to speak and we sang all of Tatay's favorite Hymns. I spoke about the purpose of life and it was such an honor to be able to speak at the service. His "internment" or burial is tomorrow, but we wont be able to attend because of District meetings. Sadly, there is like a cemetary battle happening in Naguilian right now! Its wild! There is no public cemetary yet, so only a few churches have cemetaries. And they will not let anyone else buried in their cemetary if they are not members or their congregation. Its ridiculous. BUT somehow they had a way in to the Catholic cemetary. I think its because Tatay was a local politician so they liked him. I dont know exactly but that is one problem in Naguilian. People are afraid to join our church because of the cemetary issues. Because they are afraid they will have nowhere to be buried when they die. It is a very important thing to these people! Its okay though because I know that it will all work out! :)
We have a new investigator! His name is Carlos Coronan and he is 21. He is a stud! He is accepting the gospel in life so well! I hope that everything works out well with him!
I miss you like crazy and I am so proud of you keep working hard and keep thinking about me!
By the way I wasnt able to get a letter out last week BUT one will go out this week! We were so busy last week it was INSANE!
Well I love you so much Devynn!
Forever and ever yours,
Elder Ryan Betancourt"
Below, I have added parts of the second letter. Elder Betancourt wrote the letter on 12/10/2012.
Wow, what a week. Can I just say that I love you. I think you know that, but I just wanted to remind you! Just so you know missions are amazing. HARD. Very hard, but each day is a blessing and amazing at the same time. ...Take my word for it, dev. The best way is to give everything you have from 6:30am-10:30pm. 1. Times goes by faster. 2. You become a better and better missionary. 3. You help your area the most. 4. You are blessed the most. You will do so great!
...This cycle has absolutely flown by. I thought the MTC went by fast. Devynn, do you know why it went by fast? It went by fast because I gave it everything I had. I work all day until I drop in my bed at night! My goal is to work harder this cycle. I am excited to give everything I have! It will be great :). Set goals for yourself on your mission-- weekly, monthly, cycle-ly! This helps you keep track of your progress.Set goals and do everything in your power to do them. Show faith to set goals that make you stretch, but commit to them! ;).
..This time apart is so hard and sometimes throwing in the towel seems like the easy way out, but it is actually the hard way. Think of all the blessing and opportunities we would be giving up...it's all worth it! I want to tell you a story about the atonement. --So one day you are watching the news throughout Europe. The virus kills people indefinitely. There is no surviving this. As the weeks go on countries begin to quarantine as scientists and world renown doctors gather together to think of a cure. As they are seeking a cure, the virus spreads to all countries. People are losing hope. The human race could surely fall. You friends and family in distant areas begin to get infected. Millions/billions of people have died or are dying. The news flashes. They think they may have a cure. Everyone needs to go be tested to see whose blood they could use. You go and bring what is left of your family. As each is tested, no luck. Until your son gets tested. His blood is clean, completely unaffected by the virus. The doctors rejoice, even you do. Why wouldn't you?! Then you ask how much blood they would need. The doctors say since he is only a boy, we must take it all. Your son will not live. They are begging you to give you only son so that the world may be saved. You know what you need to do. You decided to let them carry out the removal of the blood. Before they do, they let you spend a few minutes with your boy. You try to explain, but of course, you cannot. He says, father (or mother), why have you forsaken me? (Why are you letting them take me? Haven't I been good?) You leave your boy after telling him you love him. A while after you discover that it worked. You boys clean blood saved the world. People are rejoicing and celebrating. Returning to their families and friends, celebrating life. No thanks are given, a few people maybe, but for the most part, the world continues to turn. Now think that you are Heavenly Father. The boy who is given is Jesus Christ. How do you feel? Do you feel loved? Do you feel gratitude? -- This story touches my heart and makes me want to do everything I can to show my love for my Heavenly Father! You do so much for your Heavenly Father. He loves you and is proud of you. I know this. I just wanted to share this story because it makes me want to be better every day and give everything for him, who gave all he had; him who bled from every pour so that we may live. I hope you enjoyed my story!"
I know that Elder Betancourt is an incredible instrument in the hands of the Lord. He has a beautiful testimony of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for his testimony and example. Below are a few pictures that he sent! I have also included a video from his package!
Ina, Elder Samar, and Elder Betancourt. Ina is Sister Tintin's daughter. According to Elder Betancourt, she loves to play when they visit. He says she is very sweet!They are eating some Gray Ham cake that the Danao's gave them on New Years.
It is a famous Filipino dessert. It is called and pronounced Gray Ham Cake. It is actually made out of gram crackers, but since they pronounce every syllable, they say gray ham.
They are eating chocolate cookies and cream ice cream that Elder Samar made. Elder Betancourt said it was masarap!