Friday, April 1, 2016

Easter Week

March 23, 2016

Hello family!

Well there are quite a few things that they do different here for Easter. There are a few places that do a few different things. One interesting one is that there is a place where some people actually volunteer to be "crucified" for a short period of time to represent what Jesus did for us. So there are literally people who are crucified for a few minutes with nails and everything. Another one thing that people do is really different is that there are some other people that beat themselves over their own backs with whips... then once it is all swollen and red and puffy, they cut themselves on their back (they do this so it draws a lot of blood to the skin, so when it is cut it bleeds a lot more than it normally would). So those are some pretty extreme things that they do here that are not really anywhere else. The Catholic days like Ash wednesday, palm sunday, and good friday are really the biggest focus here. Whereever you go in the Philippines there are thousands of people that go to church on these days. So it is interesting to see so many catholics go to church. All of the filipinos also buy little woven pieces of palm frongs and hang them up in their houses until they buy new ones on palm sunday the next year. So almost everyone has dried out woven pieces of palm frongs hung up in their house all year round. They also do something called the "Black Nazarene" (but they do this all year around regardless). They have a statue of Jesus bearing the cross (it is called black because his skin on the statue is black and he has curly hair) and then they lift up that statue and everyone worships it. I have a few videos of it, remind me and i will show you what that is like when i get home. So thats a few things that they do different here than in the states. 

Oh yes we went to Palawan this last week. I forgot to tell you that we were going. It was good. We got fed by the Branch President in Santa Monica. They always make fun of me because of how many times I have come back there. Idon't  know if they will ever forget me out there. I have been back there so many times now. haha. I don't know if I will ever get to go back though. That was probably my last time. But I actually do not know yet. It is not for sure yet but I think that I will be transferred this next upcoming transfer. Hopefully, if I do,  I will get to train. That would be a great blessing. 

I remembered this week that you had your anniversary. I hope it was nice! 32 is a lot! I am afraid to say that you are getting "old." No no I am just kidding, give it one more year.

I am really looking forward to driving Dad's car. It looks great!!! 

It is weird everyone I know seems to be getting married or finding someone to get married to.

Anyways, here is my spiritual thing for the week!

One spiritual experience for this week comes from my study of the scriptures. I was reviewing a story that I enjoy in the Old Testament as I was contemplating one of our investigators struggling with a law of chastity problem that he has. I was reading the story of Jephthah the Gileadite. He was the captain of the armies of Israel and had made a promise to God. If he would be made successful in the upcoming battle, he would sacrifice unto God the first thing that came out of his house upon his return. These are his words:
 " 30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
 31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering."
He was blessed by the Lord according to his promise as recorded in verse 32, "¶So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands." At this point he returns to his home and "his daughter came out to meet him ... and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
 35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back." 
Jephthah made a specific promise unto the Lord, and he knew with all of his heart that he needed to fulfill the promise that he had made. Despite how hard it must have been and despite the pain that he felt after a short period of lamentation, Jephthah fulfilled his promise made unto the Lord. The scpriture states, "39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed." 
As I was reading this, I thought to myself, "what am I willing to sacrifice in order to fulfill MY promises unto God?" As members, we have all made certain sacred promises with God. He expects us to keep them. There are no loop-holes, no ways around it, no alternative terms by which we can satisfy those promises, except by the way He has set and through His son. We must be willing to sacrifice all disobedience and show him that we truly love him. 
The spirit often points things out to me that I need to sacrifice and give up to be obedient and fulfill my promises. It is a wonderful gift to have that guidance and to seek to magnify it always. I invite you to do the same.

Well, that is all I have got for this week.
I love you all! 
Elder Schroeder

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