This week is my last week of the 12 week training!
"If sometimes the harder you try the harder it gets, take heart! So it has been with the best people who ever lived." Cherish your spiritual burdens because God will converse with you through them and will use you to do His work if you carry them well.
This week I got to work with a lot of people:
1. On Tuesday we had so many teaching appointments that Sister Fernandez and I split up with two members in the ward to cover more lessons!
2. One of our investigators, a college student, had a day off of school and asked to spent it with us, teaching! He's curious about what it's like to be a missionary! So we took him and one other member with us to teach! It was like "reverse LTMP" because we had an investigator present to teach less-active members! I really prayed that he would have a spiritually-uplifting and testimony-strengthening experience! I loved hearing him add his testimony to ours during the lessons, even though he himself is just beginning to learn the gospel! Later that day he texted us and said thank you, and that he would never forget how he felt while teaching the gospel with us!
3. Then I went on splits with the Sister Training Leaders, which meant nakabalik ko didto sa San Rem! I got the opportunity to help Sister Detal find a whole neighborhood of investigators that they hadn't been able to find yet, and we even found 3 new investigators that day for them!
4. District Conference, so we got to be in a Christmas choir!!! The branch hand-sewed matching skirts and shirts for our choir, so sweet! Also, we got to see President and Sister Tanner and Elder Vezencio of the Seventy!
This week was also great because I got to lead. It's scary to lead at first, mostly because of the language. But I noticed something:Here in the Philippines there are always people out walking around selling food. If you avoid eye contact, they won't bother you. But if you are curious and kind of actually want what they're selling, you'll look in their direction, even subconsciously! And they notice and they'll come up to you.
Being a missionary is just like that. Because we wear a badge with "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" on it, people know we have something to offer. Some of them will avoid eye-contact. Or say they're busy, they need to laba and hugas, and hayhay and luto. But SOME people, catch our eye and smile....they are curious. They want to know. A part of them thinks, is what they have to offer, their message, what I've been subconsciously looking for?? And we notice. And we come up to them and invite them to listen to us. You never know who God has prepared to hear the message of the gospel.
We had one such experience this week. After being sent away from 5 houses, I still wanted to tract in that area. Finally we past by an older Nanay who was just laying down on a wooden board in her house. She was craning her neck to watch us walk by, so I didn't want to just walk by and I walked right into her house to visit her. She immediately pulled out a bench for us and fixed her hair. She said she has been visited by missionaries of other faiths and still hasn't found what she's looking for. SHE'S LOOKING! Which means she is a humble seeker of the truth! At the end of our lesson I asked her to read the first page of a pamphlet before our next visit. She told me, "Sister, ever since I had a stroke and my arm got paralyzed, I mostly just sit here in my house. I will read your WHOLE pamphlet." We are excited to go back to her and continue teaching.
I really love sitting on the floor of these humble homes and telling people things like: "Naa'y Dios og plano para kanimo" or "Ang sakripisyo ni Jesukristo mihimo malimpyohan sa atong mga sala aron makabalik ta sa presencya sa Dios." I would like to testify that there is NO better way to learn a language than by doing it teaching the gospel. The love you feel for the people is the greatest motivation....otherwise, I'd probably give up learning Bisaya haha.
I held a baby kitten this week. smaller than my whole hand! (see attached picture)
I saw a spider fight (favorite pastime of kids here)....gross haha.
If you get the chance, read "The Power of the Word of God" by Elder Michael John U. Teh of the Seventy (he is Filipino). It gives great insight about what I'm experiencing here in the Philippines!
"Yea, blessed is the name of my God, who has been mindful of this people, who are a branch of the tree of Israel, and has been lost from its body in a strange land; yea, I say, blessed be the name of my God, who has been mindful of us, wanderers in a strange land. Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth. Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God forever." (Alma 26:36-37).