(Malagayang Easter! Easter Resurrection!)
|Berly, Me, Annalyn, Camille, & May Magaling|
Well this really has been a great week. We have found many new investigators who are so prepared. That really is what makes this work so fulfilling. The people. To see how they are ready for the gospel, the change in their lives as they learn the truth, and their gratitude. The field truly is white and ready to harvest. There are a few experiences that I would like to share.
The Pagsic family in our ward. Their whole family are members except for the father, Joven. Joven is a stubborn man. His wife and children are incredible. His wife has such a beautiful strong testimony and you can see how great their desire is for their father to accept the gospel. Many missionaries have taught him in the past but he just won't take that first step for baptism. He drinks and smokes and the first time we met with him, when we finally got an appointment with him, he reluctantly listened and told us that he just isn't ready, "there are too many temptations at my job. Probably in a couple years..." DAW. We left that lesson and felt like it didn't go anywhere and he was kind of a lost cause.
Well, last week we went to their house again and he was trying to avoid us for a while but we got him to sit down and listen. He makes everything light and jokes around a lot and I just knew he doesn't take anything we say seriously. We had planned to teach him the restoration, and his wife started by baring her testimony and started crying. She expressed how she just prays and hopes and wishes that her husband would accept the gospel. The spirit was strong and it just overcame me... after his wife shared it was silent for a second and I just had this impression that I needed to be bold with him. I looked him in the eyes and I said, "Joven, this isn't a joke. It's not. This is about your salvation... about your happiness." I could see his countenance begin to change. I proceeded to say, "you're my brother and even though I hardly know you, I love you and I, your family, want you to be happy." We hadn't planned on extending the baptismal invitation to him, but I just did it right then. I don't know if I have ever been that bold to someone. He sat there for 30 seconds and he accepted. He told us that he will be able to give up the alcohol but it is the cigarettes that are hard for him. Just goes to show how sin actually takes away your agency. He is addicted. But we really do love him and we told him we have a plan to help him. The other sisters have an investigator who smokes and what they did was bought him a big bag of candy and made spiritual cigarettes for him. They are pieces of paper rolled up with scripture references... so every time he has the urge to smoke he looks at the spiritual cigarette. I guess anything that can help. Anyway, that was just a really cool experience for me.
|Elder & Sister Smith & Me|
We have two golden investigators right now, Ronnie and Helen. They are this older couple with 5 kids... yata... and we just tracted into them. To be honest, when we tracted into Ronnie I didn't feel like he was potential, but we taught him anyway. They have been very interested and they have come to church twice now. They truly are amazing. Two lessons ago with them, we had a really hard time getting Helen to pray out loud for us, but we finally convinced her. We all knelt down and she gave one of the most heartfelt prayers I have ever heard. So sincere. Ronnie is a pretty serious guy, he has a more dry sense of humor, and when we stood up he had tears streaming down his face. He just thanked us over and over for coming and said that this is the change...this is the change that his family has been looking for in their lives. We will probably have to start with Ronnie and Hellen first, but they really want their children to listen. Their children are die-hard born agains so we will see.... Anyway, I love them.
One other experience... Earlier this week we went tracting for about two hours. One girl allowed us to teach her and it was TERRIBLE. Absolutely terrible. Probably the worst lesson I have had so far on my mission. She wasn't listening at all and wouldn't answer our questions. To be honest it was just awkward... hahah. Ayaw na ayaw niya sa amin talaga.
Haha anyway, we left that lesson and I was just feeling discouraged. We were looking to get something to eat and we decided to try and get one more lesson first. Before we went out again, we just said one more prayer. We know that there are so many people prepared here... we just have to find them. We said one more prayer for Heavenly Father to show us the way. The next house we ran into, we saw a member outside. We were talking to her for a sec when I noticed this girl inside the house who was staring at us. I left Sister Hingano to continue chatting to the member and I went and talked to the girl. Immediately she was basically begging me to come inside. I called for Sister Hingano and we taught her. It was so beautiful. She has had such a hard life and you could just see in her countenance how she has been searching and waiting for the gospel. Her name is Maila, she is 19 years old. Her father left them when she was young and now she has a week old baby but she just separated from her husband. She was living in Manilla but told us how she worked so that she could get here to Rosario and live with her sister. She accepted the baptismal invitation and was so grateful that we had come.
|Me with My Mission President's wife, Sister Kathryn M. Peterson|
|My MTC buds, Elder Wooden, Sister Johnson, & Me|
|Sister Hansen, Me, & Elder Hansen|
They celebrate Easter 3 days here! It's called Holy Week or something like that? I'm not really sure what they do for it.. but I know that it is a catholic thing and they don't eat any meat for 3 days or something...haha sorry I don't really know any details. I didn't see any evidences of their celebrations during the week and Easter Sunday was just normal for us so yeah... But we did make some really good food at lunch yesterday as an apartment. Sister Dicen makes this really good soup thing with vegetables and ginger, pancit, and like a stir fry. It was good. Lot's of veggies.
I have been trying to think of funny things that I could share with you.... Sister Hingano and me made the realization that there are dead frogs everywhere. Smashed ones. We walked down the road and passed by about 15. So crazy. Haha and Sister Ott came home one night and told us that they were walking in the dark and she felt one smash under her foot. She freaked out. She said she could feel the guts come out. So sad. haha Sorry if that is too graphic. I can't really think of anything else... same parin....
But it is transfer week so we will find out tomorrow what happens. It's nerve racking!! I have a feeling Sister Hingano will get transferred, but we will see. No one knows. I just love Rosario with all of my heart. The members here are incredible and as the work is really beginning to accelerate I don't want to leave!!
|Jason & Marylin's Wedding|
|Sister Hingano, Jason, Marylin w/their baby and me|
I love this work. I love these people. There are so many little miracles that happen everyday. I cannot believe how much I have learned and how much more I still have to learn and become. I am beyond grateful that I made this decision to come out. I love all of you and miss you.
Elder Tabbilos, Sister Buckly, me, Sister Ott, and Sister Kekaouha, Sister Leon, and then Elder Wooden is in the tree
|Sister Hingano & Me|
|SisterRichman, SisterKekaouha, Sister Buckly, & Me|
|Me & Sister Ott|