|Sister Hingano & Me with the beautiful sunset|
Wow this week has been so great. Where do I start?
Well, earlier this week President had to come and interview Marylin for the baptism on Saturday. After the interview, he just told us that she could be baptized Saturday but he wanted her to have a spiritual witness that the Book of Mormon is true. He told us to teach her every day, to make sure she is on her knees twice a day asking if it is true, and reading it every day.
I am almost embarrassed that is has taken me this long to realize how crucial that spiritual witness is. For all of our investigators. Because unless they have it, they really can't progress and they won't have a deep and lasting conversion of the truth. So Sister Hingano and I have really changed our efforts and focus to this - with all of our investigators. No matter how many times we teach them, they go to church, or hear someone else's testimony, they won't know that it is true unless they find out for themselves. It is only through their relationship with Heavenly Father alone, through the Holy Ghost that they can know that this is Jesus Christ's gospel on earth today.
So we met with Marylin, and really challenged her to kneel and pray morning and night if the Book of Mormon is true. Because if the BOM is true, then Joseph Smith is a true prophet, and this is the only true and living church on earth today. She promised us that she would. (to be continued)
The next day, we went and met with Helen and Ronnie (some of my favorite investigators). For that whole day, we just planned on helping our investigators to receive an answer to their prayers. When we got into the lesson they started telling us how they just don't feel like they have received an answer and started asking sort of trivial questions like why there are more people in the Catholic church than in the Mormon church and stuff like that. Finally, we got down to business and focused on Moroni's promise at the end of the Book of Mormon. We talked about everything that is required of us to receive an answer, and what the Holy Ghost feels like when we receive it. As we were approaching the end of the lesson, I kept feeling like we should just kneel and pray right there... that they should just ask right then and there if it is true. I was a little hesitant. I know it is silly, and probably just shows my lack of faith, but I was worried that if they asked right there they wouldn't receive an answer. Then I just remembered, that literally anything can happen depending on our faith. So I invited Helen to kneel and pray right then and there if the Book of Mormon was true. We knelt down, and I immediately started pleading in my heart for them to feel the spirit and feel that it is true for themselves. It was silent before she began to offer the prayer and I felt the spirit so thick and heavy in my chest - you could not deny it. She started to pray with such sincerity and just asked, "Father, I want to know if the Book of Mormon is true, I want to know if the message these missionaries have been sharing with me is true.... if it is.. please let me know." As she continued to pray, I couldn't help tears streaming down my face, and she began to speak quieter and quieter. She was crying. When she closed the prayer, she just couldn't stop crying. Ronnie said quietly, "This is real."
It was such a beautiful experience. She then told us how in that moment she felt like everything was ok. That all of their problems were gone for a moment. She had a hard childhood and she has hard feelings and a grudge toward her parents and family. She said at that moment it was like those feelings were gone and that she could forgive and love her family. (all evidences of the spirit) Ronnie is still working towards receiving a sure answer for himself, but I know they will get baptized. (hopefully first week of June).
They did say that the feeling is so different when we come to teach them. I guess Ronnie has some anger problems, and Helen said it is like he is a new father, and then for the rest of the night their house is so much more peaceful. I am so grateful to witness little miracles like this.
After our appointment with them, we went to Marylin to follow up. She was so excited to see us. She said that the previous night she knelt down and prayed (after Jason was asleep). Same thing. She just asked God to let her know if the Book of Mormon is true. She said that she had chills everywhere, and beautiful feelings in her heart. She said that she actually heard a whisper - she heard a voice - saying to her "yes, the Book of Mormon is true." You could see in her countenance how much that experience changed her. I know that it helped her to have a much more lasting conversion.
|Me, Jason, Marylin, & Sister Hingano|
On Saturday, Jason baptized her. It was so beautiful. She was so excited. Her parents and family have cut off contact with her because of her decision, but she knows that it is right and can't wait. They also can't wait to go and be sealed in the temple (and I think that I will be able to attend a year from now!!!)
Jason passed the sacrament yesterday, and bore his testimony!! He was so excited about it. Except, at the end he just said thank you and went to sit down. Haha then he realized that he didn't close in Christ's name and ran back to the pulpit and closed. Everyone kind of giggled but it was just so funny and sweet. He sat down next to us and kept saying, "I am shy. I am shy." Haha it sounds weird in English but it is a normal expression in Tagalog. Hahah so funny.
Another one of our investigators that we thought wasn’t interested anymore texted us this week asking for us to return. The husband said how he had a dream about seeing two personages just like Joseph Smith described. He didn't have time to explain it to us but they were very excited to continue the lessons and came to church yesterday!! It was so sweet: They expressed that they didn't have clothes for some of their kids and so one of the members collected a bunch of clothes and gave it to them at church. You could tell that they were so grateful.
There are lots of other investigators that we are excited about, but those are just some of the highlights from this week. It's always nice when they ask you themselves when they can be baptized, like Sarah did, a 19 year old girl. We are also planning to try and rebuild our teaching pool. As tiring and as hard as this work is, it is so worth it to see the change in your own life and in the life of others.
|I don't know what got into me but I asked for the honors to cut off the chicken head.|
Saturday was Sister Ott's birthday and all she wanted to do was go buy a bunch of food for this family in our ward. It is these two girls named Sally and Erica. They were companions for a transfer and now they are living together. They have adopted 6 kids yata whose families abandoned them. They are such incredible examples to us... they are so consecrated and given up their lives for these children. They don't have very much and so Sister Ott just wanted to get them a feast. So after the baptism, we went and got pizza and a huge thing of pancite and bread. We went to their house for lunch and they were all so excited. They knew it was Sister Ott's birthday and so they brought out this cake that they made for her - it ended up being a mashed potato cake!!! Hahaha so funny. They know that is an American specialty and we both loved it. Then they gave us a bunch of fresh picked guavas which were delicious... I am really going to miss all of the fresh fruit here. It was so fun. I have grown so close to the members of this ward,
I am really going to miss them.
Just a funny fact. Something that I forgot to tell you was about the funny wives tales that they have here - which are kind of outrageous.
But Sister Dicen is full of them.
-if you take a shower at night, your feet will sweat the next day
-ice water makes you fat and coke makes you skinny
-if you don't eat rice you won't have strength to do anything
Anyway, there are more but I can't remember. But every time Sister Ott and I hear one that is just outrageous... we made a little theme song and
we sing "Philippino Theory!!"
Haha I don't know if that makes sense but it is funny. I just love it here in Rosario and I can't believe I get to be with these three sister for 4 1/2 months!! So crazy. I am so grateful.
Thank you for your support and everything and I can't wait to skype you!!
I love you!
|Each BRGY has a fiesta a certain day where basically every house in the area takes the day off, makes tons of food, drinks, and sings kareoke. Funny.|