(This stunning and weeks!)
|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.|
This week has been so beautiful. I can't wait to tell you about it. But first, I will tell you a few funny and trivial things.
So earlier this week we went to this restaurant with our district that serves Mexican food (SUPER RARE.) OH MY GOSH. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I ate it again. There's not very much spicy food here and nothing like Mexican Anyway, it was so amazing and just appreciate all those little Mexican... even the dirty Mexican restaurants in Utah. Maybe Greg and Lindsay feel a little bit of my pain because there isn't very much Mexican food in Michigan right?
Mom!! One of my pinakafavorite foods here is Caldareta. Look it up and see if you can make it at home. So good. It's basically just like chicken, potatoes, and carrots but the flavor is amazing and siyempre.. of course you have to eat it with rice. Sister Hingano and I were going to go to a member's home later today and learn how to make it but she has had some problems getting in contact with home so we are going to try and call her family again later. Next week na lang:) Also graham cake and graham balls. Again, mom, look it up and learn how to make it. Super simple but incredible. And here in the Philippines, they pronounce graham, gray-ham. Haha and if you try and ask for graham crackers how you normally would pronounce it in english, they won't know what you're talking about.
On Tuesday, we went to go teach a part-member family in Itlugan (isan brgy dito) and before our appointment with them, we ate lunch at an investigator's house. Then they fed us at their house, and because it was a fiesta in their brgy she insisted that we go over to her cousin's house where we had to eat more! and then they made us go to her OTHER cousin's house and eat more!! I could not handle it and they were just waiting and watching us get our food and eat and make sure we liked it. I don't know if I have ever been that full in my life. It was the worst. She tried telling us that we had to go to another house but I jokingly ran away. Haha I was like, "Sister, I'm sorry, but I can't eat one more thing." Haha she joked and said that I was bad but it was ok. I thought at that moment I would never eat anything ever again. Haha anyway...
Haha but, we have one investigator that we taught last week... her name is Sister Estellita. All of her siblings and parents are members and so she has been investigating for a long time. But I really think that this is her time. Haha we followed up with her and asked her about her Book of Mormon reading and in two days she had read until 1 Nep. 14 which is unheard of here because these people really hate to read and the Tagalog is really deep and hard to understand. We were so impressed and asked her how she felt. She said well... I felt sleepy, and then hungry, and then full, and then itchy, and then I watched TV. Haha at least she was honest. Hahaha it was so funny we couldn't stop laughing. She kind of reminds me of Aunt Elayne. But then she recounted everything that happened in the story and even about the 3 and 8 witnesses at the beginning. She said in all these years that she has been investigating, she never read the Book of Mormon and so she finally decided to read it. You can already see the change it is making and her heart is softening. Haha then yesterday, during sacrament meeting, there was a boy who recited the 13 articles of faith and when he finished she started clapping so loud hahaha it was hilarious. She loved it and she had so much conviction in her applause. I will give her that much. We really love her. I have faith she will be baptized soon.
Yesterday, we had 11 investigators at church!!! It was nuts! The most we have ever had come to church is 6. It was crazy. And that doesn't include the kids of 3 families that came. It was so amazing and you could see that it really excited the members about missionary work. I know it's not about numbers, but the numbers are key indicators for your work inviting others to come unto Christ. Anyway, we were really excited and we're so excited about all of our investigators. I can confidently say that they could and will all get baptized. The work is hastening! We know that we can't do it without the strengthening and enabling power of the atonement.
Then last night, one of those investigators opened up to us how it has been so hard for her for her mom working abroad and she has no father. She was full of resentment and sadness. But after two lessons ago, one night she decided to kneel and pray about the Book of Mormon and ask if it's true. As she described the experience her eyes welled up with tears (and she is the type of person that I never thought I would see cry) and she said it was as if for a second everything was ok, she had chills everywhere, and she knows that the Book of Mormon is true. She asked us if she can get baptized next week haha but she is living with her boyfriend (only 17 years old) and smokes. So it will take some time, but I know it is possible. And we know it is so important that she had that experience because as she struggles overcoming some of those things, she can hold on to that spiritual experience which is deep within her.
On Friday, during personal study, we received a text from President Peterson saying he was on his way to do companionship study with us. Haha we were super nervous, but this is just something that he does randomly with companionship to help train. Anyway, it was such a spiritual and inspiring experience. I asked him what to do if our investigators just feel like they know it's true on the first lesson and it has been hard for us to get them to read and pray about the book of Mormon because they already believe it's true. Again, he emphasized how important it is that they have that witness for himself. He referred to 2 Nephi 33:1,"for when a man speaketh by the power of the Holy Ghost the power of the Holy Ghost carrieth it unto the hearts of the children of men." Siyempre it is important that we teach with the spirit. So important. But it can only carry it UNTO not INTO the hearts of men. In order for them to have that really deep conversion, it can't be through us missionaries or through anyone else. It must be within their relationship with Heavenly Father lang. Anyway, we have really really been trying to focus on that and help our investigators have that spiritual and lasting witness.
Now, I know that this is a long e-mail, but I saved the best story for last.
On Sunday, our new neighbor moved in. He is a 59 year old man from the Tennessee who is dating a 23 year old philippina. Anyway....... He's your typical "jo", what they like to call them here. We talked to him a little bit and he told us how he is a retired pilot in the air force and he has had a crazy life. He is divorced and says that his kids won't talk to him. He told us that his son is a Mormon and I jokingly said, "well shoot, we gotta convert you too!" Haha and he replied, "ha... good luck with that!!"
Anyway, we ran into him again the next day and talked and got to know him a little more and he said that growing up the best friend he ever had, Tom, was a Mormon and he knows a lot about the church. But finally he invited us to come over for an intellectual and animated conversation.
Haha sister Hingano and me were a little nervous, because to be honest, it feels really weird and awkward to teach in English because we are so used to Tagalog. I was expecting him to argue with us the whole time and I had lots of mixed feelings about it. I know that it is easy to judge his situation, but I just have a feeling that he has gone through a lot and is just really lost.
So on Saturday, we sat down and started talking with him. He said that growing up his neighbors were Mormon, and his best friend. He complained how he feels like religions are so corrupt and become businesses. He went off about how corrupt our government is in the US and how you are more free in the Philippines than you are in the US. He is well read and I think a little bit of a conspiracy theorist, but I do think there was some truth to what he said.
Just a side note.. the whole time he was telling me about the corruption in our country and in the churches I was just thinking.. yeah... it's inevitable. The world is getting more and more evil and man is more and more corrupt because the second coming is sooner than we think. I am just so grateful that we have knowledge about the plan of salvation and don't have to live in fear, despite the corruption and evil that surrounds us.
Anyway, he shared his understanding of the lds religion, which was a little skewed, but anyway... finally he just said, "You know... all I really want is the truth. That's all I want. I am 59 and I have made a lot of mistakes, and I know I'm not going to live forever. I want to make things right with God, and I just want the truth."
It led perfectly into our lesson and I just explained to him that all we wanted to share with him was the truth. That was why we were there. That even though we don't really know him and his girlfriend, we love them and pray for them, and all we want to do is tell the truth. You could see his countenance change.
We started by asking him his knowledge about God, and he said God is a spirit and came down in the form of Jesus Christ. We went to the bible and talked about John 3:16 (which he had memorized) and how they are two separate beings, and he was still a little less convinced. Then we talked about the creation of man which was in God's image which means he has a body of flesh and bones. He thought he was clever when he said, "there's where I have the problem. Because flesh deteriorates, so how can he live forever?" Then we talked about the resurrection of Jesus Christ and asked him how Christ lives forever if He has a body right now. Anyway.... I am just giving you these details because the spirit was so strong and it was just a smooth lesson. Again, you saw his demeanor change and he said, "you know I guess I just never asked myself these kind of questions."
So we taught him about the restoration through Joseph Smith and he started crying 3 times. It was so amazing. We then told him that we didn't want him to know the truth through us, but through the Holy Ghost directly. He said, "you know.. it was hard for me to listen to Tom because I had another friend, another voice in my ear, who was always trying to convince me that the Mormon religion was corrupt. I read a book about the lives of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and it didn't have good things to say about them, and I don't necessarily believe that's true either.... but I never actually read the Book of Mormon for myself."
So he told us that he would go through it with a fine tooth comb (which is exactly what we want to hear from all of our investigators haha) and that he would pray.
I shared my experience about how I received an answer that the Book of Mormon is true, and he was like, "so that's why you're here. I didn't understand why all of these 20 year olds would give up two years of their life."
Anyway, it was just such a cool experience. After telling us more about how corrupt Obama and our country is, he prayed at the end and started crying and just thanked us so much at the end. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets baptized.
Sorry this is so long and if there are grammar errors. Anyway, I just love it here and I love this work so much. I am so grateful for this experience and everything that I am learning. I love these people.
Thank you for your support!
See you on Skype tomorrow.
Love, Sister Rasmussen