"Innovation and answer our prayers"
Mapagmahal na pamiliya ko.
Kumusta po kayong lahat? Well this has been another great week. Of course it is hard to pack every funny/cool/spiritual experience into one little e-mail but I will try and include the best. So last Monday night I was just feeling really hard on myself. I went into my room by myself and was praying for quite a long time. I was feeling a little overwhelmed with all of my weaknesses and things that I need to work on, so I asked the Zone Leader if he could come and give me a blessing of comfort the next morning. Man, I have SUCH a testimony of Priesthood blessings. Has his hands were on my head, I felt like Heavenly Father himself was talking to me. Literally everything He said were things that I had specifically been praying for. The interesting thing was, in retrospect, I realized that all of the answers that were given to me in the blessing I had already received through my own personal revelation, but I just didn't recognize it. I feel like now I understand better how I personally receive revelation and how Heavenly Father answers my prayers. But I do know that even though there are billions and billions of people, not including all of our brothers and sisters in all of history, but somehow... somehow Heavenly Father knows each of us individually and perfectly and does hear our prayers and DOES answer them... according to our faith. Since the blessing I have received I have felt humbled and much more peace. The incredible thing is that through the atonement, our weaknesses can truly become strengths. We must depend on Christ completely... no reservations.
Speaking of faith, earlier this week we were teaching a recent convert, Jane. Now let me tell you about Jane. Despite all of the trials in her life, she is one of the most happy, positive, beautiful people I have ever met. She has faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When she prays, it is so sincere and it feels as though she is truly talking to Heavenly Father, face to face. She always bears her testimony about prayers and I know she has such a strong testimony about the sacred communication that we have with God. Well in a lesson, she shared how she was converted to the church. She first explained that she doesn't relate this experience to a lot of people. Let me also preface this by saying that one thing that I have noticed is that Heavenly Father answers all of our prayers in different ways according to our needs. Here in the Philippines, a lot of people that I have taught have answers to their prayers through dreams and signs... whereas with me it is definitely through my feelings. I was also thinking of telling you to take this story with a grain of salt, but I think that just shows my lack of faith. So no... haha... don't take it with a grain of salt.
Anyway, she was saying that she still had some doubts when she was being taught by the missionaries. So one day, as she was tending her shop, she prayed to Heavenly Father and said, "If the Book of Mormon is true... then have those people (picking out two random people that she saw on the street) come to my store." The next day, those exact two people that she had picked out came and bought food from her store. Then, as she was deciding whether or not to be baptized, she said that one night she was kneeling and praying, earnestly wanting to know if she should be baptized in the church. She knew that the next day was supposed to be very sunny with no rain. So she said, "Heavenly Father, if this is really the path that you want me to take, and I am supposed to be baptized in this church, then let me see a rainbow tomorrow." She said the next day it was super sunny and THREE TIMES she saw a rainbow. She was immediately baptized. Haha I just thought that was a crazy story and I think it just goes to show how strong her faith is and that anything really is possible according to our faith in Christ.
As for Lovely.... well earlier this week we went to their house and were teaching her parents. We were teaching the Plan of Salvation on their front porch while lovely and her brother Levvy were inside watching TV. Well all of a sudden they started fighting, but the screaming and noises that they were making was like nothing I have ever heard in a family. Her scream/yell was scary! So her mom went in and was furious at their behavior. She closed the door and started hitting them with a belt. Her father tried talking to us and acting like nothing was going on. Finally he went around the back of the house and Sister Tafitit and I were just solemnly listening to the noises inside. We looked at each other feeling so bad for their family... the spirit was nowhere to be found inside that home. We left before we closed the lesson. Well we went back to teach Lovely and she wouldn't face us because I think she is too embarrassed or ashamed about what had happened the other night. We don't judge them at all and we just know that the gospel will only bless their family and help them with these problems. But she absolutely wouldn't come out to see us. So we're not sure what to do. We are going to try and follow up with her tonight and hopefully she will agree to be taught again. So... feel free to keep her and her family in your prayers. The whole experience was humbling and it just made me so grateful for my loving family, especially my parents, and that we had the gospel in our home.
In contrast to that experience, the next day we went and taught the Acidillio family (AHHH they're my favorite). When we walked into their home the spirit was there and it was so different than the first time we taught them. They had been reading the book of mormon together and holding family prayer. We acknowledged the difference in their home and they completely agreed. They said that they use to argue all the time but now they don't argue. We taught them Gospel of Jesus Christ and re-extended baptism to them and they accepted. When we left, the peace and the spirit were so strong. No one could deny it. The only thing we need to help them overcome is Coffee... haha they are really struggling with it. So of course, we need patience. But we are really excited for them.
One last teaching experience: we taught Zenaida and Sam, a couple that we haven't seen for a couple weeks. He started the lesson by saying that he didn't want to argue but the whole time he was soo contentious. We couldn't get out 3 words before he would bring up another issue. Two or three months ago, I probably would have started getting like and anxious stomach ache and just frustrated with him. But this time I had so much peace. I was just so sad at his hard head/heart and that he wouldn't be able to feast on the blessings of the gospel. I think that my very nature is changing. I feel as the missionaries in Mosiah 28:3. I left feeling sorry for his hardness but so grateful that I had the gospel in my life. We have dropped quite a few investigators this week, but I know that people have their agency and it just leaves room to find those who are truly prepared of God.
Haha so our mission has really been emphasizing the fact that we need to budget our money well... so Sister Tafiti and I split up our money into four envelopes for the four weeks and we weren't allowed to touch the money in the other envelopes. Well Sister Lero really wanted to cook together on Sunday, but I had already spent my money for the week and so I just told her that I would have rice and tuna. She kept saying it was fine and that she was going to cook but I kept telling her that I felt bad and I didn't mind. That it wasn't fair and I wouldn't eat any. Well apparently that was super rude... haha Philippino culture... when it comes to food they always want to share and if they want to cook for you and you don't accept it is super offensive. Well Sister Lero and me are super close but she got SO MAD. Haha slammed her planner on her desk and marched to her room. So Sister Tafiti and I hurried and finished planning and then I went in and just laid on her and made her laugh. I just explained the difference of culture. Haha she was trying sooo hard not to laugh and keep a frowny face but just gave in. I also gave in and ate some of her food the next day. Anyway, I just love Sister Lero so much. I feel like we are kindred spirits. It makes me sad that when I go home I probably won't ever see her again... but I am trying to convince her to come visit us so she can see the Salt Lake temple, and Christmas, and snow.... haha so if she does come, I'll make her soo much food to make up for her goodness to me here. And of course I'll make sure she has rice as well.
Well, I'll probably cry as Raywin baptizes his girlfriend Jenny Rose this Saturday. I will make sure to tell you all about it and send some pics. She is so ready and I know that she is a fruit that will remain.
I love you all. I am stoked that you got to go to Lake Powell but I honestly am just so happy to be here. I hope you had fun and I can't wait to hear about your experiences. Beau those braids are NAPPY. Haha but I want a hard copy of that picture with your braided locks and face of pure bliss (haha the light on your face is perfect). So majestic. Haha I love you!!!
Ingat po kayo huh!!