"Fruits of repentance"
Oh my goodness.... 1) I have learned so much this week.. 2) We have been SO BLESSED in our work.
Before that, you have all been asking me to share more about my companion. She is 1 of 7 and is the 6th child. Her parents are converts and are super strong in the church. She always wanted to serve a mission and had to wait about 9 months to be able to come out. (Sisters who want to serve a mission let their bishops know their intentions and have to wait 9 to 12 months before getting their call). She is super sweet and happy and funny and one of the most humble people ever. She is adjusting amazingly and I am the one learning from her. She has such a desire to fulfill her purpose and I know that she will work lots of miracles. I truly am so blessed as a trainer. We love cooking together and like lots of the same foods. I have learned how to make a lot of good Pilipino foods from her:)
|"Our new Senior couple, Elder & Sister Cranstons. They are soo funny. I feel really close to all the couple missionaries out here - they all kind of feel like my grandparents/parents."|
Ok so at the beginning of the week... I actually wasn't doing so great. I am a little bit embarrassed from this experience, but I still want to share. There was someone in my house who was continually making rude comments to me and Sister Martinez and I was letting it get to me. I was letting it get to me and sort of letting my emotions take over. I would just dwell on the things that she said or did and started to just think really negatively about her. I became critical and judgmental of her. It was the first time on my mission that I really felt like this. I felt like I had no charity, and even though I was being civil to her and wasn't showing it in my actions, inside I was only thinking badly about her. Anyway, I could hardly feel the spirit at home and was having a hard time following the spirit in our work.
Thursday, the Sister Training Leader's came for exchanges.
Thursday was my 9-month mark and a day of many epiphanies. That morning as I was studying I kept feeling impressed to study Moroni 7, one of my favorite chapters in the Book of Mormon. I realized that I was only being selfish and prideful which left no room for charity,
"which is kind, envieth not, and is not puffed up, and seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil.." (Moroni 7:45)
These are some of my favorite verses and I wasn't applying them. I realized that as I didn't forgive her, the greater sin was only on me.
My anger started turning to godly sorrow and I knew that I would need to just communicate with this sister, even though that was the last thing that I wanted to do. Sister Balcita, the sister training leader, and also the most humble and christ-like person I have ever met, shared an experience she had while at missionary leadership conference. She said that a zone leader corrected her sort of rudely in front of everyone. At first she was embarrassed and offended. Afterwards, she had the impression to go and actually thank him for doing that. It was the last thing she wanted to do. But she approached him, and thanked him for correcting her. She said she immediately felt peace and comfort and her relationship with him is even better. That feeling is the spirit testifying to us that what we do is pleasing to the Lord. Sometimes it is after doing something that we absolutely dread doing, but we know is right. To me... that is repentance. To give up our will, no matter how big or small, for the Lord's. And when we do that, we truly have so much more peace and joy in our lives as the spirit testifies to us that what we are doing is right.
Anyway, even though I absolutely dreaded it, I openly talked with all 4 sisters about what was going on. To be honest, I was basically the only one talking and opening up, but I apologized for anything wrong that I had done and just expressed that I loved the sisters and wanted the spirit in our apartment. The conflict still wasn't completely resolved, but I had done my part and was waiting for the others to take the step. I felt sooooo good. I felt so much peace. The next day, I could still feel that there was contention, but I wrote this sister a note about how much I love her. That night, I felt so much peace, and I felt true love for all the sisters in my house. In a small way, I recognized the blessing of repentance, and how amazing that peace feels. It helped me to relate to my investigators and understand how as I invite them to repent and change, even though it is hard, I can be 100% sure that it will only bring them peace, happiness, love, and joy. I can be bold about extending commitments, because I know that it is only through their obedience to the gospel that they can feel completely happy and burden-free.
|Sister Balcita & Me|
After that whole experience, we saw MANY blessings and miracles in our work. When I went on exchanges, Sister Balcita and I got punted by an investigator and as we were trying to figure out what to do there was a lady from above yelling hello to us. We looked up and she was waving and smiling and we asked if we could share with her and she basically begged us to come up. We shared with her and her husband, who joined us later, and he asked us what they need to do to be baptized. Super interested and super potential. Then, we met potential part-member family.
|Me, Sister Smart & Sister Martinez|
Sister Martinez and Sister Smart talked to this guy who apparently has been reading the Book of Mormon almost ever night and has lots of questions and wants to come to know God. Apparently I gave him the Book of Mormon and he was waiting for us to come, but I don't remember AT ALL hahah. Anyway.... He basically begged us to come to church and is very excited for us to come and teach him on Tuesday. We had 8 investigators come to church (which was much better than last week... haha Sister Martinez was happy) and one of the couples that we are teaching is planning on getting married in October and baptized before I leave Calapan.
|Sister Ting. Neighbor across the street. Hahaha yeah that is typical philippino birthday food for you. Yep hotdogs on sticks with marshmellows and spaghetti in the big bowl.|
There are so many people prepared for the gospel. It is amazing. I know that no matter how hard we work, it isn't enough. In the end, the Lord is who makes up the difference and this is his work. I feel so happy and blessed that I still have 9 months to learn and to try and bring others to Jesus Christ.
Even when it gets rough... just keep swimmin... and I'll see you in 9:)
I love you!!
P.S. I forgot one VERY IMPORTANT DETAIL... ummmm.... I got lice this week. BLEHHH. I was in the bathroom and my companion saw one crawling at the top of my forehead and picked it out. Then she started looking through my hair and saw two more. I was sooo sad and confused because I thought I was pretty good using that teatree shampoo. Anyway... we bought some medical shampoo and a comb and it already seems like it is gone. It's not like it was for Sister Ott. But I am still going to be careful and keep checking for like a week. I am lucky that I caught it while it was early. But just another fun and crazy thing about living in the Philippines. But I still feel just as embarrassed that I got lice. Grabe naman. I love all of you.
Ingat na po kayo.
The pictures of the food is what we were supposed to eat for our zone pday today. I didn't eat any. They just put a bunch of rice down and then canned tuna and corned beef and stuff all over it and then everyone just ate it with their hands. Nasty.
|Elder Adamson & Me|
I got the package mom!! Thank you! It was perfect. My shoes are getting a little bit old but I think I can just buy some new ones here so don't worry about sending ones to me:) But they are so comfortable and I am so glad that I got the crocks. To be honest I didn't do anything special for my 9 month day but it was a really good day and I learned a lot. The weather is pretty much the same.. sometimes hot sometimes rainy... but nothing extreme. When you come it will be good weather so you don't need to worry about the rain. Calapan is the biggest city here in Mindoro but it's still not that big. It's just right. When you are in a big city... people are so busy that they don't really want to talk. I actually called the President's wife the other day because I got lice but other than that, I only talk to the Mission President's wife and the Mission President if there is a problem or something or if there is a big mission conference. I actually called the President about everything that was going on in our house and he gave me a little more counsel. He made the point that I had already done everything I could do and if I kept pushing it and wanting to talk about it then I was just making the situation worse. He said that I couldn't be so worried about what people think and I need to just focus more on what the Lord thinks. It was a good realization. I love him because is very real - he is full of wisdom and knows exactly what to say without putting too much sugar on top.
|Zone pday. Just a pretty rice field|