Monday, September 15, 2014

kalahati na... ano ba iyan?

"half ... heck is that?"
Minamahal kong pamiliya, kumusta na po kayo?

Me & Sister Martinez

Well..... I am literally shocked that on Thursday I will be officially half-way through my mission.  That is the weirdest feeling ever.  I feel like I am still new here in the field, but when I think back to those days in the mtc, ignorant and oblivious, haha they seem like a long time ago.  It's pretty cool to look back and see the progression that I have made personally and to cherish the experiences that I have had so far.  I thank Heavenly Father every single day that I am here.  I know I say it all the time... and perhaps you are sick of it... but I can't imagine if I hadn't come.  The things that I have learned are so invaluable.  I have truly been changed, and yet I still know I have a long way to go.  This week, I have been so humbled and have become very aware of all of my weaknesses.  However, it hasn't been a discouraging or disheartening kind of way.  Ironically I have reflected back again on my favorite scripture at the beginning of my mission, Ether 12:27
  “27 And if men come unto me I will show unto 
them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they 
may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble 
themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
I know that I need to continually depend on the Lord Jesus Christ, and that he can make these things my very strengths.  Sometimes I feel like I only have 9 months to accomplish this, but I know that it is a lifetime process.  My mind has truly been expanded and I have never felt so aware of the eternal perspective.  The time that we have on earth is so precious... we must use every moment.

ANYWAY.... I could go on and on about the things I have been pondering the past week, but I will get to the good stuff.  I apologize again if this seems like it has been a somewhat uneventful week.  We have a lot of potential investigators, but we need to do more following up.  I love seeing the gospel/atonement change these people's lives line upon line.  It seems like quite a few of our investigators had some "a-ha!" moments this week.  But successfully helping them to act on that epiphany has been a little bit of a struggle.  
Two of my favorite investigators, Joanne and Ryan (an unmarried couple with one baby) both suddenly came to know that Book of Mormon is true.  We were so grateful that it was simultaneously so that they could continue to progress together.  We went to their home Tuesday night and asked them if they believed it was true.  Ryan had a big smile on his face and for the first time he confidently replied, "yes."  He says that he now understands the fruits of the Holy Ghost and that every time he reads and prays he has a different feeling.  He says he feels happier at his job and even sleeps better.  He can't go without reading.  We turned and asked Joanne the same thing and she said she knows it is true because of an experience she had the other night.  She suddenly started bawling and explained a terrible dream she had.  I won't go into the details but she had a nightmare of bad things happening to their daughter in the Catholic church.  She woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't stop crying and so she started to read the Book of Mormon.  She immediately had a feeling of peace come over here.  She believes that the dream is a warning and for her.... that was the answer.  

Once again... for me... the spirit testifies through my thoughts and feelings but I have seen over and over that for my investigators... often times it is through signs and dreams.  The only problem is they are basically addicted to coffee and are not yet married.

That seems to be a reoccurring theme in our work.  Another unmarried couple has slowly been progressing.  Erika is completely converted and we have seen some small miracles with her boyfriend Randy's attitude has changed from complacency and indifference to a sincere desire to repent and change.  It is sad to see how many broken families there are in the Philippines - both of these people have other children from past relationships.  Even if we have repented, sometimes we still have to suffer the negative consequences from past mistakes.  Dad you are right - Satan's number one work right now is to destroy the family.
Elder Pulido, Elder Parry, Sister Lero, Sister Hingano, Sister Martinez, Sister Busby, Me & Elder Busby
Friday morning we had a surprise as the Busby's dropped by and unexpectedly explained that they were being sent home because of their health.  They are 80 and 85 years old and to be honest... it is probably good they are going home.  The Assistants to the President asked that we go and help them pack and clean their apartment so that the new couple missionaries could move in..... Oh my goodness it was a 6 hour endeavor and it wasn't even finished.  Elder Busby's memory is completely gone and Sister Busby was getting frustrated with me as I kept asking her questions... trying to figure out where things went or how we could help. I could not believe all of the stuff they had collected while they were there and I think that they had a hard time keeping it up and clean.... It stressed us out a little bit because we had to cancel a bunch of appointments but it felt good to have some service.  I ended up having a really great conversation with Sister Busby as I was helping her fold up her clothes and put them away.  It made me miss all of my grandparents... but I also thought that they are probably helping me quite a bit on this mission.  
Anyway, earlier today we met the new couple and they seem like they are going to be awesome.  They are soo funny.  I feel really close to all the couple missionaries out here - they all kind of feel like my grandparents/parents out here.

On Sunday, Sister Martinez and I had a good learning experience.  There was a big storm right at 9:00 am and so not one investigator showed up for
Church.  Not one.  Sister Martinez was Heart Broken.  During Sunday School
Class she couldn’t help but tear up.  I was sad, but I also know that they have their agency and all the Lord can expect is that we do our best.

After church, we studied and I shared with her the admonition of President Mangum a couple of weeks ago.  Heavenly Father NEVER requires success.  Not once in the scriptures does it say that we need to have success.  But it does say over and over that our sacrifice is required.  We must sacrifice our all, and the outcome is rather insignificant.  He gave the example of Shadrach Meshach and Abednigo and Abinidi from the Book of Mormon.  Both sacrificed and stood up for their testimonies.  Neither of them were really concerned if they would suffer martyrdom or not.  Abinidi's fate wasn't as fortunate as the former, but their sacrifice was the same.  Anyway, she felt a lot better.  We went out and opened our mouths and taught and both of us felt a new drive to keep moving forward.

As for funny stories... all I can say is that I am still afraid of bugs.  That hasn't changed much... and my roommates get a crack out of my dramatic reactions... which also hasn't changed much.  Haha and I was horrified the other night when Sister Martinez screamed while hanging up her laundry outside because a mouse ran over her foot.  BLEHhhhhkljjd.  Ayaw ko.

I love you all so much.  Thank you for your prayers and support.  It means a lot.  I hope I'm not completely forgotten :)  9 months pa lang.
Sister Rasmussen

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