"Christmas and this time !!!"
Hello po pamilya!!
All of a sudden I feel like Christmas is so close. I don't know how that happened? I will have been on my mission for 1 year. I can say that this has been the quickest year of my life so far. It feels like I just went into the MTC and I still feel like a new missionary. But then I look back to that old Haley and the change that has taken place in me is extraordinary. I am so happy to still have 6 months here but I am sad because I feel like it is coming to an end too soon. It is true though. This Christmas I really do feel like I coming to understand the true meaning of the holiday and it has taken on a whole new significance as I am serving the Lord all day every day (or at least I am trying haha).
Our week was filled with so many miracles. I couldn't be happier. First off, let me tell you about the 5 baptisms that we're having!!! (It's a white Christmas) So the Barcenas family are so prepared and ready. We visited them and taught them what a testimony is and how to bare one. Afterward, we had a testimony meeting and the spirit was sooo strong. Ding, the father, has been working for a construction company for the church for like 15 years and has built many many churches and has come to know many leaders at church. Through all of his friendships and work experience, he has been praying to become a member of the church for about all 15 years. His wife was not interested at all and he was praying that the Lord would soften her heart. The crazy thing is there are so many members that live in his neighborhood and the missionaries always walk by their house but he would always ask himself, "when are the missionaries going to knock on my door?" Anyway...Sister Burt and Sister Brown knocked on their door one day. It ended up being an answer to Carol's (the mother) prayers as well because she was feeling that she wanted to come closer to the Lord. It took a while for her to receive an answer about the Book of Mormon, but now she can't go a day without reading. She said she has come to realize how blessed you are when you make the sacrifice to keep the sabbath day holy, and especially go to church. She feels that is her biggest sin her whole life and is so excited to finally be a member. The 14 year old daughter, Clarisse, now loves to read the Book of Mormon and has lots of friends at church. They are so so excited for their baptism. The fourth is Claire, 8 years old, who does have her own testimony as well.
Conching is one of my favorite investigators ever. She is almost 60 and is so excited to get baptized. She started crying as she bore her testimony with us for the first time and explained that she has never felt so close to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. She is so prepared. President Mangum had to interview her and he even said that he could tell that she was extremely prepared and ready to enter the waters of baptism. It just feels good because we're especially focusing on conversion, not baptism.
The thing is, I know that I really only had a small, small part in their conversions. Along with the other missionaries, it is the spirit. Haha and I just slid into home base and came at the right time to witness the baptisms of these special children of our Heavenly Father. Sooo so excited.
|Me, Tyrone, & Sister Kekauaha|
Tyrone... I think that I told you about him last week? Oh my gosh he is amazing. There are some pictures I sent you. He is the black guy from New Jersey who went to Afghanistan last Saturday. We had another incredible lesson with him before he left. He was in a huge hurry and had lots going on but was so excited to give up a few minutes for us to share another message with him. He was super intrigued by the fact that we have a prophet and 12 apostles today and just kept thanking us for sharing such a simple, clear, and powerful lesson. He said how with every other missionary that has taught him he ends up being left even more confused but he just kept saying how our message made so much sense. We assured him that it wasn't because of us but it was the Holy Ghost witnessing to him that what we were sharing with him was true. He wants to read the Book of Mormon and seriously ask God if it's true and he said that when he goes back to Georgia, if he finds out it is true, the first thing he will do is find the missionaries there and get baptized. I am sooo confident that that will happen. It was an amazing lesson and felt so good to teach in English. (and I am pretty sure that the gift of tongues took place there because at first it felt so awkward to teach in English) We got his facebook and e-mail information so that we can keep in touch with him when he goes home. Such a good guy. I will never forget him even though we only taught him twice.
We had another miracle where we weren't able to see Brother Salvador (recent convert) for about a week and a half. He had fallen back into old smoking habits after his baptism and was trying to quit again forever, but having a hard time. He really wanted to prepare to be worthy to baptize his daughter. We had a powerful lesson with him but weren't able to follow up with him for sooo long. But I had a feeling of peace about it and we kept praying for him fervently. Our prayers were answered when he came to church last Sunday and had an interview with Bishop and passed. He hadn't smoked since!! I know that it was an answer to our prayers.
Of course I think about you and miss you a lot during this time of Christmas, but I am so excited to skype with you and I would not want to be anywhere else. I am soooo happy. I love all of you!!!
|Pizza in the Philippines|
|Me & Elder Tabbilos|
|Me & Elder Wanoa|
|Elder Minas & Me|
|Me & Sister Kelleher|
|Sister Napitupulu, Me, Sister K, Sister Kelleher & |
|Sister K & Me|