"Beau !!! Happy Birthday !!!! Let's eat spaghetti !!!"
Well. I would like to start by wishing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my favorite, oldest, brother: Beau!! Happy happy birthday!! Lucky for me it is already well into the 12th here but it is still January 11th there. So I just want to say that I love you so much! You are one of my best friends and I am so grateful for your example of love and understanding to everyone. You are so talented, musical, intellectual, and hilarious. There is never a dull conversation with you and I miss you lots but I know we will see each other soon. Please eat a piece of mom's German chocolate cake for me huh?
|Sister K, me, Sister Kelleher, Sister To'a|
Hello my beloved pamilya,
Well, time works really weird here. I was so shocked that P-day already came again, but then as I contemplated the things that I wanted to share with you, and I thought back on this week, it all seemed so long ago! Haha but anyway... it has been an interesting week.
I'll start with one sort of trivial detail. I have received some earrings from members/missionaries as gifts, and so yesterday morning I decided to try some on. I haven't really worn any jewelry here because everyone is fairly poor and I just feel weird and out of place. The right earring slipped in just fine, but I tried putting in the left one for about 3 minutes when I realized it has GROWN IN!! Haha my ear is a little bit sore today... I guess that's what happens when you don't wear earrings for 1 year? It looks like I'll be taking a trip to Claire's when I get home... to be honest I am a little scared.
I like my housemates!! Sister Kelleher is really nice and I like listening to her talk because she is from New Zealand. We are actually batch mates. She is now companions with Sister Oldem.
Haha but as for the more important and interesting stuff, Monday night was incredible. We went to go teach a past investigator that we had to drop last November because he was just too busy. Finally, he was the one to schedule with us and the lesson was amazing. His wife is a member and he is so prepared. He has so many questions and was listening so intently. We committed him to be baptized on February 4, his wife's birthday. After that lesson, Sister K and I ran all the way down his long street because we were almost late for our curfew. Haha needless to say we were sooo happy and excited and we probably were a funny sight: two white girls, running down the street in skirts, with ginormous smiles on their faces. Haha when we went back to teach him, he had read and one night had gone into a separate room to kneel and pray and ask Heavenly Father if it is true. He said that he is not really sure if he has been answered yet, but while he was praying he felt like there was a light all around him. We explained the role of the Holy Ghost and just told him to continue his search. Then Saturday night, they almost cancelled with us because of this funeral that they were supposed to go to and at the last second asked us to come because he wanted to listen. We taught him WOW and he said that he had already been turning down drinks and cigarettes because he wanted to change his life. He said all of his friends make fun of him. The next day, they were supposed to be at the burial at 9, but they sacrificed and came to church. He is so awesome.
We also had two interesting teaching experiences this week with Bong and Nellie. While we were walking down the street, I had a very strong impression that we should go teach Bong (a street contact that we had months ago). We were right by their apartment, so we walked up to their computer shop and they hesitantly let us in. The wife was very hesitant because they hold callings in their church (she said she was an Elder in their church) and she said that she wouldn't change religions. But, we clearly explained that this message is for everyone and that it would bless their lives, so they let us share a 20 minute message. We actually shared about the gospel of Jesus Christ, and touched on Jesus' baptism. We asked them why Jesus had to be baptized by John the Baptist, and they had no idea. As we began to teach about priesthood, the spirit filled the room. I could really feel the spirit working through both of us as we testified. It was so powerful. Until that point, they had a sort of condescending attitude and didn't really want to listen. They were confounded and agreed to have us come back. They both really wanted to know who Joseph Smith was. When we returned, we were surprised at the different manner in which they received us - excited and eager to listen. We shared the message of the restoration and the spirit was so strong. I could see tears in Nellie's eyes during the first vision. But in the end, their hearts became really hard and they wouldn't even accept the invitation to pray and ask God if this is true. They didn't like the idea that there were things that were wrong about their religion, and they weren't open to other ideas. Honestly, I think that Bong wanted to listen more, but Nellie definitely wears the pants in that relationship. She said that she didn't want us to come back and that they had enough. It was such a weird turn of events. Immediately, 2 Nep. 28:30 came to my mind.
30 For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept,
here a little and there a little;
and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel,
for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that
receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough,
from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
Although they ended up not progressing, I know that we were supposed to share with them. Everyone has their agency, but our job is to do our very best to help them to make the right choice and accept the gospel. I know that we were supposed to teach them.
Lastly, we went to go teach this less-active that we had randomly been running into. She really wanted us to teach her and said that everyday at4:00 she would wait for us. So finally, one day we found her house and it was so sad. It was the tiniest little concrete, one-room shelter. No kitchen, no bathroom. They have a little water spigot outside. The whole time we were teaching her, her little 2 year old boy could not stop coughing. He was coughing sooo hard (I could see the veins in the side of his neck). She explained that he had asthma and that he had played too hard earlier, but he would be ok. I really felt so sorry for them and their impoverished state. I have really been humbled with seeing how some of these people live. We truly are so blessed at home. We have never had to think twice if we would be eating dinner one day.
But Sunday night was perfect because there was a Philippines Special Broadcast where they talked about the progress of the church here. They really focused on self-reliance and helping people to be industrious, find work, and through obedience to the gospel (including paying tithing and fast offerings) be freed from this poverty. I know it is true - if we follow the commandments and do our best, we will be blessed and we don't have to live like that. It is God's promise. But it is sad because sometimes those poor people have such weak faith that they don't see how it is possible to spend the money to go to church when that money is supposed to be used on food. That's the test of our faith.
Anyway, I am sorry that I am going off on a rant, but I have just learned so much. I can't even touch on a small part of it in these little weekly e-mails. But needless to say, I am so grateful that I am here. I am so grateful for everything that I am learning and the way I am growing and changing. Thank you for your love and support. It means so much. You are all in my prayers.
I know for a fact that this is the true church on earth. It is literally led, not by Thomas S. Monson, but by Jesus Christ himself. I know that He lives and I know that through His atonement that we can repent and change. I love all of you!!!
Love, Sister Rasmussen
|Sister Eder (daughter-in-law of Sister Conching that we're trying to teach), Sister Conching, Sister Kelleher (from New Zealand, my new house-mate), Sister Ellen Garin, Sister K, Sister Oldem.|