|Sister Koi & Me|
Hello my beautiful family!! Well this has been another beautiful week here in Sta. Cruz. I want to start with the best...
Monday night, President and Sister Mangum came to work with us, at our request, to Brother Pamilacan. I think that I have given you some details about Brother Pamilacan but just a reminder... he has been an investigator for more than a year and has 9 pages on his teaching record! Hahah I have never seen anything like that on my mission. Anyway... he really wants to get baptized, he is currently on his second round of the Book of Mormon, and he is active as far as church attendance goes. These are the reasons that he has continued to be taught for so long. The only thing that has kept him from entering the waters of baptism is his falling into peer pressure to drink a shot every now and then. Anyway.... this is his time. It has nothing to do with me, or Sister Maagad, or anything else.... it really just is his time. Monday, President Mangum came and we found out that he has not had a drink for a month. I think that it is his time because he did this completely out of his free will. He wasn't forced by us or anyone else, but just chose it. We had a lesson about the pre-earth life, who we were there, what we chose, and our agency that we still have here. It was really cool and I don't think that either Sister Pamilacan or Brother Pamilacan had ever thought about their existence before this life, who they were, what they did, what they fought for, or what they chose. I think it really put it into perspective. Then President and Sister Mangum bore powerful testimonies. President Mangum gave a great example where he asked, "When is the best time to start saving up for retirement?" Haha they stopped for 30 seconds and responded, "right now?" Haha he went on to explain that if we didn't start 20 years ago, we need to start right now. Today. He then connected it to this life here on earth. He said that this is the time that we are saving up for our eternal retirement, or eternal reward. If we didn't start 20 years ago... we need to start today. He then said, "If we chose Jesus Christ in the pre-earth life, and it was the right choice, why wouldn't we do it again?" I think everything really clicked for both Brother and Sister Pamilacan. Hahah and of course Brother Pams was still his makulit (naughty/immature... I know it sounds weird in English but yeah) self. During the whole lesson he was quoting songs or making jokes.. haha we thought that he would cool it a little bit when the PRESIDENT was there but nahhhh.. he is always just so real. Which is cool. But president totally understood and was laughing and stuff.
After the lesson he layed his hands on his head and gave him the most beautiful blessing. Although the experience (lesson and blessing) was in English, I know that they understood everything. Brother Pamilacan will officially be getting baptized on April 4th!! Ok... so it's not official until that day.... but we are pretty sure. He also knows that April 6th is Christ's birthday so he is excited to do this as a gift for the savior. Sister Pamilacan is so giddy that it is really happening. He and Raymond Sanchez should be getting baptized on the same day. Two completed families on the same day!
|Christine Mae, me, John Carlo and Sister Connie Maranan|
Sister Connie will be getting baptized this Saturday. She is really excited and is so sincere. Then April 15th we are expecting Jhanelle and Marvin Salvador to finally get baptized... another completed family! The field is white and ready to harvest. The thing is most of these people were initially found by Sister Burt and Sister Brown so we owe it to them... Well I guess all the glory goes to Heavenly Father. But I am grateful to play a small part in their conversions.
After President came and worked with Sister Maagad and I.... we requested that we could both stay in Sta. Cruz for one more transfer. haha he laughed and said that it was duly noted. BUT. It happened. We are soo happy!! We have one more transfer together. I am so happy. Sister Maagad makes the work so fun. Haha we always have, "She loves you yeah yeah yeah! She loves you yeah yeah yeah!" stuck in our heads because our neighbor blasts the Beatles during our studies every morning. Haha so we will just replace it with our own lyrics about the work. Sounds cheesy but it's hilarious. Sister Maagad won't stop calling me Barbie. I don't know why. And now everyone keeps saying it!!! It's the first time I have had this in my mission... grabe naman.
Friday, we had our very last zone conference ever and both of us bore our testimonies. It felt pretty anti-climactic because my release is so far away. But it was an awesome conference and they talked about the new focus of the church... "because HE lives" (for Easter). Should be SUPER cool and it starts on March 28th so I encourage all of you to look at the website and share: http://www.mormon.org/easter/teaser
Anyway... the work is really progressing here and I am so happy. I can't believe how fast this has gone and I feel that there is so much still to accomplish - here and within myself. But the work never ends. The mission ends... but missionary work does not.
But I just want to bear my sincere testimony to you that I know that God is our Heavenly Father. Literally. He directs this work. He is above, around, and in everything. His love is eternal. I know that He suffered just as much as Jesus Christ did. President Mangum said that he would have done anything to stop the suffering of his daughter when she fought cancer and eventually passed away. If he had the ability, he would have. Heavenly Father had the ability to help Jesus Christ at any second, but didn't step in. But I know that because of this expression of love, we can change. We can become just like them someday... become perfect. I also know that these two perfect beings appeared to Joseph Smith in that grove of trees and that he became the instrument to restore the only true and living church on earth. I really know these things because of my experiences and mostly because of the Book of Mormon. I can't explain how much I love this book. I know it's true because I asked this morning. That's the cool thing is we can keep asking and searching and strengthening our testimonies. I know all of these things are true.
I love you.
In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.