Oh my goodness it has been a fast, miraculous week! And I have lots to report.
|I love Sister Melosantos!|
First off I love Sister Melosantos! Hahah she is such a good missionary and we have lots of fun together. One of my favorite things about her is she is so magaling tumawad (good at bargaining). She always ALWAYS talks down the price. Haha it is one of the trademarks of a true philippino and she has taught me well. She has really helped me to become a true philippino and I really do feel like I am one of these people... I don't want to leave!! Of course I want to see you... but I don't want to leave because who knows when I will ever see these people again.
But we found a ton of investigators this week and for me.... finding is really where you see the miracles. Every part of missionary work is amazing but for me finding and seeing the conversion of people is even more rewarding then witnessing the actual baptism.
I know that you are really familiar with the Cortez family (super active, used to be a Stake President). Anyway, Sister Cortez's mother lives with Sister Cortez, and she is fairly old and I had assumed that she had been taught before but apparently not. I had created a really good relationship with her over the past 6 months and she ended up agreeing to be taught by us. She is in her 70's... but to my shock and surprise her mind doesn't show any sign of age. She is sooo smart and quick with everything that we teach. She read the Restoration pamphlet and understood every part of it and had lots of questions for us. She is a member of the Church of God and is really active in her church so it might take a while for her to be converted, but the good news is she is really searching. And when Sister Melosantos shared the first vision with her the spirit was so strong!! Oh my goodness. And when we asked her what she felt after we shared it to her, she simply said, "I felt the Holy Ghost."
|Sister Cortez, Sister Cortez's Mother, me, & Sister Melosantos|
She is not yet ready to be baptized or to come to church but she is already reading the Book of Mormon and pondering the message within. I am so excited about her and I can see miracles in the future for her.
We also found another really prepared couple... Brother Aldrine and Sister Selene. We actually went to contact a referral from Bishop, but she wasn't there and so we just knocked on the next door and we ended up teaching this young and excited couple. They are both 22 and are really interested. They understood the message and accepted Baptismal Goal Dates. It just shows how although sometimes it is not the person you are actually looking for that is prepared, God provides away for you to be in that area or that time to meet those who are prepared. This is His work.
Brother Marvin and Jhanelle Salvador are doing a lot better!! The youth of the ward came with us to invite them to youth camp and although they were a little hesitant, they joined and had tons of fun at the 3 day excursion. We heard that they even bore their testimonies. After that they both came to church on time which hasn't happened in a few months. As they are preparing for baptism, it is helping Brother Gilbert to quit smoking so he can be worthy to baptize them.
On Saturday we had a half day mission where we went on splits with the ward missionaries to go and contact referrals and every group saw miracles. In my group, we went to Mamu's brother who actually served a mission but is now less active. He has 3 kids who are not yet baptized, and is going through so many trials. He said that a few days earlier, the missionary that baptized him contacted him and asked him how he was, and the very day that we went to visit him, one of his old companions also contacted him to see how he is doing. It looks like we were definitely sent to his house and he is being prepared by the Lord to come back. I felt inspired to share 3 Nephi 9:13-14 with him and he teared up. He is humble and ready to come back and it is an answer to our prayers as we found even another family to teach! Not just a family but a part member family - what we call the low hanging fruit.
Brother Noel's baptism was a success and I think it will be the last baptism of my mission. Tons of members showed up and I cried during the testimony of Brother Noel and Nanay Fe (the woman who was taught by the other sisters). They were so short, pure, simple, but powerful. I was grateful for such a spiritual final baptism that I would be able to witness.
I will end with the testimony that an Elder shared at our zone P-day earlier today. He compared the long hike that we took up to 3 crosses in Paete to the walk that Jesus Christ took before he was nailed on the cross and died for us. Instead of a backpack on his back, he carried a heavy cross. Instead of a hat on his head, he wore a crown of thorns. Instead of sweat dripping down his face, drops of blood came from his pores. Instead of friends laughing and joking by his side, he was betrayed by his friends and made the journey completely alone. We can't completely understand everything he went through for us, but as we consider it, it makes our little trials seem so light in comparison. Especially when we realize that He has already gone through it and knows perfectly how to help us. I know that the atonement is real because I have felt the strength that comes from it every day of my mission. I am so grateful to give something so small back to Him in exchange for His eternal sacrifice that I might have a chance to live with you for all of eternity in happiness. I love you and I love Jesus Christ, and I am grateful that His name is still on my chest.