I couldn’t ask for a better mission. Of course I have my times where I wish I could just have a little taste from home being in such a different world, but goodness the Philippines is sweet! So to start this off related to the title, Wednesday Sister Gerrard and I planned to go find a house of someone we OYMed to (open your mouth, I might have already mentioned what that is). So I’m not even sure if I told you beginning of this story but probably like 2 weeks ago, Sister Gerrard and I got punted (like usual from this family) and there aren’t any other members around so we decided to go check out the area a little bit more. We walked down this road and there weren’t any houses really and we only saw and talked to one person which went no where. After getting to a dead end, we turned around to head back. Well totally randomly there was this padyak driver driving towards us (seriously no other people around so I still have no idea why he was driving all the way out there). So Sister Gerrard and I looked at each other and decided to padyak! So as we was biking us back (hopefully you’ve Googled by now pictures of a padyak so you know what I’m talking about) we started asking him about his family which of course we lead into the church. So when he dropped us off, we gave him a pass-a-long card, wrote down his address and invited him to church. So now back to Wednesday: we went to go find his house because he actually did seem pretty interested (getting an address here in the Philippines is pretty much telling someone you live in a huge neighborhood, “Zone 4 Triangulo” or “Zone 3 Conception Grande,” I have no idea how anyone gets mail here.) So we decided to walk down that same road again and we happened to see a random padyak parked by this stone wall. So we walked up to it and there was a picture of Sxxx on his padyak license! So we look over the wall and yell “Tao po!” (that’s how you knock) and Sxxx pokes his head out of his house that was down this pretty steep hill. Luckily his wife was home so we could teach! So Sister Gerrard and I, in our skirts, climbed over the wall, down this little ladder and pretty much just slid down a muddy hill to get to his house which is pretty much a bamboo platform on stilts with a palm tree roof. Well Sxxx and Misses (her name is so hard to say so I usually just call her sister) were super receptive and sooooo sweet. They told us that there were actually planning on coming to church last Sunday but it was too hard because it was raining so hard. So we got to know them a little, taught a part of lesson one and again invited them to church. Well yesterday during Gospel Principles, a sister called for me to go out in the hall and there they were with their two little boys! They missed Sacrament Meeting (nobody’s on time in the Philippines) but they stayed for the rest of church and even stayed after a little bit talking to members! We’re supposed to teach them on Wednesday so hopefully things go well! And hopefully we can handle the mud hill again cuz wow it’s an adventure going down and up that thing.
So Tuesday we had exchanges. I was with Sister Christensen who is so super fun and cute. She’s been out for about a year and she’s from Utah. She was the only American sister in the Naga mission for like 5 months when she first got here! Anyways it was super fun to work with her and learn from how she teaches. And also neat to see how I can one day be with my Tagalog! Since there were six of us in the apartment for exchanges, lunch for Wednesday we decided to buy take out from Mexicali, a burrito place! Oh my goodness that tiny little taco bell like burrito tasted so good. Definitely miss my Mexican.
Thursday we had Zone Conference and there was no power the whole time! But it was good. We got to watch the Missionary Broadcast again which of course was great. Okay super funny though cuz the missionary from China, Elder Zou had to give kind of like a spiritual thought at the beginning. So he did it all in his super heavy accented English and he said this, “A mission is like a box of popcorn. At the beginning of the movie you think ‘how can I finish this whole thing?’ but then the movie starts and soon you realize the popcorn is all gone!” So yes, a mission is like a box of popcorn because it is just flying by and sometimes I wonder how can I actually finish, but then I realize I’m eating faster than I thought and soon my popcorn is going to be all gone! So I just liked that ;).
More miracles. Wednesday after the Sammy thing, we got punted a bunch so we decided to try Sister Joy, our recent convert. So pretty much right as she saw us, she started whispering telling us she wanted us to teach her mom. So she brought a chair in and her mother and we start just talking to her. We talked just about her family and things but then we found out that her dad just passed away like 2 days ago (from Wednesday). So we decided to share about Eternal families and things and right when we started teaching, I kept getting this prompting to invite her to be baptized. I was a little worried because this was the first time we had ever taught her and it wasn’t even about the Restoration or anything. So Sister Joy actually brought up baptisms for the dead and she asked if her mother was a member, could she be baptized for her dad. So we said “of course!” I knew I for sure had to ask her then so I started saying, “will you follow the example of Jesus Christ” and even before I got the word baptism, she was saying yes. Wow! Well then we went to set a date and she wants to be baptized on her birthday on September 14 so we are going to have to teach her a lot before then but she really wants to do it! We also were able to teach her Friday night. We did a brief review of the Plan of Salvation. She is just so anxious to know everything that it was a little hard to teach almost haha. I told Sister Gerrard I feel like she’s just wanting to jump in the water right now! But anyways Sister Vxxx came to church yesterday and we’re going to teach her later today.
Sister Simbol and Sister Gerrard taught Brother Fxxx on Tuesday (Sister Simbol is a Sister Training Leader too by the way so she was here for exchanges) and I guess it went super good! They taught tithing and according to them, Francis said that he read somewhere in Genesis about tithing and wasn’t exactly sure how to pay it. So he had been setting aside 10% of his income because he wanted to pay tithing, but then he would end up just using it because he didn’t know what to do with it! What! Haha he’s crazy. But we did run into a problem with the Word of Wisdom. Unfortunately his smokes just a little bit. And really unfortunately because Sister Gerrard and I being so new, didn’t realize that baptismal candidates have to live the Word of Wisdom for 4 weeks before being baptized. His baptismal date was August 17 but we had to move it to August 31 because we didn’t teach this soon enough for him to even know that he had to live it. We told him last night and luckily he sees it as a great time to become totally prepared and ready for baptism so hopefully we won’t have any more problems with him. But I’m super scared I’m gonna get transferred on August 27 so I’ll be super sad if I miss his baptism! But that’s mission life.
So Sister Kxxx actually moved home a couple weeks ago so Sister Gerrard and I thought she was gone. But this week, the moved back into our area to be a new nanny for the Bishop’s family! So she is back and she should be baptized on August 31 if things keep going good with her.
Yesterday we had a member teach her friend, Sister Jess, also about the Plan of Salvation and so there’s another new investigator.
Alright so soooooo many investigators! During weekly planning this week, Sister Gerrard and I realized just how many people we are preparing for baptism and I feel stressed just thinking about it! So including all the people I’ve already mentioned, we also have Dxxx & Axxx, Mxxx and Sxxx and then a few others that aren’t really progressing. We are just sooooo busy! We have to be super good with our time this week so we can see all of them and then hopefully we’ll still be able to fit in some less active member lessons.
We have been working so hard and so Heavenly Father is just pouring out the blessings! But of course, Satan has had a little influence on our work. Sister Cxxx was supposed to be baptized today but we found out two days ago that her husband doesn’t know. Supposedly he isn’t against it but she just didn’t want to bother telling him really. So we talked to her today and she wants some time to be able to tell him at the right time with the right approach. She said next Monday probably so that’s good that she doesn’t want longer than that. So hopefully next Monday we’ll have a baptism!
Our Bishop is so estig! (Cool, neat, something like that.) Yesterday we were invited to Ward Council and it was all focused on missionary work. In fact there’s this neighborhood type area in the Elder’s area that has a lot of members but because it’s far away, a lot of them don’t go to church. So they’re going to start having their own church meeting over there every Sunday except for fast Sunday. So a member of each presidency each week, has to have at least one representative go every Sunday and then come back and go to our ward, 6 hours of church! I think they’re hoping to get a branch started over there so that is exciting.
Wow my emails are so long and I really hope they aren’t too boring but just so much happens! I love my mission so much and oh my goodness I love the people. I was just riding a jeepney the other day and I almost got teary eyed just thinking about all these people that I have to share the gospel with because this message is just so important. I hope this transfer slows down a bit because I just want to keep working forever in the Naga 2nd ward! (Hopefully that doesn’t jinx it haha).
Well anyways I have such a strong testimony of this Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. This week especially I really realized how great the Plan of Salvation is and how lucky we all are to have that knowledge. So many people do actually wonder where we came from, why we are here and where are we going. I am so not a perfect teacher and my Tagalog is still pretty rough at times, but the Spirit is such a powerful tool and I get so happy when I can feel that power touch other people.