Another wonderful week has come and gone. A week full of tender mercies and blessings, as usual. Here's what happened this week.
Tuesday we taught Arlene Rodriguez and her neighbor Sosette. We had met with them before and discussed families and the restoration a little bit, so this time we went in a bit more detail. The Spirit was so strong as Sister Solomone said the first vision. Later we taught Arlene Casiple, a 16 year old member who hasn't been able to come to church because her parents won't let her. :( She just seemed so sad. We shared a scripture with her on Faith and sang a few Hymns before we started the lesson because it was raining so hard outside their tin house that we couldn't hear. The Spirit was strong though and she really has such great faith. We're going to try
talking with the parents and see if we can soften their hearts enough to let her go to church. She's just so sweet!
Wednesday we had district meeting and met our new Sister Training Leader, Sister Hogge. She is from the Tacloban mission and about half way through her mission. Oh my goodness, she is SO strong. I feel like I should be the one comforting and helping her after what she's gone through, but in reality, she has strengthened ME so much with her testimony and strength. I just love her so much. She is an absolutely beautiful servant of our
Heavenly Father, inside and out. After district meeting we taught Ma.Fe Longakit and her daughter, Jody Joy. We also brought Emilie Corro (recent convert) along to help with the lesson. It was the first lesson with Jody
Joy. She has two adorable little girls and they, along with her "husband" (they're not married) just moved in with Ma.Fe. We taught the first part of the Plan of Salvation, and during the entire lesson, Jody had all these
insights and I just thought, "she might as well be a missionary!" She is so ready for this Gospel!! We taught her again Friday about the Restoration because she hadn't heard it yet, and the Spirit was so strong. It just
clicked for her. She is so smart and knows that we have a loving Savior, Jesus Christ. She wants to continue learning about the truth. Her mom, Ma.Fe is just as strong. They are such a kind, wonderful family. After the
lesson, we we were heading to another appointment, and we walked past what's called, "Dumpside." It's where they put ALL their trash because they don't have a garbage removal system here. I have never seen so much trash in my life. My heart was tugged at quite a bit because there were people basically living in the trash and a lot of the people, "go to Dumpside" to get things to survive...they call it their "work" because they don't have
any other source of income. It reminded me a lot of what Kim Davis told me before my mission. My heart just ached for these people and the way they have to live because of their poverty. It just seems so unfair to me and it just makes me so incredibly grateful for the life I've had and the blessings I've received. I feel a bit guilty that I've been so blessed in my life. But then I have to remind myself that I've been so blessed so that I can now bring the truth and same blessings to these wonderful people. I can offer the same hope and blessings that this Gospel brings to me.
Thursday we taught Menchie about the 10 commandments and Brother Lau, our ward mission leader, was with us. He did this neat way to remember on his hands. I've learned a version of that when I was back home but I can't wait to show you the Filipino version! Remind me when I get home to show you, okay? ;) Menchie just soaked it all in, like she usually does, and she told us later that she really tried to apply the commandment, "honor thy father and mother." She has basically no family support, so she tried really hard to apply this commandment to her life and she could feel a big difference after she just tried talking to her parents, especially her dad. She is such a strong example of faith! I just love her. Later that night we taught Iza and Celia..the two sisters who came to church Sunday, before we even met them! We had a good lesson on the Restoration and
they were very receptive. Hopefully we can help them progress and see how blessed their lives can be through this Gospel.
Friday after planning we visited Menchie at her house. We made sure things were all set to go for Saturday and had a nice lesson on the importance of enduring after her baptism. She was so sweet and bore to us her testimony of how depressed she used to be before, but once she met us and decided to listen, he whole life changed. Despite the trials she has in her life right now, especially with no support from her family in this decision, she knows it's 100% true and when things get hard, she just opens up her aklat ni mormon and prays.
She said she can't help but feel happy and smile despite all that's going on. And it's true! She is ALWAYS smiling and her smile is so full of the spirit! Her testimony has strengthened mine so much. I got
teary eyed as I could literally feel Heavenly Fahther's love for her sink in my heart and I tried to express to her how much we love her and more importantly, how much Heavenly Father loves her. It was hard putting in words to her the amount of love I felt, but I know that with the Spirit, she was able to feel that love from our Heavenly
Father. The next day Menchie Abangin was baptized! Like with every baptism, there's a story, and this time the water wouldn't flow very well, so it was only up to her knees. She had to sit while the ordinance was being performed, and then Brother Lau was able to immerse her in the water. When she came out, she was nothing but grins and so very happy. :) The next day for her confirmation, she didn't show up to Sacrament. When she came late, she had tears in her eyes as she said it had to do with family problems. :( The stake president was there and he said she could be confirmed in relief society, so the Bishop confirmed her a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. :) Her faith is so very strong. Satan has worked so hard on her (reminds me a lot of what happened to Angie Lobaton) because he knows how incredible she is. She expressed so many
times to us her gratitude for bringing her to the truth. It wasn't us, though. Heavenly Father prepared her in every single way possible. All we did was teach the lessons in our broken Ilonggo. The Spirit did the rest. She's amazing.
We had so many other experiences that strengthened my faith. The Filipinos are a faith filled people, that's for sure, and I learn so much from them. I'm also so grateful for my companion, Sister Solomone. She has taught me so much about love and patience and Heavenly Father's love for His children. She's an angel and I know
Heavenly Father has inspired President to have us as companions. We are so incredibly different from each other, but I love her to death and I've learned so much from her. I've also learned a lot about repentance and the Atonement this week. I feel like I'm just beginning to learn the greatness of Jesus Christ's Atonement and know I will be learning my whole lifetime, but I'm grateful for the experiences I've had that have brought me closer to my Savior. I know He lives. I know He loves us. He Atoned for us because of that great love.
Love you all so much! Thanks for all the support and love. :)
Walking along a bamboo bridge
Sister Dixon and 7 other sisters went here to study the morning of P-day.
She said it was near the ocean and very peaceful and beautiful.
Love this photo and love this sister!