Hello friends and family!
I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s week, or here (as a few of them say), “Happy Heart’s Day!” :)
was a pretty typical . we had a good lesson with Cecile about the Sabbath Day. She owns a tiangee and runs it . When we asked her what we shouldn’t do on Sunday, she said, “not work.” So then we asked her what SHE would be doing on Sunday. She paused and said, “…I can’t promise I won’t close my tiangee.” We’re working on this commandment with her. She is very kind and sweet and we know that she’ll come to accept the Gospel eventually because she’s reading the Book of Mormon everyday during her down time in the tiangee. And even better, she’s understanding the Book of Mormon without our help! We taught a few other investigators, including Arnold Alarcon. We’ve recently started teaching him and it’s been neat to see the progression of his understanding as he reads the Book of Mormon. He also asks good questions, which we always love.
we had our Mission President’s Training with President Lopez. We focused a lot on teaching the commandments from chapter 3 of Preach My Gospel. It was helpful watching other missionaries teach and learning from their teaching skills so that I can apply it into my own teaching. After our training we visited Alex, John John, Jennifer, Irene, and Rinagen with the Garceniego’s. We also visited Mark and his family. Nancy is more open with us with each visit, but she still has a hard time grasping the concept between family culture and God’s culture. We helped them understand that sometime we have to let go of family or nation traditions and cultures to be aligned with God’s culture. Sister Fanene had an awesome example about tribal tattoos in Samoa. It’s part of their culture and tradition, but goes against God’s culture. Her experience seemed to help them understand a lot better and we can see how Nancy’s faith is growing stronger each day as she reads the Book of Mormon. At this point she’s almost progressing faster than Mark! Afterward we visited Joshua De Ramos. We visit him and Jhanna every night and they’re preparing well for their baptism . The change we’ve seen in Joshua has been amazing. He was a little terror when we first met him but now he is so well behaved and polite. His sister, Princess, is a huge help to him and makes sure he reads the Book of Mormon every day and reviews what we’ve taught with him. Their mom recently moved to Manila so it’s just the two of them at home. Princess is 18 years old and so tough! We love her.
we visited Mark and Nancy and we were finally able to find Nancy’s concern for not wanting to be baptized yet. Her husband works in Saudi Arabia and only comes home every two years for 45 days. She wants to wait until he’s home to discuss things with him, which is very understandable. She still stays strong though in reading the Book of Mormon and has great questions. She asks us before we even start our lesson! We also met with Jennifer Mariposa and she really opened to us about her situation with her husband. He doesn’t talk to her very much and they fight quite a bit. She got emotional talking about how much she wants to have a normal family and worries her kids will have emotional problems because of their family situation. We couldn’t help but cry with her and expressed our love for her and the love we feel from Heavenly Father for her. After that we had quite the lesson with Alex and Brother Mariposa. We were teaching the Law of Chastity and making it as least awkward as possible, but I think Alex felt a bit uncomfortable still. He kept asking Brother Mariposa, “do you have any questions for the missionaries?” As if he was the third missionary. Haha At one point the two of them just started talking at the same time, one to me and one to Sister Fanene, and Alex was speaking Tagolog. Phew! We were able to settle down the situation and afterward had a good laugh about everything as we were walking to our next appointment. I’m grateful Heavenly Father gives us little ‘comic relief’ lessons to help with the deep, emotional lessons we have. Especially this day.
was Valentine’s day so we handed out the Valentine’s you sent in the package (which I had received ---thank you!!!). The kids LOVED them! We had a lesson with Jennifer and discussed how she can strengthen her relationship with her husband and most importantly, with Heavenly Father, to help her. She expressed a lot of thanks and felt a lot of happiness and peace after we read through some scriptures and bore our testimonies to her of God's love for her. We asked if she'd come to church and she said it'd be a surprise....uh, that's a new one! I've never heard that reply before and didn't quite know what to say! We just told her that we hoped the surprise would make us happy , not sad. haha We hit a few more of our appointments and then stopped by the Garceniego's. Then low and behold, a miracle walked in the door. Brother Hermini Gildo Lipat. He was baptized in 1983 and has long since been a less active. He came in to ask if we knew a Sister Anderson and Sister Hill from Salt Lake. I guess they were the sisters who taught him. We told him sorry we didn't, but then he started asking us all these questions about Joseph Smith. He had forgotten a lot of things, so we taught him the Restoration which cleared up a lot of things. We set up a return appointment to visit him because he wants us to teach his wife and to "convince him to come to church".... he's a funny man and we'll do what we can to help him.
we had our basketball clinic, but no one really showed up. It's okay though, it was a good lesson on patience. We had our correlation meeting with Bishop and then visited Alex and Jennifer. Jennifer was really apologetic and said she wouldn't be able to make it to church because she had a meeting to go to about government funding for the less fortunate (for her kids to go to school). We visited Mark and Nancy, as well as Jhanna and Joshua as well. It was kind of a punty day, but some days are like that, and we just learn more patience from them and carry on the next day! :)
was great! Nancy came to church again with Mark and Alex came as well! After church Jhanna and Glance had their baptismal interviews and did great! We visited Jennifer and she told us that she got up the courage to ask her husband about her baptism. He didn't give a reply, but we love that she's exercising her faith and has the true desire to be baptized! Afterward, we had a prompting to go to Proper to visit Cecile. On the way we saw Jaymon (one of our recent converts) and he had a cigarette in his hand. :( My heart literally sunk to the pit of my stomach and I felt like I needed to throw up. Ever since his baptism we've been a bit worried for him because he suddenly stopped coming to church and he never answers our texts. He did one time and said he had moved to Bacolod to work, so when we saw him, our hearts just sunk. In Preach My Gospel it says it's common that when recent converts suddenly stop coming to church, it's usually because they fall back into an old addiction habit and are too embarrassed or disappointed to go back to church. I think the thing that got us though was that he told us several times that he had never smoked or drank, or anything like that. It was a rough experience for me to handle and I'm still pondering on it and seeking inspiration to know how to help him. I think this experience has given me just a little tiny taste of the sorrow Heavenly Father feels when his children don't keep His commandments. It's a pretty nasty feeling. After we visited Cecile we visited the Garceniego's and found out their cute little puppy Paprika drank poison and died and that Rinagen had a UTI. Goodness, I think Heavenly Father really needed us to learn a lesson this day! We sang "Count Your Many Blessings" to keep things positive and it's a good thing Sister Fanene is so upbeat and has a sense of humor to keep our rather bad news day from pulling us down.
This week I gained a greater appreciation for the Savior and His Atonement and my love for Him has grown a lot in just one week. No matter the trial, sin, sickness, or whatever the case may be, He loves us unconditionally. I know He lives and loves each one of us and will never leave us alone. He is ready and willing, always, to reach out His arms in love, healing, and forgiveness. I know that through trials and experiences, and that through His grace and the enabling and redeeming power of His Atonement, that we can be strengthened and come closer to Him.
Love you all so much!
All my love,
Sister Fanene's "holy, holey" shoe
Sister Dixon turning on the air--I have never seen a music stand used that way!
"Ducks for Rissy"
Valentines for the children.
Roses for the sisters.
"THE cutest baby in the world, and her cute family. :) "
"Giving Oreos to the kids--Sister Fanene got a package with a bunch of Oreos, her favorite cookie, so what does she do? Give them away. That's just how she is. :) Love her."
"Cecile and her nieces and nephews and her Tiangee."
"Riding in the tricycle"
"Our beds and pajamas. Pretty much defines our personalities to a T."