Anyway, here are some of the highlights of the week:
Nancy was baptized! It was the sweetest thing watching Mark, who just received the Priesthood last Sunday, baptize his mom. A few weeks ago I was so sad that they couldn't be baptized together, not even thinking of the fact that Mark could baptize his mother if he was baptized first. I'm grateful for our inspired district leader, Elder Abalos, who pointed that out to us. :) We were able to see them both dressed in white and Mark did his part perfectly. Nancy had a hard time being completely immersed for the first few attempts because the water was pretty low, but the feelings after she was completely immersed were so sweet and unforgettable. There really is no way to describe the joy I felt. She bore a very tender testimony of how the missionaries first visited her in 1994 (Mark was just in elementary school!), but they never came back. The same thing happened in 2005. Now, 20 years after the missionaries’ first visit, Nancy and Mark Cabellon are now very active recent converts in the Church. Obviously I don’t know how the Lord’s timing works, but I sure am grateful that He provided the tender mercy for the time for Mark and Nancy to be baptized while I’m serving a full-time mission. Their baptisms, and the many stories behind it, make it into the top three baptisms of my mission so far. Truly so many miracles and blessings, and my testimony sure has grown a lot while watching THEM grow and progress in the Gospel. Nancy also tearfully expressed how she never thought her son would be able to heal from his mental sickness. But through the Gospel and the help of loving members and Priesthood blessings, Mark hasn’t needed to go to the psychiatrist in months and he is happier than ever. He is truly a first hand witness of how the Gospel can change lives not only spiritually, but physically and emotionally as well. He is so much more confident and happy now and I can’t help but grin ear to ear every time I see him smile or hear him laugh. And I’m sure his mom’s joy is so much more than mine. :)
The Rapedro family is doing alright. Brother Ramil drank again, which we were really sad about, and we’re doing all we can to help them. We just can’t understand why he chooses drinking over his family when he loves his family so much…. Sweet little Lovely told me she is writing a letter to Karissa so I’ll be sure to send it when she finishes. She told me she’s writing it in Hiligaynon so Rissy can learn it. Haha She’s so cute. She has such a bright, sweet Spirit and her influence is so great on her family. I just hope they will chose to follow her example of goodness.
We had a really great lesson with the Lipat family this week. Earlier that morning I had been studying 1 Nephi 5 when Sariah complains to Lehi. I was pondering why this part was included in the Book of Mormon but then it applied perfectly to the Lipat family later in the day. It reminded me of Elder Bednar when he promised something like when we study diligently from the Book of Mormon each day, there will always be something that can be used to help our investigators. The Lipat family has been having marital issues, so this really was helpful. I also remembered the quote we have by our kitchen sink at home..."I love you. I'm sorry. Yes Dear. We can't Afford it." We emphasized on the first two and tried to help them understand the importance of being humble and patient with each other, just like Lehi to Sariah, and praying for and with each other, reading the scriptures together, and saying I love you. I kind of felt like a marriage counselor for a while there. haha Sister Lipat was very grateful and expressed that even though we are young and not yet married, we sure have good council. haha It's definitely not us. It's the Spirit. :)
After months of preparation, we had our 'Restoration' Musical Fireside ! It was a big success and the members did a great job with their parts. I played the piano for most of the time for all those with musical numbers and I've never been more grateful for taking piano lessons with Coila. There was some music I sight read for the first time and performed 10 minutes later. I’m just grateful I can use my talents in helping build the Lord’s kingdom. The ward hasn’t had a fireside in a long long time, so as far as them inviting friends not of our faith (which was our objective in order to find new investigators), it didn't really happen, but I felt very prompted a few months ago to do this fireside. Whether to help strengthen the testimony of a single person in the congregation, gain trust from the ward, or whatever the reason might have been for having this fireside, I'm grateful the Spirit guided us so well in planning, preparing, and having a successful fireside, and I know our efforts were not wasted. We WILL find new investigators. :) Oh, and one of the best parts of the fireside was when Bishop De los Santos was giving his closing remarks and whipped out a surprise musical number! He sang a solo of a song he wrote on his mission. It was pure awesomeness. :) After the fireside, we took Elder Leng and Torres to more of our area. We visited Cecile. She was sick and the elders immediately asked if she wanted a Priesthood blessing. This was only the second time I've been with elders when they've given a priesthood blessing. It is SO powerful! The power of the Priesthood and the spirit felt when it's exercised by worthy elders is so incredible.
I'm excited for this upcoming week and the miracles that we'll see in our area now that we have four missionaries in Bago 2nd ward. :) Sister Tanes had a good study this morning about having the faith to find. We'll definitely be putting our trust and confidence in the Lord as He guides us to find those who are ready to hear and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this is His work and He will not let us fail. I'm so grateful for my call as a missionary and to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.
I hope you all have a fabulous week! Love you all so very much!
The Rapedro Family
"We had to turn Jennifer over to the elders so this was the last time we got to visit her.
Luckily she came to church so we were able to see her. :)"
Mark was able to baptize his Mom.
"Celebrating the bishop's birthday after the baptism."
"Sister Fanene's fabric for me, Nancy, and Sister Rebotalla! (the wife of the brother who referred Mark)"
"The turn-out for the fireside"
"Proselyting and showing the elders their area in the rain with a rainbow!"