Sorry for the late letter. We had a brownout in the middle of my letter writing but we're back up and running. :) Anyway, I hope you all had a great week like we did! We focused a lot on finding this week, since our area was split and most of our investigators and recent converts are now in the elder's area, and we sure had a lot of miracles! Here are a few of our experiences:
Miracle #1: Sister Foote and Sister Moser from Ward 1 had 'randomly' ran into this tricycle driver 3 times, and they found out he was a less active and wanted to be visited. He's in our area, so they referred him to us! His name is Noli and he's been less active for about 15 years or so. His wife's name is Nesil and she's not a member! They have five adorable kids, two of which are twins. :) Nesil had started reading the Book of Mormon but was confused as to why she'd never heard of any of the prophets in the Book of Mormon. Throughout the week we had some pretty good lessons with her and talked about the Restoration and the history of the Book of Mormon. She's pretty shy but she has really good questions. She even committed to be baptized in May!
Miracle #2: Erica and EJ Herrera (our recent converts as of December), recently moved in with their other grandma, who conveniently lives across the street from the church. She's Catholic and pretty set in her ways, but she still lets us teach and share with her. We're praying her heart will eventually be softened and opened up to our message. She became blind three months ago and lost a leg due to scalding water poured onto her diabetic leg, but she's one of the most positive women I've ever met. We taught her about the Atonement and the Resurrection and she sure liked that....
Miracle #3: We tried looking for a former investigator named Japeth Montesa. We asked this man if he knew him. He said no, but that he happened to have a son named Japeth, but their last name is Mogar. Missionaries visited them forever ago but they never continued. We started teaching the family, and the mother, Marilou, is especially interested. They have seven kids ranged from 18 years old to 4 months old and she really wants the entire family to listen and attend church together. We'll do our best to help them out. They're pretty poor and it broke my heart the other night to see them heating water to drink in the morning. I thought it was their sudtan so I asked what they were cooking. When she said they didn't have money for food, they were just heating water to drink for the morning, I just wanted to cry. :( I'm praying they will all have open hearts to our message so that the Lord can more fully bless this family.
Miracle #4: We visited a less active member and were having this really good lesson about eating her favorite fruit and relating it to the fruit from the tree of life. Then randomly this woman comes in and sits down to listen. I thought she was a less active or something with how she just plopped down to listen, but turns out she's not a member! Her name is Wennie and the missionaries taught her a long time ago but she stopped because her family didn't want her to go to our church. But she's older now, and wants to listen again. We set up a return appointment for this week so I'm excited to see what happens!
Miracle #5: Two less actives that I've never ever seen or heard of before came to churchand brought their friend, Tea, who's not a member! She agreed to listen to us later this week.
My mind was pretty blown away at all the miracles that we received this week. I know it all boils down to having faith in Jesus Christ. To be honest, I was pretty nervous about not being able to find new investigators. I had to completely put all my reliance and trust in our Savior. I testify that He loves us and knows the thoughts and intents of our hearts and He wants more than we do to find His lost sheep. I know His grace is sufficient for our weaknesses and when we kneel down in humble prayer for His help, He will always guide and help us. We had times throughout the week when we faced rejection, and at first it really bothered me. Then I remembered that Jesus Christ faced the biggest rejection of all. I really pondered about that and I could feel even more powerfully the Atonement strengthening me this week. I'm grateful I was able to have the experience to grow closer to my Savior. I know He feels what we feel--joys or sorrows, success or failure. He knows what it's like and He's just waiting for us to have faith in Him so He can lift us.
We had some other great experiences throughout the week as well. The Repedro family is still in our area, andBrother Repedro completely opened up to us about how he had a nice talk with himself, and he really wants to change this time. He cried as he thought about the changes he needs to make, and promised God he would do it for Him, not his family, even though it's important for his family too. He came to the church after church services (he couldn't make it earlier) and we gave him a church tour. The Spirit was so strong as we showed him around, explained the pictures on the walls, and ended in the Chapel. He promised he would come to church . We were excited about that because they'll get to hear the words of the prophets (Conference is the 12th and 13th here). Speaking of General Conference, we were able to attend the General Women's Conference and it was so wonderful. Just the thing to lift my spirits to help me keep pressing on and doing my best as a servant of Jesus Christ to help my sisters, as well as brothers, here in the Philippines. It's so true that despite culture and language differences, we really are more similar as daughters of God than we are different. :) And I sure love the people here. I was so proud of Glance Dhale. She came to the General Women's meeting all by herself. She's our recent convert from Christmas and just turned 12. It amazes me how strong the youth are here. Mark and Nancy are doing great as well. They're doing family history with Sister Teves and cannot WAIT to go to the temple. Nancy gave the closing prayer last Sunday in Sacrament and did a great job. We had a lot of recent converts and less active bear testimony in Sacrament and the Spirit was so powerful. Brother Lipat gave the sweetest, tearful testimony of how grateful he was to have seen Sister Fanene and me, and that he is now back into full activity. It truly is an amazing feeling knowing you've helped someone come unto Christ and return to the Fold, whether it's for the first time through baptism, or for the umpteenth time for a lost, less active member.
I sure have learned a lot this week about having faith, trusting, and having confidence in our Savior Jesus Christ. I have felt His love and guidance so abundantly, especially this week. I know this is His work and His hand is completely guiding it. He is truly hastening His work. I love the members and investigators here and I love my companion. Transfers are this week, but I have a feeling I'll be staying in Bago for my fourth transfer. I don't mind one bit though because of my great love for the area and the people here in Bago.
I know this Church is true and was established through the Prophet Joseph Smith 184 years ago yesterday. I love him and know President Monson is our living prophet today. We are so blessed to hear the words of our loving Heavenly Father through him and His apostles every 6 months. I love and sustain him and our other leaders. I love this Gospel and I love my Savior. I know He lives and loves us.
Have a great week!
All my love,
"Rissy's letter to Lovely! She LOVED it. :)"
"Dinner at De los Santos'"
We are so grateful for such wonderful families who feed
and take such good care of Jessica. We love them.
"Helping Yenlen Garnica glue together parcels to hold medicine. That's how she makes her living."
Her cute kids making their own fun with leaves and coke bottle caps."