First off, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!! To all the wonderful mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers, leaders, and friends that have influenced me so much in my life. I hope you had a wonderful day and know how much you are loved, all the way from the Philippines!!
Anyone who knows me well knows that I'm kind of a perfectionist. I like to do things the right way, and don't like it any other way. If I fall short, it stresses me out. So of course, as you can imagine, this can sometimes be a problem in the mission field. Where disappointments and setbacks and imperfections are so prevalent. However, I am grateful for such an amazing companion, who has helped me this week to remember that it's okay to be wounded. The mission field is a battle field, not a vacation field. If I'm not getting wounded, then I'm not a missionary! Sometimes we learn best from mistakes, whether our own or other's. And sometimes, even when we are striving to be exactly obedient, the miracles we want or expect (like finding elect new investigators, investigators attending church, and having member present lessons) don't always come, but miracles are still there. We just have to see the unexpected miracles amongst the battle scars. Focus on the limb that's healthy, not just the severed one. That being said, here are the miracles that came this week, that weren't what we were expecting or hoping, but were just as significant as if we received the blessings and miracles we wanted/expected.
-Thousands of kids receiving help from the Liahona Children's Foundation (a private LDS charity) and being able to participate. Estimates suggest that the Philippines has more malnourished children than any other country in the world, around 40,000 children, as many or more than in all of Latin America, and far more than the entire African continent. Children were screened and will receive nourishment daily. What a blessing!
-A less active telling us he finally read the Book of Mormon and felt the spirit testify strongly to him that he needs to return back to activity.
-The masterpiece of Heavenly Father's sky after a heavy rainstorm. I always think of the line from the Primary song, "I want my life to be as clean as earth right after rain..." :)
-The testimony of a member to an investigator about keeping the Law of Chastity. Member's testimonies are SO powerful!
-Teaching by candlelight because the Rusia's don't have money for electricity, and beforehand singing, "Count Your Many Blessings." Smiles all around.
-Our Branch Mission Leader allowing us to use his webcam so we can skype from the church for Mother's day!!
-Giving my first training at Zone Leader's Training and not fainting.
Traveling from Binalbagan to Hinigaran by tricycle with 6 elders on the outside of the tricycle and Sister Manosig and I inside...and arriving safely. (After a slight transfer to another tricycle because we made the tire of the motorcycle go flat....).
-Our 8 month pregnant investigator, Analiza, telling us that she and Jojo are finally making plans to get married so she can be baptized! Crossing my fingers she gets married in May since I'm missing TWO weddings this month at home!! :)
-Minerva stopped drinking coffee!
-Nice cold Boco juice at the Rusia's after a suuuuper hot day.
-Our Tagiya (landlord) allowing us to buy rice (we forgot that we ran out) even though her tiangee was closed.
-Modern technology--Mom being able to chat back and forth with Nelly Rusia on Facebook. She was so excited to tell me about that. She added 10 pesos to her internet time just to keep chatting with ya, Mom! :)
-Investigators finding US and asking questions about the Gospel. (She was couldn't get over that fact that I can speak Hiligaynon..haha).
-Finding the mother of one of our investigators and she being super receptive.
-Haydee's nervous Mother always sitting in to listen to our lessons. She doesn't speak up and she always looks upset, but we know she feels a difference when we're there!
-Being out all day, full of lessons, and Sister Boncag texting us to eat at her house for lunch! Saved us a ton of time of going back home to eat.
-Singing Hymns calming crying kids
-The power and joy of missionary work, even when it's pouring rain and we get sloshed by a tide of water from a truck that drove by and sprayed us. haha We worked with Nelly (member), Shane (recent convert), and Allyza (investigator), and it was nothing but smiles and sunshine despite the rain.
-Being able to teach one of our child part member investigators who's been hiding from us for a while...and making him laugh!
-The testimony of an investigator (Allyza) in our missionary work.
-The overnight brownout stopped and the water turned on just in time for me to shower and get ready for church.
-One of our young men who struggles some wore a white shirt to church!
-Spark finally being confirmed a member of the Church after a few attempts of incorrect wording (thank goodness for the missionary handbook!)
-One of the branch missionaries who was super rebellious a few weeks ago, called as assistant branch mission leader, wore a white shirt and tie, and taught an incredible lesson on Obedience in Gospel Principles.
-Haydee interviewed as set to go to be baptized on Saturday!
-Holding a branch council meeting and discussing a one day mission this Saturday (trust me...this really is a miracle).
-Allyza going home to get permission from her dad to be baptized!
-Receiving sweet notes from Allyza and Nelly for working with us the day before.
Looking back on the week, despite all my imperfections and weaknesses, as well as the trials that just come with missionary work, there were several miracles...so "
Notice the flower in Jessica's hair. As she was talking to us, one of the members gave it to her, and then he put it in her hair.:)
The Branch President is the one in yellow in the background. So kind of him and the branch mission leader to let the missionaries use their web-cam! Technology is such a wonderful blessing.
Is that happiness or what? :)
She was telling us how she smashes cock-roaches and then laughed at our reaction. She just takes off her shoe and whacks them--crunchy and all! :)
Anyone who knows Jessica, knows how amazing this is :) She also told us, she just lets the "little" spiders crawl over her scriptures--or just flicks them away with her fingers. The BIG ones get the bug spray!
As we were skyping, this little sweetheart came in to the Branch President's office. She is the daughter of one of their investigators, who was at the church waiting to see the missionaries.
Sure miss this girl! Sure love this girl!
Sister Dixon and Sister Manosig. She came to the screen to tell us "Hello".
We are so grateful for their companionship. We are also so grateful for technology. How incredible that we could see and hear our sweet daughter who is 7,500 miles away. What a great way to end a very tender and special Mother's Day. The next time we talk with Sister Dixon, it will be in person! She commits to continue to work hard and share the joy of the gospel these next 6 months! What a trooper!