Hmm...where to start? There's so much that happens in our week, and sometimes my memory of things that happen start to mesh together with other weeks, so we'll see how this email goes. Let the Holy Spirit guide, right? ;)
Reslie, one of our ward missionaries, worked with us. For some reason, whenever she works with us we have a bunch of...not weird, but I can't think of what else it's called...experiences.. I told her it's probably to help prepare her for her mission (she's processing her papers). :) On this particular day we visited Henry, who was supposed to be baptized . He was all happy, set, and ready to go. Even done with his interview. We felt we should teach the 10 commandments, focusing on his son, John, to help him understand the second commandment and in order for him not to wear his rosary. We thought it would be a rough lesson for John, but it actually turned out well and he really understood and hasn't worn his rosary since! The unexpected turn was that Henry kind of freaked out about the idols. We thought he understood the first time we taught 10 commandments, but apparently not. He basically said (and I'll say it the nice way), that he would not be baptized if he couldn't have his idols. We let the spirit really take it from there as we testified of Jesus Christ and His resurrection and the reason why we don't have idols. The lesson was pretty intense and we were bold, with hopefully just the right amount of love, but he just wouldn't accept it. We left with pretty heavy hearts and we've been praying ever since to know how to help Henry. We were just grateful for the tender mercy of John accepting the commandment. After the lesson, we came outside and he followed. When we got to the street he said, "Sisters, I've had a change of mind." We were prepared to hear the worst after the lesson we just had (yes, I know, we were lacking in hope), but then he said, "It makes sense! Jesus Christ lives!" Oh, what a tender mercy that was. :)
I'm grateful for that experience because as a result, we were a lot more in tune with seeing the blessings Heavenly Father had for us the rest of the week. We discovered more fully that we experience the hard days so that the good days are more enjoyable and we recognize the tender mercies of Heavenly Father more consciously...which is exactly howand were! We were blessed abundantly in finding new investigators, extending baptisms and people accepting, and having some of our shy investigators (Angie and Ellen Chin) open up to us as if they had never been shy before. And Angie even came to church! We had more members work with us, bearing powerful testimonies that really helped our investigators, had some wonderful 15 minute member visits, found some new less actives, and had a father (Brother Alcain) become more receptive to our message, resulting in almost his whole family now listening. :) We gained more patience in God's plan and timing for our investigators, learned the importance of diligence and working hard, even when tired, facing disappointment without getting discouraged, remembering that no effort is wasted and to keep planting seeds, and gaining a deeper love for everyone we met and seeing them as children of Heavenly Father with divine potential.
I'm so grateful for the guidance of the Spirit this week in helping open our eyes more fully to the blessings and tender mercies we receive each day, despite the hardships. It reminds me of what President Uchtdorf said in April..."find gratitude IN our circumstances." I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us and He is fully aware of all the needs and concerns of His children. I'm so grateful that through the Spirit, He is able to guide Sister Tangonan and I to know how to help each of His children in their individual challenges. I'm grateful for the power of the message of the Restoration and eternal families. I'm grateful for inspired leaders, missionaries, ward members, and my companion. But most of all, I'm grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and His Atonement. Without His constant support and strength, there's no way I would be able to do this work on my own. He truly is the master Performer, and I am just His instrument. I know that through the spirit and acting on it's promptings, we can become more 'in-tune' instruments to be more powerful and dedicated servants of the Lord. I love my Savior. I love this work.
"A recent convert and her friends who swarm together to listen to us".
These children have such beautiful countenances and such tender faith.
"We did some service for a member by waxing her floor. We also gave a little message.
We call them 15 minute member visits here".
(Notice the Christmas tree!! Jessica says they start celebrating
4 months in advance in the Philippines! )