Monday, January 14, 2013

Water Buffalo Riding

Hello family that I love so dearly! It has been a great week! We are heading into the last week of the transfer which blows my mind… I am pretty sure I will say that every 6 weeks. Time just goes so quickly. We have a baptism this coming Saturday for a little nine year old boy. His parents are members and it has been wonderful to see his mother become active again in preparation for his baptism. The beauty of the Area Presidency’s goals to work with less active members is that we get to help complete families and help those that are not yet members join their families.

We try to split our work with less active members and investigators half and half and it has been really interesting to work on cultivating testimonies for people that are already baptized. We started working with a less active family this week that has not been to church for years. They are kind and welcoming which is a relief because a lot of times people hide from us which makes the re-cultivating of testimonies a little tricky. But we were asking this family about their testimony about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. The mom said she doesn't know about Joseph Smith anymore and it is confusing for her but even though she hasn't come to church for a long time she hasn't forgotten God. I thought about how easy it is to forget and become confused when we are not trying to remember.

Earlier this week in my personal study I read about patience in Mosiah. Elder Maxwell said, “Patience is not indifference. Actually it is caring very much but being willing, nevertheless, to submit both to the Lord and to what the scriptures call ‘the process of time.’” I was thinking about this process of time and how everything we do in life is measured by this process. My Tagalog learning is taking place in a process of time – it is taking patience and a lot of time but slowly, slowly it is coming. Our conversion requires the process of time. It requires us to patiently build a relationship with our heavenly Father and like Elder Maxwell has said, it requires us to care very much. Rather quickly and easily our conversion and testimony can fade away. We may say we haven’t forgotten our Father, but through that process of time – we do forget. Luckily our Father in Heaven is the most patient of all and if we are willing he will build us back up and we can remember. Hopefully, this family like so many others will be willing to put in the time to remember and patiently rebuild their testimonies.

Sister Dumo and I have been focusing on building the branch missionary force in our branch. The new mission leader is a young 23 year old boy and he wants to go on a mission and has been great in working with us. He is organizing the other single adults to work with us and just wants to help in anyway he can. His excitement reminded me that when we are willing to give people responsibility they will often exceed expectations. People like feeling needed and this calling has been such a great thing for this young man.

One of the most difficult parts of missionary work is having people decide they do not want to listen anymore, whether less active or investigators. You worry so much and care dearly for people and one gift of missionary work is the love you feel for people. So when people turn away from the gospel it breaks your heart. We had one especially difficult day this week were one of our investigator families told us they didn’t want to listen any more; one family hid from us; and we are having a hard time tracking down the birth certificate and birth date of a baptismal candidate, and so on….all in all it was a tough day. As we were walking to our last lesson I looked up at the sky, the beautiful sky makes me always feel at peace and remember my Father in Heaven is ultimately in control. Well on this night, there were no stars because it was cloudy and also the moon was not out. I thought how that was a great way to describe our day… dark and bleak. No light. As I continued to watch the sky I saw one tiny firefly sparkling in a nearby banana tree. One of my favorite scriptures is in Mosiah 16:9, it says “He is the light and the life of the world; yea, a light that is endless, that can never be darkened; yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.” I was reminded by this one small firefly that even when there are no stars and no moon – we can still find light. We had a wonderful family home evening with our newest member and all of the leaders. Also this newly baptized member's wife, who is not a member came to church and sat in our lesson later that day. Even though people hide from us and people lose their way there is always light to be found. It was a great reminder for me that no matter how dark, we should always look for that firefly in the sky.

Our region keeps getting hit with bagio (typhoon) after bagio.... it is the climate of calamities.

If I am transferred next week, I would guess that I will be sent to either Naga or Daet... mostly because I will probably be in that area for awhile if I train there when the 15 new American Sister Missionaries get here. Daet is pure Tagalog because it is closest to Manila... Naga is a totally different from the bikol here sooo that will be exciting ha.

Mom, are you so excited to go back to your mission!!!! I am so excited for you to go back. I am sure there will still be people there but you may have to bring back your missionary skills of hunting people down. Being on a mission helps me understand how much this experience will mean to you!

I loved the picture of all the moms from the dinner party!

Well have a wonderful week in Puerto Rico! Meg and Speen the count down is on - yay!!! So excited for you! Well I love you all and am ever grateful for your love and support. Enjoy the white fluffy stuff outside and I will enjoy the white fluffy stuff in my mango shake in the sunshine.

Love from the Pines,

Sister Meish

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