My darling companion let me run every single day this week! My body is so thrilled. We guestimated that about twenty times up and down the street makes one mile. I think the mile has grown longer while I have been in the Philippines… I don’t remember it being this long. One day while I was running I had a weird feeling to go put my name tag on. After coming back and running a few laps back and forth I was able to start talking to a man walking with his 2 little children. He kept mentioning how there were so many churches on earth and we were talking about why that is. We are hoping to go to his home this week and visit with his family. After he left I was so grateful I had my nametag on, without it I would have been just a sweaty tall white person. Time and time again I realize that God is in the details of our lives.
This morning as I was hanging my clothes out to dry I heard some shuffling next to our house. We throw our trash in a hole in the ground and the burn it. Well I walked over to the hole a found a small girl looking through our trash. We started talking and ten year old Gezel Lora told me that she was looking for bottles to then sell for money because her dad drives a padyak but her mom has cancer and they need more money for her medicine.
We extended a baptismal date for Sister Karin, who is our 23 year old investigator. The date is in July because she and her husband have to get married first. They need to save about 500 pesos to pay for all the documents and this is going to be a sacrifice for them. This week at our visit she explained to us that she knows that they are poor and they don’t have much and that’s okay but sometimes she just asks why it has to be so hard. She wants so badly to be baptized, she knows the church is true and knows that this is the path needed to get back. Before my mission I knew that conversion was a process and would take time but I never thought about the way life struggles can get in the way.
I have been struggling to understand why someone so willing to see the light of the savior has to struggle just to enter into the waters of baptism while hundreds of others could easily be baptized but choose not to pursue that path. I have gained peace knowing that no matter how difficult her trials are here on earth there is a mansion waiting for her family in heaven if they can endure here and now.
Sister Loma is our investigator who has 6 hyperactive busy, busy, boys. We were teaching about the Book of Mormon and Sister Farnes asked her if she had asked God if it was true. She got tears in her eyes and said she knows it is, she doesn’t even need to ask because there is something in her that she can’t explain; but she knows it is true. She began to explain that her husband doesn’t understand why she is going to the Mormon church and her family is asking her what food she is eating that she now is a Mormon. She said it is so hard because of the persecution and she really has no answers for them other than she knows it is true in her heart. She asked me where I wanted to get married and when I explained about the temple she said, “I will see you there, in that temple place.” I hope and pray that one day I will see her there. We were able to meet her husband this week and I am hoping to answer some of his questions about “those Mormons.” Sister Loma said that she feels strengthened when she has the gospel in her life.
Our little Goa royal wedding took place this week! Tatay Eddie and Nanay Amata are now man and wife! On Tuesday morning we went to one of the members houses that arranges flowers and we made a bouquet for Nanay. The ceremony was simple and the Stake President conducted the ceremony. Many of the members came out to support them. Nanay made her own dress and Tatay put on real shoes instead of flip flops - which means he was excited. His baptism was directly after the marriage ceremony and went so smoothly. Tatay bore his testimony and said he is so grateful that even though he is almost 80 he has found the truth.
Also, Joel and Julibet (Joel was just baptized a few weeks ago) blessed their twin boys yesterday in sacrament meeting yesterday.
In other news, we have cultivated a new obsession for Filipino peanut butter. The election is going on so there are signs everywhere and people drive around with huge stereos strapped to their roofs with campaign messages. I have now been out 11 months. Wow!
I am so grateful for the gospel. I know that the Book of Mormon is a witness that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world. I am learning about life and the hardships that come with it while in the Philippines. I am also learning that the gospel has an answer to every hardship we will face. Whether it’s the challenge of gathering bottles to pay for medicine, enduring criticisms from family, or trying to understand why life has to be so hard sometimes, I know our Savior provides our saving grace. I love this work and am so grateful to be here.
That is very neat about Michelle Lehnardt’s blog!!!! Thanks for forwarding that video. What a cute girl! So, she found Michelle's blog and started communicating with her? That is incredible. http://browse.feedreader.com/c/Scenes_from_the_Wild/413291357 (Noemi)
So excited to see your smiling faces next week!
So excited to see your smiling faces next week!
Mahal na mahal ko kayo!!!