Hi family! The great news from Daet is that Sister B and I are staying comps for another transfer! I am so, so happy. This also means that this is most likely my last area - which I am also very happy about.
Last week I received a wonderful package in the mail - it had delicious chocolate covered almonds and chocolate covered blueberries... we ate them all within one day haha. But, when we got the package, the bag of almonds had burst open so everything was covered in little chocolate pieces. This morning we went running and I wore the shirt you sent me. I told sister B. it still smelled like chocolate (even though I had washed it) and she said she missed the almonds and blueberries. Haha - that girl can eat more chocolate than any one I have ever met and she is tiny.
This week we were in Naga on Monday and Tuesday for Mission Leadership Training. I really enjoy MLC. It is always so inspiring and it is fun to hear President’s thoughts on everything. He was explaining how the mission is growing faster than the church in some ways. There are areas now that have multiple missionaries. The number of missionaries we have in nearly every ward has moved up to at least 4 and some have 8. But there is not an established ward or branch yet in some of these areas. This creates a problem for baptisms because there is not yet an established system for these converts to enter into. It will be interesting to see how missionary work will adapt again. A few years ago there was a large push here to focus on less active activation. We now focus on less active work as well as finding new investigators. There is now, more than ever a need for the members, regardless of how recently they were baptized, to step up and take leadership roles. It is an exciting time to be involved in this work.
I have been thinking a lot this week about obedience and the gift of free agency. I was thinking how Satan must have been in a high calling in the premortal life to have been in a position to present a plan in the grand council. I think that plan must have really sounded compelling – the idea that we would always do right and follow exactly what we were supposed to do. It also makes me think of the blessings and the glory that await us because our Heavenly Father let us make the choice even though he knew we would make some bad choices. I am grateful for the way I have come to see the commandments as I have been out here. I never had a problem doing the things I was supposed to do. It has never has been my cross to doubt. Over the past few months that I have come to realize the why of those things we are supposed to do. Missionaries in this area have been visiting a less active family for years now with little progress. About three weeks ago this family finally came back to church. They have been there, as a family, every week since they first came back to church. We also came to find out that this particular mother has also consistently been reading the Book of Mormon every day for these past few weeks. This good family told us that their lives are going better. When we follow the commandments, we still have trials and problems but for some reason things seem to work out easier.
"I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put thine hand into the hand of God. That shall be to thee better than a light and safer than a known way."
I think many times its hard to see the immediate blessings and results of commandment keeping so we get distracted by other things. I am coming to understand that if we are willing to walk in the dark the Lord will guide us.
We have rules as missionaries that sometimes don’t make sense or don’t seem important. This can make them hard to follow. But my experience has been that if we do what we are asked to do, things seem to work out. I bore my testimony of the savior this week - this happens often but I just realized my awe of this being, Jesus Christ. He is the Savior of the world. He is the perfect example. I have faith in him. I have a long way to go but I do believe that the gospel provides a solution to the problems and difficulties we face in life.
Some of the Pinoy’s are very superstitious.... We were running this morning at 6am and there were a bunch of little kids and babies there at the beach. I asked my companion what was going on and Sister Bersola explained that many people believe that if you take your kid to swim in the ocean in the middle of the night it will heal sicknesses and such. Hmmm
I was sad to hear about DuWayne's death but he was a great man and lived a great life. I loved the story you shared... "A few weeks ago as DuWayne’s health was deteriorating even further, Alice told us that DuWayne said he wanted to work on their relationship. She responded and said “Oh DuWayne, we have the eternities for that.” This says a lot about sweet Alice and her faith in the eternities to come.
Thanks for all your love and support! We get to watch conference this week and I am so excited!! I hope you all have a lovely week. Cate - try not to get any more black eyes in your game this week eh haha!
Love from the Pines