HELLO 🙂 It has been an INCREDIBLE WEEK 🙂 We are back to work in Catbalogan and people are still amazing and progressing and loving the gospel. I love being a missionary. I don’t think I have mentioned that before 😉 After not visiting anyone in our area for an entire week, we show up at the Adina Family Tuesday night and they bought yummy chicken for us and as we ate, they watched the Joseph Smith video that they searched and downloaded when we were away. They also were the peacemakers (the branch said) one Sunday when the members were fighting. Then! The next morning we went to Sister Riza’s and we showed up a little earlier than she expected. She was blasting “I Need Thee Every Hour” in her house full of non members 🙂 She told us it is her favorite song and it is mine too so that made me so happy. She also told us she downloaded that Joseph Smith video and watched it while we were away.
FIRST AND FOREMOST. This Sister Riza (the sister I found a couple of months ago) got baptized on Saturday!!! 🙂 She is incredible and so converted to the gospel, it is a testimony builder for me how strong she is and how much she loves the gospel 🙂 She bore her testimony after she was baptized(still my favorite part about the mission) and the Spirit was SO strong. She talked about how right before Sister Russon and I came and taught her the message of the Restoration, she was going through a really hard time and praying to Heavenly Father to help her find the true church because she knew the Catholic church was not right…I still remember that first lesson that we taught to her, that she received from the missionaries, and I remember thinking that was the strongest I had felt the Spirit in a lesson in a long time. I remember as we shared how our message could bless her life and the first vision, tears welled in her eyes. I love Sister Riza and her testimony and her conversion to this gospel.
On August 11, it was SAMAR DAY. Samar is one of the three islands in my mission, it also happens to be where all of my three areas on the mission have been for the last 11 months. Hence I bought a shirt(pictured).
Some of the Elders in the mission call me the ‘good SAMARitan’ because of how long I have been on this island. Anyway, I was stoked for this day of my island. We took pictures and bought Buko shake(our favorite) and then at night there were even fireworks we watched from the roof top 🙂 I love this island and August 11, Samar Day, will forever be another holiday I celebrate in my life.
This week we had two exchanges and amazing things happened on both those exchanges. 1. I taught more lessons in one day than I have ever taught in my whole mission. 2. We committed some more of our investigators to baptism because out of nowhere, I was super super bold this week and it actually worked pretty well 🙂 I was very nervous to be so at first because sometimes people here get offended really easily, but it was a good way to be bold and upfront about our purpose and the gospel. Here are a few experiences:
This couple has been investigators for a long long time. All of their 5 children are baptized but they are not yet married so they can’t be baptized yet. We thought we made a break through with them a few weeks ago because they came to church. But they haven’t been since and they aren’t reading or praying either. I didn’t know what to do with them because they told us they want to get baptized but to find out for sure, I asked them. “Do you still want to be baptized” Brother started explaining that they aren’t yet married and I interrupted him and said “that wasn’t my question, do you want to be baptized.” They first said yes so we started explaining what they need to do and we are there to help them but they need to show Heavenly Father they still have that desire. Then Tatay opened up and admitted that he thinks that the Catholic church is the true church. We were able to work from there and now we know their real concern. If I wasn’t prompted to be as bold, we still wouldn’t know the problem. I am grateful for the prompting and that now we can focus on their concern.
Sister Healey and I found this family a couple of weeks ago. They are the ones where Sister cried during her prayer about the Book of Mormon and said she could feel something. They are professionals, very smart, and Catholic. We knew it was time to commit them to a baptismal date but we were nervous to do so because of their devotion to their faith and they are shy to say no to us and they already kind of feel like we are trying to force them to go to church.
We taught the Plan of Salvation, we got to the part about kingdoms of heaven. We had brother read who can go to the Celestial kingdom and who goes to Terrestrial kingdom. We explained what it means to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that you need to be baptized the proper way and by proper authority. Then I said that there were two people in the room who at the moment could go to the Celestial Kingdom and live with Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father, and our families forever, and two that could not. We explained we were there because at the moment they were the ones who could not but we want them to be able to. We told them we were not there to force or rush them but that baptism by proper authority in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the only way to go to this highest kingdom, then asked if they would follow Jesus’ example and be baptized…They said yes 🙂
We started out this family(first time I have taught) by asking about their experiences with prayer and the holy ghost. then talked about the Book of Mormon. We told them we know that they can find out for themselves if it is true by prayer and that same feeling they had before that gave them a solution to their problems and lifted their heavy hearts. We asked if they would follow the example of Jesus Christ…etc and one of them said it depends because they are used to the Catholic church and being Catholic. We explained that we understand it is hard to change anything in life let alone religion as a way of life. Also we said that if the Holy Ghost testifies to them of the truth of this church and they find out for themselves that it is true, and then still decided not to get baptized, that is like denying the Holy Ghost which is very serious. Then said, when you find out for yourselves that this is true, will you be baptized by proper authority…etc. And all three of them said yes 🙂
Also we had zone training meeting and Sister Healey and I trained on extending baptismal commitments and we learned a lot 🙂 I attached a picture of the board and our zone.
Also we taught the deaf Tatay about the plan of salvation and used little cut outs of the parts to teach him. We got to the kingdoms of glory (the pictures are of the sun, moon, and a star) We explained them and asked where he wanted to go. He said “there on the sun it is hot”…
I LOVE THIS WORK! If you are still considering whether you should serve a mission or not..GO. I promise it is the best thing you will do and the most rewarding thing as well.