Week 54: Noel Bacatano and Conferences

Maupay na kulop ha aton ngatanan 🙂

I had a wonderful year mark; we had a Zone Conference where I got to see a lot of my batch and we had a wonderful training.
Also had an amazing Sunday where we had the District Conference(like Stake Conference) and SO MANY of the people we visit came to church 🙂 On Sunday we had District Conference and 23 less active members came to church!!!
(This picture above is me and my companion with the Assistants to the President.)
That is by far the most that I have ever seen in my mission and they were all so happy to be there; I was grateful to see so many of the people that we got to visit this week enter the door. 11 investigators as well, and Cristitutu came again and is excited for his baptism!!
First off about Brother Noel. He is less active. We visited Brother Noel and his family the day that I got here and Sister Allen had told me that he always says the right things in lessons but he never goes to church and he still smokes and drinks. So we got there and we taught about his responsibilities as a father and how his family will improve and not be so crazy and hard to control if they follow the counsels of the prophet and the church. He admitted (for the first time daw) that he has a problem with drinking and then we just had an amazing lesson about the importance of family prayer, scripture study and going to church as a family. He went to church that Sunday and I was sooo happy 🙂 The branch here is super negative about Noel because I guess he has been like this for a long time where he just drinks and sets bad example for his kids and neighbors.
The next Sunday (about 2 weeks ago) he did not go to church and he drank instead and so I got a little discouraged as well but then we had an FHE at their house and we talked again about his need to change and be a good father and example. He went to church again that Sunday and then he joined the FHE the next Monday at his parents house(picture attached) because his dad is also less active. That night as we walked home he said he has referrals for us and told us he is now 100% active and he means it. A member said “yeah we will see” kind of thing. Even our branch president has very little faith that he will change. The next day, he gave us the referrals(3 families) and even went with us to teach them and he says he wants to start working with us!! 🙂 That all happened in less than a month.
On Saturday, I had one of the best lessons I have had on my mission with Brother Noel and his family. Not at all because of my teaching but I saw the power of the gospel and the Book of Mormon more powerfully than I ever have, in Noel. We got to their house and we ask about their reading of the Book of Mormon and Julie, his wife, tells us she has been too tired but that Noel has read every single night even if it is way late and he is the only one awake. He is already in Mosiah!! He has not drank in at least a week or so and he testified how if people would just read the Book of Mormon and learn from it, their lives are so much better and they can see the real way to be happy. We told him we could see a new light in him even though it has only been a few weeks since he has started reading and changing his life and his wife, or used to chastise him for being a bad example in our lessons, said she can see the change too and she notices it. We shared the verse in 3 Nephi about the light on the hill and Noel says he regrets not changing before and says it should have happened a long time ago because there are so many people in Biliran who need help and need the gospel in their lives and he wants to start now to do everything that they can. I was smiling like a goof the entire time and I don’t know if there is a  time in my life that I have been so happy, as in indescribably happy. I love this gospel and I love the Book of Mormon.
I wish I could do what actually happened more justice with my words but just know that my testimony grew so much just from that one appointment of ours. He came to church yesterday and was supposed to work with us also. Brother Noel has a special place in my heart and I will always be grateful for the change I saw in him and his life in such a short amount of time because he started to read the Book of Mormon every day.
I love you all and hope that your lives are amazing!
Love with my whole heart,
Sister Prudencio

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