HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 🙂
I am very sad that this is the second American Halloween that I am missing because Halloween is very different here and you all know how much I love dressing up (as a black scary spice or a boy jesse) BUT this week is going to be awesome. I am excited to email about it next week. We have two Halloween parties to go to and we are even going to dress up(requested from branch)…to be announced with pictures next week.
THIS PAST WEEK WAS AMAZING! We saw so many miracles. It all started with Tuesday. For a while Sister Allen and I have noticed that the sisters here are kind of in a slump but we didn’t know how to motivate them. I have been praying for it for awhile and it was weighing me down because I couldn’t think of anything. On Monday, I was determined to think of an idea for them but nothing came and even numbers weren’t motivating me so I was thinking about what could motivate me so maybe that would motivate them. On Tuesday, we were punted in one of our areas and so we were on the way to a next appointment and I randomly yelled out to this man building his house, “are you building your house?” Yes, that is silly but those are the types of questions and statements here (lots of captain obviouses) hahaha. Anyways, we started talking to these three people and Sister Allen was talking to this Nanay about religion while I was talking to the man and two sisters. We were about to walk away but I randomly decided to ask one of the sisters where her husband was. She informed me that he just died two months ago. She told me that she is now raising her 5 kids alone and she does not have a job so that is why she just moved back from Manila. I told her about the Plan of Salvation and how she can see him again, and as I tried to put myself in her shoes, I started crying telling her how I know it must be hard and I can’t imagine what she must feel.
It started to rain so this sister invited us in to her home. Her youngest child has cerebral palsy and cannot do anything on his own. As she told me everything, my sympathy and sorrow for her grew. She just moved back with her 5 children, one that cannot walk or talk, to her parents house because her husband just died and they have no money or means for income and her brother was killed 3 months ago as well. I just thought to myself, “If Heavenly Father were here right now, what would he say to this poor women who has been given so many trials?” And then Sister Allen and I shared about hope and read Mosiah 24:12-16 and tried to help her fell Heavenly Father’s love. She goes to the Catholic church every Sunday and prays all the time but she said she is losing hope and we tried to comfort her, with tears in our eyes the whole time.
As I told her that Heavenly Father knows that she can do it and trusts her and that why he gave her a big family and even though her husband was taken from her early, Heavenly Father knows there is a way they can see each other again and tears started pouring down her face; she invited us to come back this week. It was a miracle that we stopped and talked to these people about their house and that we asked about her husband before we left and that we met this women who is so prepared to receive the gospel. There are those questions for referrals of anyone who has recently moved or had a death in the family..both of happened to her within the last week.
In this same appointment I realized what motivates me, even more than the numbers. It is the miracles like that that we see every single day. I thought it would be a good idea if we had the Sisters, every night while they did nightly planning think about at least one miracle and write a paragraph about it. Then at the end of the cycle, I am going to have them give them all to me so that I can make a Biliran Zone Miracle Book 🙂 So far it is going really well and the Sisters are all really excited about the miracles that they are realizing every day.
Sister Allen and I are loving all of the miracles that we probably would have missed without this encouragement every day. I would like to share a few of them with all of you 🙂
I will start backwards now: Yesterday, Sunday, SO many people came to church who have not in a long time or who were so unexpected. We were able to take pictures with some of them.
Tatay Vargas: in the jacket is a tatay that we visit every single week and he talks our ears off for at least an hour every time and is laughing the whole time at his own jokes. He has not come to church in a long time and on Sunday he came dressed all nice and participated in the classes.
Lourdes and Michael: They have the two kids. Michael moved to Cebu a few months ago to look for work so that they can get married and he can get baptized and they can go to the temple. Lourdes has one of the strongest testimonies of the Book of Mormon that I have ever heard and she still comes to church with her two kids every Sunday even though it is really hard on her without Michael there. On Sunday they all showed up and we didn’t even know Michael was back! We were so so so happy and they came and played volleyball with us earlier.
Bacatano Family: Julie and Lourdes are sisters. I have already told you about this family that I love so much but they all came to church on Sunday and stayed ALL 3 HOURS! We gave talks last Sunday and mine was on the Book of Mormon. Julie told Lourdes how she was touched by my talk and she wanted to start reading the Book of Mormon for real. We visited them last night and Julie had been reading 3 Nephi the whole night and she said she couldn’t put the book down and she was so excited and happy to share with us what she had learned. I have never ever seen someone so excited to share their learning from the Book of Mormon. She said she realized that it really is the best book. She also said she is going to name her child(if it is a girl) Sierra Paige. 🙂 🙂 Paige is Sister Allen’s first name. They spent the rest of the night telling us their love story and how they met and stuff. They are the best! 🙂
We went back to the Book of Mormon guy I wrote about last week and we first passed by him and said that we would come back in like an hour because we still had people to teach that we were going to go to first. We came back and him and his three cousins (women) who all of children and husbands were waiting for us. He said they had been waiting for awhile and he wanted them to hear our message and start listening because he was so touched by our lesson last week. We taught again the Restoration and they were all so interested and participating and we could see that they really understood.
We had an FHE and every time we do the YSA boys in our branch do “talents” where they play the guitar and sing songs that they have prepared. My favorite part of FHE…
One of our areas(most progressing) is right next to these rice fields with caribou and pigs. Pigs are everywhere in this country and they sell for a lot. All of the children in the pictures are also from this area (Omas).
The sunset pictures are from the boardwalk in our area( we walk up and down in almost every night waiting for our barbecue to finish)
Tatay Simplicio(I have already sent pictures with him)(he is in the jersey) But he is one of my favorite people to visit. He is the only member in his family and he was just baptized a few years ago and every single one of his questions is about the temple. He wants to go sooo badly but, just like everyone here who wants to go, they don’t have the money to get there because it is so far away so he saves money from his pension or social security every month so he can go as soon as possible. I tear up every time we visit him because of his testimony and desire to go to the temple.
I love you all so so so much and I cannot wait to see you all again. It is a long time away so for now just keep sending me pictures and keeping me updated on life 🙂
I challenge you all to do the same. Every day think of at least one miracle that happened(even if it is a small miracle). Some of our days our miracles were stuff like a ride came when we thought we would have to walk home in the rain for 40 minutes. Anyway, think of this and then write it in a journal or post it on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat or just tell someone about it. You will find life is full of small miracles from our Heavenly Father.
I love my life and that I am a member of the true church. The other day Sister Allen and I were talking about how lucky we were that we were chosen as some to be born into the true gospel.
(Or Sister P for all of the kids here who have a hard time saying and remembering my last name)