First of all, we are all safe and sound here in the Quezon City North Mission. The severe typhoon didn't hit us. We were told to get enough food and water for three days as a precaution, heard about the storm constantly from everyone we talked to and got some crazy clouds and strong winds but that was about all we felt from it. I just can't believe the southern Philippines-- Visayas--- got hit with it after experiencing an earthquake a couple weeks ago! Sister Sia's family got hit by the storm but they are fine.
This week Ninoy did not come to church again and he isn't answering our texts. We are praying for him and worried that he was offended at the YSA activity. Hopefully we will be able to contact him this week. He is so ready for baptism and knows this church is true.
Brother and Sister Pernia did come to church which we were so excited about AND they came early which is like a HUGE deal here because no one comes early. That was something they decided to do on their own and promised they would be there early because they felt it was important :) We are trying so hard to help him with the word of wisdom and reading the Book of Mormon but it is still a struggle. Sometimes people's free agency is frustrating for me on the mission haha now I know how Heavenly Father must feel with us all the time. I know that this message will change his life, help him find peace, joy and happiness and we know he knows it too, he just hasn't acted on it yet...its frustrating haha but Sister Sia and I want so badly to be the last set of missionaries to go through this cycle with him and feel like we are supposed to keep working with him. So for now we are going to keep praying like crazy and giving him everything we've got.
Yesterday we coordinated with the Relief Society to do a One-Day-Mission. We split everyone into companionships (like a massive one day visiting teaching activity) and then went and taught the less-actives sisters and their families. Sister Sia and I went on splits so that we could teach more people and I got the chance to work with two sister from the ward-- Sister Baquiran and Sister Nagrit. It was such a neat experience and inspiring to see how excited the sisters were as they all left in their companionships to go to teach their sisters in various areas of the ward. As I was walking with Sister Nagrit and Sister Baquiran I was just filled with such a love for the work here. Sometimes it can be a bit frustrating/discouraging working here because there are so many less-actives and at times things are pretty disorganized but my love for the people, the ward and the church in the Philippines as I walked with these two sisters for hours going from house to house helping to "rescue" those who had lost their way and was inspired by the joy Sister Nagrit and Sister Baquiran found in it.
I am so grateful for this work and the role we ALL have in it. This week and over the past few weeks, as I mentioned last week, I've been doing a lot of self-reflection. Last transfer I was told by someone that I didn't have any faith or that I didn't expect and see miracles. I thought I had just brushed the comment off but these past few weeks I've realized how much I had actually let it effect me. It had me questioning my effectiveness as a missionary, if my lack of faith was preventing those I was teaching from progressing, etc. I've been praying for my heart to be opened and to be worthy of witnessing miracles and acting on faith. Today as I prayed and studied I was filled with peace and realized that I had simply done as Preach My Gospel warns against. I had let my discouragement damage my faith but I am so grateful to a loving Heavenly Father who hears and answers all our prayers and for a Savior who knows all of our fears and disappointments. I am grateful for the opportunity I, and all of us, have each day to exercise faith and witness miracles as witnesses of Jesus Christ.
I love you all and never stop praying for you.
Filipino Fun Fact:
Filipinos are AWESOME at recycling and reusing anything and everything. I am always amazed at the uses that they come up with for things in order to get everything they can out of it. One example is posters. You will see old posters, especially from political campaigns, reused a canopy on all the tindahans (little stores on the streets), as seat covers in the jeepneys (which is always funny when you sit down on an past candidates face), and about a million other uses.