I can definitely mark off another great week on my calendar. Sister Loo and I had our first exchanges of the transfer and I got to work with Sister Sia (my trainee) again for the first time in 4 months. It was so much fun!! I love that sister SO MUCH. I also got to work with Sister Hawkins (another incredible sister) and guess which member we brought along with us to teach some investigators...Sister Maricel Pedral, my favorite women in the Philippines. I told you about her a few weeks ago but she was the less-active we found and helped come back to church and this was her first time working with missionaries as an active member. It was so great and nothing beats hearing her testify so assuredly to other individuals who are trying to find their own way. After I was telling her how great she did and she just smiled, put her hand on her chest and said, "My heart was pounding so hard!"
The Pagunsan family is on fire! I am so obsessed with them. If there was ever a golden family it would be them. They are doing so good and couldn't be more excited or ready for baptism on June 7. We have been working so hard to get their 4 sons, all under age 12, more involved and we have finally won them over. They hadn't been doing their reading assignments so last time we talked for awhile with them about how important it is and then gave each of the boys their own Book of Mormon. It worked! Last Saturday when we went back the WHOLE family had read. When we asked who read all of the boys hands shot in the air so proud. Of course their mother, Sister Sally, did because she is a star, but we were most worried about Brother Butch because he is SO busy with work. We asked him last and he just sheepishly grin then said, "Sisters, of course I read!" He had woken up early before work to read and started to share with us what he had learned from Alma 32. He said he noticed how much it mentioned being humble and starting thinking about why we needed to humble ourselves. He talked about how we could be converted without humility and then shared an experience. He said that one of his neighbors and used 10,000 pesos from him and never given it back. He said that he was filled with so much anger and felt as though he would punch him every time he saw him. He said that as he reflected on his reading he realized that he could let those feeling go and with the Savior's help be humble. It was so incredible to see him learning and growing outside of what we are teaching him. The Pagunsan family has had a mighty change of heart we see it and feel it and so do they.
Last week a member introduced us to a very kind, younger less-active women with 4 kids named Rio. No one knew she was a member including her friend and she hasn't been for over 10 years...until this past Sunday and she brought all her kids. Who knew coming into a mission that sacrament meetings would be so stressful, constantly looking at the door, but NOTHING compares to seeing the people you are waiting for, or never expect to see, walk through the door.
My mission has taught me more than anything about the importance of enduring to the end. I have learned that lesson bit by bit as I have helped new investigators begin that journey or being by a less-actives side as they make their way back. My mission has filled me with a sense of urgency to do the Lord's will, to be willing and worthy to always run his errands, no matter what is asked. I am still learning in a big how to better do that but I do know that I always want to give all I have to him, be obedient and progress. Preach My Gospel page 59 under "Salvation" described faith in Jesus Christ as a "faith [that] is manifested in a life of obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel and service to Christ." That is my deepest desire to have lived a life and served a mission of devoted service and obedience, for that is where true happiness is found.
Love you all!! Magingat kayo palagi!
Filipino Fun Fact:
One of the things I will miss the most in the Philippines are the storms. They are truly awe-inspiring. There is no way I can adequately describe them to you but watching them just testifies to me that there is a God. They are beautiful in a sort of terrifying way. It will be BLAZING hot with nothing but sunshine and then dark clouds will suddenly come rolling in. You can feel it in the air, everything changes. It honestly feels like the heavens open and everything just gets dumped out. I have never seen so much water. Everyone will just run to the nearest building or tents (in the palenkes or tindahans) to wait out the storm. the roads instantly turn into streams of water, moving FAST. It is so incredible and I know I just sound like a crazy person rambling about the weather now but I just wish you could experience it for yourselves.
The oldest (Andrie) and youngest (Elias) Pagunsan boys.
We helped a member build his house this week!
Working with Sister Maricel :)