Sunday, May 29, 2016

Week 13 in the Phillipines Laoag Mission

So where to begin...

First with the funny stuff!! So I like to imitate sounds (which comes in really handy as I try to learn this language) but usually I replicate animal sounds. So Sister Bagalay and I were walking to an appointment and there was a goat tied to a rock. It was bleating and making a lot of noise so I responded with my own goat noise and the goat stopped bleating and turned and stared at me with its mouth hanging open. It looked so shocked to hear me respond! It was really funny because maybe the goat was saying "I'm lonely where is everyone?" in goat language and i accidentally offended it by saying something in goat language about its mother or something. Hahahah

This week has been a complete and total roller-coaster. This was my last week with Sister Bagalay, as she is going home, and it's been rather emotional. I know I have not talked much about her in my previous updates but I honestly feel like I've know her my whole life and its hard to see her go. 
     Sadly we did not have the baptism or the marriage of Brother Franklee this week as we had hoped. Our Branch President (who I love working with) was called out of town for work and the Branch President of Pasukin who was going to perform the marriage was also called out for work and we had to postpone the wedding. When we first heard about it Sister Bagalay an I were in a District Meeting so we asked our District Leader and Zone leaders (that is all who we have in our district, the DL and the ZL, their companions, and us) and we were all stumped. So after a LOT of praying and pleading to the Lord we went over to tell Franklee and Rica. They were super understanding and were real troopers. I know Franklee was really upset, his face looked like when we had to move his baptism. He was absolutely devastated, but he knows how much we care for him and he knows that this is the right path for him and his family. He is truly amazing. 

     Sister Rica is currently having second thoughts about the marriage. She loves Brother Franklee but is scared by the statistics of divorce. We have been praying for her that she may be comforted. 

     Sadly I am an extremely forgetful person So i am currently looking for my camera. I'm 99% sure I left it at the Mission Office as we had a "trainer and trainee reunion" this week so I'll send pictures later. Sorry....

     The "Trainer and Trainee Reunion" was awesome. I got to see my MTC companions Sister Rosser and Sister Banham and they have been learning and growing and staying strong. We all struggle and there is always something to learn from your trials. That applies to everyone. God doesn't give busy work, every person we meet, every trial or experience we gain is for our betterment. I would not be who I am today if life was just an easy thing. Trials make you stronger if you let them. Otherwise they can destroy you. Be as strong as God knows you are and you can overcome anything.

    We had the blessing of receiving a referral from the branch and Sister Bagalay and I went to teach this Tatay (respectful name for an older male) who had stopped investigating the church. It's been five years and he has never stopped praying and reading from the Book of Mormon. He knows it is true and he loves the gospel, but he had some bad experiences in the past with members. We extended to him a baptismal date and he accepted. He is positively golden, we just need to help him see that while the gospel and this church is perfect it is run by imperfect people.  Sometimes people reach out and are trying to help but they may say something wrong and it may offend. But, isn't that how normal life is? I can say "Wow! your hair!" and depending on the way I say it (the inflections of my voice) it can either mean that I think that person's hair looks amazing or that it looks awful. I may mean to say 'wow i really like your hair!' but it comes out wrong and someone is offended. So here is my advice to you: don't be offended. Nobody is perfect, so if you are offended by something someone says- especially concerning religion- know that they probably don't mean to offend. In this brother's case the member was trying to encourage him towards baptism but the message was taken the wrong way. Just be Christlike in all you say and do.

     Also, miracles of miracles. The Tatay that received a blessing for health last week (was that last week? It was after the funeral service that Sister Bagalay and I participated in) Sister Bagalay and I were present for has started to take the lessons! He is married to a member and his oldest son has served a mission her in the Philippines. His family is partially active and they are the absolute best. When Sister Bagalay extended the baptismal invitation to him he asked if we could move the baptism sooner! He was hospitalized because his liver was giving up due to his drinking but after the blessing he has been healed and he has absolutely no desire to drink! The Lord has truly done a miracle here and I an so blessed to be a part of it.

 That basically sums up the whole week, really. I don't think I have ever been so stressed in my life. Satan's presence is real and he is doing EVERYTHING he can to stop the progress here in Sarrat. Pero, (but) where there is great opposition there is even greater potential. I want to be able to see Sarrat turn into a ward, and I know we can. This week Sister Bagalay and I have officially reactivated two brothers worthy of the Melchezedic Priesthood and a young man who will prepare himself to receive the Aaronic priesthood as he is 12. We will be getting Franklee and eventually Lorenzo will also be able to be baptized within these next few weeks and I know that the Spirit is strong here in Sarrat. I know we can and have done miracles.

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