Sunday, June 19, 2016

Week 16 in the Phililppines Loaog Mission

At Our Desks


     This week has been absolutely nuts...We have literally been run off our feet to meet with everyone, but the good thing is we have officially mapped out the area so we can go and visit people according to area. So one day we will meet with all the people in Brgy 1 and 2 instead of going 1, and walking all the way to 4, then back to 3. Though my leg is doing that weird bumpy muscle thing that runners get from all the walking we do! So that's nice. We have so many investigators who are ready and willing to learn, it's just up to us to try our best to meet with everyone when they are available! Scheduling has become hectic as we try to arrange with their availability, areas, and times. Coming from someone who hates setting up exact schedules and times to be places, this has been a blessing to learn as we become more effective in our teaching. Though a few more missionaries in the area would always help... I'm literally dreaming about it, it's quite funny, though of course the new missionaries that we got in my dream had the ability to fly and only met with our newer investigators as i'm selfish and don't want to share my investigators... so we will see. In the meantime I am loving all the exercising i'm getting, but I wish we had more missionaries, especially if they lived in the further brgys! 

     My areas basically are the central town and then this one brgy that is closer to the next town than to Sarrat! Many of the people there are poor and do not have the money to come to church every week, in fact most of the people there are less actives or past investigators! There are so many amazing people up there that need and want the gospel, but simply don't have the means to get to town. Sister Gladys, a less active, recently lost her brother, who was in his late 20s. He worked as a police officer and was killed on duty, its been really hard for her and her family, and we have tried our best to visit often and she wants to come to church but her father will not allow her unless she has someone to go with. We have been meeting with other Less Actives and previous investigators to try and set up a carpool to help them, so we will see how that goes. If we had missionaries who lived up there they would he better qualified to help and visit with these people, as it's hard to meet with them more than once a week!

     We officially have a baptism coming up! Two, in fact! Sister Judette, who has been taught by the Elders, and Lorenzo!! Lorenzo is our 18 year old investigator who reminds me of Gabe. He has officially been able to overcome his addiction to cigarettes in an amazing amount of time. A few weeks ago we suggested he wean himself off them by lessening the amount every week (ex: 3 the first week two the next, then one and then the next week he would never smoke again.) We suggested he start at 4 a week and then he would be ready by July 2 but he insisted he would be ready by the 25th, and he is!! I wish I could describe the joy I felt when he told us he had refused the opportunity to smoke twice and only smoked once after we gave him the challenge and that he hasn't smoked since. He is truly amazing and the look on his face when he told us was simply amazing. 

     Our other progressing investigator is Tatay Roman. (He is the brother who experienced the miracle- where he was hospitalized due to excessive drinking and has fully recovered and quit drinking cold turkey) He has ben struggling these last few weeks as he has had to work and missed church last week. It hurt him to miss and I know he was feeling bad, but we will keep working with him and help him to know that he is so close and what a miracle he is. His family (all members) are truly supportive and they have begun to have family prayer! It will be too bad that he cannot be baptized this Saturday- especially since Sister Bagalay will be returning this week on vacation- but he will be ready soon so long as we can fix our schedules.

     Sadly Franklee and Rica are still MIA. Theyve spent the last three weeks in Pasuquin taking care of brother Franklee's sick mother, and we have not been able to get in contact with them. We may have to transfer their information to the Pasuquin missionaries, and as much as that pains me its more about helping them progress than what I want. It doesn't matter who marries them or who baptizes Brother Fraklee, just so long as they are truly converted and get the blessing of the Holy Ghost through baptism and confirmation.  That is all that matters. *cries*

     This week we got to go on splits with members! Last week we did mostly contacting and finding but this week we did actual sit-down lessons! We are reteaching a less active sister, Sister Marielle who is a senior in high school. (In the Philippines that means she is 16, as they have less school years but they just changed it to be K-12 so there are a lot of people who are having to adjust to that.) She was a referral from the sister we went tracting with last week and she is amazing! I honestly don't feel like we are teaching much, she has such a strong testimony and she knows and remembers all the doctrines. It's a great joy to be able to 'teach' her. 

     I think that the main reason most of the less actives in our area are less active is due to the 0% visiting and home teaching. (visiting and home teaching is a calling you recieve in the church. You dont get paid, but your 'job' is to go at least once a month to the people you have been assigned and share a gospel message. But really its a call to freidship. Two sisters from the ward/ branch do Visiting Teaching to individual sisters in their ward or baranch, and Home Teaching is done by two brothers who meet and teach familes as a whole.)  If you are truly doing your home teaching and visiting teaching you create a relationship with those you have been called to serve. If you are truly serving and getting to know them you can't help but love them.

    I am litteraly looking for excuses to buy ice cream here, and while there may be no bluebell there is still ice cream. This week my excuse has been a bet. While Sister Hermosa and I were walking back from one of our further brgys we saw the moon. It was about half full so you couldn't tell if it would get bigger or smaller. I told Sister Hermosa that if the moon got smaller within the next few days then she would have to buy me ice cream. She said the same, but if it got bigger. Needless to say I lost the bet as I think it was Sunday night it was a full moon. But who cares, because now we get ice cream! It's fun. 

     Speaking of fun... Lorenzo lives in this cool house back behind a pasture and as we were walking back to the road we saw a group of his friends who were heading to his house. We waived and said hello, and as we did so I stepped right in the middle of a cow pie. Just let that sink in... and it was not a solid step in step out, it was a step and slip. I'm honestly lucky I didn't fall flat on my back! I was wearing these shoes I bought specifically for the rainy season so they are basically just a woven string of plastic with plenty of holes to make a way for the water to drain out... but that also leaves plenty of room to let poop in... needless to say I was disgusted. The rest of the walk home I did my best to step in every single puddle I could to try and rinse it off before we got to the apartment. Fun stuff, cool story. I should tell it at parties. hahaha!

Love you all!!

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