Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 38: Mary-Jane, Jennifer & Rosie


So this week was nuts. I don’t think we really had any time to catch our breath yet our lessons were way low. We barely taught anyone this week, but Mary-Jane and Jennifer are all set up for their baptism this Saturday and I'm so excited for them. Mary-Jane (11) has completely finished reading the Book of Mormon and has started over while Jennifer is in 3rd Nephi (age 16) They were a referral from their grandfather who was baptized earlier this year, and we hope that the gospel will continue to grow in their family.
This Tuesday  I did NOT want to get out of bed but we ended up having a really successful day and even if we didn’t get that many lessons we did help some people out who seriously needed it. We also went finding (out trying to find new people to teach) on a rainy morning after a huge concert was held the night before so we weren't sure if we would find anyone (as they would probably still be sleeping) but THE CRAZIEST thing happened. We had walked for 2 hours and had only found one guy who didn’t seem that interested so we didn’t stop. We kept going in the rain up the mountain and past the cow.

So this is a side note but there was this cow who was, apparently he had decided he wanted to be a free range cow so he ran away from home. He was running and running and you could see the farmer chasing after him. After a while we lost track of the two as we continued walking but about 15 minutes later we saw the cow again and he was still running and the poor farmer was still chasing him. It was quite funny.

But anyways we went all the way up the mountain trying to talk to everyone but no go. We ended up at a less-active's house and chatted with the mother for a bit. She expressed how she wanted to encourage her whole family to be active but felt that she needed to stay home and work so they could go. We set up a FHE (Family Home Evening:  where the family gathers for a spiritual message, games and such) and then headed back down the mountain as we figured we could keep finding in the main part of town where there could be more people.On our way down we were feeling a little discouraged (having walked for 4 hours and only found 1 person and met with a less active.  As we were walking this sister approached us, just beaming, and said “Sisters! Remember me?” We had found her several weeks ago while we had been to the outdoor market buying fish and had given her a pamphlet. We may have found her those weeks ago but she found us this week. Let me tell you about Rosie. The first thing you think of when you see her is ‘wow, that is a gorgeous smile.” She is just beaming from ear to ear all the time. We got to meet with her youngest son and talked about the Plan of Salvation as her husband died two years ago, but you would never tell based on that smile! She had chosen that although she misses and loved her departed husband she will live her life well so she may be with him again- and that is before we started teaching her! It was simply the most incredible thing ever. We hope she will be ready for baptism by the end of this year.
That is really all that happened this week, besides the new trainee, sister Pangilinan from Manila. When Sister Ganaden and I were waiting for Sister Hermoasa and Sister Panilinan to get home we knew we would get home close to lunchtime so we kept checking at the door every five minutes or so to see if they had arrived yet. It was really funny. We have a squeaky gate so every time we heard it swing open we would fly to the door, but it was the neighbors getting home or the water delivery guy or a dog bumping into it.
As for Sister Salbation Espiritu. Her grandson JR has come 3 consecutive weeks in a row to church now and we are trying to work with him and the relief society to help him bring his grandmother with him to church. Salbatin’s mental state has greatly declined but there are days where she can remember the day of the week and she is just as adorable as ever. Her son, Edgar has also started to return to church and overcome some problems but the family is truly being strengthened by the ward and by God. It amazing to watch.
From the sister who will never stop smiling

Sister Eldredge

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week 37

Sister Eldredge & Elder Eldredge
Serving in The Ring of Fire


This has been a week… On Monday we set up a FHE with a member and invited two investigator families, however when we went to go pick them up they were not at home. So we arrived to the FHE sad until we realized that they had also invited their own nonmember friends! It was really cool. We had brought with us a sister who had just moved into town and had been going all the way to Laoag to attend church. She had a great time and got to meet their daughters who are somewhat close in age to her, then we went to the Espiritu’s home. An active member has been working with Edgar Espiritu (the son of Salvation) and he had set up a FHE and had invited us. Can I just repeat that? The members had set up a FHE in a LA home and invited us missionaries. When we got there basically all the young men were there to support JR, who is 17. Salvation loved all the visitors and all in all it was an incredible experience. Not to mention their economic situation is improving. We are thinking of talking to their neighbors and teaching them as a family. (the neighbors take care of nanay when Edgar and Jr are at work.)
    So Sister Ganaden is scared to go out and work now as we keep having days were we will do everything within our power to find, have appointments, meet with investigators, and all that good stuff- yet we keep having days were we are wondering and knocking on doors and it just feels like we are not making much of a difference. The Ward is great, we have two progressing investigators who will be getting interviewed this Saturday for baptism but it seems in the finding and lesson area we are lacking. We joke that Tuesday mornings are cursed, but we go out and we work our tails off trying to find those that are there. This is a city, so we know they are there somewhere we just gotta find them! And Find we did! We may not have made it up to the number goal we had set for ourselves but we found some families that seem really interested and have member friends!
     So this was a great pump up for Sister Ganaden, then we ran into an American. I was shy and didn’t want to approach him at first but Sister Ganaden was insistent so we went up and talked to him. In English. At the house and while emailing I'm pretty good at speaking in English, but I realized during our chat with Albert that I speak Taglish. That isn’t English. So it was slightly embarrassing how I couldn’t speak. He wasn’t interested and refused a pamphlet or anything so I was worried that it would make Sister Ganaden sad again but she was too busy laughing at my terrible English so it was all good.
    So Nanay Tina, the one with all the questions. When we first met her she was sooo against baptism, as she didn’t want to discuss it, and sometimes it felt like she just wanted to check and see how much we knew the bible, but it seems every time we work with her its just a milestone in spirituality. During the lessons you can tell the spirit is trying to talk to her. If he was any more present he would be visible. Sometimes it feels like he is waiving his hand in front of Tina’s face! But This lesson I feel like she finally got it. She had agreed to our discussions and the logic behind it but this time she felt the spirit and recognized it for what it was. She just kept saying ‘I want to be baptized. I want to be baptized.” You can imagine my excitement. She still has a way to go and a few more questions she wants to work through but it feels that she will begin to progress now. She still needs to work on building a testimony but she can recognize the spirit and to me, even if she isn’t baptized or anything I feel like I have made a difference in her life. I would like to also point out we had gone to her house every day this week but this was the first time she had been there (on Friday.) She teased us about not having come sooner as Friday was her birthday and she had a party to celebrate turning 61.
    Our progressing investigators are Mary Jane and her sister Jennifer. They are really good friends with the Recent Convert family that will be getting sealed in the temple this December [temple family sealing is making the family for eternity; they will always be a family.] and they always beat us to church on Sunday. This last Sunday when we got there we asked the members if they had seen them and they hadn’t. So we called them but their grandmother had the phone back at their house and said they weren’t there. So we called Sister Domingo- the RC- and she said she hadn’t seen them and was about to leave for church. Her daughters were already there but they said Mary Jane and Jennifer hadn’t come with them. We were just about ready to go and find them when they jumped out from where they had been hiding – they and all the Domingo’s had been pulling our leg and totally pranked us. Sister Ganaden chased Mery Jane around saying “Don’t do that!” and Mery Jane and Jennifer were just laughing and laughing. It was a good prank! Haha.
    This next cycle [6 weeks] will end on Christmas day and Sister Hermosa will be training again so we will have a new sister in the apartment, which will be super fun! I just can't wait.

From the Sister who, despite ups and downs, is working her hardest.  

Sister Eldredge

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Week 36

With Wings of Eagles


The hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilllsssssssssss are alive with the sound of chriiiiiiiiiiiistmaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasss aaaahhhh ah ah ahhhhhhhhhh....     I have to say this week really did go by fast. Something I’ve realized is the more homesick I am the harder I work, so I guess that in and of itself is a blessing and a curse? Not really sure, anyways onto the highlights of the week. This week could be titled my 'what-the-freak-is-wrong-with-you-where-is-your-brain' week but that is also a good title for an autobiography. I have realized that while I like to think of myself as a happy person the whole ‘not talking’ thing has made people think the opposite of me. So I have been trying to put forth an effort to
·         Learn Tagalog jokes
·         Speak more
·         Smile more than I already think I am
    I asked my companion if she thought I was a happy person and she said (bless her she is so honest) that SHE thought I was a nice and happy person however, that most of the ward here thought I was standoffish. She did admit that some of the members, the ones we worked with often, and most of our investigators also think I am a happy person. So that softened the blow. Haha but as of now I am trying my best to be a better person and become who God needs me to be. I have a feeling that by the time I get home I'm going to be a very talkative person, hopefully that will be a good thing. However I have also been feeling very homesick, and so I prayed at the beginning of my personal study this week to help me fully commit myself to the work and to not feel so homesick… and then I read about in the Liahona about gospel centered dating and the importance of an education. So... That was fun. But at least I know God has a sense of humor!
    Funny story: So, as I'm trying to apply the whole ‘be a fun missionary’ thing I was teaching a lesson about recognizing the spirit. So I said (in Tagalog of course) ‘the spirit doesn’t come at us like HALLELUJA but more like gentle guidance and feelings of love and comfort.’ However I didn’t get to finish my sentence because when I said/ sang hallelujah I surprised the investigator so bad she choked on spit and had a coughing fit. She had to go and drink a full glass of water to help her stop coughing. That same day I offered a prayer for a sister we found and I asked that her whole family would continue in safety and health and some other things I can’t really remember and at the end of the prayer she was crying. So much for being a fun missionary... I was so embarrassed about the couching fit thing that I was very willing to do some earth bending and burry myself under a rock. But I guess it’s something that she will never forget. The next time we met with her we asked how she was feeling about the lesson and she laughed and said she felt the ‘gentle guidance’ of the spirit. So at least I made an impression.
    Another fun thing this week was we held a FHE (family home evening, it’s when the family gathers and one of the family members teaches a lesson, then there are games and sometimes treats.) at a Recent Convert’s house (or RC) and we taught about keeping things in perspective. So the Domingo’s live waaaaay out in the middle of nowhere so there is very little light pollution so the sky is almost blue with the sheer amount of stars. So we walked a bit to get away from the light of their house and then read D&C 78:17- 18 and talked about how God, our Father and the creator of the world, has blessings He is just dying to give to us if we follow His Son. So then we looked up to the sky and talked about how we cannot even comprehend the majesty of these blessings. Then I shined my flashlight in their faces. [My flashlight is hecka strong, I can point out stars and you can see the beam of light all the way up there] They were all ‘oi, turn that thing off!” and so I asked them, as I shined the flashlight in their face, if they could still see the stars. Hannah, the oldest, said ‘I can’t see anything anymore, why can’t I see?’ so we talked about how worldly things can get in the way of us seeing our true potential. If we focus on the things down here on earth, we can’t see the stars so well. They are still there, waiting for us but we just can’t see them. It was a really awesome lesson.
    At the FHE were two of our progressing investigators Mery Jane and Jennifer. MJ is in Moroni 7 right now and her older sister is in Ether. We hope they will be baptized on the 26th and they are incredibly dedicated the gospel, but are both of fragile health so sometimes it’s hard for them to get to church. After the lesson while we were playing games MJ asked “Ading, once I finish the Book of Mormon can I start over?” [ading means older sister, its pronounced adding.] And you can guess I was just tickled pink to talk about the hidden treasures that await her as she continues to read and study from the Book of Mormon.
    I love being out here, and I love teaching and serving these people. I’m not here to preach, I'm here to serve and help them receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. So although there are rough times and homesick times I know I can trust in the Lord and get through anything. (1 Nephi 11:17)
From this stargazer
Sister Eldredge