Magandang umaga po sa ating lahat! (or hello to everybody for you English speakers) This week went by really fast, but mostly because I slept through most of it. I caught some sort of stomach flu so I honestly was sleeping if I wasn’t teaching. Not only that but this week our ward had an activity almost every night this week, mostly geared towards reactivating the less active or those who were beginning to go less active or visiting those who are less active due to health problems. We also had some investigator-based activities that had quite a turnout. We honestly have only found three potential investigators these last 6 weeks and we have had to drop several of our investigators as well so our teaching pool has dropped to almost less than 10. That’s not good. So we have been doing some really inventive things to try and find people who are actually ready to hear the gospel and act in faith. But so far, the sickness has probably something to do with it, nothing. However this Sunday we had some members come up to us when we arrived at church who said: “There is a non member sitting in the chapel- he wants to meet with you.” Yeah, we were pretty dang excited. We all but ran up those stairs to the chapel to meet Ed. Ed was visited briefly a few years ago by some couple missionaries and out of nowhere decided he wanted to learn more- now.
Batac ward is trying to split into two, but to do that they need more male members that are worthy to hold the priesthood (the power and authority to act in God’s name- this power is usually used to give blessings by putting their hands on the other person’s head for the sick, give blessings of comfort, and to receive revelation on what to do in administrative things. There are other responsibilities of the priesthood but this isn’t an essay on trying to define ‘the Priesthood,’ it’s an email from a sister missionary. So if you have questions ask a priesthood holder, ie. An adult male member of the church in your area or ask the missionaries in your area.) in order to split. Not to mention since I got here in Batac the baptisms have mostly consisted of children whose parents are members, and young teens. So, that being said the ward just about flocked to Ed in excitement. He seemed really surprised by the warm welcome, but enjoying it all the same. He even wanted to meet with us after church to begin the lessons! So we will just have to see how this goes with lots of faith and prayers.
Some of you have been asking about Nanay Salvation Espriritu. I can’t remember if I mentioned it but she is 94 years old. When I first got here in August she could recognize faces- if the lighting was good- and hold a flowing conversation about her past and genealogy. The day after I wrote down her pedigree chart her mental health began to fail. Now, she has gotten to the point that has been called (in Doctor Who anyways) as ‘ghosting.’ She isn’t mentally present anymore, just repeating random words, normally the name of her son, who takes care of her. I felt like I had stepped into Silence in the Library at some points as she was ghosting. Hopefully her mentality will strengthen but if not it may be a tender mercy for her. We are now currently focusing on her son Edgar, and his son JayR. JayR is 100% active in the church. He attends seminary and all three hours of church and has tons of friends in the church and I love listening to his testimony. His father however is still a work in progress. He has the testimony but work and some addictions are giving him a hard time. He has an incredibly humble spirit and lessons with him are powerful, even if he doesn’t have much to say.
We are still working with Rosie and I hope she will continue to progress, but every person is different and they all come with different sets of interests, problems and testimonies. It’s learning to know what to say and when to say it, but if you just follow the Spirit and do what He says then you don’t have much to worry about. Honestly sometimes I wonder why life is so stressful. Really all we need to do is try our best to show gratitude for the Savior and His indescribable gift he has given to us. He didn’t pay it half way and expect us mere mortals to make up the rest, He paid in full. (That is the literal translation of Pagbabayad-sala ni Jesucristo- the Tagalog version of atonement- the payment of our sins by Christ) Life shouldn’t be THAT hard, but if it was easy there wouldn’t be much meaning behind it. If I could become an Olympic ice skater in a day I wouldn’t find as much joy in it if I didn’t work at it and earn that achievement. Same with life. We have to work hard at it and sometimes we want to just give up (and it would be so much easier for us personally if we did) but we don’t. We don’t give up because of what waits for us at the end. So if you have a deadline, meet it; and if you have fears know you are loved. if you have a race run it, run it like Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hiddleston are waiting for you at the finish line. Because someone even better than that is there: Jesus. And man, He gives the best hugs. It's hard now or it may get hard later but the end result is better than ice cream. Don’t ever give up. You don’t have to do it alone “Because our Heavenly Father will be in the ring with me. And together we will win 5000 pesos and with it we will buy a big bus to take the orphans to parks and places like that. I’m serious!” (name that movie) But in all seriousness, you can do anything if you have Him on your side.
From the sister who is out finding investigators