So this last Monday (March 13th) was MLC (Missionary Leadership Council) and then this Tuesday was Zone Conference so I'm actually emailing on Wednesday… so lots of emails! Yay!! We’re doing our best to shorten our lessons (less chatting and more teaching) which is actually difficult as Ilicono’s in general are long winded. They’ll talk to the wind if they have to but they have to talk!! That being said we are also focusing on those that will be baptized this month (Zeus) and those who will hopefully be baptized (Channel, Jasmine, Denver, Angelo Gabriel, Iris and Nicole) next month. We are just waiting on church attendance and parent’s permission for some. We got to work with members this last week as we picked up some members from their house and took them to their neighbor's house to teach them. It was awesome as we were extending an invitation to be baptized she hesitated, and without having to ask the members jumped right in and talked about their own conversion and how it took a while and several ‘goal dates’ from the missionaries but that they understood that baptism was the end goal. Would they be baptized or not? So they took it seriously and that is why they read the Book of Mormon and went to church and prayed about it. It was so powerful, yet the investigator still felt nervous-which is natural. The culture is ‘born a catholic die a catholic’ even if you don’t go to church or live what you believe you gotta at least die a catholic.
We also had a great lesson with Anna Marie, who lives in Magsingal- a neighboring town. We talked about the Gospel of Christ (faith in Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end) and she just started crying, hugging her Book of Mormon to her chest and said; “It's true.” She all but whispered it, but it was so powerful. She reads from her Book of Mormon everyday, she hasn’t gotten far because she likes memorizing the scripture and quoting them to her children- three kids under the age of 7. If she can read every day- and get a spiritual experience from it- even with little kids, we can too.
We taught Denver, Jasmine and Chanell this last week too, or more like we went to their house (a good 1.5 hour walk) and only Jasmine was there. They have been investigating for several years now but their father has yet to give permission. But they can still go to church, I love meeting with these kids because their testimony is so strong! They can call down miracles and I know they will- that is why I'm so confident they will be able to be baptized this upcoming April. Not to mention us doing a ‘mock baptism interview’ with Jasmin was more her teaching us than me teaching her! It's almost like a flash back for when I would teach Gwyneth back in Batac!!
I also got to see Elunard get some ‘aha!’ moments when w e taught him this week. I have to say I am soooo grateful to have been able to meet with Elder David A Bednar (one of the 12 apostles) and to listen to him talk about agency. It's all about letting people know our purpose is to INVITE. I am not a police officer here to drag people to the baptismal font! (Not that I ever was.) I'm here basically handing out invitations to God’s Kingdom. Like I said a few months ago, I'm offering free tickets to something better than Disneyland and people think it's more fun to do facebook or work than prepare and accept that. Priorities. If you don’t have 5 minutes a day to read God’s word then you are more busy than He designed you to be. He made an entire day for rest!
This Friday-Saturday (12pm Friday – 12pm Saturday) we were on exchanges and I was with my ex-STL Sister Corpuz. We got to meet with all of our progressing Investigators and she pointed out that how I teach is by using parables that apply to everyday life.
we are all pens. and the spirit ink.
We’ve got to keep the ink filled up and get refills so that God can make art and poetry and inspire others. it's not us that does it. God writes and the spirit comes out, but we are necessary too- if the pen breaks that's a big mess! keep yourself together and worthy and clean (if you are gross He may not want to pick you up until you are clean) so God can pick you up.
It was a fun realization. And now the best part… I GOT TO GO BACK TO BATAC!!
It was only for a few hours but because the MLC was this Monday and then Zone conference on Tuesday that meant I would have to take a 3 hour bus drive up to Laopag, have the meeting, go back down to Vigan to sleep, the BACK up to Laoag for the conference… so we asked if we could just sleep in Batac and Prez said yes!! We got permission to use their phone number so we could find them and then spent about an hour trying to find them… The area boundaries changed since I left and they were in an area I had never been to! It was exhausting and somewhat embarrassing to realize I am not as smart (geographically speaking) as I thought. But we did run into a few members on our mad search for the Batac trysome. Which was awesome, and an additional bonus I did not expect.
The actual Zone Conference was beautiful and so inspiring. This whole cycle I've been thinking about my duties as a leader and what is expected of me (we got no handbooks besides the one everyone has) and this conference was everything I needed to hear. We talked about obedience and what it means to be a real leader. We are all leaders and whether we have a calling or not is up to the Lord and doesn’t mean someone is better than someone else.
From the sister who writes too muchSister Eldredge