Seeing a lot of these broken families, just makes me appreciate ours so much!! And the knowledge we have of the gospel.. just makes it that much more amazing! It's getting better for sure, still is very hard and I still feel so new! Ha but I know the Lord has a plan for me here, and will provide a way for me. :)
Something else I learned this week… We need to first seek to understand before we seek to be understood. I've been really trying extra hard this week to listen to our investigators and be able to discern their needs. It's helped a lot! But we need to understand where people come from and their side of things before we can tell them things. :) And definitely applies with the language! I need to understand them and their problems before I can express how to help them. :)
We had 8 investigators come to church yesterday!! So that was good. Ruth and Angel are progressing so much and are going to tell their family this week! And we have a new investigator. Gladys. Kind of a cool experience with her-it was our first real lesson with her. And she's so prepared!! We were talking about families (she has a daughter and a husband.) and I had the feeling I should share my testimony about families and about how Dad passed away. But I haven't really shared the story about Dad, just with Sister Elma. And especially with it being our first lesson with her. But I kept feeling like I needed to, so I did. And the spirit was so strong! And then after Sister Elivera told me how grateful she was I shared that. And how she had the feeling I needed to share it during the lesson and was praying the whole time that I would. So it was just neat!! I'm so grateful for eternal families!!
My teaching is going good! Sometimes it's still pretty rough for me, but I can definitely feel the difference when I teach by the spirit and when I try to teach based on my own knowledge or what I want to say…It doesn't work!!
And hmm... a lizard pooped on me during a lesson... so yeah that happened. Ha they are the iguana things that are everywhere and it was on the sealing and then... yep. Haha so gross! But we had CSP on Saturday. Community Service Project. Which was fun!! Just hot!! Some people from the word help clean up around this business. After Bishop took us out to lunch which was so nice!! Everyone is so nice!!
But some spiritual things I wanted to share with you :) I've been reading this Book of Mormon study guide with my Book of Mormon reading and it has so many good things in there!! But one of the quotes in there was "When trials aren't a consequence of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more." So I loved that! And it's so true!! If we want to become like Heavenly Father we have A LOT of growing to do, and it's going to be hard and uncomfortable at times. But how worth it!! And if we go through something, God will always provide away for us to accomplish what He wants us to accomplish or to get through something :)
There was a quote I love from a talk I read by Elder Holland, "We cannot sign on for a battle of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight- a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless." Sometimes I'm like yeah, kay, I'm doing all the things I'm supposed to so it should be easy right?? And I should be blessed right?? Hahaha but it's not supposed to be easy and that's what makes it so worth it in the end. :)
So those three kids we have been teaching-the 15 year old, Makmak we thought at the beginning he was so ready but it turns out Anjo, the one who didn't really listen at first is sooo ready!!! He's so ... astig, like cool. He told us yesterday a bunch of things he'd learned from 2 weeks ago at church, we were surprised he remembered! But we taught them with their less active dad these past two times and you can tell it's really hitting him but he has some problems so I'm just hoping and praying everything works out with them!! Ruth and Angel-the two girls we found contacting are so astig too! They came to church yesterday but couldn't stay for sacrament but hopefully next week. They have so many GOOD questions, and it's cool teaching someone close to my same age! They are committed for May 30 but we'll see ;) I've learned that the goal date.. Usually isn't the real date HA. But there's a lady in that house we have been teaching too. We taught her once like three weeks ago maybe--no interest. But now she's totally interested!! Her husband and one of her sons have passed away and she loves the plan of Salvation. Ahh. I just love teaching them!! :)
It's been a fairly good week. I was struggling at the beginning but I just realized AGAIN that it's not about me. :) Sometimes I have to say that when I look in the mirror, "it's not about me, it's not about me, it's not about me" hahaha. But for real, I'm just happy to be able to be sharing my beliefs and what has helped me to these amazing and beautiful people. I can't to meet those ones that for some reason I only can help. :) This is the Lord's work. I feel privileged and blessed to be a part of it!
YES we got to watch conference!! So stinking good!! I never have looked forward to it so much! We watched it at the stake center which is our church, it was for the whole stake. (Which is pretty much like our ward maybe) and yeah. I took so many notes! There's something I learned from every single person. At home I found myself only listening to like 12's or the first presidency's talks but every one of them said something profound to me! All the missionaries going home soon loved the Saturday session hahaha they are all ready to get married and have a family now. I really liked Elder Pearson's of the seventy. About how "hanging in there" isn't a principle of the gospel and our daily discipleship determines our eternal destiny. I just have a renewed motivation to live my life, every single day, striving to serve God. And to love His children. :) And especially when I get home! I need to live everyday with the gospel as my priority and endure to the end! And that strength to endure comes from Christ. And how we can be joyful in hard times as well! Life is so much better when we are happy and that happiness comes from families and from living righteously! And then of course the Atonement.
So after I got home from Cauayan I just was so inspired and motivated to be better. And that Thursday I just decided to be the absolute best I can be with Tagalog, with everything, and it was SUCH a good day. We found these 2 girls who are 16 and 17 and they have so many amazing questions! We taught them right there! They just invited us in. And they were so amazed with my Tagalog! Haha. I got a lot of help that day! And I know as I continue studying my hardest, the Lord will make up for what I can't.
Words cannot express how much I love and am grateful for you! Your faith and testimony strengthens mine. And I want you to know that I too know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. And that Thomas S. Monson is our living prophet today. I sustain him. And I know that they are here to help us and direct us in these days. I'm so thankful for the words of the prophets and the leaders of the church. They are the words of God. :)
So the typhoon! I was so scared! Haha. They were telling us it was supposed to be this huge thing so they let us grocery shop early and make sure we had a 72 hour kit. But it got less and less every day and by yesterday it was just a tropical storm. :) It rained pretty hard and there was a lot of wind but nothing too shabby! Very lucky and blessed! But it's good that we were prepared too. :) President and Sister Rahlf are very good at making sure we are okay and prepared. They care so much about us!
My cute investigators are all good!! We had 9 come to church on Sunday! Most of them are kids... but that's okay! We finally taught CJ, Anjo, and Mak again. They are committed to baptism and they came to church and Anjo and Mak went to mutual :) I can feel the spirit so strong in our lessons with them! Their dad who is inactive came to church too and he hasn't been in over 10 years! A miracle!!
.. As a family... we need to keep the commandments and go to church so we can return to our Father in Heaven as a family. Warms my heart to know this truth :)
The language is coming along better. I've started to be more open in just trying to converse which helps a TON. Sometimes I feel so awkward! Cause I wasn’t so badly to be able to talk and converse with them and sometimes I just can't. But it's all good. :) It is getting better, and that's all I can ask for.
I made my first contact all by myself when I was with the STL's haha. This kid (19) sat on the back with me and I started to speak to him in Tagalog and he freaked out! It was so funny!
But I can really testify that the way we feel God's love is by helping others. And every single person still has the light of Christ. It's like a storm, even though there may be many, many dark clouds, the sun is still there. And we just have to find it and light it up :) But I went with the STL's in their area and taught with them and I could feel their spirit so much, it was really good to see a different style of teaching.
All is well!! It's really hard still and I still don't know what people are saying more than half the time-but I've changed my attitude!! And I love it here :) It's really hard but I know it will get better! And I eventually will be able to communicate.. I can't wait for that day! Ha, but this is the only time I have to fully give to the Lord. And I decided to just suck it up and forget about ME because that's what I was doing was worrying about me and thinking of me. But this is His work :) And I've been set apart to do this so I'm going to do it the best I can!
Oh my gosh though! Bugs. There's bugs everywhere, all the time. If you focus really hard you can see a bug anywhere... on my desk... on the ground... on me... on my shoe... So I've just kinda trained my eyes to not focus and then it doesn't freak me out! HA. But for real. I haven't really seen anything too gnarly yet besides those bugs in the MTC, thank goodness!
Kuya Tristan got baptized on Saturday! He's 11. His parents were sealed but haven't been to church in a long time. But they are separated right now. And they both came to the baptism! And you could just see how happy they were for their son! It was amazing! And then the dad came to church yesterday! YAY. Just makes me so happy!
The Philippines MTC was so fun! All the Philippinos were so nice to us!! And try to talk to us Americans all the time. The meetings were the best because most of them are tone deaf but they sing with all their might and it's the cutest thing in the whole world! We went to Immigration on Monday... which was just a treat. We got to wait in that hot nasty building for 3 and a half hours! It was crazy! Everyone freaks out when they see me! It's soooo funny! They just stare and then when I say Kumusta po or Hello po they get so happy! It's so fun!
I am so humbled... These people’s houses. We are just extremely blessed. But I've felt so strongly, Heavenly Father's love for them. It's amazing. There's one or two wealthier homes I've been in that have some kind of floor but for the most part it’s just the dirt. A little room tucked behind a rundown building or a hut thing. It's really sad. But they are still so nice and so willing!
I really do love it, but it is really hard! So much harder than I ever expected. But God is helping me and I know He loves these people, as do I!!