These past couple of months I have found much strength and motivation through studying, pondering and praying about the scriptures. For the past couple of weeks I have felt that my testimony has been very low.. as in the lowest it has ever been in my entire life. I felt like I was literally being ripped apart and torn and stepped upon by a greater power that I had within myself. I felt low and useless. Coming to this realization made me feel a bit more depressed because I am a “missionary”, I am supposed to have the spirit with me, my testimony is supposed to grow, I am supposed to change into a better person…. I have come to a conclusion that this is the process that I have to take so that I can be reshaped and refined so that I can carry on His work and do His will. Today I was able to restart the Book of Mormon again and in my studies a specific sentence stood out to me: “Let us go up, the Lord is able to deliver us”. I also have been reading some articles on the pioneers and we know that the plains they crossed were flat but at the very end, after enduring so much, they had to climb a mountain in order to reach the valley. I realized that I have been “walking across the plains” I have been putting forth good effort. I am moving and accomplishing much good. But now I find myself near the end and in order to get to the end, I must climb a mountain. I must give more… Now is not the time to rest from our labors, we need to be more diligent in the work and move forward. We need to “go up”.. we need to climb the mountain. More is being expected now and we must put forth our efforts and show Him that we are willing to do His work. There is more to do and we have to continue. I know that if we do, we will reach the top. We will find rest, and many blessings will await us there. If we continue the Lord will be with us. He will bless us, He will “deliver” us.
I love you all,
The church is true! This past week just flew by, Sister Dotillos and I continued to work hard in figuring out our area and finding new people to teach. Through all of our efforts and diligent work we have seen many blessings and tender mercies from the Lord. One day we didn’t have any set lessons… we had a few ideas of people to visit, but it looked like we would be tracting the entire day. We went out and we tract house after house and house after house… nothing. We kept on getting punted from the potential people we had in mind to teach. After a couple of hours we still hadn’t taught a single lesson and no one was receiving us into their homes. It was a cold rainy day so the idea of going home and just studying the scriptures and doing language study seemed like it would be more productive than keep on getting rejected. But of course we continued in our efforts and decided to go tracting in a poorer area because the “rich and the learned” weren’t accepting us. It was becoming dark and we still hadn’t taught a lesson yet that day. I remembered someone who we had met a week earlier and we decided that since we were near we would go back to that house. We knocked and still nothing. We decided to knock at their next door neighbor and before we even introduced ourselves she invited us into her home. My companion and I look at each other somewhat taken back that someone is finally letting us in as well as letting us in before we even introduce ourselves or who we are. We went into her house and we find other women in the house as well with their children. As we are talking to them more of their family starts entering the house and before we know it there are over ten adults sitting down and talking with us. We begin teaching the lesson and really focus on how the gospel blesses families. Each of them seemed really interested in the message. We handed them a pamphlet about the restoration of the gospel and before we left they were already reading it and asking questions about it. We were able to schedule another appointment with them. It is just so clear that Heavenly Father truly blesses us. At times he tests us but if we just endure a little longer, rich blessings await us. The next day, we were very busy and were able to teach 10 lessons and we found another very large family (extended family lives together) of which two just happen to be less-actives that we didn’t know about.
So this past week we had a very good “finding” week and I hope and pray that most of the new investigators that we found, especially the families, will progress and come to church and such.
An investigator that we found two weeks ago continues to progress really well. Her name is Emiliana. She is so sweet and she is already reading the Book of Mormon. Whenever we come and teach her she just seems so happy and eager to learn more. We just finished Lesson 1 with her this week. I love teaching her, she is an older woman who sews for a living. When we visit, her husband isn’t home but that is the only time she says that is good for her. She wasn’t able to make it to church this past Sunday due to a family emergency so I hope she will be able to come next week.
I love and miss you all so much… but I am truly loving the time that I have to serve here in the Philippines. I still can’t get over the beauty and I just love the people here so much. The language continues to be a challenge but it is good.. now that I’m trying to speak in Ilonggo I have realized how much Tagalog I learned. Also the other day we found an investigator who only spoke Tagalog so it was nice that I was able to communicate with him. I will probably continue to study Tagalog a little bit because it is so helpful, but I will focus on Ilonggo.
Love you all so much!
The weather here has been unusually cold for the Philippines. Luckily I have a jacket and a scarf that I can wear when we go out to proselyte. I am literally cold all the time; I sleep in a sweater, pants, and a blanket each night and I’m so grateful for the hot chocolate you sent. It warms me up when I drink it. I even heat water now to take showers because taking a cold shower would just be death. All the people here are wearing coats, hats, and scarves as well. It is pretty funny, never thought I would get so cold here, and it’s not just me, everyone is cold. Hopefully the weather will warm up again soon since this kind of weather isn’t normal here.
This week has been full of trying to get to know our area, most of our time was spent tracting and trying to find new investigators. We were also able to contact quite a few of the less active families and two of the families actually came to church yesterday! One of the Less Active members is really confused about how Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are separate so we will teach him about that in our next lesson. The other less active family that came is the Ogaya family. We just taught the wife and kids because the husband was sick and in the hospital. She has six kids who are all under the age 14. She expressed to us that she is so glad to have sister missionaries now in the branch. She said that now she thinks that her husband will listen to the missionaries because they are sisters instead of elders. In our finding efforts we have found a cute little family who seems pretty promising. We have taught them two times and whenever we go the wife and kids just have such great big smiles. The second time we went the kids were outside playing and when they saw my companion and me, they ran toward us and gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. After teaching them we went to a few other homes around their house and the kids were following us and joining in on the other lessons we were able to teach. We were also able to have a baptism of two investigators on Saturday, children of the Ore family. The parents are recent converts. They have two other kids who are not yet baptized so we hope to teach and baptize them so they can go to the temple as an entire family. That is the goal the parents have as well. They want to wait until all their kids get baptized. I love the Ore family, they are so kind and open with us. Whenever we see them they just have the largest smiles on their faces and they share with us experiences that they have had and how the gospel has blessed their lives.
Here in Guimaras, we live near a city which is much smaller than the Kalibo. It doen’t seem much like a city when compared to the one in Kalibo. We get our food at the market which is conveniently right outside our doorstep. We email at an internet shop near our house. My area is called Jordan, it is different from Kalibo because I am used to seeing houses right off of the highway but here you have to travel into the bukid and hike a bit to reach some houses. I love it. While we were tracting the other day we found a little water fall in and a bamboo bridge. I started to cross it but then my foot fell through the bridge so we decided not to cross it and turn back and find a different way.
We continue to have fun in our finding efforts and are trying to come up with new ideas to get investigators. At the moment we don’t really have a teaching pool so we just find and teach less actives and recent converts. Soon we will have progressing investigators which will be nice.
Here is some interesting information about some of the food here:
Chico, is small, round, and brown. It tastes like squash with a LOT of brown sugar on it 🙂
Saba: Is a kind of a banana that you first boil then eat. It is delicious.
Guimaras is famous for their mangoes among the Panay islands. I haven’t tried one yet but I will get one and eat it today 🙂
I love you all so much!!
Palangga ko kamo (back to ilonggo again)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!