After much dedication, hardwork, patience, prayers, and fasting, Shane Tubongbanua was baptized and confirmed as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. The program went so well. The young woman’s president (she is 20) sang a special musical number that totally related to Shane… I’m not sure what the song is called but it had the lyrics “you were meant to fly”. After one of the young women gave a talk and then Shane was baptized by one of the young men. While waiting for Shane to get dressed, we watched a Mormon message about a youth who was first to get baptized in her family and then due to her example her parents and rest of her family followed. It was perfect because both of Shane’s parents were there to watch her be baptized. Afterwards she bore her testimony and straight up said how she wants her parents to accept this gospel because she knows that it would help them and continued on sharing her testimony. The closing remarks were then given by the stake president and then Jose Porras gave the closing prayer. It was a great program, we had one of our less active members, Jose, involved in the program as well as the young men and the young women’s president. It was a very spiritual experience. Afterward the Stake President asked if we could organize an Family Home Evening with her family and have him come with us so we will be doing that tonight. He really wants to have Shanes parents accept the gospel and he is taking the time to focus on them with us which is amazing. Shane’s father, Noel, is doing great! He has stopped drinking coffee and alcohol for the past 5 days and he still continues to read from the Book of Mormon. Not only does he read the assignments that we give him but also is reading from the beginning and continuing onward. He told us that he likes reading from the Book of Mormon and that he wants to finish the book and set a goal for himself to finish it by the end of this year! He and his wife still won’t commit to a baptismal date and they still can’t find a way to set aside work and come to church. (most of their income comes from working on Sunday) but they are making changes in their lives and continue to support Shane in accepting this gospel and they help her live it as well. I can see that her parents have the desire especially, her dad.
I wasn’t able to take a picture with Shane and her parents because everyone’s camera died. but i did get a picture with her and her mom. (we took some pictures while we were waiting for her dad to come not knowing that all the cameras were about to die)
Jose Porras is doing great. The other day we went to his house and we followed up on his reading in the Book of Mormon and we found out that he has started reading everyday. Not only that, but he writes stuff down that he learns on a piece of paper! I gave him a notebook so that he could keep it all together and all the papers won’t get lost. We also gave him a Book of Mormon reading chart to make it a bit more exciting as well. While we followed up on his reading, he went off for ten minutes telling us the story and what he learned, and questions he had. He would just talk to us and read verses and tie it in to his life. I was amazed from all the effort he was putting in as he reads. We then taught him about the priesthood and then yesterday at church he told us that he would be having an interview with bishop and they would be talking about the priesthood. So Jose is doing amazing and he wants to start working with us as well. He also takes his Book of Mormon and scripture journal wherever he goes. He brought it to the baptism and to church yesterday.
This past week we also tried something new and gave a few tours of the church to our investigators. We ended up having 12 people come which is great and they seemed to really enjoy the tour and have a better understanding what we do. At the end we shared the experience of Joseph Smith. We didn’t have any investigators this past week attend church but at least we did what we could. We will continue to work with some of them and build their testimony of Joseph Smith. Rosalie and Carisa were some of the investigators that went and they are still struggling to accept the experience of Joseph Smith. The others were basically people we just found and thought it would be cool to take a tour of the church.
One day we were tracting and looking for new investigators. We came across a few people that say the words that we like to hear. they said “we are searching for the truth. I’ve been searching for so long” so we get really excited to teach them our message but they never are willing to listen or act on what we share with them. It’s a bit frustrating but just part of the challenge. I also had the opportunity to have Sister Aquino, tmy mission president’s wife work with us which was cool. We took her to Shane’s family and we talked about the temple and family. It was great to have her their to have her strong testimony from experience to share with them and to also be able to relate to them as parents of children.
We continue to find some success with the less actives. Especially the youth. We were able to find some more part-member families this past week that we didn’t know about and so that will keep us busy as we continue to find and work with the investigators that we have. We still get rejected.. no one will accept baptismal dates or commit to coming to church but we continue to work hard and put forth new ideas to help and invite people to come to the church and partake of this great gospel. We are planning to have a fireside very soon. We had an idea that we would have members provide 7 minute workshops based off of the missionary lessons and then at the end watch the Joseph Smith movie and then give time to recent converts to share their testimonies. The idea is to have members bring their friends and investigators as well as having the members help teach them and then having the testimonies of recent converts to help them gain a testimony and feel the spirit in the church. The ward is excited to help us and that will take place this coming October. Leganes is a very strong ward.. many of the members are returned missionaries and so whenever we ask for their help or if we have ideas they are willing to put it in action and help us out.
I continue to be honored to be a laborer in this part of the vineyard. I love you all so much!!