i am sorry to hear that bo lost another game.... but dad. you CANT possibly take all the blame. that would be like me taking the blame for the investigator that dropped us this last week right before his baptism! people have agency (annoying i know) and although we teach and teach and teach them, they must make their own decisions. you can coach and coach and coach (and i know you are amazing at it dad, you have coached me me whole life) but those boys have to decide to run hard and block hard. don't get down dad and bowen, a win is coming. you just gotta find a way to light a fire under their butts. hahaha that's some good coaching advice ehh?
courtney. i am glad she is loving school and her job. she is smart and will do well with whatever she decides to do.
hannah. could she be anymore busy? i don't know how she does it all. tell her that it's okay that math is hard. she needs to remember that life has challenges. but she just has to study hard and be determined about it. if i have to learn tagalog, she can pass algebra! i know this. tell her we have a similar challenge. but we are thomas' and we are way more stubborn than anyone or anything else.
anyways, i am glad to hear life at home is good and normal. this week for me has been life changing, actually.
we had our two primary girls baptized! it had many challenges, including the fact that we started an hour late because we had no Priesthood there to preside. but it was okay, it went on and things worked out great. they were both giggly and happy as usual, except they had an extra little light to them. i hope that in 5 years from now they are still active. we worry because no one in their families are members. our goal now is to try and get the parents to listen in on the lessons. we hope that if they can get a taste of the Spirit, they will have a desire.
this coming Saturday we have another baptism! and this time, it will be (hopefully) two future Priesthood holders! One of the candidates is Micheal Audencial. He is in his late 30's and has a wife and kids. this man amazes me. he is a member of the "Iglesia ni Cristo" church. some background on them, they are one of the craziest religions i have ever heard of. the church was started be an ex-mormon missionary who served in the philippines! they have some strange rituals, and HATE mormons. but they call their choir the "morman tabernacle choir". i don't understand. haha anyways, their pastors keep their members very controlled. and if anyone ever found out he was converting to the Gospel, they would honestly try to hurt him. there have been times when this church has threatened to take away families and burn down houses to those who became members of the church. it is some really crazy stuff. but, this brother has no fear. his family has done a good job of keeping things pretty secret, but he really has no fear. he has been so prepared by the Lord. he has taught me. you see, he speaks really good english, so teaching him is enjoyable for me. haha he has the biggest heart, and he loves the Gospel so much. The Lord knew he was ready. i am so excited to watch him enter into the waters of baptism. i just see all this potential to become an amazing and strong Priesthood holder for our branch! oh man, i can't even wait.
the second candidate is Jun Macaraeg. He lives here and works, while his family lives in another city. (which is fairly common here) he was supposed to be interviewed friday, but his son is really really sick so we have not been able to meet with him yet. pray that his son is okay and he is able to be baptized. but most likely we will bump his date to the 28th. he is strong and reading the book of mormon.
another amazing story! we have recently started teaching a woman named Virgie Candillario. she is married and has several kids, and comes from humble means. she actually was attending church before we even started teaching her. it took us two weeks to realize she wasn't a member! she had heard about the church before and decided to try it out. once we started teaching her, her conversion was instant. once again she speaks good english, so communication is a bit easier. the moment we would teach a principle, she would instantly agree and say "yes, i believe!" she loves God. and she wants to do all she can for him. she is real loud and crazy and lots of fun. kind of like mom, but in filipino form. (:
anyways, we taught her yesterday after church. we walked to her house and inside there were two piles of clothes sitting on a little bench where we usually sit and teach. she sews for a living, so this seemed normal. except we sat down and she handed them to us. she was so excited, she had sewn us clothes! she even remembered that my favorite colors were red and glitter, so she made me a red blouse and had bought little sparkles and sewed them on the flowers! it was the sweetest thing. then she told us "i have been praying to God for months to bless us with electricity so our home could have light, but instead he sent me you two and you brought the light of the Gospel to my home. i had to find a way to thank you." i was completely speechless. i knew her kids could have used those clothes, or she could have used the money to sell them. my heart was so full of love and gratitude. what humble and grateful people live here in this country. i learned alot from her that night. and yes, i did cry in front of her. she is so loving. what an amazing experience that was. i really pray she continues to progress towards baptism on Oct. 5!
these people live in hardly anything. the cardboard on the interior roofs of their homes is to keep the rain out. their are six or seven people usually living in these homes. families are large and there is no money to pay for them. one lady we met gave all her kids to the government because she could not pay for them. it broke my heart. i wish i could help them more, but there is not much i can do but say that God loves them. but, at the same time, these people have more happiness than any other people i have ever seen. they find enjoyment in their small homes and with their large families. they have outdoor family bbq's, and they listen to music and just enjoy life. they LOVE to karaoke. we walked past one man who was in his front yard singing to nobody. haha he was singing all by himself. and guess what he was singing mom.... just guess..........
AT THE COPA, COPA CABANA! MUSIC AND PASSION WERE ALWAYS IN FASHION AT THE COOOOOPAAAAA.....(barry manilow is heard in the philipines, i knew you could appreciate this mom)!
i am not kidding, that really happened. and it was the greatest thing i have ever seen. i stopped and clapped for him. it was the best thing ever. oh man.
anyways, those are the highlights of my week. things here are good. our companionship is doing much better. i really tried to work on serving her as much as possible and complimenting her. and it seemed to ease the tension. she has alot of love, she just gets really stressed. but she is working on that, and i am working on being more humble and open to corrections from her. so things are starting to be much more peaceful.
plus, last week was my first transfer day! wow. one of the girls in our house transferred, and in came another utahn! her name is sister davidson, and she has been out since february. she has SUCH good tagalog, so it gives me hope. she is loving, hardworking, and willing to serve. her positivity is really a blessing in our home. i am so happy she is here! we get along really well and have fun. so yaaay (: plus, the landlord repainted our house this week. the whole outside is bright pink. hahahahahaha it is the greatest thing. i am living inside a pink home!
well, that is my week. i hope home life is happy and good. everyone just be obedient and read your scriptures kay?
i pray for you all every night and day. i love you so much.