January 13, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #24

family,

kumusta po pamilya? i can't believe another week has gone by already. i feel like i was just here, at this internet shop, skyping you all! and now, we are already halfway through Jan. how does that happen?
in fact, this week we have another transfer annoucement. can you believe that? i feel like i just got here. i feel like me and sister altea will stay for another six weeks (at least I hope), but who knows for sure. this time around only 4 missionaries went home, and we are recieving 20 new ones! so, we are running out of space here in the Angeles Mission! poor President Martino, i can't imagine the stress he has right now.

anyways, i hope i stay here. i don't feel like i have accomplished the tasks the Lord needs me to do yet. i am not yet satisfied with myself here. there is still so much we need to do here! unfortunately, it has been kind of a hard week. a lot of our investigators have quit progressing, including R-rizz and Brother Sunday. we haven't made contact with them all week, and they didn't come to church on Sunday. i literally held back tears yesterday in sacrament meeting as i stared at the door the entire meeting. this mission is going to kill my emotions. haha! but, on the bright side, Angeline did come to church with her new husband and his family, and we were able to teach her twice this week! that family is really awesome, and i applaud their example and their efforts. Anjeline is only 17, and she has already taken on alot. but she enjoys reading the Book Of Mormon and listens in our lessons. she has many questions, which is good. i am not far from her in age, so we get along really well. she is cute. her baptism feels solid to me because she has a family that is helping her along. what a blessing for her!

as for the others, we are not sure what else we can do. if they don't let us teach them, we can't really help them. we have been saying alot of prayers in their behalf though. hopefully, that can help them.

i have to tell this story though..... i admit, i had a bad moment this week. in our area, there are quite a few less active members(which is normal here). but, in this one subdivision there is an entire family of less active members, it is siblings and their kids, all living in the same little cul-de-sac. they were all baptized several years ag, and they are now ALL less active. in fact, there is one man named Felix Camacho,  he is one of the oldest brothers. he was baptized in 1996, with his wife and son. he served as a high councilman, a second counselor to the bishop, and he was endowed and sealed to his family! amazing right? golden converts. and then, he got released from his calling as second counselor when the ward got a new bishop.  after that, he quit going to church.  i think he is the example of all the family members in the cul-de-sac.  we have been trying to teach him and he has been really busy, but we finally were able to get into his house one night this last week. he claims that his business just started booming and he got too busy and had to work on sunday and now, they just don't go at all. they quit reading their scriptures, they quit praying together, and now he and his wife have both quit wearing their garments! graaaabi. difficult. but, me and sister altea were up to the challenge. we had prepared an awesome lesson with a video and everything. we were determined to help him and his family feel the spirit. as we started teaching, i shared some verses from Alma about how faith is like a seed. we may have it, but if we don't act or do anything, it will die and wither away. then i told him, now was the time for him to come back! to start new, to make a new resolve! i was feeling the Spirit so strongly and i couldn't see how he could not be! then, he stopped me halfway through and says, "thank you for that sermon sister, but it's not needed." and he and his whole family started to laugh hysterically and sister altea and i. i could not believe it. then he started talking and rambling on and on about how he is fine and already saved and blah blah blah. i have never felt so angry in my whole life. then he went at it with my sweet companion and i couldn't take it anymore. i had a legit "Katniss" moment, i shot my angry arrow right at his face. i stood up and said "you know what brother, we are here for you. but if you don't want to listen, we know of other people who will. goodnight." then we just left. i walked out his door and didn't say another word. i felt really bad afterwards, i can't believe i let my anger get the best of me in that moment. but AHHHH. these prideful, disrespectful, stubborn men are killing me! anyways, the only miracle that came out of that lesson was that his wife texted us a little later asking if we would come back this week and teach her and her son. we another appointment set up. pray i can handle myself this time and not shoot anymore arrows!

ANYWAYS (deep breath), life is good. even during the hardest of days, i still feel a joy that i have never felt before. although, i can testify that Satan works really, really hard on missionaries. even though i feel so close to the Spirit and am developing this amazing relationship with my Savior, at the same time, i have never felt Satan tempting me so strongly before. it's exhausting at times! i pray so hard every morning for the strength to keep Satan out of my mind, my thoughts, and my emotions! i know i can be strengthened by the Lord, but part of sanctification is overcoming opposition at it's finest. i know it is possible, and i can feel the Lord helping me. but, i know that i need to do better and try harder and sacrifice just a little more in order to reach my fullest potential. this is a life long journey, but here in the field i feel like i need to step myself up so that i can be a worthy advocate and instrument for the Lord.  i need to teach and bring an entire island of people unto Christ!

how was going back to school for everyone? i hope it was okay. school is fun everyone! (; hahaha! just be happy. i know there are trials, but there is also so much good in this world. sometimes, it just comes in ways we don't expect. live for it, pray for it! i love you all so much, and i pray for you everyday. i know the Lord is blessing and protecting you, because i am constantly asking him to. haha! i love you all. thank you for your love and support, it is felt i promise.
 forgot to tell you! last week we had a zone acticity and we went bowling!!! sweeeeeet!

so fun..... but they don't necessarily bowl the same way here. hahaha! the lanes are not electronic. little kids sit at the end of the alley and set up all the pins by hand! they roll all the balls back to you. haha and they bowl with TINY balls that have no finger holes. we had fun attempting to do "shot put" down the alley. we were the only ones there, so it was so fun! we even had to keep score by hand. hahaha it was awesome!  I danced my way down the bowling lanes!  it felt good and our zone laughed and laughed.
We have another fun pday planned, after this, me, my companion and the other sisters in our apartment are going to the salon to get our nails done. it has been a hard week for us all, we are gonna treat ourselves! (; 
mahal ko kayo lahat!!
-sister thomas
Bowling in Caba

Dancing down the bowling lanes

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