April 21, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #38

Well what can I say? Happy Easter just doesn't quite seem like enough. This week has been one of the hardest, yet most beautiful weeks of my entire mission.  We have been so blessed and I cannot put into words my emotions at the moment. But I will try.

Family, the Spirit is real. I have been desperately praying for help because I have felt like there was no Spirit driving our work. I prayed for help. We have been committed to our obedience.  We have been stalwart and we have tried to be humble.  I sincerely just cried for help. Going into this week was really hard. The dismal and depressing "Pabasa" could be heard all over, and everywhere we went we saw men carrying crosses, whipping themselves, and being tortured.  We could not escape it.  This was all in the name of Christ. At first, it was so hard on me. I could hardly bear to watch it. It brought literal tears to my eyes. I could not believe what these people were doing. The men veil their faces, put on a crown of thorns, and publicly harm themselves as a way of public repentance. Crowds gather. People watch, and laugh.  Some cry in streets.  The whole scene is a giant mockery of what our Savior did. I didn't think I was going to emotionally make it through the week. The streets were literally flooding with the blood of those who were trying to gain forgiveness.  It was a gruesome scene and it was the hardest thing I have ever seen or experienced in my life. 
When we were at our lowest and emotionally drained, the Savior blessed us. While the Holy Week didn't stop, we were blessed with tender mercies from the Lord. Sister Peralta and I have become really united in our teaching. Every time we taught a lesson this past week, the Spirit was so strong.  It was energizing for us.  It helped us to keep going.  We have a less active member who we have been working with recently. He would never listen to our message, only his wife would. So we would leave notes on the wall for him to read when we left. We would share our testimonies and let him know he was loved.  He would come to church but he wouldn't talk to us. We had no idea why. But this week, I don't know what changed, but he sat in on a lesson. He confessed his problems and explained his difficulties. He has been struggling with an addiction to illegal drugs. He hasn't felt worthy to listen to a message from the Lord or feel the Spirit.  We testified of the power of the Atonement and of how we are allowed second and third chances. He cried. We cried. He says he has been bitter because he lost his job and couldn't provide for his newborn baby.  But, he doesn't want to be bitter or angry anymore.  He wants the light of Christ to fill his life.  It was amazing. Then on sunday, he came to Church. But this time he was clean. He cut his hair and was wearing and white shirt and tie.  He spoke with us and he and his family sat by us.  I was amazed. He shook my hand and said "thank you." The Spirit was overwhelming and the love of the Savior was filling his heart.  It was a tender mercy to witness the change.  The gospel really does change lives.  The Atonement is powerful and it blesses everyone. 

We found two new investigators as well!  Both of them are so ready for the gospel.  They are already progressing more than our others have in four weeks.  Both of them came to church on Sunday. The one, Brother Reynold, is already begging to be baptized. He almost can't wait four weeks!  He has already read through the Book of Mormon and has accepted every principle of the gospel that he has been taught.  He is like a missionary's "dream" investigator.  Hahaha! The other is a nanay, Nanay Purita. She is amazing as well. She just shines with the light of Christ.  She has seen been through so much and has had a difficult life but she is embracing the gospel with open arms.  I am so happy for them. Meeting both of them has made the past four HARD weeks worth every effort!

I am happy. Regardless of what others may be saying to me, I have realized it can't hurt me if I know that my Father understands we are giving it our best and He is proud of our best. I can't describe the love I have felt as I have really studied Christ's Atonement and His life.  To truly emulate Christ you have to study His life in the scriptures. I love this Gospel Thomas family, and it is TRUE! I know it and I cannot deny it. We are ALL loved by our Heavenly Father. 
My heart is full of love and happiness right now!  Still having a difficult time describing my emotions!  We have been so blessed and all is well, which is so nice because these last few weeks have been HARD. And yes, I survived the horrors of Holy Week. Now all I want to do is teach all those Catholics about why they DON'T have to do that. Hahaha! I am so missionary right now, it's insane.  I eat, drink, sleep, dream, and only think "missionary!" 

Yes, micheal's baptism was a go! (: HURRAY!  He was all smiles on Saturday. He will be given the Aaronic Priesthood next week and he will have a chance to pass the Sacrament. We are a little nervous, as he is slower than most, but I feel and the bishop does as well that he should be given the chance to try. His new calling is the "door greeter" before church. Hahaha, my idea. He loves it!  He will be perfect in that calling.  (: I couldn't be happier for him.  He is loved by our Heavenly Father and he will be greatly blessed!
Oh man....miracles!

Anyway, I am so happy to see and hear that everyone is well! I love you all and pray for you everyday. The Lord answers prayers because every week I log on and read and you are all still doing well. Thank goodness for that. Stay safe okay? Everyone looked great in the Easter pictures!  I love you all and pray for you daily.  Oh, I got all THREE boxes for Easter and my birthday!  THANKS!  I am so spoiled!

I don't know what more I can say other than the Church is true. Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. I am so privileged to be his servant and represent Him.

I love you all!

-Sister Thomas

Michael's Baptism!

Michael's Baptism!

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