June 2, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #43

Dear Family,

I have to start off by sending you a big "thank you." We have recently found a new investigator, her name is Jovie. She is only 22, and is temporarily staying here in Mabalacat to get away from her CRAZY, mean boyfriend. She has been dealing with a lot of heartache lately in her life. the most recent being that this "boyfriend" of hers has gotten another MARRIED woman pregnant. Oh my goodness! This is just one of many horrible things he  has done that has really hurt Jovie.  It is crazy the many challenges she has dealt with lately. Like, on a scale of 1 to Adele, her love life is a Taylor Swift!  Hahaha!  Freak.  But, she is amazing! I love her so much. I think all this heartache in her life has really made her receptive and opened her heart to recieve the Gospel of Jesus Christ at this time. She has had "Mormon" friends in the past and she remembered how much happier they made her when she was with them. We taught her the Plan of Salvation yesterday and I felt a strong prompting to share my testimony and feelings about temple marriage. I talked about how she could have a worthy man who REALLY loved her and worked hard at obeying the commandments and that he could be with her forever. She accepted to be baptized this month. We asked her to pray and she willingly gave the closing prayer.  During the prayer she thanked my American family for allowing me to come to the Philippines and teach her the Gospel. I was really touched by that, so, thank you family for all the love and support. (:

Anyways, HELLO! Here I am, still alive after a week and a half in Mabalacat. Trust me, this is a miracle, considering my companion has threatened to take away my life multiple times. The Lord watches out for his missionaries; even when their companions are big and scary at times! Especially in the morning.  She doesn't like the mornings much!

Okay, I shouldn't say that. I am kind of sorry and I take that back. She is just very very set in her ways. I should be more grateful, however.  I am learning so much about myself with her. I am learning a little bit more about what it means to love unconditionally, I think. I am learning patience, forgiveness, and acceptance. I am trying to be more humble and love as Christ loves.  Every single day during companion study I am constantly having to apologize for my errors and accept corrections, without giving anything back the other direction.  Giving her any feedback is unacceptable.  Sometimes it is really hard and my natural reaction is to be angry, offended, or upset, but I have been trying to apply the "light of Christ" in my life. I really am learning a lot about myself and about the Savior.

The other day Sister Ponitini and I were walking to some appointments. The walk was pretty far. It had rained a little earlier and neither of the other two sisters in our house had an umbrella, so I gave them mine to share. While we were walking it started pouring. Like, seriously, I have never seen rain like this in my whole life. I was sharing an umbrella with my companion, but then we saw an old Nanay (elderly woman) walking down the road and carrying groceries without an umbrella. We caught up with her and put her under the umbrella. I was walking behind my companion and the Nanay and needless to say I was completely soaked. My body must really have become acclimated to the heat because I was FREEZING! Like, my lips were purple and my teeth were chattering. What? I am gonna die when I come back home in the month of December! Anyway, we finally stopped at a members house to get out of the rain for a minute. This member, Laura Baylosis, saw us both and she immediately went into action! Haha!  She sat me down on the couch and covered me with a blanket. There are no heaters in homes here so she turned on her iron and started ironing rags so they would be warm and used them to help dry me off a bit. She offered me new clothes and hot cocoa. I could hardly hold back the tears during it all. This woman, who has hardly nothing, was offering me everything she had. She was working hard to help me be warm.  It made me think alot about "the light of Christ." The light is in all of us. We were born with it. However, sometimes through life's trials and as a result of our own actions, that light can become dim. Satan clouds our minds and hardens our hearts and makes us think that the world is full of dark, mean, and miserable people. But then you see people like Laura who rush without hestitation to the rescue of a soaked, pathetic, cold American missionary. She hardly knows me, but that didn't matter, she was willing to give aid to a disciple of Christ.

Christ, in his parables, always taught about giving.  We give all we have and bring the poor and meek into our homes and love them. Sometimes, however, we get so caught up in who we are and what we have or don't have and we don't go stretch ourselves beyond giving service to our own families. The truth is, there is so much more to give. The "light of Christ" is inside all of us and we need to use that light to touch and bless the lives of others. How grateful I am for Laura's example and for reminding me to be more Christ-like always.

This week has been good. This companionship is hard, but God knows of the challenges. He is continuing to bless us with amazingly prepared and elect people to teach. We have three baptisms scheduled for this month! Caterine Manuel, Randy Dela Pena, and Jossa Tolentino. Plus, now we have Jovie dedicated for the end of the month, so four people! Please pray that these amazing individuals will continue to progress. I desperately want all of them to be baptized and to be able to have the gospel in their lives.  They are so ready.

It sounds like everyone is doing well and happy that school is out! Haha! It's funny, summer time just ended here and school starts again today!  Most of the kids are not so happy about that. I can't believe how grown up everyone is, especially Bowen. It amazes me what a little time does to people.

I love you all, I hope you know that. Dad, please stay healthy. I need you all to be in one solid piece when I get home so I can hug you!

Have a great week and remember my investigators in  your prayers!! (:  Let your light so shine!

-Sister Thomas

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