July 21, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #50

Dear Family,

I am happy to report that I am alive, even after TWO typhoons this week!  Typhoon season is upon us and we had typhoon Glenda and typhoon Rammasun hit us this week. Both of them were fierce.  I am happy to report that we survived, even with a power outage that lasted more than two days. But mom...I am sorry to report that some of my clothes did not make it.... I had them hanging outside and drying after doing my laundry last Monday.  The typhoon hit earlier than expected.  It came while we were still working on Tuesday and when I came home, the clothes that were drying were gone. Haha...typhoon Glenda took them away.  Thankfully, she left our home in one piece.  Hopefully she gave them to a Filipina girl in need.  Early Merry Christmas to her!  They were most of my newer ones too! 

Other than that, the storms weren't too bad. We were working when they hit so we just had to hide out at member's homes until the worst of both typhoons passed. It is actually kind of exciting. Haha!  We have our emergency backpacks with us everywhere we go so we are prepared with all the necessary supplies.  The members always "mother" us when we walk in their homes drenched from head to foot. Tuesday I was actually working with a member because Sister Ponitini had to go to Manila for some immigration issues. While she was goine I went on a full day exchange with Sister Luella from the ward. We had so much fun! She is great to work with.  We got pounded with rain!  Because she is Filipina, she is used to the typhoons and doesn't get nervous.  It was crazy!  We were soaked to the bone!  Haha...good times!

This week I have actually learned a lot. The work has been average.... we are having a really hard time getting our investigators to commit. It's frustrating.  Our less-actives are really non-responsive and we spend a lot of time walking around trying to find people to teach. It can be so discouraging at times. However, I know there is a reason for everything. So we will just keep pushing forward.  We are trying to be creative in our work and we are coming up with some great ideas to "find" people and get the members involved.

I learned something really important this week, however. Over and over the Lord has reiterated to me the importance of Christ-like love. I keep learning the importance of loving others the way Christ does. I have learned that we all must see others the way Christ does. We need to look through our hearts instead of our eyes.  of course, my companion has helped me to see this, but another event really made me understand the importance of this.

Yesterday after church we decided to go visit the Yu family. Remember them?  They are a less-active family that is working towards going to the temple and being sealed.   Tatay just came back to church last week.  Tatay is the father.  However, he didn't attend church yesterday, just his wife and children did. His wife seemed sad at church so we paid them a visit after church. Usually there home is so lively. But yesterday, it had a heavy spirit about it. We walked in and and the kids were in their rooms and Nanay and Tatay weren't saying a word to each other. We had just walked into the middle of an argument. I wanted to leave, but my companion insisted we stay. As time went on, they ended up fighting again. It was...... sad. Nanay was hysterical and Tatay was so angry he could hardly speak. They have so many issues, all that go back to Tatay's gambling problem. There are alot of details, but the thing I noticed yesterday was how unwilling the other person was to admit they were wrong. They just kept telling the other person over and over how wrong they were and what was wrong about them instead of looking at their own mistakes. It broke my heart. I watched as the spirit of contention continued to pull them further away from each other.

Eventually the bishop came and saved the day. He counseled with them and presented some solutions for them. But honestly, he told them that nothing will get better until they are willing to be humble and forgive and also repent of their mistakes.

It made me wonder how many times we blame or claim to hate another person because of some sort of weakness that they have. We don't like that weakness so we are rude or hurtful to them, forgetting that we ourselves are full of imperfections.  We are willing to forgive each other.  As I witnessed a couple of 35 years rip each other apart I thought, how desperately they needed the Savior's love. It made me self reflect, alot. How many times do I blame others, accuse others, or murmur under my breath about others because of some fault that I find in them? How many times do I get stuck looking at everything from only my perspective?  How many times would that be different if I looked at them with my heart and saw them they way Christ does?  What a life lesson I learned from this. I wrote in my journal earlier how I have seen the importance of loving people for who they are and for who they can become. Nanay and Tatay need to love each other for EVERYTHING that they are, weaknesses included. They need to learn to forgive.  If we can't love people for their weaknesses as well as their strengths, we will never truly love someone. If we can learn to love and to see others in this way, we will be so much more willing to listen, be slower to anger, and our hearts will always be full of love. It takes humility to say "sorry." It takes effort to listen to the other person's side. But, that is what we must learn to do. We must learn to love others for the person that God made them, weaknesses and all. Elder Uchtdorf said, "allowing others to see us the way Heavenly Father sees us, as flawed, imperfect mortals that have worth, far beyond our capacity to imagine. Because God loves us so much, we too must love and forgive each other."

I know that our Savior loves us so much. He loves us no matter our weaknesses and He loves us because of our strengths.  I feel this love every single day in the mission field. I know we have to all learn how to love unconditionally, especially me. If we could all try to do this just a little bit better, the world would become a much lovelier place to be in. (: Imagine the power of Christ-like love, it would reach out to everybody and no one would ever feel lonely or unworthy again.

I know the church is true. I love my family so much. Thank you for all the support and prayers. I promise, I can literally feel them every single day. Missionary work is the best.

I hope you have a good week.

Mahal Kita

-Sister Thomas

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