July 14, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part#49

Dear Family,

Hello and here I am, finding myself at the same internet shop on another P-day. It's amazing how fast P-day comes. Some days here can be so hard and seem so long, but then just like that, I am sitting (and sweating) at the un-airconditioned internet shop again. How does that happen?

Thanks for sending pictures.  The pictures of everyone at Jessie's homecoming are so cute! Holy cow, Ashton is so grown up!! I can't even believe it. I was like..."who is that?!" Hahaha! Everyone is so beautiful and happy. I love seeing smiles on everyone's faces. How is Jessie?  She looks great!

I am glad everyone survived girls camp! Hahaha, I will admit, I don't miss camp. Although, life here is sometimes very close to it, no running water, etc. (: it sounds like they had some fun activities planned though. I am glad Hannah had a good time. She needs to have fun. She deserves that. I am glad to hear that Katie was over too. I miss her! 

Tell Hannah how much I love her. I miss her and think about her often. Don't worry, when I get back she will have a best friend again. (;

This week was actually really good!  Things with my companion and I seem to be getting better..... some what. I just really have to let go of my pride and help her feel important every moment of every day. Hahaha, I have to be all Christ-like and stuff. Man, how did He do it? Being Christ-like is so hard sometimes. It amazes me how He literally LIVED this way, every moment of every single day. For me, it requires every ounce of energy I have in my body. By the end of every day, I am pooped. I literally fall into bed every single night. But, my heart has felt lighter lately and I have had moments where I lay down at night thinking about all the things I could have done better.... then, just like that, I get this overwhelming feeling of love fill my heart. Love from my Heavenly Father. He lets me know He is happy with me and then I am able to sleep. It's so..... peaceful, amazing, and motivating. How grateful I am that our Father loves us so much.

We saw some great miracles this week. Remember Sister Jovy, the young girl who had gone through a hard break up? She finally came to church yesterday for the first time! I was so happy when I saw her, I literally ran out of the church building and hugged her right outside the jeepne before I even realized what I was doing! Haha! That must have been quite a sight for the Filipinos. (; But she came and she loved it! She was asking questions the whole time, meeting new people, and really engaged in the lessons. Awhh man. I love this ward, they are SO good at fellowshipping. She has friends already!  Then, last night she texted us wanting to know when her baptism was again. Haha...she can't wait! She wants to be a member, her desire is so strong. It is amazing to see her change of heart. Oh, and remember the mean ex boyfriend? Well I haven't even heard his name in weeks. (: Isn't it amazing what the Atonement can do for us in our lives?  It truly changes people.

Another story, we have been teaching a recent convert family, the Yu family. The whole family, mom, dad, Fauna, Felicia Mae, and Joanna, were all baptized last October. They are so amazing, however, a few months back Tatay Jolly, the dad, got offended and quit attending church. Nanay, the mom, and the girls kept going, but it was hard for them without their dad. When I arrived in this area, Tatay was hard hearted. He is the nicest man, but he just could not forgive this member. I have been praying for him so hard, because the family wants to get sealed this coming October. We have worked with him, cried with him, and had activities with him. Last week I taught a lesson on salvation and how it is individual. I felt prompted to share something I had never even considered before that lesson. The Spirit told Tatay that "his wife and his children could still make it to the celestial kingdom without him. If they stayed faithful, God would give them that chance. But Tatay would be shut out and he would never have an increase in progression."

After that moment, he just stared at me and I just stared back. Both of us were a little taken back, I think! The spirit was so strong and I could feel it penetrating the room and Tatay's heart as well. He was quiet for a solid 5 minutes. Then he finally looked up at me and said, "it's time to come back." YES TATAY!!! I was so worried though, sometimes the Filipinos have a really hard time following through on spiritual moments like that.

But yesterday, lo and behold, in walks Tatay to Sacrament Meeting! I couldn't stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks. He had the biggest smile on his face! A smile I have never seen him have before! Haha! Then, our awesome bishop immediately pulled him aside and interviewed him and Nanay and gave them instruction on exactly what the family needs to do in order to be sealed in the temple this October. YES!  It was a great day at church.  We went to their house after church and he was so happy! His wife was all smiles as we discussed the covenants and blessings they would receive in the temple. We then ate dinner with them and enjoyed talking about each other's families. It was one of those moments I will never forget. Before we left Tatay stopped me and asked me if I would be at the temple when they are sealed in October. His eyes were so sincere. I promised him I would do all I could to be there with them. (: They are now counting down the days. It was just another miracle of the gospel!

The mission is such a strange and wonderful thing.  I find myself full of strange emotions that I have never felt before. One second I am frustrated and discouraged beyond belief and so I kneel down and pray, then when I stand up, my heart is light and full of excitement and warmth! I know it's all the Lord's doing. I have learned that I can rely on Him for everything. He is always there for us. We need never fear that we are alone in His service or in life, because we never are. He has promised "angels on our right and on our left to bear us up" and He always keeps His word.  I know the church is true. I know that if we endure, we will see the blessings of our faithfulness. He loves each of us individually and He knows us individually. This is the best work ever!  I am grateful to be a part of it!

Never give up! Keep going family and friends. I love you all so much. Before we know it, this will all be over. Enjoy every moment you are given. Good or bad. (:

I love you!

-Sister Thomas

Me and Sister Ponitini

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