August 11, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #53

Dearest Family,

Wow, it's over already?! I can't believe it has already been two transfers and Sister Ponitini has completed her mission.  I remember times when I felt like the time with Sister Ponitini would never end. But, it did and much too quickly, it seems.  As you well know, this has been an interesting two transfers. I really have learned so much. I realized that it was me who needed a change of heart. I prayed and prayed and prayed for my heart to be softened and for the ability to see her through the eyes of our Father in Heaven.  I prayed for the help so I would understand how to help her.  The last two weeks it happened.  We really came together.  We were united in our companionship and in the work.  I was able to laugh at things that used to drive me crazy. We were able to talk to each other and open up about how who are and about the different experiences we have had in our lives. It has actually been a lot of fun. I learned a lot about her and why she is who she is. I also learned to love her for all of those reasons. Wow, yesterday, before she left, she hugged me, cried (what?!), and told me she loved me and was so grateful for me. She said that I was the only companion that had tried to understand her and she was grateful for that. I was shocked, but admittedly, very happy. All the tears and prayers on her behalf were worth it in the end and now she can go home feeling accomplished and pleased with her service. I really will miss her.

I don't have a new companion yet and I won't until Thursday. Sister Brock went home as well, so Sister Sitagata and I are partnered up at the house. During work hours we are exchanging with different members everyday.  This has been fun.  I love working along side the members.  Yesterday Sister Yu worked with me. I love that family so much. She and her family are the ones preparing for the temple this October. Tatay and Nanay have been struggling in their relationship, even after 30+ years of marriage. Tatay has also recently returned to activity.  They have so many things they need to work out. I told you the story about their giant fight a few weeks back. Since that day, I feel like I have done more studying about marriage than any missionary should, on their behalf.  I have really wanted to be able to help them.  I have learned that marriage all goes back to our convenants. If we are keeping our covenants, then anything can work. If one person is not keeping their covenants, then it won't. This is a concious decision that both parties have to make and they need to communicate with each other. Bottling things up and then exploding in anger doesn't make for a good relationship. It harbors anger and bad feelings. I believe that any two people can communicate respectfully and kindly with each other if they are focused on treating the other person the way the Savior would. I have been desperately working with them to help them be ready for the temple by October. Yesterday after working, I went over to the Yu house for dinner. I love this family so much and I just want them to be happy. At dinner I watched as Tatay and Nanay sat next to each other, laughed together and held hands as they shared their "companionship scripture study." My eyes filled with tears as I saw the transformation that the Gospel has made in their home. The whole atmosphere was so much different. This family is going to make it! Tatay has a renewed faith these days and this family is praying together!

I shared my testimony about the importance of covenants and then we learned about the covenants they would be making in the temple. I teared up as I imagined them all surrounding the altar and being sealed as an eternal family. My heart was so full.  It was close to bursting.

How beautiful God's plan is! It amazes me. We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today, but our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever.

Saturday was my companion's birthday, so obviously I had to plan a birthday and farewell party and I arranged to have a birthday cake there for her. Haha!  With the help of some great members, the party was a good time.

I am happy to hear that everyone at home is doing well. It sounds like youth conference was a success! Great. (: I can't picture bowen being so grown up. Honestly, like, what happened?! He was just a little primary kid when I left. Gosh, everything is so different now!

I am well. Don't worry about me. I love this work. I love these people.  I will let you know who my new companion is next week!

Mahal Kita!

I love you all.

-Sister Thomas

Happy birthday and farewell Sister Ponitini!  You will be missed!

I love working with the members!  They work hard and are so full of encouragement!

This country is so beautiful!

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