August 18, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #54

Dear Family,

So, you labeled your last email to me as "weird week." Hahahaha...weird indeed!  I can't believe it is over. The week went fast.  I can't believe summer is over and the kids have to go back to school. It sounds like everyone is pretty happy. stressed, but happy. This makes me happy too. :)

So here is how my week went and what has happened...I stayed here in Mabalacat (YES!). That makes me happy.  Sister Ponitini went home last week and she was a little too excited about it. Haha! I had to work with members for three days straight until I received my new companion.  That was kind of stressful. It can be really hard to get Filipinos to be on time to anything, so I was super worried about being late to everything. Haha...luckily, the members pulled through for me on this one, and I never ended up alone. I was on time and they were so flexible and willing to help out.  I had to teach every single lesson and do all the planning myself.  My last weekly planning session with Sister Ponitini was all me as well, she didn't wanna plan anything other than going home. Sooooo I have felt like I have had a lot on my shoulders. But the week is over and I am still smiling!

On Thursday I got my new companion. Her name is Sister Laiti, she is Somoan and she is from Australia. I love, love, love her!  I am so happy! She is super cute and sooo sweet! She is only halfway through her mission, so she is still excited and willing to work hard. We have only been together for a few days, but we have seen miracles.  We get along great and the members love her as well as our investigators.  So many miracles and things, I almost can't explain, but I will try. 

I have been praying hard for weeks to find a family. I want to see an entire family go into the waters of baptism. I have been fasting and praying, and nothing has happened in this area. I have been a bit frustrated and feeling like my prayers aren't being heard.  It felt like none of my prayers were being heard not just about finding a family but about a lot of things. I didn't understand why He wouldn't bless me with a righteous desire. 

I HAVE BEEN HUMBLED.

This week, we were able to find a family. The son is a non-member but has been coming to church for awhile. He wears a white polo and tie and hangs out with the youth.... we figured he was a member. Finally someone told us he wasn't and we got his info to go visit his family. He lives FAR! So far, like, we have to go on Saturdays at 8 AM and we get back by noon. But the area where he lives is beautiful. I took Sister Laiti to his home on Saturday and we met his whole family. They are the Orario family. The name of the boy is Jezreel, he is 13. His sister, Thainnia, is 14. Coincidentally, their mom is a member! She was baptized back when she lived in Manilla. She moved to this area about 4 years ago with her family and she never went to church because she didn't know where it was. She had not been contacted by any of the leaders and she didn't know anything about the meetings.  This country isn't exactly organized when it comes to transferring records, so nobody even knew she was here. Plus, their baby who is 4 has serious cerebral palsy and so she is at home with her all the time. But when we went out there to visit she was so happy to see us! She had tears in her eyes as she explained how she missed attending church and has wanted to attend meetings for awhile. Jezreel happened to make friends with a member who invited him, which is why he started coming. His mom wanted to come, but she was worried about meeting new people and taking her daughter. We invited her to church. We told her we wanted her there and the ward members would help with Joyce, the 4 year old. We then taught both kids, Jezreel and Thainnia, and put them both on date for baptism on Sept. 6. They accepted.  Yesterday they were ALL at church, together, even Joyce. I couldn't believe it. I was SO excited to see them altogether at church. The ward members were so kind and welcoming.  They were so supportive and so full of encouragement.  After church the mom, Reecca, told me her non-member husband wanted to attend church meetings next week.

OH My GOODNESS A WHOLE FAMILY. 

Then, get this...another miracle! Remember Catherine Manuel? We were trying to baptize her a few weeks back but she wasn't married and her husband has not been supportive. We had to drop her. There was just nothing else we could do. But I did not feel right about it, so I took Sister Laiti  to her home on Thursday. Catherine was so happy to see us! We went in and she explained that she had been reading and praying still and she still wanted to be baptized. Then all of a sudden, her husband, the mean drunk, sat down with us. He asked us to teach him.  He said he wanted to try coming to church with his wife and kids on Sunday...I was absolutely speechless. I have been praying for this since I met Catherine! I couldn't believe it. Poor Sister Laiti had to teach the whole lesson because I was literally sobbing huge crocodile tears. I couldn't help it; I was so overwhelmed with emotion. We put Catherine back on date for the 13th. She has no money for her marriage papers, but the bishop's wife offered to let her work at her house, washing and cleaning, until the papers are paid off. Catherine is currently working hard to earn enough money to be married.  Her husband came to church. The whole family was there! I think he really enjoyed it. The priesthood brethren grabbed him and welcomed him. he was laughing and participating. I couldn't stop smiling as I witnessed these two families come together in the Lord's house. 
Brother Renarto Manuel has agreed to a baptismal date with his wife on the 13th of September. 

The Yu family is doing well. Tatay Jolly has stopped gambling, and his wife has stopped yelling. Their home is a much happier place these days. They are looking forward to their temple sealing in October. 

I must say, I have been humbled and grateful this week as I have seen the blessings my Father has heaped upon me. I have really seen the importance in trusting in God's timing. He knows so much better than we do. He has such a better perspective than we do. He knows his children much better than we ever will. 

As I learn to trust in His timing and exercise patience, the blessings come. 

As I become more confident in my abilities as a missionary, the more the trials increase. I just want to be the best missionary I can be and continue to build His kingdom. 

I know that as I trust my Heavenly Father, He will guide me. He will guide all of us and those we are serving will reap the rewards.  The church is true and this work is truly amazing! 

I love you all! Here's to another week. (:

Mahal Kita!


-Sister Thomas




Meet my new companion, Sister Laiti!  She is Samoan and from Australia!



These Filipino children!  She played in the baby powder and now she is almost as white as me!

We played in brown paint and now I am as brown as the locals!  Hahaha!

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