September 8, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #57

Dear Family,

Wow...it sounds like you all had a busy week! Two birthdays! I hope they enjoyed their birthdays. I am 14 hours ahead in time, so I literally woke up in the middle of the night on Sept. 4 and Sept. 7 so I could be the first one to send them a "happy birthday prayer." Hahaha! I have no cell phone or computer, so prayer was the only option! I hope they felt it!  Did Courtney's letter arrive yet?!  I paid extra in postage to have it get there on her birthday!  :)

Sorry I am writing so late, I was on the internet earlier today, for about 3 minutes and then all of the Angeles area went into a huge brown-out, or power outage, for some reason. Haha! Normally, I would have been upset, but it happens so often here that all I can do these days is laugh.  It was like move-in day at Snow College, when everyone is shopping at Wal-Mart and they get so overloaded that literally they have a power outage!  Haha, good times!  But, the power has been restored and so we're good!

This week was busy for me as well. We did have our baptisms! Thannia and Jezreel were baptized on Saturday. (: their testimonies afterwards were so sweet and sincere. They both cried because they said they were feeling a happiness they had never felt before. Thannia thanked me in her testimony and surprised me with the story, she said that she was so shy and had a fear of talking to people until I came to her house. She had never met someone like me. (Meaning a white person, haha!) She said that the lessons we taught and the friendship we built gave her the confidence to reach out and come to church and meet people. She has friends in the young women's here. She loves church and has such a powerful testimony of the gospel. Aaawhh...gosh. Those two are amazing. They will grow in the gosple so much and I know Jezreel will one day serve a mission.  Both of the parents are now fully active and so they can work towards the temple, together, as a family.  I am so happy for them.  I know God loves them so much.

Updates on Catherine's family. we FINALLY got things moving on the marriage papers. YAY! We walked into the house last week and nobody said anything, but her husband just walked up to me and handed me a brown folder. I opened it and inside was two CENOMARS (Certificates of No Marriage or Certificates of Singleness), a death certificate from the brother's previous spouse, and two birth certificates.  They have all their paperwork and they are now legal to be married! I could hardly believe it! YAY! I looked up at him and he just reached out and shook my hand with the biggest smile on his face that I had ever seen. He said "thank you sisters." Now remember, when I met this man he was sitting in front of the TV while Sister Catherine did everything around the house, and he was drinking a bottle of hard liquor. Now, he is a church going man!  He reads the Book of Mormon and he hasn't had a drink in three weeks. He has spent so much time, money, and effort on these marriage papers that he hasn't had the time or extra cash to smoke! Haha! We have a few more things we need, but they are so close! So, so close to reaching their baptism goals. I love them so much. The Gospel has changed them and I have been able to see it. It is true, a man can't change the gospel but the gospel can change the man. It has been a miraculous process.

The Yu family is.... struggling. It hurts me so much to watch Satan destroy families. Ugh. Contention is his tool and when we let it in, it will destroy everything!  At the moment, it is Tatay with the problem, then it's Nanay, then it's one of the kids...... Sometimes I feel like I can't keep up. But honestly, Tatay opened up his heart this week and allowed himself to forgive the new bishop and the members who have hurt him in the past. On sunday, he honestly raised his hand in support of the bishop and sustained him. I was proud of him. It's not easy to do that, but I know he will be blessed for it. Now, hopefully we can get the whole family on board and complete their temple preparation classes.   If so, they can be sealed as a family!

I have had many learning experiences this week. So many, I almost don't know what to share. But family, I think there is a lesson I have learned here that I will never forget. We are so blessed.  Our lives our full.  We live in good homes. We have everything we need to survive.  We have the necessities and conveniences and luxuries and toys. We have everything to get us from day to day and we don't go without and yet for some reason, at times, we tend to be ungrateful.  It is not good enough and we aren't thankful.  WE SHOULD BE!  This week, we were with Manylyn Cambe at her house when we heard a baby crying from the house next door.  The crying went for a bit and we got worried.  We went over and inside that house were six little kids, the oldest child being 7 and the baby was only 4 months old.  They were sitting alone in the house without any parents. Both of the parents were in town for "work." Meaning, they were in town begging for money. The kids were alone and hungry. They had not eaten in 3 days! This was including the crying baby. The scene broke my heart as I watched the 7 year old girl desperately trying to comfort her baby brother, and all her other siblings as well. Tears instantly came into my eyes. They quite literally had nothing and nobody there to help them.  So, we did all we could think to do to help them. Manylyn cooked some rice and Sister Laiti and I went to the store and bought a big can of sardines, milk for the baby and some eggs for a dish called "ulam." We went back to the house and the kids just leaped at us for the food. It wasn't much, but it was more than they had eaten in weeks. That can of sardines was better than any cell phone or tablet or video game to them at that moment! They were so grateful.  They gathered together and ate the small meal together, first thanking God for sending a "White Angel and her friends" to their house. That night when we got home, I bawled my eyes out. I flooded my pillow with my tears.

I know that God loves all of us. We are his children and yes, we are all in different situations, but He still loves us. I felt how much He loved those children and how badly he wanted to help them. When I saw the look on their faces when they saw rice and sardines, I could hardly contain myself. They were so grateful and even though they were starving, their first reaction, as children, was to thank God.  I want to carry that same gratitude.  I want to always be thankful for my blessings!

I think that lesson and it's importance is quite self-explanatory. Let us all be more grateful! Let us give thanks to God, even in the hardest of times and when we don't feel blessed. Let us find the hope that the Gospel shines to the world and share it with our brothers and sisters, where ever we are.

I love you all. Have another good week. Win another football game for me Bowen!

Mahal kita!
-Sister Thomas


Baptism Day!

I just love this girl!

Thannia & Jezreel

Certificate of No Marriage

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