September 15, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #58

Dear Family,

Wow, it sounds like it was quite the week at home. Haha! I am happy to hear the girls enjoyed the One Direction concert. They all looked so beautiful in the pictures and Hannah looks absolutely stunning in her Homecoming pictures. Gosh, she has grown up so much. Tell her I love her, eh!

I will tell you, I have had quite a week too. Although, I am not so sure it was as bad as getting stranded in California at midnight. Haha! But nonetheless, it has been eventful here and quite challenging. I have learned that the great days and weeks are always followed by the challenging and disheartening ones.

There are some weeks where I feel like the Lord is really trying to test my patience. And it's good, cause I have none. Thankfully, the Lord has blessed me with a companion that helps me keep my head on straight when things start to topple a bit. I have realized I don't really like things to topple. Hahaha...I do much better when things are just stable, as you are well aware!

Everything from the weather and the scheduled lessons, to the people, has been unstable this past week. First off, Catherine had finally saved enough money to apply for their marriage license.  This has been a long process of work and patience and effort.  Unfortunately, because of the crappy weather and her not so great living conditions, both of her babies became ill with chills and fever. Medical care in this country is expensive and you have to pay for everything upfront before they let you recieve any treatment!!! URGGGG! There went all her hard earned marriage license money.  She has been working and saving for several weeks.  Then there wasn't any extra money left for medicine!  Which was discouraging.   :( For the first time in over a month only Catherine came to church on Sunday.  Her husband had to stay at home with the sick babies. She came in to the church building in tears.  She was so discouraged and I will admit, so was I. Gratefully, our new and amazing bishop jumped right in and offered to help. Together with the ward council we are all helping Catherine to find more work so she can earn extra money for the marriage license again. The ward also covered the cost for the medicine and we went with the bishop early this morning to give the sick children some blessings. Her husband was really humble in accepting the help. I think he wishes he could be the one providing for his family on his own.... but he accepted the help, nonetheless. I am not sure about the marriage papers now, but I know the Lord will help her find a way to get the license and they will have the ability to be married.  Their baptisms will happen eventually, I know it.  This family is strong and resilient and they keep pressing forward and developing faith in the Lord.  I am learning so much from them.

We have also had some severe weather this week.  The typhoons have been crazy. Yesterday, we had a severe typhoon scheduled to come through our entire mission area.  It was so bad that President Clark had the whole mission return to their residences and to prepare for the typhoon by 5 PM. We now have church meetings on Sundays from 1 to 4, so we pretty much taught no lessons on Sunday.  We also had an entire day in which the President had everyone stay inside and not work because of the typhoons.  We have lost some of our investigators because we are having such a hard time contacting them due to the weather. Most do not have cellphones, so we can't make continual contact.  Many of the phone lines have been down because of the storms.  It has been a frustrating week.  The inability to contact and/or teach our scheduled lessons gives Satan a lot of time to put doubt into their thoughts and hearts and persuade them to believe his lies. We will have our work cut out for us this week!  Hopefully, the weather will cooperate.

We met a woman this week, her name was Corazon, but trust me, we have no idea where her heart is. She has been the most difficult Catholic for me to teach.  We sat down to teach the first lesson and all she wanted to do was argue with us. She was ready for us and she threw everything at us she could.  She even told us we worked for Satan. Inside I was fuming and it took everything in me to keep my tongue restrained. UGH! Finally, I just cut in and shared my testimony of what I know to be true. Tears rolled down my eyes as I felt the Spirit trying to testify to her and soften her heart.  She just denied the Spirit. It was so discouraging! Ugh. It is a good thing that most Filipinos are not like that.  The Filipinos have humble hearts and are usually willing to listen.  Hahaha....I could not do that everyday.

However, there are things to celebrate and be grateful for. I am grateful for this ward and for the strong and faithful members I have met and worked with. I really feel blessed to know them. They are examples to me.

We did have some members get endowed and sealed as families this week. Manylyn and her husband were able to attend the temple this week.  (: Manylyn is amazing!  She and her husband are a great couple.  Manylyn and I have talked about how much we feel like we have known each other for a really long time. I am so happy to see her countenance just glowing. I am so happy that they have had the opportunity to receive the blessings of the temple.

The gospel is true.  It truly changes lives. Although there are tough times that we all must endure, if we have the word of God to cling to and allow it to guide us, all things are possible. It will not always give us all the answers, but it can teach us and help us develop the faith to move forward inch by inch until the whole picture has finally been revealed. I don't understand why all of these different things are happening, but I do know this is the Lord's work. He is in every little detail of it. If we open ourselves up to seeing it, everything will change. Miracles occur everyday within the lives of those who desire the truth.

I know this gospel is true. This Church is the Lord's kingdom on earth and someday He will rule and reign as Leader and King.  I know He is our Savior.  I am so happy to be a part of this great work, even during typhoon season!  I love this country and these beautiful people.

And yes, we survived the typhoons. (;

Love you all!

-Sister Thomas



This is what four sister missionaries do when they are confined to their residence during a typhoon:
They practice Typhoon Bending skills!

They learn how to be a Ninja!

They have a Modern Dance class!

Never, ever lock up four sister missionaries for this amount of time again!  Hahaha!

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