October 20, 2014

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #63

Dearest Thomas family,

I hope you are all well and happy while reading this and I hope that for some reason this will put a smile on your face. I have been thinking of my family this week and I love it when everyone smiles!

I am writing a little later than usual today. Sister Lamera and I are in Tarlac city today. We had an appointment at the hospital............

Hahahaha...no I am not sick!  You thought maybe, at least for a minute!  I just had to do my "exit" X-ray to check for TB or anything out of the ordinary. Every foreign missionary has to do one prior to leaving the country.  No biggie. So we found somewhere to email right after the appointment.

This week was so good!  Angelito is still really struggling. I think he is having doubts about the Church and his decision to be baptized. It is amazing the kind of power we give Satan when we make just one bad decision, small or large.  We invite his influence to be greater with each mistake.  We are trying hard to help him, but in the end, he needs to make the choice. He didn't come to church again yesterday and so we have to re-extend his date again. That's rough, but there is not a whole lot we can do.  We are both hoping that he will feel the influence of the Spirit and continue to read the Book of Mormon.  We will just continue praying for him, visiting him, and sharing with him.  Any prayers from you all would be appreciated as well.  He is such a great guy and that is why Satan is working hard to keep him away from the truthfulness of the gospel.  Angelito's potential is great!

On the bright side, we have a baptism this Saturday! His name is Harold. He is 14 years old and so awesome! He comes from a family of all less active members. We found him through his teacher who is a member of the Church. He had been prepared to receive our message.  He was so ready!  From the beginning of our lessons, he has been so inquisitive.  He was receptive to the Spirit and he has a great desire to learn.  He reads the Book of Mormon, but not just that, he understands it too. He understands what he is being taught and his faith is so strong. He desires to hold the Priesthood and well, he is really smart.  He enjoys the young men in the ward and participating in the classes. The boys include him in basketball activities and the young women tease him. So all is well in the adolescent world for him at church. Hahaha!  I am really excited for him. I know he will be a great force in re-activating his family and an influence for his peers.  He is already a missionary!

One thing that has really been on my mind this week has been, "listening to the Spirit."  There were so many talks in conference about receiving personal revelation and how the Spirit wants and is trying to speak to us daily. I have been studying in Preach My Gospel, the scriptures, and my patriarchal blessing so I can better understand how the Spirit speaks to me. When the Spirit communicates to us, it is on a personal level and in a way that we will understand individually.  It has been really rewarding as I have been better able to feel the Spirit work through me and speak to me and then, of course, God being God, gave me a chance to apply all of this in my daily work.

I have been asked by President Clark to work really hard at seeking out and finding the lost sheep.  There are so many members in this area that are not active and their membership records aren't accurate and some are even lost.  He says I am "good" at finding and loving the lost sheep back into the fold.  So my companion and I have been working diligently on this task and the Spirit has been guiding us.  We just so happened to meet an old woman named Gloria this week. We were given her name by the church office in Manila because her records and address are missing.  They sent us a list of all these people that we need to find. We went to the last location they had known record of her and she was still living there. Gloria lives all alone. She greeted us in a very uncomfortable manner and was acting like she was nervous about something. She was hesitant to talk with us.  She finally began speaking with us and during our conversation she ended up admitting she had been baptized into the Jehovah's Witness church a few years ago.  This seemed to be as a result of being serverly offended by some members of the "Mormon Church."  We were standing outside of her house in the heavy rain as we both testified that the Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect but the people are not.  We told her that she is loved by our Heavenly Father and that He no longer wants her to be hurt or offended.  She didn't seem interested in listening but she told us to come back.

So we did. We fasted and prayed for her and then returned a few days later.  I think she was a little surprised yesterday when we showed up on her front doorstep again. This time she did allow us to talk with her. Apparently she was offended because she overheard some members saying rude things about another member in the ward. This didn't sit well with Nanay, she thought we all loved each other in the Church of Jesus Christ and so she never went back to church. Then she met missionaries for the Jehovah's Witness Church and discovered that at their church the members are not allowed to talk, they have to be silent, so she felt that was the better church to attend. However, she told us that since she had met us the first time, she had not been able to sleep well as memories of missionary lessons and strong spiritual moments kept coming back to her. She said she felt confused now about what was right and what was true. Well..... isn't that just the PERFECT line for us as missionaries to respond to? Hahaha anyway, we testified quite boldly that God loved her and was trying to speak to her. We let her know that finding her name on a sheet of thousands of lost members was no coincidence and that the Lord wanted her to return to the true and living Gospel. The Spirit had "spoken" to Sister Lamera and I and we were able to find Gloria without much difficulty.  Heavenly Father knew of Gloria and He wanted Gloria to know that she was loved.  It was really powerful.  I know that I felt the love that Heavenly Father has for her.  She is still uncertain of what to do, but did say we could come back and teach her and read with her. Hopefully, something will come from this. Hopefully, she will listen and desire to return to the "fold."  Wow, I truly know that our Heavenly Father loves us and is mindful of all of His children.  He is aware of Gloria and He led us directly to her through the promptings of the Spirit.  I truly have applied what I have learned about listening to the Spirit this week.

How grateful I am for a Heavenly Father who truly does care about us.  I know that finding Gloria was no accident or coincidence. I know the Lord is trying to help this sweet, lost soul return to Him.  Please pray for Gloria to find her way back and that she will be able to listen to the Spirit to overcome her anger.  Sister Lamera and I are going to do our best to love her and guide her back.

It's crazy to me just how loved we really are. Have you ever stopped to think about that? In this world, we hear so many people talking about searching for SOMEONE or SOMETHING to fill this gaping hole they feel in their heart. They feel lost and empty. I feel this gaping hole is because they don't understand God's love. We do not need to waste our time desperately searching for things to fill the "hole," because God and our Savior are always with us.  They are so close to us and all they desire is for us to take one step in the dark towards the light.  If we do, they will light the rest of the way.

That is my spiritual soap box for the week.

Everybody sounds happy. I hope mom had a good birthday. Oh...mom, you just WAIT for next year. Bahahahahahaha. I am already planning. (;

I love you all and pray for you too.

Just be safe and smart for the next 57 days okay???

Love you all!

-Sister Thomas

Oh, you know...me and Sister Lamera just hangin' with the locals!  Bahahahahaha!
Yup...this is my life!

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