Monday, January 17, 2011

IT is COooooLD Now!?? WHAT :/

Mommaaaaaaaaaa. Maraming na gusto ko sabihin sa iyo!

Sister De Fiesta opened your Christmas package together and it was such a treat! Every time I'd pull something out of the box (which was half torn) we'd both say a long and drawn out, "wowwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!" Sister De Fiesta was so touched that there were things in there especially for her. Especially the Pistacio nuts. We've also been wearing our socks every night since we've opened the package. They are so waaarrrrm and it is sooo coooollllddd here right now. Weird that the Philippines gets cold. I never would've known. Last night I slept in a shirt and two sweatshirts, two pairs of pants, my Christmas socks, I covered my face with my hoodie, and wrapped myself in three pairs of sheets. The walnuts are a delight. I've missed them so much. AND the chocolates and the apricots and everythingggggggggggggggg. Also, the CD player got to us in one piece. Thank you thank you thank you thank you. We are no longer music deprived. We've been listening to Mormon Tabernacle choir every morning during exercises, when we shower and get ready for the day, and when we are eating any meal.

This week Sister DeFiesta and Sister Stewart, the new sister missionary trainers, went to Alicia to train the sisters there--Sister Brown being one of them. Meanwhile, Sister Webre and I were stationed in Naguilian. Which meant I had to lead the area! Ah! Sister Webre and I planned the night before together, designed our lessons in the morning, prayed about a thousand times, and got to work. Since I am the one familiar with Naguilian, I started all conversations with the investigators (did BRT=build a relationship of trust) and did all the following up on their reading and praying. Sister Webre is fairly new in the mission too, so our Tagalog was basically on the same plane. I was amazed at how capable us two American sisters were. The Lord was truly with us. We taught our first lesson of the day to a woman named Dali. Sister DF and I had taught her once before. The last time Sister De Fiesta and I tried to teach her, we heard her telling her children to tell us she wasn't home. Well, she was outside doing laundry this time. Sister Webre and I offered to help her, but she refused profusely and told us we could share a short message with her. I could tell she really didn't want us there. But the more we taught her about the Book of Mormon and testified to her about its power and the power it could have on her family, her eyes softened. Sister Webre and I , after the lesson, evaluated ourselves and realized that we forgot to give a commitment and schedule a return appointment--doh! During the splits, I was able to see both the things that I can do okay without Sister De Fiesta and also the things that I forget to do or had no idea I needed to improve--like extending commitments and scheduling return appointments. We all met up at the end of the day at the Marinduque residence--Sister Webre and my last appointment, which was SO special. I shared with them how much we love them and how much God loves them. Sister De Fiesta and Stewart brought us corn on the cob from Cauayan. Sister Webre and I joked about "get that corn outta my face!!!" and LOLed about a million times. We ate our corn while we walked the sisters to the bus stop in Naguilian.

Sister De Fiesta and I taught a woman named Annie this week. It was probably our 3rd or 4th visit. We met her when we gave out wrapped Books of Mormon on Christmas/Christmas Eve. Annie is so warm to us and always listens intently to our lessons. She asks lots of questions. This meeting, when we asked her how her prayer was going, she became so honest with us. She told us that she thought our message was very nice but that she had no intention to switch religions. She said that her whole family is Catholic--she has six boys and a husband in a different country and her whole extended family is very religious. She bore her testimony to us basically about how much she's changed in her religion. She said her heart and mind aren't receiving the things we've been sharing and she feels like this is heavenly father's way of letting her know this religion isn't for her. She told us that we are welcome into her home as friends, but she will not be converted. We sat and listened. She spoke for about 15 minutes. Sister De Fiesta spoke first. She told her that she was grateful to her for her kindness towards us and her honestly. She told her that she knows that all the messages we've shared with her are true and that this is the only way to receive salvation. Sister De Fiesta said that as servants of our savior, we are declaring these things to her so that when we stand before him at the last day to give an accounting, we will not be accountable for her blood. I told her I admired her faith and her goodness and kindness towards us. I told her that there is a time for everything and that maybe this is the wrong time for her. I told her that I also know that our message to her is true and that if she would open her heart and her mind to everything we've shared, she would feel it too. I ended the lesson with a prayer. I prayed that her thoughts would be clear, that her mind would be open, and that she would feel in her heart the truthfulness of these things. In my prayer, I asked if Joseph Smith was a true prophet and paused--in the pause, I felt a confirmation from the Holy Ghost, and I know she felt it too. After the prayer, when she looked up, her eyes looked red and she said, "Ina ko..." with a sigh. Like "Oh gosh." We told her that if ever the missionaries came by again, she should receive them. We planted a seed.

This Sunday I taught Sunday school. I took two days to study for my lesson in my personal study and to prepare. I was so worried and prayed and prayed for the words I needed and to be able to have the spirit in the classroom. The lesson was about the Savior's birth. I brought my Mormon Tabernacle Choir and played "The Lord is my Shepherd." before the class started, to invite the spirit (the transition is usually pretty chaotic). There were maybe about 10 people in the class and two had their scriptures. We read from the New Testament and I asked questions in Tagalog. It felt like every question I asked there was a thirty second pause before anyone would answer--I didn't know if it was because I was asking bad questions, if my Tagalog was bad, or if the people were just shy to answer. The room was so peaceful for the whole 30 minutes. One sister answered most of the questions I asked. At one point, when sharing her love for the Savior, she cried. After the lesson, she came up to me and said, "It's been a long, long time since I've felt the spirit that strong here in our Sunday school." I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with the Spirit. The ultimate teacher. I prayed that dispite of my weaknesses, the Spirit would be able to teach the people something. I know that I did nothing.

We have one investigator with a baptismal date and four came to church on Sunday. Yayyyy!!!

I got a letter from Victoria that was SO HILARIOUS, from the MTC. I read it walking around town in Cauayan, and laughed to myself about a million times. She said that the food there is making her gassy and chubby and that she is having such a hard time with the language. Awwwww. I love her and miss her and know that she will be AMAZINNNGGGG. I've already sent her a letter to Armenia, even though her departure date isn't til Feb 24th.

Mom. I'm going to be 24. 24!!!!!! What!?!?!111/!?!?!?!1?!!?!?!!!!!!!!!!!! And six months out on my mission the 4th of Feb. Crazy.

Also, I am sososososososos proud of grandma for getting her temple recommend updated!!! Tell her she can't go anywhere til I'm married. I need her there. Tell her to tell grandpa to just be patient for a realy long time. :)

Your beebeeeee and Sister Fort,

Send me MORE ROBERT FROST! I LOVED the ones you sent. I read them to Sister De Fiesta today after study. :)

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