What can I say, I love being a missionary, it is so beautiful and wonderful to see people apply the atonement to their lives. I admire those people so much. I read in the Ensign here a story about a garden, a really terribly maintained garden. When people walked by they would talk about how terrible it looked. But one day someone pulled the weeds and hacked the soil and tore the garden up to plant new, beautiful flowers. And not one person walked by the garden saying, "Wow, that garden used to be ugly." But they walked by and said, "Wow, look at how far that garden has come and how beautiful it is now." I know that that is the transformation that it happening now in your lives. That’s what this life is about--to find where we are weak and natural and to rely completely on our Savior to pull us out of the quicksand or to pull our weeds, and hack up our soil. Read Jacob 5. There's a scripture there that I ADORE. Jacob 5: 49-51.
I love my Savior so much. I know he lives. With all my heart I know he lives. I know Jesus Christ is that Savior. He walked the earth and he suffered for our weaknesses. He suffered for pop's whole life. He suffered for your whole life. He suffered for the times I want to give up and go home. For the times I don't think I can speak this language. For everyone I come in contact with who smokes or has 3 kids out of wedlock or is suffering from cancer. I am so excited for you both--for this new chapter of your lives. Don't look back. Only look to the celestial kingdom and hold tightly to the gospel's iron rod.
This week in our district meeting we had a great lesson about love--loving our companions. Our district leader, Elder Miller, is a great leader and so inspired. I adore him! He reminds me of Nathan in so many ways. He had us put a rock in our shoes and walk around the church building to see the beautiful landscaping. So, of course the rock I got was completely round and hurt pretty bad on the arch of my foot as I walked. But I walked with Elder Apin--we talked about the trees, we saw some white butterflies fluttering, I pointed out a cloud that looked like a brushstroke, and honestly there were times I forgot I had a rock in my shoe. We went back in the classroom and talked about all of the wonderful things we like about our companions. I told everyone that I like that Sister Banks and I can enjoy the little things together--like kicking a rock back and forth, down the street like a soccer ball.
So last week, we were looked for a referral, Remedios Acoba. We were told he lived behind New Dalton High School, so we tracted and OYMed everywhere there to find him. We ended up finding a different Acoba family. A man, probably in his late 40's opened the door. He was so kind to us and let us in--his old mother was there too. She is jehovah's witness and the man is methodist. His name is...well, Jesus. Jesus Acoba. We taught them about how God is our loving Heavenly Father, and I testified in the end of the prophet Joseph Smith. The lola wasn't so receptive, but the man asked questions and told us about what he believed. We left him with a lesson 1 pamplet and invited him to pray afterwards. We scheduled an appointment to return.
Many times when you schedule an appointment to return, and actually return, the people aren't there. Well, I felt so strongly that we needed to return to this appointment--even though it was unusually scheduled in the morning, because that was his only time. We returned and Jesus received us happily, although he said he had work that morning, but he remembered that he had an appointment with us. His brother Napoleon was there. We asked Jesus about his reading the pamplet and he said he hasn't yet because some baptists came over right after us and gave him some reading to do also. Napoleon said that he was just getting ready to watch a tv show on the mormons (anti mormon). We shared with both of them about prophets and gospel dispensations, then testified of Joseph Smith again--this time showing them a portrait of him from the gospel art book. The spirit was so strong. Napoleon talked about how Joseph Smith isn't in the bible and he doesn't believe that he is a prophet, and many people don't believe in Joseph Smith. I talked about how prophets have been rejected from the beginning of time and if he wanted to know for himself if Joseph Smith was a prophet, he should pray about it. Well, Napoleon refused to pray. But Jesus did. In his prayer, he asked if Joseph Smith was a true prophet and paused. In the pause, I felt the spirit so strongly. And after his prayer, I saw that his eyes were wet. We are going back to Jesus twice this week.
There is so much to share and so little time.
Joshua's baptism was sweet. He is 14 and the only one in his family who is a member. None of his family members came to his baptism. The youth gave the talks and bore their testimonies and the next Sunday, fast Sunday, Joshua bore testimony in sacrament. His eyes glow.
Today is Elder Apin's birthday! I made him a funny card and will be cooking spaghetti with meatballs--Italian style--for them all. That was his request. :) We had a picnic on a river this morning. An investigator cooked Tilapia, pinekbet, adobo, and rice for us all. We skipped rocks and played patty-cake games.
I received the Birthday package!!! Thank you so sosososoososossosoososos much. Tell Jared thank you sosoososos much. I am so in love with Clif Bars and walnuts. Also, those pecan caramel things go fast with me. :/ Thank you all sooooo much :)
I feel like I can understand so much more. Also, I'm starting to try and learn Ilokhano, another dialect here.
People call me Taylor Swift.
Our companionship is going well. Two weeks and this cycle will be over. I can't believe how fast the time goes here. President says that if I've learned the area in two weeks, he will have me lead it, and I will have a new comp. Sister Banks and I have constantly been re-evaluating ourselves and how we've been doing with our teaching. We may have to go on splits with the members here because our schedule is SO packed full of appointments and every single one of them is important. I pray constantly for charity.
OH! We had this lesson this week, where the people were being totally rude during our teaching. The children were making faces and farting noises--and they were like 10 and 11. I had told them before the lesson that if they were good, I would do magic for them. They were terrible. I shared Joseph Smith's first prayer by heart, looking into the eyes of the investigator, and the spirit was thick, even though the children were being so rude. We closed with a prayer and the children jumped up and down pleading for magic. I told them no, because they were terrible. We went back a second time this week, and they sat and were so good. We taught gospel dispensations and ended the night with a magic trick--my magic is so terrible.
I love you so much momma! I love all of my family and my friends, thank you for praying for me, and supporting me in all ways. I love you GRANDMA, stay safe and well for me. Kisses and Hugs to all! We have to go shop for food now! No more time!
PS no memory card, so no pictures. :(