Hello my Momma and my family and friends!!! I miss everyone every day!
Last Monday we went to Banaue with the other district--Elder Lien's district (For some reason my new district went last week without telling us??...meh.) We climbed a billion steps and our legs were sore until about Thursday. I miss my old districts.
Tuesday we taught Perla Cadabona about tithing. We shared scriptures about how all we have belongs to God and all he asks is 10 percent. She had a lot of questions and concerns. We did our best to resolve them. We had her kneel in prayer and ask Heavenly Father if Joseph Smith was a prophet on the spot. She did and told us she felt warm all over. We testified that what she felt was the Spirit bearing witness.
On Thursday, we went back for our return appointment with her. We followed up on her scripture reading and prayer and Word of Wisdom. She hasn’t had a drop of coffee since and has been reading the Book of Mormon every night by a flashlight, on her stairway while her husband is asleep or drunk. We asked her if she had any questions about our last visit. She said, “Well, I am meaning to tell you that I don’t want to become Mormon anymore. And I’m not going to come to church on Sunday. And our Family Home Evening here on Monday night wont be happening either.” I felt my heart drop. We asked her what has changed her mind so suddenly. She said she spoke to her husband about tithing and fast offering—which she always does…she shares with her husband everything we’ve shared with her thus far—and he said something to the extent of, “Wow, those Mormons really ask a lot, no wonder they’re all rich.” I thought about people in church history, like John Tanner and John Rowe Moyle, who gave all they had to God—who will be rich in the eternities.
We asked her if we could share a message anyways. We shared the story about Abinadi, how he testified of the truth he felt until his death. We pointed out that she had felt the truthfulness of what we’ve taught her, and that both Sister Roncal and I have seen such beautiful changes in her since we’ve been teaching her. I shared with her that I know the truth, and I would share it to my death, like Abinadi. At the end of our message, I think Sister Roncal and I were both expecting a change of heart and mind, but she repeated again that she wont become Mormon and that she wont come to church. We left without a marienda and walked the long road from her house to the highway. (Remember how I said a while ago that we felt like coming to Perla was right, even though she was so far away, because there was always a tricycle to take us back to the city. That was a little sign? Well. This last time, there was no tricycle. We took this as another sign.)
She didn’t come to church on Sunday.
We are worried for Sister Perlita now, because she always asks in our teaching how Sister Perla is doing…dah. We are working to get a good fellowshipper for her, close to her age. Her baptism is on the 23rd and we are doing all we can to get her solid and ready. She did come to church yesterday, and sat next to our branch president's wife, who has agreed to work with us the next time we go to Perlita.
We found a man named Jimmy Valdez yesterday. He was an OYM of Sister Banks and I, forever ago. We went to his house—which is really far—about a week after we OYMed him, but only his wife was there. She said they were Iglesia ni Cristo and were not interested, so we never went back. Well, back when the Jubilee was going on, the elders gave us a referral…it was Jimmy Valdez…they had talked to him about the gospel and he wanted to hear. Well, Sister Roncal and I have gone back there about 4 or 5 times, but he hasn’t been home or he’s had friends over or something something. We went back yesterday agaaain and found him! He was home, and our lesson was so so so beautiful. He shared so much of himself and his hardships and testimony of God. It’s moments like that that I LIVE for here—I love when people are honest and pure and broken. We testified of Joseph Smith and before we could even ask him to pray about it he interrupted us saying, “Naniniwala ako, naniniwala ako.” (I believe, I believe) We committed him to pray anyways, and he was like, “I promise; I’ll pray and ask tonight.” We have a return appointment this week with his whole family.
Remember Sister Fernandez and her husband? Well, we’ve taught him a bunch and have invited him to church for about three weeks now. He comes every week, but refuses to come inside…he's really shy. Yesterday, during sacrament, he walked into the chapel in his jeans and flip flops and I smiled so big. That was such a big, big step for him! After all of our lessons he’s always like, “Thanks God. Nagpapasalamat ako na nakilala ko kayo.” (I’m so grateful that I’ve met you.) It’s toughhhhhh tough tough here. The other day Sister Roncal and I watched a video about Emma Smith. She was so beautiful and strong and courageous. I wish I could be at least half of who she was.
I have 6 months left of my mission August 4th. Can you believe it???
Anyways. Thats all I can think of to send. I love you so much. Tell Matty hi! I love you all my sweet family and friends! Kiss the babies for me and tell them I think of them very often and how big they must have grown. I love you grandma! NO Pic's this time, sorry.