We loved zone conference last Friday. I love the focus on the Book of Mormon. I believe in that book so much. It's the first thing I do every morning and the last thing I do every night. I usually read the Book of Mormon in Tagalog. I've been working on it for the 3rd time on my mission.
Brother Rafael was on our minds the whole time that Sister Tobias and I were in zone conference. I really want to do what President Nelson did and make lists of all the truths that the Book of Mormon clarifies and principles. I think that it would really help Brother Rafael. Sister Tobias felt the same impression to do this during zone conference so we feel like it was an impression sent from God. We didn't get to teach him this week because he has been in the hospital with his grandma and he is a very busy psychology student, but we know he started the Book of Mormon from the very beginning. We really feel that this young man is going to be a future leader of the church and an outstanding missionary. His desire is to be a missionary, and I am 100% certain that God has led him to this church. I often feel inadequate to be teaching, but I'm so grateful that this is the Lord's work and the Book of Mormon is the key to conversion and understanding the Savior. I have no doubts about Brother Rafael.
We taught KC and Jarwin this week again, the young couple that lost their baby. they told us they had been talking about their first experience with the missionaries, and they are committed to joining the church. They are SOO prepared of God. They are quickly becoming close to my heart. i just want to talk about them all the time and I jump for joy when I mention their names to others and my companion. There is no doubt in my mind that we were led to them and they are going to be married for all eternity someday in the temple. We told them their baby is so excited that they found the missionaries and that he is waiting for them to go to the temple. They are so special.
We have other investigators dealing with hard trials and the underlying problem is feeling forgiveness. But I'm learning that the Savior is willing and ready to forgive. He loves us. It is never too late. I love our investigators and see that their hearts are good and forgiveness and change. If I see that, I know that's just a taste of how the Savior loves me and our investigators.Some investigators of ours have lost hope because of the death of their returned missionary from sickness, or their husband has an addiction and wants to be baptized, or is afraid to come back to church because of the mistakes they have made in their lives. One recent convert has just been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. It was such a spiritual experience to sing "Be Still my Soul" to him. My heart is being filled with compassion towards them.
I've been studying the Atonement of Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon and the Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. I learned this:
The miracle of the Atonement is not just that we can go home but that—miraculously—we can feel at home there. If Christ did not require faith and repentance, then there would be no desire to change. Think of your friends and family members who have chosen to live without faith and without repentance. They don’t want to change. They are not trying to abandon sin and become comfortable with God. Rather, they are trying to abandon God and become comfortable with sin. If Jesus did not require covenants and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, then there would be no way to change. We would be left forever with only willpower, with no access to His power. If Jesus did not require endurance to the end, then there would be no internalization of those changes over time. They would forever be surface and cosmetic rather than sinking inside us and becoming part of us—part of who we are. Put simply, if Jesus didn’t require practice, then we would never become pianists.
-- Brad Wilcox
3 Nephi 9 is becoming a favorite to share.
13 O all ye that are spared because ye were more righteous than they, will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?
14 Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me.
15 Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God. I created the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are. I was with the Father from the beginning. I am in the Father, and the Father in me; and in me hath the Father glorified his name.
This week wasn't easy. Even though we planned very very busy schedules and many investigators every single day, even though most of them were sure times that our investigators would be available, things didn't go the way we planned. We kept wondering why things turned out that way. We aren't perfect, but we are studying and trying to be obedient, even though we have many flaws. But we stayed positive and even though we still aren't sure why things went the way they did, we aren't giving up and we are going to try again.
The gospel is about change and transforming into what Heavenly Father wants to make us. He is here to heal us, to change our nature through the principles of the Gospel into what he wants us to be. Jesus "ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice." Because he did this we can change and he can give us mercy. We can become like our Heavenly Father. But we must choose to use His Atonement and repent and change. If we don't we won't be ready or want to meet our Father in Heaven again. I'm so grateful to find those of His children who want to repent and be changed through the power of the Atonement of our Savior. I know that the Book of Mormon contains these truths and are in no other Book.
Saturday, March 10, 2018
From Bauang to You
I just want to share a few miracles that happened to us this week. I am gaining more faith that if we truly open our mouths that we will find the people prepared by God to teach. I felt so blessed.
On Saturday we were trying to find people in a new area that the Sister Training Leaders left when they transferred to Bauang 1st ward. We ended up finding an older couple that had been baptized a little over a year ago but none of their family had been baptized with them. As we were talking to them we saw their granddaughter hanging clothes nearby and we were makulit and did everything we could to get her involved in the lesson. As we were getting to know her, her asawa came in and sat down and started listening. They are a young couple in their early 20s. As we started the lesson, we asked Sister how her belief in God has helped her in her life. That's when her eyes filled with tears and she explained that they had just lost their first baby. They were both distraught. But brother expressed his faith in God and in prayer that he has been given him to get a job to support his new family. They have great faith in God. After that we were able to testify of the Plan of Salvation. We asked them if they wanted to know where their baby was right now and their eyes lit up and looked at us with such eagerness and attentiveness. We started reading Moroni 8:
8 Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.
11 And their little children need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the remission of sins.
12 But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism!
We told them their baby was with their Heavenly Father. Brother asked if they are growing up in Heaven and we were able to tell him that we know that he is learning and growing in knowledge to become like his Heavenly Father in the celestial kingdom. Then we shared verse 10:
10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are accountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little children, and they shall all be saved with their little children.
That's when we testified of the Doctrine of Christ and that Brother and Sister must be repent and be baptized to be saved in the kingdom of God with their child and be a forever family. They cried and told us they want that more than anything. They are already reading the Book of Mormon and committed to a baptismal date and to go to church. It was the best experience. Sister Tobias and I were overjoyed.
We've been focusing on the Bacolcol family too. They are a whole family that goes to church. They have two kids that served such honorable missions. But one of them just died in service to their country and they are absolutely devastated but became open to the missionaries again. We've been boldly testifying of the Plan of Salvation in 2 Nephi 9 to them and it was like the verses were speaking directly to them.
1 And now, my beloved brethren, I have read these things that ye might know concerning the covenants of the Lord that he has covenanted with all the house of Israel—
2 That he has spoken unto the Jews, by the mouth of his holy prophets, even from the beginning down, from generation to generation, until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God; when they shall be gathered home to the lands of their inheritance, and shall be established in all their lands of promise.
3 Behold, my beloved brethren, I speak unto you these things that ye may rejoice, and lift up your heads forever, because of the blessings which the Lord God shall bestow upon your children.
4 For I know that ye have searched much, many of you, to know of things to come; wherefore I know that ye know that our flesh must waste away and die; nevertheless, in our bodies we shall see God.
5 Yea, I know that ye know that in the body he shall show himself unto those at Jerusalem, from whence we came; for it is expedient that it should be among them; for it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to become subject unto man in the flesh, and die for all men, that all men might become subject unto him.
6 For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
They are really improving in reading all the reading assignments we give them. Sister Bacolcol is feeling peace reading the Book of Mormon. Brother is still struggling overcoming an addiction and it is making it hard to read. They are having trouble deciding to be baptized and I'm reminded of the Abat family in Lingsat. But we know the time is coming just like the Abat family.
We taught Brother Rafael last night in the church. He is a minister of Iglesia. When we started teaching he just started bombarding us with scriptures he memorized in the Bible and even the Book of Mormon about prophets and the Godhead and we were a little worried at first as we were holding our ground that things weren't going to go the right direction. But when we asked him why he wanted to know these things he expressed to us that he was an honest seeker of truth and that he has questioned many churches and completely understands the apostasy. He told us that his greatest desire in life is to teach the word of God and we were able to testify to him that we were called of a living prophet to testify that these things are true and that he needed not a worldly witness but a spiritual witness of the Book of Mormon through sincere prayer. He asked us that if he were baptized in this church that he wanted to be baptized by immersion and that he wanted to be a missionary like us. He is only 20 years old. We told him that if his desire is true to seek the truth that he will find the truth and become a missionary and even a leader of the church and that God has a plan for him. As we were ending he asked to share a scripture with us. Jeremiah 1:16 and then basically testified to us that before this world was we were foreordained to the most important work and calling in the world- to be a missionary of the Lord Jesus Christ. We were so happy and we testified to him that it was true. I felt so weak during that lesson -- I just testified. But I am so grateful that I was able to witness a miracle.
On Thursday all of our appointments fell through so we ended up looking for old members in Calumbaya. We found an old couple that was baptized the 1980s. We felt impressed to talk to their neighbors. One man was shirtless and tattoed but ran to us and asked if he could listen and of course we told him yes. He ran back to his house, showered, and made himself presentable, came back, sat down, and then we started the lesson. We felt impressed to ask if there was anything they could ask God what would they ask. Brother told us that he has been searching and searching the Bible for the right religion but that he recognized that there had been an apostacy and that things were changed in the Bible. He wanted to ask for the true religion. Of course we testified that that was all true and that there was a boy named Joseph Smith that had asked that question. We gave him a Book of Mormon and asked if he would read before we came back and he told us that by the time we came back he will quote to us from the Book of Mormon. We were so excited.
Basically work was amazing this week. Rica and Charlene got baptized and Rica testified that she knew these things were true although she is only 14 years old. We are focusing on helping her family recognize the truth also. We worked hard. Things weren't perfect -- we make mistakes too. But we testified of these things and tried to serve and love others. I was able to testify in sacrament meeting about charity.
Sister Tobias is the most hardworking missionary. We are both so happy and positive working even when things don't always go the way we hope or plan and we make mistakes too. But we love to work, to study, and we are really happy as a companionship. Amazing things are happening here. Miracles.
Missionary work is the most wonderful work in the world -- bringing souls to Christ and His Restored Gospel. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Monday, February 26, 2018
Hello from Bauang
This week was a lot of hard work. But I already love Bauang with all my heart. (And it has a beach- I love the beach!!) I was welcomed so warmly by the members and I was so impressed by the spiritual maturity of the leaders -- all of which are recently returned missionaries, including the branch president. We have such wonderful and involved young single adults! I couldn't help but bear my testimony on Sunday that I felt such love for the people here even though I'm new and excited for the opportunity to serve, comfort, and help the people here.
I can also see that it's quite a big assignment. There are so many people here and we have quite a large area. We are finishing the training of Sister Tobias too. She is such a sweet, loving, positive, and wonderful companion. She works so hard, teaches clearly, loves her investigators and cares about their salvation and their lives. She is so kind and understanding to her companion too. I feel very blessed.
The first week we found some kind new investigators and I was excited to meet all the investigators here. People are very very humble and kind here in Bauang. Sister Joann just got baptized this Saturday. She is truly humbled and prepared for the gospel. Her husband hasn't quite softened his heart yet but we know they can make it. Sister Joann is always inviting him to church and telling him this is the way. But she comes to church with her little kids no matter what and has completely embraced the gospel and felt the Spirit confirm to her that this is where she needs to be. I feel so blessed for the opportunity to meet her.
Brother Rafael used to be a minister of Iglesia and is very smart and very kind and truly seeking for truth. President came to help us in teaching him. I believe in Divine Design and that there is a reason that he walked into the church a week ago. I felt the Spirit as we testified of what we know to be true. I believe in the future of this young man and his potential to be a powerful leader in this church as he truly searches for the truth.
We met with President Tangalin and asked about the branch mission plan and are going to do our best to support him.
Rica Padilla and Charlene Calica are going to be baptized this Friday. Their mother needs a whole more help reading the Book of Mormon. But they are going to get married soon and want to get baptized. My only concern is that they are struggling with their reading but after watching the video about the Book of Mormon and missionary work I feel more committed to help my investigators read the Book of Mormon.
I see all the work and the people that are here in Bauang and I just always feel so inadequate and falling short of what is expected of me. But I'm going to focus on the Book of Mormon with myself and my investigators and I know that miracles will happen.
Cultural Notes: I'm the cook here! I'm cooking lots of Filipino dishes. Everyone is so shocked -- they say that if I didn't look American they would have thought that I'm Filipino -- personality, food, my Tagalog has improved.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
A Transfer to Bauang, La Union, Philippines
I just want to say that this week changed me. I had been struggling a little with my emotions but I learned SO much this week which I am 100% certain has changed my life. It was the devotional with Elder Rasband.
I had been fasting and praying for weeks to be prepared for this devotional. I had a question in my mind when I came. The talks were so powerful. I had brought a notebook to write down notes, but when Elder Haynie spoke and Elder Rasband, I could not write I was so completely taken over. All I could do was listen to every word that came out of their mouths. I realized many good things that we do -- how we treat everyone as a child of God that needs the gospel, our sense of urgency and not wasting time. But what Elder Rasband and Elder Haynie told us about giving EVERYTHING to the Lord -- all of our energy until we are absolutely exhausted at the end of each day, sharing the gospel with everyone, and the miracles that would happen because of it -- completely pierced my soul. I felt shock waves go through my body -- it really felt like shock waves. Elder Rasband told us that what we do now -- our obedience, our hard work, our love of the gospel -- will directly be how the rest of our lives will be like. That hit me so hard. I realized that truly I was not going to be happy UNLESS I gave it EVERYTHING I HAD. The miracles that Elder Rasband shared were beautiful -- I truly believe now in the DIVINE DESIGN.
After Saturday our work changed. Not only did we work hard but we worked smart. We followed the Spirit. We found an elect lady that cried, felt the Spirit the first lesson, and told us all of her questions of the soul about forgiveness and seeing her sister again in the next life. We met a couple that for years had been waiting for missionaries to teach them about temple marriage. We talked to everyone and made tons of contacts. We still weren't perfect -- but we felt the Spirit that day. We went to work early and didn't waste any time in the apartment. We loved the people. Every time we meet someone, we tell them that we were messengers sent from God to meet you and tell you about this gospel of happiness, that it wasn't a coincidence that we met you. I quickly saw how humble the Filipino people are.
We met this really sweet 22 year old Stephanie who has 2 little kids and her husband works in the army. She has been moving from house to house as her husband is assigned to different places. They have no real home and no permanent address. When we met her we knew it wasn't a coincidence because her close friend and neighbor growing up was Mormon. We have had a shortage of Book of Mormons for weeks now but I felt impressed to give her mine. She was completely overjoyed she almost cried. She's about to move again and so I may never see her again, but I am certain God has a plan for her. God has a "Divine Design.”
I'm so grateful for everything I have learned. It's taken a lot of trials, and I know there are a lot to come. Sometimes I wish that I had learned all this earlier in my mission, but then I realized that the Lord knows us and taught us little by little, line upon line. It's been hard with my medical trials, but I've been blessed with wonderful companions and wonderful areas. I see the conversion in my life becoming full. That my missionary work is for the rest of my life.
Arnold was baptized last week. We felt the Spirit teach Sister Wilma to come back to church and who she was and the divine plan there was for her. I love her so much.
I'm excited to know what the Lord has in store in Bauang with Sister Tobias. I know there is a FIELD of SOULS ready to harvest. I'm really going to overcome my worries by looking to Christ. Whenever those feelings come back again, I will just smile as hard as I can and talk to everyone I meet -- that's what brings the Spirit to me. I know there are so many people who need the gospel.
Love, Sister Porter
Monday, February 5, 2018
More from Naguilian
I know that it was revelation from God for me to stay here in Naguilian for a little bit longer. I am so so grateful. This week I saw incredible miracles. Last week I was hit with trials because things didn't work out right and I felt like I wasn't doing enough -- I felt surrounded by darkness. But so did Joseph Smith before the First Vision. At the very moment when you feel like you feel like you must abandon yourself to destruction or sadness, if you keep praying, the Light comes. And it came!
This week we worked so hard -- from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed we are still working. We planned, we prayed, we trusted in God that he would give us words to say. And He did!!! We have the best investigators!
We are teaching a new family that was a referral from our recent converts. The Flora family is SO prepared for the gospel. The Spirit is working with them so much. The Spirit helped us teach one of the most clear and understandable lessons of the Restoration I have ever had. Their little 9 year old son has a sweet connection to the Spirit that he begs his family to come to church -- he's the first one ready every Sunday! They were touched at testimony meeting this week, started reading the Book of Mormon as a couple, and even though they are still confused about Joseph Smith they prayed to know if this is the right church for them and they said they received an answer that this is the right path for their family. In just two weeks they told us their family is changing little by little. They were thinking about another church to join but that was when they met the missionaries and they realized it was a sign from God. We are so so excited about their progress Sister Umpad and I were overjoyed last night.
Their neighbor Sister Gida, was the lady who stopped us on her motorcycle, who has been searching for a real family because she was abandoned when she was a child and now helps abandoned children. She has been working so hard ever since she was young to build a living for herself. And we knew their was a reason we met her. This week when we came to check up on her she has changed. She grabbed her Book of Mormon, explained to us that she had met with her pastor and asked about Joseph Smith. He told her that even Satan can appear and deceive people. So she explained everything to us and told us she was confused but she wasn't quite convinced by his words. She told us she felt she needed to read the Book of Mormon and she started reading the testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith at the beginning. After that I believe that Sister Umpad and I were filled with the Spirit and knew what we had to say. A scripture popped into my head - 3 Nephi 14: 16. And we told her that the Book of Mormon invites others to come unto Christ and nothing this good that brings forth such goodness and eternal life could ever come from Satan. Satan tries to counterfeit goodness and confuse us, but everything he does eventually leads us to be miserable like he is if we follow him. The Book of Mormon has the words of Christ and is the evidence that Joseph Smith was inspired by God. We then read 3 Nephi 14: 7-11 and promised her that because she was seeking for truth that God would answer her and bring her goodness. She came to church yesterday.
Brother Arnold is so excited to be baptized that he wanted us to move up his baptismal date. He said he would be active in all activities and even came to branch council. Brother Nuevo is such a great fellowshipper to him and to our investigators. He drops everything to work with the missionaries or come to an activity or meeting. We are going to try to finish he lessons this week. We have some commandments to finish but he is doing so good. He is giving up his old ways and starting new ones. Their baranggay is buzzing with news of how people are changing because of the gospel. That's why almost all our investigators are in that baranggay it's pretty funny.
Sister Erlina came to church too. They are getting married this Thursday. She is 20 years old and we brought the YSA to visit her and they loved her. After the lesson they came back the next day to learn how to make Baguio headbands. Sister Erlina felt so loved at church. They are a very poor family but prepared. We are teaching her more simply but she felt the Spirit when all the youth testified of the blessings of the gospel. She begs the missionaries to come back to her.
Sister Emilia is a long term investigator but when we first met her she wasn't ready to be baptized. She still has things she needs to do but she has started reading the Book of Mormon seriously for weeks and the scriptures are talking directly to her and helping her change. The Book of Mormon is a miracle!!!!!! We feel the Spirit every time we read the verses she highlights with her and liken it unto her.
Sister Rina that President allowed to come and research the missionaries, is 100% prepared by God to hear the gospel. She has been studying us and is so curious. After her survey we did EDPER in district meeting and Sister Umpad and I got to teach Sister Rina about the Book of Mormon and the First Vision. Afterward she got so curious that she testified to our zone that she felt something new -- she doesn't know it is the Spirit yet -- and said she was ready to meet with the missionaries. Hopefully the office got the referral we sent with her information.
We fasted with the leaders of the branch this week for our investigators and miracles happened at church. It was amazing. Brother Zaldy and Brother Arsenio blessed the sacrament today and did an incredible job. Brother Wally's girlfriend is leaving on a mission -- who knows what brother Wally will choose to do? (Hopefully he will serve too) I love the faith of the leaders here and I love Naguilian so much. I am so grateful for the counsel that the leaders have given me here -- they helped me feel peace and happy. I am actually learning that I like to plan and all the branch goals and meetings. I know that I stayed here for a reason. This week saved me because it brought back the peace that I was looking for that maybe I wouldn't have had otherwise because I see the fruit here in Naguilian. Truly the field is ripe and ready to harvest.
I know that there are still trials to come. I still feel inadequate because I make mistakes everyday. I have a lot of weaknesses. A ton. But everything that has happened here has been a gift from God and never because of our efforts. We can see that this is the Lord's work and not ours. That He knows His children and won't let them perish if they believe in Him. I, despite my innumerable weaknesses, believe in Him and keep praying and reading the Book of Mormon, and so I know He answers my prayers and gives us what we ask if we ask in faith. We have to be patient with the Lord's timing. Something I read from Jeffrey R Holland in (Tomorrow the Lord will Work Wonders Among You) is that the Lord knows the desires of our hearts. I know that I have struggles and I know they will come back. I know my weaknesses and I have a ton of things to improve. But we are being obedient and me and Sister Umpad are very happy. She is one of the best companions I have ever had because of her testimony, she makes me laugh and truly happy because of her conversion of her and her family, she is so humble and so bold and patient with me and our investigators.
In my personal study I read John 21, and know that after my mission I can't go back to my old life either. I am not successful without the Savior, just like the disciples caught nothing when they went back to their nets. Christ is the one that gives success. Our work is nothing without Him, but we find strength and miracles beyond our capabilities. But more important is that Christ called us to feed His sheep. He can get fish is he wants -- but He wants us -- ourselves -- He needs disciples forever who will covenant with him to sacrifice our time, talents, to build the kingdom of God. I made that promise when I was called as a missionary and now I must be His disciple forever.
Monday, January 22, 2018
Bagbag na puso at nagsisising espiritu
This week was so great. We came home every day completely exhausted. We worked so so hard. Our zone conference was fantastic and I felt the Spirit so strong -- especially about the sacrament and how we can draw power from it to change ourselves and become reborn every week. Little by little every week we take out the natural man in us and replace it with good and new more perfect spiritual qualities. Every piece of bread we take represents the unique and individual needs that we need that Christ suffered for to refine us, cleanse us from our sins, and give us power to overcome our weaknesses. I felt the Spirit so strong and felt the power of the Atonement changing me. I've felt so inadequate and unsure what to do or how to improve, but through the sacrament I'm learning to rely on Christ and his power to change me. I am feeling like that I'm born of God, that I have no desire to do evil but to do good, that I love my Savior more and more, and I feel converted and basically all I want to do with the rest of my life is share the gospel for the rest of my life. Is there such thing as a lifetime extension?? I truly do wish with all my heart to spend my days here sharing the gospel. Lives are changed. I've seen an alcoholic change into a humble man glowing with the light of Christ. He just had his baptismal interview on Sunday and our district leader said that his countenance is truly glowing. It's so obvious to me that the gospel of Jesus Christ changes lives, changes souls, changes the world. I feel enlisted in the most important cause to change the world. I LOVE IT!
Basically I am probably the happiest I've been on my whole mission. We worked so hard finding part member families and meeting their families in their compounds. We found a lot of promising investigators that we are going to back to this week. We taught quite a few referrals of members, one from Brother Nuevo who is now giving out the Book of Mormon to his friends that he knows can change too (WOW!), one is the husband of a member who desperately wants to be married in the temple, and another from our efforts in asking members to give a Book of Mormon. Basically I just love the members and I love the people of Naguilian -- I honestly wish I could just be here forever. I feel that there is SOOOO much work for me to do, and sometimes I feel bad that it took me so long to figure out how to do missionary work more effectively. It was really hard when I was training, but I'm trusting that there was a reason my first year was hard and things didn't go the way I planned. I'm hoping that I will be able to serve the Lord with what I'm doing for the rest of my life.
My companion and I are doing great. We eat super healthy and eat all kinds of pure vegetable dishes and rice, like kare-kare or ginataang gulay. We exercise every day and study the Book of Mormon first thing in the morning. Our apartment is filled with the Spirit. We are feeling filled with the Spirit. Yesterday we were confused about where to go and what to do but everything worked out perfect because we followed the peaceful feeling that we needed to go to Tuddingan, even though we weren't sure if it was going to work out. We were able to teach in unity and power. We are excited to work. Even though it does feel like an overwhelming task before us and we know we can't do everything and we aren't perfect, we trust that the Lord will guide us to use our time wisely. Sister Umpad is one of the best companions I've ever had. We teach repentance and are bold. This has been the happiest transfer I've had, even though sometimes there have been hard times to. I'm grateful that I've learned so much. I'm praying so so hard that the Lord will help us bring many souls to Christ, because I've learned that I absolutely cannot do it on my own and it has been hard to get over my self-doubt and being hard on myself.
I talked at a funeral service about the Resurrection and that Jesus is the Life of the World. I never thought I would do that. I also got to speak in church and I felt the Spirit as I testified of the importance of missionary work. I don't know if anyone else felt it but I did.
I love missionary work. I love being obedient. I LOVE NAGUILIAN. I love my companion. I love working. I know I'm not a perfect missionary and we have hard times too -- I'm especially hard on myself because I want to bring souls unto Christ and I feel that because of my imperfections and capabilities that I have missed opportunities. But I'm trying hard and I know I have to trust in God that they will come if I follow Alma 26:22 -- repent, exercise faith, do good works, and pray without ceasing.
Tuesday, January 16, 2018
This week was a little bit harder even though we are continuing to see wonderful things happen in Naguilian. Somethings just didn't work out the way we wished, but I read this scripture in Alma and it really helped.
22 Yea, he that repenteth and exerciseth faith, and bringeth forth good works, and prayeth continually without ceasing—unto such it is given to know the mysteries of God; yea, unto such it shall be given to reveal things which never have been revealed; yea, and it shall be given unto such to bring thousands of souls to repentance, even as it has been given unto us to bring these our brethren to repentance.
I truly love this gospel and feel converted to missionary work. I truly do feel that way. There is nothing I love more in my whole life than seeing souls repent and trust in Christ. That is such a privilege to witness! It isn't to worry about the membership of the church or to be a salesperson or to improve their lives, but it is to SAVE SOULS and bring them to salvation. There is nothing more serious or more important in the whole wide world and cannot be taken lightly.
But I have to have faith and act and DO IT! I have to have faith that God is preparing souls around us to learn the gospel, especially here in the Philippines Baguio mission where people are so humble and will repent if missionaries are bold in their testimonies of the gospel. That is what saved Nuevo Dumaging. If we hadn't told him he needed to repent and he needed to do it NOW and not little by little, he wouldn't be getting baptized in 2 weeks. Nuevo is a soul prepared for baptism. He is active in the church activities and has the most humble heart. As soon as we tell him a law and tell him to repent, he repents right away and does it no more. Arnold Aljentera is getting ready to be baptized too next month. We had a strong lesson about getting answers through prayer and that he has found the true gospel and someday through his example his family will follow. The Spirit was so strong in that room.
Another thing that happened this week was while we were walking through our area we saw two ladies in their rice fields working and of course we came over to help. They were so so surprised to see two sister missionaries willing to help them in their rice fields. And while we worked we told them about the Restoration. I was so so excited to serve and help and share the gospel.
Prayers would be appreciated to help me have the strength to talk to as many people as possible even when I feel tired in body and spirit and wonder if I can keep going in energy!
If I repent, exercise faith, do good works and pray without ceasing, I will know the mysteries of God and bring 1000s to repentence. It's in the scriptures! It's a promise of God! I can't rest from my labors until the end of my life because souls need to be brought unto him and I'm not truly happy unless I fulfill this commission.
I'm so grateful to be here in Naguilian -- here I've learned the most and love the people here so much. I've really been learning what it looks like to TEACH REPENTANCE and BAPTIZE CONVERTS!!!