Finally assigned in the BUKID! Rice Fields!
Today was an interesting week. It was full of both learning experiences and miracles. We are learning a ton here in Naguilian and excited to press forward and see the changes and miracles that will happen in the next few months.
This week was my first sacrament meeting in Naguilian, which was really really helpful to get to learn the names of members and now we have names that are willing to work with us and show us all the areas that we still don't really know. Working with members, I am realizing, will really be one of the most effective ways to strengthen this ward. Finding less active and part member families, strengthening the testimonies of active members, preparing young men and young women and fellowshippers. I know that things are super bigla, but over time I know miracles will happen. We worked with sister Rea yesterday and I think it really strengthened her own committment to serve as a visiting teacher, remember why she was baptized, and why we need the Restoration. I have seen that every time that we teach the Restoration, even if others don't receive the message, that over time we as teachers become more converted to the gospel. Truly I am seeing that even though I am realizing more and more my own faults and weaknesses, that on the other hand I have found myself more converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ and for me, missionary work is what I wish I could do as a full time job for the rest of my life.
That doesn't mean everything is perfect. I am the first to confess my weaknesses and sins. I feel like Nephi often -- I am easily beset by weaknesses. But I pray every time I feel like I'm not doing something Christlike or I need guidance and He always gives me strength to overcome those feelings. I know in whom I have trusted. I don't understand everything in the past, present, or future, but I do know that God knows the desires of our hearts, and is willing to change us if we give our will to him. I read the Fourth missionary again before I went to bed the other night, and felt a renewed desire to give everything to the Lord -- all personal affairs. Box them up and pack them up. I know that even though I have had so so much to learn and starting to realize that especially at the beginning of the mission that I was a really really rough diamond that needs polishing and refinement. I am really really grateful to my old companions who helped me. I am really grateful to my companion now who helps me be a better more Christlike person every day. She is such a loving person and patient with everyone, always excited for the next adventure and next lesson. Her best quality is that she sees every single person as a son or daughter of God with the potential to become like Him -- every person needs love and someone to support and encourage them on the path back to our Heavenly Father.
We have some really really solid investigators. Aljean Garcia is the son of a less active member and was excited to meet us the day we found his house. It was really sweet. He feels attracted to the church and he is only 14 years old. He came to general conference and didn't come to church this week because he got sick. We are planning to get him some young men friends and try to get him to seminary. I think seminary will help him become solid in the gospel of Jesus Christ. From the moment we met him he wanted to be baptized. Our goals for him are to help him become an involved member and to help him nurture his testimony. He doesn't really know how to read so we are planning to start to help him learn how to read. He will be baptized at the end of November -- November 18th is our goal.
Jerome Bautista is the pamankin of another less active family right next to Islander Antonio -- a young man very prepared to go on his mission soon. He is fellowshipping Jerome and Aljean and lending them ties to come to church. We teach them both at the Antonios house. Jerome is a very good young man. He's 18 and was so excited to be taught by the missionaries. He is shy but listens to every word that comes out of our mouth -- even if I say trumpet in Tagalog on accident instead of a whistle for an object lesson. He opened up to us that he has things weighing on his mind and has a true desire to change his life. He is such a special young man -- truly humbled with a broken heart and contrite spirit. We are so excited to see the joy of the Atonement work on him. Our focus with him is to help him have support and come to seminary too.
Angelito Deleon has wanted to be baptized this month, but we moved the date to October 28th so he was for sure done with all the lessons, are planning to get the elders quorum involved, and to make it a special day for him. Our focus with him this week is the Book of Mormon -- really understanding why this is the true church on Earth. His son wants to learn piano, so we are trying to start some piano lessons with him. Rangelo is his son and is 10 years old and is a candidate for baptism as well in the coming months.
Emilia Rosario is getting there as well. She has a lot of member friends on her street. The relief society members all are excited for her baptism on November 4. She feels the Holy Ghost testify to her when she prays with real intent, when she comes to church, and when she reads the Book of Mormon. She still needs a better understanding of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and she hasn't been able to come to church because Bauang has been far for her knee -- it's been operated on multiple times and when she falls, sometimes she can't get up.
Those are our solid investigators, and we are sure that if we use the help of the members there will be many more part member families that we can teach. I have had to learn that missionaries have to work smart and do our best to strengthen the ward. I've had to learn patience. If I had my way, I would like to work all day and all night, but often there are things out of my control.
I'm not a perfect missionary, but I will get up every time I make a mistake and I know that Christ will refine me and shape me into the person I need to be. We will never lose faith that there are people ready for the gospel, even though life is messy and we just do not see how things work out sometimes. We know in whom we have trusted, and miracles happen when we have faith. I hope to deepen my understanding of Jesus Christ and of faith this week.
Love you all,