(Marissa’s mom post, Gina McLean: Marissa nor her family do not have any affinity for the University of Maryland except for this following story. I, Marissa’s mom, went with her dad and siblings to the Exploratorium. I wasn’t feeling well so I sat down on a couch behind an exhibit. A woman sat next to me. I found out she was not feeling well because she was from Maryland and they had been ongoing touring for a week non-stop. She and her family were here to watch the Foster Farms Bowl against Stanford. Her husband coached for the University of Maryland. We spoke of our love for Oakland and then we spoke about how she would be a great contributor to the conversation of African American male safety as she is a caucasian woman raising African American boys. After such a great conversation, she handed me this towel. I realized I had missed the opportunity to be “fearless” in terms missionary work. I sent Marissa the towel and encouraged just as she had relayed the story about the Chinese woman selling flowers in her previous post to be “fearless” in talking to people about the gospel. Marissa has watched me countless times talk to perfect strangers and within 2-5 minutes we are strangers no longer. I mention the gospel probably half or more each time but I need to be “fearless” in doing it every time which I pray and hope she does. I know that she will receive not only knowledge but great joy in talking to people this way! I know anyone reading will too if you just give a few minutes to speak with someone you don’t know yet! I always say our struggles connect us but what I forget to add is comforting each other through those struggles does too. I know Heavenly Father put us on this earth to do just that!
I miss all of you like crazy but I am staying busy and working hard here. I don’t have a ton of time to email left but I do want to share an experience from this week because it has been a very spiritual week for me here, probably one of the hardest and best weeks I have ever had.
We taught our investigator Peter this week who is a little more difficult and he always has a lot of questions for us and doesn’t want to come to church. Mostly he was taking the discussions because his asawa wanted him to. It was a hard lesson because Pilimai and I were both feeling sick that day and we missed study time that morning to try to sleep it off so we didn’t have as much preparation as we wanted to. We are always really prepared for Peter because we know he has a lot of questions. Before the lesson even started, I felt so inadequate and so did my kasama, we were both crying even before we started teaching. I felt like someone had taken an eraser to my mind and I couldn’t remember any Tagalog and my mind was pretty much blank. So I took my notes and pretty much plannned to read off them because my brain was just hurting and filled with fluid. I felt pretty upset because usually I feel confident and secure and on top of it and that is how we go into lessons. Beforehand we tried to practice but it just made us even more worried and concerned thinking about it. When the first companionship came back from teaching him, we went into another room and prayed together. Tears fell from my eyes as I told my Father in Heaven that I felt inadequate but knew I could invite the Spirit and have it to be with me. I thanked Him for this opportunity to rely better on Him and to humble me to better trust God.
We went into the lesson feeling better but a little nervous still and we shared what we had prepared. After we finished what we had prepared, our investigator asked his favorite question Bakit?(Why?). And after a minute or two we found a scripture that helped him understand. Then he asked us another Bakit? but this time Bakit magtuturo po ninyo sa akin? Why are you teaching me?
A couple of weeks ago, I could have never answered this question in Taglog but this time the answer just flowed out of me. The Spirit prompted me that I should talk about baptism. I explained that we wanted him to be baptized not because we wanted more members in our Church but because we truly wanted him to find happiness and have the opportunity to return to live with Heavenly Father. The Spirit was very strong as we spoke and as I invited him to be baptized when he received a witness of the truth.
I know that I did not do this alone. I felt as Alma did, “as for myself I am nothing but in the strength of the Lord I can do all things.” I don’t know nearly enough Tagalog yet to feel ready and I don’t know that I ever would feel ready to go if it were up to me. But I do know that the Spirit can work through me to testify to someone who needs it and I have the faith that this will happen on my mission very soon. We will be leaving Jan 22nd and then we will be in Manila for a few days at the MTC there before we head to Olangapo.
Anyway, that’s the experience I mainly wanted to share for this week and I also sent a few pics from last week for New Years. I only have one more P day left before I head into the field! Pretty crazy. I love all of you and I am praying for you.