It’s been a super week in the field, things are just flying by but also I feel like I have been in Liozon for like a month already. We are really trying to work with the Branch here to grow and strengthen both through less actives and new investigators. I’m pretty hopeful about a few of our new investigators that we found this week. I want to share something I wrote this week in my journal. Before I left I started writing more things like this, drifting a little from my poetic side I guess. I hope I’ll continue to write in my journal semi-frequently. It’s hard with how busy our day is, but anyway here it is from this week:
Let me try to tell you what it is like to be a missionary. To be a missionary is to work all day long for a single incredible moment. It means the minute you wake up sometimes even before you pee, you are on your knees pleading with God for one of these single incredible moments some would call a miracle. These miracles are not for you or for your gratification but without them you would be without hope and without motivation. To be a missionary means to feel perhaps more uncomfortable and more tired than you have ever felt. You study for hours a language that feels like it doesn’t belong coming out of your mouth. Then for the few minutes you speak each lesson you fumble awkwardly through your sentences until the people listening give you a sorta half pity smile and you say “Pesencia po contilang Tagalog, (patience sir/maam (I know) very little Tagalog)” holding up your fingers in a pinch. They say, its OK and reassure you—or at least you think that’s what they are saying. To be a missionary means you work hard. Sweat all day. Count your bug bites at night. Rub your eyes when morning comes too quickly. So why do you do it anyway? You do it for a single sentence. That single sentence that is the final crack into someone’s heart. And because you have no idea what that sentence is it may be that you say 500 extra sentences. Oh but when that sentence happens you feel it. From your head to your toes to your heart you feel it. You know this person has been touched. They know it and you know it. And when that happens it’s all worth it.
The exhaustion, the tears, the long prayers.
You forget it all in that single, exquisite moment of conversion. Most take more than one of these moments to choose to be baptized. Or to come back to Church. But because you are a missionary it doesn’t matter to you how many moments of conversion it takes because your faith is bigger than the moments you are privileged enough to witness. Your faith and your heart says God will give them more than you can hold, more than your calling has power for.
So being a missionary isn’t about your planner or about your numbers or about what you see.
Being a missionary is about what you don’t see. Because those are the real miracles.
Anyway, I really wanted to share that, even though it is a little long, it’s the best way I can describe this experience I am having here. To continue from last week, this week Sister Cherilyn decided to drop us. It was sad but I know eventually she will understand and come back, for now she just needs time to go through more experience. We had a full week this week. We taught quite a few people, and we focus about half of our efforts at least on helping the less actives in this area. It’s sad how many people in the Philippines end up not staying in the Church. A lot of them leave within the first 3 months of baptism. Cherilyn for example, was just baptized in November. So we are trying to reach out to a lot of those people. It’s such a happy moment when we get to see a whole family at Church.
One family that is progressing a lot right now is Brother Arthurr’s family. They have a goal to go through the temple in May and I am so excited for them. Bro Arthurr is the biggest joker here. He loves to tease me and tells us we should come to his house every night so I can practice my Tagalog. Last lesson I used a sorta bigger word in Tagalog “alinglangan” which means doubt and his eyes practically popped out of his head. He is so funny but he has his serious side too sometimes. We went there this week and because their temple prep class was cancelled for the night him and his wife taught us about the temple. Bro Arthurr shared about how he came to this desire to bring his family to the temple when people in his temple prep class were talking about what it is like to be inside the temple, the words he used were “they said the temple is so astig(cool) and I wanted to be astig, so I want to go to the temple.” haha it was great though and the Spirit there was really strong. Sister Anna shared as well saying some members were asking her why they hadn’t been through yet and she said she told them because she really wants to be prepared and clean to be worthy to go. I can tell she is a really genuine person because the first time I went to teach them Sis Emps told me after that Sis Anna won’t come to church until she says “it is the right time”So I can tell she doesn’t say she will do something unless she really is going to.
Another person we are teaching right now is Tatay Fernandez and his wife. I feel so blessed to have met him because he has so many questions about the Church and seems so eager and willing to learn. His heart has really been prepared. He is 70 but super strong, stands straight as a rod still, and also really outgoing. He is so kind and tries to speak with me in English sometimes. When we taught them the first time, they pulled out a Book of Mormon from the year I was born! Turns out their children were baptized but they never were. It’s cool teaching him because he is so intelligent and really thinks over the things we are asking him every time. We will going back there for the 3rd time later this week.
Anyway, there are so many other people too! I wish I had time for all of them and to tell you what our lessons are like. I hope you guys all know I love hearing from you and miss you. I am a little worried because this week our trainers are leaving us twice so we will be a threesome of new missionaries. At least one speaks Tagalog but Sis Pilimai and I are going to be struggling so keep us in your prayers. I’m not too worried because everyone is really kind here so I think it will be okay.