Happy Easter Week!
This week was an amazing week. Sorry that I have not written a lot the last few weeks. Sometimes email time just goes by really fast. But I want to write and tell you about some of the experiences I am having here in this area. There are so many people here we are finding that are so prepared.
In missionary work there are many different kinds of efforts you put worth. There are some people you talk to who have had seeds planted in their hearts before. For them you are there to water and nourish, to enrich the knowledge they already have. For others you are the first to plant a seed.
And still more whose time has come to reap and harvest. To a farmer none of thses steps is more or less important. Perhaps even more care is taken as the plant grows because before the fruit is ripe and that is when the plant is most vulnerable. SO iot is with faith, before it grows into a deeply rooted plant, it is important to clear the weeds and nourish the ground.
Right now we are working with people who have roots of faith that have brought forth much fruit. Though there is no one stage that is more important than the other, being able to speak with people who have a very sincere desire to hear your message and to grow a testimony is very rewarding.
There are so many experiences and so many people that I want to tell you all about. And so little time. AAAAAH! Haha.
I love my companion so much and we are working so hard here in Liozon.
I guess I will just tell you all quickly about yesterday, our Easter.
We were fasting yesterday as the first Sunday of the month, and we were really excited because there was Women’s Conference and General Conference is like Christmas here on a mission. We will be watching the General Conference next week, but we got to watch Women’s Conference last night. Before that though we went to Church, of course. During Relief Society, the lesson was on one of the talks in the Liahona which was about being Brave or Matapang. I looked around at the women in the room and realized I was privileged to be able to be sitting amongst some of the bravest people I have ever had the privilege to know. Nanay Aida who faced her husband’s death last year, her grandson getting a skin disease that may be there for the rest of his life, and before that her son dying in his 20s. Yet she still chooses to have faith to continue to pray and to believe that someday all of her inactive children will come back. There is Sister Jill who started a salon business here, and last week bore her testimony to all of her coworkers who are nonmembers. Sister Lizada who is preparing to go through the temple after being less active, coming back even though she doesn’t have a lot of friends in the Branch, making adjustments so she can enter the temple next month. And almost every woman in the room sitting there I could think of their sacrifices to come to Church, with or without their family or their husbands. I admire them so much. Near the end, Nanay Merit,the RS President, whose son in his early 20s has been very seriously ill and needed blood transfusions stood up and said how thankful she is to be part of this Church, how she knows the Lord has been blessing her and watching over her. And how us as missionaries have helped her. I don’t know if my son had a near death illness if I would be able to stand up and say that I still trust the Lord. This woman is my example, she says we have somehow helped her, but really her testimony has helped mine. The Branch stepped in and helped find blood for him when he needed it, he is now back at home and healing. I stood up after her and said how this was a perfect moment of bravery, she had shown willingness to share her experience and rely on the Branch. It truly was a beautiful Relief Society and beautiful Easter.
There are times I sit with people and visit with them and there is not much I can say, there is nothing in my overprivileged faraway experience that I can give them. But I can help them understand that I love them and that Christ loves them. It changes people’s lives when they feel this. President Eyring’s talk in Women’s Conference about compassion and comfort to others as the never failing tool we always have reminded me of this. I can let my heart grow here. Trust that there will always be room. And always remember these people here are not just members, they are not just investigators, they are my Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I love the Philippines. I love being a missionary. It is already going by so fast. I miss all of you and I pray for you too.