Sorry it’s been awhile since my general email has come around. As my mom posted my talk from my Mamay’s funeral last week, you probably heard about his passing. I have been focusing on writing mostly my family each week lately, but I do want to update on a few things. My companion Sis V just left earlier to go home. Her mission is done and she served very honorably. I learned a great deal from her. I am excited to meet my new companion soon! I will be on exchanges with Sis Marsh and Sis Cervantes the next two days. Woot! Oh and excited to maybe get a little lost in the next week as our area is huge! Haha. Dora Dora!(slang for adventure time!)
It was a very full week and so many blessings raining down from heaven upon me right now. Though my heart has hurt from Mamay leaving this world, I know that the work of salvation is the best way to remember him. The choice he made to accept the Gospel and hold to the rod for his whole life now effects generations. Me being one generation, my future children another, and onward. But also right now, his choice to join the Church effects the generations of families here that I am helping. There are many many families without the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Being part of a family who has accepted that message means I have a sacred obligation and privilege to SHARE. And so do you! If you are reading this and are a member, that obligation is just as much yours as it is mine. BE FEARLESS(like my Mom said in a previous post).
We had a beautiful baptismal service for Sis Anita this last week. She is an amazing woman. When she was young, she lost her first husband, and was left with her daughter to care for on her own. She was only in her early 30s at the time. With the way things are here, she was forced to move to Manila to work on her own and leave her daughter to her sister to care for. From her sacrifice and hard work, she was able to provide a better life for her daughter but the cost was their relationship. Now that her daughter is grown, their relationship is at the very best shaky. But as Sis Anita describes, God loved her enough to give her another chance. Eventually she met and married another man, but at that point she was too old to have children of her own. She wanted very badly to have another kid, but with no real options. Then she met a young girl who had a baby, and like she says, “binigay lang” or she gifted her a little baby boy. Because of how firmly Sis Anita believes this to be a direct blessing from Heaven, she named her little baby boy Heaven. And boy, he sure is a little piece of Heaven. He is about 18 months now and I have never seen such a smiley kid. Like you don’t have to try at all, you just look at him and he smiles this big huge smile. Very sweet.
Well, eventually the missionaries found Sis Anita, over a long period of time she has been taught and developed a very strong testimony. At her baptism she told of what she felt after her immersion. She said she felt as if she were floating, that her body in a sense wasn’t really here. She had to hold tight to her baptizer, Gerald, just to stand and walk out of the font. Though there were challenges and temptations right up until the day of her baptism, she persevered and made the right choice. Her husband tried to prevent her from coming, but she still did. There was a very special spirit that filled the room at that time. I am incredibly privileged to have been there and to know Sis Anita. She is incredibly generous to us. She sewed me a cute case for my thermos water bottle that I love,and many of the times we come over she has what I like to call “The Anita Specialty Sandwich” which is basically just a perfected egg sandwich. The way she treats us as missionaries is really like we are her family. I am very excited for her as she continues on in this Gospel.
The other experience from this week that I would like to share is from this last Sunday. It was Sister Villaviles last Sunday ever as a missionary. Our Gospel Principles teacher who is this incredibly energetic, enthusiastic sorta hipster guy gave a talk. He loves telling stories and is really good at it. He told this story about a son who was always rocked to sleep by his mother with the words: I love you forever. I love you forever. You’re still my baby boy. When Bro Brian told the story he literally sang the words. It was very cute. Anyway the story is basically the mom always sings those words to her son even as she grows old, and before he can really thank her or be kind to her, she dies. It’s sorta a spinoff version of my favorite children’s book that was also my first Church talk, I”ll love you Forever by Robert Munsch. Afterwards, he testified how really no matter what we do no matter how pasuway(disobedient) we are, Heavenly Father is in Heaven looking down at us and singing that song. Afterwards, we all sang I am a Child of God together. We always sing that song for lessons, and our investigator family, the Ceranos was sitting behind us. All three of their children began to sing it too. I knew they knew the words because Sis V and I had sung them, and then their parents have too. I was filled with the Spirit to know how those children will be effected by this Gospel the way I have been accepted by the Gospel. I thought of little Alexandria and Maya singing that song. How the simple lyrics can change someone’s entire perspective on life. How someday I will sing that same song to my children too. The knowledge we have that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father who knows us personally and has a specific plan for us is a great privilege. I am so blessed to share this privilege with families right now.
The Lord is working miracles, we also had another investigator Sis Katherine come to Church. She has many many questions and it was very hard for her to come but she did it! Because of faith and because of miracles. He is ready to work miracles in your life too. I know it, wherever you are, whoever you are. Whatever you are struggling with, the Lord knows your heart and He will heal it.
I love all of you!