Sorry this week is going to be quite short. Today has been an interesting day. I was fasting from last night to this afternoon. And we had zone studies this morning until 11 and then went right into rehearsing for our quad zone christmas party presentation and got a quick lunch break and I wasn't thinking so I drank one cup of water and then rushed back to the rehearsal and now I am here because it is already getting late and we still have to get our shopping done before pday ends. And I haven't gotten a chance to buy a water bottle yet. Haha I know sounds ridiculous but I will get some soon. And also our zone leader sort of put me in charge of directing our performance for the christmas party which is an honor and it's way fun but it's also kind of stressful and takes a lot of thinking so my brain is already dead.
But I have a couple experiences I want to share with you all! Unfortunately last week brother Manuel dropped us :/ He told us that it was too difficult for him to go to church. He said that it feels like he is always having to go against his wife's wishes because she doesn't like him meeting with us and she makes him feel guilty for using the little money that they have on transportation to get to church. We told him we would get a member to pick him up but the only members who are willing to take him go to church late and he refuses to go to church late. Haha. Oh man such complications right? But we haven't given up on him! We go to him only once a week now and just share a short thought with him. They aren't technically lessons but we are just going to keep visiting him until he let's us begin to teach him again. We know that he knows that meeting with us is the right thing. We are just waiting for his wife's heart to be softened.
And although it is kind of a sayang (dang it) moment with Manuel, we have a couple of success stories this week! The first is with Sister Diane! Sister Diane is a catholic but the father of her children is a less active member of the LDS church. Diane is really the sweetest woman ever. She is only 27 and she has 3 kids. She has such a desire to do good especially for her children. Lessons with her are great and I feel the spirit so strong. The only complication with her is that the father of her children has a wife and another family...haha. This is actually very common in the Philippines. People get married very often yet divorce is either illegal or very expensive and so people get caught up in I guess a form of polygamy. It is so common here that the only requirement for her to get baptized is that they have lived together for over 5 years. And they have lived together for 8 so we are good there! She has accepted to be baptized but there's a small catch. She realizes that the fact that the father of her children, Tino, already having a wife, means that she has committed sin. She wants to be able to resolve these guilty feelings before she can get baptized. Well that's where Sister Tanner and I come in! When she told us that we made sure she knew that we want that exact same thing for her as well. So we are working on teaching her repentance and trying to figure out if she and Tino can get married.
Okay one more! Ruben and Renie. I am not sure if I have shared about them before so I will just give a short overview. They are less actives. Ruben was baptized 3 years ago and his son Renie was baptized not long after. Renie's older sister and the mom were also baptized. But the mom passed away about a year ago and now the sister lives in another city. I'm not sure why. But they have practically no income. The only way they have a place to live is because their work, purified water distributing, allows them to live at the business. Since the mom has died, Ruben has begun smoking and drinking and Renie just seems so lost. He is now 17 years old. We have taught them a number of times and Renie never speaks to us and Ruben just tells us he knows it's all true. But he makes no actions to back up his words. I have told Sister Tanner a number of times that I felt like we should just take a break from teaching them because visiting them only made me sad. But when I would suggest that, it was not a prompting of the spirit. It was my fear. And where fear exists, faith cannot.
I was not practicing any kind of love or charity. The verses in 1 Corinthians 13 are so true where it says that without Charity, we are nothing. That can apply so literally to missionary work. I did not have that love for Ruben and Renie and I honestly dreaded teaching them. But one night, before we went to teach them, I imagined them as my own family. I tried to feel that love for them. That night, in that lesson, as I prayed for Christ's help to give me His love for his sons Ruben and Renie, we taught an amaaaazing lesson. Renie talked so much! He had been reading the Book of Mormon and showed us what he was reading! We asked about the day they were baptized and they brought out their baptism certificates and Ruben shared why he decided to join the church and leave the Catholic church! It really was a miracle lesson and it was all because of my change of heart. I know that love is essential in this work and in life.
Okay this is all I have time to share. I hope these stories made sense! I love you all! Until next week!
Love, Sister Sawada