Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 8?!

 I don't even know anymore! Time is just an intangible object of which we don't have enough here on the mission. Haha pero okay lang! It's part of the challenge of being a missionary. A challenge in life in general!
     So this week I have some more experiences to share and hopefully some pictures! I will start with Sister Kathleen. She is the Swiss German Philippino lady who is so so so ready to be baptized she just needs to overcome her addiction to cigarettes. Sister Kathleen is seriously one of the strongest members of the ward and she's not even a member haha. She texts us to remind us of relief society activities and mingles with the members like she is one of them. When we were first giving her goals of when to be done with smoking, she was really hesistant. She was like "Sisters, I have been smoking since I can remember, I don't think you realize how difficult this is." We would agree with her and tell her there is no way we can know what she is feeling, the only person who can is Christ. But when we would say this, they seemed like some empty words to be honest. They just went in one ear and out the other. But this week something honestly miraculous happened. Sister Kathleen is a beach bum. She and her son go to the beach in Urbiztando almost every day. She used to not want to bring her Book of Mormon to the beach so that she wouldn't ruin it. But she realized that she doesn't smoke when she is reading. So she brought her Book of Mormon to the beach. She read and read. In one day she read from Helaman 7 to 3 Nephi.
     We decided that we would visit her every evening and ask her how her smoking was going for that day to keep her accountable. Every time we would visit her, she was further and further along in the Book of Mormon. At the beginning of the week Kathleen was in Helaman and smoking 5 cigarettes a day. She has been at 5 for about 2 weeks now. At the end of this week, Kathleen is in Moroni 9 and is smoking 2 cigarettes a day. Those empty words that we were feeding her about the Atonement and about how only Christ knows what she is going through were suddenly filled with so much meaning once she began reading the Book Of Mormon. Being grateful for the atonement is wonderful. Praying is great. But the power of the Book of Mormon is undeniable. I know that it is a true book. Written specifically for us on Earth to guide us through this crazy life. The more we read and liken the scriptures unto us, the more meaning we can find in the other teachings of this Gospel. I hope you are all reading as often as possible! Araw-araw! (everyday)
     Another little miracle moment this week was with a recent convert, Brother Noto. I may have shared about Brother Noto before. He reminds me so much of Obaachan. He is the sweetest old man and he built a little hut just for the missionaries to teach him in. I will hopefully take a picture of that soon. So last week when we visited Brother he said that he understands English but really doesn't speak well. We told him that was just fine! But this week we came into the little hut where he was waiting for us and he just starts going off in English! We were like uhhh brother, what's going on? He shoves the English Bible in our faces. He used to read only in Tagalog, but he was reading the Bible in English! He told us that he prayed so hard with Heavenly Father the night before. He had this strong desire to learn English and he said that he felt that if he started studying the scriptures in English, then he would be able to learn it. And talaga, he was learning it! We were so amazed! He was the happiest he had ever been and Sister Tanner and couldn't help but get all excited and giddy too! We sang "There is Sunshine in my Soul Today" as our hymn because we were all just so happy! Haha.
     Last miracle moment! Brother Ruben came to church!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness brother Ruben came to church. So you remember Renie and Ruben the very poor, very unresponsive father and son who are less active? So we had that awesome lesson with them last week. And things just kept improving from there. In our last lesson with them this week, we asked if they could come to church, unforunately Renie had a prior committment, pero we looked at Ruben and he looked off as if he was thinking. I was like "oh great here comes another excuse as to why he can't come." and he says, "Oo, walang appointments sa linggo." meaning yes, we don't have any appointments on sunday. What?! Not only did he not make an excuse but he pretty much made it impossible for an excuse to come up later! And sure enough, he was at church! We composed ourselves really well in front of him, but as soon as we left his sight, Sister Tanner and I did a victory dance for a good 5 minutes haha. This was the first time she had ever seen Ruben at church in the 5 months that she has been here. Man, missionary work is so crazy. There are some major highs and major lows. But I like focusing on the highs :) life is better that way. 
    Sige that is all for this week family! I will try to send some pictures now! Love you all! Ingat kayong lahat! Mahal na mahal kita!
-Sister Sawada

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