Hehe how is everyone? Things here in Narvacan are just maganda! Sorry this email may be a little short and has been a little distracted due to the amazing news that I have just received that my very very good friend Sister Tapusoa is now coming back to the Philippines Baguio mission! She had to go home to get a surgery done on her leg. We have been emailing every week since while she has been in St. George recovering. Today week we were emailing as usual and then she mentions that she is emailing me from Manila! Of course this is her personal situation so I won't share much about it. But I was blessed to have been a little part of her time here on the mission before she was sent home and was able to hear some of her feelings/insights of being home and having to wait until she could come back on the mission. I was able to see into yet another life being affected by the trials and hardships that hit our mortal lives. And I was able to see how a knowledge of and trust in our Heavenly Father's plan for us can sometimes make or break us as we go through the trial.
Luckily Sister Tapusoa had gained such a strong testimony of a loving Heavenly Father that she knew He had a plan for her. Her time back home was not easy. It was frustrating and I'm sure made her question a lot about what exactly Heavenly Father wanted of her. But as she endured with patience, trust, and hope, she made it! She is now in Manila and could not be happier to be back wearing a name tag and ready to serve the Lord :) There's just one more thing that I want to share and I hope she doesn't mind me sharing. One week as we were emailing, she expressed the frustration of not knowing if/when she would be coming back to the mission. I did my best to comfort her and of course recommended fervent prayer and maybe even fasting. She told me that she knew prayer and fasting would help. She knew it was what she needed to be doing. But sometimes it can get tiring expecting and outcome of so much worth out of something as simple as prayer.
I am sure we have all felt like this before! I know for sure I have. Maybe almost every day. We go house to house teaching amazing people about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But sometimes, expecting them to make so many changes in their lives such as breaking addictions or sacrificing a big chunk of their income to come to church may seem like too much to ask. And will prayer really be able to help such sensitive or mabigat (heavy) situations? We are taught in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, by small and simple things, great things are brought to pass. We got to have a special broadcast where Dallin H. Oaks addressed the Philippines area. He said that something that will help the church in the Philippines is to strengthen our roots. If our roots are not strong, no matter how big our tree may grow, it will not be able to be supported unless the roots go deep and far. Things like prayer, scripture reading, and attending church/church activities are all things that will strengthen our roots. I have also taken the challenge from our Relief Society lesson yesterday to be better at writing my "personal history" aka writing in my journal.
In this new area I was expecting to make all of this growth and improvement. I thought I would see great improvement in my Tagalog since I am in a companionship, apartment, and even zone with mostly tagalog speakers. I thought I would also pick up very quickly on the Ilokano. I expected that since Sister Perez is one of the most experienced companions I have had, I would improve greatly in my teaching. And my expectations went on and on as I first came into this area. I was getting quite frustrated these past few weeks when I didn't see the improvement I expected. Hearing Elder Oaks' words that we need to strengthen the roots first really hit me. I realized that language and teaching skills are part of the tree that I want to be growing here on the mission. But my roots, my testimony, personal reading of the Book of Mormon and other scriptures, the quality of my prayers, and other things are what make up my roots. I invite you all to join me this week and in the following weeks to strengthen our roots! Let's read an extra chapter of our scriptures this week. Let's take an extra minute of our prayer to realize that we are speaking right to our all powerful Father in Heaven. There is so much more I want to share! I will just quickly share an update on our investigators and less actives.
This week we had a baptism! The Vallentos family is a returning less active family who's 8 year old daughter, Venice was baptized this week. The best part is, after an interview with the bishop, Brother Vallentos was able to be the one to baptize her!
Continues to progress so well. I am not sure if I wrote this last week but she says she really wants her husband to be able to join the lessons. When we are not there, she shares with him the things she learned, and then he will ask questions which she will then ask us when we return, and then we answer, and then she tells him when we leave! But he is just too shy to face us when we come to their home! The funny thing is, this is not abnormal. So many people will not face us and their excuse is just that they're "shy" haha. But once again she didn't come to church :( it's a little understandable since this weekend was all souls and all saints day. But still it was a bummer :(
Came to church even though her boyfriend had work! Usually she won't come unless Jomell will go with her. But she came by herself! She even attended the broadcast later than night all the way in Candon! We wish her wedding could be sooner so that she can just get baptized already! She is really prepared :) but we continue to visit and strengthen her testimony.
Alright that is all I think I can share this week. Ended up being pretty lengthy anyway huh? I hope so! I love you all! I hope you can take my invitation and we all can see how much we will be blessed by strenthening our roots. If you are hesitant to accept my invitation (as many investigators are) ask yourself the question I always want to ask them: Bakit Hindi? or Why Not? Why not just try it? If it really makes your life miserable, then you can stop. But I promise you, it won't :) I love you all so much and I know all these things I have written are true. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.