Monday, December 8, 2014

December 8, 2014 Oh. My. Goodness. LAST WEEK.

Bro Narding, Delio Cayanan, Tatay Lero, Vernie, Loida, Gwen

Another FHE at Tatay Lero's house

Hello Family!!

Well, my subject line says it all.  I can't believe it.  It still doesn't really feel like I'll be leaving the Philippines next week.  I feel like I'm just going to keep serving here.  But everyone keeps telling me "You're going to be spending Christmas with your family!" So weird. Everyone here in the mission who is close to going home always gets sick. So true to form, I got sick on Friday.  Everyone at church laughed at me and said that I'm homesick and not to worry because I'm really close to going home.

This week was pretty good.  We met a new investigator named Ron who I feel is really interested.  I noticed him one day when we were walking to a different investigators house and saw him watching us  come down the street.  Unfortunately, that day I didn't stop to talk to him.  But then two days later, we were walking down the same street and I saw him again.  And again he was watching us with that look on his face that he kind of wanted to talk to us, but was too shy to call out.  So we stopped and talked to him.  We were about halfway through saying that we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, when he asked "What days are you sisters here?"  we told him Wednesday and Friday.  He said "Oh good!  I only have half day of work on those days." So we set up an appointment and then went back to him last Friday.  He listened to our message about the restoration and was super excited about the Book of Mormon.  He told us that he really wants to change.  He said that when he was younger, he was pretty wild.  He kind of ran away from home for several years.  And then his dad died.  He felt really guilty that he wasn't here to help take care of things because he is the oldest.  So he came back and is helping his mom and siblings and trying to make up for the things he did when he was younger.  I can just tell that he is ready to change and I know how much the gospel will help ease his regrets.  Sis Lucillo told him that it is possible to see his dad again in the next life and be with him again.  He said "Really?"  At the end of the lesson, he said that he wants to keep listening to us and he wants to read the Book of Mormon.

Vernie is doing pretty good.  He really really really wants to get baptized but he had a little obstacle come up this week.  His grandma decided she doesn't want him to get baptized.  (she's the one who is his guardian)  So Vernie was pretty sad on Saturday and said that he was really angry with his grandma because he's turning 18 this week so he's old enough to make his own decisions.  But he said that he didn't say anything to her because he was afraid that he would say something bad while he was angry.  But he told Sis Lucillo that he feels like God hasn't answered his prayers and that it's taking a long time.  Sis Lucillo told him that he needs to keep praying and pray for his grandma.  There is a way for him to be baptized this month!!  So that's the challenged that were working with this week.

Well, that's kind of the update from Pilar, Bataan, Philippines.  It's finally hit me that I'm going home and I'm kind of feeling sad.  It's kind of funny, your whole mission you look forward to going home...until the last week.  And then you realize that you won't have this again.  And that they're going to take away your name tag.  And then your power and authority is going to be gone.  But I have been sooooooo blessed by serving a mission!  I am so grateful that I was called on a mission!  There are so many things that I have learned and I have seen so many miracles while I have been here.  But most of all, I feel like my testimony has been tried and solidified.  I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ.  I know that it was restored through Joseph Smith.  I know that Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us and He sent His son to earth so that we could return to Him.  I know that because of the atonement of Jesus Christ, we can be forgiven of our sins and become worthy for the kingdom of God.   I love our Savior!  And I know that the Book of Mormon truly is another testament of Him and through it we will draw closer to Him.

I hope that you all have a great week!

Mahal ko kayo!!!

Sister Sirrine

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December 1, 2014 An Amazing Week!

In Wakas.  Aren't the houses cute? They are called 'Kubo' when they are made of bamboo and not concrete

This week was an AMAZING week!!!!  I had some of the best days of my mission this last week and I just really really love being a missionary!!!

First of all, Monday we had a FHE at the home of Delio and James.  Delio actually invited US to come do an FHE at their house and he told us to invite the investigators that we are teaching just down the street.  It was awesome!!!! I wish that all members would do that!!  Usually we have to ask THEM.  So on Monday we had an awesome FHE.

But maybe I should give a little background on our investigators.  They are the investigators that came to church two weeks ago.  One of them is named Vernie (prounounced 'bernie') and the other is Robin, and then Robin's sisters.  So we've really been teaching Vernie and sometimes Robin as well.  Vernie has been praying about if Joseph Smith is a true prophet, but it's been about 2 weeks and he said that he hasn't gotten an answer yet.  But he's been killing the Book of Mormon!  (on Saturday he was in 1 Nephi 19 and he's only had it for 2 weeks!!)  So on Monday for FHE we watched The Restoration movie.  You could tell he and Robin really felt the spirit while they were watching.  When we asked what they liked, Vernie said he liked that Joseph really searched for the truth.  Robin liked when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him.  Delio bore his testimony about how he came to know that this church is true and it was such a strong testimony!  Then Vernie and Robin asked me and Sis Lucillo how we came to know that it was true.  I've never had an investigator really ask me that.  So I got to share that with them.
FHE at Delio's house!  We played a game with uling (charcoal)

our investigators: Queenie, Ann, Vernie, Robin, and Narding

With James Cayanan
With Sis Lucillo 

The next day, we went to Vernie's house and he said that FHE was super great and he loved it.  We asked him if he'd gotten an answer yet about Joseph Smith.  He said not yet, but he felt close.  Then I asked him how his preparation was for baptism.  He said "Uhhh...No comment." Then we asked about his reading from the Book of Mormon.  His face lit up and he said that he read his assignment (Nephi's vision) and three extra chapters.  He said "I love reading this book!  I feel so good when I read it and I just want to keep reading!"  So then we told him that God doesn't answer everyone's prayers the same.  We asked him where he thought the good feeling came from when he read the Book of Mormon.  He thought for a minute and said, "From God."  And we asked him if he believed it was true.  He said "yes, I believe this book is true".  So then we said, if the book of true, then Joseph Smith has to be true because he was the one that translated it.  He nodded and then I asked, "Do you think that is the answer to your prayer if Joseph is a true prophet?"  He was quiet for a second and then said "Maybe....yes!"  and then looked really excited. We then talked about faith and what faith was.  When we had him read in Alma 32, he said, "Oh so faith is just like this answer....believing without actually having proof."  Then we taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ sharing scriptures for every principle.  We got to baptism and we shared 3 Nephi 11:33-34 that we all need to be baptized.  And then in the same chapter that Christ gives authority to certain people to be able to baptize.  We extended the baptismal commitment again to him and asked him if he would be willing to follow God's commandment and be baptized by someone who has proper authority. He said, "Because I know this book is true and believe what is written in it, yes, I will be baptized!"  The spirit was so strong!!!!  He finally recognized that he had been receiving an answer, he just didn't really know it.  And, I saw the power of the Book of Mormon.  It is true what it says in Preach My Gospel that the Book of Mormon should be at the center of our teaching because it gives validity to what we are saying and helps them feel the spirit.  I know that Vernie didn't accept baptism because of us, he accepted it because he felt the spirit and the truth of the Book of Mormon.  It was such a great lesson!!!

We just had such an awesome week.  We had three days that had amazing lessons, the spirit was so strong and we WERE NOT PUNTED!!!!  If we were punted, we knocked at the next door neighbor or talked to someone standing nearby and they let us in to teach them.  Sis Lucillo and I came home every day so happy and excited to be missionaries.  Being a missionary is so fun when that happens!  Too bad every day can't be like that, but you do need opposition to be able to really enjoy the good days.  Also, something funny happened; we were walking in one of our areas and there were a ton of kids there.  As we passed by, I heard one of them say "Look!! It's Mama Mary! (St. Mary)"  They think because I'm white, I'm St Mary.  Kind of funny.
Thanksgiving dinner at the Whites'!!

The couple missionaries invited us over on Thursday and we had a Thanksgiving dinner!!!  It was amazing!  We had duck, chicken, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, salad, vegetables, and Sister White's handmade a pumpkin and apple pies.  It was one of the best meals I've had my whole mission!!!!  Unfortunately, we were sooooooooooo full afterwards and then we still had to proselyte.  That is probably the first day in my mission that I have really walked slow.  It felt kind of weird.  I was still full the next day.  But it was delicious!! Can't wait to eat American food again!

I love being a missionary!!!  Heavenly Father really blesses and guides His missionaries.  Even though it is kind of hard sometimes, there are some really great moments when people really accept what you are teaching and sharing with them.  And you can see the difference in them when they feel the spirit!

Well, hope that you all have a great week!  Love you all!!!
In the bukid
mahal ko kayo!
Sister Sirrine

With Sis Lucillo
The Abayan family: Gwen, LA, Roberto, Loyda