How are all of you? I am doing good. It has been an interesting week, yet again. haha. Even though our days are very routine, they are always full of surprises too. I am glad to hear that you are all doing well and keeping busy. :)
So, the big effect of the Elders taking half of our area is that they took half of our people too, so that left us with a lot of time to tract this week. Which is not the most fun in the world. We tracted a really rich subdivision, and were able to teach the only poor family in the neighborhood. haha. They were really nice and receptive to us, but not really receptive to the message of the Restored Gospel. We were working with Ilona and were able to get into the house of one of her former high school teachers. She was kind of receptive--mostly she is really interested in Family History work, so we are going to try to help her get going with that which hopefully will then lead to an interest in the gospel too. A lot of people here are very "born Catholic, die Catholic"... so kind of stubborn. But if they have been prepared then they sincerely just want to know the truth. It has been really a neat experience though to just follow the Spirit as we look for people to share with. Like Ilona's teacher...I decided we should go check up on this one less-active member who always runs away from the missionaries (just give it a try, see if she softened her heart at all), but instead I decided we should turn down a different street and we found Ilona's teacher. I know that God leads people to us and we are led to them. If they are ready, He makes it happen.
So, the news of the week is that the Oton B Sisters and the Oton C Elders swapped areas. So, now the Oton B Sisters will be teaching the people we had to hand over to the Elders last week. It's all a lil' crazy. Pres. Aquino decided the Elders should have the "Bukid" (green/mountainous/more rural) area, so the Sisters could be closer and safer.
Our focus of the week has been trying to get Rose accept a baptismal date. Which still hasn't happened. We've been teaching Rose for a few months and she is awesome. She is expecting a baby in just a few weeks. Exciting! It is a delight to teach her because she is so sincerely seeking to learn and understand the truth. She is really looking for an answer about whether the church is true. This last week we had two very powerful spiritual lessons with her, just trying to help her understand how she will receive her answer from the Spirit and why it is so important that she is baptized. When she reads she takes notes, and she always has the best questions. She is definitely a truth-seeker. The challenge is just getting her to take a little leap of faith by committing to a baptismal goal date.
So, tracting really is not the most effective. This week hopefully we will be able to meet some part-member families and find some investigators that way. Seriously people, missionaries need referrals. Do your part. :) I never understood that before my mission, but trust me--you can trust the missionaries with your nonmember friends and family members. Maybe they won't accept it, but at least you tried. Every effort counts.
We met a less-active man named Argie yesterday. Even though he is less-active, he got a calling because the branch really is just desperate for priesthood support. Yesterday he was saying that he really wants to serve a mission, and he asked a really cool question. As a missionary, what is more important, obedience or knowledge? Sister Nonu and I immediately answered "Obedience." It is so true. You don't have to be a scriptorian to serve the Lord, but you will only see blessings and miracles if you are obedient. Obedience first, then the light and knowledge of the truth will come to you as you study with the Spirit.
It has been raining really hard here on and off, but we are safe and well. No worries. I know the Lord is watching out for us. Like the other night it started pouring and we just needed to get home, but there weren't any jeeps coming. So we said a little prayer, and right when we finished a jeep pulled up. It was wonderful. Prayer really works. Sister Nonu is a great example of that. As missionaries, we pray a lot just as part of our routine, but whenever she faces a problem she even says another little prayer. She's the bomb. Our Mission Pres made a new rule that we should fast every Sunday. Kind of challenging, but I know it will speed up the miracles. :)
I love you all so much! I hope you are all safe, healthy, and happy. Never let a day or moment go by when you are not thankful for the wonderful blessings you have. I have been reading in 3 Nephi this week, and I find it really interesting that as the Nephites prepare for war with the Gadianton robbers, they first fortify themselves with repentance and prayer. Whatever you are facing, prepare for it by calling down the power of heaven to help you by humbly repenting to become in line with God's will and praying fervently for His aid. I promise you that you will have the peace and guidance that you need every day.
I LOVE YOU!!!!
Love, Sister Cassie Winward