Hello my dear family!
How are all of you? Hopefully, excellent! So this was a pretty eventful week. We had a Christmas Conference on Wednesday. It was so fun. It was a nice time to relax and get excited for Christmas. I think the northern zones needed it most...they have been CSPing (community service project) every day since the typhoon. Which I am sure is beyond exhausting. So we just had a fun day, it was 4 zones and there were some hilarious skits (as you can see from the elf picture I sent...lol) and we all got mission t-shirts with the new motto Pres. Aquino chose: "Mission of Excellence." It was kind of early in the season because a lot of missionaries will be finishing their missions tomorrow...I think like 15 are going home and only about 4 are coming in...so there will be a little lack for a while. It means some areas will either be temporarily closed or merged. 3 of them are APs (we have 2 office APs and 2 traveling APs who just work all over the mission and go on exchanges to help out the other elders).
Thursday was really cool. See 1 Nephi 4:6....that is basically what we did. We had this investigator way back when I first arrived here that we dropped because she was never home. But the Spirit was nagging me that we needed to go back there for the last couple weeks...we just never had the time, but then we just scratched our plans for Thursday because I knew I had to at least show Sister Nonu where she lived before I get transferred. It is kind of far out of the way, I almost couldn't remember where (I was still in culture shock mode back when we did teach her). Soooo....we found her house again and it was like she was waiting for us. Yay! She wondered why we hadn't been back in ages. Ooops :) She opened up to us that she had lost a baby back in March, he was premature, she has 3 other little kids, and she agreed to a baptismal goal date. Yay! Definitely a MIRACLE.
Friday, while we were finishing up weekly planning, it hit me. I will be gone from this area in less than a week. So a crying fest ensued. But anyway, we then went to teach Rose (I love her so much!) and she just opened up to us about all the things that have been stressing her out. Sometimes I don't realize how bad people struggle, because a lot of them put on a good front. She was saying how they don't always have 3 meals a day and that is so hard because she is still nursing baby Hannah. I couldn't hold back tears while I testified of our Savior's love for and awareness of her. Then Sister Nonu started crying. Then Rose started crying. I think this week I am really understanding what Alma means in Mosiah 18:8-10. I never would have guessed that their family doesn't always have 3 meals a day. Baby Hannah and her faith in Christ give her a reason to keep pressing forward.
So, once upon a time there was a child-of-record whose baptism got pushed back so many times it was not even funny. We've been teaching this 8 year old kid named Kyle, because his grandparents asked us to, and I just wanted to build some trust with their family since they all attend different wards, when really they should all be in Oton. Originally he was supposed to be baptized on Oct 5, but various circumstances pushed it back to Saturday. But anyway, we almost thought it might not happen Saturday either, because the new set of baptismal clothes Pres Catalan ordered hadn't been delivered yet. But they came just in the nick of time, and then everything else fell into place. Hallelujah! So Kyle's Grandpa, Bro. Larupay baptized him. Teaching Kyle has definitely taught me and Sister Nonu some.....patience. Patience is a virtue....
We've got some sweet investigators we're working with...not quite progressing yet, but they will get there. They have LOTS of potential. :) Yay!
I love you all! Christ lives and He loves each of you sooo much! I hope you all have a fantastic week. Halong pirmi!
Love, Sister Winward
P.S. I highly suggest obtaining and studying from a copy of the Jesus Christ special issue of the Ensign, March 2008. It is wonderful! :)