Monday, March 3, 2014

The Ups and Downs

Dear Family, 

How are all of you this week? I am doing great. This week was great, but also had a few heartbreakers. But that is mission life. 

First of all, guess what is sooo AWESOME? Last Thursday was transfer day, and Sister Marchant and I both stayed! We were expecting Sister Marchant to transfer since she has been here for 4 months already. But she didn't. Yayyyyyyy!!!!!!! What's weird though is that Sister Rappleye transferred right in the middle of training Sister Daroy. Sister Rappleye is in Antique now. And she's an STL so I get to see her at MLC this week. :) But, guess who is Sister Daroy's follow-up trainer?!  My nanay! (mother)  Sister Mendez is in Jaro with us! It is funny to be with her again...and super backwards because I am her STL now. What?! It is going to be another fun transfer! I am sooo grateful to be with Sister Marchant still. She is such an excellent missionary, and we complement each other pretty well I think. Plus, no one else would laugh at my jokes probably. haha. So, here we are, still two gwapa American girls just trying to preach the gospel and avoid creepy men one day at a time. Ain't nothing betta!  :) 

Oh! Before I forget. Betty Jo asked a question in her last card. (P.S. Thanks for the mail know who you are! Salamat gid! Sorry I'm not so good at writing back these days.) She asked what the predominant religions are in the Philippines, like who are we usually teaching. Most people claim Catholicism. By my estimate only about 1/3 or less actually attend Catholic mass every Sunday. There are also a lot of Baptists...we cross paths with their missionaries almost every day. There are Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehovah's Witnesses, and a smattering of random other churches which usually fall under the category of Catholic or Baptist. But, there is only ONE true church. That is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that is true with my whole might, mind, heart, and strength. And when people come to know that for themselves, they will be changed forever! 

Another highlight of the week was in reading the Old Testament. I'm pretty sure it should be rated R... But I also got to read the story of Ruth and Naomi and about David and Goliath (and about Saul, that guy is the definition of a "palagpat"). I listed out the characteristics of Ruth while I was studying, and she is awesome. I'm pretty sure I just want to be her when I grow up. She is selfless, kind, obedient, virtuous, humble, loyal, converted to the Lord, and she serves others. Go Ruth! I've had to learn how to study more quickly, but in doing that, my learning has definitely been kicked up like 10 notches. I am learning new things all the time about the gospel, especially as we are teaching, more ideas are connecting and we are refining how we teach as we follow the spirit and help others to feel it too. The plan of our Heavenly Father is the greatest! Also, I am learning that basically nothing in pop culture is original. It all started in the Bible. ;) 

Here are a few funnies: In our lesson with Cesar and Annabel yesterday,  Annabel asked us some way good questions which we were happy to help her understand. She is reading the BoM and doing well. :) And Cesar made some ridiculous comments, which even he knew were way out of the ballpark. 
Halimbawa (Example):

#1 Cesar: "Where was Jesus born?" 
Us: "Bethlehem/Jerusalem" 
Cesar: "Ha! Muslims are in Jerusalem so that means they have the priesthood too!" (mind you, Cesar is Catholic)
#2 Us: "Why don't you go to church?" 
Cesar: "I just pray, so I'm fine. Joseph Smith prayed in a tree, not in a church, so that means I don't have to go to church." 
Oh geez, come on, Brother Cesar! Lol. 

Well, a downer this week was that we discovered that Cheryan has been hiding from us. We have been "tagbalay"-ing her house for the last couple weeks but we haven't seen her since February 10 when we did and FHE with her. Now I know, her children have been lying to us telling us she is gone or out of town or whatever. But then Saturday night we went to try again, and we heard her yelling inside the house, but then we tagbalay-ed and she stopped yelling and her kids came out and said their parents were in Lambunao (which is like 2 hours north). Okay...sure...... But later that night we saw them. Her little 3-year-old yelled "Sisters!" and so we turned and said "hi," and low-and-behold Cheryan was standing right there, and then she scolded her kid for calling attention to them. Grrrrr....Satan is working really hard. But we will work harder! I noticed though that there really is a direct connection between the Book of Mormon and conversion. After Cheryan read a bajillion pages that one week, she didn't really keep reading after that. Sister Marchant and I are heartbroken over it. :( 

As for Leoandra, there is mostly good with a little bad news. She has been progressing so much this week! She couldn't come to church yesterday because her husband wouldn't let her. :( But, we are praying to be able to teach her husband. He is just never at their house. She was texting us last night though and she said even though she couldn't come to church, she read from the Libro ni Mormon. She is so diligent in her reading. We decided to teach her the Restoration lesson again, just a principle at a time, because she needs to understand that this is the ONLY true church. She can't keep one toe in the Catholic church. And it is awesome to see her understand the doctrine and make more sense of it. This week I have seen her become so much more converted to the gospel, and she even came and joined Jenny's lesson on Thursday and explained to Jenny that she needs to be baptized too. We are going to do FHE with them tonight. We cut out a bunch of paper dolls this morning as an activity for her kids. Please, please, please let her husband be there this time! 

We had a cool lesson with the Daquero's last Wednesday. At the end, we invited each of them to bear their testimonies one by one. The Spirit was very strong, and it was a witness to me of how important it is for family members to bear their testimonies to each other. Parents to their children, children to their parents. Sharing our testimonies in the home will prepare us to share our testimonies with others out of the home as we strive to do our part in hastening the work of salvation. FHE idea, anyone? :) (Followed by cupcakes, syempre.)

I hope you all know that I love you sooo much! I am thankful for your prayers and your love and for your emails. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true. The more I learn about it and share it with others, the more I know that it is true. Line upon line, precept upon precept, every day I know more and more that Christ is our Savior and His gospel is what everyone needs for happiness in this life and throughout eternity. Halong! 

Love, Sister Winward

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