Kumusta kamo? Thanks for the many emails and for packages. :) I am doing great this week. We started putting our plans into action, and so far so good. The Branch President, President Gindap, and his wife, Sister Cacks, came and worked with us last Monday to visit Wilfredo, the less active that Sister Lyman showed us to. It was great! We had President share a message from the Liahona, and then he and sister told Wilfredo of some job leads, because he is looking for work and very poor right now. On Sunday, we heard that the Elders Quorom President also visited Wilfredo.
Last Thursday, Sister Sessions came with the four of us to visit the Relief Society President, Sister Henna. The STLs had received a text from her that she was busy or something, but I told them not to reply and we went and visited her anyway. I think it was just what she needed. She opened up to us about some struggles she is going through with her family. We just tried to help her remember that she is not alone, Christ will make her weaknesses into strengths. And she can rely on us too! I know she felt it, because yesterday she was excited to announce our Visiting Teaching day we will have on. We also suggested to have a "good news minute" as part of the RS opening exercises, and I really think it broke the ice for the RS Sisters. It was great. The leaders are already "waking up." Also, she owns a bakery and showed us around after we shared with her last week.
We have really enjoyed having the couple missionaries come along with us this week. Elder and Sister Sessions are the bomb! We had them join us for a few appointments last Tuesday, and what ended up happening is that Elder Sessions was able to administer a few blessings to people who were sick. Sister Sessions joined us a few times this week to visit some RS sisters. Sister Sessions likes to sew, so we took her to visit a less-active sister named Lisa. Lisa is amazing at sewing. She showed us a bunch of gowns for little girls that she has made. They are like princess dresses! So cute and so creative. So Sister Sessions was able to connect with Lisa about that. It was really cool....even though there was a little language barrier, I know Lisa still felt Heavenly Father's love for her as Sister Sessions testified.
On Wednesday, Sister Dotillos and I went on exchanges in their area...well mostly. The boundaries are kind of weird. So anyway, one of the branch missionaries, Jomar, worked with us and showed us the house of a less-active, which happens to be in our area. Chonna is 22 and has a baby son named...*drumroll please*...Nephi! Her husband is not a member. She was so happy to see us. She told us that she grew up very active up in Bulacan near Manila. She and her husband were being taught by the missionaries last year, but it was difficult because they were living in his sister's house, etc, anyway it didn't work out then. But she told us that she had said a prayer just a few days before that the sisters would find them again. And we did! I like being the answer to people's prayers. Yay!!! Her husband, Hernie, wasn't there on Wednesday, but yesterday, Sister Viliami and I went back and taught him too. We were both floored....he is so prepared! No vices, a solid job with no work on Sundays usually, and he is a family man. A rare find around here. Sister told us how Hernie and Nephi are always the ones to remind her that they need to pray. Wow! We shared about eternal families and discussed what they need to do to get married so Hernie can be baptized and they can work toward the temple. :) I am so excited for them.
Also while we are on exchanges, Sister Dotillos and I tracted 2 huge houses and made it into both of them! That is rare. Filipinos are really friendly, but if they are rich they act more like Americans usually. 2 for 2. At one of them we taught the two maids, and at the other we taught this sweet old lady named Lorena who remembers the Elders visiting her attorney husband before he passed away. She said she knew we were good, trustworthy people, just from seeing our nametags, so that's why they let us in. :)
One funny...We took one of our LAs, Rubina, with us for an appointment because we didn't know where the house of the Butt family (LA) was. She's pretty old. and she was sooo funny. She just kept calling the girl we were teaching crazy (she kind of was), taking out and putting in her dentures over and over, and when it started to rain, she was ready to bolt across the muddy rice fields....the only problem was she didn't have an umbrella. So then she was on edge the whole time we were teaching. Sister Viliami was laughing so hard the whole time. Oh man. That was a riot. It's more fun in the Philippines.
So, the best news of all for the week is about Alna and Lady May. Last Sunday, Alna told Sister Viliami and Sister Rappleye that her husband wouldn't let her be baptized or go to church. So we were really bummed about that. We decided to just keep working with her and hope her husband's heart would soften. We went back on Friday and taught about "Where did we come from?" in the Plan of Salvation. We explained to them about the veil of forgetfulness and how really we are just reminding them of things they already knew before they came to earth. When we taught them about how Satan does everything to keep us from following Heavenly Father's plan, Alna kind of had an epiphany. She shared that last Sunday they gave into temptation to make an excuse and not come to church. She made the connection that they followed what Satan wanted. They came to church yesterday and really enjoyed it, other than being hungry. haha. I'll bring snacks next week. The best pa gid was after church we taught them again and recommitted them to baptism. Alna said Yes. As in definitely. Lady May said she will still decide. Sister Viliami explained that part of the baptism covenant is to keep the commandments, which includes weekly church attendance. Alna said, "That is not hard." Yes! Her husband doesn't want her to switch religions, but Alna said she knows she needs baptism as part of her salvation. She knows he'll come around eventually. I am sooooooo excited about Alna and Lady May.
We also taught this other amazing investigator named Lovely May. She is 18. She totally felt the Spirit. She told us she feels different when we are sharing with her than any other church she has been to. She wants to be baptized. The only thing is....she moved to Manila today. She'll be there until December. So...we are going to keep in touch with her and get her referred to the missionaries up there.
I am so grateful to be part of this "marvelous work and a wonder." I know we are following the Lord's will here. I am amazed at the miracles I have seen happen this week. I know it is not because of us, but because of the Spirit and the truth of the message we share. I hope you all have a great week. I love you all! Halong!
Love, Sister Winward