Sunday, June 15, 2014

Waking Up

Dear Family, 

Kumusta kamo? I am doing great! I hope you all had a good week. It was fun to hear about all of your birthday and graduation adventures! I have a lot to share with you all this week. :) 

Last Tuesday, I started off the day by teaching District Meeting. Ahhhh. I was more nervous doing that than I ever was giving a Zone Training. haha. Probably because our DL asked me at 8:15pm the night before. It went okay. And on Tuesday, there was an RM sister in town. Her name is Sara Lyman and she served her back in 2011. She said she wanted to wait until all the missionaries she knew had gone home already before she came back. She asked if she could come and work with us for a bit to check up on some Less-Actives she used to visit. Sister Viliami and I both don't know the area super well, so it was great to have her show us some more people we didn't know about. We met Wilfredo, he is a very nice older Less-Active whose wife left him a while back. He was so down, but hearing the gospel again gave him hope. He came to church on Sunday. He seemed very happy to be there. It was fun to work with Sister Lyman--and cool to see that she still has the language down. I don't ever want to lose Hiligaynon. haha. 

On Wednesday, we taught a lesson that didn't go so great to some hard-hearted people, but then we went with this little half-Belgian girl to her home. We met her father, Jean, and got to know him a little bit. He was very friendly and had a heavy French accent. He works all over the world doing dredging (whatever that is) most of the time. We got to share to him for about 10 minutes and he was very receptive, although he is a devout Roman Catholic. We dropped off a Book of Mormon and some pamphlets for him to read while he is out on the sea. That was's not every day we get to teach a foreigner. 

We taught our investigator, Jergie, on Thursday. In a previous lesson we challenged her to be baptized, but the next lesson she said she and her husband decided no, and she definitely wasn't too keen on attending church. But then we were able to teach her all about Christ's church and how it was restored. I know she felt the Spirit. Nicki, one of the YSA members, worked with us and bore a strong testimony that touched Jergie's heart. When we invited her to attend church she just said, "Yes, I will, Sisters." I know she felt that she needed to....But then we went to pick her up on Sunday morning, and Jean had given her a ton of ironing to do (Jergie's really poor, so she does whatever she can to bring in money). "Unexpected work," she said, and didn't come with us. It made me really sad.

The big breakthrough for the week didn't come from working with investigators at all though...San Jose is kind of weak right now and the District has a ways to go before it will become a stake, so last night (after a delicious American dinner of Tacos and Lemon bars) all of us San Jose missionaries met up to discuss and plan over what we will do to strengthen the church here in Antique. President told me it is kind of like a sleeping giant. In Alma 5:7 it says, "Behold, he changed their hearts; yea, he awakened them out of a deep sleep, and they awoke unto God." Elder and Sister Sessions (the super nice couple missionaries here), Sister Rappleye and Sister Dotillos (STLs), Elder Shaffer and Elder Ortiz (ZLs), and Sister Viliami and I all came up with a vision and a plan. Our vision is to strengthen the leadership of San Jose by experiences that will help them to magnify their callings. We hope that in turn, they will be better able to serve like Christ, reaching out to others. We also hope that as we try this out in San Jose, the other missionaries and units here in Antique will "Catch the Wave" as well. We are going back to the basics. We want to ensure that the branch and auxiliary presidencies themselves are living the simplest gospel principles such as scripture study and FHE and Home/Visiting teaching and attending all Sunday meetings by teaching them, and by inviting them to come along and serve and reactivate. We want them to walk the talk, and we are going to show them how. Because telling someone something puts it in their brain, but taking them by the hand and showing them puts it into their heart. I am so excited to be assigned here now. There is a bright future ahead. We will strengthen and clean the inner vessel, then Reactivation and Conversion and Retention will come. Yay! We met with the RS Presidency already and planned to hold Visiting Teaching days every 2nd and 4th Saturday, where all the Sisters will go on splits with companionships of Visiting Teachers. We are on the right path. Woohoo. 

How are all of your basics? Build your life on the Rock of our Redeemer  every day through earnest prayer and diligent and deep scripture study. Make family your priority. Reach out to others--visit them and share the Savior's love. Rely on the eternal wisdom of our Heavenly Father. I know this is His true church. I know His Spirit abides with us as we do His work. I know He lives. I know that San Jose will be made strong as we get lost in all the work to do here. I am so excited! I love you all.

Love, Sister Winward

P.S. Just one our house we feel like we are on display at the zoo because we keep the door open usually (for the heat), and the little school kids like to stop on their way home during lunch break and stare through the fence when they see Sister Rappleye or I. haha. 

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