Sunday, July 20, 2014

The windows of heaven have been opened

Dear Family,
Kumusta kamo? I am excited to share with you another fantastic week here in San Jose, Antique! The Lord has definitely opened the windows of heaven, and we are just trying to find enough room to receive it all. Our planners are so puno (full), it is testing our scheduling skills. But we are following Him, and going where He needs us most. I am so excited every day. I am so proud of our investigators and their commitment to follow our Savior, even when it requires endurance and repentance.
Elna is still doing great. She was excited to announce in Gospel Principles yesterday that her baptism will be July 26. She is so ready and willing to receive a calling. She was reading about pioneers in the July 2013 Liahona we gave her, and she was so impressed by their sacrifices. She came with us to teach WOW to Robilyn on Saturday night, and she loved that missionary moment. Her Baptismal Interview will be this Saturday. We get to visit her every single day just to finish up the lessons. (The First Presidency has instructed that we now have to teach all 5 lessons before the baptismal interview.) She is so excited about the gospel. She is a changed woman. By the way, it is her birthday tomorrow. :)
On Tuesday, Sister Viliami and I went to the Municipal Hall to inquire about the requirements for marriage, because we really are going to have to take our couples' hands and walk them through the process. I think they all kind of have a fear that it is very costly and very complicated. But in bite-size steps, it is really not so bad. The worst part will probably be waiting for paperwork to process. But we figured out the requirements and have been helping our couples understand it all. And now Hernie, Resfe ann, and Myra all have Baptismal Goal Dates for August 30, and they are working on saving their money for the marriage papers, about 20 pisos a day. Plus President Gindap (Branch Pres.) and President Villavert (District Pres.) are on board and getting to work figuring it all out too. Plus we have visited a few members who have friends and relatives in high places, so we have some connections now for lowering the cost of some of the papers. Woohoo! Miracle!
Once upon a time, this fabulous YSA named Jen gave us a referral. (Yay! a referral!) We have been waiting on her to come contact her friend with us, and we finally got to meet Jay Adrian on Wednesday. He is one of her classmates from high school. And he is so amazing. We just taught him about our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost, and Prayer. He is kind of shy. He is really good at English. Likes to read. Is a working student. He is 24. He shared with us that he has not prayed in a very long time, and not usually from the heart, but he does want a relationship with God. He asked us when we were coming back, and if he could come to church before we ever mentioned it. At the end of the lesson, we asked him to offer the closing prayer. He said it was the first time he every prayed out loud. It was the most sincere prayer I have heard anyone give. He simply told Heavenly Father that he is sorry that he hasn't talked to him in a long time, he wants to repent, and he wants to become close to Him. It was simple. It was heartfelt. The Spirit was so strong. He felt so happy afterward. Jen was moved to tears. He came to church yesterday and enjoyed it. I am so excited to share with him again today.
Sister Robilyn has been doing great. Since she went to church a week ago, she has seen the windows of heaven open up to her. She does manicure/pedicures for 100 pisos out of her home, and she had way more customers this week than usual. Her mother's one year death anniversary was on Friday, and we were able to teach her about the last part of the Plan of Salvation ("Where do we go after this life?") and about Temples and Family History on Thursday. We taught her about the Spirit world, shared with her about how she will be able to help her mother receive the gospel by doing her temple work. She asked a question about whether her mother's spirit was able to come be with her, because she was pretty sure she felt her nearby sometimes. I told her that honestly, I don't know everything about how the Spirit world works. But I shared with her what Elder Russell M. Nelson told us when he spoke in the MTC--that the ancestors of those we teach are preparing them and leading us to them. The Spirit was so strong. I told her that I am pretty sure her mother has played a role in us finding and teaching her. It definitely wasn't a coincidence. And you know what, I am pretty sure her mother was there listening to the whole lesson. It was amazing. The work really is hastening--on both sides of the veil. Sister Robilyn is so motivated to prepare herself for baptism. She is excited to help her mother receive the gospel as well. When we taught her about the Word of Wisdom on Saturday night, we told her she had options for quitting her coffee drinking (she has about 1 cup a day). She can quit drinking coffee gradually, and move back her baptismal date (it is a requirement that they have abstained for 4 weeks before their baptism). Or she can quit immediately and still get baptized onAugust 9. She chose immediately. Man, she has faith. We explained about priesthood blessings, and said she could receive one to help her as she quits. She didn't drink any yesterday. And then during Sunday School she got a really bad migraine. She had to go throw up in the CR (comfort room aka bathroom). She got a blessing from the Elders, then went home with her kids before Relief Society. We have been praying for her and dropped by yesterday to give her some Milo (chocolate drink) and see how she was, but she was sleeping it off. I hope she is doing okay. She is so strong. I know she'll make it.
Teaching Margie and Rogie and Andrea the Law of Chastity was fun. I'll have to just share that one with you all in a few months. haha. I love you all. I know that this gospel changes hearts, lives, and our eternity. Keep the commandments. I dare you. The windows of heaven will open! I hope you all have a great week.

Love, Sister Winward

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