My dearest Family,
How are all of you doing? I hope you all survived your first week of school. :) Yay! We've had a very interesting week. Mostly good things, but a few sad ones too. Do you want the sad news or the good news first?
The sad news.
There is a little boy in the branch named Axl Kin (or Kinkin is is nickname). He just turned 7 on August 21. He has been battling with Leukemia since January, and he passed away on Saturday morning. The Elders went to the hospital to give him one last blessing, and a few seconds after they removed their hands from Kinkin's head, he took his last breath. Heavenly Father has released him from his calling in this life. The family is doing well. Still smiling through it all. They have strong testimonies of the gospel, and I know Kinkin will be their motivation to make it to the Celestial Kingdom. We spent Saturday evening with the family. They live right next to our apartment, so we see them often. The doctors told them Kinkin wouldn't make it to his birthday, so they are just grateful he was given a little bit longer. I am grateful I got to meet him, and I know he is rejoicing right now to be free from pain.
The good news.
We haven't been able to teach Angelica for a few weeks. Which is killing me because she is so golden. Her father does not want her to be baptized. He is extra protective of Angelica because she is the youngest. I got to talk to Angelica's older sister, Jen, yesterday, and she told me that probably we will just have to wait a few months for the father to calm down, then we can teach her again, and they will just keep it on the downlow so the father doesn't get angry again. Angelica wants it so bad. Jen said Angelica treats her Aklat ni Mormon and scripture reading chart like a treasure and has been reading every day. I know it will all work out in the Lord's timing.
A few weeks ago, Sister Viliami and I OYM'd a lady in a tricycle. Joy. She asked us when we could come visit, so we referred her to the STLs because she lives in their area...and she is doing really well. Joy came to church last week. It is so cool how just a little conversation can start the huge chain of events that lead to one soul's conversion to Jesus Christ.
We were working with one of the Branch Missionaries, Kiko, the other day, when he oh-so-casually mentioned that one of his nonmember cousins has been coming to church for the last month. What? Sweet! We met Rene yesterday and taught him for the first time. We also taught Celyne. They've both been to church a bunch of times before. Rene is 16 and Celyne is 20. They already have good support because they live with an active family. Yay!!! They will be baptized.
We were waiting at the barangay (neighborhood) hall the other night, and I asked Sister Domingo to OYM the Tanod (like a neighborhood watchman) while I texted around and tried to find someone to give a blessing to our sick less active. The Tanod, Brother Lozada, agreed to let us visit his family. He is the father of 5 daughters and a son, all now adults. We've met about half of the family, and they are so receptive. And the greatest tender mercy happened...we don't have any BOMs left in our apartment to give out...but Brother Lozada already has a triple combination he cleaned out of an old house! Sweet! His grandson destroys every book he finds, except the triple. He carries it around like his own personal treasure. I am excited to see them progress.
Sister Domingo had a rough week. I think she is struggling with her desire. I keep trying to remember what it was like when I was only 6 months in the field. I still didn't understand back then what I was doing or why I came out. But somewhere between Jaro and Leganes, I lost myself. President Hinckley's father was absolutely right when he advised the young Elder Hinckley to, "Forget yourself and go to work." I know that is the only way to have true happiness as a missionary, no matter the visible results of the work you do. I know I won't get to see the end of a lot of the things I have done on my mission. This work is so much greater than any of us can imagine. Every little effort counts, and only Heavenly Father can see it all come together for the eternal good of His children. Matthew He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. Now, looking back, I believe that has happened for me. I just want to work! Having a day away from the people we are teaching kills me. Because I know just a little bit of good makes the difference. I want to help Sister Domingo get to that point. She's not quite there yet. But amat-amat she will be. :)says:
I love you all so much. Have a great week!
Love, Sister Winward