Monday, September 23, 2013

9/9/13-A Robbery and a Recipe

Well the big news of this week...I got robbed! I was minding my own business this morning just walking around in a store and next thing you know my bag is unzipped and my wallet is gone. So that's good! No money on P-day! We had to review the security cameras, but the angles were bad and we figured we wouldn't be able to find the person anyway. It sucks, but its a story and hopefully they put ALL my personal, mission, and security money to good use.

Other than that this week we were mostly on exchanges. We first went to Tobaco. I got to teach one of the investigators that I taught when we were on exchanges there before! Sister Heikee. I was able to teach her the first lesson last exchange and it was so cool to see her progress from just a couple of weeks! She told us that she had been reading the Book of Mormon and praying about the message of the missionaries. She said she felt good each time she prayed and read the Book of Mormon and kept pointing to her heart. We were able to tell her that that was the Holy Ghost. Then we had an interesting experience. We were going to visit a less active member, but got stopped by her Nanay. Her Nanay was very harsh and asked Why are you here? Then she started going off about all the untrue things about Joseph Smith. Each time we would try to explain to her why we were there or respond to her she would cut us off and say we needed to leave. So we left without being able to talk to her daughter. I just felt bad for her and her family. She was so closed off to her message and by the things she was saying it was clear that she didn't even understand our message. She sure thought she did though. I have been amazed so far on my mission at how important listening is. The people who listen to our message and seek to understand it, always accept it, but those who are not humble and who think they already know everything will not receive our message because they are not willing to listen.

We next went to Ligao! Yay! My favorite! So the areas in Ligao just got all split up and so me and Sister Cacares worked in a SUPER far area that used to be the Elders. One of the people we taught was a recent convert. She was the first baptism of an Elder from my MTC district so it was really cool to teach her. Sister Caceres told me the Elder had been really homesick, but after he was able to extend a baptisimal date to her he felt better! I'm sure he realized the importance of the work and the joy that comes from it. So the farthest area took about an hour to walk to, but it was so beautiful! We got punted though- so then we had to walk the hour back. We had extra time and so Sister Caceres told me to pick a house to tract at. I picked this way nice house with a big gate in front. She told me to take the lead- so I say "Tao po" and all these kids come- so I asked for the Nanay and she came out and was so nice and let us in and told everyone there that they had guests. She was so happy to have us there...until we started telling her we were missionaries...then she totally closed herself off. She said all religions are the same because we all pray to God. She said her and her sisters and grandchildren go around each night and pray at the homes in their neighborhood at 6 o'clock. She told us her grandchildren have the prayers memorized. I told her we don't want to change her beliefs or take away from them, but rather strengthen her relationship with God. I gave her a Restoration pamphlet and invited her to read it if she wanted to simply just understand our beliefs. She told me to take it to someone who needed it. She said I should take it next door and then tell them she would be over to pray with them later. I just told her we wanted to give it to her, she didn't have to read it. She accepted it and just set it down. Her granddaughter started looking at the pictures and was reading and Nanay grabbed it away and said that is not for you, that will just confuse you. Poor kids. I feel so bad for these people. They are so dedicated to their faith- which is so awesome, they are trying to have God in their life, but they are so unwilling to listen to us. We don't ask them to be converted to our faith. We just ask for them to listen because it will bless their life. It is their choice to accept it or not. We simply invite them to pray to know if it is true. If they will just listen and pray- their lives can be changed. It is hard to KNOW something is true and then have people reject your message, a message you know will change their life!

After exchanges nothing major happened in Legazpi. I was super exhausted and a little homesick and just not feeling so great. I spent a lot of time during the morning and before bed reading conference talks. I found a lot of comfort and strength in the words of the Prophets. We got punted or people weren't home a lot this week and so it just felt slow. I read a lot of talks about enduring through hard times and there always being something good ahead if we will be faithful. I know during the slow hard times if I keep working hard and having faith we will see miracles in Legazpi. We definitely saw a miracle yesterday when 27 less active members showed up to church from our area! They just kept coming! We were so happy! We don't know why they all came on the same day, but it really was a miracle. People who haven't come to church in months or even years. I was happy to finally see a result from our visits!

We weren't able to visit the Malacad family because of exchanges and then they were gone this weekend because of their sick grandma. BUT they promised the Bishop they will attend the devotional with us this week and church on Sunday. He said he talked to them and they are just excited about this new component of their lives and are anxious to learn more and progress! AHH I love them so much!

I have one more story-
So this young German man came to church with some members on Sunday and were confused why he was there. I guess he is vacationing before he goes to work in Vietnam. I guess he is just sorta wandering around the Philippines and didn't really even plan to go to Legazpi. He stopped by the canteen of the members to ask for directions and ideas of where to go while he was here. I guess they fed him and were really nice and helped him out. He kept going everyday to ask for directions and they started talking to him about the gospel and was super interested so he agreed to go to church with them on Sunday. He came to the class for investigators and recent converts that the missionaries also go to.  It was such a wreck... people kept asking the DUMBEST questions and the spirit was not present! I felt so bad, but after the class he asked if he could have the gospel principles book and of course we said yes! After Elder Nelson told him sorry that class was so bad and had a really long talk with him about the gospel. He is VERY interested. He was leaving today or we would teach him.
What a miracle though! I don't think stuff like that happens by chance! There are like 20 canteens next to each other where he went and he happened to choose Joanns!

Okay, try this recipe! It is heaven. Me and Sister Mataele make is every joke.
-Graham crackers
-condensed milk
-whipping cream
(We make it in a square tupperware that is tall as it is wide. Maybe 10 inches in every direction.)
-Mix 1 can condensed milk with 2 cans of cream.
-layer graham crackers then milk mix all the way up the container. Use all the cream so it will soak into the graham crackers.
-Put sliced mangoes in the middle layer and on the very top.
-Put it in the freezer until the cream get icecreamyish, but you don't want the graham crackers or mangoes to freeze.
Hopefully that made sense? It's so good and super popular here. That and fruit salad are my favorites.
Hope everything is good with all of you! Miss and think of you guys everyday! Mahal Kita!
-Sister Gardner
p.s. figure out what this means-
bababa ka ba?

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