Monday, December 2, 2013

12/2/13--Masbate is Paradise

First of all, I am beyond exhausted, so if parts of this email don't make sense, I'm sorry. I am loving Masbate! It is so beautiful and I have the best companion in the world! And we are basically celebrities in our area, so that doesn't hurt. We have seen so many miracles this week and my testimony has been strengthened that this is the Lord's work and he prepares people! This week we got 50 lessons. That is the reason for my exhaustion. It is the record for the Legazpi mission! We are super happy about it! We had 43 on Saturday so then we decided we would get 7 lessons on Sunday so we could reach 50! Since we are an open area, most of the lessons were from tracting. People love to let 2 white girls into their home here haha. My life is so unreal right now.

So I have so many stories from tracting the week! First, we tracted this lady and she told us she is scared for us to come back because she thinks we will convert her....well I guess that is a good thing? Then her brother is the happiest person I have ever met. He has a million reasons not to be, but he never stops smiling and laughing. (I'll  send a picture of him). Then another day we were walking along and this group of Ladies asked if we would teach them...we were like, of course! They were all awesome, but one in particular. We went back and taught her again and she is just so receptive and excited about the gospel.
We have taught a Pentecostal man, who is a former pastor, twice this week and the second time he invited 2 of his friends. We thought that it was going to turn in to arguing, but it was actually an awesome lesson. Hard, but awesome! We see so much potential in him and he would totally be a future leader in the church.  He is very firm in his beliefs, really knows the bible, and has a lot of questions, so it is intimidating, but he is willing to listen. We were able to handle the questions very well though and have the spirit present. He said he will pray about Joseph Smith so we are excited to see what will happen! He has a really hard time with our belief of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost being separate, but he said he will pray about it. At the end of the lessons he told us he is so impressed that we would come all the way from America because we believe something so strongly. He said he knows there is one true church and we should figure it out because how can we both be right? We are really excited about him and hoping for the best.

Then there is Evelyn! Golden! We randomly tracted her while we were looking for someone else and she let us in. She is only 13, but every time we teach her she asks if we will come back the next day. She prayed about Joseph Smith and the Restoration and she said she got an answer. She said she knows our message is true because she feels at peace and it makes her happy. She can't stop smiling ever since we showed up! She is such a miracle! We are trying to teach her family, but her parents are always at work.

We tracted another family that was taught by missionaries in the 1990's! They still have a Book of Mormon and one of the sisters said she reads it all the time. We are so excited to go back and teach them. Marilyn, I talked about her last week, came to church again this week! She is so awesome. We didn't think she would show up and so happy when she walked in. She said her husband will come next week!

We also found 3 less active members tracting! We would start talking to them and eventually they would tell us they were members. That was awesome! We have a lot to do though to get them active again. We also taught Latesha through the door, Marife on a log, and Marlina standing up. Let's just say it was a week of crazy experiences.

In case your wondering, the G grandma in the picture...we see her almost everyday. She moves along this pathway from rock to rock each day. She walks so slow it is unreal and she is like 100 years old. We can't really figure out what she is trying to accomplish and she never wants our help- so we just call her jumping rock lady. I also broke a bridge this week. I felt so bad. They build these bridge walkways to go from house to house because it is muddy ground near the beach and I was walking along and next thing I know one leg is down through the bridge. Me and my companion were dying laughing, but I felt so bad. One too many kilos of rice on my part...

For thanksgiving we made Filipino food, but made our own version of pie- graham crackers and pudding- and told the Filipino sisters on Masbate what Thanksgiving is. We need to brush up on our history... I was thankful this week though! I tried to count my blessing in the spirit of the holiday! Masbate is really poor and I see things that almost make me cry each day. I thought that I saw poverty in Legazpi, I was wrong. It amazed me how happy these people are with literally nothing. It breaks my heart. I have been thinking about how hard it is going to be to go back to normal life after seeing so many sad things each day, but I am thankful for how grateful this experience is making me! I truly love my mission, no matter how hard it may be! I love you all and miss you!

-Sister Gardner
P.S. Tingnan mo ang mga bulag, dahil and mga bulag hindi kaya tingnan ikaw. (The sentence me and my companion made during language study- we are really productive.)

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