Tuesday, May 6, 2014

4/21/14 Happy Easter

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy Easter! I didn't even know that it was easter yesterday! Holy Week here takes over "Easter." Holy Week is not my favorite week of the mission! It basically means not very many people are home. It was absolute craziness! So many people crowded around the catholic church to watch the parade. Quite the experience considering our whole area is centered around the church. To say it simply, this week was for sure a trial of Sister Ilago and mine's Faith. We had all kinds of awkward rejection experiences tracting, many people dropped us (rather than us dropping them), and appointments falling through. I know that our faith is just being tested and if we just keep working hard and doing our part that the Lord will provide and place in our path the people that have been prepared. 

Despite a little bit of a rough week as far as teaching, especially toward the end of the week, we still saw many miracles! 

1. We watched the Restoration video with Jerry (an investigator) and Leo (a less active member). We have been trying to help Jerry understand the Restoration and gain a testimony of Joseph Smith for a few weeks now and so we decided to watch the Restoration video so that he could visualize what happened. We invited his cousin Leo too to watch. Both of their eyes were glued to the screen the entire time. At the end we talked about it and bore testimony to them. Jerry finally got it! In his prayer at the end he said that he knew Joseph Smith saw Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Leo also said that he realized for the first time what actually happened to Joseph Smith. It was a really powerful lesson.

2. The Lobo family. Brother Lobo is a less active and has 10 children who aren't members. Whenever we go over there we meet more of his children and they are all so interested. We met one of his sons this week who has been baptized in many different churches and really wants to know where the truth is. He accepted immediately to be baptized in our church if he comes to find that this is the true church. He wants to find a place where he can stay. 

3. Yesterday a member from Tobaco brought his friend Eva to church. She is from here, Camalig, and is interested to learn more about the church. After church we taught her at the chapel and she was so interested and had so many questions. We taught her about the Restoration and were able to answer many of her questions. She really understood the lesson and committed to pray about Joseph Smith. She is such a golden investigator and I am so excited to be teaching someone that is so interested! 

4. Besides Eva we received 4 additional referrals on Sunday evening! That will for sure make for a better week of teaching this week! Referrals are like gold to us right now. All you members, give referrals to the missionaries in your ward! They are praying for them and doing everything that they can to gain your trust so that you will refer your friends and family to them to teach. You can trust them with your friends and family! Like Elder Holland said, an invitation out of love will never be seen as offensive (not word for word). 

Even if I wasn't aware really of Easter, I have been thinking a lot about Christ this week and the simple truth that because of his Atonement we all have the opportunity to return to our Heavenly Father and obtain Eternal Life with our families. I am so thankful for that knowledge that is at the heart of this gospel. I love my Savior and I am thankful for the strength I gain through the Atonement each day on my mission. I am thankful that he loved me enough to die for me.  I am most thankful that because he lives and because of his Resurrection, this life is not the end. I know that I still don't fully understand the Atonement, even if I teach of it each day, but I know that the Atonement is a real power that we can all experience each day in our lives if we just seek Christ in our lives and follow his example and his teachings.

I love and miss you all!

Ingat! Mahal ko kayo!

-Sister Gardner

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