Friday, January 23, 2015

9/15/14 Week of Miracles

Family and Friends!
It was a great week! On Tuesday it was transfer day and I got a new companion. Her name is Sister Amone. She is from Australia. She is the missionary that replaced me on Masbate so she has been telling me all week about all the miracles there and how everyone is doing and about all the baptisms. It is seriously a miracle what happened on that island! Sister Amone goes home at the end of this transfer. So that makes this my last area! YAY! I don't have to get transferred again! We have a really good companionship! She is so nice and super diligent in the work! We are working hard! It was a week of miracles!
I am really starting to realize how fast the time is going! I know these last 2 transfers are going to fly by. I just want to give everything that I have to these people. I want to help as many people as possible come to a knowledge of the truth. Our time as missionaries is so short. We need to do our best each day while we have this 18 months or 2 years to give all we have to serving the Lord. Since me and my companion are both winding down on our missions we are both really determined to be as diligent as we can and be exactly obedient. Because of that we saw SO many miracles this week. 
The first is with Rosemarie. She has been taught by the missionaries for quite a while now. She comes to church almost every week and is ready to be baptized, but her kids don't want her to be and so she won't commit or really even talk about it. We have been focusing on her since I got here, but this week we started to see some progression with the baptism topic. She finally told us that it is something that she really wants and she was willing to at least talk about it. At church yesterday all the members were joking with her and telling her she is going to be baptized in 2 weeks and she told us she wants to. We are getting somewhere with her which is a miracle!
Another miracle was that some of the members of the family we found last week accepted to be baptized! I am so happy about that! 
We also had a lot of miracles with finding. We tracted SO many people that had been prepared for the gospel. We got rejected more than we got accepted, but the people that accepted us were amazing! My favorite 3 experiences were with Mark, Alexis and Marlon. Mark is a 19 year old boy that doesn't really have a lot of direction for his life. He has strong faith and is a good kid, but just kinda hangs around all day not doing much. We were able to teach him and he told us that he liked the way he felt as talked with us and asked us when we would be able to come back. The spirit was really strong during the lesson. The next was Alexis. He has just gotten out of drug rehab and is living with his Sister for a few weeks or months before he goes back to his family. He said that he really messed up with his family life and that he wants to go back to them a changed man. We testified that the way for him to change is to follow Christ and to rely on His Atonement. I kept feeling prompted to invite him to be baptized and when I did he accepted a date immediately. I know that we were led to him at a crucial time in his life. 
Now the best for last, Marlon! So background- Our mission President is really emphasizing that we eat dinner at 5 o clock so that we make sure we are working from 6-9. He calls it 'prime proselyting time.' To be honest, depending on the night and what we think makes sense sometimes we just work straight until 8 and take 8-9 as our dinner hour. But since we have a new trainee in the house and because we want to be exactly obedient we decided o eat from 5-6 even if that would take more travel time. So that same night we were tracting and it was 8:30 and we weren't really having any success and everyone seemed to be going to bed, but we decided that we would try one more house. That was the house we needed to tract! Marlon came to the door. He is a 25 year old guy that is still single and he looks after him mom that is recovering from a stroke. He seemed a little hesitant at first to let us in, but then it felt as if he was almost powerless to say no. He let us in and we sat down with him and his mom and started to talk, then started to teach. He really opened up when we asked him how he knew that God loved him. He shared with us about a recent experience. He had diclocated his tailbone (which apparently is really dangerous) and he couldn't find anyone that could make him better. One day he prayed and then he was able to find the right doctor and now he is recovering. He said that he has been having a lot of trials lately and he said it seems like God is trying to tel him that he needs to change his life. We testified that we had a message that would change his life. At the end of lesson we asked him if he would pray to know if our message was true and he told us "You know, as we have been talking I have felt that you guys have been sent from God as an answer to my prayers at this time." He committed to continue to let us teach him. HOW AWESOME!! It was the best walk home! What if we had been home from 8-9 or had given up on tracting?! Such a miracle! We are teaching him again tonight! I can't wait! 
This week I have been thinking about the story of the tortoise and the hare in relation to diligence as a missionary. There is a race between them. The hare starts of going fast. Taking long hops and going as fast as possible, while the tortoise starts out slow, but keeps a steady pace the whole race. The hare gets halfway and decides to rest, seeing that he is far ahead of the tortoise. The hare falls asleep and when he wakes up the tortoise has already won the race. As missionaries we don't need to give all we have or more than we can in the first half of our missions and then think that we can just rest the second half because we have accomplished a lot. If we do that one day we will wake up and see that our mission is over and we wasted half of our time. We need to be like the tortoise and keep a steady pace. We need to endure to the end of our missions. We need to give what we can each day- but not overdue it that we aren't able to work the next day. We should endure well. If we do this we will see miracles! We find the Marks and the Marlons.
Now for the not so serious... 
This week we had a big ward home evening because one of the missionaries who served in this ward was picked up from her mission by her parents. So they came back and we had a ward party. It was way fun and we even got some investigators to come! It was halarious to see her parents dying of heat and going through the culture shock. I forgot what it was like when I first got here. Everything just seems so normal to me now.
This week we have also had no water. We get it for about an hour or less a day. That makes it hard to shower, wash dishes, etc. This morning we had to get creative with finding water to wash our clothes. We ended up washing on the side of the street with everyone watching us. good times. One night me and my comp were so sick of no water that we went and surprised the Sisters in Camalig and slept there so we could shower for church. Right when we got there the power went out. We are really good luck...We were laughing so hard. I have never been so thankful for running water in my whole life. Magtiis baga. 
That was my week! Hopefully we have another good one ahead and we can get all these new investigators to church! Love and miss you all! 
Mahal ko kayo! Maligayang Pasko! kasi pasko na dito...
-Sister Gardner

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