Friday, January 23, 2015

9/22/14 Explosions

Family and Friends!
It was such a good week in Guinobatan!! Our work is exploding, right alongside the Mayon. The Mayon is super close to erupting and so that is all anyone talks about. They have evacuated a lot of different areas in our mission already and if it gets worse we will get evacuated. They are tons of army men everywhere guarding the 6 kilometers around the Mayon and all the school are being used as evacuation centers. I just attract natural disasters I guess. So yeah...we will see what this week brings. 
Other than that, we had the best week! We worked our butts off and it payed off! We have so many new people to teach and they are so awesome! We are getting to know everyone in our area and finding so many families. My companion and I decided that we are just going to sprint her last transfer and my last 2 so we go home worn out and happy. 
We saw the blessing of staying out until exactly 9 o clock many times this week. One night we found a widowed mother with 11 kids! They are SO nice and I can't wait to go back and teach them. Another night we found the cutest couple with the cutest little baby. The spirit was so strong when we taught them and they accepted a baptismal date right there in the first visit! Another night we found my favorite family! The grandma has dementia and we were asking her where her husband was. She couldn't remember and so her 24 year old grandson had to remind her that her husband died. She just starts laughing and shouting "namatay siya." I think most people would cry if they had to find out everyday that their husband died, but she was just cracking up. Haha I love her. Her grandkids are awesome too. They let us in because it was POURING rain. I think they all just felt bad, but it ended up being such a good lesson and they said that we could come back anytime. 
We had a lot of other awesome lessons too this week. On Tuesday we had exchanges and Sister Boodapali and I taught a couple that Sister Marila and I had OYMed. It was such a good lesson! They are a young couple with one son and they really want to change their lives. Especially Brother. When we asked if he believed that God loved him he said that he wasn't sure. He said he had so many sins that God probably didn't love him anymore. We testified that God's love does not depend on our choices or whether we follow him or not. He loves all of us equally. We talked about how he can feel of that love if he will turn to God and that the gospel will help him change his life to be in line with God's will. The next visit we were able to share about repentance. They committed to come to church and we were supposed to pick them up, but brother ended up having to go to work because they didn't have enough money for dinner that night. They were so sad not to be able to come. Hopefully next week. They are so awesome!
On Saturday we went to teach Rosemarie. Our investigator that always comes to church. She was super scared about the Mayon and we could just tell that she wasn't having a good day. We shared Alma 38:5 with her and had her replace her name with 'Shiblon.' The moment that she read it she started bawling so hard. It was so sad. We testified of God's love for her and how he will help her get through her trials. The spirit was so strong. I love Rosemarie so much. She has the hardest life, but she always has a smile on her face. It is so amazing to feel at least a portion of God's love for his children here.
Another night we found a less active couple that I had never met before in our area. When we first started talking with them they just kept saying how they became inactive because they are so busy during the week so they use Sunday to wash and rest. etc. Basically that they don't have time for church and reading the Book of Mormon. We shared 3 Nephi 13 about seeking first the kingdom of God. It was exactly what they needed. They were at complete loss for words. They both said that they knew it was wrong to put everything else in their lives before God. Brother was laughing and saying that he should have known better than to complain to the missionaries. Hopefully we can help them become active again. We shared that same scripture to another less active and he said that the only time in his life that he has felt complete peace and that God was providing for all of his needs, was when he was completely active in the church. #hanapinmunaandkaharianbaga  
We also got to teach Marlon again this week! He is awesome. He said that he will keep listening to us and investigating because he can see that in our church we don't just have faith, but we have good works. He said he is really amazed by the work we do as missionaries. We taught him about families. We planned to teach him a lot more, but he talks a lot, so we only got to families. He told us that he doesn't know that he can see his family after this life and that he doesn't believe that there is any way to know for sure where we came from or where we are going or why we are here. We testified that these are things that he would know for sure if he would continue to listen to our message. We shared James 1:5 with him. Hopefully he prays! I don't know where the lessons are going to go with him, he has a lot of out there ideas about religion, but we will just keep doing our part as missionaries and hope that he will come to a knowledge of the truth! 
One of my favorite moments this week was when of our investigators sang the opening prayer...that was a different experience. I have gotten really good at holding in my laughs. It was rough though.
Another one was when we bought Mark and John ice cream. Mark is a 12 year old recent convert and John is his 11 year old brother who is our investigator. We saw them walking to school and it was SO hot. So we got ahead of them and surprised them with 2 ice cream bars. You should have seen their faces. It made my whole day. 
Things aren't perfect, but we are seeing tons of progression in our area. It is exciting. People are still SUPER catholic here in Guinobatan, but they are coming around and I know it is going to just keep getting better! 
I love being a missionary and I love my mission. I know that this is the Lord's work. No one can stop it from progressing. I am amazed at all the miracles I have seen in the last 15.5 months. MARAMI. I am amazed each day at how many people the Lord has prepared to hear the gospel. This week is going to be a good one again! 
I love and miss you all! Have a good week!
-Sister Gardner

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