Monday, July 7, 2014

June 30, 2014

 The Mendoza Family, and Nanay Victoria (Far left) with James (far right). They have all returned to the church and James will be baptized this month. He told us on our third visit that he wants to be baptized and serve a mission someday. ​
 Uwang! They are these huge beetles that randomly dive bomb onto your head at night.
 Nora and Alan (And Sigrid, their granddaughter). They didn't come to church in my time (but are going now) but are such golden investigators. They have been less-active Catholics for ten years and have been looking for the true church for a long time. 
 The Fiesta Family. Sister Fiesta, Joshua, and Eloisa are all active members. The missionaries are still working on her older son and husband. We baptized her youngest child, Eulo (right).
 Tatay Guevarra and I. When I first met Tatay, he was super grouchy and was praying that he would just die. He had a stroke last year and lost the use of half of his body. His family doesn't have money for therapy so one of his daughters applied for a job in the Middle East to help him out. His wife and three of his children are members but only one of them is active. Tatay isn't a member. 
It was amazing to see the changes that came into Tatay's life. We had a hard time with him, but decided to just help him be happy and develop faith. We'd help him stand up and walk outside to shower and slowly he started getting stronger and stronger. He is close to being able to walk on his own. There were times at first when we would dread visiting him because he was so grumpy, but after he started developing more faith we noticed that he was happier every time we visited him. Now he is one of my best friends in Tarlac. We taught him to pray for strength and patience instead of for death and to have faith that he will be able to walk again. He is getting ready to be baptized in August and I have no doubt that he will be able to walk by then. 

 Tarlac Zone! I miss that zone!
 The Hodriel Family! They are another family who has returned (before I got there). We were really tight with them and the Ombac Family. 
 The Ombac Family! Brother Ombac is in red and his wife is in the stripes. The two little girls are theirs. He was reactivated by the missionaries a few months before me and his wife and eldest daughter were both baptized. I helped baptize his little sisters, Charmine and Marilou (the chubbier one and the skinnier one in grey). We are currently teaching the kid who they 'adopted', Mark (in white PJ's) and his cousin Emily (Yellow). They are due to be baptized any time
The Landingin Family! (Tatay isn't there). We were so happy when Nanay finally came to church. I am sitting in between Nanay and Crystal. Vines is the guy in the awesome shorts (He's Josh's age) and Joseph (the little guy) is between me and Crystal. The other lady is named Angie, she's one of their neighbors and the other little girl is named Bea

Hi  Family,

Basically describes my diet this week, haha. I've eaten tuna and tomato omelette with rice almost every day for the last week. I've also had a lot of pineapple (it's pineapple season here...I love life). I think I was really spoiled in Tarlac food-wise and it's taken some adjustment to get back into the missionary diet again. My companion is a pretty good cook though, so hopefully this week we'll get more creative between the two of us. 

I hope you liked the pictures, I have a bunch more. They are all from Tarlac. I really miss that area and all of those great families but I know I'll learn to love this area too and the people here. 

We had a pretty good week. It's hard to adjust to a branch again after being assigned in such a strong ward. We are really focusing on rescuing. There are so many less-actives here that need to come back. Most of our good teaching experiences this week have come from teaching less actives. Here's one I shared to the new mission president:

We have been teaching one wonderful sister who was offended a long time ago and stopped coming to church. We were really dismayed when we found out that she is seriously investigating a different church and I wasn't sure what to do. My companion and I talked about it and decided to teach her about the Book of Mormon again. We took a returned less active member with us and we taught about the Book of Mormon and bore simple testimony of it and the Restoration of the Gospel. I know that the spirit carried those testimonies to the heart of this sister because she said, "I still know that the Book of Mormon is true. I haven't forgotten." She also committed to come to church again this week (she wouldn't commit before). It was such a simple thing but for me it was a huge miracle 

We had a service project this week where we hauled bamboo around for a while. I'll attach a picture. 

We also had a great lesson with a younger girl named Disney. She is only 14 and has come to church before. We taught her about the Restoration yesterday and she told us that she is ready to be baptized. We are hoping to be able to teach her parents too. There are so many amazing youth here who are ready to listen to the gospel but so many of the older generation won't be bothered by it. We stopped by the house of another teenager who had talked to us and was interested in learning about the church only to meet his mom at the door. She acted rather annoyed that we had bothered her and got kind of angry and said, "We're Catholics. We will always be Catholics and you won't ever get us to come to your church." "I had about 768 different answers go through my head to that statement but we only said, "We know that the Gospel we teach is true, but we won't force anyone to learn it. If you ever want to know God's plan for your family just let us know." I just wish people would be more open minded. 

It was a good week though. I am excited for what's happening here. We get to meet President Clark this week too which is exciting. 

I love you guys. The church is true. 


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