Tuesday, September 2, 2014

31 August 2014 - Happy and Conflicted...

Haha, haha, I saw the picture (of Daddy and Ben sleeping at church). I love my family so much! I want to see them falling asleep in church. Mom I think the "end-of-mission"NESS is starting to kick in. I'm feeling.... SAMOK (chaos). No long email. Because I will cry if I type too much, haha, sorry. I will try for something.
     I'm healthy. I even stopped playing football in the rain earlier because I knew it wasn't safe and you would not like that.
     Mom, I'm conflicted. I'm waking up. I'm hurting. I'm happy... and it makes me want to explode. At this moment... I just want you to hug me. AH! WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME? MOM!!!! I'm soo stinkin happy... so why am I BEING LIKE THIS? I'm scared. I'm scared of losing the sensitivity and the drive. Can you all just come here instead of me going home?
Sister Tunada a recent convert who I love.

     I honestly have very little to write this week, It was an up and down week for sure. I went on exchanges with Sister Dumas and that was a lot of fun. I learned a lot from her and it was good to have someone to talk to about my fears and hopes. She is a sweetheart and it's weird because she feels like my little sister. I'm excited to get closer to many of these sisters after the mission. Mission is a nesting bed for lasting friendships. 
    This is Niko (=  I love this kid with all my heart.

Br. Eduardo Rafael
     Niko is our progressing investigator. He is my favorite boy, 14 years old and just has a heart of gold. Two days ago we brought him to the church and sat him down and his countenance changed from his normal bubbly self to sheer gloom. He would not even look at us or talk. It took some time before he confessed that he did not read the Book of Mormon the day before. He was so upset with himself. Wow! I love this boy! If all our investigators took their commitments as seriously as this boy does..... wow. Then we had to do the baptismal interview questions with him before the real interview with the district leader and when we asked him if he has committed a serious crime. He just put his head down and looked like he wanted to cry. He said, "yes". He said he "tubagtubag sa iyang nanay" which means he kind of back-talked to his grandma..... wow... my heart MELTED! This boy makes me so happy. He is the definition of how we need to be, more childlike. His baptism is set for next Saturday. 
     This is Brother Eduardo Rafael Jr. who was baptized with his wife and sister this last Saturday. He is an incredible man. I love teaching him and his family more than anything in the world. In his testimony after his baptism he was emotional and said that before the missionaries came they never prayed... and now they pray all the time. They pray as a family every night. This man is a rock. He loves the Lord and wants so badly to raise his children in the ways of the Lord. He has blessed my life and I know he will enter the temple with his family in one year's time.


     Nildie is the sister of Brother Rafael she is yet another ROCK! Actually she is braver than I think anyone I have met here in the Philippines. A few months ago there was an incident.... The details of the incident are not important but it led to a lot of gossip in the ward even with leaders about her husband. This woman just said 'It doesn't matter what they think, I know this is the right church and I go to church for God"...so even though she has to face these people who are saying unkind things about her... remember she is an investigator... not a member. She can look past all of the ugliness and see how the church is true despite the way people act or treat her. I love her soo soo soo much! She is a disciple of Jesus Christ. If people only understood the gospel like she does. She has made many sacrifices to come to church and is patient with the Lord and her family and is content with her simple life. Goodness I love these people so much!

This other picture is Sister Sheila, she is a gem
and a ward missionary who works with us every week.
She is a ray of sunshine - as you can see
and we will be friends forever! 

     Yes, there were heartbreaks this week. We had quite a number of investigators who were not able or chose not to make it to church this week. It was rough, but we were thankful to be able to witness our investigators who received the Holy Ghost. Happy day!
     I had beautiful experiences this week. When I say beautiful I mean... I learned so much. And I know I needed the experiences for my spiritual growth but in the moment they hurt so bad. I love my mission and training at the end of the mission is the best thing in the world. I get to look back and see how the Lord has been there every step of the way. How he has answered every single one of my heartfelt prayers. I just had to trust in his time and in his way. My companion had a break down this week and it was a miracle to be able to open up my journal and read the words I wrote and compare them to the feelings of my companion. They were the same. And yet... now... the person or missionary I am now, is the exact opposite. My fears and weaknesses (not all obviously) have become strengths. I love missionary work, life and how the spirit truly is our constant companion. I just am the happiest person in the world!
That is Gino who left on his mission last week.

     My companion is still with me. She is great. She is very much a child, haha, so we learn a lot together. She is a huge blessing to me. She helps me see the blessings the Lord has given me. She is really coming along in missionary work and learning to deal with stress, haha.
     Mom, I love my life. Just yesterday something happened and I lost the spirit. I don't really want to talk about what happened but I just was so easily able to feel the difference in my life. The confidence, the peace of mind, the flow of language, the desire to open my mouth,... everything I have been blessed with on the mission went away in an instant. I had to pour out my heart in prayer before a portion of the spirit came back. I am learning.... I am learning how to recognize the spirit and learning to trust in the atonement. I believe now. I believe my Savior does love me perfectly and is ALWAYS willing to forgive me. I felt his embrace last night. I felt the joy that comes from repentance. I love the gospel. It is truly the only way for peace in this life. TRUE peace
     I will remember mom! You take care of yourself now-- you got 7 weeks to NOT hurt yourself. No accidents nothing ok? Deal? I love you! Thank you for talking to me. I really needed my mom today. I'm such a child. hahaha I love you mom! Sorry for the lame emails recently but just know that I am happy and I love what I am doing and I am learning so much! You are always in my prayers! I love you so much! Sweet dreams.
 The picture is my companion doing push-ups.
I make her do 20 every time she says she is ugly.
She is doing much better now.  
Sister Sarah Ralph

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