Love you all! How are you doing?! You are all the best and I love you so much! xoxo
This week has been crazy! Big surprise, every week in the Philippines is crazy. Sometimes I miss the ignorance I had in my 12 weeks when I didn't know how to be a missionary or understand anything that was going on. Ignorance is bliss, let me tell ya.
This week we had exchanges with the STLs in Catbalogan, so we traveled all the way over there, about an hour and a half drive away. Honestly, one of these days I'm just going to save up enough money to buy the van myself so I can drive it because these drivers are crazy. If I can handle this, I don't think I'll ever get car sick again in my life!!!!!
Exchanges are always good. It's nice to see how other missionaries work, especially ones that have been in the mission longer than you.
One fun thing that happened this week was we had the opportunity to have dinner with President and Sister Maurer! They were just in the area and invited us to dinner with them. We got to eat at their hotel with them and just talk about their families and the mission. It was really fun. Really good experience and opportunity to get to know them better.
One of the best things that happened this week was Sister Angeles and I found 32 new investigators. That is more than triple my record in the mission so far. This means 32 people were taught the Resoration or Plan of salvation for the first time this week. A lot of them were big families and we're excited about continuing to teach them! Woohoo!
Last week we had the opportunity to go to a baptism of an investigator of the zone leaders. Her name was Gladys and the baptism was so spiritual! Her younger brother, who's a convert himself and helped in her conversion process is the one that baptized her. His name is Cian and he is currently preparing for his mission this month! Immediately after he baptized her, the two hugged and just stood there in the font sobbing. Afterwards, when Gladys came back out, she bore her testimony and she just cried the whole time. We all did. She talked about how that is now one of the best experiences of her life because she literally now feels clean. She spoke a lot about how she has made so many mistakes and has a pretty dark past, but her brother Cian never gave up on her and believed in her and helped her get her life back on track and introduced her to the missionaries. What a blessing! It's amazing how the gospel does nothing less than change lives for the better.
I finished Jesus the Christ this week...wow did that take forever. But it was such a wonderful experience! If you have the opportunity to read it, I highly encourage it. It's amazing how much my testimony in the Savior has been strengthened just by learning more about him. One thing I've realized and learned more about this week through different experiences is that I don't think we fully realize just how much the influence and judgements of God work in our lives. And I probably will never have a perfect understanding of that. But there is one thing I know, it's that if we are feeling the consequences of the sins we have committed, it is not our Heavenly Father who is bestowing that upon us always but Satan himself, who is laughing in his victory over you because you yourself chose this. That's a part of how agency works. No matter what we do, our Heavenly Father is always ready to accept us back. The Savior's atonement doesn't come with exceptions. So, returning back is completely up to us.
Our father in Heaven loves us more than any mortal being could because his love is perfect, which means He wants nothing more than for us to draw nearer unto Him and do the things in this life that enable us to stay clean and strong and overcome trials and temptations.
In the words of Joseph Smith Sr, "It seems that folks these days seem to fear god too much, and trust in Him too little".
We already have enough to deal with in this life without the added problems associated with the things we have done wrong and the mistakes we have made. We will always make mistakes of course, but repentance is a gift from a loving savior and is meant to be used. Let us take advantage of it fully, find a clean start, and strive to be the best we can the rest of the way.
Sending heapings - HEAPINGS - of love to you all!!!!!
Have a wonderful week and strive to do a little better, a little more - read the scriptures, be nice, pray, simple simple:)