Sunday, September 21, 2014

Minamahal pamilya!

September 8, 2014

Minamahal pamilya!

Another busy week has passed.  I am really going to try to email each week.  We do miss all of you so very much, and I think about and pray for you always! We appreciate your prayers in our behalf, and know that we are blessed because of them.  

We did not have to travel much last week, although we did travel to Puerto for Mission Tour.  We had the area president visit so it was kind of like a zone conference.  It was really good and Elder and Sister Ardern are wonderful people.  They are from New Zealand. They actually have a son who is a seminary teacher in Logan.  I thought that was interesting.  President and Sister Ostler are just really good people.  We love them!  I  don't think I told you about the other senior couple in Puerto.  President and Sister Hiatt are in Puerto, but there is also Elder and Sister Newson.  They are really a cute couple.  Only been married for about a year!  This is the second marriage for both of them.  About 2 months ago they had to go home because Elder has glaucoma and though he faithfully does what he is suppose to do for that, it was getting worse.  He had it checked out in Manila and the doctor there said he definitely needed surgery.  They  decided to go back to the States, St. George, I think, and had surgery on both eyes. They thought things were going pretty well, but then there was still pressure building up behind the eyes, so the doctor said he needed a more involved surgery which would take at least 6 weeks recovery.  They did not feel like they could ask President Ostler to hold their position open for that long, so they were going to ask to be released.  However, President Ostler said we wants them to come back and is willing to keep the position open no matter how long it takes.  We are very happy about that because we really love them.  We only see them about every 3-6 weeks, but we usually have lunch together and they are just very nice people.  We are hoping they come back really soon. 

We have had some good experiences inviting people to hear the message of the restored gospel. While in Puerto we had to stop at the Hyundai dealer and while there we talked to a young woman.  Actually we were talking to another employee and then this other gal came up and started telling us how much she loves the Savior.  She said she was catholic but has been, as she put it, "searching for [her] soul".  She has been attending the Life Church, and reading the Bible, which she loves.  We talked to her about The Church and also about the Book of Mormon.  We promised her that if she would read it, it would change her life. She said she would like to have the missionaries come and gave us her card.  We turned the card over to the Hiatts because we do not know which missionaries would have her area.  We just hope that that will follow through, and that she will listen.  Here a lot of people will agree to let you come visit just to be polite, even if they are not interested.  But she seems like a really good candidate.  And then there was the security guard at the gas station, I think I told you about him.  But so far the missionaries have not followed up with him, but they said they would.  He genuinely seemed interested.  On Friday we were able to go with the missionaries to visit our next door neighbor (kapit bahay - that's neighbor in Tagalog). She is really a sweet woman.  It was her daughter that tried to break into our house, and stole the tools and other things that were being kept outside.  Anyway, we asked her if she would like to learn about our church and she said yes. So we visited on Friday.  But we really didn't feel that she was genuinely interested - just willing because we are neighbors.  But we will go again on Friday.  We never really know! 

Saturday we had a baptism!  Andrea Once.  She is a young woman, here going to college. I think I told you that they finish high school at 16 so they can be in college and still in YW.  Anyway, she and a friend (a member) came to Narra to go to college.  While here she started being taught by the missionaries. She also attends (off and on) the English class.  She is really a cute girl and hopefully will stay active.  There is such a problem here with retaining converts.  I don't know if that is a problem everywhere, but I have really come to realize how very  important it is for members to just embrace new members, and to love them and take care of and nurture them.  It is such a big step and can be so difficult for the new converts. 

On Sunday Dad had the privilege of blessing 2 babies.  One was the 4th child of this woman whose husband left her, I think right before we got here. She is a return missionary, I'm not sure if her husband is a member or not.  There is no divorce here in the Philippines, unless you are rich.  Then you can buy a divorce.  But these people cannot afford that. Anyway, she has been inactive, but started coming a few weeks ago, and it was her friend that was baptized a couple of weeks ago with her family. So we are hoping she will keep coming.  It is so hard for all of the people here, just harder for some. The other one was a young girl, 16 or 17 I think, but she looks 12.  Not married. Her family is inactive but she had been very active up until about a year or so ago.  She left home. Anyway, she is back home and she has been coming to church.  It has been very hard for her and she has no family support, so hopefully she can just keep coming.  Anyway, that was fun for Dad. 

After church we went visiting with our EQ president.  We visited several less actives - actually tried to visit - some were not home.  One sister has not been to church for 15 years, and does not seem at all interested in coming back.  The really sad part is that she (they - I believe her husband is a member too, but we did not see him), have 6 children.  Only one in six is a member.  I think he is active.  You just look at the far reaching effects of the choices we make as parents.  I know that I have made some very bad mistakes as a mother, and I feel so bad about that.  I was just stupid and did not consider how my choices would affect you.  And when you get to be my age you spend a lot of time reflecting on those mistakes.  So, take my advice, and really consider the choices you make and how they will affect your children in the long run. 

Anyway, we visited another family that Brother Asis said has been inactive for about a year.  He said they have been to the temple, so that is really sad.  However, both Dad and I felt that they would be a good family to focus on and try to help them come back. We did not meet the father because he is working, but they have 2 cute girls, 2 and 10, and another baby on the way.  There are some really wonderful people here!  I wish you could all meet them.  They have such challenges here, but they just keep trying.  

Today I went visiting with Sister Martinez, who comes to the cooking class and who helps me with Tagalog.  We went to visit President Simeon's daughter.  He is in the branch presidency.  His daughter is inactive.  She was not there, but we shared the message with him. He has such a powerful testimony.  He loves the Book of Mormon. He is an older man, they have 8 children, his wife had to go to work in Manila because they could not make it.  He is a fisherman, but that is hard because there are many times they cannot go fishing because of the weather.  But he basically says the trials and hardships really don't matter because he has the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He is just so thankful, and really so amazing.  It was really a great visit.  Anyway, that's our week. 

Oh, I don't know if I told you, Mike and Maxine Egan are on their mission.  They are in the South Dakota mission, which takes in areas in several states.  She sent me an update and they are doing well.  I felt kind of jealous because they are able to teach and testify in ENGLISH!!  Not being able to really express myself is so hard! But I suppose we are here for a reason. I just really hope that someday, hopefully soon, I will be able to express myself in Tagalog.  Well, we love and miss you all!  Thanks so much for writing - all of you!  We love hearing from you, even though we are not able to respond right away.  

We love you! 

Grandpa and Grandma, Mom and Dad 

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