Sunday, July 14, 2013

Week #8 (July 8, 2013)

First Baptism/Butt Bug Bites/Patience is a virtue/fasting works

My first baptism was this week! Sister Milamar Basa is a little 12 year old girl who we found while looking for less-active families in the ward. Since no one has addresses, it's literally searching! Her father is a member but hasn't been active since high school, but allowed us to teach his daughter.  She was really receptive and so excited to be baptized. She gave up Tea and Coffee and worked really hard to come to church every Sunday. She is so cute and since she was McKenna's age, I had a soft spot for her. It turns out, by coincidence, that she is our Bishops neice, so he was the one who performed her baptism. I'm sending a picture of Bishop, Milamar, my companion and I and the other two sisters in our apartment. Her family is not very supportive and it was really hard to see her all alone, but I really hope the ward continues to support her and strengthen her. Sis. Manosig and I got to help her after she got out of the font and I remembered when I was baptized and mom was helping me brush my hair before I went back in. It was a really special moment.

This week we had another zone training and I saw Jenna again! I gave her the package Marcy sent with me and she was really excited to get it.  It's fun to see her and talk to someone who knows what I'm saying. Haha, it's like a breath of fresh air!  Oh! By the way, thanks Dad for the hymn book and study supplies, I use them ALL the time, so thanks for taking the time to go mission shopping with me. I miss you and love you so much!

So I have sort of been struggling. Not with being here on a mission, because I know I am supposed to be here and I love helping the people. But struggling because my trainer admitted she doesn't know what she is doing or how to be a missionary and doesn't always understand what the people are saying. So..... we are working together to meet all the goals and using preach my gospel and I'm working on being patient because I know we can't change everything all at once. I've spent a lot of my prayers in full out sobs and tears and I don't think I've ever cried as much as I have this week. Lets just say it was an extremely humbling experience. My problem is not that this is hard, because I can do hard. It's just that we feel a little clueless from time to time and I don't necessarily know how to improve. If I just wanted to have a good time, I would just go along with what she is doing. But I feel personally responsible for all of the poeple we don't get to and I feel so much pressure to be a perfect missionary right now and do everything we are supposed to be doing and I've been extremely overwhelpmed. Anyway, enough with the self-pity. I was reading during my personal study, trying to find a scripture for one of our investigators, and I found one for me instead. Mosiah4:27. Read it. It basically says we are not required to run faster than we have strength. I know that Heavenly Father is watching out for me, and that eventually I will figure things out through a constant effort to succeed. I know I need to have patience with my companion and myself and have the trust in the Lord he rightly deserves. This is His work, and he won't let me fail if I am trying my best to follow Him.

So many questions! Haha, I will answer as many as I can. The days all blur together so I can't really tell what day is what, to be honest. I haven't missed a day in my journal though so you can read it when I get home! Haha. In the mornings we get up at 6:30 and I work out until 7. My roommates are still working on the whole obedience thing. Then from 7 to 8 we eat and get ready. From 8 to 9 is personal study. From 9 to 11 is companionship study. From 11-12 is language study. From 12-1 is Lunch and from 1:00 - 8:30 we are out teaching lessons to less-active members, new converts, investigators, and we were just asked to start visiting active ward members for push on member referrals. We spend time with the members to strengthen them and prepare the teenagers for their missions, receive referrals from them and gain their trust. Then from 8:30-9:00 we account for the day and update progress records for each of our lessons. From 9:00-10:00 is Dinner and shower and then 10-10:30 write in journal and pray. Mom, do you want anything else? Just let me know!! Megan: You sent the letter on June 20 and I got it July 3, so pretty fast. It probably would have gotten to me faster, but they accidentally gave it to Jenna first, so hopefully they figure that out soon!
**Funny story! I was sitting on this Sister's couch and it was actually a good lesson, but then afterwards, later in the day I realized my butt was on fire. I couldn't figure out what was wrong! That night I figured it out. I had 28 bug bites on my butt. From the Sisters couch. Don't worry, the swelling has gone down. But I officially am a little scared to sit down in questionable areas.

So Sunday morning I was really discouraged because we weren't able to teach that many families on Saturday because we didn't really have very good plans, and all of the less-active families we planned to visit were not available. (plus no one has been going to bed at 10:30 and I know it sounds stupid, but I hate being the only one who is obedient and I know we need all the blessings we can get so I was a little frustrated.) Anyway, we were waiting for church to start and at 9:00there were no investigators or less actives. Just as I was starting to lose hope, at 9:05 all these people just showed up at the same time. Three families who haven't been to church in three months came in, a couple investigators who were supposed to have surgery came (even though they barely have enough money for the bus ride to church) and one of our investigators who we thought was going to quit listening to us.  It was definitely an answer to dozens of prayers I had offered that day. I know that it is only after we do all that we can and show all our faith that the Lord will bless us and show us miracles. I know it was definitely a miracle that all those people came to church and were able to feel of the spirit that is available for us.  I was so happy when they walked in that I almost started crying, but I didn't want to scare them off! Later that night, we visited the family that I had fasted for. They didn't come to church, but I had hope that they would see the light.  They are a young couple (28 years old) and they have two little kids around 6 and 1. They are a neat little family and they work really hard, and they have had a lot of questions about our church because they are very Catholic.  I then turned my attention to Brother Fransisco and asked him how his Book of Mormon Reading was going. He said good, and then I asked him where he read. He said he read Moroni 10:3-5. (The invitation to pray about the Book of Mromon) I asked him what his feelings were about those verses, and he said this really long thing that I didn't understand. I looked at my companion and she said she didn't know what he said. I just looked at him and asked, "so, Do you believe the Book of Mormon is true?" He just nodded his head, Yes. Then I said, "So, if you believe the Book of Mormon is true, do you believe the Simbahan ni Jesukristo sang mga santos sa ulihing mga adlaw is true?" [**it's all in Hiligayon, I'm just giving you a taste of the language :) ] He nodded his head again. I just got goosebumps. My companion jumped in and started talking about feeling the spirit (we are working on unity right now, so I let her finish, even though I was really confused). I then asked him, "so since you know it's true, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ by being baptized ...... you know the commitment. He agreed right then and there to a specific day (August 10). I was so happy, my smile was probably embarrassing, but I didn't even care. He was smiling too so I am so happy he has been able to feel the spirit of the Lord. I know it was not my teaching that converted him because I sound like a little kid (my vocabulary is so small right now). I know that the spirit of the Lord has touched his heart and I am so grateful to be apart of such a miraculous conversion.  I know the power of fasting is real. I haven't fasted that long in a while and I've never broken my fast at 7:30 at night. But I wasn't even hungry because when you are fed by the spirit, you seriously don't even care about food. 

I know this church is true, and I know that even though I have no idea what I am doing half the time, the Lord does. And I am never alone because he will always help me. I am so grateful for you prayers and support and letters! I love you lots!!!
Palangga ko kamo!
Sister Smoot

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