Dear Family, This week was really fun. Our zone had specialty training with President Lopez where we learned that we are a Facebook mission. So this week we created a Facebook account for our Magsungay Ward. It’s been a little weird to get used to. First of all, Facebook has changed a little, and second of all, for the first few days I totally felt like I was breaking some sort of rule. Haha, but we have scheduled Facebook proselyting time every day (exceptSunday). Since we have two companionships though, we alternate days. So three days a week Sister Manosig and I do it, and the other three are for the other sisters. Anyway, right now we are still figuring it out, so we have just been trying to friend everyone in the ward and all of our investigators and post stuff from the LDS website and so on.
This week I came to the realization that I am always wet. I am either sweating or it’s raining, so I probably won’t be dry until I come home, but all is well. I have actually had moments where I have been cold. Last night it was only 82 degrees and I had goosebumbs and I had to pull out my blanket. I know, it’s pathetic, but my body temperature was weird ever since I got to the MTC. I was always freezing even when everyone was hot. And I really have not been very hot here even though everyone else is dying. I know for a fact that the Lord helps us with temporal things AND spiritual things. I know that he has helped me adjust to the temperature and is also helping me to stay regular healthwise so far. I know that it is a miracle that I have not gotten sick, even when a lot of the natives are getting sick. August is the hardest month for the Philippines both with illness and financially, but I have made it this far alive! I know that the Lord looks out for us as missionaries and rewards our diligence. I am so grateful to have a personal protection as a servant of the Lord.
Sister Manosig and I have really gone through a lot together and even though we have different backgrounds culturally, socially, linguistically, and even in regards to the church, I have learned so much from each other and are working together so well. It’s going to be weird to leave her, but I know that’s just a part of missionary work. There was this one family and they gave us the same excuse every time for why they didn't come to church. Sister Manosig kept saying they said they were too ashamed. So every lesson I slipped in things about how we can become clean and the church is a place of healing like a hospital and it’s for everyone. Finally, Sister Manosig used “ashamed” while talking about herself. I asked her what she was ashamed of and she got really confused. We then discovered that she meant “shy.” So this whole time I thought this family was ashamed, when really they were saying they were too shy to go by themselves. I just had to laugh! We are now helping these longtime investigators with ward members and friends to go with so it’s not so scary. There are a hundred little examples of miscommunication, trials, frustrations… but there are billions of examples of how we have worked in unity, found success, helped entire families, created spiritual atmospheres, cheered each other up, learned from each other both spiritually and otherwise, and grown close to the Lord as we grow close to each other. Let’s just say, this is the best marriage preparation class I will ever attend. This week, Brother Lope (our recent convert) was able to baptize his 10 year old son. It was the first time he has used his priesthood and he was a little nervous, but he did so well. We practiced with him during one of our lessons and he felt better about it. (It’s hard because the ordinance is in English). He also was excited to baptize our other investigator, Sister Lea. I love Sister Lea!! She’s 20 and we have been teaching her for 6 weeks. She has so much faith and regularly bore her testimonies during our lessons and is so dedicated to the Lord. She is so cute and since we are the same age, we really connected on a friendship level that has been a little harder for me to do with other investigators. She’s teaching me how to better express myself in Ilonggo. I’m so sad she is moving next week to a different Island, but she is moving with members of the church so she will still have support in the gospel. She was even excited to tell me that their home was right next to a “Mormon church building.” The baptism was so exciting and I’m learning more and more how much the Lord’s hand is in everything. I am not responsible for their success in the gospel, I was just trying not to mess things up. I always thought missionaries were just being falsely modest as they said they didn’t do anything, it was the Lord. But now I understand what they are talking about. Some people are just ready and willing and faithful and so close to the Lord and I am just the mouth that is giving them the missing pieces. I know that some investigators are a little trickier than others, but Sis. Lea and Brother Lope are two of the most prepared people I have met, and I know the Lord is so excited to have them in His fold and now can give them all these blessings that He’s been waiting to give them! I know that this church is true and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share my testimony every day. I know that as I bare my simple/broken-Ilonggo testimony, it is growing stronger and stronger. I love seeing lives change while also witnessing the change in my own life. I hope all is going well back home! I love you all! Sister Smoot