Sunday, December 29, 2013

Week # 30 (Dec. 22, 2013)

Hey! I have the best family in the whole world! Thank you for your wonderful package!! Sister Natarte said to tell you "I love you and thank you so much!" We are having a good time here. There are so many experiences, I can't even write them all down, but I did want to share one that was very powerful for both Sister Natarte and for myself.  
Our area is incredibly small. Here in Pulupandan there are two wards so since there are two companionships in each ward, there are 8 missionaries here. However, the size of Pulupandan is similar to Superior, Montana... remember? Haha, obviously its more populated, but our ward is split really weird and the elders have all the area. So almost everyone knows us and our names in our area, so it's just a matter of getting them interested in listening to us.
We found this new area with about 9 families out behind a huge sugar cane field, but we soon found that it was just a group of people very strongly rooted in their own religion and basically casted us out of their village. But one day, we went back again, just to make sure... and I just felt like we needed to leave.  Sometimes I don't know if it is satan trying to discourage me, or the spirit telling me to leave, so I love having  companion, and she supported the decision to leave.  So very defeated, we were walking towards another part of our area, and Sister Natarte reminded us of an old investigator that stopped investigating the church a month ago. We decided since we had paid the fare to get out there, we needed to teach at least one person out there.  But on our way to their house, I just had a sick feeling in my stomach. I really didn't want to go to this sisters house. But I thought it was Satan, just trying to keep us from going so we kept walking. But the feeling wouldn't leave. So i just stopped and looked around me and saw these three little boys drawing pictures in the dirt on the ground.  For some reason (and Sister Natarte probably thought I was crazy) I just turned down the little alley to where the little boys were playing. We started talking to them and we took some pictures of their drawings and asked them where they lived and if their parents were home.  Then we saw at the end of the alley way, there was a lady who had come out of her house. She saw us, lingered for a moment, and then went inside. The little boys told us that she was their mother, so we went to go talk to her. We called for her and asked if we could share her a message from God. She was really excited to let us into her house (but most people are just excited to talk to an American).  Once we got inside,  she told us that she had seen us walk passed their alley way for the past few months, and she always hoped we would come talk to her and come to their house. She said she really wanted to learn about our religion because she had heard a lot about it... we were elated.  We soon found out that the Lord had been preparing her for a long time, and their family is so cute. The father is in Manila doing some trainings for the military, but he is coming back for Christmas, and the sister said that she was excited for him to meet us! They have a special spirit in their home and we are so lucky to be able to be a part of their conversion. Their relationship to God is very close, so we are just here to show them where the missing piece of their puzzle is. They have three boys, and she is pregnant with their forth.  Their little kids are the most well-behaved boys I have ever met in the Philippines. They are very polite and they actually listen. I will send pictures next week because we have a family home evening later tonight! I
 know that the Lord is so aware of all of us and we can all learn to follow the promptings of the spirit. My whole goal on my mission is just to be sensitive enough to the spirit so that He can tell me when I am not doing the right thing. So many times we need to use our own agency and the marvelous knowledge that he has given us to make the correct decisions. But if we ever choose wrong, he is there to correct our path through promptings. Sometimes it is hard to make decisions about school, serving a mission, which area to go to, what lessons to teach, what words to say... even the simple things like which brand of beans to buy. :) We learn in Preach My Gospel that we cannot expect the spirit to tell us answers to everything, because the Lord has given us brains and the gift of discernment... But we never need to worry, because if we choose wrong (like deciding to go to that weird village again) he will help nudge us in the right direction (like telling us to move on and telling me to go talk to the little boys). 
I am so grateful for the Holy Ghost and for this opportunity to serve a mission. Not only do I get to help other people learn how to follow the spirit and how to find eternal happiness with our Savior, but to figure out my own personal relationship with the Holy Ghost, our Savior, and our Father in Heaven. I will never be able to have such a magnified experience like this so learn so much about myself and my future. I am so grateful for your support and encouragement for this opportunity. I love you more than you know!!!
Love, Sister Smoot
Palangga ko Kamo!

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