Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week # 46 (April 13, 2014)

I love general conference. Every time a session ended, I got a little sad and wished it would just keep going. I feel like before my mission I started to get restless before a session would end, but here on the mission, when the announce the closing speaker, I just can't believe how fast the time went. Each session only felt like 10 minutes, yet I was able to learn so much for my personal growth and learn how to help others as well.
 I loved how so much of conference was focused on LOVE. After the Saturday sesson, I tried to specifically show my love to everyone we taught. Speak kinder, smile more meaningfully, really love and listen to what they are saying... I felt the love of the savior for them so much stronger and it made me a happier person as well. 

One specific experience was with a less active member, Sister Sherel.  She has two kids, one who is 5 and the other is 1. The father of the kids lives with them, but they are not yet married. I had only visited her two times before and the lessons were both chaotic and the kids were screaming and she wasn't really committed to listening... so I was a little apprehensive before the appointment.  We had planned a lesson about "The Family: A Proclamation to the World" because Sister De Leon was concerned with the way she was being a mother.  She said that she hadn't treated her kids very well in the past. So we planned a lesson on how to involve the church in our lives as families and how to always be examples of our savior. But when we sat down, I just watched her and noticed how lonely she seemed, how sad she seemed. Her kids were running around, screaming, hitting each other and Sis. Sherel... after Sister De Leon taught her portion of the lesson introducing the proclamation, we couldn't really hear each other talking. I just started singing "I am a child of God." The kids immediately stopped screaming and just started staring at me. I sang all three verses because I was scared to stop lest they scream again. At the end of the song, I just stared right at Sister Sherel and, feeling the Love of God come directly through me to sister Sherel, just testified of how much god loves her and how much he knows her and is aware of her worries and concerns and wants to be there with her always. We then taught her how to receive His peace and guidance through obedience.  At the end of the lesson as we were walking away, something had changed between all of us. She asked me in a really soft voice how old I was. I told her I was 21, and she looked kind of sad as she said, I'm only 20. I can't even imagine how hard it is to be a mother, let alone a first time mother at the age of 15 with no schooling, not able to read or write, no family, and a limited knowledge of the gospel with no other members around me. I am so glad I was able to follow the promptings of the spirit and change the direction of the lesson. I am also so glad that I was able to feel of the Saviors love from conference, and use it that very same day. Feeling the love of the Savior for myself is in itself indescribable, but feeling the love of the Savior for his other children is even better. I love this work. 

I am back in Bacolod Central Stake so it was a lot of fun to see all the ward members from Magsungay at General Conference. They all started taking pictures of me with their camera, I felt so famous... haha. (People still think I am Jennifer Lawrence - I just tell people, Yup, I'm a member) :) But the sweetest part of seeing the members of Magsungay, was seeing the recent converts. I saw sister Milamar (my first baptism) and Brother Jofrim. I don't know if you remember him, but I found him selling spiders. We had a lot of sweet experiences and memories with Brother Jofrim, and I was always so sad that I never had a picture or anything to remember him by because I left before his baptism.  I was sitting in the chapel waiting for conference to start when Jofrim walked through the door. He litterally jumped in the air and yelled, "Sister Smoot!" He came over and said, "I got baptized!" I couldn't say anything but, "Kamusta?" About ten times. There was so much happiness in my heart, I had to try really hard not to cry. I still tell stories about lessons and experiences with him because he is one of the strongest people I have met here in the Philippines. After the session he came up to me and asked me if we could take a picture for remembrance. I was so glad that Sister De Leon had her camera and we were able to take a picture too. Having this short sweet reunion made me think about the celestial kingdom. Even though we meet so many people and don't get to follow up on all of them, if we all keep doing our best to draw closer to Christ, we will be able to see each other again on the other side, I can't imagine how much more happy I will be to introduce you all to him! :)
This week was full of good things and learning things and I'm excited for another one! I hope you are having a good time over in Utah, because it is fantastic here in the Philippines! Love you lots!
Love, Sister Smoot

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