Last week I realize I forgot to tell you about national service day! (Saturday April 26) The entire Philippines celebrates national service day, but the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does the most. Almost every mission in the Philippines was able to join in with the members and work together to serve the community. Te best part about it, was that it was held in the Magsungay area (my first ward) so I got to see all of the members, even the less-actives and investigators who showed up to receive the service. It was really neat. There were a lot of different opportunities to help serve, there was a medical section, handing out food section, helping clean the beach section, and even a part to help do free haircuts and free manicures. Since Sister de Leon is a registered nurse (and I used to be a CNA -not that that means anything since it's expired and I don't remember anything) we got to help with the free medical care. We were working with the pediatrician, and a lot of the patients were former investigators and less-actives. Plus, we got to be inside the chapel in the air-conditioning. It was pretty much the best service project ever.
This week was great too. We are finding so many miracle investigators... but they are all middle-aged men. One of the ward members said they are only investigating because I am pretty, and it kind of made me upset. There are always the people who only want to talk to you because your american, but these investigators are only focused on their conversion and their relationship with the Lord. As missionaries, we are able to discern their needs and interests and see their progression, so I was trying not to be offended at the comment because we have seen so much spiritual growth. I've repented for being offended, and we have just enjoyed being able to teach so much. Seeing the potential for priesthood power in this ward is very inspiring. One investigator who is particularly special was just baptized on Saturday. Brother Arnold is from Pulupandan (my second area). I had forgotten, but he said he already knew me because I had taught him once in Pulupandan. Talk about miracles. There was this really old active memberm in Pulupandan who would always give us so many referrals and he had so many friends who would come take care of him because he was confined to a wheel chair. Brother Arnold was a young man who would always help him (he's around 24). We could never teach him because he said he worked in Bacolod every day and only came home to Pulupandan sometimes. Well, when I got here, one of our first appointments was at this resteraunt called "Kubo sa lawn". All of the workers live in the back of the restaurant and work every day. Brother Arnold was one of the investigators we were teaching. It was a small world moment, but he has been so prepared and the lord really has big plans for him. It was cool to be part of his progression in the gospel. He has a really strong spirit and an extremely strong desire to do anything to serve the Lord. We are working on the other co-workers and there are two who have been coming to church with him for 2 months now and are still working on getting prepared and worthy for their baptisms, they should be coming up soon too! Plus, brother Arnold just told us yesterday at church that there is another co-worker who was too shy to talk to us before, but read the lesson 1 pamphlet and wants to learn more. We scheduled an appointment for Tuesday.
There is so much going on that the work is just exciting. We still are not as busy as I was in Cadiz, but we are working on getting there and even more busy. We also have so many miracles with a couple of young women investigators, Sister Jean Rose and Sister Ronalyn. They live in different areas, but they have kind of the same story. Their mothers are the only members of the family, and they are both baptist. The baptist church has mostly youth as its members here and is quite the social experience. But yesterday, Sister Jean Rose finally came to church with her mom instead of her friends!!!! We are excited for her to keep progressing. Sister Ronalyn is a little older (17 years old) and asks the most intellectual questions. Lessons with her are a lot of fun because she is paying attention to what the spirit is telling her, but also using her learning and logic to do the research. She is spiritual and intelligent, so I just love teaching her. Sometimes I forget that i'm 21 now, because when people tell me they are 17 or 18 I think oh wow, me too... oh wait I'm 21. Where did the time go? Sometimes I feel so little, and other times I feel old. Haha, I'm learning to live in the moment and just enjoy everything. Each week is full of ups and downs, but don't worry, I'm writing the downs in my journal so you can hear about them when I get home. Just know that the ups are up and I'm sad that this is my one year mark. I don't want to come home in 6 months, but I know there is a time for all things! I love you all and hope you haven't forgotten me in the last year! :)
love, Sister Smoot.