Friday, July 18, 2014

Letter # 59 (July 6, 2014)

Hello Family!

This has been a crazy week. I got to start out by going to MLC: Missionary Leadership Council. There were really good trainings from President, the Assistants to the President, and from some of the Couple Missionaries. We also got really good food, as I'm sure you were able to see all over facebook :) Then we are able to train our zone from the trainings in MLC. I was a little nervous to give the training to Bacolod South zone because almost half of them have already been zone leaders or STLs, including Sister J Smoot. But when I got there, I was also surprised to see that the assistants also came to join our zone meeting.  But As soon as the meeting started there was a really strong spirit in the chapel, so the trainings went really well. Plus is was really neat to sit next to Sister Smoot. She is so mature and a spiritually powerful missionary. She seems so much older than me and wiser, so I'm grateful she's in the zone. She is also so happy, she just spreads her happiness to everyone! I love sister Smoot!
The whole week my companion was sick (different illness every day). So I spent the whole week figuring out our area with some of the sister ward missionaries here in Paglaum. It really helped me to grow relationships of trust with them and the members and we even got some really solid referrals from the ward members. It's a good thing I was able to connect with the ward this week and find all of the investigators and recent converts, because Sister De Castro was transferred this morning. I'm back with SISTER MADRONIO! We were together in Cadiz.  She is one of the sweetest companions I've had and I'm excited to be together with her again. We were only together for a couple weeks, so this time we get longer with each other as STL's. She will be so great and I'm excited for our work ahead. She's a really hard worker and loves being a missionary, obedient, and kind... so what else can a companion ask for. WE WILL SEE MIRACLES! No matter what problems are in a companionship, the spirit takes over as long as both companions work hard and love the Lord. Part of our assignment as sister training leaders is to have the highest key indicators out of all the sister while also going on exchanges with each companionship for one day every transfer. We get to help them with their area, but from what I've heard, we learn more than they do because the sisters in this mission are incredible. I'm excited to learn from them too!!! (Especially Sister Smoot). :)
My third day here in Paglaum, we found a family. They are the Clarito Family. I think I mentioned them last week. I was able to teach them again on Saturday. It's hard to find a time to teach them because they are all so busy and want to be taught together, but we will be able to teach them at least every Saturday. The father is very involved in the learning too, but they are all learning together. Sometimes in families, only one or two are interested and the rest are just "listnening," but I love this family, because they are all learning and involved and helping each other.  On Saturday, I was able to extend the baptismal invitation to the family, but mainly looking at brother J, the head of the family.  They were all silent and I thought I was going to burst just waiting for their answer. I waited for the spirit to work on them for what I felt like was 5 minutes, but probably only 1. He finally looked up and said that he knows that this is the path his family needs to take. He said that if it was just up to him, he would get baptized tomorrow, but he asked if his family could take time to discuss it together.  He wants them to all stay united. I was caught between wanting them to all discuss it right then so it was all decided, and letting them have their time. The spirit helped be calm down and stop being so intense, and I followed the desire of Brother J. We invited them all to church the next day with the promise that they could learn God's will in His house of worship. I had kind of mixed feelings after the lesson. I was worried that maybe some of the family members were not on board, but I also couldn't deny the spirit that we all felt and the sincerity of brother. I just decided to have faith and trust in the Lord that in proper timing, everything would work out. Sunday morning I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. I was planning on teaching about missionary work and an invitation to give referrals or something... but the thought of Tithing kept coming to mind and one of my personal experiences with tithing. I knew better than to stick to my original plan, so I just gave a talk based on this spiritual experience and it turned into a talk about the love of God and how we are obedient to the Lord, because we love Him. In return, we get to better feel His love too AND experience blessings. It was really neat to be able to be lead so clearly by the spirit.  It's one of those times that you know you are doing exactly what the Lord wants you to do. I was even able to learn from some of the things I said. That moment will be cherished. I felt the actual love from the Savior for ME. Of course I believe that the Savior loves everybody, and I teach and help people recognize it every day. But for some reason, it's harder to apply it to myself. I tend to be really hard on myself and only see my weaknesses and a lot of the time just feel completely inadequate. But as I testified of God love for them, I was also able to testify of Gods love for US. As I shared this, I felt His love for me too. Sometimes I just need to humble myself more to the point where I fully trust that He loves me. Even if nobody in the whole ward learned from my talk, I was able to learn a message for my lifetime. I sat down and listened to the other message. But I was still kind of sad that the Clarito family didn't come to church. Right after the closing prayer we walked out to the foyer to help people to their classes, when Brother J. and is 10 year old daughter walked into the Chapel!! I was so excited, I thought my heart was going to burst. Just one more manifestation of God's Love. Our bishop is once again amazing. He had an interview with Brother J. to help him get adjusted to the ward and welcome him as an investigator. He said he will bring his whole family next week, but they had work in Bacolod yesterday. He said he couldn't wait another week to go to the TRUE church, so he just came with his daughter. We are excited for the miracles brother J will be able to receive along with the entire Clarito Family. What amazing miracles are around us every day! 
I know that this is the True church from our Savior. I know that this is His plan for all of us to be happier and really feel His love. If we haven't yet gained a testimony, or even if our testimony is wavering about that love, we can always follow His invitation and ask through prayer. Each day as we read and pray, we should be able to feel of that love and share it to others! Don't stop following the savior, remember HE LOVES YOU! This is the way to be happy forever! Remember that I love you too! I pray about you a lot! Have a good week!
Love, Sister Ashley Smoot

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