Sunday, July 6, 2014

Letter # 58 (July 6, 2014) STL in Paglaum- Comp: sister DeCastro

This week I was asked to be a Sister Training Leader (STL) for Bacolod South Zone. Right now my area is Paglaum ward. "Paglaum" in english means "hope", so I have a lot of hope for this area.  Haha. 

My companion right now is sister De Castro. Do you remember the companion I had at the very first of my mission? Right after I finished my training, I had a companion for two days while we waited to train. The two hardest days in the mission. Well we are together again! :) I'm just smiling every day and praying for unity and the spirit. It's been helping a lot and we really can learn to love all people.  Actually my fasting was for our unity and for me to be able to have greater love for her. I know that if there are any issues it's a fault of both of us, so I am praying that I will be able to have greater charity and love for her. Right now our companionship is doing great. We are smiling every day, working hard and she's learning that I am obedient and I don't tolerate disobedience.  

I'm finding that the area book has not been updated for two months, all our investigators are young children, and the ward wants to help in the work so much. This really is a dream ward, and I can't wait until we can regain their respect and trust.  When I found out I was going to Paglaum, everyone around me was so jealous because this bishop is known mission-wide for being the most supportive and worthy bishop. And it is true. I've never been in such a spirit filled sacrament in the Philippines and when I walked into his office, I felt the spirit just wash over us. He really has been magnifying his calling and qualifying for the spirit. I am so lucky to be here in Paglaum.  A lot of the members here are actually returned missionaries, both male and female. So that makes the ward function a lot more smoothly.  I am so excited for the potential in our missionary efforts.  This really is a missionary's dream area and I'm already loving all the people here. It's one of those places that I know I was destined to visit. Everyone looks and feels like family and close friends and I feel the love of the savior every day for each of them. This is already one of my favorite areas, even though the work is kind of put-put right now. It will speed up soon... YES- this week :) 

Jenna and Ashley (ok this is the cutest picture ever of those girls!!)
I just found out that Sister Jenna Smoot (the best cousin ever in my mission :) ) is in our zone, so we will be able to go on exchanges. I'm excited to work with her too and learn from all her amazingness. She was an STL for so long and has trained multiple times, including right now. She is definitely one of the best missionaries here, and I'm so grateful we are now in the same zone!!! It will be a lot of fun! :) 

We met a family this week that is really neat! Clarito Family. There are six of them and they are all listening. We met the daughter out front of the house. She waved to us and said good afternoon. We started talking to her and she introduced us to her mother. The mom asked if we could come back another day because she wanted her whole family to listen. We scheduled a time and returned. When we got there, indeed the entire family was waiting for us. Mom, Dad, Three boys ages 18, 16, 8 and their daughter age 10. They were so sincere and sincerely just want to follow God. They want to continue to be close as a family. They really made an impression on my mind because most 18 year olds are just out smoking and drinking here and are not at all close to their families, but all of these boys are loving towards one another and even their mom. They really are a cute family and I am so lucky that I get to teach them and help them learn from the spirit. 
How did I get so lucky that I got to come here to PAGLAUM! It really is so full of HOPE. 
I love you!~
Sister Smoot

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