So this week was really good and on fire, and ended up a little hard for me. Our bishop here in Paglaum is one of the most supportive and spiritual bishops here in the Bacolod Mission. As a result, he received a revelation that our area was too dangerous for sisters and had us switch areas with the Elders in our ward. So we gave up three family baptisms and tons of progressing investigators and received an un-updated area book with only 4 children investigators. I was a little stressed to say the least and a little sad to leave such wonderfully prepared people. But I had a realization last night and this morning during my personal study. We get to help change both sides of the ward. Not only were we able to help find and bless those families who are progressing, but we get to go find those people who are hungry for the truth of happiness on the other side of the ward. Not to mention, we get to meet and work with all of the other members in the ward. This might be a more unifying blessing as all four missionaries will now know the entire ward and all of its members. I am really excited to continue working my hardest and find some families in my new area. Sister Madronio have been more unified this week as we have set some new plans and goals for our proselyting situation this week. We are energized with the SPIRIT of Potential!
But this last week I will tell you about a few investigators that I will miss, but I'm so grateful we were able to bless!
Rudy. I found Rudy while visiting less-actives with a member. This was back in my first week here when Sister De Castro was just sick. I was going around with a Relief Society member, trying to meet everybody. I saw Rudy in front of his house, attached to his grand daughter's house (His grand daughter is a less-active member). Brother Rudy was smoking, but I walked over to him and offered to give him a prayer. He told me that he wasn't interested, that he was catholic. But I told him, it's just a prayer. He let me pray. The next couple of weeks, I was then with sister Madronio. We saw him again out in a trail planting some sweet potatoes. We offered to share with him about God's message to him. He kind of caught interest and slowly agreed. We started talking to him about his family and found out that his wife died of cancer a few years ago, and he just cried as he talked about how much he loved her. Over the next week we taught him the Plan of Salvation, Restoration, Gospel, and Word of Wisdom! He smoked 30 cigerettes and drank 4 cups of coffee every day. But after only 3 day of teaching Word of Wisdom, he is now down to 0 coffee and 1 stick. We pray and hope that the elders will continue to encourage and help him through this miraculous journey. He accepted Sept. 13 for his Baptismal date. Yesterday at church he told us after sacrament meeting. "Katawhay gid kaayo and balatyagan ko subong. Salamat gid sa sining nga oportunidad. Salamat gid. Salamat gid. Nakilala ko na si Jesucristo." Which kind of means: " My feelings right now are very very peaceful/good right now. Thank you for this oportunitiy. Thank you. Thank you. I have now realized who Jesus Christ is. " There is not really a direct translation. But needless to say,he is ready for baptism and ready to change his life for the Lord. He reads the book of mormon EVERY DAY and always asks questions from his reading. In our last appointment with him, he looked me in the eyes and told me " thank you sister Smoot for inviting me. I've seen lots and lots of missionaries go to my granddaughter, but none of them have ever talked to me. Thank you for noticing me, and helping me change my life for Jesus." I just started crying right then. How can life get better than this?
Crisostomo Family. First of all, they are from Manilla and only speak Tagalog. Miraculously, I understand everything they are saying and I love their language. I just like listening to them talk, it's such a beautiful language. But I also love the fact that I understand what they are saying (YAY! SISTER BECKHAM) They are the most miracle of miracles. If you remember sister Jobeta, she is the mom of the family that Jenna helped me find when we were on exchanges. Sister Jobet is friends with Sister Crisostomo, and gave her as a referral. We went to the Crisostomo Family and they welcomed us with opened arms. This is the story that they told us. A few months ago, Sister Vergith (the mom) had a mental breakdown. She turned into a non-responsive state and could not respond to anybody. She said her mind was just blank. Her husband couldn't find work, and their kids were having troubles with some other groups of people. Needless to say, they were in need of some help. Brother Crisostomo is an Athiest, who did not believe in Jesus Christ, or any form of religion, and used to persecute and reject all religious missionaries no matter the religion. Last month (it must be only a few weeks before I got here), the sister missionaries found them and offered to give a blessing to sister Vergith. The father was in desperate need, and allowed it. They had the Elders go and visit the family and bless the mother. There was no follow up from the missionaries (probably because of the transfer and I didn't know that they existed, there was no record of them). When we arrived, we found that since the blessing, the mother was completely healed, brother Crisostomo found work, and the problems from the children and resolved. They told us they will believe anything we tell them. I was a little worried at first because of the principal of faith vs. signs. vs. miracles. But I know that God provides ways to open hearts. And our goal has been to build them a foundation of faith. Brother Crisostomo is still learning to communicate with God, but last week he gave one of the most sincere and beautiful kneeling prayers for his family that I think I have ever heard in a long time. It has been a miracle and a beauty to teach their family. They should be baptized on September 20. I'm praying and have faith that the Elders will take good care of them!
I love you all so much and am grateful for you letters and support. You are the best family ever! Thanks for teaching me about the gospel my whole life. You are the best!
Love, Sister Smoot
Ashley sent me these pictures this week-
|Jenna and I after the best companionship study ever|
|Our companions in Jenna's apartment|