On Sunday, Three of my investigators from the other side of paglaum got baptized. It is now considered the "Elder's Baptism," but we were able to attend. Their testimonies are so strong and it is cool to see the changes over the last few weeks. Plus, Brother Rudy told the story of how I found him and I started crying. The three who got baptized were, #1. Rudy Alvia (I sent a picture a few weeks ago) #2. Sister Celiz and #3 her Daughter (the family sister smoot helped me find when we were on exchanges.) Isn't that incredible? It was so cool to see their baptism.
For Sacrament Meeting, Sister Hemi and I were the speakers, and it was cool to see how the spirit combined the themes of our talks. We have such unity in and out of teaching situations and it is something that really does effect the work. Something that I have learned on the mission is that the key to having unity in a companionship, is to love all the qualities(even the annoying ones) and then SHOW that love in word, action, and even thought. It is easier with some than others... but always effective. It just happens to be really really easy with Sister Hemi. It's been good. (But slightly too easy, so I'm sure something else is around the corner :)
On a creepy and slightly humerous side... There is a lady. Her name is Sister Mary. The first time I saw her I got the heeby jeebies. She is tall, really white, and it was night time, she has long, straight, black hair, and she wears long cloak like dresses. I thought she was a ghost. She yelled out to us in English, "WHERE ARE YOU GOING!" I was speechless and confused and just stared at her trying to figure out what was going on. Then she said in English again, "you don't speak english?" I fumbly started talking to her in Ilonggo, then she said again, "you don't speak English?" I started in English, but she just cut me off and said good night. It was so eery, and the same thing happened like 4 other times (always at the same time at night and the same place). The exact same conversation. Then last monday, my first day with sis. hemi, we saw her again, and this time I approached her. We started talking to her and getting to know her and we were able to get a return appointment. When we went to her house, she wanted to give us a tour of her house. It was kind of wierd. Then she was acting really weird and I started getting freaked out, still not convinced she was not a ghost. (yes, i believe in ghosts) Then she looked interrupted us and asked us if our parents were still alive. We both assured her that they were alive. Then we kept talking about her life and trying to relate it to the gospel, and then she asked us again if our parents were alive. It was getting creepier and creepier!
So we quickly said another prayer and trying to leave she started telling us that she is our Mommy and asking us to call her Mom. I don't know if you remember mom, but remember when I read that book and the crazy lady told the girl, "I am your mother." That scary book was flashing in my mind and I wanted to get out as fast as possible. I was trying not to laugh I was so scared, and I looked over at Sister Hemi and just said, there is no fear in faith! When we got out, I felt like I had escaped with Hanzel and Grettle from the gingerbread house! There is more to the story, but I will have to tell you later. Basically, we are not going to go back without a priesthood holder and other members. The spirit is always looking out for us and I know we will always be safe as missionaries. It was just a funny crazy old lady who misses her children, I guess. She just wants more. Maybe when she joins the church, she can be a primary teacher or something. :)
After church, we had the funeral service for Brother Aventura. Even though his wife is Catholic, they chose to have the funeral service in our church. John and Mark were with their mom and a TON of people showed up for the service. More people than sacrament people. Probably around 200. The only speakers were me, Elder Pingol (who was the first to teach them), and bishop. Both of our topics were supposed to be about the plan of salvation, but I really pondered what to say to 200 investigators at a time of sorrow like this. Elder Pingol went first and did a good job pretty much wrapping up the whole plan of Salvation, so I ditched my plans, and just talked about how kind Brother Aventura was to us. How he would always make sure we were safe if we went to their house in the evening. He would always make sure we made it on the jeep safe back into Paglaum. He was a very tall Filipino, over 6 feet, but he always had a smile for everyone. I honestly didn't know him that well, and I don't really remember what funeral talks are like, but I basically spent the time talking about the love he brought to the family, then translated the words to "Families can be together forever" (that was Sister Hemi's idea). The feeling in the room changed and I could feel a little more hope from the peoples faces. It was a very special moment to be apart of. Afterward, they all went to the grave side (but we were not able to accompany). We saw our ward mission leader that night, and he told us that a lot of the family members are interested and inspired to talk to us. I hope we will be able to do a lot of follow up with the family!
Thanks for the pictures and the letters! I love you all, and you better believe it!
Love, Sister Smoot
1. Jobeta Celiz and her daughter Joanna Celiz. Oh, I miss them so much! Sister Jobeta gave me a big hug after the baptism and I just felt so much love and comfort!
2. Bullies of the Block doing scripture study!
The far left is a "special child" and the older sister of Jeanbie.
From left to right after me: Jeanbie, Jefty, Cyber