Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Week # 71 (Oct. 5, 2014) A trip to Manilla and the temple!

This week was amazing and hard as well. The first of the week I got to go to MANILLA for fingerprinting for my visa so that I will be able to leave the country. That took up two days, so by the time I got back to our area, the numbers were low for the week, then we were punted.... all day! We go through these times where everyone we know doesn't like us anymore. We try and take advantage of each situation. For example, if someone sends us away, we try and talk to all their neighbors and anyone in the street at that moment to try and stay productive and help their surroundings... but even those people seem to hate us. We realized they are very strongly aligned with other religions. It is still possible to help them, but slightly more tricky. Our areas are either hiking through sugarcane fields, or they are walking through huge neighborhoods with rich houses and high fences. The people who live in the sugarcane are too poor to pay for the transportation to go to church, and the people with high fences and cars in the driveway, are too "busy" to talk to us. It has been a humble experience to learn how other missions around the world function, even though it is only a glimpse. I don't know how to do that kind of missionary work. So I am re-learning and re-experimenting. It has been a fun challenge here at this time in the mission, but it is also causing quite some stress as I watch our key-indicators decreasing. We have set some new goals again for this week to hopefully be more faith-filled in our finding and proselyting! 

The Manilla trip was full of miracles and blessings and rejuvenation. It was with us five sisters from the MTC, and some other Elders who will be going home with us.  It reminded me so much of the MTC, but also made me realize how grown up we are as well. It is always exciting to see the changes. We met people from all over with lots of miracles all over, and got to spread the gospel, even though it was in a different language. In Manilla, they speak Tagalog, and we only speak Ilonggo. But since I've had a lot of Tagalog investigators, i was able to at least understand the people. When we spoke, we just mixed Ilonggo and English. We met a cute mom from California, who was going to visit her family who lived in Sister Nielsen's area. I met the lady in the bathroom at the Airport, and ran to get sister Nielsen so they could schedule an appointment. While sitting on the airplane, Sister Van Slooten was seated next to a random man who she found out lived in her area, on the other side of him was a member from another ward. So she taught a member present lesson, got a new investigator, and he committed to come to church right there. We met an RM at the restaurant in the airport and she asked to sit with us as she told us all about her mission and all about adjusting to life at home and the ways she is still doing missionary work in her regular life. WE ALSO GOT TO GO TO THE TEMPLE. I have never been so hungry for the spirit and so hungry for the temple! After waiting so long, going through again was a huge gulp of fresh air and fresh water (and it even smells like the temples in utah!) I felt like I was back at home. In our session, there was an older couple who were from indonesia. The brother had been a member for a long time, but his wife was going through for the first time so that they could be sealed that day! We were all responding and speaking in English, but there's was all in Ta-hessian. Talk about a cool experience. We saw the sister again in the dressing room getting ready to be sealed to her husband, and even though we couldn't communicate, you could feel the joy and spirit around her.  The five of us sisters took pictures in front of the Manilla Temple and they were the same as the pictures we took in front of the Provo Temple. It was neat to see and feel our sisterhood that we have built here through all of our experiences. It was also bitter-sweet because we realized our time left is way too short. I thought the trip would make me more trunky, but it just turned up the motivation to kick it up even farther... lets just pray that I don't die. I am very grateful for sister Russon and all that she is teaching me. I hope we can continue to help this area become more productive. I am so grateful for this experience and wouldn't trade it for anything! Love you ALL!
Love, Sister Smoot

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