Wow, time is flying fast, my time's running short. I've got less than 4 months left here in the Philippines. I'm for sure enjoying my time here right now. Some days however, are harder to enjoy than others because of the brutal heat. This week was the hottest I have experienced here in Santa Ana. It's officially summer here.
Despite the heat, we have been having full, hard working days out on the dusty dirt roads and the hot pavement. Usually what a full day of work consists of is, taking a van out to our furthest area, about 25 minutes away, and working with all the Less Actives out there. We go hour after hour of teaching these members and trying to help them get back to church. After this we head back to the main road and wait for a tricy or a van so we can head to the next area. Sometimes while waiting, we will go to a tindahan (family owned market) and buy a nice cool Coke, or find somebody selling some halo-halo and try to cool off a bit. If there is no vehicle for a bit, we end up just putting our heads down and hitting the road, walking for a few kilometers until we get to the next area. We will get to the next appointment and by that time we are pretty tired, covered in sweat. The member or investigator will let us into their house, and we feel relieved to take a seat, just to find out that their electric fan isn't working haha. We will do this, walking from area to area teaching until we get back to centro at about 6, and go teach all our progressing investigators until the end of the day. The heat makes the day a bit longer, but the sleep at night seems twice as nice. Full days of work are the best.
So on Saturday we had the Baptism of Jay Ar and Rachel. Was a really good service and they had good support from the members. We got to do it in the ocean again, and my desire to come back after my mission and go swimming here keeps going up haha. The testimony of these two is real strong. Jay Ar has been an investigator for a while now and was so happy to finally be baptized.
So right now we have a really good family progressing. They came to church for the first time on Sunday. When they got there, we sat them down in our combined 2nd hour class. I was running in and out at the time because of other things I had to do, but I was hoping it would be a good lesson for them. Well apparently the discussion some how turned into a big lesson about money, and how we should be making more money than we are. Wasn't too happy about that, especially with this being the first time our investigator came to church. So we went to their house later that night to teach them, and followed up how church went. We asked them if they learned anything. The mom said, in kind of a chuckling voice, "Well I learned how I should budget my money.".... "nooooooooo", we were thinking... "Great, now she thinks the church is all about money and getting rich." But then we asked her how the Sacrament Meeting went, and she said that she enjoyed it, and felt The Spirit. That relieved us a little bit, the family is progressing real well.
Had a really great moment in Sacrament Meeting yesterday. I was conducting, so I got up to start the meeting, and right when I look up, I see a less active family walk in. It is a family that we have been working so hard with. They have been sealed in the temple and were so active about 10 years ago, then they fell away. But part of the family, not all of them, made it to church yesterday and made a big step in getting back on the right path. After the meeting, I called the dad of the family in and had a 1 on 1 talk with him for 15 minutes. He expressed to me how bad he wants him and his family to return to church. My heart broke for him as he described how he feels it's his fault that his family doesn't want to come back to church and doesn't care. But he has a strong desire to change and come back.
Had another great, spiritual moment while teaching one of our investigators. Her name is Lea, 31 years old. She works at a police station and is busy from Monday to Friday, so we are only able to teach her on Saturdays. We haven't been able to teach her for a while, so when we went to go and teach her on Saturday we were expecting to just teach her and invite her to come to church. We asked how she was, and to our surprise, she started sharing about how she has been reading the Book of Mormon. And how even though she hasn't read much of the Book, every time she reads it she feels peace and joy, and she feels like great truths are being brought to her remembrance. It was perfect! We shared a couple scriptures in the Bible that described exactly what she was feeling, and she, not us, recognized it as the Holy Ghost. She said she wants to feel this more often and then asked us, "Do I need to read this whole book before I get baptized?" We told her "Of course not" and she decided she wants to be baptized on the first week of May. This really goes to show the effect that The Spirit can have on somebody. And also how powerful the Book of Mormon is our conversion. That it really does have a "more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them" (see Alma 31:5). Even though we hadn't been able to teach her multiple times a week or meet with her very often, she had kept the book with her and experimented on it (see Alma 32:27). And she will be blessed for it.
Love you all, have a great week!
Getting to Baptism Beach