So this week wasn't too bad :) I love serving in the Philippines! Since missionary work is still pretty new here, and especially in Laoag, all of the members from every ward and every stake are SUPER engaged in missionary work. It makes this work SO much more enjoyable when you're able to work alongside the members. And as a missionary, it's ALWAYS amazing to hear their different testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel. They all have very different backgrounds and very different stories, but in EVERY testimony it leads them to come to a sure testimony of the Restoration of the Lord's church. I LOVE IT :)
We were able to work really well with AC Ligot's father this week, Antero. I love their family!!! He took his tricycle and just said, "I'm not doing anything, want to go work?" He sacrificed so much time with his family to be able to help hasten the work for his fellow brothers and sisters here in Laoag. What an amazing example of being a disciple of Jesus Christ! Plus it helps out A LOT because he's able to speak Ilocano and Elder Risenmay and I still have NO idea what that language even is, so the people who we teach are able to finally understand what's coming out of our mouths from our Tagapagsalin (translator) and it makes the lessons a lot more enjoyable and spiritual. This work is amazing! :)
As for John Neil and Allen, their baptismal dates are getting pushed back until after the transfer. Although I really don't think I'll be transferred yet, I'm still praying that I won't be because I really, really, really want to see them receive the joy of being baptized and becoming a member of Christ's church. But we've been able to teach a lot of other people as well. We met and taught an older farmer out in Barit this past week who is the coolest person you would meet. He makes fun of us because we can't speak Ilocano so he just says speak English! It's weird, the people who know Ilocano only know Ilocano and English. So it makes me question why we learned Tagalog in the first place haha. We're meeting a lot of amazing people though! A lot of them have been prepared through the examples of the members of the church and have helped them develop faith in the Lord JUST from their examples alone. How amazing is that??? :)
We've been able to teach a lot of less-actives as well. Harvey Refada has continually been coming to church and you can see the difference from the first time he came back, when he was scared and timid and nervous, to this week where he couldn't stop smiling. It's the BEST to go to church on Sundays and see the people you teach being there and receiving the spirit :) And it's the best when you see people who were so distant from the gospel before and seeing the changes that they make in their lives through the atonement :)
The reason why I put Alma 34:33 as the heading this week is because I've reached a point where I no longer think about anything other than this work. Alma 34:33 says: And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
I've developed a lot of comfort while doing this work. But one of the advices that I'll never forget is from President Barrientos when we first arrived. He said "If you are in the comfort zone, then you are not letting the atonement work in your life." After reading this verse and remembering the advice from my mission president, I realized that the purpose of this missionary work (and life in general) is to CONSTANTLY improve, to get better, not to be idle and ALWAYS work. We're given this amazing opportunity to "prepare for eternity" through how we spend the time that we have been given on Earth. We're able to constantly improve and get better through Christ and His atonement and following the guidance of the prophets and the scriptures and through many, many, many other tools and blessings that Heavenly Father gave us to truly improve and get better so that we CAN prepare for eternity.
I love you all and I'll keep you all in my prayers as always :) I hope you enjoy this email!
(I love you in Ilocano)