This week has been a really good week! I had my first baptism on Saturday! And it was so beautiful! Like I said last week 7 is only 14. His older sister is a recent convert and I have been teaching him every week since I came to this area. I honestly feel so lucky to have been here at this time to teach him and witness his baptism. It is only a small step in the grand scheme of things but one of the most important. When it was time to bear his testimony he cried the whole time! He also thanked my companion and I 3 different times and he just kept saying "salamat po, salamat po para sa lahat" which means "thank you. thank you for everything" He is seriously so inspiring! The Sunday before his baptism he brought 2 investigators to church, and we taught them the first lesson. When we saw him again on Saturday just before his baptism we were planning to teach the two girls he brought with them to church, WELL were we surprised when he told us that he had already taught them the lesson that we had planned to teach them. Even tho he is 14 yrs old he knows without a single doubt that this is the TRUE Gospel! And that the lessons that we learn in life are meant for our benefit not our suffering. He shares the Gospel ANY chance he gets, and he is already starting to prepare for a mission. He sacrifices anything he has to to go to church or live the commandments. Once we teach it to him he lives it. With out question. During his baptism I felt the Spirit SO STRONG, there were many things that were impressed upon my mind. However first and foremost was how powerful and TRUE this work is. My companion and I work hard, we spend hours planning and prayerfully seek the guidance of the Spirit on what to teach and how to teach it. Out of all the people we teach only 1 has gotten baptized but thats not how success or happiness is measured AT ALL. I am really learning that it is about how much you give of yourself and how sincerely you love the people.
|this is Seven and his sister at his baptism on Saturday |
(Sister on left must be missionary companion)
In the MTC at one of our many devotionals the speaker told us this, and I have never forgotten "Pay attention while you are on your mission, because this is the most real your life will ever be." When I head that I thought it was true, and I like the way it sounded but nothing could prepare me to truly experience THOSE WORDS. Seriously I can't even begin to express how life changing being a missionary really is. And how when you lose yourself in this work, and truly devote all of your time and energy to serving others how much you learn, about yourself and just .... life. I feel for the first time in my life so much clarity and so much direction and this is the first time in my life where I have been focused more on others than myself. In Mosiah 2:17 its says "And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God." This scripture is simple and small but to me, it is SO powerful! I can honestly say now that I LOVE every single person we teach and that the more I serve them THE MORE I LOVE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!
|us with 7 at his baptism|
In D&C 18:15-17 "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father! And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me! Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation." The weight of these words has become REAL to me. And in turn has helped me to be a more effective tool in the Lords hands. I labor diligently every single day, in language study, personal study, companionship study, and especially when we teach because I am happy. Its not JUST "happy" its something so far beyond that. How can I explain how fulfilling it is to see the happiness I share with others when we teach them. Or how happy they are when they receive an answer to their prayers. This happiness I feel doesn't come from anything I do for myself, it comes because I am giving of myself and with holding nothing.
We have been teaching enduring to the end a lot this week and one thing that has really been impressed upon my mind is how essential the little things are. Like prayer, Book of Mormon reading, and church attendance and repentance. I have seen peoples lives literally change before me because they diligently do these things every day. As members of this church it is our duty to diligently seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost in all that we do so that we can be given the things we need at the exact time we need it. This simple principle isn't easy but the blessings that are given to us cannot be measured. They cover every aspect of our lives, and we literally are in God's care when we do them.
I bear testimony to you, anyone who is reading this that this Gospel is true. That the power of faith is not something that we can comprehend and it is a gift and privilege we are given to "experiment on the words of Christ" so that we can know for ourselves if what every prophet has testified of since the beginning of time. I testify to you that this Gospel is true and that the power of God is REAL. I know with all of my heart that the "worth of souls is GREAT in the sight of God" and I hope and pray every day to be worthy of the Spirit so that I am guided and directed in all I say and do. I testify of the reality of the Atonement and how beautiful forgiveness is. For ourselves and for others. I know that God loves His children. I literally see the evidence of this in every person we teach. You are precious to Him and He gave His only begotten son to YOU so that you could live with Him again. I testify of the JOY that Heavenly Father feels when we DO WHAT IS RIGHT. He rejoices with us because He knows that we are that much closer to living in His presence once again. I love this Gospel and and grateful every day of my life that I have the truth. I bear this witness in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Christmas is almost here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!! And it is as hot as ever here in the Philippines hahahaha.
You are always in my prayers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
|an investigator family we've been teaching, the whole family came to church!|
|this is me and whole bunch of kids in masbate when we had splits with the sisters there :)|
|THIS is the picture I took when we were on splits|