Monday, February 29, 2016

Hearts can be softened!

We had quite the week this last week! Here's a story of a man that we're working with right now. His name is Brother Dellona, I can't remember his first name, memory was never one of my strong suits. Several years ago, he was one of the most active members of the church and a teacher of seminary and institute. He was and is also one of the jolliest people I've ever met in my life! He loves to speak English and it just makes listening to him that much funnier as he does his best to express all his feelings in English! Then something happened a few years ago in which he was offended, which I won't go into detail, that caused him to separate himself from the church and no longer participate in any church activities or meetings. His 2 kids, 18 year old Roundy and 16 year old Jovina quite unexpectedly decided to come to church last August and have been active ever since. Brother Roundy even works with us every week! But Brother Dellona and his wife, whom we see so often while teaching Jovina who was baptized about 5 months ago, showed up at sacrament meeting out of the clear blue! After 2 weeks of this while not knowing the reason, we visited him and for the first time he let us share with him a spiritual thought. In the middle of the lesson, President Castillo and his 2 counselors showed up. And it was such a special moment as President Castillo shared his feelings with Brother Dellona about back when he was investigating the church and how Brother Dellona was his hero in the investigating process. Even Brother Dellona realized what a reversal of roles it was! The one visiting now was the one being visited. I wish I could describe what the scene looked like and how strong the spirit was! That was definitely the start of me again realizing what missionary work was all about and what our purpose is. I know that Brother Dellona felt that spirit. This is what he said to us, "There have been many things that have happened to us that made us fall away. And even now, my intentions in coming back to church are not the best. I just hope that this will be the start of me feeling the way I did before I left the church." It was one of the most powerful moments I've ever been on in my mission. The spirit was literally thick and even I was holding back the tears in seeing what was taking place and feeling the Spirit of the Lord work with Brother Dellona.

I'm sorry I spent so much time on that story... I just wish that you could have felt what I felt in that moment. It was surreal.

But We have been struggling a little bit these past couple weeks helping investigators really progress. Its something that has been in almost all of my prayers for the past week or so. Those prayers were answered as Elder Pandaog and I resolved that in order to help our investigators prepare best, we needed to focus more on giving baptismal invitations. Not that we weren't giving any, but we just needed to make it a priority and the focus of our lessons. Yesterday, when we had splits with an RM and some other branch missionaries, we were both excited to come back having given 1 solid baptismal date, and a baptismal invitation to a family who already believes in the church. Last night I had an overwhelming feeling of peace come over me, feeling that I had done the right thing and was fulfilling the purpose.

I love you and take care!

We also had a very very busy week in terms of deliveries and dropping off some missionaries, but we got to go back to Tuguegarao again, and with all the things we did we were there for the whole day. When I was brand new we took a picture at this waiting shed with some other missionaries... but now I'm the only one left! haha