Mission Tour was on Thursday, which was a nice big important conference for the Legazpi mission. The speaker was Elder Ian Ardern, the second counselor of the Philippines Area Presidency. He's a general authority from New Zealand, and he and his wife were our guests of honor. The conference was fun - I got to see a few batchmates and some friends that had transferred out of Daraga a few transfers ago. Funnily enough, Elder Ardern first started to speak on a taboo subject for missionaries - marriage. He began with this, "Do not unnecessarily postpone marriage." All the sudden, missionaries were looking around in confusion, as if to ask, Wait, he knows we're missionaries right? Very funny start to a conference. Eventually, we started talking about the work, and we all really enjoyed his advice and counsel about how we can increase our numbers. He really talked about how all missionaries are divinely appointed to their missions, so that really was a great reminder that I'm meant to be here.
I paid a woman in the other ward only 500 pesos (around 10 American dollars) to sew me a dress that I dress for her. I bought the fabric and she sewed it in about a week and a half. I love it very much. It kind of makes me feel like a Disney princess, so that's exciting. I have to take it back to her because it has a rip in the sleeve after one day, but I still like it a lot. So that's fun.
Hilarious thing. Sister Siola'a and I went to Cena Una, and she ordered a dessert called Mt. Mayon Choco Punch Boulders. The waitress asked how many she wanted and Sister Siola'a said four, because there are usually four little cakes on the plate. I clarified that she wanted one plate of four, but I guess the confusion remained, because the waitress brought four plates of this dessert! Sister Siola'a freaked out, trying to tell her that we only wanted one, but they expected us to pay for the four desserts. I wish I had a picture of our faces and the four desserts on the table. It was frustrating at the time, but Sister Pace and Sister Lang had a good laugh out of it as they at the extras back home. Sister Siola'a has sworn off Cena Una for good, but it remains my favorite. I'm not giving up good food for one misunderstanding. The entire thing was a good lesson in patience for us.
Some great things that happened: We found a inactive member's house and while we were waiting for him to get home, we taught his 79 year-old mother, who isn't a member but who remembers with fondness the days she would have Family Home Evenings with her children. The son came home, fed us pili nut candy, and talked to us for thirty minutes until curfew. He's cool with us coming back, and he seems really open to discuss the church again.
The church tour with Arlene and her sister went splendidly. The spirit really testified during the tour, and it really opened Arlene up to the gospel, and now her desire to learn is so much stronger. Things are looking up there.
We taught Diane again, who's name is actually Darlyn. We taught her with a member of the stake presidency and his wife, Sister Manahan. Their help was indispensable, and now Darlyn is progressing as well, with a promise of another return appointment next week.
We went to see Melinda again, our investigator that came to church without a single lesson. This was our second lesson with her, and we taught about Joseph Smith's First Vision. She listened quietly, asking questions when she needed to. At the end of the lesson, I just felt nudged to ask her to be baptized. It seemed a little soon in my mind, but I just tilted my chin up and asked her if she'd commit to be baptized when she knew the church was true. She looked a little confused for a second, but after asking some clarifying questions about what baptism would mean, she just nodded and said, "Yes. I already know the church is true."
Whoa, say what now?
But she was serious, and even though I'm not skilled in Tagalog, I knew what she was saying. Turns out, she had seen missionaries in her neighborhood for years, and she had never had a single desire to listen to them. But when she saw us, when we (by complete chance) walked down her road, looking for a shortcut, she said she felt something compel her to invite us to sit. And looking back, it makes a lot of sense. The first thing Melinda asked us when we saw her was, "Are you preachers?" and then when we explained we were missionaries, she invited us to sit down. But it turns out, that Melinda didn't know why she invited us that day, she had just been overcome with a feeling in her heart that she should.
It was a rather sobering moment for me to realize how much of a miracle Melinda and her family is. She wants to come to church a few more times before we set a firm date, but she told us she even went around shopping, looking for a cheap skirt because she wants to "look like a Mormon" at church. Ah, I love her. She told us that once she's baptized, she knows her family will follow too. Wow, I'm so excited. I just hope I'm not transferred yet so I get to attend her baptism.
This week was good. Hard, but good. Our work is picking up, and I'm feeling that this week we're going to get the Standard of Excellence, which is 35 lessons. We can do it!
I hope you all are well and happy and that you are just loving life. I sure am. Missionary work is the best. So difficult, so tough, so stressful. But there isn't anything better.
"I promise that because of your faithful response to the call to spread the gospel, He will bind up your broken hearts, dry your tears, and set you and your families free. That is my missionary promise to you and your missionary message to the world." - Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
All my love,
2)"500 miles (I'm Gonna Be)"
3)"Come Come Ye Saints"