So we had Holy Week here in the Philippines last week... wow... what an experience. Actually, as missionaries, all that really happened was we got punted a lot... everyone was either sleeping, drunk, or away on vacation in their provinces. So, the work was a little rough, but we did have a really great experience last Sunday. So we went out to work at 8:00 and got punted bad. No appointments, and tons of walking, however, we dropped by to invite one of our investigators to church. This is our investigator who faithfully reads the Book of Mormon between every visit and is really coming to love the gospel. We know that it's been hard for her... she's wanted to come to church in the past but she has five small children under the age of seven and getting them ready and out the door for three hours of church was a huge step for her to take. We were pleasantly surprised then when she showed up at the sacrament hall with two of her children in hand. Yes!!! We then motioned for a family in our ward to come over who got acquainted with her and helped take care of her and her kids for the rest of the meetings. This investigator has very little regarding material things. One of the members of the family who had come and talked to her pulled our investigator out of Relief Society. I figured that her daughter must have been struggling in Primary... so I followed them down to the Primary room where they were all eating Easter treats and spaghetti (church is a little diff. here sometimes ;)). I watched briefly as this investigator, who was obviously hungry, ate spaghetti with her kids. Ouch... my heart just hurt for her and I was also so touched by the sacrifice she was making in order to accept the gospel into her life. I know that this is the way for her family to find true happiness and I think she knows it too. By the end, as she and her two kids were leaving the chapel full and happy, I just prayed that she continues to come and that God will bless her for her desire to live righteously.
Well.... hopefully T will be baptized next week! Hurray!! It's been a roller coaster ride with him... especially with the whole tithing thing, but we really think he's ready. Prayer has been an issue for him, just because he's been saying the Catholic prayer for his whole long life... We really just broke it down simply yesterday and spoke boldly. He finally said a prayer from the heart and we were both so proud of him! He felt a difference too :)
Life is good... a little stressful still but good. My feet are looking like I've been walking every day for the last eight months or something. When I first got here they were kinda swollen from all of the walking... now they're thinning out... and I've got this rocking tan line from my flats. :)
I've been trying to read from the Old Testament when I have time... gotta make up from the lack of reading I did in seminary. Good thing too, because the bible is all most of these people have got. Hopefully, reading it will help me to better understand why they think the things they do and know how to help them to see the Book of Mormon is also the Word of God.
I was reflecting this last week on my first few months in the field and about obedience... I learned during that time that obedience really is a gift and not a burden. I hung onto obedience like it was a life-preserver that God had thrown to me in the midst of those crazy waves, or hectic times as a newbie missionary. I'm so grateful for that experience, especially since I've always kind of had a sour attitude about obedience in the past. I've also found that as with normal life, as a missionary I have found myself at times when I've been doing well at being obedient... and times where I haven't done so well. It's always easy to justify it with, well, what I'm doing really isn't that bad... it's something that if I was at home, would be totally fine... but the thing is, how can I expect my investigators to be obedient and keep their commitments if I'm not keeping my commitments to the Lord? Obedience really is an act of faith... it's an act of faith that if we do something, God will bless us. Everyone, and in this case I'm thinking of us missionaries, often get so caught up in what other people think. I thought that as a missionary it would be easy to be obedient but it's not. It's not just the worldly things that tempt you, but I have found it's often the other missionaries and even the members who can make the obedience thing difficult. Please... encourage the missionaries who are serving in your areas to be obedient!! Help them out! The general authorities have often talked about how we, as Latter-Day Saints, can't always "fit in" and their will be times when we will be a "peculiar people". Guess what... that time is already at hand. Stand out and stand up for what you believe in!! God is always there to back you up and while it won't always be easy, it will always be worth it.
Alright... I'm off my soapbox now.
Love you all!! Hope you have a wonderful week!!Love, Sister Dickison