or I will just explain it now! hahah... so yeah umm... things are going down in Guinayangan! We are witnessing miracle after miracle here in Calauag at the time in our work, and it is so faith building to know that God knows when people or AREAS are ready to be taught and baptized to expand his work and his glory! We had a record of 18 investigators come to church yesterday, and that my friends in just insane in our mission! That is the most I have ever gotten or heard of in my mission! So we were pretty excited to see all these KIDS show up to church, each had searched, and sacrifice to be able to pay for their bus fare, they were a little late because of how far they live, and when they walked into sacrament meeting, everyone was shocked, haha. We had a few members look us and give us thumbs us, or they clapped, and other funny things haha. 14 of those investigators were from Guinayangan, I was so flippin happy yesterday it was insane, you always here these awesome missionary stories of powerful conversions but you never expect it to happen to you. I believe this is a blessing from our recent commitment to obedience, we have been working hard lately, really seeking for the blessings of the Lord, and they are definitely coming.
but wait my friends, the story gets even better. We went back to Guinayangan to play basketball with some of the young men, and hang out with them to help them feel more love, and have better fellow-shipping with them. While we were there I was talking to our member who has been working so hard, and I mean doing everything in His power to help these kids prepare for baptism which I will explain later but, he told me that all of the parents who wouldn't allow their kids to be baptized before have now allowed their kids to come to church and be baptized!!!!! That is a miracle for sure if you would have seen how stern these parents were, we tried so hard to convince them that theses things will bless their lives forever and they just wouldn't listen. but now, its all good!! wow... and it still gets better my friends, even they themselves want to be taught and come to church!!!! WHAT!!!! This is why I thank you so much for your prayers and Faith, I have been praying so hard for these kids every single day, and I have been so stressed about them trying to figure out how we can get them all baptized because there is mission rules we still need to follow and standards in our mission that need to happen which makes it VERY difficult for them to be baptized at this time. Also, the member told me that he didn't know but they accidentally left a bunch of people behind that wanted to go to church but didnt know how, like some of the parents of the kids, and so they are going to church next week! He said they might reach up towards 30 that will come to church. This is one powerful witness to me that nothing is impossible in Gods timing and will. I am just so taken away from this experience, and even though I might not even see these people baptized or what will become of it but I am just so grateful to have been a part of building their foundation of Faith, and meeting these Wonderful people, they are such great examples to me the sacrifices they go through so they can do they things that they know to be true. Its a tear jerker sometimes, and I am glad I had the opportunity to experience it so that I may always be humble through out my whole life.
One of the greatest examples is our Member in Guinayangan. His name is Sonny Agiri. His whole family are members of the church, they were baptized in a different area, and were very active members, they had to move for reason I dont know, and since they have been here in guinyangan they have had it pretty rough. They couldn't find work, so things got worse, and then one of the Super Typhoons hit them and nearly took there house, which now the still don't have a roof on their house, just a small part where they sleep. Before brother just sold fish off the streets to provide for his family, and when I say off the streets I mean he walks all day everyday to sell little fish, we can only imagine what he makes per day. almost nothing. Just recently His wife made the sacrifice to work abroad to provide for her family, and brother now stays at home to take care of his family. This is were the great mans example comes in, since he has so much time now, and we have visited him lately, his missionary desires just exploded! He started sharing with everyone, and I mean everyone around him, and all these kids are always at his house because he is such a good influence to them. He has scripture study with almost all of them almost every single day! sharing about the restoration, plan of salvation, and the gospel. Constantly speaking with their parents convincing them of the blessings of the gospel, He has been the instrument of these great miracles at this team, and he is definitely the man! Such a great guy. So humble, yet so strong and faithful.
Earlier I mention that in our mission we have a ton of standards that we have to follow when teaching especially with kids before they are baptized, and I am so stressed out because I am trying to do it the right way and not take short cuts, but everyone wants to do it the quicker more convenient way because of how prepared they are which isn't going to happen, but I was thinking by doing it the right way i will never see any of them get baptized, and this brought a lot of sadness to my heart for a moment, almost kind of mad. Here I am trying to do everything correct, right, by the way it should be and needs to be to ensure their conversion process, and most likely I will not see them baptized or see the fruits that come from that labor, especially witht he magnitude of the work that is happening right now, I mean think of it! How cool would it be to have 15 plus baptisms in one day! It would be insane! Or see an entire area be converted kind of like in the book of mormon times, yet you can't because you will be transferred before it happens, and the next missionaries are going to stroll in on their merry go rounds, and just take all that credit and delicious fruit, that we have worked so hard to get! After thinking about it for a while I remembered something President Mangum has said to me, he talked to me about the foundation of buildings ( he was in construction before) and how important they are for the entire building, and if the foundation is not properly place, the entire building has a possibility of falling apart. Then he talked about the Temple and said that when we go into the temple we always recognize how beautiful the temple is inside, and all the handy work they so many people have done, but when have we asked "Take me to the foundation, I want to see the beauty of the foundation of the temple"? no one sees or thinks about the foundation of the temples, yet its the most important part, no one sees there work, or knows who did it. Its just always a second thought, and God knows who really did the hard work in the case, and he really applied this to me because I was caught complaining to him about how this has been the case almost my entire mission, especially the last 6 months! It has been very comforting, and instructive, and like I said before, I don't care if I don't see them baptized, as long as I had the opportunity to help build their foundation, and show them that I love them for they are truly amazing kids.
I truly never thought something like this was going to happen to me in my mission, especially because of my personal weaknesses I have struggled with through out my mission, but its a testimony of the Power of the Atonement is real, and applies to every single one of us. Brothers and Sisters I know this Church is true, and if we can manage to align our will with the Lord's will miracles will happen. Obedience + Faith = Miracles. I am so grateful to be a part of this work, and I am not ready for it to end! But my time will come so I am just going to keep enjoying the short time I still have left.
-on the Lord's errand-San Pablo Philippines Mission