Happy 2017! Sorry for not writing an email last week; we just ran out of time because of the whole skype failure. I super enjoyed seeing you guys again though! What's crazy is I can say I'll be home this year! Still super bittersweet haha. I hope you guys had a great New Years and all thought of ways you can improve and grow closer to our Heavenly Father and Savior Jesus Christ this year. I have a feeling this year is going to be extra great!
Alright so I'll just tell you guys about the main things that's happened since the last time I wrote, since there's a lot to report on. A couple weeks ago we had a great Christmas Zone Conference in Cauayan and it was awesome seeing more familiar faces. President Hiatt also requested that each zone do a special musical number and we were assigned to sing Silent Night (hopefully you guys got to see it, they said they'd send the videos to our families). I'm slowly becoming more comfortable singing and look forward to singing with Kala'i them again. At the conference we watched a play (on CD) called "The Forgotten Carols" and it was so spiritually fulfilling and got me more hyped up about the Christmas season. Not gonna lie though while watching it that was the most I ever missed you guys so far haha. I'm stoked to be able to spend my next Christmas with my family. The highlight of the Conference was when President Hiatt sang a solo for all of us. He's really not the best singer haha, but that's what made it that much more powerful. I'm grateful to have such a cool, humble Mission President who doesn't let things like that keep him away from sharng the things we need to hear as his stewardship. Good example to learn from and follow.
Something else super awesome that happened was our branch actually adjusted the Branch Christmas Party so that we elders could attend. At first it was right at the time we would be at our conference but they pushed back the start time so we could make it before it finished. The day before a bunch of members worked with us and we went all over the place telling the other members that the time was changed. We (elders) were so grateful and appreciated how much the Branch supports and cares for us.
As for Christmas, we had a super great one! Unfortunately I didn't get my package in time to open Christmas morning, but a couple of our mission senior couples brought it to church and I got to open it afterwards :) Thank you and the other families who added to the package! We had a great day of work in sharing about Christmas and how we can try harder to be like Jesus Christ and then an example for others to follow.
Over the past couple weeks we have gotten a handful of golden investigators. An awesome family we've been teaching is the Lutrania family. We met brother & Sister Lutrania one night while we were just on our way to an appointment, then saw them sitting off to the side of the road and decided to get to know them. I honestly didn't think they were much different from anyone else we usually talk with, but we thought they were worth visiting at home. We got to visit their home for the first time last monday, and as soon as we entered I felt a different Spirit than I usually feel in other peoples homes. You can tell they are really close as a family and they were so humble and attentive as we shared about how their family can be together forever. We taught them again last week with a member who lives nearby as a fellowshipper, and it was another powerful lesson. All they need to do is go to church so they can feel the Spirit stronger! And know that the things we teach are true.
Another super golden person we met is Princess, who we just met yesterday. We visited the house she works at to teach someone else, but Princess was the only one there so we ended up teaching her. She took everything we shared so well! She soaked in everything we taught and even mentioned that she too feels like Jospeh Smith did, searching hard for the truth. The absolute coolest thing about our lesson with her was when Elder Fernandez invited her to be baptized when she finds out for herself that what we teach is true. Her answer was "100 percent, yes. If this is God's will for me, absoulutely yes." I've never seen anyone react so joyfully to the baptism invitation! and it just got me so excited for her since I know that she will know for herself that it's true. It's people like her that make all of our hardships as missionaries worth it.
As for New Years, that was really fun too! Our curfew was 6 pm to be safe and we coudn't leave our property after that. We did stay up until 12 though and watch the fireworks right outside our door, which was super cool since our own neighbors had a bunch of those crazy fireworks that would be illegal in Hawaii haha. It was like the kind you see at Coconut Island, but right there in our neighborhood. I hope you guys had a great New Years too!
Alright, we're heading out! Thank you so much for the pictures and emails! I love you guys! Have a great week
Mahal ko po kayo,