Magandang hapon po family!
Thanks for the email dad! I'm so happy to hear about the progress of the ward! And those notes you took are so great and I know are inspired. It's a little heartbreaking that the Aloisios are leaving, but I'm happy at the same time for Macmillan. Also I hope I can make it before baby comes!
Man, this past week was a memorable one for sure. And this week will be one too. I'll try to get through the smaller things before telling you guys about the miracle that happened.
For one thing, Elder Marquez has now hit "legend" status in my book haha. He's just too good. We're teaching nanay Sofia(progressing investigator)'s mother who lives a few houses away from them. The other day we went to her house to teach and found her smoking while washing dishes. This nanay is about 83 years old. Elder got on her immediately about how smoking is bad and how it does not give us strength, explaining that he knows because he's tried it too. He said that candy would be better for her and had me pull out the candy from my bag meant for kids. He asked for the cigarette, chucked it, and had me give my candy to nanay. Everything happened so quick I don't think nanay had time to think about it until after we left hahaha. We gave her more candy this morning. Yesterday he invited a member to do missionary work with us on Sundays instead of actual work (tricey driving). It's so fun just watching him sometimes haha. Never had a boring day yet with this guy.
On Wednesday we had a great, great zone conference. We talked about the urgency of the work we do as missionaries. We also discussed a lot about talking with people and bringing up the Restoration through a boy prophet every first time we meet or teach someone. My favorite thing we learned about though was about quiet dignity. Elder Evan A. Schmutz said, "Irreverence is a sign of disobedience". This is something I've been thinking about lately as well. This gospel is so fun and should be seen as a fun thing, but there are times to be professional. When we're recognized as representatives of Jesus Christ - which applies to all church members and not just missionaries - we have a responsibility to be good. Everyone has weaknesses, but we can constantly evaluate ourselves and find ways to improve and keep ourselves worthy to hold upon ourselves the name of Jesus Christ.
Alright I gotta tell you guys about the miracle haha. We had the zone leaders meet Jackie on Wednesday because she had some things she wanted to confess just to make sure that she can be baptized feeling free & clean. I didn't think it'd be something to keep her from being baptized this coming Saturday, but we planned for them to meet a week in advance just to be sure. Elder Palacio came out to us after meeting with her and said something I was not expecting at all. Jackie has been to church 3 weeks in a row but hasn't once stayed for the whole 3 hours because of work. I know working on Sundays goes against keeping the Sabbath Day holy, but we justified, convincing ourselves that there was no way to get her out of that. We spoke with the APs who spoke with President Hiatt, who said that we should praise sister for her faith and diligence in seeking the truth, but that she could not be baptized as long as she works on Sundays. Even just working after church was not good enough; she needed to have the entire day off. I was heartbroken and even a little bitter. Jackie has acted upon every single invitation we've given immediately and hasn't fallen to temptation once since doing so. In my mind it wasn't fair that she couldn't be baptized because of one small thing. While teaching her though after the zone leaders left I had a wake-up call. We taught about the Sabbath Day and how God has given us 6 days to do "all" of our work, and only asks for 1 day from us to rest and focus on Him. While teaching I thought, "Why are you sad? This is a commandment!" I know that commandments are not meant to limit us, but are meant to make us happy. My attitude changed and I became so grateful that Elder Palacio was more worried about what God thought rather than what we thought. If Jackie was to be baptized thinking it's okay to work on Sundays that could've been the start to many other problems. We urged her to find a way to have the day off, and she promised to do her best. Since that lesson I prayed harder than I ever have before and did some other things that I know provide special help. On Friday she called and asked if we could teach her since she'd be busy on Saturday. When we got there she said she had great news. SHE'S OFF ON SUNDAYS! She had to ask her boss and switch schedules with a workmate, but it happened. She stayed the whole 3 hours yesterday and we taught her later on that day about tithing which she's happy to follow. Right after the lesson the zone leaders called and said that the baptism, if she really did get the day off and stayed the whole 3 hours in church, was a go! So she'll still be baptized this Saturday!! And I'm blessed to be the one to baptize her. This is the miracle I've been working and praying so hard for these past 2 cycles.
This week is going to be another great, great one. We're gonna go extra hard and make sure the area is well prepared for Elder Marquez's next companion. Love you guys! I'll be able to email next Monday but I think they said it'll be a little later in the afternoon. But have a great week!
Mahal ko po kayo,
Nanay Sofia & Nathaniel (son) sitting down, and a few other investigators. Nanay Sofia went to church again yesterday! She participated in the classes and is making a lot of new friends! She'll be baptized on July 15 if all continues to go well :)