Hello my beloved family and friends all around the world! Another great week here in the Philippines. Have I mentioned that I am obsessed with it here? Okay yes I AM OBSESSED WITH IT HERE! It has become my home away from home.
Sige where do I begin? Let me start with my favorite part of this week. Our cute little NEW INVESTIGATOR Jarome. So, last week I briefly told you all about him and all that we knew. This week we were determined to find him. We asked everyone that we taught if they knew him every single appointment we had. When we were by the Pier, we would ask everyone we could find if they knew who he was. He has a nickname here which is “Iglot” haha I have no idea what it means or anything but we went around asking if anyone knew him. Some people knew of him but all they could tell us is that he roams around a lot so they didn’t know where he was in that moment. Let me just tell you it was SO FRUSTRATING! We just want to help this little boy and we can’t even find him. I just wanted to give him a meal for the day or help him find somewhere to sleep that night, and we couldn’t even find him. Frustrating, yes. The days went through the week and we still hadn’t found him. Then Sunday came and we were greeting people for church. It was District Conference so we had many many people and missionaries there, so I was constantly talking with people and welcoming people in. Then all the sudden a little boy literally jumped into my arms and squealed “SISTER!!!” I looked down and guess who it was? YES. To my great surprise it was Jarome!!! There in my arms was the boy we were looking everywhere for. Words cannot adequately explain my happiness when I saw him. Apparently he had known a family in the ward, the Perez family, went to their house Sunday morning because he wanted to come to church again. And there he was, at church! So we talked with the Perez family and they had more information on him. Basically all that we knew was that his parents left him and his siblings and they all are no where to be found. As we talked with her we found out that he roams around a lot. Some times he sleeps on the beach and sometimes he can find houses to stay at for a little bit. He usually moves around a lot because kids pick on him. Since he was abandoned by his family, he has developed some mental problems and social problems so lots of kids bully him and pick on him. He literally only has the clothes on his back because when he goes to sleep, anything he has with him gets stolen. Even a mat that the Perez family bought him to sleep on was stolen right from under him while he was sleeping. So sad, but he doesn’t let it get him down. Sister Perez even told us one time she saw him begging for money at the LCC, the supermarket here. She said she was watching him, and he got money from someone, went and bought some food with that money, and then here is the most touching part….he turned around and gave away the food to other street kids. These kids that pick on him all day long…and he is giving them the food he begs and begs for all day long. He has no food and is giving away anything he gets. I was just balling as she was telling us these stories. This little boy is barely 12 years old and has lived a hard, sad life. But he is one of the happiest and loving people I’ve ever met. He is such a good example to me and to all of us! So anyways, after church we talked with him after church and he told us he wanted us to teach him. So, we told him to go to the Perez home later that day because we were going to teach Sister Perez’s son, who is a recent convert. We went there and didn’t really expect Jarome to show up. But then in the middle of our lesson, he came running in! So excited to learn. I almost cried when I saw him come in!!! Ah just so exciting. So we taught him. It was rough because since he has had no schooling, he doesn’t really understand Tagalog. For most people here, their first language is the local dialect Bicol. So it was key to have the Perez family there to help us translate. Long story short, somehow we were able to teach him. Somehow through the Spirit he was able to learn. We taught about Jesus Christ with pictures and with hand motions. Although it was a simple short lesson, the Spirit felt was so powerful. More powerful than words could ever describe. We also taught him how to pray. He is so so super smart and so eager to learn. It is sad he has these disabilities, but he doesn’t let it get him down. He was so receptive! So we taught him how to pray very simply. Then, at the end of the lesson, we asked him to offer the closing prayer. He was so so nervous but then all the sudden he just knelt down and gave the most sincere, heartfelt prayer I have ever heard in my life. It was in Bicol, so I only understood a little bit of it. But in his prayer he just said a few short simple phrases. He said that he was grateful for the Perez family for giving him food. He said he was grateful to the missionaries for finding him and still teaching him. Then, so innocently, he said “please bless my mom and family that they are safe and know that I love them.” He was crying. We were all crying. The Spirit was so strong. This little boy has been abandoned by everything and everyone that he knows, and he is praying for those that left him. Those that left him with no food, no place to live, no money, left him with absolutely nothing, and this amazing little boy is praying for them and their safety. WOW. Seriously. He is my inspiration. We asked him how he felt after he prayed and he was crying and he said that he felt God’s love for him. It is amazing to witness the Spirit working through this little boy. He has so many problems in his life, but he knows this gospel is true. And he has so much faith already! So we will be teaching him this week. We are teaching him how to read, and are using the pamphlets and scriptures to do so :) How happy I am to be a little part of this boy’s life! :)
So really I could end this email there and that would be good haha because it was really THAT amazing. But, I will fill you in on everything else J We extended baptism to two more of our investigators this week, Queenie who is 9 and her family aren’t members but her grandmother is a recent convert, and we extended to Alfred, the sibling of the 5 Nares kids that were baptized a few weeks ago. We had a really powerful lesson with Alfred yesterday about the Doctrine of Christ. We extended baptism to him awhile ago, but we are working on him to get an answer to his prayers because he feels as though he has not. So for 3 lessons now we have taught him about the Holy Ghost, and have been teaching about 2 Nephi 31. He has a really strong testimony already and I think he really does know that baptism is the right thing for him but we are just giving him time. We were able to testify to him about the importance of finding answers to our prayers. It was a really powerful lesson and somehow I was able to testify to him of things I didn’t even know I could testify of. The gift of tongues is real people. I always know when these people really need to hear something from our Heavenly Father when He gives me the words to say something that I didn’t know I could. So I really poured out my Tagalog heart to him about just how powerful prayer can be. I told him of my personal experience of praying to know if I should go on a mission or finish school sooner and was just balling and told him that I knew he would get his answer. Especially since being on a mission, I have learned that prayers are answered in the Lord’s time, according to how He best sees fit for us. I told Alfred that a mission, just like baptism, is a good thing and sometimes it’s frustrating not getting answer right away. But the Lord will ALWAYS answer our prayers. I know without a doubt that He is there. He listens to us. He has a plan for us. He knows us and knows what we need at all times. How grateful I am for Him and for His constant love and support He shows to me, especially as a missionary. Because at the end of the day when I have really given it all my best, and then given more, I know that He will make up for the rest. That through my hard work and obedience, He will show me miracles because He already has!
Well everyone, missionary work is amazing. I see miracles everyday. It is so incredible and rewarding to see the Spirit work through these amazing people. Being a missionary is amazing. I love it more and more each day. Thank you all for your support and love you continue to show me! I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!