Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - January 5, 2014

Hello again!!

It's the first Monday of 2014, and I don't know what it's like for all of you in America, but it is a beautiful day here in Morong, Rizal, Philippines! 2014, though it's just begun, is already fantastic and living up to my expectations (exceeding them, even). I'm sure there are a lot of reasons why I am here in Morong, but I have discovered at least a handful that I want to share with you today.

Firstly, the highlight of my week was on Saturday when the Andres family was baptized. The mother and father and 3 of their 5 children were all baptized and it was the most incredible experience ever. We had a lot of complications leading up to their baptism (misunderstandings in the baptismal interviews, then Sister Andres' brother passing away last Sunday and them being out of town all week), but I'm pretty positive that is just because Satan is so scared of all the good that their family is going to do as members of the true Church of Jesus Christ.
Sister Medina and Sister Kahui found the family last transfer when they went to teach their next door neighbors. They OYMed Sister and were able to come back to teach the family. Brother apparently had a lot of issues (drinking, swearing, anger management, etc) and their family life wasn't the best. They hasn't gone to church in 10 years, since their 2nd child was born. I don't know the whole story, since I wasn't here for it, but the transformation in their family was amazing. The missionaries started teaching them, and they just absorbed everything! They started reading the Book of Mormon and praying every night as a family, the missionaries explained that we don't drink alcohol, smoke,or  drink coffee or tea, so they quit (even before the Word of Wisdom lesson was taught). The first Sunday they came to church, Brother lost his job because he didn't show up to work. Instead of getting angry or frustrated and giving up, they just put their faith in the Lord. They kept reading, praying, coming to Church, and trusted that they would be taken care of. The members here have been amazing in helping them get food for their family, and find work so they could get back on their feet. They are one of the most beautiful families I have ever met, and they are so loving! They are so engaged when we teach them, and they love us so much. They tell us every day how grateful they are that we brought the Gospel into their lives, and how they feel so blessed that the Lord sent missionaries to their house even though they weren't religious or righteous people before.
Last week, Sister Andres' older brother passed away, and they went to be with her family. The family hadn't yet figured out arrangements for the burial, but Brother and Sister Andres just told them simply: we have to go back to Morong on Friday night, whether he has been buried or not, because we have something we need to do on Saturday morning (their baptism) that's more important.
Brother's story is probably the most picturesque though. His is the life that was most transformed by the Gospel. Not only did he quit all his vices, but he has become such a faithful and loving husband and father. Hearing/watching him bear his testimony after their baptism on Saturday was so amazing. It really was like an Alma the Younger experience for him, I think. He's an entirely different person now, and I am so excited to see the Priesthood leader he will become. Sister Andres, and all 3 of the kids that were baptized also said in their testimonies on Saturday that they are so grateful to see the change in Brother (as a father and as a husband).
I know this is like the most haphazard and disorganized email ever, but I just have all these thoughts and feelings floating around and don't know where to start or how to express them. Pretty much I just feel blessed beyond measure to have had the chance to teach their family, and witness their baptism (even though I'm not the one that found them or started teaching to initiate the change). I feel like seeing their conversion has just made me fall in love with missionary work all over again. The kind of love I felt before my mission just working with the missionaries. The kind of excitement I felt in the MTC when our investigators finally started progressing. The kind of passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that made me want to serve in the first place.
I know there are a lot of reasons I am here in Morong, both for my own personal growth and to help the members and non-members here in this area, but if the only reason I was assigned here was to help me love being a missionary again, it worked. :)

That's all for now, because I'm out of time. I just want to say I love you all so much, and I love this Gospel! I'll send pix of the baptism next week, hopefully. Have a great week!

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

No comments:

Post a Comment