Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - July 14, 2013

Hello, magandang pamilya at mga kaibigan!

This week has been full, and really great! I am adjusting to the area and the work. Our branch is really great, and getting into the work as well. Last week, we were privileged to attend an FHE with a family in our ward who invited two neighboring families to join them. They had prepared a great lesson on the purpose of FHE, and then we watched a video about how the Gospel brings families together and talked about how families can be together forever. We have another FHE appointment tonight with a different member family, and I'm just so excited about how the members are becoming involved. We also have 3 ward missionaries who have been working with us fairly regularly in our teaching appointments during the week. Member missionary work is something that has been on my mind A LOT lately, not just because of the broadcast and the emphasis that is being placed upon it by the brethren, but because I am witnessing firsthand the struggles that investigators have when they don't have those member connections.
In my reading this week, I finished the war chapters in Alma and when I read Alma 60, all I could think about was member missionary work. It is a powerful parable when you read it in that context--it's been stuck in my head all week. Verse 5 is the one that first caught my eye; it says "But behold, great has been the slaughter among our people; yea, thousands have fallen by the sword, while it might have otherwise been if ye had rendered unto our armies sufficient strength and succor for them. Yea, great has been your neglect toward us." I just kept thinking about the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how Satan is continually seeking to tear us down, to wound and destroy whatever souls he can, and how neglecting to share the Gospel is like withholding the "strength and succor" that is necessary to survive and be victorious in this war against sin. Throughout the chapter, I just kept thinking about how important it is for us to be helping our brothers and sisters, and how it's not enough for us to be complacent worrying about our own salvation. It's kind of harsh chastisement, but SO powerful! I gained so much insight and motivation from reading Alma 60 in that context. If you have time, please read it and let me know what insights you gain--I would honestly love to hear your thoughts!!

We got punted a lot this week, but also got several new contacts as a result. I really hope our area gets another set of missionaries next transfer, because we have so many contacts, we don't even get to see them all every week! It's really amazing how this work is exploding. One of my personal goals has been to maintain a positive attitude, and stay motivated every day. Sometimes it's hard when it's super hot and no one wants to listen to us, but that goal has really helped me persevere and keep working hard even when I don't want to. I really know that attitude is so important, especially in allowing the Spirit to stay with us. And with the Spirit, we will see miracles all around us.
Regine is still our most outstanding investigator. She is scheduled to be baptized next Saturday (the 27th), but both Sister Campbell and I feel like she already more of a member-present in our lessons than an investigator. She bears such incredible testimony every time we meet with her, and says the most powerful, sincere prayers. Her family previously was very distant and would always go into a different room when we came to teach Regine, but this week they really reached out to us. Her mother joined our lesson on Tuesday evening, and we were able to teach her whole family (the ones that were home at least, her brother left before the lesson began) on Saturday evening, when we taught the end of Lesson 2 (the Plan of Salvation). Regine's father died when she was 8, so life after death is a topic very close to her and she was so grateful to be able to share that lesson with her family. I know that it was a miracle that we were able to teach her family, and that the Lord has been softening their hearts toward us.
One thing Sister Campbell and I talked about this week is how many miracles occur each and every day. We decided to keep track and write down at the end of the day the miracles we witnessed. It was amazing to see how many came to mind immediately when we just opened our eyes to look for them. The Lord really does watch over us all, and He is SO present in our lives!

Last week, I was also blessed to experience Filippino fruit! One of our recent converts made mango shakes for us at our lesson with her on Wednesday, and it was honestly the most incredible thing I have ever tasted. We're going to get a bunch of fruit from the market today after we get our support money, and I am so excited! Fruit is already pretty much my favorite thing in the world, and the fruit here is so good!

That's about it for now, I think. I wrote a song yesterday! Maybe I'll share it with you in another email sometime. :) There's so much more I could talk about, but I'm not sure I have the time or words to share everything I'm learning and experiencing here. I'm truly blessed to be here in the Philippines, and to be able to learn and grow from all that goes on here.

I love you all so much! I pray for you every day. I hope everything is going well in your lives. As always, thank you for the updates you send!

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

P.S. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  BE HAPPY! :) We are so blessed!!

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