Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - October 6, 2013

Hello all!!

This week has been great! The focus of our zone this week/transfer is increasing our new investigators and member-present lessons. Consequently, we had a focus this week on finding (yay!! except not really, because quickly generating relationships with completely strangers has never been my strong point). We were supposed to plan 5 hours of finding for the week. Fortunately, Sister Garcia and I got to work with the Sister Training Leaders on Tuesday, which was a great blessing, because it gave us some extra time for finding and visiting one of the area's that we don't get to spend much time in (no active members, only one LA, and not really any referrals or contacts, and it is the farthest area from the chapel so it's hard to commit investigators to come to church). Sister Elsmore--who is half Japanese and super white and super cool-- was with me and we were able to meet some people in the area. Though we don't have any new investigators yet, we have one potential investigator who we hope to go back and teach. It was fun working with Sister Elsmore, though, because she's the first white sister I've worked with. So we had fun wandering around and speaking Tagalog. She's a BYU kid, too! :)

Our most successful finding this week, though, actually came from going through our former investigators in the area book. There were several teaching records in the former investigators section that didn't have any indication why the investigators were dropped. We met with one of the members in the area who has been very involved in missionary work to ask her about the families we found. One family in particular really stood out. The member told us that they had a baptismal date noon, but we don't know what happened or why they stopped investigating. So Sister Garcia and I used some of our extra time on Wednesday to try to find the family and see if they are still interested in hearing about the Gospel, or at least find out why they stopped investigating initially.
As we were looking for the house, we couldn't find the lot numbers, so we tried counting lots from one of the addresses that was visible. We "tao po"d the house that we thought was the right one, asked the lot number and found out that our counting had been incorrect and the house we were looking for was actually two houses over. The 12-year-old daughter was initially the one who talked to us, and then we started to leave, but she got her mother and called us back. The mother asked who we were looking for, and we told her. She knew the family and told us where the house was. As we stood there, I had the feeling that this was a family we should try to teach, so after we thanked her for her help and went to leave, I just awkwardly stood there for a moment, trying to see if Sister Garcia was getting the same prompting (possibly not cause she just looked at me like "are we going to go now?"). I took a deep breath, turned back to the woman, and super awkwardly asked "is that your daughter?" (which sounds just slightly less random and unnecessary in Tagalog than in English). Long/awkward story short, we talked a bit about her family, then explained why we were looking for the former investigators, and asked if she would be interested in hearing our message. At first she was reluctant, she said she was busy, but agreed to let us could come back another day. As we were getting her information, Sister Garcia was surprised by their family name and asked what province they are from. It turns out that the father is from the same area as Sister Garcia. The mother invited us in to meet him, and we were able to get to know the family, introduce the Gospel and our purpose as missionaries, and set up a return appointment with them. They are actually going to make us lunch on Wednesday! The mother loves that I am white (we were talking about Christmas and explained about transfers, so we don't know if we'll be here for it, and she was like "I'm going to miss you when you leave!" haha--not bad for someone I've only known about 45 minutes). They are an incredible family. I really feel that the Lord led us to meet them. They are a very close, loving family, and I know that the Gospel is what they are looking for (even if they don't know it yet). I'm so grateful that we followed the promptings of the Spirit. Every day I am so humbled by how our Heavenly Father really does work through us to forward His work.

All the Salt Lake broadcasts are delayed a week here, so while most of you got to watch General Conference this weekend, we just barely got to watch the Relief Society broadcast on Saturday. It's okay though, because it was completely wonderful, and I am so excited for conference! One of the things that stood out the most to me was how much covenants were emphasized by the sisters who spoke. It dawned on me how truly blessed we are to have the opportunity to make covenants with our Heavenly Father. We are told over and over of the power that comes through covenant keeping, and I really know that that is true. Even just after baptism, we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, to help us receive guidance, withstand temptation, and comfort us in times of trial. It really is a gift and a privilege that I'm sad to say I have taken for granted a lot.

I'm almost out of time, but I want to say that I love you all! I think about you and pray for you and am so grateful for all that you do to support me, and the work of the Lord at home as well. :)

Hope you have a great week!!

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

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