Monday, July 7, 2014
Sister Franks in the Philippines - July 6, 2014 ("Mistakes of the past don't define you, they refine you")
So this week was an adventure and a half! Mostly a lot of things that didn't go at all according to plan. For example:
Monday--we went to the dentist to find out about Sister Rimano's wisdom teeth and if she would have to have them taken out. It was supposed to be just a quick consultation, but then it turned out that she had to have an x-ray (since her teeth are impacted--is that the right term?) so then we had to come into town (btw, the dentist that was recommended to us by the members here happens to have an "office" in their house--both the husband and wife are dentists and they literally just have a dental chair off to the side of their living room--but oddly, it felt totally comfortable and legit. not sketch at all like you would imagine). So basically it took way longer than it was supposed to, but the dentist couple were SUPER NICE and gave us a ride to the x-ray place! And it was originally just going to be the husband, but we aren't allowed to ride in vehicles without another woman present, so we were about to just decline the offer (super awkwardly, because we'd already kind of said yes before we realized it was bawal), but then we just explained it to the woman and she was like "oh, would you like me to come too?!" and even though that afternoon was her only free time, she just quickly grabbed her purse and 2 little kids and locked up the house and came with us. We are so blessed!
Tuesday--Morong zone had their zone interviews and we had to give a workshop for it (thankfully, we didn't have to stay the whole time though). We thought our workshop was at 2, so we had planned all our lessons in the evening (even had members who were going to work), but then we texted to confirm and Elder Vandyke said we were actually supposed to be there at 4 instead. So that kind of shot down what we had arranged. It all worked out alright though, the workshop went well, and it was fun to get to go to Morong again. :D And then the Elder and Sister Sheffer (one of the senior couples) gave us a ride home! Saved 40 pesos! #score We had a really good lesson that night though, with one of our recent converts who is 87 and a widower. We watched the "Together Forever" DVD and talked about how we CAN be with out families forever, through the power of the Atonement and Heavenly Father's plan for us, but we need to do our part to prepare ourselves (he still doesn't really understand the importance of preparing to receive the Melchizedek priesthood). It was a really good lesson! Although really every time we watch a video it's great--the church really knows what they are doing and how to invite the Spirit.
Wednesday--We had two awesome ward missionaries that worked with us (Daniel and Valyn) all afternoon, which was awesome! We got punted from most of our planned appointments, but the Lord of course was in control and provided us with other options, which worked out. The best was that we finally got to teach the man who came to church last Sunday, a referral from one of the bishopric members. We braved our way to his house (it was SOOO muddy!!!--oddly, the only one who slipped though was the bishopric member who was showing us the way to his house) and met his wife and their young kids. We had an AWESOME lesson, just sharing about the blessings of the Atonement and the Gospel and how it can bless their family, and at the end we invited them, if they come to know that the message is true, to be baptized. They both said yes, and said they would come to church on Sunday as a family!! (*sidenote, they weren't able to come to church, unfortunately, because one of the kids came down with a fever, but we are still super excited to see them again!*) We also had another great lesson later that night with Brother Alejandro. He was so excited that Valyn was with us, too, because I guess he knew their family before but hadn't seen her for like 8 years. He was so involved in the lesson and had a lot of questions (related to our topic of priesthood, prophets, and the organization of Christ's church) and we got to explain the pattern of Christ's true church throughout history and how that same organization exists in our church today! It was so fun! One of those experiences that makes you just love being a missionary! :)
Thursday was MLC, and actually the only day that went according to plan. EXCEPT that we forgot our phone charger at the house here in Antipolo and our phone died about an hour after we got to the mission home in Quezon City...and we weren't supposed to be back here until Monday. So after MLC and errands at the mission office, Sister Rimano and I just went and chilled at 7-Eleven for like an hour and charged out phone at the nifty little charging station there. We met a really nice young woman from Marikina though, and got to OYM her while we were all waiting. Even got to introduce her and her husband to one of the Marikina zone leaders, and hopefully the elders will go teach them soon. :)
We stayed the night at the Quirino sisters apartment, which means seeing not only Sister Cutia and Sister Sanders, but also Sister Racaza and SISTER TINGEY! Which was perfect, because Sister Tingey is actually flying home today (leaving a week early for a family reunion), so it was the last chance to see her. I love that sister so much!
Friday morning at way-too-early-in-the-morning, we got picked up by the office elders and APs (and Mindoro zone leaders) and drove to the airport. Everything went really smoothly for our flight, EXCEPT the fact that we never actually made it to Mindoro. We never actually made it off the tarmack, because our flight got cancelled (as we were sitting on the plane waiting for take-off) due to bad weather in Mindoro. So instead we just calmly collected our bags, got a taxi back to QC, dropped the Revillos off at the mission home and then went to the mission office to catch a jeep back to Antipolo. On the bright side, though, we got to eat the krispy kreme donuts the Revillos had bought to take to interviews, got to nap (thankfully) for a couple hours when we got back to the house, and actually finished our weekly planning on time!!
Saturday--we were supposed to be in Mindoro. Obviously, didn't happen. We decided to use the time we had already freed from our schedule to finish our mainland exchanges with the other Antipolo sisters. The only thing unexpected in our day Saturday was that we accidentally stole Sister Tehei and Sister Tipasa's house key, thinking it was ours, so we ended up getting a call from them asking where the key was, only to discover that we had brought both sets with us, and were now almost a half hour away from our apartment. Luckily, Elder Johnson was able to come rescue them with their copy of the key! (Though he wasn't too excited about having to give it to them).
Sunday--yesterday was just a great day! Gladys worked with us (which always makes my day), and we had some great lessons. Especially with the Decrito family! Last week we left an assignment for Brother Decrito to read Alma 32, and when we got there yesterday we discovered that he had not only read it, but he understood and remembered basically all of it! We had a great lesson about faith, and asked where they are in their personal "growing process." Sister said she is still at the "experimenting upon the word" stage, trying to plant the seed, but Brother is already to the nourishing stage! :D It's SO COOL to see how people progress in the Gospel, and to literally see the changes that take place in them as they keep commitments and their faith starts to grow. I love missionary work so much!
Sorry this is so scattered. Basically, the moral of this week is that, even though things may not go according to OUR plan, they always go according to the plan of the Lord! He is really the one in charge, and we are all just instruments (hopefully not malfunctioning ones) in his able and confident hands. This Gospel is so beautiful, and there really is no worldly substitute for the joy it brings to our lives. :) I love you all. Hope you have a great week, and know that you are always in my prayers!!
Sister Emma Franks
P.S. Just a quick spiritual thought (since this emailing is lacking a bit of that): "It is the celestial glory which we seek. It is in the presence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings are earned through a lifetime of striving, seeking, repenting, and finally succeeding." -President Thomas S. Monson
Learned a fun trick from testimony meeting yesterday for persevering through hardships: "Always expect the biggest/worst trial you can imagine. Then, when trials come, no matter how hard, you can say 'well, this isn't [as bad as] what I expected!'" :) Perspective really is everything.