One word that would sum up this whole week and probably my life for the next 15 months: Determination.
We had the craziest week! So much has happened and so much to tell. Let's start with a little tender mercy from Heavenly Father that I really needed:
A few weeks ago on the jeepney on our way to the San Jose hospital we were coming back from Lipa. I was just enjoying the bumpy ride back to our home town until 10 minutes had passed and I just had the feeling like someone was just watching me. Good thing these moments can tend to be extremely awkward and maybe turn bad.
I had been sitting by this cute little woman wearing a cute little white cap, and a big carry on full of stuff to sell who had been STARING me down. Not just checking out my badge or pondering on how to ask if I happened to be American, but seriously staring... not that I'm not used to that or anything...this woman was determined to talk to me.
I finally turn awkwardly and look at her stuff and asked her where she was going and she told me about how she sells little trinkets on the road, and we start talking like we are old friends or something. Conversation is going GREAT. Perfect timing for me to slide my missionary purpose right on in there with my broken Tagalog. She started asking me questions about our church and I basically just gave her the entire Lesson one overview of Joseph smith and such. I couldn't believe my ears when she told me that she did not have a set religion and that she was just experimenting many to see which one was true....
Can you say, "Golden Investigator".
I asked her if we could share more about the gospel of Jesus Christ with her and she said, "yes" and I said, "um, GREAT!" I could not contain how I was feeling inside!
Missionary Tip 101: Don't forget to get the potential investigator's number.
We get off the jeep and I realized I didn't even have her name or number...FAIL.
I'm telling the sisters about my ever so successful OYM (remember? this means "Open Your Mouth) and then Sister Tafiti asks, "Great! So did you get her number?"
YEP. Trust me, still having it rough and feeling dumb over here. It's been a rough couple of weeks thinking of how we could find her. I thought about her every day since I saw her.
But here's the best part: We were walking to Zone Meeting at the Chapel on Thursday and see our wonderful District Leader buying his daily dunkin' donuts... and lo and BEHOLD...She is standing right there. Talking to the elders. I could NOT believe my eyes. She was being OYM'ed by the elders. We hugged and started talking... Anyway, long story short, got her name and number and a day and time to teach her. Coincidence, I think NOT.
Diligence is KEY and sometimes even though we mess up, the Lord helps us and gives us a second chance. I know seeing her again was not by chance. Being in the right place at the right time can work wonders as a missionary.
Speaking of being at the right place at the right time, we also gained another golden investigator. Her name is Belen. Here we are just deciding to tract in a random village by the cemetery in Don Louise. We're OYMing this guy and as soon as we get his info, this lady come up to us and asked us, "Who are you?" Perfect question. We told her who we were and shared our purpose, and the next thing we knew, we were in her house teaching her Lesson One. She told us about her husband dying from sickness. The next part just brings a little tear to my eye. She told us how she would always walk by our chapel on Don Louise
Road, and tell her daughter that she wanted to go inside, but her daughter said, "That's only for Mormons. You can't go inside."
This sister is so ready and prepared for the gospel. She was so excited to see us and felt like she really needed to talk to us. AMAZING PEOPLE here in this mission.
Despite all of the sadness from the typhoon, the Lord is really blessing Sister Tafiti and I. We had a very successful week, and many new investigators are ready to hear us. It's all about being in the right place at the right time.
Since the devastation in Tacloban from the typhoon, we will be getting a whole BUNCH of new missionaries from that mission. There won't be any more missionaries in that mission anymore since Tacloban is completely wiped out. So incredibly sad. We're excited to help them and welcome these amazing missionaries into San Pablo. Their stories will be so humbling to hear.
Something President Peterson told us at zone training this week has been ringing in my ears. He said, "Stop looking back and consecrate your life to serving the lord." When we give our lives to the Lord, he makes us so much more than we could be. Full- time missionary or not, we can all consecrate our lives to serve God. We should be, always! We already made the decision to do so when we were baptized. How grateful I am and humbled to be wearing such a great badge everyday that is a beacon to the world of who we are and what we believe. I know it's true. There's no way it's not.