Happy Chinese New Year and Valentines Day!
I totally forgot about not being able to email up until now. But here I am.
Last week was really awesome. We had Rency's baptism (which I believe you can see pictures of on my facebook as some of the members have informed me.)
I was really happy when after the baptism that night we got a text from her that said, "Oh elders I am so sorry! I forgot to pay my tithing today! Is it okay if I pay it next week?" I am very glad she is so committed to the gospel and also to keeping the commandments. She also apologized she didnt get Chinese New Year off so she couldnt help us go finding for new investigators. It is amazing how committed the Filipinas here are to the gospel.
This week, Marilyn will get baptized. A few days ago when we taught her, I realized we had never asked about her family to make sure her husband is okay with her baptism. When I asked her, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that she has been talking to them the entire time she has been investigating and that they are meeting with missionaries and going to church now in the Philippines. Also, she was able to get a five day holiday next month so she is going to fly back to the Philippines to help the missionaries teach her family there.
There are so many great miracles this last week, but one that definitely stands out happened on Sunday. We got a new investigator and were preparing to teach her. Right when she saw the pamphlets, she started crying and told us that her son drowned a year ago at the age of 19. She said that after he died, they found all of our pamphlets along with the Book of Mormon in his school bag. She asked us who Jesus Christ is, and when we told her that he is the Son of God, she got very happy and told us the last time she had talked to her son on the phone, he had been trying to teach her about the church and that he told her Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but not our Heavenly Father. She was immediately super receptive, and our lesson quickly changed from the Restoration to the Plan of Salvation. We arent sure if he was baptized yet or if he was just a really good investigator, but his mother was SHOCKED when she saw the same things in our church that they found in her son's bag. She right away said she wants to be baptized, and we are very excited for her.
We have SO MANY baptisms coming up. I really hope I get to stay here for a while. We already have had a lot of success, but there is so much more still coming.
I dont remember if I told you or not but we have a really good Indonesian investigator who finally started reading the Book of Mormon, and ever since then, she has had a problem with lack of sleep because she cant stop reading it at night and wakes up in the morning to read it some more.
Oh! Something really cool happened. We pulled back a Muslim man who is from Northern India and speaks Urdu. He was telling us that he believes every religion has some truths but that they have been changed by men too much, even his own religion. As we shared the Restoration he really loved it. Then he told us something really cool. We talked about Jesus Christ visiting the Americas and he told us his problem with other Chrsitian churches is that they have all told him Jesus Christ didnt go anywhere after he was Resurrected, just back to heaven. But in a village near where this man lives, there are hieroglyphics and an ancient tradition that Jesus Christ went there and to other places after he was Resurrected so that he could establish his church there and visit the people.
So he was very happy about the Book of Mormon and about the idea of Jesus Christ visiting other places.
Holidays are always so crazy here in International. I understand what "religious excitement" Joseph Smith was talking about. As we went finding the other day, we got to worldwide and on one side there was a preacher over loudspeakers yelling out scriptures and things, then on the other a live band from some other church was playing. In the middle of it all there were JWs and other churches' missionaries everywhere. We decided to go to a park a little walk away and on the way the streets were all roped off and there were THOUSANDS of Filipinas in the streets all screaming and singing and dancing while El Shaddai (another church) was having some big huge street service or something. Along the edges were JIL (Jesus Is Christ) missionaries in green shirts trying to pull the Filipinas away from it and trying to give out "Vote for Brother Eddie" cards and flyers so that their church leader could be a senator in the Philippines. Then deeper in the park were tons of Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ) members and missionaries trying to invite people to some big giant "anti-other churches" meeting.
But in the middle of all of it, we were able to get a few pull-backs and when we taught them the restoration, it just clicked in their minds.
This is one of the most challenging and rewarding places and things to do in the world. I feel sometimes like we are placed right in the middle of the Palmyra it shows in the Restoration DVD and sent to bring everyone out of all the craziness and confusion.
Well I guess thats all the stories I have time for. But as you can see, I am very busy lately. But I am also so grateful for everything that is happening here as well as the great things I have heard about regarding my school stuff back home.
Love you all!