Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Incredible Atonement

Kamusta po kayo lahat? Sana your week was absolutely fabulous! Mine started like this: We were sitting in the Pamilacan's living room, waiting out the bagyo and waiting for Brother Makulit to make an appearance. And then Sister P says this, " Sister, what if he just had one shot? Would we have to move the baptism?" And then the world stopped. Brother never did come home that night and we weren't able to talk to him until the next day, when he told us that he'd had a shot. Not just once, but twice and that he was probably going to have another one later. That was when the world came crashing down. And then you spend the rest of the week wondering if there was something more that you should have done. You can't eat, you can't sleep, and it's always in the back of your mind. He was at the peak of the mountain! He was 3 days away from living the Word of Wisdom for the required month! We had seen the changes in him. We knew that he was ready. We knew that he wanted it.

I spent a lot of the week fighting with myself, telling myself that I needed to just love him but wanting to just be mad at him. Not because he couldn't be baptized, but because the date we had set with his family to be sealed in the temple next September was now impossible. And I watched the heart of Sister Cherry Lou Pamilacan break a little bit. I saw her wonder if her husband was ever really going to just do it. I have gained so much love and respect for that woman this week. No matter how disappointed she may be, she keeps on going and she keeps on supporting her husband. My future husband can thank her for the lessons I am learning on patience from that amazing woman. I love her with all my heart :) 

I was still really struggling so on Wednesday, I asked for a blessing from my wonderful district leader and it was perfect. It assured me I had given 100% faith in the Lord and this man and it reminded me of the only thing that had helped me when I first arrived in the Philippines; the atonement. I was reminded that the power of my Savior's atonement could help me overcome the physical trials I was facing, as well as the spiritual trials. And then Heavenly Father reminded me that the reason I was here was to help other people understand this as well. Later in my personal study, I read Alma 7:11-12.  11 And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
 12 And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities. His atonement can help Sister Pamilacan to overcome the disappointment she was facing. And His incredible atonement is going to help Brother Pamilacan overcome the temptations he is going to face and to overcome the mistakes he has made. Because of the atonement, hope isn't lost. Because the Savior knows exactly what we are facing, we can turn to Him and He strengthen us beyond our own. As we went about our lessons that day, I was able to share this scripture with everyone we taught. I know the atonement is real. And Brother Makulit is gonna know it too.

The blessing I was given also included the promise that we would see "unexpected blessings" in the work. I'd say that was fulfilled. Sister Burt and I had people coming up to us and asking us if we could come teach their friends. We also had the chance to go on exchanges in Sta Maria where our amazing sisters taught us how to find part-member families and we've been applying that in our work as well. We also lived through Typhoon Mario, escaped a 9 year old shanker, and were saved from the crazy, fat, black lady. But there's no time to explain.

Love you all! Thanks for all the support and love and prayers. Keep being awesome and remember who you are.

XOXO, Sister Brown 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bombs of Enthusiasm

Running through the bomb!
Kamusta my dearest friends and family? Hope your week was super duper!! Mine was super busy. We had double exchanges this week, Improv Zone Training Meeting, a baptism, and we got bombed! I know you can't beat that. 

So first things first, the bomb. We went to visit one of our investigators who lives literally in the bukid. Meaning the middle of the jungle. But right as we were about to go in, all of these people started running out yelling, "May bomba! May bomba!" I was pretty sure we were in for the most exciting day of our missions! But before you get too worried mom, it was a smoke and Baygon bomb. To kill all the mosquitoes. And because we really love our investigators and we were already late, we pulled out our handkerchief (we only had one for the 2 of us) and we ran all ninja style through the smoke and made it to our investigator just in time! 

There were tons of other bombs this week too. Not literal bombs. I went on exchanges with Sister Cortes on Tuesday and let me just say she is so magaling! I loved being her companion for the day. The exchange was great but the best part was when we went and taught Brother Pamilacan. And he told us he read his 2 chapter assignment in the Book of Mormon! And then he pulled out a 2-page summary of what he read. We had decided to be super enthusiastic about whatever he'd read, even if it was just a little bit so I was super happy. We didn't have time to read the summary though so I asked if I could have it. Later that night I sat down to read it. And about half way through I realized that it was the wrong story. So I grabbed my Book of Mormon and started flipping through the pages... Not only did he read the 2 chapters, he read 11 more! When I asked him about it in the next visit he just smiled real big and said, "Surprise!" Haha he's the best :) Only 2 more weeks til September 26th!

Then I went on exchanges with Sister Woodruff on Friday. She just got transferred to her 2nd area. Her first area was also none other than The 'Bang! So we had a good time talking about all the great people there. She reminds me very much of myself at that point of my mission. She needed a little more happiness in her work. So I did my best to drop bombs of enthusiasm all the day long and ya know, at the end of the day she told me she felt like she'd finally found the joy that she'd lost :) Cause ya know, everything is just better with enthusiasm.

Finally, Edlyn got baptized! The night before her baptism we went and had a little testimony meeting with her and she admitted how much her mind had changed about the church and expressed such a strong desire for her baby to grow up in the church and eventually serve a mission. (By the way, she likes Shane Clark and none of you gave me any other ideas so this baby's future is in your hands) The service was very simple. Her husband, who is a returning less-active member, was able to baptize her. 3 times. Third times the charm, right? She then got up and bore a 20 minute testimony without taking a breath. It was both powerful and impressive. That family is going to be a great strength to the church and their family is going to be so much stronger because of the gospel. 

We had no outline this month for zone training meeting so as STL's and ZL's we got to choose what to talk about. So one of the things Sister Burt and I talked about was enthusiasm. I'm not lying to you. If you are excited about something, chances are everyone else is gonna get excited too. So be excited about what you do this week. Drop some bombs of Enthusiasm.

Love ya! 

XOXO, Sister Brown

(She didn't have a caption for this but can I just say YUCKY...I don't know how she handles this!)

Kyle...or Kalel, I can't tell them apart
Irish Jupiter, all 113 cm of her


Exchanges with Sis. Woodruff

Edlyn and Ronald