Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Understanding the Atonement

It's been just another week of miracles here in Sta. Cruz! The first miracle being that we survived "The Aswang." Apparently there is a big, fat hunchbacked monster running around eating children. The parents are loving it. The kids have been super well-behaved this week. I'm especially lucky because I went on exchanges in Pakil with Sister Johnson and that's where The Aswang lives. 

The next miracle is that I successfully convinced someone that I was from Cebu. I am now a native Filipina. 

We also had Family Week and Sister Burt and I ran a 5k! That's a lie. That would've been a miracle too. We actually just ran the 2k with the primary kids. Sister Vergie and Sister Cherry Lou Pamilacan came too, even though it was at 4am. I'm pretty sure the smile on my face couldn't have gotten any bigger than it was when I saw them walk in. 

But the real miracle is all of the new investigators that we have found this week! We have been really struggling to find new investigators and remember that blessing I got last week that promised unexpected miracles? Well we went and followed-up on all of those referrals we got last Sunday and 2 of them are sisters who are long-time less actives with families who all want to be taught. I love the fact that Heavenly Father's plan is so centered on families and that I get to share it with everyone :) 

The other real miracle is that I did 45 push-ups. 45! Why? Because I thought Brother Pamilacan needed to understand the atonement. But it was really because I needed to understand it. We had a family home evening with them in which each person had the choice to accept a candy bar. But the catch was that someone had to pay for it. The price was 5 push-ups. I volunteered because I love them. So EJ was first and he wanted a candy bar. 5 push-ups. Jhed wanted one to. 5 more. By the time we got to Sis. Cherry Lou she rejected the candy bar. And I got down and paid for her to not eat her candy bar. Brother Pamilacan was the 7th person and I was getting pretty shaky. He looked at me with a look of absolute pity on his face, a look I won't forget anytime soon, and told me that he would do the push-ups for his own candy bar. "You can do 5 push-ups, but Sister Brown still has to do them too," was the reply that came from Sis. Burt. So he watched me suffer all for him not to eat the candy bar. The point being that the price has already been paid. Christ already did it. And because of that, we can overcome the world. All we have to do is accept Him. And Brother looked around at his family and he said, "Kayang kaya ko." We thought he got it.

On Sunday, we wait by the door for all of our investigators. But we're really just waiting for the Pamilacan's. And then we saw the tricycle pull up, the whole family. And Brother Pamilacan dressed in a T-shirt and basketball shorts. He didn't even look up at us. His cute little family started walking towards the church and he drove away real fast. We just kind of stood there for a minute and then I gave Jhed a big hug to keep myself from crying. And as I did, I felt the pain in my back and shoulders. And I remembered all those push-ups. And in that moment, in some minuscule way, I completely understood what the Savior must feel. Not for a moment did I regret doing the push-ups, but complete and utter sadness washed over me that even after I'd done that for him, he still didn't understand. I had already suffered for him. Why was he choosing to suffer too? How could I stand to watch him suffer, knowing that what I had done was all in vain? 

I know with all of my heart that there was a moment in the Garden of Gethsemne where the Savior saw Edward Pamilacan's face and he suffered for him individually, knowing all of the pain that he would face because of him, but not hesitating for a moment because that's how much He loves him. I know that my Savior saw my face and that He suffered every pain, temptation, and sin that I would ever face. And that the same goes for each and every one of you. I know that because Jesus Christ already paid the price, we don't have to. And I now understand how Heavenly Father must feel every time I use my agency not to eat the candy bar. And I know that the Savior never gives up on us. 

So here's to another week of not giving up. Whatever trials you may face, you can do it. Because the price has already been paid. Someone else has already been there. Rely on Him. Read this talk: 

XOXO, Sister Brown

Cumpletong pamilya
First ever pic of the whole Pamilacan family :)

Tweety and her cute fam

Sis Johnson
Fun run!

We ran with the primary!

Cheaters ;)

Espirtu family

Garin family

Cultural presentations

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