Monday, March 7, 2011

I love you!

It's a happy day! Thanks for the cheery emails! I'm excited to read them all in depth later today! Please send my thanks to all who sent birthday stuff. That was really sweet of you! Today we are in Dagupan (because sister Walker and I have to get an x-ray before coming home). I'm excited because Rowena, one of our investigators, is getting married tonight! And another investigator, Renaldo Balagot, is eagerly preparing to be baptized. Sister Jennifer Cardinoza also - though she needs to get married first as well. We taught sister Norma (the one who seemed unreceptive at first but is actually quite open). She had some concerns about the Book of Mormon because she told her pastor and he told her that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet. So we taught her the importance of asking Heavenly Father in prayer. I think it's interesting how easily people just believe what their pastor tells them rather than going to the source of all wisdom and asking Him directly. I really felt the spirit guide us as we taught her, and at the end, she teared up a bit and committed to continue to read the Book of Mormon and found out the truth for herself.

On the bus I met a really sweet girl about my age named Rhia. I had been praying to meet someone on the bus who really needed the gospel that day. And in the morning I felt I should bring an extra Book of Mormon. Well she sat next to me and we became fast friends. It turns out she's studying nursing, and graduation is soon but she's not sure she'll pass, so it's been really stressful for her lately. One of her classmates is Mormon. She is the 8th of 10 children of a single mom, who is working abroad. two of her siblings died. I showed her a picture of our family and of the temple, and told her about how families can be together forever. Her eyes lit up with hope, and I gave her a Book of Mormon and told her it would help her through the hard times. She gladly accepted it. It was a really edifying conversion, and I really feel like it was the time in her life when she was most prepared to hear about the restored gospel. I'm happy!

Well, this week my testimony has really been strengthened of the power of prayer. Prayer really does make a big difference in how much we and those around us are blessed. I like what it says in the bible dictionary about how prayer secures for us blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. I also think it's interesting how it says that prayer is a form of work. I like the quote that says, "Pray as if everything depends on God, and then get up and work like everything depends on you." So I've been studying a lot in the Book of Mormon about how prophets received answers to their prayers, and I've discovered that each of us can receive answers that are just as clear and direct from the Lord, in the exact same way that they did. It just takes a lot of practice trying to figure out how the Holy Ghost works and trying to become accustomed to his voice. I love the account in Ether about the brother of Jared. I think it teaches us a lot about how important prayer is. Jared was able to receive very specific answers to his prayers to know what the Lord wanted him to do. His prayers also have a great effect in blessing him and his family to receive blessings they may not have otherwise received. Then they halt in their journey on the seashore for four years, and finally the Lord chastens him for three hours for forgetting to pray. On my mission, one of the first things we always do is teach investigators how to pray. It's interesting how many people don't understand how. One of my favorite things is when we teach the first lesson and then invite them to give the closing prayer. Afterwards, you can see how excited they are - they really feel a difference when they learn to pray the right way.

Preach My Gospel is not just for missionaries. It's for everyone. It can answer pretty much any question you have and it is a great tool for life! Conference talks are amazing!

I love being a missionary! I love the Philippines! I love my companion, Sister Lapana. She's great! I love the gospel! We're so blessed! I love you! Thank you for everything!

Love always, Rebecca

P.S. A million thanks Alex, I love you! Your emails today sure brightened my day!

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