Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Don't pop that balloon!

So got my first hurricane in the Philippines under my belt!  Our mission did not feel the brunt of it, only the benefits. It brought a lot of rain this week. The farmers here have been really suffering because of their irrigation systems have been dried up, so they needed it badly! It has been nice and cool here too (really only like 87 degrees, but that is a really nice change to the 100 degree weather before). The hurricane hit Manila and all the missionaries are fine there, but there was flooding and roofs that blew off houses and what not. Another hurricane is heading this way too but it is not expected to hit land too hard. Probably just a little more wind and some rain. No worries!

Sister Mat and I are good. And so are my other housemates. They are super fun and we have a good time all together. There are a couple people preparing for their missions in the ward so we have begun a mini MTC for them were they work with us, we teach from the Preach My Gospel manual after they get off work. The sisters are Sister Cabada from Quezon City and Sister Simram from Micronesia. My apartment is pretty culturally diverse. right?  Sister Mat is a convert, and the rest have all grown up in the church. All of their parents are members and are very supportive. Sister Cabada just hit her 1 year mark in the mission, Sister Simram has been out for 6 or 7 months, and Mat is at 10 months.

This week was good even with a hurricane. We were only able to teach about 20 lessons this week, which isn't the best, but we did well in our finding efforts. Most of the time we don't knock on doors and tract that way. We usually talk to people when we are in vans heading to different places, or we stop and talk to people on the street. The other day we stopped at the little corner store (they are called tindahans) to get a drink and while we were talking to the lady working there, three other guys came to get a drink as well. It turns out that one of them is actually an inactive member and we were able to talk to him and his friends about what we believe. The inactive one said that he was actually looking for a way to come back to church. He has been inactive for 18 years and is new to the area. It was kind of a miracle running into them. We will be saying our prayers we see him again soon...we have hope!!
This week Sister Mat and I had a day where we went around to our different areas looking for inactive members that we have yet to meet. When we asked the different members about where we could find them (because here there are no addresses), they all would tell us their problems about how they smoke and drink and they are hopeless for coming back to church and being a worthy and active member. When this particular member told me all of these things, I simply replied, "There is always hope. We will visit them soon." I thought back to a lesson I had at the MTC. Class started off with someone holding a balloon. When there was something negative said, the balloon popped immediately. That balloon represented hope. That hope was destroyed, and he was left hopeless.
With everyone we meet, we have hope for them. We picture them dressed in white entering the waters of baptism. We picture them happily entering the temple. We have all of these feelings of love for them. We can't let negativity and hopeless thoughts keep us from helping others realize what really matters.

This was a concept that I recently learned in the field. We routinely visit an inactive member. She hasn't come to church in a long time. She smokes often and has never made any effort to keep the commitments we make with her. One day we even taught about the word of wisdom, yet we would come to visit her and she would be sitting on her doorstep with a cigarette in her mouth. I didn't have much hope for her, but we still would continue to visit her. My companion is such a great example to me. She always has a ton of hope for her, and I was probably the one popping that balloon of hope. She promised she would quite smoking and she would come to church. To my surprise she came AND she told she hadn't had a cigarette in two weeks. Isn't that awesome?

We must not loose hope. Not in ourselves. Not in others. And most definitely, never loose hope in the Lord. He has a perfect plan for each and everyone of us. Trust in Him. Rely on Him. We can do all things in Christ.

Love you all!
Sister Koncurat 

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