Once upon a week I used my weekly key indicators from all my planners to count how many lessons I've taught so far here in the Philippines. By teaching 30-40 lessons a week, it was this week that I taught my 1000th lesson. How crazy is that? But the truth of the matter is, it's not the most important thing the number of lessons that I teach, or even the number of people I prepare for baptism. The important thing for any missionary, no matter where they serve, is that they do their best. True story. True church.
Recently all the non-progressing investigators in our area have been dropped. So when I got here, our investigator teaching pool was very, very small. Me and Sister Sarto have been praying for and searching for new investigators to teach. We studied about it as companions. We fasted about it on fast Sunday.
The following story is an answer to our pleas:
One of the great Sisters in our ward (Sister Adonis) told us about Brother Bondoc, a less active member. His wife and four children are not members. His parents and siblings are all strong in the church, held various leadership callings, but they all now live in far away places such as America. At the request of his father, Sister Adonis has been asking the missionaries to visit him. But for whatever reason, the past missionaries were not able to do it. But when me and Sister Sarto received the referral we made it a priority. Using a hand drawn map Sister Adonis had made we found his house, and luckily he was even outside. He let us in his house and met his wife (none of the kids were home and available). We had the neatest lesson with them. When we asked Brother Bondoc what he misses about the church (he was baptized with his family when he was 16, but I believe he went inactive when he married a non-member), he started crying as he talked about going to church with all his family. It was the sweetest thing. It turns out his wife was taught by the missionaries years ago, but her parents who are devout Catholics, were opposed to her being baptized. But now that her parents are dead she is more opened to the idea. She even accepted our invitation to be baptized on September 14th, if she feels like she is ready by then. We explained the things that would help her to be ready. Besides continuing to listen to the missionaries, she needs to sincerely ponder about the things we teach, and pray to our Heavenly Father to know if they are true. She will need to read from the Book of Mormon (they already have one in their house, but we will teach her more about it next time). And she will need to come to church.
As we committed them to come to church, Brother's answer was sure, but his wife was more hesitant. We talked to her about what she is unsure of, and we helped to calm her fears. By the time we left she was much more sure about coming to church the next day, along with their children. But come Sunday morning we got a text from Brother Bondoc saying his wife wasn't ready, and that it would be hard for him to come without his family. None of them ended up coming. But we will not give up. I know that this family is an answer to more than just my prayers. I am sure Brother Bondoc's faithful family has been praying for him for a long time. I know the Lord has a plan for this family, and I am excited to do my part to be His instrument.
I continue to fall in love with my new area: Kalikid. I love our branch.
Our Sunday School somehow lead to our class of about 20 sharing their conversion stories. More than half of them are converts. It was one of the most inspiring things for a missionary to hear. It strengthened my faith that there are people prepared and waiting for us missionaries to find them.
Our regular branch pianist was missing yesterday, so I played the piano for sacrament meeting. My playing was far from perfect, but I was still so happy to be able to serve this branch anyway I could.
I'm a happy missionary.
Sister Abish "1000 and counting" Curtis