Monday, March 31, 2014

The Good News :)

Hello All,

Happy Summer :) It's been in the high 90's this whole week with high humidity, meaning that any hope for ever being dry is useless. I sweat pretty much 24/7 and made a new record for myself on Saturday by drinking 5 liters of water. You know it's hot when you can drink almost 2 liters of water out working without needing to use the bathroom for eight hours. Yup, sorry if that's too much information haha...

  Dinner at Le Geralde Family's house Excuse the sweaty-ness haha... it's soooo hot here!

We had a very successful half-day mission with the branch yesterday. Everyone stayed after church and brought their huge pots of rice and ulam for a make-shift potluck in a corner classroom of the church. We had a short workshop and then divided up the list of less actives and barangays and sent them out by companionship to teach Ether 12:4 and invite the lost sheep of the Manat Branch to return to the fold. They loaded (and by loaded I mean stuffed- I think I saw one tryke with at least 8 people in it haha) in trykes and jeepneys and went out like an army- men, women, and youth. They visited and taught and invited and then came back to the church for juice and fudgee bars. I loved talking to them afterwards and hearing the stories about finding less actives who were willing to come back to church. They were all so excited about the work they had done and were all joking and laughing in typical Filipino fashion :) I felt the love of this tiny group of faithful saints and loved seeing their enthusiasm for strengthening their branch!

We had exchanges with the Dagupan 5C sisters on Friday. I worked with Sister Kinkini, a Tongan sister with the biggest heart in anyone I've ever met. While on the exchange we taught an inactive woman named Tess. Tess is an RM who served in the Quezon City Mission in the late 80's and is now fully active in the Catholic religion. When I heard about her background before the lesson, I was quite intrigued. How can a thing like that happen? After the opening prayer, I asked her questions to try to find out what she remembers about her testimony. It turns out she knows every doctrine of the gospel inside and out, but has hardened her heart against the church and the truths she once treasured. She sat there on the couch, arms folded, and eyes down as we talked with her, shared 2 Nephi 20:29-31, and bore powerful testimonies. She would not answer our questions and did not want us to be there. Sister Kinikini, and the two brothers we had with us from the ward were all in tears. My heart was broken too, for this sister who has strayed so far from the path and does not want to return, despite a complete understanding of the truth. Although I don't know everything about this sister's life and what has happened to cause her to be like this, i felt prompted to share my testimony with her before leaving. I bore one of the most powerful testimonies I've ever given in my life, explaining with all the energy of my soul that the gospel is the only way to happiness and eternal life. I hope she felt something, because I know I sure did. I don't know what it will take for her to come back, but I hope she will in the Lord's timing. 

Manat Branch Half Day Mission
We don't get to watch General Conference this week, but will on April 12-13. They have to translate it into Tagalog before it gets to us here in the Philippines. I'm looking forward to the general women's broadcast on Saturday too. Enjoy GC in the States and be open to revelation that the Spirit and Heavenly Father will pour out on you if you listen!

I love you all,
Sister Gustafson 

PS- The Philippines was featured in this month's Ensign! woot woot!

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