June 9, 2014
I got a letter today from the mom of a less-active family, the Fernandez family, that we worked with in Lingayen. The only reason she was less-active is because she had to stay home with her 80+ mother who couldn't walk because of a stroke. When they did come to church it was when they had saved enough money to take a tricycle so that the grandma could attend. Sister Fernandez would lovingly help her mom out of the tryke and shuffle her feet slowly along the ground into the sacrament hall. If they didn't have money and they could leave grandma at home, they would walk the 2+ miles to church. Incredible! I love this family so much for their pure righteousness and love they showed to me. I wrote them a few weeks ago and today I got the reply. These are the things that make it all worth it. These are not stats counted or lessons taught or miles walked or tears cried, these are souls and families and peoples' eternal salvations.
I was reminded of that as well at Ronell's baptism on Saturday :) After the baptism itself, he got up to bear his testimony. He pulled out a piece of paper that he had carefully folded in his pocket and read it. He talked about how he has seen himself change because of coming to know Jesus Christ and His Gospel. He expressed gratitude that his alcohol and coffee habits have stopped and he is reading the Book of Mormon every day. I couldn't stop my grin the whole time he spoke. Wow. What a changed man, from the shy investigator who didn't want to pray and would drink every night with his friends, to a brother who shows up to church in a white shirt and reads the Book of Mormon chapters at a time. This is why it's worth it! Being a part of the 'mighty change of heart' that the people of King Benjamin experienced is the greatest calling in the whole world. Seeing that kind of conversion and change in others makes the pouring rain, blisters, tears, rejections, and mistakes all worth it. I love being a missionary. :)
Mahal na mahal ko kayong lahat. Totoo ang Simbahang ito.
Sister Gustafson :)
PS - Exotic food of the week- baby squid. It turns out the whole thing is edible- the ink, tentacles and body. Not too bad, just a little on the chewy side :) The quote of the week comes from a catholic sister we taught on the side of the road, "Everything you just taught is exactly what we believe except for that part about the apostasy and Joseph Smith." ...um, yes, I think that's the point, my dear sister...!
With Umber, the baby goat