Monday, September 22, 2014

Oh the rains came down and the floods came up...

 The birthday cake the zone got for all those with birthdays this transfer!

Sister Mau's baptism on September 13th. She was baptized by her own recently baptized father. He was glowing!

Yes, typhoon season is in full swing... I can't remember a day this week where I didn't wade through floodwater and was wet the whole day... maybe that explains my cold haha (Mom, Don't worry, I'm FINE!!) The typhoon season also means that we find surprises in our apartment, like trails of ants stretching across the kitchen and up the stairs, frogs in the bathroom, and cockroaches everywhere including in our desks and clothes's definitely more fun in the Philippines!

We had some great miracles at church yesterday. Using the Philippines area address unknown project, we have been looking for "lost" members with unsure addresses. Using the program, we found a part-member family and inactive sister Adella that hasn't been to church in years. We didn't even teach her, just invited her to church and yesterday she showed up with her two kids! We also met an inactive part member family, the Carinos, and invited them back to church as well and yesterday Sister C came with the kids. It just goes to show the power of a simple visit and invitation that lets someone know you care. I can't emphasize how important home and visiting teaching are. You have the power to change a family's eternity. Simple visits make a huge difference!

Exchanges with Sister Saniel (Philippines) and Ritati (Kiribati) :)

I had a great exchange in Villasis A area this week with Sister Aruwitit from Kiribati. Despite a typhoon and torrential rain and winds, we were able to teach an amazing lesson on the message of the Restoration to the Abalos family. Bro and Sis A gathered 7 of their 11 children to listen and it was dead quiet except for the sound of the rain on the roof as we shared of Joseph Smith's first vision. Nine pairs of dark brown eyes were locked on ours and the Spirit was so strong. We invited each one of them to follow the example of Jesus Christ be baptized and 7 of them looked straight back at us and said "opo". We are so happy for them and their potential to be an eternal family!

Sis Lydia and Bro Rodolpho have finally finished paying off a debt that they had and are able to save for their marriage now. Brother's work is picking up and their goal is in sight. The goal date is their son's birthday, Oct 25. Pray for them! :)

I don't have much time, but I can only say that it was a week of stretching and growing. There were a few times this week where I was at the end of my rope and didn't think I could do anymore. My dear companion was so sweet and just listened to me and reminded me to love the ward and the people that reject us and to humbly submit to Heavenly Father's will. I've repented of my pride and committed to become more humble and filled with charity. Pres Uchtdorf taught, "It is impossible to be lifted up in pride." I pray every day for more charity and less pride.

The mission is definitely a refiner's fire and the rejections and struggles with the ward are teaching me what Heavenly Father wants me to learn. He is so patient with my weaknesses and I am so grateful for Him.

Always remember that the challenges are the blessings...
Sister Gustafson :)


Urdaneta Temple site
Announced October 2010

 FHE with Bro Bryan, who is now in Manila. We are praying he will come back within the year and will be able to be baptized!


 Sister Naya and I  :) She leaves to go and live in Tarlac with her grandson this week. We will miss this sweet sister!

What happens when you come back from exchanges and realize you have no keys and have to wait outside your gate for 90 minutes waiting for your neighbors to come home... oops!

 New shoes, sent to me from one of my (favorite) member families,the Molanos, from Manat.  I'm not sure if these kind of shoes would be fashionable in the States but they are very "in" here :)

Happy one year to me! Sis Fui bought me my favorite bread and tried to reheat it in the toaster oven, burning it... oops!

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