Monday, February 2, 2015

Truly Happy :)

Mga Minamahal ko sa buhay, (Beloved in my life)

As I begin the last transfer of my mission, I am reminded more and more that my mission is just the beginning of a lifetime of service to my brothers and sisters and my Heavenly Father. Yesterday we had a testimony meeting during Relief Society and 3 of the most beautiful Filipino Nanays stood up and bore their testimonies. These tiny, white haired, tan skinned nanays are some of the strongest members of the church, having served faithfully in various callings and continuing to do their visiting teaching and attend their church meetings. I couldn't stop myself from standing up after them and telling everyone that I want to be like Nanay Aurelia and Nanay Cabatbat and Nanay Alcantara and that when I am that age, in my 80s and even 90s, I want to be able to stand and say that I have faithfully served my whole life and that I still know that the church is true. I am grateful that this is just the beginning of a beautiful life filled with service and I'm grateful for the example of my parents and grandparents who have served and continued to serve their whole lives!

It's easy to say goodbye to a companion at the end of a transfer, but it's a lot harder to say goodbye to a best friend. As I hugged Sis Gregory goodbye on Friday morning, I couldn't help but shed some tears because I'm really going to miss her hugs and her love and her friendship. She's become more than a companion to me and I know we will be lifelong friends! 

I have a new companion now, Sister Molina :) She has the biggest smile and the biggest heart. When she teaches the Spirit fills the room. She is 22, an elementary school teacher, from Bicol, and loves butterflies. I am so blessed to have such a hard-working and exactly obedient companion in my last transfer! I'll send pictures next week... I think she's my tiniest companion of the 12 so far :)

Sis Marissa is so much fun to teach. This week we taught her the ASL alphabet and now she can spell words like "itlog" and "baso", "egg" and "cup", so she can ask for those things when she wants them. It's incredible progress for her to have a way to communicate after a lifetime of being mute and deaf. We are planning on getting the Relief Society involved as well in learning the ASL alphabet as well so they can communicate with her :)

Brother Rick was an answered prayer when he showed up to church yesterday in his bright red striped polo shirt and jeans. He texted us on Saturday night and told us that he had a fever and probably wouldn't be able to make it to church in the morning. We said a prayer for a miracle and were overjoyed to see him walk into sacrament meeting the next morning. There is nothing more happy as a missionary than seeing your investigators come to church! It makes it all worth it, if even one will come! We had a great lesson this week about the celestial kingdom and Brother Rick looked us straight in the eyes and told us that he is willing to do whatever it takes to make it to the celestial kingdom. We are continuing to prepare him for baptism this month!

We are also working with Michelle and Michael, two of the most beautiful dark-eyed children I've seen in my life. They are 10 and 12 and their mom is a returning less-active. Even though she has epilepsy, they also all came to church yesterday! That's true happiness- service and seeing the results as they come to church and change their lives! :)

I love you all and I love this work more and more with each day!
Sister Gustafson

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