Elder Griffin and his companion "crashed" a Relief Society luncheon.
Wow, we have seen miracles this week. We met a husband and wife last night that are among the elect Wow! It was a really hard, but such a rewarding week. Last night was one of the greatest days of my mission. Here is what happened:
Friday we were visiting a less active family and they had a friend over, a nice lady in her mid 30's named Nanita. Elder Delector OYM'ed her and we taught the family with her there as well, about eternal families and the temple. She was very receptive and invited us over to teach her and her husband on Sunday. So last night our last appointment of the day we went to their house and the less active couple came with us. They are so amazing. We asked them if they had met missionaries and what they expected from us. Sister Anita said that she had never met missionaries but had always seen them walking by cheerfully in hot weather and rainy weather and she said that we are matapat (faithful, true) to who we are and that that is what interests her. Her husband said that his cousins are members and that they are super nice and he wants to know about it. They also said that they feel like they have been prompted to listen to us and that why else would God send us to their house. Last night we felt like we met a couple that fits the D&C 123 "… and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it."
We felt inspired to share about the Book of Mormon and I've never seen the Book of Mormon received so sincerely and excitedly. We read together Moroni 10:3-5 and they so sincerely want to know the truth. They have been in Roxas for not quite a year and already have a ton of friends that are good members and they invited us back next Sunday (she already told us that Sunday is for the Lord and that they don't work and that Sunday is family day – Cool!!!). They also shared how they felt at the end and what they described was that they felt the spirit! That is the most amazing first visit to an investigator of my entire mission. When we left the house we felt so excited and humbled that the Lord led us to the elect!
It was worth all the sacrifices and all the trials and everything hard just to feel the spirit that was in that humble home and seeing those that are honestly and truly looking for the truth feel the spirit. It was amazing.
This week we also had a baptism! We have been teaching Sister Helen Lopez for about 6 months. It was kind of long as we felt she needed some more time to prepare but these past few weeks we felt she was ready. She had a stroke a few years ago, so we were a little worried about how the baptism was going to go down. She needed at least room temperature water so we had to get a water heater (in the Philippines there is no heated water unless you're really rich). The branch was really helpful and bought some electric water heaters. We had a few problems though. First we hooked them up to an extension cord and learned some stuff about electricity. Apparently the power needed was more than the extension cord could handle. After a few minutes we smelled something funny and the extension cord was melting. After trying to figure out what to do, we were able to talk to our district president who is an electrician and he was able to hook us up and he did some quick electric work and added to the cord. Anyway, by that time it's about 1:30 and the baptism was at 3. At about 3, the water was warming up but Sister wasn't quite comfortable with the water temp. President Carlos also came and he interviewed one of our investigators who has a special case, but passed to be baptized next week as well. After waiting 15 mins or so. we got another bucket of water and nanay felt it and said it was good enough.
So after the program, we got to the baptism. I was elected to do the baptism so she wouldn't have trouble, being half crippled and all. I went first and it wasn't too terribly warm, so I was kind of worried if she was going to be ok. Anyway she got in and later she told us that at first it was kind of cold but then she didn't notice it anymore and the baptism was a success. She kind of had trouble finding her footing after she was baptized, but I was able to just hold her up until she got her feet stable. It's a good thing I am big, hehe. It was a great baptism.
This week we also went to Tabuk (about 1 and half hours away) and worked with the Elders there. It was pretty cool and we had some good experiences as well. We met a guy who was headed in the same direction as us that said he used to be an investigator and that he wanted to hear more. It was pretty cool. I can totally see how God can guide us as the missionaries to where we need to be or he can guide those that need to meet us to the missionaries. Also while in Tabuk all the appointments they had set up fell through and so we just started talking to people and one of the very first houses we went to dropped everything they were doing (laundry, house work) and invited us in. They are apparently from some tribe in Tabuk and aren't very good at Tagalog, so they didn't really understand what we taught them, but they did feel the spirit. The Philippines is truly the modern day Tower of Babel. There are so many different languages here. It still blows my mind all time.
By the way, this week is transfer day and I am not sure what's going to happen but I've been in Roxas for 7 and 1/2 months and might be transferred. I would also love to stay here in Roxas. We have amazing investigators. Whatever happens I'm down. :)
We are also teaching an old lady in her 70's who is a widow named Trinidad. She is very nice and is truly looking for the truth. It was really cool to see her faith. We taught her about the Word of Wisdom and the blessings and then we asked if she used any of those things we talked about. And she said "Not anymore!!" We didn't even have to challenge her and she already said she is done with coffee and tea (she didn't use the other ones).
So, there is this area in Roxas about a ten peso ride away from the city and then about a 30 min walk down a farm road. There are some members there (including a really cool convert that left on his mission about 2 months ago). When we go visit them, we have talked to all the other houses (there are only about 20 or 25 other houses) and one of them is the Torres family (see the pictures). Anyway at first only the dad was there and we came back a few times – finally we went there a few times and the whole family was there and the mom is really really receptive. The mom and the kids have come to church 6 times or so and they really love it. The dad is a really nice guy and is super shy and shy to come to church still, but he is cool as well. The only hard thing is the dad doesn't know how to read, but the mother reads to them. They have a goal date in September, so we are praying that the dad can come to church as well. They are an amazing family and their kids are dang cute.
Man, I have a million more things to share with you, but I am running out of time. I am so grateful to be on a mission and it is the experience of a lifetime. I've never been tested and tried and stretched so ,far but I've never been so happy and blessed and seen so many miracles. I've never loved so much and felt the Savior's love so much. I know the mission is the greatest experience a young man could have and I am so glad I was able to be called on a mission.
For my little brothers, I just want to say this is greatest 2 years and that it's more important than anything else! So live everyday starting now to be worthy and prepared to serve your own missions. I know that you will see miracles in the service of the Lord on your missions and I know that there are eternal friends waiting to hear your testimonies.
Love you tons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A.J.