So this week was probably the most special day for me so far out in
the field. For two reasons.
So first, I just casually had lunch with a general authority.
On Wednesday we had Zone Conference which is when the whole mission
gets together for two seperate conferences depending where you're
assigned, and we were blessed enough to have Elder Ardern of the
seventy and his wife come and share to us. Their training was as
incredible as you'd expect it to be, and so so inspiring. They had
gone all out at lunch and decked out the chapel hall super fancy with
this massive buffet, it basically looked like the nicest church hall
wedding you could imagine. When we were deciding where to sit Elder
Ardern yelled out 'Sisters, sit with us!'. Wasn't gonna say no. It
just reminded me how important the missionaries are in the running of
the church and how valued our service is, and also how these people
are all just people too, but really really really awesome people. I
had such a sacred experience during the conference and learned so much
that I have been applying to the work.
In the morning while we were waiting for the conference to start, my
old companion Sister Lainhart found me and told me that the house of
the Ramos family, my very first converts in my mission, had just
burned down two weeks ago. We ran to President and he told us the
whole story, and since we were hours away from home and only 5 minutes
away from them we asked him if we could go. President doesn't usually
give permission to do anything that takes away from work time, which
is good and I agree with, but we felt so strongly that they needed us.
He said pray that the conference would be over in time and we could
go. I thought of course its not going to finish on time this is the
Philippines, but we prayed and by some miracle on miracle, we got out
on time, dived in a tricie and went. Plus midway through the
conference the Cagayan bus arrived with the missionaries from 6 hours
away including Sister Storey! That afternoon after their tragedy they
got to see their 3 missionaries, and it was such a blessing. We didn't
even know where they lived anymore, we just went and spotted the kids
playing on the street. It was mid afternoon and everyone should have
been at work but by some MIRACLE they were all home. Sister Ramos saw
us pull up and we literally RAN to each other and hugged (in my brand
new heels which are now destroyed). She just cried and cried, and she
just kept saying its gone, its all gone. My heart hurt for them. I
honestly didn't know if I'd ever seen them again, but here we were.
After all the reunions we sat and got down to business. Brother Ramos
went and bought us food, as much as we protested that they had
nothing, and he insisted they needed the blessings from serving the
missionaries. He is amazing. They're literally counting the days til
they can go to the temple to be sealed, anddd its all entirely
possible that I will be able to go with them to the temple, to see all
three families be sealed together before I go home. He told us that
some of them have been struggling a little bit, some of them have had
to miss some Sunday's for work and things, so with what little time we
had left we RAN to our other RC's, and we all cry hugged together.
When I saw Juvie, one of the other wifes I looked her in the eye and
said JUVIE ARE YOU GOING TO CHURCH? She looked so guilty. I told her
never to forget that we're going to the temple, all of us. She knew,
she understood, and they're gonna be ok.
So this is the best part. We went to see the house and its literally
just four poles and a pile of rubble. They said it was some sort of
electrical fault, but luckily nobody was home at the time. They said
the whole ward bounded together to help rebuild what they could on
their land and give them clothes and supplies, so they're being taken
care of. I just love them, I'm probably rambling but I love these
people so much. Then this was the best part. We saw the house, there
was nothing left, EXCEPT, their Bible, and all of their Book of
Mormons. The Bible here in the picture, the back cover was gone, and
the side part binding all the pages was gone, and the pages were all
burned on the outside, and when you opened it, the edges were clearly
burnt, but not a single word of the text was missing, I kid you not.
Plus all of their Book of Mormons, about 5 or 6 of them, which were
all in different places in the house. Whenever I show this picture to
people they're like 'wow.....why didn't you take a picture of the Book
of Mormons? That would have been way better...' Well, yeah, I'll get
one haha. But anyone whole looking to see a miracle, this is one, and
this family definitely isn't missing the point.
In other really excellent news, Joann got baptised! She was amazing,
and even though only her auntie and uncle were there to support her,
none other of her family and friends, she cried in her testimony and
said she knew it was true even though nobody else around her wanted to
believe it. Her story is amazing. Her cousin was also 17 years old
when she got baptised, and like Joeann, her parents were opposed to
signing the papers or letting her be baptised, but the cousin
continued and eventually after a year and just a couple months before
she left on her mission, her parents were baptised. Now the parents
are the ones leading the fight for Joann and making up for not being
their for their own daughter. They're awesome, shes awesome, everyones
I just love this mission. And I'm including my favourite story that I
read this week from Acts 19. Talk about needing authority from God!
I love you all. Serve hard, whatever your calling.
13 ¶Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon themto
call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord
Jesus,saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief ofthe
priests, which did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I
know; but who are ye?
16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them,
andovercame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled outof
that house naked and wounded.
17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling
atEphesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord
18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewedtheir deeds.
19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their
bookstogether, and burned them before all men: and they counted
theprice of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.