It has been such a great week and just as I put in the title of this email, a week of miracles. One funny thing about the Philippines is that things NEVER go as planned or expected...this has made for funny experiences, miracles, and great journal entries my whole mission but I just want to share one thing that happened this week that demonstrates that principle.
Something interesting about Bacong is sometimes we don't have water, or power, or both. It has made for some adventures going to the pump (see my email from a few weeks ago) but it makes things even more interesting when it's a Sunday with no power or water.
That's what happened this Sunday...there was no power or no water so we weren't really expecting to see many people attend church. However, we were definitely proved wrong, and there were 7 INVESTIGATORS and 2 LESS ACTIVES returning for the first time that went to church! It was as if our entire teaching pool went to church! I kept wondering to myself who else would come in and as I would think of these people, I watched them come in. It was such a great feeling to see hard work paying off and to see these wonderful people we've been teaching understand the principle of keeping commitments and attending church.
I said there was no power and water, right? That made for an interesting 3 hours at the church. No fans, no working microphone, no light, church in the dark :) I wasn't planning on bearing my testimony but I felt like I needed to and I'm so glad I did because as I stood at the front and bore my testimony (speaking really loudly because the mic wasn't working) I got to look into the faces of so many people who have become my family- and I couldn't help but think of everyone I've met in all of my areas and so many people who I have taught and loved and so many people who have actually taught me and been such inspirations to me. Sweet experience.
That night we went to visit a cute newlywed couple in the branch. The husband, Sandy, is an RM and the wife is an investigator, Flor. My whole time in Bacong we have been working with them and they just got married so Flor can be baptized now. Before she didn't really have the desire to be baptized but because of Sandy's good example and some trials that have brought her closer to Heavenly Father, I have seen her testimony grow and now she wants nothing other than to be baptized and sealed in the temple to her husband in a year. She will be baptized on February 21, the day before I leave Bacong. There will be one last baptism before I go home! I am so happy.
I have loved every day of my time here in Bacong but it has definitely been a trying time for me. My whole mission I have had no problem seeing success and elect people just coming out of nowhere wanting to be baptized but in Bacong it has been a little bit different than that. I have really had to work hard- harder than I ever have before on my mission, and pray- harder than I ever have before on my mission as well. But it has been such a blessing to see these little miracles this past week and feel like the work I've done here hasn't been wasted. No effort in missionary work is wasted! Every single day is a learning opportunity.
I love you all so much and I'm sure while I've been here in the Philippines learning and growing and changing, all of you back home have been too. I remember Sister Tueller telling me at the beginning of my mission to "BECOME" and that really set the stage for so many lasting changes and miracles this past year and a half. It's great. I love my mission and the miracles I've seen and I'm looking forward to seeing more in these last few weeks.
Nahigugma ko ninyo! Amping permi.
Love, Sister Harris
P.S. sorry no new pictures this week, my face is struggling with "bugas" :( but here's a cool picture from the plane going to Manila last week!
On the Jeepny
Path to the woods
children follow me everywhere
follow the missionary
arriving in Manila
On the plane
Path toward a house