Sunday, January 11, 2015

A week of MIRACLES!

With Sister Alfeche in the city of Puerto Princesa (on exchanges in her area, not mine), reminds me how lucky I am to be in the jungle of Santa Monica! 

Making brownies in the toaster oven with Sister Vaka

Me in a tricycle

This week was a week of miracles... real experiences that have helped both Sister Teo and I, and our investigators and less active members to recognize the hand of God in our lives. 
The experience I want to share with you today is about the Lopez family! They have been a less active family we have worked with since I first arrived here in Santa Monica. Brother and Sister Lopez are endowed in the temple and they have 4 children, but when Brother Lopez quit his job to keep the sabbath day holy, they had no money and therefore had gone less active for the past year or so. I cannot tell you how many lessons we taught to the Lopez family about the principle of faith. We told them again and again that faith requires action, and in order for Heavenly Father to bless them, they had to act first. We encouraged them week after week to put church first, and then everything else would fall into place. And finally- they did! The last 2 weeks in December, they came to church with their whole family. I know it was a big sacrifice for them to come, I don't know all the details of how they did it, but they put their faith in God and came to church! With the goal to return to the temple, their family was so beautiful all together in their Sunday best. This week- guess who picked us up as our trike drive one day?!! Brother Lopez!!! He told us that after the 2nd Sunday of their whole family at church, he found a job. The job that Heavenly Father had been waiting to give them as soon as they were ready to act and show their faith. Their whole family was again at church yesterday, and the light and spirit that surrounds all of them is so real.  They were officially reactivated yesterday!! YAY!!!!
Our other Less Active members are continuing to do so great as well! Joy and the Segovia family were both at church again too!! 
Another miracle we saw this week was with Sister Eva.  She is less active and we have been trying to meet with her FOREVER! Her daughter is a recent convert, and hadn't been to church in months and so we knew we really needed to help them but we weren't really sure how! The month of December, we went back and back just trying to catch Eva to teach her.  The first fast Sunday in January we decided to fast for her.  We were impressed to just show her that we love her, and so that's what we did! Though we hadn't caught her, we left notes and cookies for her.  Finally, last week, she was home!! And she let us teach!!! And since then, we were able to go back 4 times!! And guess what! She came to church yesterday!! Seriously, when Sister Teo and I saw her with her girls walk in to sacrament (everyone comes late hahaha) we could have squealed! Such a miracle. I know 2 things- 1. fasting and prayer works. 2. LOVE is ALWAYS the answer! People only change when they feel understood and loved. 
Other really awesome miracles from this week- Arnell! He is from a part member family we have recently started teaching but he works on Sundays.  Every time we teach he says the same things "I have to work on Sundays, sorry." This week we really prayed for him to gain a testimony of the Restoration and want to make changes in his life.  After showing him the Restoration DVD he said "I'm gonna start looking for a new job!" Ahhh- when you're a missionary those words are like a dream! We are so happy!!! 
I am so thankful to be a missionary and really be able to see and recognize the miracles that happen in my own life and in the lives of those we work with here in the Philippines.  I LOVE this church. I know with all my heart it is true and Heavenly Father gave it to us because he WANTS to be a part of our lives. He WANTS and is WAITING to perform miracles for each one of us, we just have to have faith in him and be obedient first. 
Other fun things from the week- So here in the Philippines, its pretty much just understood that they're are ants everywhere. You can't leave any food out for longer than an hour before ants will be all over it. So, yesterday, I dropped a pen behind the couch and when i moved the couch to get it, there were ANT HILLS- like 6 ant hills in our house right there on the tile under the couch. Haha, I didn't even know that was possible! But hey we found the root of our ant problem! 
Another hilarious thing that happened was we were riding in a trike to a part of our area, and here in the Philippines there are always dogs everywhere all over the road, and sometimes trikes hit them, and me and Sister Teo freak out.  So this day, this trike driver looked like he was about to hit a dog, and we both like bowed our heads and closed our eyes so we wouldn't see, and when we past it and didn't hit it we both looked up at the same time, and the trike driver did the sign of the cross to end a prayer! Hahahaha, I think he thought that the 2 missionaries were praying in his tricycle. Hahaha, too funny. 
Well I hope you are happy!! I am SO happy! I love being a missionary so much! I love all of the people here in Santa Monica and I love knowing that the Lord put me and Sister Teo here just for them (: 
Sister Lockwood

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