Monday, March 9, 2015

It's Summer!

 Getting into a home of a less active member

Family Home Evening

Bedroom in Manila apartment 

Sister Dewan doing laundry in our bathroom 

The outside of our apartment complex in Manila

Dear Family, 
Well, it is officially SUMMER in the Philippines! Haha, the connotation of the word "summer" has changed so much.  At home summer is the best season ever and everyone is so happy and excited for the season...Here its more of like, "Here we go....". Its okay though, I've pretty much just gotten used to the fact that I sweat 24/7, except at church where we have air conditioning, and in the cold shower in the morning. (: Tender mercies.
This week was a really good week! I still LOVE my area (although sometimes the smells are a little too much here in the city...). Sister Dewan and I are the luckiest to be here. We found really solid new investigators this week and we have so many progressing towards baptism! One of the most exciting news was Sister Virgie, a recently reactivated grandmother in our area has a grand daughter, Shayne, who has been coming to church and wants to be baptized soon! Margie and Angel are still doing great (: I'll send a picture of them next week. Margie is the sweetest. She has 3 kids, her oldest is Angel who is 10, and the other 2 are 2 little boys and another on the way.  This week I asked her where she got her Makati shirt and she was like, "Oh here I have an extra!" The kindness and generosity of the people here who have next to nothing blows me away. Other investigators/less active members you can pray for are Bernaditta (our 4th ward investigator), Melanie, RR, and Annie and Samantha. 
Even though the work was really great this week, it was a really heavy week emotionally. Living in Manila Philippines, I am immersed in poverty all the time.  There are homeless people everywhere, and at least on a daily basis, little kids come asking me for food, or adults come begging for money. It is heartbreaking. And on top of the poverty, this week I was just made so aware of so much suffering beyond the temporal hardships that surround me. It can feel suffocating to comprehend the struggles that so many people go through.  Like in Sunday school, we were having a lesson on the importance of the family, and as we went around talking about the things that our parents have taught us, I realized how many of the people in the circle never knew their Mom or their Dad. Some of them were abused as children, and others lost their parents at a young age.  I think of so many around me who have gone through things I cannot even begin to imagine. I just want to cry out, "Why is life so unfair for these people!?" Some days as a missionary here, coming from the place and the home that I do, it's hard for me not to feel, "what good can I do?" How could I, a 20 year old American girl with a mom and a dad and next to no experience of suffering or hunger or death, help these people who go through so much?
But- that's when I remember, that despite all of the tragedy and sorrow I can't fix, there is good I can do! There is a power that I know of and have tasted of that is more powerful than any amount of sorrow and suffering that the world can throw at someone. Its a power that can bring more help and hope than any amount of money or set of doctors or rescue team could bring. That power is the pure love of Christ. 
While I have become so aware of the darkness that envelopes people's lives, I have come to understand in greater depth the light and hope that the love of Christ can bring and overcome that darkness. Only Jesus Christ has the power to fix the broken hearts and heal the wounds of the world, and as a missionary, it is Jesus Christ Himself that I am offering to others. I have seen that light enter into the life of my companion and into the lives of the less actives and investigators who allow Him into their life.  All it takes is an act of faith, and gradually we will feel His light enter into our lives just as sure as the sun rises from the dark night sky, into the perfect brightness of day. 
I will never understand why I was lucky enough to be born into the life I was, or why I was lucky enough to be taught of a Savior that loves me, but I do know that because of the life I have been given, Heavenly Father expects me to share that love and that light. There is something we all can do each day to bring that to someone else. 
I hope that all is well at home! I love you so much!! Thank you for all of your love and prayers!! 
Sister Lockwood

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