From: Mandy Elsmore
Date: December 3, 2012 9:38:36 PM CST
Hello Family and Friends!
This week has been going well. We were able to teach many less actives and found a couple investigators yesterday which was exciting. I need to work on actually talking more and not letting my companions do all the talking though. Starting to gain a little bit more confidence in teaching because of companionship study with Sister Ramilo and Sister Sojor. I'm very grateful for their example to me, even if at times they get a bit trunky ( there missions end in a month, then I get a new trainer for 6 more weeks), they push through and keep moving forward with the work.
Going in the Temple in Manila for Endowment Session was amazing. I'm very grateful to have a temple in our mission. It re-inspired me to the reason why we teach people and invite them to Christ. So they can achieve salvation with their families and feel the peace and joy from keeping covenants: baptism and temple covenants. I hope many people choose to prepare themselves for the temple so they can feel such a strong and wonderful spirit.
Christmas Season is here! YAY! I'm excited for the many opportunities to spread the spirit of Christmas. We want to carol for people as a service and invite many investigators and less actives to the Ward Christmas Party. I hope they will be able to feel the spirit of joy, happiness and gratitude there, feel welcomed by the members, be reminded how important Christ is to us, and draw closer together with those they love. I hope people don't hide from us when we carol. Many people when they Carol, they make you pay them for singing to you. Last night, my companions and I hid from them with the lights off in the middle of Companionship Study. Perhaps we should have used the opportunity to teach the people rather than hide from them.
Sometimes feel like I have no idea what to say or do to invite others to Christ. Partially, because I'm spiritually weak I guess, but also the fact many of the less actives we teach, though they love listening to us, do not seem like they want to change. I guess I felt a taste of how prophets of old felt sorrow for their people and their iniquities. For example, tried to teach one inactive Sister who has a husband who is 19 years older than her. She was forced into marriage with him, so she says she does not love him. She is determined to divorce him and has many suitors. She has a daughter who is 16 years old and is struggling in the church because of her parents. Talking to this woman, it was amazing to see how it was almost like she was trying to convince us and herself that she was perfectly happy without the gospel. When we tried to bring up the church, she would brush it aside. Its crazy to think that a little less than 20 years ago she was a strong missionary for the church, but because of choices she has made and her focus on herself (she likes to brag about how pretty she is. Its hilarious in almost a sad way) she has changed into a completely different person. One thing she said as we were leaving struck me though. She said,"I am active in my heart you know, I may look like this, but I'm active here in my heart." Thinking about this, it is not enough to just say "I believe in Christ" and expect to receive blessings from the lord. You have to act on it. Like with growing up, we have to earn our Parent's trust by obeying the rules they set out for us. Then, they in turn allow us more freedoms and to have more privileges Life is easier and more fun. I believe this Sister when she says she has a good heart. I've seen in in the way she treats us and her daughter. She also does a lot of Good for the children she teaches at elementary schools. Its just sad to me to see her knowingly making wrong choices and convincing herself that its okay and she has good reasons for it. I regret not saying anything as we left. From this, I have a new determination to strengthen my own testimony, so that I can bear a more heartfelt testimony. Also to gain more courage and be more bold in speaking out.
So, Mission Rules on Writing letters. I cannot write anyone other than my direct family; however, they are allow to forward me letters from you and vise-versa if you so desire. Or, Dear Elders take 1-2 weeks. (I get mail every two weeks). If you write me, I promise I will write back, but it might take a couple weeks just so you know. If you want me to write you a handwritten letter (easier for me to respond), send me your address. ;) Mail takes usually 4 weeks according to missionaries here. But they can take up to 7-8 weeks tops and 2 weeks is the fastest.
Anyway I hope you are all doing well. Sorry if this letter is all over the place. I did not have time to organize my thoughts. HA HA HA!