Current Address

Sister Jorden Elizabeth Jackson
Philippines Baguio Mission
PO Box 115
National Highway
Brgy. Lingsat
San Fernando, La Union

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Heartbreak and Happiness

Some people this week just broke my heart! Sure, we always will have a couple of people that when we come back a second time to teach tell us to get lost. But what’s really heart breaking is when people we have been teaching for months, been losing sleep over and praying for, people we know have a testimony and we see how the gospel has changed their lives for the better – when those people start hiding from us. When they stop progressing in the gospel. When their choices show that they are denying the gospel truths that they know. That’s heart breaking.

Sheila and Oscar are hiding from us. So is Sister Natividad, even though during the last lesson we taught her she literally interrupted us to say, “Thank you for coming to me and teaching me here. Thank you for the light that has entered my heart through your words.”

 My heart is so broken for them.

On the other hand, we have so much good that is happening here too! I am so amazed. Because Sister Natividad hid from us, we went tracting and found a less active member who lives nearby. I know it was God’s timing. Brother Calika is a return missionary. He is probably in his 50s now and hasn’t been to church in many years. He lives with his 77 year old mom who has had such a hard life, but is active and has such a strong testimony. (We don’t really know her from church though. It’s super confusing because the people who live in our area still go to the Bawang Branch. We still don’t have approval to bring the members back to the Sevilla Ward. The members who live in our area go to a different ward!)

Sister Calika, the 77 year old mom, is an inspiration to me. She had 7 children and her husband died when they were all still pretty young. She worked in the palanki from 4am-7pm to keep her kids in school and put food (eggplant and rice) on the table. She always put her tithing aside right away. She paid her tithing every week. One week her tithing was 150 pesos. She needed 150 pesos on Monday in order to send her kids to school. She said, “Maybe I could just borrow my tithing from God this week and pay it next week.” Another Relief Society sister said, “Do you want God to borrow your blessings from you this week?” She paid her tithing. Later that night she was stressed about how her kids would get to school. She decided to start reading the Bible. Then a random person walked up to her house, pre-ordered 200 pesos worth of beans, and paid 150 pesos right then in advance.

Sister Calika told us “If my son comes back to church, I can die. I will be ready to die and I will die happily if my son returns to church.” At this point Brother Calika was still outside cooking. Sister Dizon and I went outside to try to persuade him to come in and listen. We had some small talk, and I just had a prayer in my heart – “Heavenly Father, please help me to say the right thing. Help me to help him come back.” I felt impressed to ask him what his favorite part of his mission was. He said buko salad (which is a delicious coconut popsicle thing here in the Philippines). Not exactly what I was looking for. Then he shot the question back at me. I always know when the spirit is really speaking through me because I don’t have to think about how to say it in Tagalog. It just comes. This was one of those times. I told him my favorite part of being a missionary is seeing people change when they accept the gospel and live the teachings of Jesus Christ. I said more but I don’t remember what exactly. That’s the gist of it though! Right after I finished I asked him, “Will you come inside so we can share a message with you?” He said, “ok!” dropped what he was doing and came in. The spirit taught the lesson. It was beautiful. AND, Brother Calika went to church on Sunday!

We met a woman named Sister Cecil when we were out tracting one day.  We stopped at her Sari-Sari store because we were hungry and had a little bit of time with nothing really to do. Our bodies ached. We had been walking all day. We bought some snacks from her and she started talking to us. She asked us who we are, what we do and why we are here.  We just chatted with her – answered her questions and talked about life. We gave her a pamphlet and asked if we could share a message. She said to come back next week because she wanted her young adult daughter to hear what we have to say too. Wow! We went back on Tuesday and she wasn’t home. (She had had an emergency.) We ran into her later in the week and she rescheduled.

She kept our appointment! She invited us in and said, “I am looking for the truth. I am researching all sorts of churches because I want to know which one is true. I believe that God will give me an answer through the Holy Spirit. I don’t like how other people pray with recitations. I want to TALK to God. Halfway through the lesson on the restoration of the gospel she stopped us and explained that she is listening to us “because I see you walking. All day. Every day. I know you probably have so many negative things said to you. You probably have a lot of hardships. But, you keep going. Every day. Because you want to teach people. So what you have to say must be really important. You sacrifice so much and are so dedicated. I want to listen to what you have to say.”

Even though my heart is still broken for the people that are rejecting the gospel, I am filled with so much joy for the people that have turned or returned to Jesus Christ. I am so thankful for God’s plan for all of His children. 

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