What a wonderful week. Isn't the Christmas season the greatest time of the year? I just love Christmas so much. It's an amazing time to be a missionary because you can share the wonderful story of Christ's birth with every living creature you see. It truly doesn't get much better than that. Well I have so much to tell you today so I’m gonna dive right into this email.
First things first. Christmas came early for me this year. I received the most joyous news that I have ever received this last week. In church yesterday I received a text from the zone leaders in Pasay north. They informed me that the Caras family will be sealed in the temple on January 9th at 7 am. Just writing that brings tears to my eyes. This is truly what it's all about. I have been looking forward to this day for the past year and it's finally happening. I could not be more happy for that wonderful family. Families truly are eternal.
I learned a valuable lesson this week. That lesson was that you don't really know how important something is until you no longer have it. Unfortunately, I had to learn it the hard way when someone stole both of the side mirrors off our car in the middle of the night. Yep, some random person stole the side mirrors off our van. Isn't that so sad? I don't understand some people. I was thus forced to drive around the streets of Manila without side mirrors. That was quite the experience. A very scary experience. Luckily as a missionary you always have a companion. He was therefore my side mirrors while driving. Unified in all things.
Saturday was amazing. It was the baptisms of Samuel, Wilma and Lynn. Unfortunately, Noah wasn't baptized this last week, but he will definitely be getting baptized in the next couple months. It was such a great day. Out of all the baptismal services I have attended, this was one of the best. It was the very first baptismal service I’ve attended on my mission where everything was in English! It was kinda trippin me out. Lynn requested that I be the one to baptize her and I was more than happy to oblige. What was truly amazing though was Mike was able to baptize Wilma. They have the best story ever. It's quite amazing how far they have come and the steps they are making. Wilma informed me this last week that she and Mike will probably getting married (civilly) in June of 2015...in UTAH!! I LIVE IN UTAH. You bet I’ll be there. She told me that I better be there because she won't know anyone else. Wouldn't miss that for the world. Anyway, the baptismal service was so spiritual. The entire ward came to support Samuel, Wilma and Lynn. It was a cool sight. One of my favorite lines of the day was stated by Samuel. Right after he was baptized he told me, "Man, I didn't want to come out of the water! It just felt so good!" Samuel, Wilma and Lynn all had the opportunity to bear their testimonies after and if I hadn't seen the baptismal service, I would have thought they'd been members for years. I was quite impressed. One of the statements I love hearing the most is, "I've read the book of Mormon and I know that it is true." There are few things that compare to that.
So I’m going to go off on a little tangent here about Wilma. Wilma grew up in a very religious household. Here entire family was very dedicated to their religious beliefs. She explained in her testimony that she reached a point in her life where she realized that something was missing. She searched a lot looking for the church. One day she came across LDS.org and felt something different. She began to research more and was struck by the story of Joseph Smith. She recalled that she felt exactly what Joseph Smith felt; confusion. Therefore, she did exactly what Joseph Smith did; she prayed. We all know what happens when true seekers of truth humble themselves before God and seek divine guidance through prayer. The rest is history. Now she's a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Now for Samuel. He told us about an experience he had while still living in Ghana where he met an American missionary of another faith. He volunteered to translate for this missionary while he was serving in their country. He spent a lot of time with him and got to know him very well. One day, this missionary told Samuel, "One day you are going to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." That statement made an impression on him considering it came from a missionary from another faith. He didn't think much about it though until he was walking the streets of Singapore and he saw two sister missionaries with nametags walking near a train station. He approached them, stuck out his hand and asked, "Hi, how can I be saved." The sisters calmly replied with a smile, "That's a great question. Why don't you come to our church on Sunday and we'll tell you." That Sunday, he did exactly that. Looking back now he stated, "I've never felt more welcome in my entire life. I knew then that I wanted to be a member of the church." That week he made his way to the Philippines, sought out the church and that's when we found him. He commented, "I now know that God has a plan for all of us and will help all of us return to him."Finally, Lynn. Lynn has gone through some very tough experiences in her lives. There were numerous occasions where she felt lost and unsure of the path that she should take in her life. She told us about one particular experience where these thoughts were the most intense with the stresses of finding a job on top of that. She fell down on her knees one day and asked the Lord to help her find out what she was supposed to do. A few days later, she found her answer. Those answers are named Mike and Wilma (yep, the same Mike and Wilma). She was hired by Wilma to help her around the house at the same time Wilma was starting to investigate the church. One day as Lynn was cleaning the house she spotted a book sitting on the table. She took a second and began to examine the book. She opened to the first few pages and began to look at the pages on the front. As she did so, an indescribable feeling embraced her. One thing led to the next and before we knew it, Elder Limocon and I were teaching her about the Restoration. Lynn made big steps very quickly. She was willing to do anything. "Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth."