Sunday, January 12, 2014

Meet Virginia (and Melan) 1/12/14

Kumusta pamilya at kaibigan!
I feel like I've had a lot of best weeks ever in the mission, but this truly was the best one yet because Melan and Virginia Valdez were baptized! I told ya'll a little bit about them before, but I'll go into some more detail now. So we met them because they live across from a less active that we visit a lot. We would always see Melan outside his house and just say hi, but one day we talked to him for a bit longer, and asked if we could share with his family. From the beginning, they were golden, they already knew and believed so much about the gospel and the church. It wasn't hard for them to accept any of the commitments we gave them, and once they started attending church, they knew that this was the church for them. The only problem that came us was that they weren't married yet. But even this wasn't a problem, because the Lord always provides a way. Through the help of the ward and the Bishop, we were able to plan an entire wedding reception for them, and get them married in preperation for their baptism. The whole relief society was really excited for the baptism and marriage, and what was going to be a small reception, turned into a ward event haha. It was all just so perfect that they were able to get their paperwork and everything in time for their baptismal date. But of course, right before a baptism is when the devil works the hardest, so there was a minor set back in the actual marriage because the Bishop that was supposed to marry them didn't want to becasue they were both non-members. But another tender mercy of the Lord was proven when our Bishop got one of his judge friends to marry Melan and Virginia wednesday this week. So even though it was earlier than planned, they were still able to be married before their baptism! Then this saturday was their baptism day and it was so wonderful, the spirit was strong, and they were both so excited to be baptized! I think my favorite part was seeing Melan first pump before he went into the water and Virginia yelling "determination!" as she got in the water cause it was really cold since there's no heater here haha. They are such an amazing couple and I'm so glad that I got to be the ones to teach them. I can't wait to see their family be sealed in the temple a year from now. We encouraged them to start saving now so that hopefully I'm still in the Philippines when they can go to Manilla, pray that President Balledos will let me go!
This was really such a great week though, and with our baptism and their wedding, it made me really think about how much this gospel does bless families. I'm so grateful for temples and the covenants that we make there that enable us to have eternal families. This gospel really is all that's important in life, and I know that as we put Christ center to our lives, everything else will fall into place. I really miss going to the temple, Mom and Brigham, so go to the temple as often as you can and always be worthy of your temple recommends. I'm learning so much here on my mission, especially what's most important to me. I want to encourage all of you to read the scriptures, the Book of Mormon, Bible and Doctrine and Covenants and general conference talks. I wish that I could study for like 4 hours a day, one hour of personal study is just not enough! Also, now really is the time to hasten the Lord's work. We have the gospel in our lives, and we need to share the happiness that it brings to us with everyone. Now being a missionary, I am realizing how truly hard it is to find people on my own. It's possible, but there really is a better way. If you want to make a missionaries day, feed them, and then refer someone to them. I promise that you will automatically become their favorite person. This work is hard, but it can be easier if missionaries and members really do work together.
I love you all and I'm so grateful to be here in the Philippines. I think this week was a real turning point for me where I thought about my life here more than I thought about life before the mission. I really am losing myself in the work, and I love it so much. I can't imagine what my life would be like if I didn't take this call to serve, I have been blessed in so many ways and I know that my biggest convert will be myself.
I love you all, and thanks for your prayers!
Mahal Kita,
Sister Bangerter
Melan and Virginia at their wedding and baptism 

Melan and Virginia at their wedding and baptism

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