first news: Transfers have come and gone and both Sister Kalonihea and I are staying in Sibonga. I sort of thought I might be transferred, but I've seen over and over again this week that I still have lots to do here. Those miracles are really coming.
People are still saying Merry Christmas to us, they just add a Happy New Year, so I've been thinking about that relationship. And as grateful as I am to have had a Christmas season as a missionary, I'm almost more grateful for a New Year. A new year means that we get to start over, and that this year, we can be perfect jounalers, exercisers, perfect tithe payers, perfect church attenders for 2014. This has been really inspiring for my less actives here- that everything else wouldn't matter because they could start over. And yet every single day, we actually have that chance- not just today, but as the sun rises everyday, we can start again.
So miracles of the week: The Cudera family. They've been my family here in Sibonga. Sister Cudera is a recently returned less active, and two of her 10 children were baptized in the last year- however, four were supposed to. They have all sorts of trials, and her husband is sometimes against the church, and they're incredibly poor, but they keep trying. Sister is working to the temple- and we have a third of the zone leaders in the mission working for that too- they've all served here and they want to make sure she gets there. But back to the four that were supposed to be baptized- one is 9 and we're working with him, the other one is the miracle of this week. Filitaeo is 16 and I only knew who he was because of his teaching record. For some reason, he avoided our lessons, and all of my efforts to fellowship him, and the branch, and it made me sad every week. But this week, I said something, or the spirit did, and he started hovering on our lesson. In this same lesson, Brother Cudera was participating, and developing a testimony of the church- he's not ready to change yet, but he does know it's true. Anyway, back to Filitaeo. I was scared to say something, I didn't want to spook him, but the Spirit guided me into asking him to say the closing prayer. He agreed readily if slowly and then gave an incredibly sincere prayer, including a plea for forgiveness for his distance. As we left, we were in a hurry, and then there wasn't a motor and I wasn't super happy about it because we'd be late to our next place but the Lorrd has a plan. Filitaeo decided to walk with us down the mountain to make sure we were safe and he apologized the whole way down. I don't know what changed, but he promised to join our lessons. This was when I thought I might be transferring and he almost cried- I had quite a few people praying that I wasn't transferring. the love I feel for them is immense.
And then our next appointment- the one we were late to! Lizel and I got there late (we'd been on splits at the Cuderas) and sister K and lovely joy were already teaching at Lizel's house. Lizel's nephew Joshua is 9 and hasn't been baptized because this branch sometimes forgets things, so he'll now need to be a missionary taught convert- and he needs to grow his faith just the same. I'm excited for his baptism, and for the possibility of more to come to their family. When we committed him to baptism, after trying to help him understand (any tips on helping a really active 9 year old boy?), I had some really cool revelation- looking to his uncle- Lizel's less active brother who really is so close to coming back to church. And guess who will be baptizing Joshua? Chael, his uncle! The Lord's plan is marvelous. people just need to be needed, to have a responsibility to feel loved. This year, let us love a little more, remember the lost a little more, remember who we are.
I love you all so much- I toast that!
Sister Josie Tueller
|Me with the three YSA who work with us- Lovely Joy, Lizel and Maricar. They're also the YW presidency.|