Their name is the Penon family and they are ready for the gospel. This family needed friends and needed help. When we first taught the Penon family, we quickly learned about their hardships and trials. As their mother has been unrightfully imprisoned in Saudi Arabia, the father and children have been trying to make it by. On our second visit, we were shocked when Brother Penon had prepared a very humble meal for us. It is hard to eat a meal with a family who can barely afford to feed themselves, but Brother Penon would not let us leave without eating. Later in the week, we invited the family to a baptism being held at the church. At the end of the service, Brother Penon told us that the baptism "was close to his heart" and that he wishes the same for himself and his entire family. We are praying and fasting that Sister Penon will soon be released from prison so that their entire family can be cleansed from their sins and begin the journey to become a forever family.
-We gave a couple hope.
This week we taught Jared and Joanne about repentance. Even though Jared was awaiting his mission call, they made a mistake and have a baby on the way. It is easy to see their guilt and disappointment, but as we challenged them to repent and come unto the Lord, we could see a small part of the weight on their backs being removed. Repentance is a process and it can be painful. But, like alcohol, it is going to sting before it cleanses. The Lord is ready to take the load of guilt that we cannot handle, but we must first reach out to Him. Jared and Joanne are starting a family under adverse circumstances, but the Lord is there for them each step of the journey. Things will be okay and they will receive many blessings through their their faith.
-We fixed some false beliefs.
This week we taught the Alcarion family about the Plan of Salvation. As we taught about the Fall of Adam and Eve, we made it clear that we are not punished for the transgression of Adam and Eve. Although we sin, we will never be punished for another's sins. Sister Alcarion and her family were surprised. They had always thought that man had been cursed by the actions of our first parents. They are beginning to better understand their identity as children of a loving Heavenly Father as they learn about His plan for them.
-We were offended...for a second.
When we were teaching Alden about the Book of Mormon, he seemed very open and very interested. Like in all lessons, we closed by asking him to pray to know if the Book of Mormon is true. He said, "No." Sister Bagonbon and I looked at each other, made a confused face, and looked back at Alden. I just said, "Why?" I was annoyed because I knew that he needed to pray about it to receive a testimony. I was about to go into a long explanation of prayer and God and the Holy Ghost, but before I got the chance, he said, "Because I already know it is true." It was the best answer he could have given us.
I was just informed that a good missionary friend of mine here in Laoag lost her mother. My love and prayers go out to her. Missions are hard and full of unexpected trials. No one wants them and no one asks for them, but they do come. I do know that the Lord always blesses His servants in ways we do not at first understand.
Mahal ko kayo. Ingat lagi.