Hello! Maayong hapon! Good afternoon! How are each of you? I hope and pray that all is well and that you are happy! Thank you once again for each of your emails. I feel so full of joy that I could fly! Thank you!
This week I learned many things, one of which is that I gained a deeper understanding of the faith in the members here, as well as those investigating the church. The standard of living here in the Calape, Bohol is very low. The balays, or houses of the people we teach are called "nipa huts". It is a one room house made of a special type of wood. Occasionally, there is a dividing wall between the main room/kitchen and the bedroom. (I would attach a picture of of one, but we are counseled to do all that we can to not look like a tourist. And as an American, I naturally always appear to be a tourist and it is worse when I have my camera out. Haha! I will attach one in a later email!) Their concerns in attending church are that they do not have skirts to wear, or that they do not have any pesos to spare for transportation money. They are so incredibly humble, and so happy to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It requires an incredible amount of faith to sacrifice what they do, to come unto Christ. These people have nothing, but each other and they are so happy! It is amazing to me. Families are a very central part of the culture here, although many families do not begin with a foundation of marriage. That presents a problem for many of our investigators who are preparing for baptism. They must be married before being baptized, and although many would happily be married, they do not have the necessary paperwork or money to pay for it.
That is the case for a sweet family that we are helping to prepare for baptism. They have two girls and one more on the way! They are so sweet and so full of faith and trust in the Lord. With the assistance of members in our branch, the means needed have been gathered and the paperwork necessary to be processed for their marriage is submitted! It fills me with joy! After their marriage, they will be baptized, and they already have a goal to be sealed in the temple. There are miracles and tender mercies everywhere! All we need to do is stop, and take a moment to recognize the moments that matter most. Sister Lappay has been so patient with me and my struggles with communicating in Cebuano. I am learning slowly and surely. After our studies one morning, we were discussing miracles and I shared the scripture in Mosiah 8:18, "Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore, he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings." How powerful is that scripture! I am so grateful to be a missionary! We each have the power to play a part in miracles through our faith! Have a wonderful week! Thank you! I love you all!
Sister Shanna Stanley