Things are going good in my area; not too much has changed since last time I wrote, but we are slowly making progress to build the area up. Lately, I've been trying to be more in tune with the spirit to try and find new investigators while we are walking to appointments. Being a white American in the Philippines, I get people calling out to me about 50 times a day with remarks like, "Hey Joe, what's your name?" and I've gotten to the point that I just ignore it. I used to go and try to talk to them when I was newer but they usually run away (literally, they run away). So I kind of gave up on that, but I was thinking the other day about how Preach My Gospel says to have hope and keep trying even when people don't accept you so that's what I've been trying to do and the Lord has blessed us with some success.
We were leaving an appointment the other day with our new investigator (the one that randomly showed up to church last week and wanted to get baptized) when someone yelled at us from their house. We kept walking about 10 feet but decided to just try. At first they were a little shy about letting us in but we did get in. We found out the the mom is a member but has been inactive for something like 15 years. She just goes to the Catholic church like she was never a member of Christ's true church. Her kids aren't members and really, really need the gospel. The son is 15 but has a few tattoos and the daughter is 16 with a few tattoos and a baby...
It's pretty sad to see this family and how lost they are with no direction. The first lesson, we tried sharing just a little bit with them about our life here on Earth but they just stared at us with a blank face and wouldn't say anything. It's been cool this week as we've taught them they've began to change. They answer our questions sometimes, are willing to read from the scriptures, and the daughter actually prayed last time! It was AWESOME! The mom also wants to come to church next Sunday so hopefully everything works out there. They also have a friend that started listening in on our lessons and she texted us this week to say we can start teaching her too at her house now.
It's pretty sweet to see the progress. We even felt impressed to give them a baptismal date which they were hesitant to accept so they are going to pray about it, but I have hope that the time will come that they will change their life and be baptized. This work is awesome! It's amazing to see the Lord touching peoples' lives.
Love, Elder Smith