Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A rollercoaster week and Sister Victorino's passing

So this week was one of my favorite metaphors for a mission: a rollercoaster!  And it started with a road trip!  We had some big changes!  They took District 3 from my zone (8 missionaries, among them Elder Cox, Velez and VanTassell) and 10 missionaries from the Angeles Zone and made an all-new zone: Mabalacat Zone!  So we went down to Mabalacat for the formation of that zone.  I got to see some other friends there, too, like Sister Koford and Elder Checketts! 
With Elder Choresca, the new Mabalacat zone leader!

With Elder Westover, Angeles zone leader
After that we came home and had one last Home Evening with the Smith family and Matthew before the Smiths went home to Utah. 
Tuesday we taught the Vilencia family again and then we got a surprising text from our former investigator, Mina Vilvan.  She said she wanted to be baptized!  So we went and taught her again and basically what happened is her little 2 year old got injured and hurt his back and now he walked crooked and stuff…It’s been hard and humbling for her and she just feels like now is the right time for her to be baptized.  We taught about faith and she accepted a baptismal goal date for July.  We also taught little Leah Hodrial again and she’s still on track for baptism in June. 

Wednesday was just solid.  Our plans all worked out except for one.  We found out Anthony’s concern, in that he’s trying to make a decision whether he AND his whole family will be baptized.  We’re going to try to teach his whole family, so they can make this decision individually, and so that when Anthony receives an answer he doesn’t force his family to do something they don’t want to do.  We taught those two less active boys we met in the street, Ronald (12) and Wesley (10) Athchico and they’re super cool.  Just a solid day!  Thursday Elder Burton (who used to be in my zone but his companion is currently in the hospital recovering from surgery) joined us.  Our appointments in the morning were completely destroyed…but in the afternoon we found a nice little family:  Jimmy and Viola Tabamo!  We taught Mina again and we finally taught the Puno family again. 

Alrighty, we’re going to speed things up here.  Friday morning we got a text from President informing us that Sister Victorino, my batchmate from the MTC (who had gone home on a medical release last July but who had just come back in March) had passed away due to a sudden illness.  I could not believe it... They would have a memorial service for her on P day in San Jose (her last area).  Moy worked with me on Friday and so we went on splits.  I felt the spirit really strong that day and I felt like I was actually able to help people, like the Ong family when they were stressing out.  Saturday the work was ok, we got some good new investigators, but I just had a rough day.  It was just rough and I just kind of couldn’t wait for it to end.  Sunday I got to partake of the sacrament again, and that made all the difference.  No word on Matthew’s grandpa, but his Aunt Roxanne came to church, so we talked to her a bit and that was good.  I went on splits again with Brother PJ this time, and 18 year old kid who is the only member in his family (and they don’t approve of his religion) who’s testimony is so strong.  We taught a ton of less actives, so that was good! 

On Monday we had a fun zone activity at the Monestario de Tarlac, which had great views. 
With comp at Monestario de Tarlac

Beautiful views from Monestario de Tarlac

Being a jeepney barker
Jeepney ride to zone activity

Then I got in the assistants’ van and we drove all over the mission picking up people for Sister Victorino’s memorial service.  I actually got to see all of my former companions who were still in the mission that day.  I got to see San Jose again, so that was cool, but the reason I was there wasn’t.  The service, of course, was sad, but President gave a great talk at the end which gave everyone great perspective.
San Jose

His first apartment in the mission field in San Jose

With his anak, Elder Palabrica at Sister Victorino's Memorial Service

An old picture with Sister Victorino

Another old picture with Sister Victorino

Well, that’s all this week.  It’s been an emotional one.  I’m so grateful to be a living, breathing, healthy and happy missionary.  The Lord is in this work and in every one of our lives.

-Elder Christensen

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