A true-life story of Elisa Pabricante from the Philippine. Her story tells of how a young woman lost her mom at a young age, how she met the missionaries, and how she wanted to get rid of them but ended up serving a mission.
Hi my Dear Brothers and Sisters. My name is Elisa Pabricante.
I grew up in a family that knew a little about the true nature of the Deity. We didn’t have a copy of Scriptures in our home because we believed that only the priest can have it and we are not allowed to read it. The first person who made me know that there is God up there watching over us was my Mother. She used to make us kneel down in front of the altar every 6pm. Because of her example, I was able to know that prayer is the only way if I want to tell something to my Father above.
When I was 8 years old we lost our mother. Her death saddened my heart to the deepest of sadness that I almost couldn’t move on. The questions like “Can I see my mother again? Can I hug her and hold her hand again? bothered my soul but I can’t find the “HOW “.
Years passed and life continues. When the New Testament became available in our school because of our religious subject during my elementary days, I became curious about what it contains and why we are not allowed to read it. Secretly at night or when I’m alone in the house I read the New Testament copy that I’ve had. There, I was able to know the life of Jesus Christ. I was able to finish reading the book of Matthew and I even cried as I read the account of betrayal and denial of the Apostles to our Lord Jesus Christ. His suffering on the cross made me wept but the purpose of His Atoning sacrifice was not clear to me.
Because of the knowledge that I acquired from my reading, I began to be desirous to share it with others. I started sharing it with my father(my father is a good listener though). I even asked him why the proper way of baptism is being changed knowing that Jesus Christ was immersed in the water during His baptism. My father humbly answered me that he even don’t know why. My desire to share what I knew made me think the “HOW” because of what I knew then that only the priest can preach. I even came to the point of planning to become a Nun but the idea of being not allowed to marry and have my own family became my concern so the desires and questions that I had faded slowly.
In the year 2010 before the month of September ended, the missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came into my life. They introduced Joseph Smith as a Prophet of the Restoration and The Book of Mormon as his fruit. They testified that the Book is another Testament of Jesus Christ which I strongly opposed. I even told them that only in the Bible times that the so-called prophets did exist and about the Book, well anyone can make a book. So I falsely accused Joseph Smith as the author of The Book of Mormon.
Patiently and persistently, the missionaries kept on coming to teach me. One day I decided to tell them that I didn’t want to continue hearing about their message. I hypocritically told them that I think I don’t need to change because I have nothing to repent from, thinking that I never committed a serious crime. Fortunately, those young missionaries never gave up and asked me to meet them for two more appointments, and if I still feel wanting not to hear their message they will stop. Perhaps heaven saw that I was ready at that time so it happened that I forgot what I told the missionaries. The supposed two appointments were forgotten and I began to like their messages. I even started to read the reading assignments from The Book of Mormon and was praying about it.
The process was not easy anyway. There were lots of reading, comparing the Bible and The Book of Mormon using the Book of Mormon footnotes. There were sleepless nights because I began to think the “what if’s”. If I’m going to accept the invitation to be baptized, what If I can’t make it till the end? What if my family won’t allow me to join the Church, am I strong enough to face the consequence? and more. These doubts kept my prayers unanswered and held my back from coming to Church with the missionaries. Though I started to feel that their messages were true my fears stopped me.
One Sunday afternoon the missionaries came to teach me again and of course to follow up why I didn’t come to Church. While they were teaching I was thinking to tell them that I didn’t want to see them again having the reason that they were just wasting their time for me because I still don’t receive any answer from my prayers. It happened that one of the fellowships asked me to do the prayer with them and if I didn’t still receive an answer they will stop from coming. So I accepted, thinking that that would be my opportunity to get rid of them without telling them what I thought earlier.
There were seven of us kneeling at that time. With a thought in mind that I hope my Father in Heaven will give me a favor this time for the sake of both sides, I really needed His answer. I needed to feel His clear answer, it’s either yes or no. While praying, the clear things that I remembered for the rest of my life were the feeling that I had and not the words that I muttered. It seemed like the heavens were open and there’s a Person up there connected to my heart and chastising me with what I’ve done to the missionaries. The guilt did occupy my heart and it hurt me. I felt really sorry about what I did and I began to repent.
As I had that feeling of a repentant heart I can’t explain how the twist happened. What I knew was I started to feel the warmth inside my heart and slowly spread in every fiber of my being until joy replaced the guilt that I felt. I had received a clear answer and it’s a ‘Yes’. Yes, I now know that Joseph Smith is indeed a prophet of God and The Book of Mormon is a word of God. I want to be in His Church. I want to be baptized. And I will share what I knew to everyone, especially to my family. I ended my prayer with tears in my eyes unintentionally. Everyone was curious why I was teary-eyed but I refused to tell them. The joy stayed even when the missionaries were already gone.
As I was in the stage of doing what was right, it seems like everything around me went wrong. My family was really upset with my decision to join the Church. There were lots of unanswered calls. The supposed explanation became unheard. They thought I was heading to the wrong path. By then I came to understand the doctrine of fasting. As answered prayer, tears stopped as my family started to accept my calls again and allow me to do what I wanted.
December 25, 2010 was the joyful Christmas that ever happened to me. That day I entered into the covenant of baptism. The feeling that I felt that day was unexplainable. Everything was joy. And during my confirmation I can’t forget the three blessings bestowed upon my head that day. These blessings are (1) to become an example to my family, (2)serve a full-time mission, (3)be married in the Temple. I don’t know but the Bishopric who was giving me the blessings was like he’s just reading what’s on my mind.
Asking permission from my father in serving a full-time mission was not easy but if the Lord sees the sincerity of the heart nothing is gonna be impossible. I served on a mission year 2013-2014 and this service became the accomplishment of my desire when I was a little girl. And I was able to tell my Brothers and Sisters there what the proper way of baptism, the purpose of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. I can even tell everyone now that through the sacred ordinances performed in the Temple we can be with our family until eternity where hugs and holding hands will continue.
Brothers and Sisters, I know that being a member in the Church is not easy. Sometimes we feel weak and sometimes we are strong. And I know that being true to what we know to be true will sustain us during our difficulties. And I Elisa, still working my part on showing good example to my family by striving to keep the commandments of God (only two from my 9 siblings accepted the gospel by now and my father is still hesitant but I’m full of hope anyway ), doing missionary work in any way that I think can help others know what I knew, and striving to keep myself worthy to be married in the Temple someday.
I know that President Russell M. Nelson is our living Prophet today. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the Lord Church here on earth. I know that the Book of Mormon is another Testament of Jesus Christ. It is His words, I knew it because I read it for how many times. And It is helping me how to become a better person. And I know that we have a loving Father there in Heaven watching over us and loving us endlessly in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior amen.
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