Kumusta po kayo lahat?!
|Sister Hingano & Me|
I can't believe that I have been here three weeks already. It has flown by. Nuts. Well this has been a really good week! I have learned a lot - that's for sure. Once again, I have really learned the importance of faith.
I have also learned how important it is to work with the members. Yesterday was so awesome. The Rosario Branch officially became a ward, and we had two inactive families come to church, and three of our investigators. But the ward seemed so appreciative and happy to see the fruits of our labor. We are finally gaining our trust. The bishop spoke and said when he heard that he was getting four sisters in the ward, he was worried that they would have to focus on protecting us and that we would be more of a burden. But because we have been working really hard to show that we just want to help them, he said that we are a blessing and he is grateful. This was very good news for us because the first people that you need to build trust with are the auxiliary leaders. We just want to help them as much as possible and help Rosario become a strong ward - a new jerusalem :)
We taught two investigators, a couple named Jason and Marylyn, earlier this week that were dropped by the last missionaries. They said that after they stopped meeting with the missionaries things were different in their lives...hard. They just had a baby about a month ago, and Marylyn thought she and the baby were going to die. They prayed and prayed and miraculously they are both healthy. We went through the baptismal interview questions with them and their testimonies are so strong. They are ready. They aren't married yet but they have all of their license stuff now and so we set some dates with them. That is the problem haha... all of our investigators that are really interested aren't married haha so it is a process. But I am so excited for them.
Sister Hazel came to church yesterday and she is keeping her commitments and is really interested. Her boyfriend is the son of Sister Ajeda who is a super strong member who always works with us. Her boyfriend is inactive so we are trying to work with him but sister Hazel really wants to get married. She is so sweet and open to the gospel and through faith I know that they can get the money that they need in order to be married so she can be baptized. This week we will be focusing on the temple with them. Even though I can't completely understand the language, I love to see the change that occurs in these people's countenances as we continue to work with them.
The highlight of this week though was Friday, my companion and me got to do splits with the Sister Training Leaders. They are absolutely incredible. Not only are they incredible missionaries, but you can see how they have developed such Christ-like attributes. So selfless and humble. They have allowed the principles that they teach to become embedded in their hearts. I hope that over time I can allow that to happen to me too. I was paired up with Sister Ika who is from Utah and she is just so sweet. We had a lot of fun teaching and I learned how to better teach people not lessons. We had so much fun and found out that we are so similar. We found out that we feel like we have the same weaknesses, we are both deathly afraid of rats, same sense of humor, and at the end of the day we were evaluating and she said she wanted to share her favorite scripture and turns out it is mine too! Ether 12:27. Haha anyway... she is the best and I look up to her so much. She said that the most important thing is to focus on becoming Christ like - so that you can be lead by the spirit to those you need to teach, have a good companionship, and automatically become a better teacher. As your faith grows, you can more easily learn the language. She told me that my language is a lot better than most missionaries in the beginning, but I know I still have a long way to go! Haha and I still can barely understand anything that they say. Most of the time, it sounds like one word to me haha.
I felt so bad though because I went to one of our appointments with her and we went through this alley way to get to the house and she got bit by their dog!!! She said that was the first time that has ever happened to her but she was nervous because all of the dogs here are in a really sad state. Their super dirty and sickly looking. Luckily it was just a superficial cut but it freaked both of us out. One of the younger girls that we were teaching just got out of the shower and she had ants all over her! All in her hair and on her arms... I felt so bad and it was hard not to get to distracted. I kept being paranoid that there were ants on me. It really is such a different world here.
I feel bad because sometimes I think we just get into houses because I am a blonde American. I get stared at constantly haha it is the weirdest feeling. But I just smile and try to look at it as an opportunity. I am just hoping that even if that is the reason we get into some houses that it will still spark something inside of them and they can feel of the truth of our message.
I have met a lot of people that speak at least some English - including our Bishop and his family which is really nice. I am really lucky that there aren't any other dialects in this area so I can just focus on Tagalog.
I met Sister Brown!!! She is so darling. She seems like a great missionary. And Sister Ott and Sister Dicen I like a lot. I love Sister Ott... she is kind of crazy but she likes to laugh and makes me feel like I can be myself. Sister Dicen is very quiet and all of this is new to her - before being on her mission, she had never been in a car, let alone an airplane, had never met an American, and she said she has never dealt with this much money in her whole life.
|Sister Hingano, Sister Ott & Me|
This morning was sweet! It was our zone p-day and so we had to wake up early and ride a jeepney to Lipa. We met their at 7 and took another jeepney to the base of a mountain and we went on a beautiful hike. It was the first time my companion had EVER done anything like that. I didn't know if she was going to make it but luckily she did haha and she felt pretty accomplished after.
|Elder Pulido, Elder Sinilong, Elder Magaule, Sister Valdez, |
Sister Brown, Sister Seastrand, Sisiter Ott & Me
Afterwards, we went to this member's house and they laid out banana leaves on the table, poured rice all over the table, and had different toppings.
|Eating Filipino style|
Then everyone just dug in and ate with their
hands. I can't believe this, but some of the elders were eating dog. I couldn't handle it. I don't think I will ever eat that. It looked pretty gross but I ate a little bit of the chicken. Haha I am trying to become as immersed in the culture as possible.
|Sister Hingano & Me|
Oh and last night was awesome. We went to this inactive member's house with three other members. We trekked through this forest to get there and sadly they weren't there when we got there!! We decided to wait a little longer and while waiting my companion, me, and a member found and taught a new investigator. The lesson went really well and I always feel the spirit so strong when we talk about Joseph Smith. But, finally the nanay of the inactive member came back and we taught her. My companion and I felt inspired to share a certain scripture with her, and afterwards she was super quiet and said she felt like the scripture was meant for her. It was really sweet. I am always grateful for those small miracles.
Anyway!!! I love and miss all of you. I pray for you all of the time. I am sorry if my thoughts are kind of all over the place. It is hard to organize everything. I love you.