|Sister Hingano, me, Sister Ott & Sister Dicen|
Haha well one thing that I have learned about the culture here is that when people ask you where you are going, it really is more of a greeting, or a hello (considering the fact that there is not word for hello in Tagalog, at least not one that anyone uses). I used to feel a little strange about this greeting, because yeah... it would be weird if in America the very first thing you do is ask someone where they are going. But it really isn't intended to illicit information at all... I have realized that learning a language must go in hand with learning the culture. There isn't much use going around talking like a dictionary, because it is much easier for people to want to listen to you, trust you, and hear the gospel when you speak like them. Anyway, I am trying to learn both as I try to become more and more Philippino!
A couple of interesting facts. The past 3 days/nights we have been graced by the very loud sound of Muslim prayers/songs/readings? Haha I don't know. It doesn't really bother me, but poor Sister Hingano... she hates it!! Haha she can't focus while we are trying to study. And sister Ott can't sleep.
While watching conference I looked down three different times and saw a ginormous cockroach walking along the wall behind my feet. I don't know if it was the same one every time, but I was impressed with myself as I kept my cool, watch it walk by, and resume watching the speakers. But then the 4th time I looked down and saw one right by my foot coming the other way!!! I finally freaked out. I couldn't help it!!! I gasped and put my feet up on the bench, which I know I shouldn't have done. But anyway, Sister Hingano said, "I didn't even know you were afraid of cockroaches.... why? They're so small? You're afraid of cockroaches and mice. You should be afraid of dogs!!" Haha but dogs are the least of my worries. Meanwhile, my investigator sitting next to me could not stop laughing at me. I know I probably just seemed like a ridiculous American and I am really trying to get used to it, but I just can't. We listen to Conference in English. The big giant auditorium is english and then there was just a small room with Tagalog which I don't understand. We're trying to switch that around. But ahhh it was incredible right? I loved it. All of the people sing English hymns because the Tagalog translations are ugly and there are not as many. So every time they sing, they sing in English:) There is never a silent time in Fast & Testimony meeting. I absolutely love my ward. It's the best. And I actually bore my testimony last time and it was a really spiritual experience. I loved it.
Anyway...I also actually used to think that I was good at sharing, but seriously these Philippinos are so giving and selfless. Anytime they are eating, even if they are a stranger on the jeepnee, they will offer you some. They show their love through food - which reminds me of you mom haha. Anyway, if you were to ever even hint that you like something that they have, they are ready to give it to you immediately. No regrets. I hope that I can become that selfless and giving.
Earlier this week, we went to go teach a lesson to Vanjie and her husband Ramos. When we got there, Ramos turned off his loud music that he was jamming to and then went in the back room. Before we knew it he was gone! He just left. Super syang!! We were so sad. I have heard of a lot of people hiding from the missionaries... even sister Dicen's family before they were converted. But she expressed to me the gratitude that the missionaries were so persistent, and now she has so many blessings from the gospel in her life. So, we will continue, because they are both so potential. Vanjie loves it, and you can really tell that she feels the spirit. So yes, Ramos left, but right when we were about to teach Vanjie... brown out. I guess it's like a black out, but for some reason they call it a brown out here. Anyway, we ended up just teaching her a super short lesson in the pitch black. We didn't have power for a day and a half. Anyway, I guess my point is, there are a lot of teaching circumstances that I didn't really foresee before I came on my mission. Like, the fact that a few weeks ago we were teaching a couple, and the hungry pigs right next to us became so loud that they couldn't hear me reciting the first vision. Or often times there will be chickens walking around our feet. Nuts... but I love it here.
This week was a lot slower because we had zone interviews and general conference, and because of the traveling and study time that is necessary before we can go out and proselyte, we weren't even able to go out and work for 3 whole days! But it's ok, because there was a lot of good personal revelation and self-reflection going on. The interview went well. It was pretty short, and we talked about our vision for our area. We were supposed to create a vision for our area with specific goals and so we just discussed it and adjusted it. Sister Hingano are really excited because we have set some new goals that will push us and test our faith. I know out of about the 200,000 people that live here in Rosario, there are people here who are prepared for the gospel. I feel ready to start the new week as a new person. The next transfer is in a week and a half and I honestly don't think that any changes will be made. It will be good because Sister Hingano and me work really well together and we are excited about our next goals. .
I have recognized that there are two things that I really must develop. 1) faith in Jesus Christ and 2) Charity, His pure love. I have been studying and pondering both of these continuously, and have become increasingly aware of my weaknesses. But I hope that unti-unti I can grow and develop these attributes. I know that as a missionary, I just can't do this without the atonement of Jesus Christ. None of us can. We must humble ourselves, and realize that it is only through Jesus Christ that we can really do anything. Sister Hingano and I have revised our vision for Rosario, but we are sure that out of the 200,000 people here, there are people who are prepared for the gospel. Really searching for the truth in their lives. We have set some goals that are going to push ourselves, but I know that it is through our faith that we will be able to accomplish them. And charity... well that is the driving force behind our work. If we develop that pure love for the people, for our friends, for our family... for the Lord, then everything else falls into place. There is nothing else that we would rather do than share the truth, the light, and the happiness of the gospel with others. You realize how extremely important it is. Not only will it bless their lives, but we are actually helping them to achieve salvation!!
It is an important work and I am so grateful to be here. I shutter at the thought of the person that I would have been had I not come and learned the things that I am learning. I love this gospel with all my heart. I love Jesus Christ, and I know it is only through him, through His atonement, through obey thing the ordinances and principles of the gospel - that we can overcome death. We can obtain walang-katapusang kaligayahan.
I love all of you! Thank you for your love and support. You are in my prayers.