Oh my goodness Christmas is here. How did it come so fast!! I can't wait to see all of your beautiful faces this week. I have lots to tell you. This has been an INCREDIBLE week and I couldn't ask for anything more for Christmas. It was a very very white Christmas. I am so happy.
So something that I forgot to tell you last week is that we had zone p-day and I can't believe I did this but we played the game where there are a bunch of eggs and some are boiled and some are raw and you all smash it on your foreheads at the same time. Haha well.... I TOTALLY THOUGHT mine was cooked. But nope. Completely raw. I totally smashed an egg on my head and it was absolutely disgusting. But I sent a pretty good picture that captured my reaction.
|Me & Sister Conching|
So maybe I will start with the very best and most beautiful miracle of the week. So it starts with the Barcenas family, and my beloved Conching Baluyot. So the Barcenas family have been anxiously awaiting their baptism and were so excited. Especially brother, because he has been waiting for about 10 or 15 years, and everyone at his job always assumes that he is a member. So he couldn't wait to be "legit." Sister Conching was filled with a light all week waiting. She was so prepared. As we were teaching her more about the gift of the Holy Ghost, we touched on gifts of the spirit, one of which being gift of tongues. She told us that while she was interviewed by President Mangum, normally she struggles understanding English. But she had such a peace while in the interview and she said she understood absolutely every word. She also felt divine help as she was responding back to him in English. She bore testimony that it wasn't herself, but the Holy Ghost guiding her. It was a great experience for her.
|Me, The Barcenas Family & Sister K|
The baptism was on Saturday and was absolutely beautiful. We passed out invitations all week and tried to do everything we could to coordinate with our WML and other members to make it really special. When we pulled up, there were tons of members there and all 5 of those getting baptized were already dressed and ready. They truly looked like angels. There were lots of members there and Conching's daughter-in-law who is not a member (and is a little bit anti-mormon came for moral support). The members made all of this food and programs for everyone.
|Sister K, Sister, Me, Elder Galbraith, Sister Galbraith (mission nurse), Sister Brown, Sister, & President Mangum|
(Maybe this sounds like a normal thing back in the good old state of
Utah, but this is extremely rare here in the Philippines). Sister K and I sang a duet, the baptisms went perfectly smooth, and then we were guided by the spirit during the workshop we gave about the temple. President Mangum and his wife, Elder and Sister Galbraith, and Elder and Sister Moran were all there.
|Sister Kekauaha, Sister Brown, & Me|
|Me, Sister Conching, & Sister K|
Not only that, but even though we had to go on exchanges this week and missed a few days in our area, we were still able to miraculously hit all of our goals. It was just a testimony to me that if you put everyone else but yourself first, especially God, you are blessed two-fold.
We found a new family that has great potential. The Sikat family (Sikat in Tagalog means famous). Brother has worked for President Garcia (stake president) for a long time now and has come to church the past 3 weeks by himself. He is super super interested and said that during the fast and testimony meeting he couldn't stop crying during the testimonies haha. His wife on the other hand will take some work, faith, and prayers but I really have a feeling this family will be baptized. Haha during the lesson, I did have a hard time concentrating at the point when his wife (who is quite large) took off her bra in the middle of the lesson and was playing with it the rest of the time. Hahahhaha different culture. But this family is basically the same story as the Barcenas. Brother and his son came to church again last Sunday. I'll follow up with you more next week:)
Brother Pamilacan, a long-time investigator, who knows it is true but just struggles with alcohol also had a change of faith... accepted his baptismal date for January 24th and committed to never drink again. He says that he is sick of his weaknesses and wants to give this to Christ for Christmas. He wants to get baptized so his family can be sealed in the temple. Another miracle and the result of many missionary's prayers.
I also hit my one year mark on Thursday. Surreal! I am sad but motivated to make every day count. But Sister K was so sweet and decorated my desk and wrote me this really nice note. Later that night, we took a member with us and got pizza and yema cake (probably one of the best things I have eaten in my life... grabe naman). It was a really nice day and I am grateful to be with Sister K at this point in my mission. I feel like this is the climax of my journey. I feel like I have learned and changed so much, I have the language at a good place (but always want to keep learning), and I feel I know my purpose. I am sad to only have 6 short months ahead but will do everything I can to make the best.
I love all of you so much. Thank you for your support and love.
Merry Christmas to all of you!!!
|Me & Sister Kekauaha|
|Sister K & Me|