|Sister Galabay, Me & Sister Japus|
Hello my beautiful family!!!
This has been another crazy week here in the crazy land of the Philippines. There is no boring moment here in Sta. Cruz. This week was crazy. I think that because of the business we haven't been able to keep our apartment AS clean as normal and last night I woke up to 5 dead cockroaches on the floor. Keep in mind that these are about half the size of my nametag. Disgusting. But... I have finally become desensitized and don't spaz out when I see them anymore. I just keep calm and keep my distance. I guess you could say that is one thing that I won't miss about the Philippines.
I found out this week from Sister Maagad that kids here play with spiders when they are bored... haha I couldn't believe it. They will get two spiders on the end of a stick that they balance between their fingers, rial them up, and then watch them have a dual, all while trying to keep them balanced. Haha she also said that people can make good money selling spiders for kids to play with. We also butted in on the game of two kids we passed by the other day. They were throwing flip flops at an empty bottle, trying to knock it over. Haha.... sometimes these people have next to nothing. Although the kids don't have the fancy toys and gadgets that we do in the states, they are so happy and content. I love that about this people.
I love being companions with Sister Maagad because we are CONSTANTLY laughing our heads off and always making the most of our time here on the mission. Not just with the work, but also enjoying where we are as well.
Friday morning before MLC, we woke up at 5:00 am and got all of the zone leaders and STL's together to go rent bikes and ride around this beautiful lake that is below the San Pablo chapel. Hahah you would be happy to know that both Sister Maagad and I wore helmets (I could just hear Dad's voice, "Haley... where's your helmet?") And we were the only ones!!
Today we also went on this big hike in Siniloan and went to some falls. It was weird because everyone was going to climb up behind the waterfall and you know that I am always adventurous and ready to explore but something was really restraining me from joining everyone. It was a very distinct impression. Who knows what would have happened but... I followed the impression.
So...... at the beginning of this week we were so hesitant about Raymond getting baptized. He hasn't had the privilege of a good education and is a little bit slower with the material. Although he has made some really great changes in his life. He is also a lot slower reading and understanding the Book of Mormon. We just weren't sure if he had a stable enough testimony and if he was ready to enter into the sacred covenant. He also said that he might be moving which would change his ward and make things really complicated. But he REALLY REALLY wanted to get baptized on April 4th because his wife had already gotten work off for it, and she wouldn't be able to get work off for another month. It is also their anniversary and he was just really excited for baptism. We taught him Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday night and felt better and better about it. Finally, we decided to have him interviewed on Thursday. He failed!! There was something that he had experienced in the past that he hadn't told us about and so it meant that he would have to be interviewed by President. If President couldn't interview him within those two days, he would not be getting baptized. He and his wife Mary Fe were devastated!! Crying.... didn't understand. They texted us saying that they believed in the power of repentance and didn't understand why he couldn't get baptized. It didn't have anything to do with repentance, but instead had to do with the fact that he needed to be interviewed by that person who holds the keys and has the authority to pass him for baptism. Luckily because President Mangum was already going to come to the baptism to baptize Brother Pamilacan, he came 1 hour earlier to interview Raymond. If he would pass, he would get baptized, if not, he would have to wait. This was a huge trial of their faith. But... needless to say.. he passed in those last few moments before the baptism. So Raymond and Brother Eduardo Pamilacan officially were baptized last Saturday, April 4th. It was such a beautiful baptism, and in contrast to last week, tons of members attended.
Part of it had to do with the chapel tour that we had on Saturday. It was awesome. Each organization put together a little presentation for themselves and decorated their rooms. Us missionaries decorated and talked about the baptismal font. This actually took place the hours preceding the actual baptism. Many members came and brought non-member friends to step into the church and find out a little bit about what a Mormon does and believes. The Gatdula and Fontalba families also came (two families preparing for baptism) and loved it.
|BISHOP PALOMA!! Cleaning the font. Best BISHOP EVER|
The problem was, we went early that morning to clean the baptismal font (which was covered in about 2 cm of dirt... absolutely disgusting) and then when it was actually filled up, I guess the dirt that didn't completely go down the drain filtered into the water. It was so murky and gross. It looked even worse than before!! haha we were kind of freaking out about it, but President Mangum was calm about the whole situation and said that it didn't change anything about the efficacy of the ordinance hahaha. Only here in the Philippines.
|Sister & President Mangum & Eduardo Pamilacan's Family,|
Me & Sister Maagad
|President & Sister Mangum, Raymond's Family, Sister Maagad & Me|
So I just want to end by saying that I invite you again to visit www.mormon.org/easter. I encourage you to watch the video "Because He Lives." Not just because it is a good production and very well put together, but also because if you really take it seriously and watch it with meaning, I know that you can receive personal revelation about Jesus Christ, your relationship with Him, and what you need to do because of it. I have watched it multiple times and get something new from it every time. It comes from the First Presidency, so we can consider it scripture. Then, once you watch it... follow the revelation that you receive. I want to bear my testimony that I know that Jesus Christ really does live. He really did rise on the third day. Because of that, he is breathing and guiding us today, at this very moment. He is aware of everything, and He really is here. I know that He has definitely touched my life and because He lives, I know that I can change. I can't even begin to describe how much I have changed on my mission. I have seen the atonement and the miracle of change happen in the lives of those we are teaching. He lives and is our savior.
I love you!!!
|Sister Japus, Sister Galabay & Me|
|Mary Fe, Raymond & Their Cute Family|
|Me, Brother Pamilacan & Sister Maagad|
|"Baptismal font (which was covered in about 2 cm of dirt... absolutely disgusting)"|
|Hike in Siniloan|
|Horse on the trail|
|Sister Stevens, Me, Sister Maagad & Sister Dula|
|Siter Taufa & Sister Maagad|
|Elder, Me, Sister Maagad & Elder Adamson|
|"I could just hear Dad's voice, "Haley... where's your helmet?"|
|Sister Stevens & Me|