Monday, November 3, 2014

He is always near me

Sister Parina, Sister Lockwood, Sister Delaitubuna, and Sister Lacsamana

Dear Family,
Wow! So, this week was totally nuts. I keep thinking that one day I'm gonna email you and say "this week was pretty normal, not much to say." But every week proves to be crazier and crazier!! Hahaha, but I think this week might win the prize. Ready..?
So on Thursday, we were home because Sister Parina's neck was bothering her. (Her tooth is much better, but it kept us from working on Wednesday ): ) I was feeling quite annoyed that we were staying home again because we have been in our apartment so much! Sister Delaitubuna and I even texted the District Leader to ask if we could do exchanges since both of our companions were sick. But, to our surprise the District Leader said no.  We were both pretty confused because he usually says yes. I was kinda mad to be honest.. But, little did I know, it would be a good thing that we were home. Sister Lacsamana and Sister Delaitubuna were also home because Sister Lacsamana had been complaining of chest pains and hadn't been feeling well. President and Sister Hiatt were in Manila, so they said to wait until they could get back and check her out. So I was cleaning my desk in our study room when all of a sudden Sister Delaitubuna yelled "Sister Lockwood! I need your help!" I walked into the kitchen to find Sister Lacsamana laid back in the chair, unresponsive!! Sister Delaitubuna was like "she just collapsed when she tried to stand up!" Of course, the daughter of my mother that I am, I started freaking out. "Is she breathing?! Is her heart beating?!" Earlier that morning Sister Lacsamana had told us about a heart condition that she had and that her dad had had to do CPR on her multiple times. WHATTT?!!! Yeah, luckily she was breathing and her heart was beating, but we couldn't get her to respond to us, and her face went super super pale. I started making phone calls to everyone I knew and nobody was answering!! (turns out it was MLC, the leadership meeting of every leader in the mission..) So I finally got ahold of our district leader.  It was then that Sister Lacsamana began gasping for air like she couldn't breath. It was then that I really started freaking out and was like "I THINK I NEED TO CALL AN AMBULANCE!"  So, calmly, the elder was like "Okay Sister, Dial 117." So, here we go. For the first time in my life I dialed the ambulance!! Of course, it was not like America, and I spent a good 10 minutes screaming where our apartment was and that we were on the island of Palawan.. because they don't have real addresses here. Before the ambulance arrived (or I waved it down rather), Sister Hiatt called and told me that I should go with her in the ambulance. So, I got to ride in the ambulance! By that point, Sister Lacsamana was responding and doing okay, but still complaining of chest pain. Sadly, when we arrived at the "hospital" they did absolutely NOTHING for her! They did some tests and then sent us home. She is getting transferred back to Manila at transfers to be able to go to doctors there. 
So, long story short, I rode in an ambulance this week. 
A few hours later, I was feeling like I made the absolute wrong decision, but Sister Ostler called and said I did the right thing. And guess what? The ambulance only cost the equivalent of 12 dollars! So I don't feel bad at all! 
I really hope you're not freaked out, everyone is fine now and we all went back to work this weekend! Its quite the story...huh? Hahaha, oh my.
But other than that madness, I learned a lot this week! Elder Oaks came here to the Philippines with Elder Robbins and we got to watch them in a broadcast.  We also were invited to Branch Council on Sunday, and between both of those, I realized how much WORK there is to do here! Over 3/4ths of our branch is Less Active, and those numbers are the same across all of the Philippines. There are over 700,000 members here but SO MANY are less active! We as missionaries have so much to do, not only to reactivate people but to make sure that those we baptize are really ready to become strong members. 
My favorite part of the broadcast, though, was Elder Robbins talk. He said that "we see the world from what we carry in our hearts." He gave the example of Laman and Lemuel and their brother Nephi. Despite the fact that they virtually had the same set of circumstances, their attitudes and experiences were completely different because of what they carried in their hearts. He said that "we see things as we are". This was so perfect for me as a missionary to hear! Life in the Philippines can be crazy sometimes, but I will see things as I am, from what I carry inside of my heart. Attitude is everything! There are so many blessings that come to me as I strive to be grateful and always carry in my heart the hope and faith that comes from the gospel. It's not always easy, but I was so thankful for that reminder from Elder Robbins. 
Life is so good! Don't be freaked out about the story of the ambulance, I know that it was definitely a tender mercy that we were all home and ready to take care of her. I'm so thankful our district leader was in tune with the spirit, and that everyone was okay. I KNOW that Heavenly Father is involved in the details of our lives. He really is always near us. And if we listen, he will ALWAYS tell us what we should do to keep us safe. 
I love you SO SO MUCH!!!
Sister Lockwood

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