I have lice again, and we moved apartments! But the good news is, I have poly kabahays!!! YAY!!! (I think that means Polynesian roommates)
And the other really great news is.. the Berdin family is getting baptized!! They worked everything out with our bishop, and had their interviews Saturday! Tom Berdin, the dad, will be baptizing his wife Margie and daughter Angel (: It is such an exciting time for us. Tom has really changed over the past months. He has made big changes in his life, and his family is being seriously blessed. They are so ready and so excited! Every time I see the cute Berdin family, I just fill up with joy. They are so precious. I can't wait for the day they will be sealed in the temple (:
This week we also saw miracles with member referrals! That has been a huge focus in our district, and so Sister Narag and I have been fasting and praying for members to give us referrals. And this week we saw answers to our prayers! The biggest and most exciting, was the referral from Sister Jensen! We visted her family a couple of weeks ago and committed them to pray for missionary opportunities. They have a daughter serving a mission as well. This week Sister Jensen texted us and told us she was bringing her Swiss-German neighbor to church! She is so sweet and so much fun. I can't even tell you how excited I am to teach her! And she came to church and loved it! She is going to be coming next week with her family! Pray for Lex and Sonny (:
Oh yeah- the last experience I wanted to share! So this week when we were going to visit the Berdin family, we felt prompted to talk to their neighbor, May. And in her words.."Mormors din ako, date." That means "I used to be a mormon." Hahaha, that's always fun because we tell people, actually you still are a mormon!" But she is so sweet and wonderful, and was so ready to hear from us again. She has been less active since she was a teenager, but her family was sealed in the temple, and are still active. She has kids and a husband now, who are not members. But she said that she really is ready to get back to church. I know that Heavenly Father was watching and waiting for her over the past 20 years, and now that she's ready, He sent us back to her (: I am so lucky to be the missionary that gets to do that work for our Father in Heaven.
Well, I hope all of you have a great week!
I am still just living life as a missionary in the Philippines! Hot, sweaty, and HAPPY!
Kayla couldn't get the computer she used to send the pictures from this week, so I am sending one that I received on Saturday from her Bishop's wife....
This is how we celebrated 9 months...halfway done!
Shane was so nervous!
Shane's baptism day!
I love her!
With her Grandma
Guess what happened this weekend?! Shane was baptized!! Yay!! It was such a great service, and I felt so much love for Shane. We are so lucky as missionaries because Heavenly Father shares the love He has for our investigators with us. When Shane was confirmed yesterday in her beautiful confirmation dress her Grandmother made for her, I couldn't help but picture her in future dresses, as a young woman, as a missionary, going to the temple. She is so sweet, and even though she is only 9, Heavenly Father has big plans for her!
The baptism went really really well! We were a little nervous because just before it was supposed to start she was crying and said that she was scared to go under the water. Luckily, though, Sister Ballada gave an opening prayer and asked that her fears would be calmed, and they were! Bishop Espi baptized her and all was well! After the baptism she, Sister Narag, and I sang "Teach me to Walk in the Light." Shane sang the first verse and then sister Narag and I the second, and then all of us the last. Tears filled my eyes as we sang "Come little child and together we'll learn of His commandments that we may return home to the Father to live in his Sight." It was such a special day and I feel so lucky to be apart of Shane's life in this way. Virigie, her Grandmother also expressed her gratitude and love for us and for the church. It was perfect!
One thing that I have been learning is that as I experience the reality of Diety, I also recognize the reality of Satan! And because Satan hates us, the Berdin's family baptism is postponed for a while... There is complication with ward boundaries and our bishop...etc. But we are praying that they will be baptized in a few weeks! Good always wins in the end!
This week I hit my HALF WAY point in the mission. Yeah...that's scary. I guess that officially means that I am OLD in the mission. I don't really know how that's possible because it still feels like its August. I think because fall and winter never came... I am stuck in summer 2014. Haha, and let me tell you..it is SUMMER TIME IN THE PHILIPPINES! Woof! I made a promise to myself that I would never complain about the heat... but let me tell you. Its hot. Hot hot, real hot! This morning, we got out of bed and the thermometor we have in our apartment was at 88 degrees. At 6:30 in the morning. INSIDE the apartment. That's all I'm going to say about that.
Other than that, it was a great week! Our prayers are being answered with member referrals in the 4th ward. We had a Chinese investigator come to church yesterday, and we started teaching the house help in our Japanese members home. We have tons of fun initiating contact with all of the diverse people in Manila. The funnest this week was a black man from Abudabee? And our area in the 3rd ward is really great too! We are praying for new investigators who are prepared for baptism.
Also an update on the bed bugs- they are all gone!! And all of the sprays we used to get rid of them also got rid of the cockroaches!! So we are officially bug free in our apartment!! yay!!
Life is good in the Philippines! I love being a missionary!! I love you tons! Have a great week!!
Night view of Manila from on top of convert's apartment complex. Cool, huh?!
boiling water for the bed bugs!
Another week another adventure here in Manila! This week's adventure: Bed Bugs! Haha, turns out that's what me and Sister Narag's mysterious bites have been coming from. So, when we finally figured it out, we chucked the mattresses, and had to wash everything we had in the apartment with hot water. Haha, it wouldn't have been so bad if there was a such thing as "hot water" here. So we spent hours boiling water and soaking our clothes, curtains, and sheets in hot water. Luckily, though the itchy bites are starting to disappear!
This week we had really great lessons and General Conference was AMAZING! Annie and Samantha, our investigators who can't come to church on Sunday, were able to attend the Saturday sessions and it was really powerful. We have been praying that Conference would give them the courage to change their circumstances to come to church on Sunday. Hoping for a miracle!! Another family that was able to attend conference was Melonie and Chris! Ahh, this was SO exciting for us. They are less active and we have been visiting them since I got here. They have wonderful testimonies, but have let things get in the way of them attending church. They attended the Sunday morning session, and seriously those talks were on point! As they were leaving they said "we are going to start coming to church every Sunday." Ah- a missionary's favorite words!! Hershey, a recent convert of ours who hasn't been at church in a while was also able to come! And the Berdin family and Shane also attended, and are getting so excited for their baptisms!! Pray for Shane this week, and that the ward will follow through on these upcoming baptisms.
Listening to a living prophet this weekend was such a great experience for me and for our less active members and investigators. There is real power that we can feel as we listen to his voice. I know that He is a prophet of God. It was clear to me, in the faces of our investigators, that they could feel it too.
Some of my favorite talks were President Uchtdorf and Elder Causee. It seems like President Uchtdorf always has something to say about JOY in the gospel! He is always counseling us to be happy and be obedient. I have learned here on the mission more than ever before, that happiness really does come as we are obedient to the commandments. I loved Elder Causse's because he reminded me that this gospel is AMAZING. And we should see it that way! I think that that really just applies to the whole world around us. No matter if there are lice or bed bugs or whatever, there is so much joy and so much amazement to been seen every day if we will just look around.
That is something I am so thankful for- the tender mercies and blessings that are hidden every day here in the Philippines. In the first verse of first Nephi, he talks about how he has seen tribulation in his days, but nevertheless being favored of the Lord in all his days.. We are that way too! We may have tribulation all of our days, but we have tender mercies and blessings every day too.
(Exxplanation: General Conference is a meeting held twice a year in Salt Lake City where the prophet and the 12 apostles speak along with other church leaders from all over the world. This meeting is broadcast via satellite to all of the members of our church in many different countries and translated into many different languages. It was actually broadcasted last weekend but in the Philippines, they watch it a week later due to the time zone difference. If interested, these meetings can be viewed at anytime by going to lds.org and clicking on the link for General Conference.)
Well, I survived Holy Week in the Philippines!! Haha, oh my heavens it is madness. Good Friday was the craziest. There were parades of Catholics and crosses and fake bodies of Jesus EVERYWHERE. They even do human crucifictions here on the street! It was quite horrifying to be honest. The weirdest thing though was that on Thursday and Friday, everything was shut down. There was no public transportation, no grocery stores open. But then on Easter, it was like a totally normal day! I don’t even know if anyone remembered that it was Easter!
Even though it was a super weird week with all of the good Friday stuff, I was somewhat grateful for this new perspective that I had on the Atonement. It was a reminder of just how much Christ did suffer for us and that it really happened. But, I was so thankful for the celebration we were able to have yesterday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He Lives! And without His resurrection, his Atonement would be incomplete. It is because of the resurrection that we will all live again and be resurrected.
And, incoincidentally, I learned a LOT about the Atonement and my Savior this week. It started on Wednesday when I got lice!! Haha, yeah, lovely I know. Did you know lice are actually brown bugs with legs? Yeah, I don’t know if its just here in the Philippines, but they are also huge. And there was like at least a hundred crawling around on my head. Luckily though after some tears, I got some shampoo and my Philipina anak combed all of them out of my hair for me. Oh, the joys of living in the Philippines! I wonder what gross thing a child will share with me this week....
And then, this whole week I was trying to organize Shane’s baptism and for some reason I just felt totally alone! I felt like the ward wasn’t helping and I just felt like I was the only one who cared if the baptism worked out. I was really stressed out all week and I kept praying that things would work out. On Friday night I was the most stressed and I really didn’t know what was going to happen, if at 10 oclock the next morning we would have a baptism. I finally gave up and just said “Heavenly Father, I have done everything that I can, can you please just help everything to work out?” I just had faith and went to sleep that night hoping it would be okay.
Well, Saturday morning, 2 hours before the baptism was going to start, I got a text from the person who was appointed to fill up the baptismal font saying that he wasn’t feeling well and we had to cancel the baptism. I was crushed! I was so upset and angry and I didn’t understand why this was happening! I texted everyone and told them that it was moved to the 18th, and then I just cried. I felt like this was some kind of joke.. First lice and now this.. After I turned everything over to the Lord, why didn’t He help it all work out?
It was then that I was reminded that Jesus Christ came to strengthen US. Jesus Christ came and suffered and died for us so that He would know how to succor us. Not so that He could fix everything and make everything work out just the way we want, but to help comfort us and make us stronger when things don’t go the way we want. I felt His love and comfort from the Holy Ghost, and I was able to let go of the feelings that I had of resentment and sadness. And Shane is still going to be baptized! And I know that Heavenly Father will help that happen...just in his time... 2 weeks from now (:
I am so thankful for Easter! I know that my Redeemer lives! He can be our comfort and our best friend and there for us to understand when nobody else is around. I love being on a mission in the Philippines and I love this opportunity that I have to know my Savior better.
Have a great week!! Xoxoxo
Also, our prayers are being answered and we have recieved referrals in the 4th ward!! Yay! That is such a relief to me. Yesterday we ate at another family's house in the 4th ward, and it was so nice! She even let us eat some COOKIE DOUGH before she put cookies in!