April 21, 2014
How are you all? I Hope things are going well and that you had a wonderful Easter Sunday!
Life here is going well! I did not get transferred, so that means at least 6 more weeks here in Cogeo. I am super excited that I didn’t get transferred because I feel that I still have a lot more work to do here. One of my kabahays, Sister Houser, is getting transferred though, so that means we will be getting a new sister in our apartment. I am so sad Sister Houser is leaving- she’s honestly one of the most amazing people I have ever met! She was so full of love and encouragement and she always gave me great advice, especially concerning the language.
Well the work here is going. It’s definitely hard, but it is good as well. One of our investigators, Imelda, who had accepted a baptismal date with her two kids, is really struggling. We went and visited her Sunday morning, and as soon as we got to her house, we saw her walking slowly up the hill. She was completely drunk. She invited us into her house and she began to sob because of the decision she had made. She really was not stable and we just helped her realize that through living the commandments and through the Atonement of Jesus Christ she can overcome this trial and find joy and peace. We think that her husband is the source behind this problem, and we are going to go back over again tomorrow. We tried to go back yesterday and help her figure out a recovery plan, but her husband was home so we weren’t able to. I have never felt so much sorrow for someone as I did when we were talking to Imelda and I want more than anything to help her see the power of the Atonement in her life. She is kind of giving up on herself, but we won’t let her.
We went over to Philip and Judy Ann’s this week, and when we got there, we noticed that one of her daughters was gone. They are completely out of food again and so they had to send their oldest daughter, Julianne, to live with Judy Ann’s parents for a while because they cannot feed her. This completely breaks my heart! The bishop has been providing some food for them, but they run out of it in a day’s time. We think they have been sharing it with Philip’s brothers and their families who live right next door. It is so hard because if they can’t even get their basic needs met, there is absolutely no way that we can continue this work. It’s so awkward to go to teach and they talk about how they have no food, and then we are like, “Can we share with you about repentance?” It’s definitely a hard situation, but they are staying faithful.
The Honrejas family is doing amazing!!! I am sooo excited for them! The lessons with them are going great and they even came to church on Sunday. We haven’t been able to teach a lesson with all of the kids there, so that’s our next goal. They have 6 kids, 5 of which are of baptism age. If all goes as planned, their whole family will be baptized on May 24th! 7 of them! I am so excited! It’s so miraculous the see the change in their lives since we have been teaching them. There is a new joy that is there and there family is so much stronger. I feel so privileged to be a part of their conversion experience.
Eunice and Shanin are still doing great and their friends still always join us in the lessons. It’s so cute! They all take turns saying the prayers, and we help them each time. They are so adorable!!Their parents gave the OKAY to be baptized, and so they will be on May 10th!! It will be my very first baptism and I am so excited for them! They are so strong and their examples shine far brighter than they know.
On Saturday we went back up to Cluster C to do another service project for them same man as last week. He’s rebuilding his house, so we went to help with that… Ya… did not work out to well. He just had the sisters sweep all of the leaves and what not from the pathways above his house, and then we just ate coconuts for the rest of the morning. It really was such a waste of time, but at least it was fun!
I hope your Easter was good! If my companion and kabahays wouldn’t have reminded me, I would’ve had no idea! Even at church, there was no mention of Easter… It was so bizarre! One of the Hymns was Easter related, but that was it. We worked just like any other day and no special Easter dinner for us. We were in meetings after church until 7:30pm and then just went out and taught. That’s okay though! Missionary work really is work! Even on Easter! Sister Racaza and Sister Houser were so cute though and made a little Easter egg hunt for Sister Judd and I and completely trashed our room with candy! And we made nachos for lunch which is completely out of the ordinary here, so all in all it was a good day! Holy Week here in the Philippines though is crazy… Did you know that they do real crucifixions here?! Insane, huh?! Google it! Or not… it sounds kind of scary! But they were doing them only like 20 minutes away from our house. Insane!!
Well the language is coming little by little. I never understood what a process this would be. I think I had really unrealistic ideas when it came to learning the language, and it has been such a humbling experience for me. It is so amazing how even though I am so far from perfect, the Lord is using my weaknesses as a strength for me to do this work here. I know that learning the language is going to be a long, frustrating process, but I know that it is something that I need to go through. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn this beautiful language of Tagalog and share the gospel with the people here in their native tongue.
We went and visited Sister Saulan this week, one of the members. As we were talking she stopped and started looking really deeply into my eyes. Then out of nowhere she said, “You have cat eyes!” Uhhh… thank you?? She then had her grandson go and grab one of their cats so she could so me the similarities between us. I don’t know if I should be honored or offended. Another man, Brother Mamboy, also told me this week that my eyes look like a cats’. Some people!! They are just too blunt!
Well that’s all from me this week! Keep chugging along and know that there is someone in the Philippines who loves you so very much! Thanks for all of your encouragement and sweet letters! I wish I could respond to them all. Love you all and can’t wait to hear from you soon!!