Monday, December 13, 2010
I LOVE YOU MOMMA & POPPA, FRIENDS & FAMILY!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Hi momamaamamama, Poppa, Friends and Family!!!!
Thank you for your emails! I love being able to read them every Monday. They are a treat and I look forward to getting them. I can only communicate to family members through my e-mail (Jillian counts as family as far as I'm concerned). I only get an hour to write, which is really a small amount of time to read your emails and respond AND read others' emails and respond to them. I feel bad; I want to write everyone, but email is just too hard. Real mail is such a treat anyways! Thank you all for writing to me and sending packages for Christmas, I am sooooo grateful for being thought of and loved so much! THANK YOU!
I miss you momma and Pop, and my whole Family! I love you all so much! I love you Grandma! I think of you all very often and feel so blessed that we are all members of the true church of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I asked Sister De Fiesta where we were going between appointments as we were walking. She said, "To hell." And I was like !??!?!!!?!?!?!?! And I asked her about 1000 times to clarify. She was serious. Finally I realized, one of our investigator's names is Hel. So, this week, we will be going to Hel.) LOL!
Um, I think its funny when people say things like, "The work is good." Cause I truly believe the work is as good as you make it.
Well...the work is good. :)
It's been cold. I actually have to sleep in a sweatshirt and pants. Sister De Fiesta had to sleep with a beanie--the only beanie we could find in Naguilian had an emblem of a Marijuana leaf on it. She bought it and slept in it anyways. It's been cloudy and wet and windy most days, and few days in between it gets hot and the air is thick.
Sister Sheela is getting baptized this week--this Friday. Her testimony is beautiful. This past week we went through the baptismal interview questions with her and with simple questions like, "Do you believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet called of God?" She would expound on how knowing he was a prophet blesses her life, etc, etc. She got her newborn baby, her 5 year old, and two 3 year olds ready, all by herself, to come with her to church for her baptismal interview. We had the kids watch The Testaments on our little portable DVD player. I am amazed by Sheela's faith and dedication to the gospel already. Her husband, Rico, comes to church regularly.
Sister Lisa and her family is set for baptism still for January 1st. Sister May came to church yesterday and to the Christmas Devotional by the first presidency.
Sister De Fiesta and I went to Mansibang to contact a referral that we got from the elders. (The pictures I've attached are from there.) It was a little more rural than we expected it to be and we had to walk about 20 minutes just to get into town. Every few homes, 2 or three kids would follow us, saying, "Americana, Americana," and seriously, by the time we showed up to the person's home, there were 30 children gathered around, staring. We weren't able to teach a lesson, but we are planning on visiting him this week again.
We had the opportunity to go to a devotional this week, put on by President and Sister Carlos, for the Cauayan Stake. Before the devotional, Sister Carlos fed the missionaries Mexican rice, tacos WITH CHEESE (no cheese here), and refried beans. The chapel was decorated with a sparkling Christmas tree and garlands, and the member of the stake had formed a choir. Maybe three notes, out of all of them throughout the production, were in tune, but I found my eyes cloudy so many times. President Carlos and Sister Carlos talked about how we can celebrate the Christmas season--with our testimonies of the Savior, gratitude, and service. They played the primary song, "Whenever I hear the song of a bird or look at the blue blue sky." Sister De Fiesta and I looked at each other, and both of us were in tears. I played "Away in a Manger" on guitar. I sang the first verse, Sister Webre (I knew her in the MTC...she was my coordinating sister) and I sang the second verse together, and we all sang the last verse as a zone. President and Sister Carlos fed the missionaries ice cream and sent us back to our areas.
We have running water between 6pm and 4am. We collect our water in buckets at night, and bathe with ladels still. We buy fruit and veggies and meat from the town markets. Our money comes from the mission.
Sister De Fiesta tells me my Tagalog is getting better every day. I don't notice it. I feel like I'm saying the same things over and over sometimes, but I know that the language will come gradually. The Spirit is the most important component in teaching. P.S. I taught my first gospel essentials class on Sunday!
We are having FHE every week as a branch. We are Christmas caroling this Thursday as a branch, and we have our Christmas party on Friday after Sheela's baptism. YEsterday after church, the members made rice for us and we ate rice and tomatoes with our fingers off of large banana leaves. Cool, huh!? The members laughed at me.
I have been reading Our Heritage from the Missionary Library. It has been so inspiring to read about all of these people who have sacrificed so much for the gospel. Alam ko na sa buong puso ko na totoo talaga ang simbahan na ito. Nagpapasalamat ako na ang mga magulang ko naging myembro sa simbahan noon. Life just makes sense with it. It all makes sense. And there is so much to look forward to--in this life and in the next.
Momma, can you write me your conversion story? I keep wondering what kind of investigators you and Pop were. :) Thank you for listening to the missionaries when they came to share the gospel with you. You and Pop were true pioneers for our entire family!
I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! I am out of time.
Your wandering Missionary,
Sister A. Fort
PS: People are telling me I'm getting skinny now! :)
PICTURES: 1. & 2. A very Rural area where we went to contact a referral.
3. Cauayan Stake center Devotional (We really enjoyed the Christmas celebration :)