Monday, January 24, 2011
EmailEmailEmail, I LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU ALL!!!
Hellooo mommaaaaa, Family, and Friends!
Today has been another pagod day. We woke up early early because our district planned an activity together to go to Magat Dam, about an hour away from Cauayan. It rained the whole day. We rode a jeepney there and rented a little covered area to eat the adobo that Elder Cabanacan made, with rice. There were about ten of us elders and sisters. We took so many pictures that I will send if this camera hook up will decide to work within the next forty minutes. If not, I will send them eventually. After lunch, we rode a boat that looked like an oversized canoe--hammock included--to circle around the lake. The man who managed the boat kept bucketing the water out from inside of the boat. Us sisters were a little concerned, but everything turned out okay. No boat tippings. The man let us out at a wall of rocks--still drizzling--and we all climbed up to the dam in our flip flops. All ten of us piled in a tricycle to see a hanging wooden bridge over a beautiful bright green river, and finally left for the day in a jeepney. Lots of bumpy travel today.
I got a really sweet letter in the mail from Mel Cole--remember my friend from RealManage that I made that big painting for? She says she is praying for me all of the time and asked cute questions like "What are you doing?! How is your host family? How is the language barrier? Have you read any good books lately?" Cute.
Nanay Luming is like our mother away from home. She takes such good care of us, momma. If we buy her the ingredients, she makes food for us. I am taking notes also. She made my favorte for me this week--ginataan--and we helped her make something with ube yesterday. I grated the ube--a purple root. Can you send me the gnocci recipe mom?? I wanna make it for people here sometimes--especially Sister DF before we are separated.
I am praying for another transfer with her. It would be so special--I began my mission with her, and she ends her mission with me. She has a tagalog bible from her trainer that she says she will pass down to me when she goes home. She is going home in March.
I see so much in her that I wish to develop here in the mission. She is so selfless and strong. I have moments here where I feel tired or discouraged with my teaching or with my tagalog and--you know me--I want to feel sorry for myself sometimes. I do my best to not let it affect the work, and it usually is just self talk throughout the day. But she reminds me, with her consistent focus on the work, that this is not about me at all. She is so good about bridling her emotions. I want to live like that. I want to be completely selfless. It will be a difficult process, but one that is so worth it. I was reading a talk by Elder Uchtdorf the other day--yes we're allowed to read general conference talks--and he was talking about developing Christlike attributes. He said that it is a difficult and painful process, but He is there to take us by the hand. I know thats true.
I felt it just this week with the lesson I was to prepare for Sunday school. I was worried that there wouldn't be participation, that maybe I wouldn't share the things people needed to hear, that my Tagalog would be incomprehensible. But I got on my knees the night before. I expressed all of my worries and I remembered a part in the Finding Faith in Christ video we watch here sometimes. The man brings his boy to Christ and tells Him to heal him. Christ says He can if the man has faith. The man says, "help thou my unbelief." I said the same in my prayer. I asked Heavenly Father to please make up my lack, to bless me with the Spirit to teach the people in the class, and I prayed for class participation. Sunday morning, in my last preparations, I felt so guided. Ideas flowed, scriptures came to mind, and when the time came for me to teach, there was so much participation from these two visitors that were there.
The work here in Naguilian is hard hard hard. I think most of our time here has been spent planting many seeds and doing our best to help strengthen the members. We found a past record for a family in our past investigators section of our area book--the sanchez family. We've been visiting them for about a month now. This week, four of the nine kids, came to church. Sister May--the woman we met while trying to find Benito--comes to church every Sunday. She really wants to become a member--when we teach her lessons, she is basically bearing her testimony to us--but her date is waiting on her wedding. And her wedding is waiting on her "asawa" or significant other. We are going fishing with her at her pond next Monday.
I don't have any really great stories. The work's been tough. But we did get 57 at church on sunday! Yayyy!
President compares the mission to a marathon. I am doing my best to keep the pace...constantly reevaluating myself.
I went on splits again with Sister Webre. It was SO FUN. We visited a big group of recently converted children. I did magic for them all :) Made candies appear for them. They said "ang galing!!!" We reviewed with them the priesthood and the spirit was so strong as these little children described their knowledge of Joseph Smith.
Sister Carlos keeps telling me about her friend that got to meet you. Cool!
Tell grandma that I love love love her and think of her often also.
Tell poppa I love love love him too. I really loved his Christmas letter to me and I hope he knows I love him.
I love YOU so much and I am soosososososo grateful for you in my life. Thank you for your constant care for me. And your encouraging words. And your robert frost poems!
Thanks to all of my wonderful family and friends that think of me, and pray for me and all the other missionaries. We feel your prayers. I love you ALL!!