Monday, July 25, 2011
New Developments/Some SIGHs.....
Dear Momma, family and friends.
I wish this week could be erased for my sweet companion :(
Wednesday night Sister Roncal and I were lying in bed with the lights out, around 10:30ish, when I saw we got a text. I checked it. It as from a number our phone didn't recognize and it said,"President Malingcmot. pls tell sis.roncal to come home, her father is fast away." I was really confused for a few seconds, closed our cell phone to the front screen, then thought to reopen it. I realized when I re-read it, it said that Sister Roncal's father had died. I forwarded the text to President Carlos right away. Sister Roncal asked me who I was texting and I lied that I was texting an elder. President called about two seconds later, and told us we needed to come to Cauayan first thing in the morning--be there by 8am. So, I told Sister Roncal that I didn't know why, but President asked us to come to Cauayan. I set our alarm for 3am, and we left the house at 5 the next morning.
When we got to Cauayan, President had breakfast for us. We ate, then President escorted Sister Roncal into his office, and told her to call her family. I waited outside of the office with President and Sister Carlos. They asked me if she knew anything, and I told them she didn't. A few seconds later, we heard Sister Roncal sobbing so loudly. Sister Carlos and I ran in. I stroked Sister Roncals hair and Sister Carlos rubbed her back and shoulders as she shook and howled. She dropped the headset of the phone, and sobbed into her hands repeatedly saying, "I love my father, I love my father, my father is died." Sister Carlos offered beautiful words of comfort, and all I could do was listen and stroke Sister Roncal's hair. President came in and counseled her as well.
President told us we would stay at the mission home for a few days, until Sister Roncal was ready to leave. He made us leftover porkchops and mashed potatoes and gravy. I restrung all of the guitars in the mission home, while Sister Roncal read her pouch and letters. She had me write a letter to her stake president to read at her father's funeral--she didn't feel like writing, but she told me everything she wanted to say. It was a beautiful letter. We took a nap. I heard Sister Roncal silently crying to herself by my side. Sister Carlos invited us to make dinner with her later on. We made Thai shrimp and ate with President, Sister Carlos, and Sister and Elder Breese. Later that night we played Mexican train with them all and the APs.
We slept with air conditioning and took real showers.
The next morning, we sent the letter to Sister Roncals stake president that she wrote, and she called her family again. She's decided to stay in the mission field.
We ate pancakes for breakfast, and President let us watch a movie before we took the 4 hour busride home--4 hours, because our bus broke down. We watched The Ultimate Gift.
Work has been so difficult. Sister Roncal is having a hard time finding the will to work. She's been struggling to smile and be happy with very good reason. I wish I could be a better comfort to her. I keep thinking of what Sister Morgan might say. Maybe something like, "let her feel her pain for a little while." or "crying is good, get all that gunk out." And everytime she feels like forgetting and not thinking, I tell her to take a nap or watch a church dvd on our portable player. We looked forward to our baptism on Saturday with Sister Perlita. It was like the light at the end of our week of horror.
Well, Saturday came, and so did Perlita--she showed up at the church an hour before her baptism. Sister Roncal and I were so excited to see her there. We started the program with a hymn and talks. An 8 year old in the ward was baptized, then it was Perlita's turn. Elder Lien and Rocaberte taught brother Nelson how to baptize about 4 times before the program, so he was ready. Our district leader didn't come.
The first time she was dunked, her head didn't go under, the second time her foot, the third time, she dunked herself. She was dunked about 6 times. Between every dunking my heart just sank and sank and sank. Sister Perlita is 66 years old and afraid of water. She began to cry. I wanted to tell her to just keep her feet down and let Nelson take the lead and just relax, but I didn't know how to say any of those things in Tagalog. I was frustrated. She started to walk out of the water saying, "can we just reschedule?" Sister Roncal and I went to the back of the font to try to talk to her and remind her that her baptism needed to be done properly, and that this is the only true church--that she felt it herself. She said, "I've never had to be dunked so many times in other religions. I've been baptized before but never like this. Next time na lang."
Sister Roncal grabbed Sister Perlita's shoulders, looked her in the eye, and began to cry, saying, "Sister Perlita, I have been looking forward to your baptism for so long and I am here now to see it. I should be going home to see my dead father, but I am here because I wanted to see you be baptized." Sister Roncal began to sob, "My father died this week! I love him so much, but I am here. And you are what is supposed to make me happy. President told me to look forward to this and I did." Everyone who was in attendance at the baptism (not many of us...about 10), by this time was crowding around Perlita in the tiny hallway, and it was dead silent. No one knew why we were in Cauayan for the past two days, until this moment. Members began to sob also.
Sister Perlita turned and walked straight into the women's restroom, changed into her regular clothes, and sat back down in the room. We continued the program and Sister Roncal cried into her handkerchief. President spoke about the importance of being baptized by the proper authority. Sister Perlita stood up and said, "This is all I will say. I have never experienced being dunked in water like that at any other baptism of mine, and I will take this as a sign that I should stay true to my promise to my dead husband and remain in our church."
We had prepared a musical number for her. We stood up and sang "I Feel My Savior's Love." And I couldn't get through the song without choking. Sister Roncal still sobbed into her handkerchief.
Sister Perlita was not baptized.
I thought about maybe if we did something wrong. Or if maybe Heavenly Father was just protecting her from making a decision/covenant that she's not yet ready to make. I'm just not sure how to feel or what to think about it. I woke up the next morning, Sunday morning, with this feeling like I had had a nightmare. But then I realized, nope...that actually happened ;/
What a tough week :/
We found out from President that there will be a transfer, despite the happenings of this week. I peeked at the transfer board and saw that I will be transfered to Tuguegarao--the hottest place in the entire Philippines. HAaaa ;/ An Elder I know who served there, Elder Bates, said that every day his face was dripping with sweat. I will be follow-up training. Things are still subject to change up until transfer day, this Thursday. But this is just what I saw. Oh well, it will be alright ;/
The members here put on a little going away party for me Friday night. They blindfolded me and made me touch parts of this girl's body and guess what it was--arm, hand, ear, hair--then they stuck my finger inside of a tomato. I wanted to scream. We got pictures. They went around and each member gave me a little message--we have it recorded on my camera--and they made me sing "Come come ye saints." We've been taking lots of goodbye pictures with members. The first picture I've attached is of Sister Pancho...she is really old, but sharp in her mind. She reminds me of Mulan's ancestors in the disney movie. The last picture is of us at our last coordination meeting. It was special. I will miss everyone here.
Anyways. I love you. Keep us in your prayers always. I pray for all of my family. Tell my brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, GRANDMA, I miss them and love them. Kiss my little beebees for me. And kiss Dudley for me too ;)LOL