Happy Thanksgiving Week Everyone!
Unfortunately(and obviously) they do not celebrate Thanksgiving here so I told my roommates I will give them their first American Thanksgiving on Thursday with turkey, rolls, and the most pumpkin pie thing I can make. I will send pictures next week with how that turns out. But everyone please eat as much turkey, rolls, and pumpkin pie for me as you can. Oh and watch so much football for me please. Also, most importantly be grateful for everything especially your family and this gospel.
We bought a Christmas tree last Monday and I have attached a picture of it with rice as the present because we eat rice for literally every single meal; so that pretty much sums up the Philippines right now. Christmas and rice.
This week was SO much better language wise. The members have continued to be so helpful and people are starting to understand me in the lessons. The gift of tongues is real and all of your prayers have helped so much. It is crazy in our lessons sometimes I will start talking and in my head I will be like wow this is way too fast and too much Waray to be me and then after I will realize I don’t know exactly what I said but that they understood me and the Spirit was there.
The Holy Ghost has been so prevalent in my week. We start each morning with personal study and plan what we will teach our investigators that day, and then we have companionship study and plan the actual lesson based on what we have personally studied. On Wednesday, no joke, we had the same question, scripture, and promised blessing for almost each person we planned for. I was amazed and knew it was inspiration from Heavenly Father and just the craziest coolest thing that has happened during our studies.
My roommates don’t like to run, so I have to bribe them with treats and banana bread and so the mornings I want to run, we walk to the bakery that has THE BEST BANANA BREAD EVER. No joke. And as they walk, I run for a little and then run back to them. Sort of like suicides to a random location and back to my companion the whole way. I probably get more running in that way, so I am okay with it and then when we get to the bakery I buy them banana bread or whatever they want. I have had way too much banana bread already, but one whole loaf of heavenly banana bread is only like 10 cents – so yeah I never pass it up haha.
We found out that every Saturday until January, the city turns the power off for the day and for us that means they turn our water off as well. So this past Saturday, they were supposed to turn it back on at 6, but it ended up not coming back on until like 10:30 and so when we got home from our day, we just chilled by candlelight and talked about life. Sister Teirei asked if there were “Brown-outs” in America. I told her we call them black outs and they thought it was hilarious for some reason. I have no idea why they call them brown outs here since it is black when lights are out. Sister Teirei told me it is because the people are brown here – hahaha. She is crazy and hilarious. It was hotter than an oven because we couldn’t use the fans and we didn’t know how we were going to be able to sleep and then, like magic, it was 10:30 our exact bedtime and the kuryente (electricity) came on and we were able to sleep. Blessings. Little miracles like that are amazing.
FUNNY/CRAZY story: Yesterday, we were sitting in the church doing Language Study and a few kids came up to the church who weren’t members and were whispering about the Amerikina, we asked them if they wanted to see the church and they said yes, so we gave them a tour and the whole time they asked about why I have blue eyes and why my nose is so long. They were all so cute and well behaved so we got a picture with them, and they said we could come visit their family this week. As we were saying bye to the kids a homeless man came into the church and started singing in English and talking to me in Tagalog. I couldn’t understand him so I told him that, and he followed us around the church. We were scared cause he smelled like alcohol and cigarettes. Also, he kept asking where Spiderman was. We went into a classroom where we found our district leader and he found us there and talked to the Elders and kept repeating “UPS UPS” and “WHERE IS SPIDERMAN?” Now Sister Cerdenia and I were laughing because it was hilarious and the bishop found him and took him off the church campus. He returned a few more times that day always with weird questions, so we just ignored him. Craziest thing that has happened.
I think that’s it for random, crazy stories. Now on to the spiritual things that really make my week and my work here so enjoyable.
I want to start with Sister Mila, the one who is scheduled to be baptized on Dec 19 🙂 I got a picture with her after church so you can all see how cute she is. We taught her a lesson on the Book of Mormon this week and she bore such a sweet testimony and opened up to us and it strengthened my testimony of the Book of Mormon so much. We asked her how her reading is and she said “I am going to be honest with you girls, I grew up with 16 siblings and my family couldn’t afford to send us all to school so I stopped school after 4th grade. Because of that, I can’t read that well and it takes me a long time to even read one word. But I try every night to read as much as I can from the Book of Mormon because so far it has changed my life. Even though it takes me a long time to read, I know I need to and I want to so badly.” She has such a pure, strong testimony. She can barely read, yet she strives to read as much of the Book of Mormon as she can every night. I can read and before my mission, I maybe read it a few times a week if I wasn’t in a religion class. I took the Book of Mormon for granted and Sister Mila reminded me of that, we were given the Book of Mormon to help us make it through this life, especially our trials. It is one of the biggest blessings and we sometimes take it for granted. I love Sister Mila and her understanding of the importance of it that has restored and strengthened my understanding of the importance. Please be so grateful for the Book of Mormon not only in honor of Thanksgiving this week, but because it’s a gift, a manual to this life. I believe that through the Book of Mormon/ Aklat ni Mormon(Tagalog)/ Basahon ni Mormon(Cebuano)/ Libro ni Mormon(Waray), our prayers can be answered and trials won’t seem so daunting and insurmountable.
A theme that kept coming up, in Sunday talks, in lessons, etc. was the principle that the gospel is for everyone and it doesn’t discriminate based on financial status. There are so few things in this world that are free. But the thing that will bring us the most joy is. You don’t need money to live the gospel of Jesus Christ, meaning you truly do not need money to be happy. I have seen that here. I have met some of the happiest people and they have so little. I go to members’ homes where we sit on their floor because they have no furniture, but they are indescribably happy and have such strong testimonies. Our first counselor gave a talk yesterday about learning to live simply and referred to D&C 38:39. I love that about this gospel because it takes the stress of money that runs this world out of the picture. And our wealth or worth is based on our testimonies/ how we choose to live rather than what we choose to buy or our bank accounts.
Even though I am the one teaching lessons everyday, I know for a fast I have learned way more from these people in the Philippines than they have learned from me.
I am so grateful for all of you and your support and love. I pray for you all daily and hope you are all doing so well:) Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Black Friday :)and know that you are all in my thoughts and your influences are in the way I act and what I choose to share. Also please be safe 🙂
Love with my whole Amerikana heart,
PS. Those are the coolest fishing boats ever and I have had fish a few times and I think my taste buds are warming up to the taste of it.