Monday, November 11, 2013

week 3

My goodness gracious! Whoever said missions are like a roller coaster was not kidding! Okay so I have officially been in the Philippines for 3 weeks! And I can honestly say that I do not want to be anywhere else! This email was going to be mostly pictures because I have so many to send! But the internet cafe that we are in only had 2 computers left and my kasama took the one with the camera connector. I was expecting her to say "we can switch off half way" but nothing yet. We will see I have 5 more minutes until half way done! Fingers crossed! haha but if not it's alright, no love for the junior companion whatevs haha.
     Sige, we will get into the week now! This week has been sooo sooo great! The greatness really started on Tuesday. We had a zone "finding activity". As missionaries we try to find fun new ways to find potential investigators. Usually you apply these new ideas just as companionships. But our zone leaders decided that they would try to do one as a zone. So we went down to the plaza in san fernando and performed! There was a stage, speakers, the whole thing! My companion, the other sisters in our apartment, and I were chosen to be a part of the performance. We sang some hymns, a young woman who is a member in the Lingsat ward sang some primary and other church songs. And Elder Ete sang I am a child of God in English, Tagalog, and Samoan. As we were all performing, the other missionairs of the zone were preaching by the way. When we weren't performing, we also had the opportunity to be preaching by the way. This made it so much more exciting to preach because there was the attraction of the performers and so we could explain what they were doing or what they were singing about, and then turn it into a lesson, or even just a "would you like to learn more?" We ended up getting tons of people's names and even though they weren't much from our area because we were in San Fernando rather than San Juan, I didn't care. 
     Preaching by the way is something that I have been most scared to do. It's pretty much making small talk with people and then bringing up our message of the gospel and then asking if we can meet with them sometime to teach them more. I used to wonder, "how am I supposed to you know, talk to people when I can't you know, speak the language..." haha but this activity made me so much more confident in my ability to talk to people! For a little while I imagined trying to do this activity in like Russia, or europe, or even Japan. I would have been soo much more scared. But the people here are seriously so friendly. As soon as they hear us try to speak their language they are so friendly and so impressed with our desire to learn and with what we have learned so far. These Philippinos are def morale boosters! :)
     The rest of the week was pretty normal. Oh we got a new fridge! Seriously we were so excited for it. And even now, when Sister Gerhards (the only pilippina in our house) goes into the kitchen, she just freezes and is like "oh, it's so beautiful!" in her philippino accent hahaha. It has lifted the spirits of the kitchen tremendously. We are so happy about it. Another exciting thing from this week was new missionary training! All the missionaries from my batch got together at a chapel and got some training. The training focused on health, the "12 week Program" the program that we new missionaries go through, and then President Balledos spoke for most of it about how we can do this. How missionary work is possible. It was really interesting and sooo much fun to be able to see missionaries from my batch! We got to see Sister Bangerter! Of course I was happy to see Sister Tapusoa too but I get to see her very often since our areas and houses are so close to each other. I'm seriously so lucky to have her. But we got to see Sister Bangerter! It was so nice and we got to share our stories of the mission so far. Our struggles mostly haha but we also shared so positive stories too! That was definitely a highlight of the week.
     On Saturday we had a baptism for Brother Jojo Flores. He is in the San Juan 2 ward but Sister Gerhards and Gaddy are his missionaries. He has been taught by 5 or more sets of missionaries already. His wife is a member and when he was first getting taught, he would always tell the missionaries "Sisters, I am catholic. You cannot change me. I am catholic." But we witnessed his baptism yesterday! This gospel is for everyone. The rich, the poor, the born again, the catholic. God will not give up on His children so neither can we.
      In Jacob chapter 5 there is the allegory of the Olive Tree. In verse I believe it's verse 47, the Lord sees that even after all of his work, his trees have brought forth bad fruit. The Lord asks "What more could I have done for my vineyard?" And He is about to give up, and then the servant asks Him if they can please try just and work one more time. That is what I need to do as a missionary. It is what we all need to do as people in general. Giving up is not an option, especially when it comes to preaching His gospel. Everyone deserves the chance to hear the truth but it requires my diligence. My determination to never give up. And so that is what I will do. Never give up.
     I love you guys so so much. But I don't want to be home right now! Haha as I was sitting in the baptism on Saturday, I thought about home for a second and usually when I do that, I get homesick and think "if only I could be home right now." But that thought never entered! Instead I thought "there is no other place that I would rather be than here. I don't want to be anywhere else." It's a miracle! I am finally realizing why I am here. I believe so strongly in prayer. Everything that I have been able to do here so far is because of prayer. Because of asking God to please help me through all that I do each day. Remember to pray. Remember to remember the Lord and the importance of His companionship. Once again I love you all so so much. Keep on keeping on! Until next week!
Sister Sawada

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