Monday, November 18, 2013

Week four

I feel like I keep saying this and it must be because it is true. But every single day here just gets better and better! I don't know how it happens! I feel like I have reached my full capacity of joy and then it gets topped somehow!
   Hello Friends and Family! It is safe to say that this week has been a great one! But before I get into it I just wanted to let everyone know that I am safe! Haha wait did I say that already? I'm not sure. But seriously we got a couple drops of rain over here in Baguio. I think you all knew that already but I just wanted to clear up any confusion. We are very lucky to be over here. It is really such a devastating thing that happened in Tacloban and my prayers along with the prayers of all people here in the Philippines go out to them. We hear crazier and crazier stories about what happened and is happening over there and all I can think is how much God is aware of them right now and hope that they can realize that too.
    Also I wanted you all to know that if you are emailing me, yes I am reading your emails! I print them off on my pday because there is no time to read them when I am at the computer. And then I attempt to write you all a letter in reply. Unfortunately those take about 2-3 weeks to get to you all but it is the best way I can think of communicating at this point. Just know that I am so grateful for all who write and the time when I get to go home and read all my printed out emails is one of the best times of the week! So thank you all and I love you all.
    Sige! Let's get into this week! Once again I cannot send pictures :( I look forward to the day when I can! For now, y'all can just use your imagination :) So this week was really great! Sister Tanner and I always have full planners! Unfortunately though often times, our appointments will fall through. People here are always going to different cities to go visit family in Manila, or Urdeneta or I don't even know. Family is super important here. So if a family member is ever sick or needs something, their family will leave whatever they are doing and get on a bus to get over there. One of our less actives just up and moved one day and so we are like...hmmm maybe we will take her out of the area book...haha. But the work is still moving along!
    Sister Louise, the investigator who's husband is an RM is doing so so amazingly. She is getting baptized this Saturday! Not only will it be my first baptism but she is also the first investigator where I have been with her since the beginning of her lessons! I am so happy. She had her baptismal interview on Saturday and the district leader, the one who conducted the interview, told us that he is amazed at how prepared she is. He says that he felt the spirit so strongly with her. She was in tears before the opening prayer was over he said. We are so so happy for her and her family. We are actually hoping to have lunch with them today haha. We can't even go pday without seeing them! They are really the greatest. They live with her in laws who are also members. Their family name is Gaerlan. It's a very well known name in our area. They are a well off family and they have been very influencial in the church. Like Brother and Sister Gaerlan would have missionaries over for zone conferences all the time. They would feed the missionaries breakfast on pdays and Brother Gaerlan was the first branch president in Luna, an area here in the mission. But one day they just decided that they had done enough for the church. They now refuse to hold any calligns! Haha what? But yeah, they come to sacrament meeting only, and don't hold any callings. They are a very interesting family. But they know the church is true and are very excited for Louise's baptism so that's good! I realllly hope I can send you guys pictures next week because I will have pictures of her baptism!
    Another thing that happened this week was with a less active family. Well they are father and son, Ruben and Renie. The mother passed away a while ago and since then they stopped going to church, the husband Ruben drinks and smokes, and the son Renie seems kind of lost and sad most of the time. They work for a water purifying company and distribute jugs of purified water on their trykes. As far as we know they don't receive any additional income besides being able to live at the home owned by the company. Sister Tanner and I are not sure if they even get a full meal once a day. Renie is only 17 and the past couple of times we have visited them he has been in bed sick. We decided to invite the other Sisters in our ward Sister Gaddy and Gerhards and our ward mission leader (kind of) Brother Leonel to come with us to their house and we would have a family home evening. Renie was still sick and so I asked Leonel to offer a priesthood blessing but for some reason that didn't happen. But I am hoping we can give him one sometime this week if he is still sick. But we were able to bring a huge pan of pancit (a delicious noodle dish) and pandesal (rolls) and some stuff to drink. And we had an activity about the commandments and ate and just had a fun night. When we first came Ruben seemed especially down and as if he didn't want us there. But by the end of the night we was chatting with all of us and I really think he was able to open up more than before. Gaining trust with people is so important. I hope to continue to be able to gain the people's trust here. Sister Tanner tells me a quote that's somthing along the lines of, People won't care to know you, until they know how much you care. It is so true. As I learn the language more and become more comfortable here I feel that I am gaining people's trust and it makes me so happy. It makes me look forward to the next day where I can progress even more.
     Okay so funny moment of this week. We were walking to Taboc, the brangay (community) north of our apartments. We walk there almost every day and along the walk, well I guess I need to explain this a little more. So our area is 5 brangays. Going north to south it is Taboc, Ili Norte, Ili Sur, Pagacinan, and Urbiztando. It is divided by the National Highway. Literally a highway that goes through all of these areas. It is pretty much the road that takes you everywhere at least in our area. And our proselyting area is between the national highway and the west coast. So everything west of the highway in those 5 Brangays is our area. To walk to taboc, we walk along the highway. And for some reason there are huge manholes along this high way. When walking at night, these huge holes just look like puddles but I have been lucky enough to avoid them every time. And I thought I had the route down so I would always avoid them. But we were meeting up with the other sisters for another FHE and I was waving at them and suddenly my face was flat on the ground hahah. I had fallen into the man hole! Before I could even look up and realize that I was 4 feet under the ground I just thought "Aww man not the man hole!" hahaha. And it just so happened to be across a tryke station (an area where a bunch of tryke drivers hang out for people who need transportation. Oh and a tryke is a motorcycle with a little side car for people to ride in.) So they were all yelling "Sister! There is a hole!" Haha I was like yeah thanks a lot guys. So I got a picture of the hole and I will send that some other time. I was really lucky though I just have some scrapes and bruises. Really lucky. And then later that night on our way home, I was walking and stepped on a nail! It went right through my shoes and into my flesh haha. It was super rusty too! It was a tiny little puncture that it made but it bled so we had to call sister Balledos. But seriously the puncture is so tiny I just said I would put neosporin and it would be fine. And it is! So it's all good. But I just laughed that in one day I fell into a man hole and stepped on a rusty nail. So great. I also have a picture of the nail. Look forward to it!
    So I think that is all for this week! Kind of a lot of nothing but when it's happening all day every day it becomes something! Every thing that is happening to me here is for my benefit and learning! I love this work I really do. We are currently fasting right now for a ton of things. But mostly for the people that we interact with here. Our investigators especially. We love them so much and just want them to continue to progress in this gospel. I have never wanted something for someone else so bad. I didn't think I would be like this already. But I am so grateful that I am and I know it is because of the Lord. He has given me His love and I feel if for everyone around me. Well that is all people! I love you a ton! Keep being awesome!
    Scripture for the week! Alma 26:12!
Mahal na Mahal Kita!
Sister Sawada

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