Monday, May 19, 2014

Just Keep Swimming

Hello and Kumusta!
    Well once again things are crazy over here and I don't even know where to start. This morning we had our zone specialized training (sounds way fancy right?) that we have every first and last week of the transfers. So yes, that means another transfer has come and gone. Ang bilis ng panahon (how fast the days go). Yes that sounds silly in English right? I have started to notice that slowly all of my english has started coming out a little different haha. The way you set up sentences in Tagalog is a little different so that's exciting! Ibig sabihin magiging pinoy na ako! (It means I'm finally becoming Philippino!) How are things back home? I hope they are just great! I took a peek of the email you sent me this week mommy and I am so excited to read it fully later on. So let's get into the week!
     It was a fun week because on Tuesday we had exchanges. I am not sure if I have told you but Sister Tanner, my trainer, is now my STL (sister training leader!) And for exchanges I was with her! So much fun. To be honest at first I was hesitant because I thought she would be judging me hard as to how much I have improved since our companionship. But what ended up happening was we have both just improved so much that we had so much fun!
      The rest of the week flew by and it went by so fast I really can't remember much that happened haha. I was sick all week so maybe that's why. But I was able to learn a lot about pushing through, hence the title of this email, Just Keep Swimming. Missionary work is tough stuff! I spoiled myself too much in high school and college and convinced myself if I had a cough or a runny nose, I wasn't able to go to class or do the things that were expected of me. If I could give advice to anyone planning to serve a mission (brother) I would strongly recommend working with the missionaries! There are a great group of youth and single adults who work with us. They really have a better idea now of what serving a mission is like. You won't ever know perfectly until you are a missionary, but at least you will get some experience!
      This week I will continue to be an advocate of prayer! Everyone just pray! If you're happy, pray. If you're sad, pray! If you feel like praying is the last thing you want to do, PRAY! Last week we saw a lot of miracles in church attendance. The Bamba family came to church and so did the Limbauan Family. The Limbauan family have been investigators for about 4 years now. No missionaries are quite willing to give them up yet. They live at the very tip top of our area up a 300 stair hike. I think I sent a picture of some of the kids. They don't even have money to pay for their childrens notebooks and pencils for when school starts but they took the time out of their Sunday to come to church. All 6 of them walked for probably about an hour to get to the church. How amazing is that?
      We had been fasting and praying throughout the week. We decided to do the same this week and we witnessed a huge improvement in people keeping commitments! There is this family, the Velasco family. I have a problem and in each area/ward, I get way too emotionally invested in the less actives and the Velasco are no exception. They were all baptized and active at some point. A long time ago haha. The mom continues to try her best to be active but the father who is not a member and lives abroad right now seems to be having a big impact on their spiritual progression. There are 4 boys and the bunso (youngest) is a girl :) Almost the opposite from us! The boys now have piercings, tattoos, and say that they can't come to church because it is too early. What? I literally laughed when they told me this but when I realized they were serious I stopped hah. Anyway to make a long story less long, Sister Quiban have been praying and pondering our lives away trying to think of what these teenage boys need to hear from us sisters that will make them realize that there is more to life than barkada (close friends) and DOTA (a video game here that like everyone is addicted to)
      We visit their family at least 2 times a week and each time nothing seems to change. We had a super amazing lesson about the Book of Mormon. They admitted that they had never really read the Book of Mormon yet. Well that's kind of a big deal haha. It was only the oldest two sons who are in their 20s and I honestly thought there was no way they wouldn't read after the lesson that we had. But when we went back a couple days later, we found out that they hadn't read. I wanted to cry. But by some miracle (aka prayer and fasting) when we visited them last night, we asked if they had read the Book of Mormon and Carl the second oldest said, "Opo!" I just looked at him for a second and I was like wait really? And he said yes! I wanted to jump up and down but all I did was just give him my best round of applause hahaha and so my companion and the family joined in. And the third son had also read! Goodness gracious who would have thought someone could be so happy about a couple of verses being read out of some book. But I know without a shadow of a doubt that from the Book of Mormon, a couple verses is all you need to find the truth that our Heavenly Father has given us here on earth.
       Other small and simple things have happened here and there this week that have helped Sister Quiban and I to Just Keep Swimming. The Bamba family came to church again! Unfortunately the Limbauan family didn't :( but when we visited them we found out why they couldn't come, and were able to resolve it hopefully and they said they will come next week. Also, Joshua the oldest son finally read the Book of Mormon for the first time in a long time! I am learning about how it is so much more worth it to focus on the positive no matter how little it may be. Because I know that by these small and simple things, great things will come to pass. AS LONG as I stay focused and worthy of the blessings that are in store for me and those around me. I hope you all can realize this in your own lives as well. Wow I was able to share a lot and still have some time to send some pictures! I hope everyone is doing well and will do their best to pray this week! I love you all. Until next week!
Ingat :)
Sister Sawada


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