Hahaha I have no idea if that was correct. That is good afternoon in Ilokano! So so much has happened this week including transfers so drumroll....I am now in...Narvacan Ilocos Sur! Mama I didn't get to read your entire email yet pero I saw that you were guessing where I would be transferred. I love that you know so many areas! Haha I don't think I saw Narvacan in there. Although you did guess Santa Maria which is an area right by ours! In the beginning of this week Sister Nott and I were sad to know that it would soon be goodbye and I was especially sad to know I would have to leave Baguio, my second area on the mission that I have grown to love so much. On Wednesday I got a call from President Balledos asking if I would accept the calling of becoming a sister training leader. I was happy to accept the calling but maybe a little hesitant as well. But then he asked if I would serve as an STL in the Narvacan zone. I couldn't say yes quicker! I had been wanting to go to Narvacan since it became a zone!
There are 3 main regions that make up our mission. The middle region I was in in San Fernando, the southern region I was in in Baguio, and I had really really been hoping to serve in the northern region! The thing is that foreigners are not normally sent to the northern region just because it can be less safe at times lalo na sa (especially) in times of political conflict like elections. I had been hoping to go to Candon or Narvacan and my wish came true! I am actually the only foreigner sister in the zone which is way intimidating but way exciting! I hope to really polish my tagalog and hopefully begin really learning some Ilokano up here. There are some people that we are teaching who only speak Ilokano so the sooner I learn some the better! My beautiful companion is Sister Perez! She is from Cebu! She actually went to BYU H for 2 years! She speaks really great english and is so sweet and patient with me. She and her former companion opened this area the transfer before, so she and I are both pretty new to the area and to being STLs. But we are so excited for this transfer! We really see some great things ahead :)
In the 5 days that I have been here we have already been able to work with many members from the ward, set specific dates for baptisms of our investigators, and find some great new investigators and even some less actives! Since this area was just opened, we don't know everything about the area and seem to meet another less active every hour or so haha. So there is lots to do kaya (therefore) Sister Perez and I are napaka(so very)excited for this transfer! I have already started to get a tan and I really do feel like I am where I am supposed to be here in Narvacan. Sorry this is such a cheesy email but I am just really excited to be here. Of course there are times where I miss the amazing people of Baguio, including Sister Nott! But I know this is where I am supposed to be.
To hopefully give this email some sort of substance I would love to share an experience we had yesterday. We had Brother and Sister Ruiz work with us. They are a somewhat newly wed couple in our ward. They are both return missionaries and since they don't have kids yet, they spend their time travelling, doing photography, and working with missionaries. They are the coolest people ever! Brother Ruiz's sense of humor reminds me of my brothers in law so that makes working with them even more of a joy. But anyway so we were on our way to the home of a less active and Sister Perez and I were a little caught up in our conversation until we finally noticed Bro and Sis Ruiz weren't right behind us anymore. Brother had stopped to talk to a man sitting with his son. This man that I never even noticed. His name is Henry. Bro Ruiz was talking to him about his shirt and hat because they said Hawaii on them. He told the man that I was from Hawaii and we got talking. (Side note: there are soooo many people here who have family in Hawaii kaya there are so many hawaii things all around! Little pieces of home everywhere haha.)
Anyway so Brother Ruiz is way magaling and got this man who seemed not very interested in speaking to us, to let us into his home! We entered in his front gate and saw his wife was sweeping their front yard area, (yes people here sweep grass) and she seemed even LESS interested in meeting us. She looked up for a second and looked back down to her sweeping immediately. But in that second she looked up, Sister Perez was able to catch her eye and so she looked back up from her sweeping and asked "Are you the ones that I hear speaking Bisaya all the time?" Sister Perez's native dialect is Bisaya and so was her former companion so I guess in the last transfer, she would hear Sister Perez and Sister Rozal speaking to each other in that dialect. Sister Perez said yes and the woman lit up automatically. She started talking with Sister Perez and I probably understood 3 words haha but it was alright because she was so happy tears seemed to coming to her eyes.
We soon came to the knowledge of a major financial problem that she and her husband were facing. Earlier that day the husband had payed for something with 1000 peso bill but he thought it was 100. The person didn't give any change back and he left. That 1000 was going to support them and their 4 children for at least the next week. I didn't fully understand the problem but for some reason they really didn't think they were going to be able to get the money back. But we were able to express that we knew there was a reason we had met them and we shared with them right away about how Jesus Christ has a gospel and can help us no matter what our trials may be. They were listening so attentively and I think it was because they were in such a humbling circumstance. Brother Henry had to get up and go somewhere about half way through but we taught Sister (we learned her name is Baby :) how to pray. We all testified of how the gospel can bless us especially can bless our families. Then we asked Sister Baby to give the closing prayer and ask God to help them through their problem. She got about halfway through but was crying to hard to finish. Brother Ruiz finished it for her and right as he said Amen, brother Henry, came up on his motor scooter and had gotten the money back.
Sister Baby threw her arms around us and thanked us. We told her never to forget what she was feeling and that she is a daughter of Heavenly Father who is always watching out for her. This is now my invitation for you all. Never ever forget that you have a Heavenly Father who doesn't only love you, but is all powerful and will give you what you need, in the time that you need it. But we need to do our part by keeping the commandments. All of them whether great or small like prayer. This is all I will have time to share! I have my camera but no place to plug it in on this computer :( So next week na lang. I am so so excited to show you the beauty of Narvacan and my companion! Hope everyone has an even better week than the last! Love you all!
- Sister Sawada