|Here we go!|
|My Zone, before we depart!|
Sorry my letter is coming so much later in the day than it usually does! My schedule is kind of weird today! Oh my goodness, I leave for the Pines in less than 2 days!!! I am soo freaking out right now! (PS Pines is so much easier to write than Philippines, so just fyi when I say that pronounces it "peens")
Mom, seriously make a list of questions for me, cuz I will be calling you on Monday! Then we can go over whatever you need info on. Thank you so much for the package! It was soo cute, and I LOVED LOVED LOVED hearing all of the families voices! It made my day...actually last 2 months :) Thank you for always taking care of me and sending me everything. The outfits you sent are WAY CUTE! and the Journals are PERFECT! My Christmas stocking and decorations you sent I'm really excited about too. It is going to be perfect. I don’t know if they have Santa clause hats there...or stockings..or what they do so it will be cool to bring a little bit of my culture there too. Oh and thank you for sending the baby pics too...they were perfect! I just started packing and went to weigh my suitcases and I'm not all the way done packing yet and I'm already at 50 lbs each and my carry on is at 35 lbs...it can only weigh 18. So...I'm going to be sending some things back home, because unfortunately I can't take everything that I really want to! :) This week it has been really hard to stay focused, but I really have tried to. I am lucky to have Elder Shaw here, he just came in a few weeks ago. He served in the Baguio for 2 months about a yr ago, was sent home, and now is back and returning to the Philippines. I think I've mentioned him, but he's been able to give me a heads up on some things for about the area. First of all, there's been a lot of talk about the toilet situation here...doesn't sound like I will be using toilet paper. I guess you can find it here, but it's such poor quality, they usually don't even bother with it. Yeah...its going to be interesting :)
I get 2 more showers before I leave and am showering out of a bucket! Yea!!! You really can't see our bedroom floor right now. Everyone has all of their suitcases out, clothes and trash is everywhere...and we have like 30 boxes in our room hahaha....and it's a small room, with 3 bunk beds and six girls...It is disgusting. It is really funny too because everyone always comments about how my bed and clothes are always perfect...but not so much right now. It's okay...soon we'll be done packing! Yesterday we had an infield orientation all day long so we just sat there and got taught some last minute lessons and interacted and practiced passing out pass along cards. It was pretty cool. We watched a skit about involving the ward more in conversion, and using the members as missionaries, because part of our job is also to get them excited about missionary work too. I'm a little bit nervous because pretty much all of the conversations they were having with the ward and introducing themselves...I still can't say in Tagalog. My poor companion/trainer. I feel bad for her. I really did try my hardest though, hopefully she knows that!
I have an article to suggest that you read. It's called "Missionary work in Philippines" Ensign Nov 1992. I can't remember who talks about it...some Filipino guy. Anyways, it is a really cool article I got to read this week, I like it because it talks about the rededicatory prayer that Pres Hinckley gave in 1961 there and it is just cool to see all of the promises given to that land and the missionaries who serve there.
Well this week was awesome. I had a lot of really great experiences with the Spirit. This Thanksgiving will be one I remember for the rest of my life. It is the best Thanksgiving I have ever had. I missed all of you, especially because in one of our meetings they had some volunteers come up and they put costumes on them and they all had a little part and acted out the first thanksgiving...and I thought of our family doing that and missed you! :( But...the events that took place forever changed my life. We did a service project. We made over 8000 Injury kits. It was awesome because the whole time when we were making them they blasted "popcorn popping" and "called to serve" and all of those songs...but they were put to pop music so it was hilarious because they were totally not church type music you'd expect to be hearing from the MTC. Our speaker that day was also Elder Russel M. Nelson!! He was awesome. I was sitting on the 2nd row and he looked at Elder Monteirth sitting next to me and then Elder Monteirth nudged me and was like "Elder Nelson just said hi to me" I said "No way, you're joking" Then I looked up and Elder Nelson was looking at me. He winked, smiled and nodded his head as if he had heard us talking. It was pretty cool that he noticed me! haha For dinner we had a turkey dinner...dunno how it was, I ate about 5 bites of salad and half a roll. haha Yum....;) No but the main reason for that was that I saw this sweet old man sort of sitting by himself, but 2 of our sisters were near him, so Sis. Morton and I went and sat next to them. We almost didn't sit there, because I wanted to go eat Thanksgiving dinner with our Elders. Anyways, we sat down and I started talking to him. It was the same old man, Elder Kuhni that I met the 2nd day at the MTC in the Immunizations building when I had my huge meltdown because I couldn't talk to my companion and they were taking her away from me! haha He was there and told me that God was preparing me for something, and that he gave the toughest case to that who could handle it. Anyways, he offered me such words of comfort that day, and when you see this man...oh you just want to squeeze him..he's soo cute! I just love him! Anyways, he is adorable. Now that we've established that...he was the same old man sitting in the cafeteria by himself. I just said hi there, and we talked for a little bit. He remembered me, and as we chatted he proceeded to tell me about how his wife passed away 2 years ago that day. It was such a tragic story. She got bit by a mosquito 9 years earlier, and gradually lost control of her body. She was hospitalized for 7 years. 2 of the years, she was in a coma and awoke with 95% of her brain completely fried. He said he stayed by her side and took care of her for those 9 years, and it was especially hard those last 2 years when he had to bathe her and feed her...but he loved her. He talked about how thanksgiving 2 years ago she was shaking and having a particularly hard time that day. He said he had to leave the room because he didn't want her to see him crying so he left and got on his knees and asked Heavenly Father to please make this easier on her. Less than 2 hours later she passed away in her sleep. I was bawling at dinner! This sweet man, was so positive. I just asked him, wow, is this day hard for you now? He just said "No. Because I know I'll be with her again some day. I have forever, and this time will pass shortly." I started to cry even harder! He then told me that is why he is so grateful that he gets to serve his mission here and be with us. Because we are spreading this news to everyone. To let them know that they can have fun in life and be happy. That they can be together with their family forever. He said whenever he's just having a hard day or time, he just gets on his knees, and then he's okay. Take it to the Lord He then told me how he is the man he is today because of his sweet wife and mother. He then told me that he had one piece of advice for me if it was okay. I said OF COURSE! Then he, not knowing my backgound at all said: "When you come back home. You marry a nice man who loves you and will take care of you. Marry someone who makes you happy. He told me that I may find someone that makes me soo happy and it makes sense in my head and my heart. He said trust it. Don't doubt that feeling. Go to Heavenly Father and He'll help confirm that. If you find someone that makes you happy then. things will only get better. Well...you guessed it...I cried even harder. I doubt my judgment soo much, and it is a legitimate concern of mine. I just want to be happy, and I know that I will. I love how Heavenly Father knows I need to be reminded and assured of this, and he gives me those tender mercies. This experience changed my life. It truly was an answer to prayer, and I am so grateful that this man has helped me twice now exactly when I needed it. He wrote his name and phone number down on a napkin and gave it to me. He said he is sad he can't hug the sisters, but that he'll look forward to a hug in 16 more months, and asked if he could come to my homecoming. I said OF COURSE!!! Oh geez...I sure do love him! He then told me he had a few articles he wanted to give me before I left. So I met up with him yesterday during lunch and he had a manila envelope filled with talks for me. He gave me his address so I can keep him updated on my Mission. He is so great. I hope that someday I can be like him. That even though I have nothing, and all my loved ones are gone, I can still be grateful for my relationship with my Heavenly Father and know that that is enough. He is there with me every step of the way, and that if I am faithful till the end, I CAN be with my family forever and have happiness that I never dreamed I comprehended. I know this church is true. I know it with every fiber of my being.
Anyways, I love you all. Hopefully this experience was meaningful to you as well. It doesn't matter how tough life gets, or how little we have. It is so hard to remember that when we're in the middle of things, but ultimately...if you are comfortable, something isn't right. The only way we grow is when we go through trials, and through them we become so much more than we ever thought we were capable of becoming. We see ourselves in terms of yesterday and today, but our Heavenly Father sees us in terms of forever.
I love you so much! I am so grateful for you!
Mahal na Mahal ko kayo!Sincerely,