Hello Po Pamilya! I was soo excited to open up my email and see an email from every one of my sisters...how awesome is that? I'm so lucky I have the best family in the world! And I mean that...I'm so grateful for all of you! You make my heart smile just thinkin about you!
So this week...was great, had its challenges, but overall was another week in the work of the Lord. So I put up pictures of my favorite family- the Ferrer family :) We have a picture first with the Yanis family- Johnny and Lourdes- and their kids and me and Sis. Fajardo and Sis. Rose- those pictures are in the nice green pretty house. They just wanted a picture of me because I'm white pretty much. haha They want me to keep in contact with them...and of course they're investigators so I will forever be telling them about the Gospel...works for me! But yeah...the other pictures are of Sis. Gloria & Brother Tommy Ferrer and cute little Den Den. They are soo heavily in debt, because Sister got sick a while back so they owe their boss like $150 us dollars- that means they'll be working for him for years and years to pay that off- but yet they're still coming to church now that we visited them. They're a less active family that has now been active since we started visiting them 6 weeks ago. Brother Tommy actually was baptized in 1985- and his membership record is non existent so...he is now our investigator. We will be holding his baptism on Feb 11th! I'm so excited- this means we get to visit them a few times weekly! He has some word of wisdom challenges- so we're over there a lot :) When we broke the news to him that he would have to be rebaptized we were a little nervous about the reaction, obviously not wanting him to be offended- but he was so sweet. He said he has some things he's got to work on- mainly his coffee that he drinks once a week- but honestly in the scheme of things thats easy to fix! Anyways- Sis. Gloria told us that after we left he turned to her and just said- I've got to make some changes on my book of mormon habits and prayers. I'm going to do this. Well, yesterday at church he was 45 minutes early- waiting for us at the gate- the first one there to arrive. Also- when we went back to visit him sunday night we asked about his reading if he had read the BOM, and he said he missed one day because he was soo busy. So just a preface- they're the family that we have to walk like a mile to get to their house and it's in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fish ponds- and we're pretty much hiking in the jungle haha there are weeds and lots of bugs and animals and dirt of course ahaha but anyways as Sis. Gloria was walking us out she said the one night he didn't read it was because he was soo busy burning all of the weeds here because he felt bad that we had to walk through them. He wanted to clear a better path for us so that we wouldn't hurt ourselves or scratch our legs up- he is sooo sweet. Also just a funny sidenote that night when we were teaching he excused himself that came back out in this huge winter wool sweater- I thought i was going to die laughing-- he was freezing and it was probably 65 degrees outside hahaha...and I would probably wear that same sweater when it was 20 degrees outside in the dead of winter. it was soo funny. But ironically enough, I was freezing too...I'm adapting to the weather here- I know i'm going to die when I get back to iceland! haha
So I finally wore out my first pair of shoes in my entire life. I told Sis. Fajardo back home I probably had 30 pairs of shoes- i'm the queen of shoes, and I have never worn a pair to the point where there is a hole in it haha...don't worry I didn't wear out my nice keens...just some rubber shoes that I bought here- that cost like 50 cents- but still It was hilarious!
Oh Mom...I received your package- and that is soo funny because I LOVE skittles and jolleyranchers- and I just told sis. Fajardo I was craving them...seriously! And...your recording was soo great! I loved hearing all of your voices- and I cried as you all sang to me "I know that My Redeemer Lives". We have been focusing a lot on strengthening families here. I seriously have realized soo much that the true key to finding happiness in life is being with your family. Taking the time to read scriptures together and always always have family prayer. It works miracles, and strengthens you in a way that nothing else could. Its a simple thing- but it changes the outcome of how you enjoy your life.
This week in church we RAN OUT OF CHAIRS! Can you believe it? I sure couldn't! haha When I got here we had an average attendance of 80. Last week we had 115 members at church and this week we had 125. Again- I was soo proud and excited- especially because now we have 5 families that have come to church 5 times in a row- which means they are now considered active.
So, we also had our area broadcast this week- President Michael Tae- a Filipino and his counselors (from America) all spoke to everyone. It was soo great- all of the leaders were talked to- and it was all about our VISION they have in store. They announced that the responsibility of the missionaries is to establish the church, and that would be our goal. All of the missionaries' efforts in the Philippines were going to go toward rescuing the lost. They have a vision of 5 things they hope to accomplish: Feast upon the words of Christ, Strengthen families, establish the church, save the rising generation and rescue the one. They told us terrible statistics about how the Philippines is the fastest growing area to accept the church- but we have 659,000 members here--- 114,000 are active. He quoted Proverbs 29:18 "where there is no vision, the people perish". And said we are 1 generation away from losing the church entirely in the philippines. They need activity- The main thing he kept repeating over and over was "if not now, when? If not us, who?" So...of course none of our leaders- except the 2nd counselor in our bishopric were able to attend- so we recapped the mtg in PEC mtg on sunday and were able to share that information with them. They have asked that each ward come up with 15 families to rescue- they are to submit it to the stake by feb 15- the stake will submit it to the area pres feb 25- and that will then be submitted to the first presidency. So...yes. On a brighter note- I look at our ward now from even when I arrived and I see a HUGE difference. We held a RS mtg- I gave them all notebooks and a list of all of the RS women so now they know who they are. We used the chalkboard- Sis. Fajardo and I showed them an outline of how their mtgs should be run and then we followed it- at the end I asked Sis. Madrid (the pres) to make assignments for next week- she did so now next week she will be the one to run the mtg...we're trying to implement these things because we know Sis. Fajardo only has 6 more weeks here- and I only have probably 12 more weeks here.
Anyways, things are great here, seriously the hardest challenge I faced here was 3 days ago- the day I received your package mom! That day- I was terribly sick- I had a fever and a really really bad headache, and a lot of sharp stomach pains and I didn't know why- I hadn't eaten or drunk anything unusual- anyways I seriously just wanted to curl over but of course- we had work to do- so I didn't- I just kept going- but finally I felt like I was going to faint so Sis. Fajardo told me to rest for a min. haha Anyways, we called the ZL and they came over and gave me a priesthood blessing. It was in tagalog- so I didn't get all of it haha actually I did understand all of it! He said that according to my faith I would be healed. That I would carry on and go forward to do the Lords work and that this sickness was just temporary. Well- I took a nap for about 30 minutes instead of eating lunch- and then I was good to go. By the next day I felt 100% again. I know the Lord is taking care of me, I just have to have faith. This morning during personal study I was reading Mosiah 26- and it talks about coming to know Christ. And how you will only be at the right hand of God if you know him. I thought- what does it mean to "know him" The basic answers- pray and read your scriptures. But then I thought for me personally- I knew Christ when I faced my greatest adversity. That is how I have developed my personal relationship with my Savior- we are teaching the DelaCruz family tonight and I think I'm going to share that thought- they're a less active family- with serious serious alcohol issues- we'll see...they' know it's true- it's just acting now. All I can do is as Pres Uchtdorf state "Preach the Gospel at all times, and if necessary; use words".
I love you all and pray for you araw araw at gabi gabi!