Hello fam bam!
Okay first off thanks for all of the birthday wishes! I cannot even believe that it is already this far into September. I am sure this birthday will be one to remember… full of our district meeting and teaching in stuttering Tagalog. But it will be fun! Transfers are tomorrow! I can’t believe Sister Cabanag and I have already been together for one whole transfer. Because of the new training program we will be together one more transfer, so until the end of October. I am really happy that we still have 6 weeks together! I still have a lot to learn before I can lead this area. President Bliesner seems to like to keep the American sisters in one place for a longer time because we have less time in the field aka less time to learn Tagalog. There are so many different accents and versions of bicol throughout our mission so I think his hope is that by keeping us put for an extended amount of time we will pick up the language faster.
Secondly. GO UTES!!!! Thank you one million times over for sending me the updates of that game. That was the best birthday present ever, that and hearing/seeing that my darling little brother is now bleeding red.
I am feeling so much better which is a huge blessing. I did lose quite a bit of weight, my skirts have to be cinched up a little tighter. We were able to work fulltime this week and we did not waste one minute! We were able to teach 22 lessons!! This is a huge increase from what we have been averaging up to this point, so we were very excited and also exhausted. Also church attendance was great again on Sunday. These kind of details equate to beautifully wrapped packages for a missionary. We have a really nice church building and are lucky because the elders in our district only have meeting houses. Our building is fairly new, on the main floor there is a chapel with about 15 rows of wooden benches. Behind that there is a medium sized room with a small stage and lots of plastic lawn chairs, this is where they have relief society and Sunday school. There are 4 classrooms and then an office for the district presidency and 1 office for each branch president (there are 2 branches that meet in our building). Upstairs there are 4 classrooms and the class we teach (gospel principles) and the ym/yw meet there. The chapel also has aircon which is amazing, when it works! There is a really nice basketball court outside and the grounds are all fenced off. It is a beautiful building.
Right now we have 7 investigators with baptismal goal dates for next month! One of our challenges is that in the Pines you have to go to church 4 consecutive times before you can be baptized. Each time they don’t come to church we have to move the date back. Tough. But Its okay this “rescue program’ as they call it, is an inspired program and we are really focusing on conversion and not just free for all baptisms. We were able to extend a goal date to one of our favorite investigators on Sunday. His name is Teodie (pronounced Cheody) and is our resident surf bum. Actually he isn’t a surfer at all but I call him that cause he looks like a surfer. He has this awesome bull-cut hair do and when he is working he pins his bangs back on top of his head. He is always in flip-flops, because everyone here is always in flip-flops, and just has a “surfer vibe” about him. He has been an investigator for a long time. He comes to church every week and participates in all the lessons and he has a strong testimony of the gospel. He cant be baptized yet though because he needs to go through the repentance process first. He told us on Sunday that he started talking to his wife and being honest about a mistake he made 3 years ago. He said he is nervous because he doesn’t want to ruin the relationship they have, which is valid, but he is trusting in the Lord to guide him through. It was a wonderful moment! I know that there may be some difficulties that he has to face before it gets better but through the Atonement his burdens will be lifted and he will be healed. He was so excited about the baptismal date, even though it isn’t until January. He gave us each a Sprite to celebrate. We sat drinking from glass Sprite bottles with purple straws and looking out over the miles of rice fields and I couldn’t stop smiling. This man’s life is going to change more than he can even comprehend, he can now rid himself of the guilt and heartache and be able to be numbered as a disciple of Christ.
There is a barangay, which I guess could be defined as a small neighborhood within the bigger town of ligao, anyway this particular barangay is called Tas Tas. It is quite far from where we live but we have 2 investigators that live there so we travel to Tas Tas often. The past few weeks the members have been telling us we should not be in Tas Tas after 5 pm because it is not safe due to the color of my skin. There is this thing called The New People’s Army (NPA) and they don’t particularly like white people or really any form of government Filipino included but seeing as I stand out just a little the members are worried we would be a target for money or ransom. We haven’t ever felt threatened and it is really safe in the day because it is light and there are so many people around but kind of sketchy to think that is going on close to us.
We have clothes lines hanging in front of our house and on this little balcony behind our house. A clan of spiders decided they were going to create webs all through the back balcony. This just so happens to be where I hang my clothes to dry. I will most likely have spiders in my clothes when I get them tomorrow. Oh mission. You are crazy!
We were at an appointment earlier this week and one of the daughters of the family is studying cooking in school. She had a big exam earlier that day and had to cook various items for her grade. She brought all of her baked goods home and after our lesson she wanted us to try them all. It was really yummy she is a good cook but she was most excited to have me try ‘the soft dinner roll.’ She exclaimed “sister look I made soft dinner rolls! This is what you eat for dinner instead of rice right?!” And indeed it was a soft dinner roll. I tried to explain the concept of rolls but everyone was confused. Then I tried to explain the concept of a sandwich on a roll…. They didn’t believe me. I think it is similar to how we think it is strange to eat rice and fish for breakfast. Neither are good or bad - just style.
Anyway I hope all is well. Eat café rio on Friday in my honor because that sounds so good haha! Thanks for all your love and support. I miss you and pray for you always.
Mahal ko kayo,
Sister C & me