Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year in Ligao

The Ligao Sister Missionaries
How are my favorite people in SLC!? Happy New Year to all! Time goes so quickly; it feels like only a few weeks ago that Meg and I went to the institute party for the 2012 New Years’ celebration. I was thinking about my 2013 resolutions earlier and realized I will be in the Philippines for all of 2013. I have to admit that most of my goals include me learning and speaking and dreaming in Tagalog, Tagalog, Tagalog (and maybe some Bikol in the months to come). Do you have any fun New Years plans?

We had a wonderful Christmas! It was a day that I will never forget. We woke up at 6:30 a.m. as usual. I studied in The Book of Mormon about the Savior for an hour and we had companionship study and then went out to work. I have quite a collection of pass along cards so we picked out all the ones that have a picture of Christ and wrote a Christmas message on the back and our names. We handed them out to our investigators and members as we walked around. I had such a feeling of peace and joy because I knew I was exactly where my Heavenly Father wanted me, doing the work he would want me to do. I loved being able to spend the morning visiting and talking about the Savior – it was the true meaning of Christmas for me. That afternoon we went to our Branch Christmas party which was complete with games, bigger pans of rice than I have ever seen or probably ever will see again, karaoke and of course Opo Gangnam style dance contests by all the branch members; Sister Dumo and I were the judges. We had a curfew of 6pm and so we finished the night with an FHE with the sisters in the neighboring apartment. It was a Christmas to remember!
Ligao Branch President
Well we had a taste of Utah here when a Bagio (or typhoon) hit on Wednesday and it was freezing. We walked out of our apartment and were soaked within a few short seconds. The skies were dark black, the rain was horizontal, and the wind took us prisoner; two young sister missionaries in squeaking rubber shoes. We were the only people to be seen braving the flooded streets. My umbrella broke last week and we haven’t had time to buy a new one and so I was quite the sight as I fought off the storm with half my umbrella flapping in the wind. We walked around to different member’s homes to make sure they had not been flooded.

Quite often we have people come up to us with dirt smudges on their cheeks, tattered clothing, asking for money. We are not allowed to give them money but if we have food on us or are near a store we will try to give them food. I will admit there are times that I am tempted to ignore them and just keep walking. But each time this happens I have noticed they have a similar look in their eyes, almost like they know they have are desperate for food. They realize they are dependent on us. I was reading in Mosiah last week and read through King Benjamin’s address. King Benjamin expresses many wonderful thoughts but one of the most striking passages to me is when he says, “Are we not all beggars?” I was thinking of these individuals who beg for us to assist them with physical means and I thought we truly all will have that same look in our eyes one day as we stand before our Father. We will know and realize that we are begging and depending on him. I feel grateful to know that if I do my best here on earth that one day, although I will feel lowly and unimportant before The Great Creator, He will give me all that I need. He will not turn me away.
A 30 something man that has gone through quite the process to be baptized will be baptized this week!! After many, many, many, months he finally is going to take this step and we are soo excited!  His wife was first contacted about 2 years ago and initially she was the investigator. Slowly it switched to him being the investigator and she grew disinterested. Hopefully that will change with time. She came to church on Sunday! We are pleading with the branch to reach out to him. We extended a baptismal goal date to him in my first month in Ligao and he has had to come to church every week since then. On Sunday we had 136 people in sacrament meeting which was BEYOND amazing!!! I was smiling the whole day!

My Friends - The Dattoon Family
 I have been in Ligao long enough that it is going to be hard to say good-bye to my friends here when I leave. I have grown close to a lot of the families including the Dattoon's in this picture. Also, a favorite woman in the branch is moving to be with her hubby in Manila and we are going to say goodbye to her on Tuesday - I am not looking forward to that.

In 2013 I hope to become more like my Savior, Jesus Christ. I hope that I can help someone come to know that their Father loves them. I love this work – the ups and the downs are the stitches that make up a mission. I hope you all have a wonderful New Years. I can’t wait to see what miracles this year has to hold.

All my prayers

Love from the Pines,

Sister Meish

p.s. Kristin sent me a very cute Cardi.  She is such a sweet heart.  Say hi to everyone!!

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