Monday, December 17, 2012

Reindeer Socks

Kumustamos! Well it has been a winter wonderland here in Ligao. Okay that is absolutely not true - but it has been really cold (probably a chilly 70 degrees). I had to wear a jacket on three different days - which is unusual. It was a nice break from the heat and did help put me into the Christmas spirit. One night was especially rainy and I wore my new reindeer socks to bed; partly because it was chilly but mostly because I was in a Christmas mood. We have Christmas Conference this coming week and I am really excited. The conferences are split into the north part of the mission and the south part of the mission. I am in the South and we have conference on Thursday. It will be fun to have a day of Christmas activities. Christmas on the mission is so different in a wonderful way. We get to focus totally on the Savior and other people. I can’t think of a better way to feel the ‘spirit of the season.’

There is a new face in Ligao; my third companion, Sister Dumo. She is a spunky Filipino from a part of the Pines that is north of us. She is helping with Tagalog a lot and I have forced her into the game of quizzing me on vocabulary words as we walk for miles. I feel a tinge bad for my comps because I double check everything I say with them so it is a constant classroom. They are patient with me though. I do miss Sister Dabon but am grateful we were able to be companions.

There is a line in the movie War Horse, “there are big days and there are small days. Today is a big day.” On the mission things are measured more in moments than they are in days. Within one single day you have big moments and then small moments. There are difficult moments and wonderful moments all wrapped into one 24 hour time capsule.

We have been working with a young boy named Patrick for 2 months. His mother is a member but is very inactive. She has only been to church one time in my 4 ½ months here in Ligao. The one time she came was because we went and picked her up. She wanted her son to be baptized though and has a strong testimony and as a family they read scriptures and pray daily. She doesn’t come to church because it is expensive and she has many small children. I understand that but church attendance is so vital. It is a commandment and I have realized how little the Lord asks of us in return for all the blessings he gives us. We need to be willing to give God a little bit of our time and serve him and devote 3 short hours to worship. Aside from all that, before we are allowed to baptize children they have to have a parent or guardian active at church. This requirement has been implemented in an attempt to solve the inactivity problem here in the Pines. So last week we talked to Patrick’s mother and explained the importance of church attendance. She is always receptive of our message and agrees to commitments but has a harder time following through with them. When we got to church Patrick and his mother and his tiny siblings were the first ones in the chapel sitting quietly on a wooden bench. It was a big moment.
We are working with a family that is investigating the church right now. They were a referral from a less active member. It has been fun to see the less active member so excited about missionary work and of course having an entire family investigate the church is more exciting than free food to a missionary. The Marcos family is humble and kind. They live in a small bamboo home with dirt floors. The dad drives a padyak, which is a bicycle with a cart to carry people. And the mother is a cook 7 days a week at a small cantina. In our last lesson we talked to them about the family being central to the gospel. At the end of the lesson we gave them a picture of the Manila temple and a picture of the Salt Lake temple. When the father saw the picture his eyes lit up. He kept saying over and over, “how beautiful.” As I sat on a small bench in this dirt floor home I felt so grateful for the opportunity to bear my witness of the holiness of the sealing power available in the temple. I know that the temple is the House of the Lord. If we try our best each day to follow the perfect path of Jesus Christ we not only are happy but we are blessed. I know with all of my heart that this church is true. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives. I know that because of his matchless life. As a result we can be together with those we love forever. This life is not the end. The children that go to bed hungry, the families that are left homeless after typhoons, the single mothers who walk the miles to church with their children, all will find the rest of the lord one day because of the atoning sacrifice of our loving Redeemer. Having this family get some recognition of the beauty this idea was a big moment.

Elder Nielson of the Philippines area presidency said, “It is interesting that the pioneers who sacrificed so much to establish the church expressed that they “became acquainted with God in their extremities.” When we observe suffering; when we experience heartache; when we feel sorrow for pain we may have caused; we begin to understand the priceless gift the Father gave when he offered up His Only Begotten Son. As I have had the chance to love the people in the Philippines, I have gained a testimony of the blessings available after the trial of our faith. In Mosiah it says “the will of the son was swallowed up in the will of the father.” As we allow our will to be swallowed up by the will of the Father the blessings of the temple become ours. When we face trials, if we lean on the Father and the Son they become real to us. This is a gift of my mission. I have come to know my Savior and my Father – I know they live and listen. I am grateful for this Christmas season to focus on giving a little more of my self to the work of the lord.

Speen you are the best for making a video of the Thanksgiving Cali trip!!!! I loved, loved, loved, loved it! Thank you!!!! Dad, I can’t believe you ate a doughnut hole just for me. You must really love me haha.

Thank you for all your love and support! I miss you but am so happy to have the chance to wear the name of my Savior each and every day!

Merry (week before) Christmas! I can’t wait to Skype you and see your faces in one week!

Love from the Pines,

Sister Meish

P.S. Steve Boss sent me the kindest letter! Will you please tell him thank you so much. That was so sweet of him! I am always so amazed by the support people give. I am very lucky and the support means the world to me and keeps me going on the difficult weeks.



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