Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Year

Happy 2013! 

Holy Moly. I’ll tell you what, these Filipinos sure do know how to ring in the New Year! We had a curfew on New Years Eve and New Years day of 6pm. So we were left out of the party but we sure did hear it! Their fireworks here just explode and make a huge noise. I was standing in our kitchen and closed my eyes and thought that I was perhaps in the midst of a giant war! It sounded like there were bombs in the fireworks and going all night.  There is a tradition to eat and eat and eat at midnight and since we were not allowed to go to the party, some members brought us food so we could still eat and eat and eat.  On New Years Day we went out to work and Ligao had turned into a ghost town. We were all alone on the streets.  We only taught 2 lessons the whole day for one of two reasons:  The people were either sleeping or when we got there they didn’t want us to teach; they just wanted us to eat the food left over from the night before.  We ended up having a breakfast appointment, a lunch appointment and a dinner appointment that day.  I think I entered into a food coma. But it was a good time and I will never forget my New Years’ in Ligao.

Thanks for the package of talks. I have started reading through them slowly. The Elder Holland talk is one of my favs.... he has such a way of inspiring through words!  If I am having a hard day I like to read his talks or listen to a talk by President Hinckley.  They inspire me and lift me to be better.  
And I now have a great picture of the Tetons sitting on my work desk!  I also received a package from Chari!!! She is so sweet!  It had my favorite mix of choco chips, almonds, and nuts.  My comp thinks I am weird that I like it so much. She mostly likes the choco chips.  It’s funny how cravings are different in different parts of the world. 

My interview with President went well on Friday. We mostly talked about when I will be training and what is going to happen with all of the foreign sisters coming in March and April.  I think he is bummed he is leaving in the summer because all the big changes are exciting and he wants to be a part of it. President asked if I was getting "trunky" to move out of the area (meaning sick of being here). I am not. I told him I was ready to do what ever he needed me to do, If that meant leave then I am ready (although it will break my heart) or I am happy to stay here another transfer.  He said it will depend on whether I train in March or April.  I would be happy to have one more transfer with a Pinay comp so that I can keep working on the language thing.  Come what may and love it.

On Saturday we had a baptism of a long time investigator! Of course, like all baptisms, the hour leading up to it was complete chaos.  We got to the church and once again the font was not filling up fast enough.  We grabbed a hose from the shed and coiled it from the outside faucet, through the church hallway and into the font.  We then began filling up two 5 gallon buckets with water from the bathroom or CR as we call them here (not sure why CR doesn't actually stand for something) and dumping them one at a time in the font.  Although the water was dirty we were able to roughly start on time and there were so many members there in attendance to give support. It was a dream come true! This baptism was a witness to me of the living power of our Savior.  When this 30 year old man went down into the water my eyes filled with tears and I felt so grateful for the cleansing power of baptism and the chance we have to be reborn in Jesus Christ.  For over 2 years he has been an investigator and finally he is now a confirmed member of the only true church on the face of the earth. He has a great chance to start this New Year with a new life.  

Sister Dumo and I were walking to one of our appointments earlier this week and I was studying through my flashcards.  As a missionary you get into a habit of saying hi to everyone you walk by.  There was a mother and her young son on the side of the road.  I looked up from my list of words to smile at them and noticed the little boy was saying “lolo, lolo.” I looked around to see where this grandpa (english for lolo) could be.  We were the only ones on the street.  I realized he was talking about me!!! My hair was pulled back in a bun and he thought it was white and that I was a grandpa! Such a blow to the ego… .not even grandma.  He thought I was a grandpa.  It goes on. . .   On Sunday at church one of our actual grandmas in the branch, was looking at my hair and told me I am too young to have white hair.  The only people that have white hair here are those that have a few more years under their belt.  Some of them have a hard time understanding that this is my hair color - naturally.

On New Years once again we were walking; we walk a lot.  Suddenly I heard a stampede of footsteps. I looked back to see the finest of Ligao’s army in training out for an afternoon jog.  Around a hundred men came jogging up beside us when their leader called out, in English, “hi maam!” which was followed by an incredibly loud in unison: “hi maam” and then “Good Afternoon” in the same manner.  Never a dull day here in mission life!

Things are going great with my companion. We are different but I love her and we have fun! We are working hard and the baptism went sooo well on Saturday; so that was a blessing and I am thrilled.

Thanks for the fun pictures of Meg from the temple!! I miss the temple. We have really been focusing on the temple because we are trying to help people get there. I have a picture of our family in my scriptures. I always show this picture and talk about how we are bound together forever.  It takes so much sacrifice for them though; time and money that are just not available (mostly the money). I am so happy for Megs.

Dad mentioned that the new Bourne movie was filmed in Manila.  I am sooo so glad I was assigned to Naga rather than an urban area. I would miss the fields and trees and Naga is just so perfect for me!

It sounds pretty chilly there! It is hot, hot, here.  We had another Bagio (typhoon) hit - but it was a little guy; just rain and rain. Luckily, today I finally bought a new umbrella - that hopefully will help.

Well I hope you all had a wonderful New Years and have a whole list of goals lined up for the next 2 months! I know I do. 

Thanks for all your support and love. It helps me to be a better missionary and a better person. You are always in my prayers!

Love from the Pines,

Sister Meish

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