The Beautiful Place Where I Live
My dear missionary family,
Wow, all day I have been thinking that it is Sunday in Salt Lake and that my baby brother and baby sister would be bearing their testimonies at the pulpit before heading out to join the missionary army. I could not be more proud! I feel so grateful and proud to be a part of the “family with three missionaries.” I love you both and am so excited for you to dive into the mission; it is an incredible experience that I am grateful for every day. Speen –I am so glad that you were able to find the silver lining behind the cockroaches that infest our house….. I will be honest it has been over 6 months and I am still looking for that glimmer of worth haha. But thanks for your shout-out in your talk.We had a great week! We are so busy I honestly feel that it is always p-day and there is never enough time to get everything done. We are teaching three siblings right now. There mom and older brother were baptized years ago but the other kids never showed much interest. The oldest of the three is Crisanto. I think I talked about him in my letter a few weeks ago. He is so receptive to the gospel. He really wants to serve a mission but what he doesn’t realize the importance of the missionary work he is doing within his family right now. He brings his younger two siblings to church every week. One of them is 11 and the other little boy is 5. We started teaching another of their siblings this past week as well and he is 17. I could not believe he wanted us to teach him; but of course we were thrilled! He has watched his older brother’s excitement about the gospel and has decided to find out about why his 19 year old brother is so willing to make big changes in his life. So yesterday at 1p.m., in rolled all three of them; the middle brother was in shorts, flip flops and a really shiny shirt and had a match in his mouth haha! I wouldn’t have cared if he had borrowed the chicken suit from the guy in the underground in London as long as he was at church (that’s not true, I am glad he was not in a chicken suit but still…).
Family Home Evening
Last night we had an FHE at their house and it was a great success! They don’t have electricity so we brought our big emergency light down to their house and then roped it to the tree and then there were candles everywhere. Sister Abarabar cooked pansit; which is kind of like pasta and we taught about reaching our dreams with God’s help and then we played games. Everyone was smiling and I felt so filled with joy and with love and gratitude for the blessings of the spirit in my life. I was reading a talk by President Eyring and he emphasized the importance of journal writing. He said before he writes, he thinks “did I see the hand of God in my life today?” I feel the love and help of my Savior each day but it is such an incredible thing to watch others feel his light and love in their lives as well. God is in the details of our lives and his loving hand brings us so much joy.
As you know, I am Goliath sized over here; all the houses and people are mini sized but I have become pretty good at watching out for clothes lines and low set roofs. Yesterday I was so focused on serving food to people after the FHE that I forgot about my giantism and smacked my head on the low-set tin roof. Although my focus on serving was the cause of my injury it also kept me from feeling too much pain. Later that night I was brushing out my hair and realized that there was a chunk of dried blood. Luckily it is just a mere flesh wound but I will make sure to be more careful around the tin roofs.
Family Home Evening #2
Happy Valentine week to all of you. On this week I am grateful for your love and support and I am especially grateful for the love of my Savior. I cannot fully comprehend the love he has for us; that he would give his life for us. President Hinckley said that “love is the very essence of life. I am one who believes that love, like faith, is a gift of God.” I too believe that it is a gift of God. Love has the power to heal and to cure. I am grateful for the love that the members of the church here show so openly to me, a complete stranger; making me feel at home and erasing my feelings of loneliness.In this area, the members use Bikol rather than Tagaolog at church. I still feel super lost, but I am recognizing more and more words; which is good. Now when I ask what a word means they answer me in Tagalog and it makes sense - so that is good! I used to ask what Tagalog words meant and they would explain it to me in English. Progress - but still a long way to go.
Mags, I couldn’t be more proud of you. I know the next few days, months actually, will be a crazy roller coaster, but try to enjoy every minute. I don’t know how the MTC will be in the D.R.; but in Provo they just started shouting out Tagalog to us and it was nuts. Soak it up. I want you to know that I know this is the most important work we could be doing. Each day we get to teach about eternal families. We get to teach about truth and happiness. The people here don’t have much and I am going to guess that in the D.R. and Mexico it will be similar. But we get to play a small role in giving them a pearl of great price. I know the church is true. This is the Church that Jesus Christ organized when he was on earth. Our loving savior will be with us each day if we invite him in. I love you all more than you know. You keep me going. You are in my prayers each and every day. Be safe and know that I love you and am cheering for you from the Pines!! Onward ever onward, you are called to serve a king! How great is your calling!
Love from the Pines,
My Good Friends - The Ward Missionaries