Cate - great job with YW Basketball and maintaining the heritage of winning the region championship!
Last week I attended my first Filipino wedding and it did not disappoint. One of our Investigators married a member in our ward. Because he is an investigator we needed to give them support and were able to attend their wedding. The wedding was at the chapel and the Stake President married them. The bride is 7 months pregnant with twins so her tummy was quite large but she still looked beautiful in her dress. The Filipino tradition for the attire of the men in the wedding party is to wear the color of the wedding underneath and then a long sleeved shear white shirt on top. The Girls in the wedding party all wear bright gold. The ceremony was simple and nice. After the wedding, we were able to attend a reception at the brides’ parents’ home. There were 5 long tables filled with all kinds of Filipino foods and never ending platters of rice! I have never seen so much rice. There is a tradition here that the couple dances in the middle and people come to them and pin money onto their clothing. The combination of the brides large tummy and the money draped awkwardly on the two of them resulted in a funny waddle dance. But now they are married and are one step closer to being a family based on covenants. Yay!
We have been teaching a woman by the name of Karin for several weeks now. She is a young 23 year old mother of three and her husband’s job is driving a large truck filled with sand that they gathered from the river by their home. The only chair in the house is a bench. This is where we sit to teach while Karin rocks her baby in a hammock type cradle. They live by a river that reminds me of our camping trips with Dan and Jana. Sometimes we teach on the rocks by the side of the river. From the very first time we taught Karin she has absorbed the gospel like a sponge. We left a pamphlet after the first lesson and she read and reread the pamphlet until we gave her a book of Mormon. She has come to church for the past few weeks and I know that it takes a great deal of effort to save up for the tricy ride to the chapel because they don’t live close.
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”
This quote describes what the gospel does for us all. It heals us. The man from Galilee makes us better. Regardless of our situation, there is always a balm of Gilead available to us because of Jesus Christ and his eternal gospel.
This sweet woman has very little in terms of the world; she comes to church in pants and washes her children in the river, but she has faith. She believes. She is willing to see the light and that is something more valuable than items in designer stores or high end homes. I marvel at her faith and I marvel at her goodness. I know that the gospel will not change their living condition. But the changes in this woman and her family are there. Through prayer their family has changed because they have invited the spirit into their decisions. Through reading the Book of Mormon in their home, their home is now filled with the word of God. The gospel changes us, Christ changes us. He heals us.
I am ever grateful for the everlasting gospel. I don’t know why I was born where I was or into the situation I was but it makes me want to work that much harder because I have been given much. I feel like I must give. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and I am grateful to spread his message of peace and joy.
Jesrell received the priesthood yesterday. I am so proud of their family. I know that their mom could not be happier as she watches her family come together in the gospel! After church we taught them the family proclamation and Crisanto said he is determined to start having FHE. Hopefully one day their dad will join the rest of the family... alll in good time.
Today for P-day we went to one of the 3 fast food restaurants in town and I had adobo pork and rice and halo halo - my favorite! We like to go eat at this little mom and pop cantina but they were all out of food when we got there so we had to resort to fast food at another place - but it was still yummy.
We have apartment checks this week so we scrubbed all morning because, as predicted, there was no water by afternoon. So much for taking a shower.
Well fam, I love you, I love this work, I love the gospel and I love the Philippines.
Mahal na mahal kop o kayo- I love you in tagalong. Padaba ko kamo – I love you in Bikol.