The next chapter begins. It is once again transfers. Sister Abarabar is being transferred and I am going to stay in Goa to train. The big batch of American sisters we have been anticipating since November arrives tomorrow. I am somewhere between very excited and quite nervous that I will now be the language expert in the companionship for the next 3 months. “Give me mountains to climb!”
I have been focusing a lot on Faith during my personal study lately. I have been thinking about what creates strong faith and what that faith does for us. What is the importance of faith? President Packer once said, “Faith, to be faith, must center on something that is not known. It must go beyond that for which there is confirming evidence. Faith must go into the unknown and must walk to the edge of the light and then a few steps into the darkness. If everything has to be known, if everything has to be explained, if everything has to be certified, then there is no need for faith. Indeed, there is no room for it.”
I feel that I am taking a pretty big step into the darkness because I have always had a Filipina companion as a backstop for the language. I know that we are in the Lords hands though and if I will put my trust in him it will be okay.
We are teaching a 27 year boy (man?) named Edward. I call him Edward Cullen and he likes that because he thinks he looks like a vampire. We have been teaching him for a few weeks now and he is now at the point where he is going to have to take a step into the unknown and test his faith. He comes from a Catholic family and is very active in the youth group at their church. He has attended church 4 times now. He enjoys our lessons and the YSA in the ward have done a great job in fellowshipping him. He has not yet read the book of Mormon on his own though. As we have been in the last 2 lessons it dawned on me that he may be afraid of what the truth will mean. He told us that his whole family is Catholic, all his friends are catholic and they are wondering why he is going to a Mormon church. I realized that if he really reads and prays and gets and answer he will have to abandon everything he has ever known. He will have to take a giant leap into the unknown. I am realizing that in order to have strong faith we have to make sacrifices which are generally painful. When I was training for the marathon, those long runs were pretty painful. But because of the pain it became easier the next time because my muscles were stronger. When we submit to stretching our faith it is generally uncomfortable, but that makes us stronger for the next time.
We had a successful baptism on Saturday for Brother Joel! His wife is a member and they were married a few weeks ago. Joel is a wonderful person who radiates joy and life. He was in the Marines stationed in the southern part of the Philippines (where I am not allowed to go because of my skin color). He left the marines when his wife got pregnant so that they could focus on their family. He really struggled with the word of wisdom at first because it was such a big change but he wants to follow Gods plan. After his baptism he bore his testimony and he firmly stated “I know this is God’s true church.” I was a little taken back because this is the first time I have heard him say these words and I was felt genuine happiness for him. On Sunday morning his wife went into labor and now they have 2 new twin boys! He called to tell us about the babies and then said that he was on his way (making the 2 hour drive ) from the hospital to the church so that he could receive the Holy Ghost. We assured him he could receive the Holy Ghost the following week but he insisted. His faith in God’s plan for him is so inspiring and I couldn’t help thinking about how their family is going to benefit because they have a father that is committed to God.
A day in the life: One morning this past week Sis Abarabar was feeling really sick so she slept and I hunkered down over a basin of water to wash my sheets for the first time in a while. It is actually quite difficult to wash sheets because they are so large and we wash them by hand. My hands suffered greatly. We then spent our lunch hour chasing a rat back and forth from the stove to the fridge. We have no idea how it got into our house - but after a lot of broom smacking and screaming it finally left. I then went to take my water bottle from the fridge and a frozen 2 liter water bottle of juice crushed my big toe. It’s not broken - just black and blue. Don’t fret however; it only hurts when I walk. Unfortunately, we walk everywhere. We then spent the day going from house to house and no almost one was home. Those that were home were busy. It was tough and I wanted to complain but God is so aware of us and we ended the night at the Candelaria’s where 12 year old Jelissa taught her youngest sibling how to pray by whispering in his ear. It was so tender and reminded me that God is aware of us and waiting to bless us if we will slow down enough to see his loving hand. Never a boring day in the pines! I am so happy and so grateful to be a part of this work. I know with all my heart that this is God’s work. I am grateful for the gospel in my life and ever grateful for the chance to share it with others.
Because I am training in Goa, I will stay in the Naga mission when the mission is split on July 1st. That means my Mission President will be the couple from Brigham City. I am excited to meet the new Mission President but can’t believe they are coming so soon. I remember when I got my call thinking I will have a different Mission President for the last 6 months. Now that is right around the corner - ano ba iyan!!!!
We are leaving for Naga really early in the morning and then we have training (train the trainers) and on Wednesday afternoon we meet with the newbies and have more training. Then Wednesday night we are back to Goa.
Meg and Speen both sound great. I heard from both of them this past week.
Hope you all have a good week! I love you all!!
Mahal kita –padaba ko ika,