Hello Hello minamahal kong kapatid!
Still laughing about the Christmas sisters in the DR! We also had a wonderful week here in Goa. The Loma boys passed their interviews on Saturday so all systems say “go” for their baptism on Saturday! I am not sure who is more excited the two American sisters or the 2 filipino 10 and 13 year old boys. The zone leaders came into Goa for the interview and we went to the Loma family’s home. They live in the very middle of a rather large rice field. As we were walking in one of the Zone leaders asked, “how did you find these people?” Haha it really is the middle of nowhere. Sister Farnes and I bought fudgie bars which are the pinoy version of a zinger with high hopes that the boys would pass. They have such a great understanding of the gospel and I am reminded of how much faith can be had in such young, little bodies. After their interviews were finished we all sat under the coconut trees at their home “in the middle of nowhere” and ate fudgie bars and laughed. I felt so happy and filled with joy.
The joy you feel on the mission is a different kind of joy. It isn’t the same as coming off of a rollercoaster or finding jeans that fit perfectly. It is deeper. It is rooted inside you somewhere mixed in with all the stress and worry that comes with the nametag. In the scriptures there are many references to joy – nearly all of them relate joy in other people. In John it tells us that Christ’s words were given to us that our Joy might be full. I know that I have felt moments here on this island that my joy felt full. The joy that I mean comes from fudgiebar laughter and seeing investigators at church, this fullness comes from listening to Crisanto’s friend pray for the first time and having a less active woman find tears of happiness after reading the scriptures. That fullness that Christ promises us does really come from other people; from watching them come to know their savior and allowing the gospel to change their life.
We have a meeting tomorrow in Naga with all the Zone Leaders and President. It’s the first ever Mission Leadership Training meeting. Like Joseph Smith said about deep waters: “better deep than shallow.” I suppose we can’t swim and grow in shallow waters. In our district I am the oldest, both in age and in time on the mission…. by far. Everyone else is in training and the trainer that has been here the longest after me got here in January. As I sat there I noticed the other missionaries would turn to me for questions. People expect me to know what to do. There is a scripture in D&C that promises our mouths will be filled. For the past 12 months that scripture to me has meant one thing - Tagalog. That was the only kind of “filling” I have wanted and needed. Now for the first time it took on a new meaning, I need to know what to do. I hope I can be what I need to be.
One of the families in the ward gave us a papaya this week that was larger than my head! The other sisters are not fans of papaya…yet… so I ate the whole thing basically solo flight. It was delicious. They have a fruit here that is a sour mango of sorts and it is my favorite. I buy multiple every week from the same nanay on the corner near the church. This week when we went to get my weekly dose of Indian mango (which is what they are called) she threw in a few extra because we are friends now. Moments like that, although they are not directly related to the gospel, add to that fullness of joy.
Owey - have the best birthday ever! I can’t believe how old you are getting. I promise I will be there for your next one.
Mahal Ko Kayo
Love from the pines, sister meish