Happy 4th of July!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in advance of course. we have already fully planned out our 4th of july party food. We are thinking of maybe a Denny's Grandslam breakfast because a hamburger bbq just really isn’t possible haha.
So much happened this week. We left for Libmanan early on Tuesday morning and after traveling for 5 hours we arrived at the sisters 3 story pink and blue apartment. We had a wonderful time. On Tuesday we went with two sisters that are both from Pakistan; Sister Pervaiz and Sister Sharif. They are amazing and both had to learn english and tagalog... I am just grateful I don’t have to learn Urdo (their native language.) Sister Sharif would carry a Book of Mormon in Urdo, Tagalog and English to all of our appointments. I am so impressed with her. Then on Wednesday we went with sister Sanft and Sister Andres. Sis Sanft is from Hawaii and taught me how to hula in the kitchen after planning meeting on Wednesday night. Sister Andres, who was my temp companion is from Quezon City and speaks incredible English. She also studied in Hawaii for 3 years. I kept getting mad at her for speaking english - I need to take advantage of speaking 24 hours of Tagalog again. The exchange was complete with a trip to 7-11 for slurpees. Who knew there were 7-11’s in the Philippines. What a fantastic find.
While we were in Libmana I was able to meet a woman named sister Rebuckuio. If the production team for "I'm a morman" come here, they need to make a stop in Libmanan and create a profile about this woman. She is the mother of 4 boys and 1 girl and is 100% blind. She still cooks and cleans for them and is very active in the gospel. Before we began to talk about member missionaries we sang "the lord is my light." Sister Rebuckio knew every word. I thought how applicable this song is for this sweet woman whose world and literal eye sight are only filled with shadows.
"The lord is my light, tho clouds may arise, faith stronger than sight looks up thru the skies.... The lord is my light, my all and in all. There is in his sight no darkness at all. He is my Redeemer my Savior and king."
When I walked into this woman's small home she asked me to describe myself, nationality, height - basic physical appearance. She would not see me for who I am physically; only spiritually and for the kind of message I could bring into their home. I realized that when the Lord is our light we have perfect sight. Sister Rebuckio has no vision for things of the world but can see perfectly her Savior and his path for her and her children. It is this spiritual sight that gives her a reason to endure. I think that when we have spiritual sight we can see past the dark shadows. We can see over the hills that stand in our way because we trust in God and his plan for us.
In John 14 we are given this promise:
17: Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you.
Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
We will never be left alone if we are seeking our Savior. On Saturday morning we got a text from the zone leaders saying that our area was in a Tropical Storm Warning - Category 2. Later on in the day the winds and rains were predicted to pick up as the tropical storm gained speed. We were told to still work but to be safe, smart and listen to the spirit. Oh yeah and make sure our 72 hr kits were stocked. We had to go out to one of our farthest areas because sister Loma's Baptismal interview was the next day and we hadn’t been able to get out there due to exchanges. Around 5 pm the rains and winds picked up and two American girls found themselves trudging through mid calf deep water trying to get back to the main highway. Rain was literally coming from all directions and my already broken umbrella went from about 20% affective to 0% affective. The electricity was out everywhere and we stood on the pitch black highway fighting off the typhoon with nothing more than wire on our umbrella. We tried to get passing buses to see us. Soaking wet, we finally made it home and were able to heat up water on our gas stove and take warm bucket showers. That was by far the coldest I have been in the Pines. Sister Farnes just laughed at me and told me I am going to die in SLC. It was such an adventure. Our scriptures and pera (money) are still lying in front of the fan trying to dry. I really love living here! Never a dull day. I honestly think I have never laughed so hard in my life.
Sister Loma passed her interview yesterday!! To think that only a few months ago she was trying to avoid us; it is amazing what wonderful progress that family has made. John Paul was given the priesthood yesterday and is so excited to be able to pass the sacrament.
We sent our last good bye text to the Bliesners on Sunday. Tomorrow sister Farnes and I head to Naga for Mission Leadership Training where we get to meet the Reeders! It will be so fun to meet them and I feel a little spoiled that we get to meet them early and in a much more personal setting. Then on Friday we head back to Naga with the whole mission for the "meet the President Conference." On Wednesday we have exchanges with 1 set of the Goa 2 sisters. It will be fun to see more of the area around Goa. Things are so busy but so fun.
We were able to watch the missionary broadcast last night. I loved every minute of it! The brethren have such a wonderful vision of where missionary work can go. I had chills during the video segment about missionary work; thinking of my family that is spread throughout the world wearing the name of our Savior. One of my favorite things was from the bishop in one of the wards that Elder Anderson visited. He said: "we are just a group of imperfect people but this is his work and he will not let us fail. He works upon our faith." We are all imperfect; there is no perfect teacher or perfect person, but if we just try the Lord helps us and strengthens us. It was such a boost of energy and despite the many ways I feel incompetent, somehow I know there will be a way to succeed; as long as the Lord remains my light.
Happy Happy 4th. Eat a nice juicy hamburger for me. We will probably be lighting as many matches but not for fireworks. Ours will be to light our house. :)
mahal ko kayo