Hola como esta.... spanish ba iyan? hindi ko talaga alam pero ayos lang.
We had exchanges this week in Naga and as always it was so fun to see another area and work with the wonderful sisters that are in the mission. It was so weird to work in Naga City. I have always been assigned to the small towns full of nothing but rice fields and coconut trees, where everything is on island time. So it was a different experience to be in the busy city. There is much more traffic and everything seems to be moving at a fast pace. The good thing about Naga is that there are lots of restaurants. We decided to splurge and buy Burritos at the only Mexican place I have seen in a year. It wasn’t too bad.
Speaking of food, Sister Simbol and I are becoming experts at experimenting with food. Most of our experiments include eggs because we don’t have much time to cook. This week we made a goal to eat healthier. We are always too tired to cook; so our meals turn into junk food. So we experimented with chop suey this week; Veggies, veggies and more veggies over rice. It was a very successful experiment.
I have two new skirts that were hand made by a darling Nanay in our ward, Cristina Parola. She has an incredible testimony and even though she is in her upper years she works with the missionaries more than anyone else in the ward. I think that half the ward members are members because they were referrals from her. She has 6 kids, one of them that married a missionary that served here and lives in West Jordan. I fully plan on visiting them when i get home so I have someone to speak to in Tagalog. When her kids were all very young Sister Parola's sister (who is also the one that married Tatay Eddie last April) referred her to the missionaries. At first she didn’t want to listen and told the missionaries not to come back. But her sister told her that she should listen to them again and so she tried again. She said that they were speaking in English and she would sweat so badly during the lessons because she was trying with all her might to understand the message they were saying. She decided that she wanted to be baptized but her husband was very against it. We have to have the spouses’ permission before baptizing the other spouse. Her husband wouldn’t sign the permission slip. So she found out when the missionaries were holding a baptism, which was out in the ocean in the neighboring town because there wasn’t a baptismal font yet. She grabbed her two oldest kids that were above 8 and headed to the beach. There were 27 other baptismal candidates that day. She told us that when she got to the beach there was a giant basket with baptismal clothes, she grabbed a pair for her and one for each of the kids. All the candidates for baptism lined up and one by one were baptized. She said when she got in the water the missionary’s face was so surprised, but he knew she needed to be baptized. Her husband ended up leaving her and she raised 6 kids on her own by sewing school uniforms for all of the towns nearby.
I have realized this week that the Lord requires us to make sacrifices. Sister Parola looks back with gratitude for the blessings the Lord gave her that time. Sometimes it is easy, especially when things are hard and it is easy to focus on the negative instead of all the good; especially the way God blesses us each day. I have come to gain a better understanding of why we are given trials - it is so we can grow and become better. It is like in running; if I sit on the couch, I am comfy but I will never get stronger. I have to go through the pain of the miles to really become a better runner. The miles usually look like blessings when all is said and done.
We are getting ready to split our area so we spent some time in one of our far areas, exploring around. One fun fact about the Pines is when you ask for directions, the person will explain the directions and then get up from their chair and take you where you need to go.
I found my next favorite food here. It’s called Champorado. Basically it is a rice soup combined with Hot Chocolate. It has been really, really, rainy here lately so I’ve been cold (I’m going to die in SLC in January). When it is cooler out this dish is so delicious!
In my last interview with president Bliesner he said, "Sister Christensen you have more mountains to climb before you are finished." When President Reeder arrived he told me I would have to make the choice about whether I would go home in the late November transfer or the January 2nd transfer. I had my mind fixed on November because it is not very practical to get home a few days before school starts but I kept praying for direction. As I kept asking, I still felt unsure. Then, I randomly found this talk last Monday called "I know not but that the Lord commanded me." I read the whole thing through on our bus ride to Naga early Tuesday morning. As I read through it I got my answer. While we were in Naga, my companion needed to meet with Sister Reeder. I was able to chat with President in their living room while I waited. The first question, the very first one, he asked was if I knew when I was going to go. He told me he would support me in whatever I chose. I will see you all on January 2nd.
Well, have fun on your adventures! Bug good luck with tryouts! You'll kill it.
"A mission is a family affair. Though the expanse of continents or oceans may separate, hearts are as one." - Pres Monson
I think our missions are a little more literally a family affair than Pres. Monson meant but I am so grateful for the chance we all have to be tested and grow together. Thanks for your love and support. You are in my prayers every day.
I know that the savior lives. He listens to our prayers. He knows us personally and he is my strength every day.