Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes!!! The b-day was great. There was wayyy too much cake bought in my behalf. There are 4 of us in our apartment and the other two sisters, Sister Paguigan and Sister Viau secretly decorated the whole house while we were sleeping and then had a cake and ice cream and my favorite pineapple all set up when we woke up. They all had cards for me and Sister Bersola gave me a really cute bag. They are so sweet.
"I’m old..... I am like the crypt keeper!" When I came into the mission I was normal sister missionary age, actually I was among the "young" and now I am an old woman. When I first got to this area we had a district meeting and we were all introducing ourselves. One of the elders went to Brighton and played soccer. When I got up I said I played soccer too and went to Skyline... he then started rambling off names of kids that went to skyline. I said "Elder, I graduated a long time ago." This nice young elder graduated about 4 months ago. I realized that my graduation number is the same but I graduated 4 years ago! haha.
There is a celebration of sorts here, church wide, in the pines called "family week." It is a celebration of families’ especially eternal families. We met at the church at 7 am with the entire stake and then rode jeepneys and a bus and lots of triceys and motorcycles with banners and flags moved out on a parade route through the stake boundaries which ended up taking 2.5 hours. We were in this open rescue shuttle thing and it was so funny watching all the pointing fingers. I really could audition for a Disney princess when I get home cause I got the smile and wave thing down... I don’t think I could sit in those floats for that long though... it makes ya sore.
The theme was a quote by President Monson, "A happy home is an earlier heaven." I think one of my favorite parts of the mission is watching a families be complete and healed through the gospel. We just started teaching a woman last night who's daughter is on a mission. She accepted a baptismal date and i know the work her daughter is doing in Manila is blessing her own family here in Bikol.
We worked in the evening and then went to our meeting with the ward mission leader. There are four of us in our ward, us and the zone leaders. at the end of the meeting they wiped out another cake that had a firework strapped on to it for a candel haha! They are so nice and it was a delicious end to a fun day.
The stake had me write about the activity so they could use it for advertising. A long time ago I made a goal to get published... I never thought it would be in Asia haha.
A great b-day was topped off with a Win for the Utes. I happen to be the only U fan in the whole mission. Sister bersola was also very excited about the win and was sending out Go Utes texts to our zone haha! i guess she was amused by my jumping up and down reaction when president and the assistants texted in the results. She wanted to join in on the fun.
Sometimes it is so overwhelming for me to see the poverty, the hunger and the heart ache that takes place every day all around me. When I read this verse I gain such strength: 2 Nephi 9:50 and 51. I love this verse and it has meant a lot to me during my mission:
“Every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.”
I have nothing to give temporally but spiritually in a literal sense I have mansions to offer; milk and honey without price. This week I wrote this verse on a piece of blue paper and pinned it next to my study table. Dad mentioned he used this same verse in a talk he gave yesterday. The hearts of the children truly do turn to their fathers. I know that the gospel truly is the living water and I have felt in my life the sustaining power of this water as each day I find solace and strength in the scriptures and prayer.
Bug and Big-O thanks for your b-day letters! Bug you look so pretty! Congrats on the soccer success!
Hannah, you are a beautiful bride! Congratulations my dear friend and cousin! I love you!!!
mahal na mahal ko kayo! Love from the pines,