What a week! There was too much greatness for one week! In a quick blurb... nativity, utes jersey, successful stake conference, two separate sets of exchanges, Christmas break, baptisms in goa, finding a smoothie shop and laughing until I cried as Sister Bersola practiced her British accent.
Well.... it looks like I'll be home for Christmas... and not only in my dreams. We got our flight itinerary and I am scheduled to land in SLC on December 21st. Seems strange. That only leaves a short two months. It truly seems like just a few months ago that I was in the MTC.
This week I read a talk by Elder Maxwell that noted the "process of time." So, I guess because I am realizing how precious my time here is I have really been thinking about time; how quick it slips away but how meaningful it can be if we use it. Elder Maxwell says, "With the Holy Spirit as our guide, our conscience stays vibrant and alive. Things which we had never supposed come into view. Seeming routine turns out to be resplendent. Ordinary people seem quite the opposite. What we once thought to be the mere humdrum of life gives way to symphonic strains. Circumstances or a mere conversation which look quite pedestrian nevertheless cause a quiet moment of personal resolve, and a decision affecting all eternity is made. Sometimes you and I even sense it as it happens, but there are no bands playing, and there are no headlines. Therefore, a very significant part of getting settled in one's discipleship consists of coming to terms with the realities around us that seem so routine. Routine, like trials, can bring us closer to God or move us away from him. What seems commonplace seldom is."
This week my process of time was quite full and quite rewarding. We were on exchanges with the sisters from Labo and I was here in our area. As we visited with some of our friends most of the nanay's were doing the laundry. I am sure that for them, and nanay's (or mom's) everywhere, this task seems routine and unimportant; something that must be done, and it must, but there is such significance in that time spent on laundry. It is a symbol of the sacrifices they are willing to make for their family. They are sacrificing their time spending hours bent over a bucket with a scrub brush.
While I was on exchanges in Vinzon’s and the Branch President and his wife went with us to our last lesson of the evening. This couple is humble and kind. President sells bread for a living. His wife bore her beautiful testimony at the end of the lesson that she knows they live a simple life and most of the time they worry about finances but somehow each time bills need to be paid or food needs to be bought, there seems to be just enough to get by. I know that these wonderful people serve in their callings each day with little recognition or applause. They love the Lord and push forward with joy in their eyes. This sweet woman gave me a small coin purse to remember her by. When I look at small colored bag I will think of the light and simplicity I saw in this woman and will try a little harder to give a little more warmth to the world.
Also, a less active member in the ward passed away. She didn’t live in our area and I had never met her but yesterday we attended her small funeral and felt a similar warmth and simplicity. There were only 10 of us from the ward that attended. We crowded into their small home and sang hymns while the rain tapped down on the tin roof above our heads. We talked about family and about the savior. This woman was the only member in her family. Two of her four children were there. We sat around and talked with them about their mother after and they shared memories. I filed this small hour of time away in my mental folder about my time here on my island. I am grateful that the gospel brings us close together. I felt love for this woman who now waits on the other side and I felt love for her children now grown and without the gospel. They opened up to us because that’s what hymns and scriptures and the gospel does; it connects us.
There was a very bad earthquake in Cebu this past week. We didn’t feel anything but we got a good amount of rain this week. Walking through puddles all day with heavy soaked skirts has become routine and commonplace. But keep the earthquake victims in your prayers.
I know that evidence of God is in the details of our lives if we look for it. The daily routine seems just that – routine. But it is interesting to me that that is what I like to hear best from your letters; the small details that make up your days, weeks, and your lives. Maybe I should include more details in my prayers... for "what seems commonplace seldom is."
Cate - good luck this week... you're new tagline is just what i needed to hear too: "To the End!" Keep fighting, never give in. Leave it all out there and mostly enjoy the experience!
Owey - sorry your lost to Mikey bowling. You're going to need to practice a little bit more. haha!
Thanks to the Hinckleys! I got a great letter and pictures from them this week!
Well, I love you all! Thank you for your support and love always!