Merry Christmas lahat kayo!!
Haha mom, everyone just says merry Christmas....i am still so surprised by how much English they use. I will ask my comp how to say a word in Tagalog and she will tell me just use the English word, they will understand it better--Ano ba yun?! So for Christmas Sta Lucia holds a fiesta for a week in the center of town, in other words right by our house and to get anywhere we have to walk right through loads of people and food craziness...just like a fair really, it's quite exciting haha too bad we can't really enjoy it! But the other night we were buying some popcorn at a stand and right next to it was a pancake stand and sis Estrada said they were really good so i decided to get one. I thought i would just get a pancake but no, they slathered butter all on it then dipped it in sugar! haha, awesome, i think i started gaining weight as soon as i touched it....i hate to admit that it was really good!
Unfortunately because of the fiesta, our work has been super hard! Everyone is so busy, no one has time to sit and listen to our message and no one wants to go to church haha, awesome. Holy cow though can I just talk about how amazing the Spirit is. We were only able to teach 2 lessons yesterday but they were amazing lessons! When the spirit directs the lesson people really open up and tell us what they are feeling, their desires, we are able to point out what they are feeling and that God is trying to tell them something. It's so cool, I know when I am teaching by the Spirit when i don't think about the language and i say things that i would never think of saying. During our lesson last night with a 29 yr old filipino the spirit was really strong and sis Estrada shared Moroni 10:4 with him and I could just see it go straight to his heart. It's the simplest and probably most used scripture but it is so powerful. Most of the scriptures in Tagalog are deep and confusing for people to fully grasp but not this one. It is as simple and easy to understand as they come. After he read it, I saw him fold the corner of the paper to mark it....you know he was touched!
Well sis Estrada has a camera so i was able to attach some pics....if you could please let grandpa know that I was happy to give him a nice big hug the other night :) As far as the companionship goes....i learned another big lesson this week haha. First of all, don't judge people. I don't know if the story about sis Estrada and her trainer is true or not, but I do know that sis Estrada loves me very much and she does have a desire to serve and do the lord's work. The first comp study we had she started talking about sis McCormick and began to cry and then i started crying cause i could just feel and see her love for us. Even if us Americans are fat and insecure here in the Philippines....that doesn't matter to sis Estrada, she loves us for who we are and all she wants is for us to be happy. All this time i thought it was her who needed us, but i realized the other day that it is us who needs her. I feel a lot better about myself in this companionship, like i do play a part.
So another great thing about our companionship, she is totally down for running with me in the mornings so we've been running.....to the BEACH!!! What a great incentive?! It is so beautiful! Probably a little under a mile to get to it, so it's a pretty good work out for the both of us! Whenever she stops to walk i pretty much just run around her haha. It feels SO good to run again. I was getting to the point where i would run around in our little courtyard in the mornings haha.
So let me talk a little about my buckets......COLD WATER!!! Holy cow, no one should have to pour cold water on themselves, Sundays are the worst cause you don't work out and get sweaty before the shower. Ayaw ko!!
I've come to realize that the missionaries pretty much run the church here...no joke. I am now the pianist (yikes! I don't even know how to play!) i am the 2nd Sunday speaker and the 3rd Sunday RS teacher. I am learning that I can do SO much more than I ever thought capable. Whenever I think I'm at the limit, i somehow am able to keep going. I seriously NEED to give it all to the Lord because there is no way I could do this on my own. Plenty of times I have just wanted to give up and go put on some sweats and sit, I can't even believe what God is able to do with us when we really do His will. It's hard too because you never feel like you are doing enough, there's always more you can do, more you can be diligent it, more you can study. You are constantly being put through a squeezer and it's painful! It's very much needed though, cause as soon as you feel like everything is okay...there is something wrong!
Yesterday I had a great toilet experience or the lack thereof i guess. Some people don't believe in toilets and you don't know who they are until you ask to use the bathroom and they direct you to it only to find a stone "room" with a hole in the wall. Yeah, that was yesterday and I had to go really bad so there was no turning back. It was also dark in there and I ended up peeing on my feet. Way cool, I love the Philippines. Also, the other day we were in the middle of teaching a lesson and this kid who was standing on the seat next to me sneezed the snottiest sneeze ever...all over me, so gross!!!
So Alec, don't be surprised if you get FB friend requests from people in the Philippines haha, whenever I show them a picture of the fam...(ooo gwapo row siya at mature siya!) meaning, you are cute and mature, they think you are like 20. Yesterday one girl asked if you had a FB haha so I gave her your name :) As for the Christmas call...I hear that I have all week to call and it can be anytime, so I could maybe call on Christmas day for you guys and try and make sure you are all at grannies, just tell me what time you think you will be over there and i will see if it'll work for me! I will get more details on Wednesday though!! So excited!!
As for the Elders in my district there's: Elders Perry, Smith, Conlin, Turner. Let me know if you are acquainted with their moms :) And thanks for the email mom haha, i laughed through it all!
We had a baptism on Saturday, I attached a pic!!
It was really great! Of coarse all baptisms are! There is just something about knowing that as the person is being baptized they are given a place in the Celestial Kingdom. They are now worthy to enter into the Kingdom of God. There is no other way but through the Gospel of Christ.Thanks fam and friends, I love you all and hope and pray that your lives are filled with love and happiness always!! "...hope and happiness and joy are not products of circumstances but of faith in the Lord" -Elder Wilford W. Anderson
mom: i hear it is expensive to send packages home, and i really don't mind carrying everything in my luggage. I will check it out though! As far as my bday package... :) could you please send face wipes of some sort, and any kind of m&ms--i miss those! And skittles too, maybe just some candy bars or something that i could give the members to try hehe :) thanks!!!