Hello Lovely Family!
How are all of you? I am doing well. Sorry about the lack of email last week... I truly adore brownouts... not really. I'm just thankful that gmail automatically saves drafts so you all at least got an email. haha. Yay! So, what has happened this week...hmmm. Well, it has been kind of a weird week because Sister Mendez has been feeling sick, so we've only been able to go out for about half the time as we normally do. (I've had plenty of extra study and laundry time.) She's been trying to soldier through it, but really she just feels sick to her stomach, and then Sister Aquino calls when we're in a lesson and instructs Sister Mendez to go home and rest. That has happened for a few days now. And she is only allowed to eat bananas. Which are her least favorite food. Poor thing. So, she's not doing so hot. (Speaking of hot, it hasn't rained for like a week. I have never sweat so much in my life. But, there's still no where else I'd rather be!)
Here's something cool about Sister Mendez though...she is super good at the language. Which is totally to my benefit. Since day one she has forced me to speak it as much as possible, and now I am definitely seeing the results. I haven't had like a miracle day when it all just comes together like some missionaries experience, but little by little it has come together. Plus, this week I started a new strategy in my language study to help me learn vocabulary better. As I learn new words, I write them in my planner, then later, I transfer those to a bigger notebook where I can review them and study them more. And reading Ang Libro ni Mormon helps with understanding sentence structure and pronunciation. But really, I am able to understand and speak a lot better than I ever would have thought possible so soon. There is still plenty of confusion, but it is manageable. It is just so funny to me though that most of the world is not aware that this groovy little language even exists. haha. I love Hiligaynon!
So, I am in week 12 of my in-field training. I survived the week 11 where I had to plan and teach everything. It was a great learning experience. It was hard because I was fearful, but on Thursday I just broke down in tears because I was so stressed, but Sister Mendez and Sister McClellan talked me through it. Being a missionary is definitely challenging, no doubt about it. But it gets better. As Sister Mendez explained, in the MTC and during training it seems like all your weaknesses are exposed and that is the time for missionaries to feel the most inadequate. But the Lord will build us up to become much greater than we can be on our own. So all the pain and stress and yuck is worth it. We just have to push forward with faith, gratitude, and charity, and everything will get better. The real kicker is that I could possibly be training a new missionary next transfer. WHOA. It seems like that is becoming the norm though, for missionaries who have just finished their training to then train right after. Some days that thought scares the begeebies out of me...but other days I am excited. As Sister Butler would say, "The Lord does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called."
Actually, I really LOOOOOVE what Jessica wrote to me in the letter I just got from her (Thanks Jess!). She compared the mission to a field of roses. When you are approaching the field of roses, it is so gorgeous and wonderful, but as you walk through it, you get scratched up from the thorns and it is a challenge to take each step forward, but then when you get across the field and look back, you just see how beautiful it is, and it doesn't matter that you have some scars, because in the end you are stronger, and all you remember is how beautiful the field of roses is as you look back on it. Gah! I just love that. And it came at just the right time.
So, today, for P-Day we went to Iloilo City. It was fun! We went to SM (means Super Market, I think) which is like a super mega mall. I'm pretty sure there were like 4 floors. It was huge! Sister Mendez had to buy some luggage before transfers, and I was able to buy a nice proselyting bag. (I did buy a purse, but it is pretty beat up already. haha. This new bag will last. ) The jeepney situation is total madness downtown. Makes me glad I just have the few jeepney route options here in Oton.
And, taaadaaaa, the news you have all been waiting for. Drum roll pleeeeeaaaaase! We had a baptism on Friday! YAY! Kian M. is now the newest member of Oton Branch. Yay! Also, his 11th birthday was on Friday, so we celebrated in style. We bought a cake, the Branch Mission Leader, Brother Lemwhel made some delicious pancit bihon, and President Catalan's family provided juice and cookies. Party! Kian was so happy, he was too shy to bear his testimony after, but it is awesome to see him be a stellar example to his Mom, Mae, and his best friend, Jewelline, and his little siblings.
So, that's all. I hope it made up for the short email last week, haha. I love you all. I am always grateful for the letters I receive from everyone. I am a very lucky missionary when it comes to mail. Salamat gid!
Read your scriptures, Pray always, Be Grateful, Smile, Go to Church, Be an Example, and BE HAPPY. I LOVE YOU!!!!!
Love, Sister Winward
P.S. I never explained "Sakit." Sakit means sick or pain or anything like that. So Sister Mendez is Sakit.