Called to Serve in the Philippines Iloilo Mission--May 2013 to November 2014
Monday, September 16, 2013
I'm a Trainer!
How are all of you? I am doing well. It has been a very challenging week, but it has also been really good. So, I have some news, on Tuesday, I was called as a trainer! Yeah! 4 weeks ago that though would have scared the begeebies out of me, but I am ready and I am excited and so grateful that the Lord has entrusted me with this responsibility. Transfer day was Thursday. I am staying in Oton A, and Sister Mendez was called as an STL and transferred to Antique. My new companion, fresh and green from Provo MTC, is Sister Nonu! I just love her to death! She is Samoan, born in New Zealand, and raised in Australia. She is gorgeous and so easygoing and just happy. Seriously, I have never laughed so hard in my whole life. She is a riot. She is adjusting really fast. She definitely is a greenie, but that is a great thing. She has everything she learned in the MTC fresh on her mind and she applies it and is so good at seeking to have the Spirit and study for the needs of our investigators--even when she hasn't met half of them yet. The language is pretty challenging for her, but I know she has the desire so she'll start picking up on it more soon. The language is a challenge for me too, I've never had it just "click" like some missionaries say it does. But I know enough to get around and teach the gospel. haha.
So, the other big changes that happened on transfer day is that Oton got a set of Elders. So now there are 4 Sisters and 2 Elders in Oton Branch. Which is awesome...except that in figuring out the area boundaries over the last couple of days, President Catalan decided to give them half of my area. I'm kind of heartbroken over it, but I am really trying to see the bigger picture. I trust God and I trust the elders. I'm heartbroken because the part of the area they will have includes the D. family, Mylene and the Pollan's, all of the many Estribor's. So, yeah, it was definitely a shock and a heartbreak. But it's ok. Pres. Aquino knows that Oton needs support for the priesthood holders, so it is awesome to have elders in the branch. We are all pushing for Oton to become a ward before 2014. On the other hand, we still have Kian and the Magbanua's, and this opens up time for us to tract homes in some of the nearby subdivisions. Also, we got moved from Tigbauan district to Arevalo district, so now we are with all of the office elders and the APs. And the zones got realigned. Fun stuff. I wonder if this means anything to any of you...that's mission life people. Your district is like your family, so it is pretty crazy that we got bumped into the other district.
I feel like I only have bad news today, other than being a trainer. Like I said, it was a challenge. On Tuesday, Joy should have been baptized. We had the font filled, Elder Snowden was ready and excited to baptize her, but it didn't happen. I guess to understand this you need to know a little of the D. family dynamic first. So, Gloria and her 3 siblings all live under one roof with all their kids. Gloria doesn't have a job or any income, her son G. and sister L. are the breadwinners for the family. L. put Joy through school and pays for all of her needs. L. is very Catholic and doesn't want Joy to be baptized, but up until this point she had been fine with it. Joy's 22, it's her choice, all of that. But then, on Tuesday, before the baptism was going to happen, L. called and threatened to withdraw financial support for Joy and make Gloria pay for everything. It was on the brink of turning into a family feud. So, needless to say, Joy was not baptized this week. And until L.'s heart softens, it may still be a while yet. Gloria was heartbroken. She was sad and scared and it was awful. And then after all that, they are not even my area anymore. I feel like I am abandoning them somehow, but I know the elders will take care of them, and I will still see the D.'s all the time.
Plus, Cuceta who I was sooo excited to teach, we went back on Saturday, and she said, "Sorry Sister, We're Catholic. We're not interested." Shut down. Ayos lang. At least we planted a seed. No effort is wasted.
So, yeah, that was my week. I'm just trying to take it all one day at a time. I am so excited and happy though to be working with Sister Nonu. She is wonderful. Plus, I know this work has eternal significance and God truly is in control. Everything happens in His time according to His will. We just need to trust in that.
I am truly so sorry but so happy to hear that Great Grandma passed away. I feel like I did have a chance to say goodbye to her too though. Tuesday morning (it would have been just a few hours before she passed away), I woke up and instead of getting right to exercise like I usual do, I just sat at my desk and looked at a picture of her and read the card that Grandma Allred had Grandma West write to me, and cried and said goodbye. And ever since that, I have not felt sad about it. I know she is at peace. I know she is happy and she is not in pain and she is reunited with her loved ones on the other side of the veil. It has been so long, but she and Grandpa West are together again at last. I am glad that her funeral was beautiful. I love that Uncle Alan got flowers to be from Lexie and I. Thank you for that. Halong Grandma! Makita ay kita sa pihak nga kabuhi! Palangga taka! For all of you: Alma 40:11.
Well, sorry this email is probably a downer, it was a challenge this week, but we are looking forward to exploring and tracting our area more, and finding the elect to convert and finding more Less Actives to reactivate. It's challenging now, but it is going to be great! And my companion is so awesome. I love her. And I love all of you! I hope you all look to the heavens and be happy. I'm working hard and doing my best and learning a lot every day. I hope all of you are too! I love you! Palangga ko kamo! Halong.