Monday, November 4, 2013

20th Birthday and To the Rescue!

Dear Family!
How are all of you? Thank you so much for the Birthday wishes! 20 already? Yes, Emily, I am old, I know. Thank you. haha  jk :) And Rachel, don't worry, you WILL see my 20 year old face for a couple of days at least, the way it sounds I'll be back just a few days before my birthday next year. Thanks for announcing my birthday to the ward, Dad, you are funny. The Omer's emailed me some cute birthday wishes and I'm sure there will be a few more waiting for me next Monday. haha.  So, as for you all, I think you should eat either chicken cordon bleu (delicious) OR...(I like this idea better) find a recipe for chicken adobo and make that. And have mango float (hapos lang--just easy) and a cheescake for dessert. Taadaaaa! Delish. I hope my birthday is fun for you and the Earls! Send pictures! :) As for my plans, our branch mission leader leaves for the Philippines Naga Mission on Friday, so we are going to have an FHE at their house on Wednesday to say bye to Bro. Buenafe and celebrate my birthday. Yay! And I think one of our zone leaders, Elder Malmberg, might make me a cheesecake. Tani! (Hopefully.) Yum. Also, Thank you soooo much in advance for the birthday presents...I have the packages but I haven't opened them yet. (Except I did give the baby clothes Mom sent to Rose...She loves them. Thanks a million!)
I celebrated Halloween by making funfetti pancakes Grandma Allred sent in a cute Halloween package. (Thanks Grandma!) So, I told you wrong last week, it is actually called "All Souls Day" on Nov. 1 here. They celebrate by picnicking and then SLEEPING OVER at the cemetary. As in literally sleeping among the crypts. Yikes! And everyone makes a sweet sticky-rice concoction called "Sum-an." Between the two companionships, by the end of the night we had at least 8 kinds of Sum-an at our balay. We agreed that the Naciongayo family has the tastiest recipe. haha
You guys are funny. Totally counting down. Yep, it has been a WONDERFUL 6 months. It has gone by pretty fast actually. Like every missionary says. The days are long but the weeks are short. 18 months is a small price to pay compared to an eternity of happiness for the people we are helping to receive the gospel into their lives. "Don't count the time, make the time count."
Well, Sunday was the best EVER. We got to church, and it was like every where we turned was a less active member. There were 8 less actives that went to church. EIGHT! It was the best! A couple of them literally have not gone to church for like 9 or 10 years. But they came!!! It's a funny thing, as missionaries we spend all week committing people to come to church, help them overcome their concerns and excuses, and by Saturday night I am always soooo sure that they will all be there. But the last few weeks have been dissappointing, usually only crazy Albert. But I just keep up faith and hope that they will be there anyway. Because they said they would. So, then Sunday there were Eight less actives and it was marvelous. Yay!!!! We also had 2 investigators, Albert (who says he loves me. Oh boy.) and Rose!!!!! Rose came and brought her new baby, and Hannah Martin received a name and a blessing. Definitely the sweetest.
Fast and Testimony meeting yesterday was great, too, because it started with Lemwhel (soon-to-be-missionary) and Izza Lim and R. Buenafe (RMs). I was sitting next to Rose's not-quite-yet step son, Harry (LA), who is 10, and he was asking about missions. I love seeing the desire the primary and youth have to serve missions. D&C 4:3. If you have the desire, just go for it! And then two of Oton B's newish investigators got up and shared their testimonies too about what the missionaries have taught them. One of them is a teacher at a Catholic church, but he could tell that he was in the right place and God wants him to be here. Wow!
By the way, I sent some letters (finally) last week. Watch the mail. (One of them has like 10 stamps on it, pretty funny, you should take a picture of it. lol)
Happy 70th Birthday Grandma Allred!!! I love you!
I love you all so much and I hope you have a fabulous week. Don't miss me too much on my birthday. Have fun! Thank you for everything, for the gifts, and for your prayers. Moroni 8:3. I am praying for you all too. Go to the temple as much as possible. We are so spoiled to have so many temples so close. Love you.
Love, Sister Winward

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