How are you?! Thank you all for the emails. And especially thank you for the Christmas packages! I am excited to give out those toys to the families who really need a Merry Christmas. I didn't want to ruin any surprises, so I had my housemates open the 3 big packages (one from home and 2 from the Allred fam) and I opened the one from Grandma and Grandpa Allred...because I knew there might be stuff we would want before Christmas. So thank you sooo much for the toys and the candy and the CDs....I don't know what else there is yet, but I am excited.
So, http://www.lds.org/we have a Zone Training Meeting...and I am giving my first training. Medyo nervous, but I am excited too. It will be FUUUUN!!! My training will be based on a talk by Elder Dallin H Oaks called "Why do we serve?"
general-conference/1984/10/ why-do-we-serve?lang=eng& query=why+do+we+serve So, mostly it will be about Charity. The Zone Leaders, Elder Bateman (who is somehow related to the 5th ward Bateman's) and Elder Giddings, say that we should do a powerpoint. So that's nifty. And that's how we'll be spending the rest of P-day. :)
I went to my first MLC...which was fun! We had some excellent trainings by President and the APs. In the past our mission hasn't been the most baptism producing mission, but we are turning that around with aiming high in our goals--because the higher we aim, the higher we will achieve.
On to the cool stuff...and this morning we went to Lapaz to assemble family food kits of relief goods for the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. I think I've spent a total of like 5 hours scooping rice. And another couple of hours breaking down boxes. The kits had 3 kilos of rice, 5 cans of meatloaf, and 6 cans of sardines in tomato sauce. We had 4 of the zones there today. It was fun! And it felt great to finally have the opportunity to make a difference for the victims of the typhoon. Yay! (And we even got to wear the "Mormon Helping Hands" vests. So we're official. Yeah!)
So, about my area. First of all, it is huge. It is definitely a lot larger than my last area--but I find that I am learning it a lot faster (probably because I am not in culture shock this time). If anything, I am probably in shock of how much wealthier of an area it is. There are a lot of very nice subdivisions, and the people in the ward are much more well-off. There are still poor areas too though, we spend a lot of our time in a barangay (the cities are split into areas called barangays) called Tabuc Suba. Which is basically like huge relocation area. There was a big typhoon named Frank in like 2008, and many countries helped out by building housing settlements for the victims. Many of those people are incredibly poor, but they do still have a home to live in. But it really has surprised me how much better off it is here--like for most of the people in the ward it is not too much of a sacrifice to afford to get to the Cebu temple. So that is definitely a blessing.
I love you all so much and I am sooo excited to Skype you! So expect my skype call on Christmas evening! Yay! We get 2 hours to skype...same as email time! Merry Christmas! I love you all! Enjoy the snow--it is so weird to have a HOT Christmas. (And I thought this was rainy season...? Nope, just hot all the time.) I love you. Have a great week and use your break time wisely! CTR.
Love, Sister Winward