Family and friends! I am now in the mission field and in my first area of PALWAN.
I am so grateful to be here! All the manila missionaries dream of coming here- so lucky me! There are only 8 sisters on the island and we are all in the Puerto Pricessa area! So last Wednesday we went to transfer meeting in Manila and they announced I was going to Palawan, and to get there you travel by plane and I could only take one bag that was 20 kilos! So momentary panic attack because I have two suitcases both well over 20 kilos. So I still have a bag at the mission home in Manila and I cant even remember what I left and what I brought? I brought my clothes some shoes and my scriptures..the rest is well apparently not going to be important for now.
We got here around 10pm on Wednesday and I met my trainer Sister Thompson from Idaho, she is great and helps me a ton! I call her nanay which means mom and I'm her anak (or child) haha so glad I have a cool nanay. Her tagalog is great and she is white so whenever we ride in tricycles (the main for of transportation- think motorcycle with a seat attached on the side) everyone is so surprised that she can speak and understand them. My understanding is getting a lot better and my vocab is expanding tons- I just want to have it perfect right now!!! But I know that will come with time. The ward we are in is super wonderful! Our Branch president works for the church and goes to mainland Philippines and Manila a lot and this pastsaturday brought us back krispy kreme donuts- he is a saint!
Last night we had a brown out (or loss of power) and just as we were finishing prayers and going to sleep it came back on! Yay for fans in the night so we don't die of heat!
A part member family we teach a lot is the Gonzalez family and I love them! Sister Gonzalez was just recently baptized and we are teaching her husband and cousin. The live in a small thatched house and there is not electricity so whenever we teach it is by candle light! It is a blessed experience to be teaching in such humble circumstances- but really they are spiritual giants and love the gospel of Jesus Christ...and they always help me with my tagalog and smile and agree even when I know they have no idea what I just said..haha bless their hearts!
Something I have really learned so far is about true conversion- it is not just having a testimony and being baptized..It is truly being converted to the true gospel of Christ, it is being so converted to the Lord that even when life becomes a struggle and challenges come our faith will not waiver. Being converted means truly becoming a disciple of Christ- following his example and following it forever. Of course we will make mistakes, but if we have faith enough in our Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit we can have an assurance that we can be forgiven- that all that is unfair in life can be made right.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I really do hope its a good one and that it finds you happy and surrounded by love ones!