Merry Christmas! I'm finally allowing myself to go with it- we've been hearing Christmas songs since September 1. Not even joking. But now Christmas is in full swing. One of our neighbors has their entire house covered in Christmas lights, and they blast Christmas music at all hours. Last week, they were playing that one that Dad likes- with the steel drum: Trumpets sound, angels sing, a new king born today. But men will live forever more, because of Christmas day. I thought I was the only one who'd ever heard that song, but the party house in Sibonga, Center Poblacion has also got it. We also bought a little mini fake Christmas tree, so our Filipino house has some Christmas flavor.
It's been a week. I told you about how we had those days of lots of dropped appointments. That didn't stop this week. We're not really sure what happened, but our investigators and less actives keep dropping us. A lot of them are these women who were baptized when they were 16, and then got married, and their husbands don't approve and so to protect their children, they can't come to church. I can't do much about this.
But my revelation for Sibonga is that we need to see the miracles everyday. They are there every single day, probably more because I've needed them more this week. Often, these are miracles for the day. Like Carrie Davis. When Sister Harris and Sister Prasad our Sister training leader went back on Friday, she hid, and then proceeded to slam the door in their face. The week's been going a little bit like that. But we keep going. The Lord keeps teaching me about endurance. That's the point.
Some miracles: - We had a really successful missionary fireside. Quite a few members came, and these cute old ladies cooked for us, and we almost had a literal fireside (we were cooking at the firepit in the back of the church) and it started an hour late, but it was so good. I love these people so much, even when they don't do all the things I'd like them too. Sister Reyes started giving an impromptu speech when I asked her to pray, and when I reminded her to bless the food- she apparently decided that she needed to bless over it. She just marches to her own beat :)
-Splits with Sister Prasad: She was so helpful. Also, we found some more problems, but that's okay. We're working on them. Apparently, some of the things with our house- like our "roughing it" bathroom are cause for concern. I'm a little naive about these things, but we're getting things fixed.
-Sunday: We had an investigator at church! Actually 6! But one says she'll never join the church, and one lives an hour away and we're not allowed to go to her area, and one I didn't even know, but then 3 of them are so special. Brenda and Reina. I hope you've heard about them. We found them just walking by, but their Dad is a member, and they went to church as kids. We've been working so hard to get them to come, and they didn't last week and I'd almost given up on them. But with 10 minutes left in sacrament meeting, these three young adult girls walk in. I couldn't stop beaming. Even though all our members were giving strange testimonies. Brenda wants to progress. I'm so happy.
- Monday- this was a hard day. I'm learning to not take too much on to myself. And sometimes, I'm really self critical. We had to take some moments and just breathe. But in the evening, it was so wonderful. We taught the Gonzales family at a FHE, and managed to get their very shy 20- year son participating and we're so grateful. We also played a game called Peter, James, John- it's like zoo, or consecration, or those games. You all might know that I'm really bad at them. But I was somehow really good. Small tiny blessing. And it's really funny when you're bad.
-Yesterday. What a day. In the middle of the day, after 5 dropped appointments, Sister Harris sat down on a rock, I sat next to her and she cried and I tried not to. This thing isn't easy. But I'm so grateful. I'm given so much strength. We saw a man, and the spirit told me that it was Brother Benjamin Fernandez, who we'd been looking for since our first week. He ran away, but it's definitely him. We'll go back :) Family, it wasn't easy to get off our rock (even though it smelled bad and a chicken tried to peck me). But when we can get off our rocks, that's when miracles comes.
We went to another neighborhood, actually, we rode a little scooter up a mountain- the two of us, to Elina Machang's house. She was baptized in the city, and moved here years ago, and we met her at our favorite bake shop. She's incredible. And we can't go to her all the time, but Elina needed us yesterday. And probably more so, I needed Elina.
I know that God loves us and is with us! I love you all so much! He lives and we live because of him. Trust in his plan, and in his trust in you!
Love, daghan, usa ka libo,
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