I don't quite know why that's the title of the week, but it just feels right. The Lord has been placing me in calm waters, and I'm grateful.
Here's some tender mercies of the week, or life or something like that.
My companion- Sis. N is wonderful. We're from the same batch- but you already knew that. she turned 21(chocolate birthday cake was a tender mercy!), she was a linguistics major at BYU. Right now, she's learning a lot about leadership- and I know I'm here to help her with that. I'm at this cool point where I can see the Spirit helping her and that's the best thing ever.
Balamban is beautiful. The people are really friendly. I'm excited to keep meeting more of them. But they are all tender mercies. We met someone named Alma Nephihah (okay, it's actually Nipaya, but it certainly sounded like that) the other day. That has to be destiny or something. We're going back to teach her next week. We also crossed into the magical jungle land again. Some of our contacts there weren't actually that interested- they will be Catholic until they die, so that's sad, but it's not my agency. Anyway, we did have some more great success there, especially considering that it was pouring rain. Poor Sis. N didn't have an umbrella, so she used a banana leaf as we were trodding across these mud fields. We're going back, so expect more adventures.
And of course: people!
The DumDum family. They're a less active family, but Brother came back to church for the 4th time last week. My first week here, the oldest son Ronnie also came to church. He's apparently struggling with a video game addiction, but he's got some good friends in the church. This week, he joined our gospel principles lesson, and then after church, he went out on splits with the Elders! Yay for progress.
Sis. A has a really complicated life story- but the main problem is that she doens't want to come to church to see her ex-husband. I'm not actually really sure how to help her with this problem, but the Spirit is helping her. She did come to church last week- we're not really sure why. But we had a lesson this week with her- she just needed someone to listen to her so badly. I can do so little as a missionary, but I hope people can feel God's love.
I actually learned that lots this week- I can't actually do much as a missionary. In my past areas, I learned a lot about my potential, and how much I could do through Christ. Now, and I hope for the rest of my mission, I want to learn about how to help others do it. I have to help my investigators do it themselves, I have to help the members help them, I have to help my companion lead and then hopefully, I can just step out of the way. In this vein, we had a really powerful member present lesson with the Diano family, our investigators, at the home of their neighbors the Magalsos. Sis. Magalso served a mission and then her husband joined the church when she got back- they have 3 cute kids. I don't think I'd ever had someone just "get it" as much as that- because we weren't just talking about how the gospel will help them in the future, but because they could see and feel the blessings of a gospel centered home. Actually, it breaks my heart, but when we went back to the Dianos, they said we can't come back- the father won't allow them to join the church. It's so hard to see people so close, but I know their time will come. Genevieve Diano had so many questions and she found so many answers, so the day will come.
And I almost forgot! I actually helped build a house this week! I'd been wanting to do this my whole mission- so I actually did it. We helped the Saavedra family build the side of their house. I actually didn't get to do much because some talented Filipino priests and members of the Elders quorum were enjoying themselves, but they kindly let the two white girls pound some sticks into the ground. It was so cool to see the way we didn't need fancy construction things and we built this house!
For a funny story: I taught my first lesson to someone while they were high. A woman told us to come back because she liked our religion, but when we went back, she was kind of acting weird. We started teaching, and then finally realized what was wrong (we're two little innocent girls!- but we finally smelled the marijuana.) Don't worry, she's very nice and she loves us lots. Regardless, God still loves Sis. Noemi and maybe she'll have the courage to change.
I've been learning more how to study by the spirit. And the Lord carries us in deep waters, and helps us through the rivers, and teaches us the constancy of our waves, and quenches us with his kind of life.
I love you all so much. Wala koy duhaduha pero kahibao ko nga kitang tana makauban didto sa pikas kinabuhi uban sa tinuod nga kalipay way katapusan! Remember the eternities and let them change us.
Inyoha og matinudanon,
Here's Joshua's baptism as promised.
And me with a less active. She taught us to make puso. I really did make that all by myself. She's so funny. She kind of has a memory problem, so we have the exact same conversation every time we visit. She asks why we moved to our new apartment, and how much the rent is, and then asks who taught us to make puso? We can't figure out if she actually forgets these, or just thinks she might get new information. She also gets a kick out of knowing that she taught us to make puso (they sell them, and put dry rice inside and then cook it in boiling water and it makes rice in a convenient little container). Then she tells me that I can make a restaurant when I go home and sell puso and I will be rich. She's a dear. She'd be more of a dear if she'd come to church regularly, but we're working on that.