November 4, 2013

Life As A Missionary...Part #14

dearest thomas family,

wow, is it p-day again already? is it really november already?! i swear, it was just barely october 1st like yesterday. where has the time gone?

i hope you all had a happy halloween! i'll tell ya, things here were really quite exciting. in the philippines, they celebrate "all saints day." basically they spend October 31st preparing, and November 1 and 2 celebrating. on the night of Nov 1st, everyone goes to the cemetery. they place candles and flowers on the graves of their family members, and then stay there all night together eating, dancing, singing, and......well, drinking. haha there are food businesses lining the streets selling their products. people are selling their home baked goods and home-made candles! people color their hair and paint their nails and where all sorts of crazy masks. some little kids had on these glowing devil horns. it was crazy! ha! we went to the cemetery (because it is down the street from our house) just to check it out. it was quite beautiful, actually. they make the graves look so gorgeous with all the candles and such. but of course, we were not permitted to stay long because of all the alcohol. we ended the celebration by going home early, but we could hear the party down the street ALL night. by 9 pm people had brought their karaoke machines to the cemetery! they were singing and dancing (in the cemetery?)! hahaha. so we heard like ten different people all singing different songs at the same time. it made for a sleepless night. the next morning, everyone was still asleep at the cemetery, and mostly hungover so they just stayed there all day and did it all over again on november 2! hahaha it was epic. cause you know, everything is more fun here in the philippines.

i actually had a really good week. my companion and i get along really well. she is so strong. and so masipag (hardworking). it really pushes me to work harder and try harder to speak this awful language. we laugh a lot, and she is always teaching me how to cook filipino food. i can't wait to cook for you guys when i get home!  i am going to be a pro. haha! we teach really well together and have good chemistry. i look forward to companion study now, WOW! haha so i am happy. really.

the members and all the people here have taken well to her as well. everyone loves her just like me, so our lessons are really succesful! we are teaching and finding a lot. things are really exciting.  she is a great companion and so humble and kind.

it was her birthday last week, so i planned a surprise party for her with our whole zone after district meeting. that is what all the pictures are from. the zone leaders bought balloons and ice cream and sister moser made cake and pumpkin cookies (her awesome family sent her pumpkin filling)! she was so surprised. she was also a little homesick that day, and when we surprised her she cried! it was so sweet! she just grabbed me in the biggest hug and cried! it really brought us closer together.  i wanted her to feel special.

as for our investigators, we are struggling with them all a bit. they don't like to attend church. and if they don't attend church, they cannot be baptized, imagine that. SO, it's hard. already we lost all of our November baptisms because they didn't come to church. so we had to bump all of them to december. GRABI! sobrang frustrating talaga. sometimes i wish i could just remove people's agency and make them do the right thing, ya know? i can't even imagine how parents must feel, and even more so how Heavenly Father must feel. i don't know how he does it. my testimony of obedience has grown a lot this week. i have realized that my personal decisions everyday matter to the Lord. we all matter to him. and i want to strive to make him happy, not sad or dissapointed. i want to use the gift of agency he has given me, righteously. hopefully, me, learning that lesson can somehow help those investigators come to church. 

i just know family, that the Lord is so proud of all of his missionaries. i can feel his love in a way that i never have before. there are things developing in me out here that i would have never imagined were possible. being this close to the Lord has brought me a new sense of confidence and excitement for life. the future doesn't seem so scary anymore, because i am learning that with the Lord, all of our decisions can be good ones. man, i am loving this mission. although i still have days that are hard, and moments where i want to quit, my companion helps me up, and the Lord sends his love. and i feel like i can do it, even with a parasite.  although, i am feeling better.

i am happy to hear things at home are good. i pray for you all like 80 times a day so..... hopefully that is helping too. i love everyone's costumes for halloween! dad, you look good! (; hahahaha and bowen! oh i love that kid. seriously. and hannah looks stunning in her dance co pictures! wow. she is a showstopper. she is growing up to be such a talented and beautiful person. and courtney, she is already beautiful. things are hard sometimes, but i know she will get through it. she is the strongest person i know. really.

i love you all so much. i hope you all have a wonderful week! mom, i will be on the look-out for your package and the package from our ward as well. it takes about three to four weeks for packages to come through and get to me. so by the end of the month hopefully i have received them! mom, i sent you a card for your birthday, did it ever come?

i love you all so much.

with love from the philippines,

-sister thomas

Me with my new companion!

Happy birthday Sister Fabros!

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