November 11, 2013

Life As A Real Missionary...Part #15

S'Mores Night with the ladies!

Sisters Fabros & Merwal, first time S'Mores makers!


dearest family,

I HAVE SURVIVED!  i am SO happy to report that we are ALL safe and sound.  all the missionaries in our mission are okay. typhoon yolanda did not kill me! i am happy that the Church is so on top of things. i didn't want you to worry. things here in camiling are just a little crazy after the storm, but that is normal for this little city. haha! we have experienced a lot of heavy rain and a lot of strong wind, and a lot of brown outs. haha i am so grateful for power. going without it is rough here, especially cause it has been so deathly hot. but, it's all good. we are counting our blessings. we will be busy this week with many service projects.  this will be a good experience.  there is lots to do and so much to rebuild and so many who need our love.

the number of missionaries missing in Tacloban is up to 17 now. we are praying for them. that just breaks my heart.  it is really scary.  hopefully, all will be well, it is just the inability to communicate that is making it hard to locate them.  i am happy to hear though, that those i know are safe.  thanks for finding out about the missionaries i care for serving all over this country and letting me know that they are accounted for and okay.  i can only imagine the mass devastation some are dealing with.

there are many missionaries serving with me that are from the tacloban area. their families were right in the middle of the strike zone and devastation. however, most of the filipino's families don't email them because they don't have internet, so the missionaries have no idea if their families and friends are okay or not. the members here have been working on trying to contact the area for the missionaries to see if their families are accounted for, but with little success. my heart just breaks. i don't know how they can function with all of this chaos. i am so grateful that my family is safe and sound in the middle of Utah.

on a happier note, it has been a normal week here. actually, that's a lie, it has been a really weird week here. haha!  the storm has really added to the intensity and i have learned so much about the importance of emergency preparedness and obedience.  i am also experiencing my first dose of investigator heartache. arrgg! i don't know how to help these people help themselves! remember Brother Micheal? the amazingly prepared convert? yeah, well he has not been back to church since his baptism. he is a tricycle driver and doesn't make much money, and i guess lately, things have been really hard at home. they are struggling financially.  his wife and her family have been giving him a hard time and saying things like "how can you sit through three hours of church while your kids are at home starving?" so, instead of coming to church, he has been working to earn extra money. it kills me. he is a little angry with God. he said "i know this is the truth. but how come right as i made my decision to come into the truth, i feel like God abandoned me." aweee grabe! all i can do is bear my testimony and share my experiences with him. but all he can say is, "you are american. you have no idea what it is like to be hungry." my heart just broke after that. i spent a whole night crying into my pillow for this man. it is so hard to watch this happen. i wish i could do more for him. pray he feels some relief soon. we are working with the Branch to try and find him a better job. pray that something comes up soon and his family will be supportive.

Sister Virgie also has not been to church in two weeks, and neither have her children. everytime we go visit her she is not around. i don't know what is happening with her. i left a note on her door sending my love and letting her know i was thinking about her and that i  hope she is alright. i don't want to lose her too.  i will make some more visits this week.

awwwhh man. this work is rough sometimes. you teach them and love them and it is heart breaking to see them struggle after they worked so hard to join the church.  the biggest challenge here in the Philippines is retaining members. so, it is difficult, but i hope and pray that things work out for these people. i love them so much. i wish i could fix everything for them, but that isn't my job. i hope i can find some way to help them though.  keep them in your prayers.  maybe it was easier when i didn't understand anything. ha!

me and sister fabros work really hard, together. even with all the discouragement this week, we were able to find 8 new investigators!  we have been teaching a lot.  i hope that the investigators actually make some good progress. sister fabros and i teach well together.  we are kind of awesome!  hahaha!  even with challenges, we are able to have fun. ha! i sent pictures of us having s'mores night with the other sisters in the house. my companion and sister merwal had never had them before! so, i decided to show them the pleasure of s'mores.  haha they loved em! it was so much fun. moments that like that will stay with me forever.  i truly love this place and these people.

it has been a good week. (: i hope to get my letters and packages soon. mom, did you get my letter yet?  okay. i will follow all instructions on the boxes, i promise. and rain boots aren't neccasary. we can't proselyte in them and the rainy season is almost over (well, for this year). they will just take up space in my suitcase. haha but anything else would be awesome. (:  maybe an "ironman or bionic" umbrella would be best, if you can find one! ;)

don't label the package for my companion. i will later because there are transfers on December 5. i am hoping i stay with sister fabros for another transfer. i want christmas in Camiling. but, who knows what the Lord has planned.

okay well. i love you all so much. (: be safe!
be good. read. pray. lahat.
ingat kayo!

mahal kita.

-sister thomas

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