i am SO happy you got my package! i can sleep now. hahaha i just never know with international mail..... i am glad you all had fun opening it! i had fun packing it all up. (: what did you think of the treats?? how was the MILO? isn't it like the best? how about the tang and the choco "pillows"?? i was so excited to share a little of the philippines with you guys. i hope that Hannah was happy and she smiled. i didn't know what else i could do to help her, but i thought maybe i could send some love. i hope you all ate the chocolate and treats and pictured sister thomas riding around in tricycles, jeepneys, and speaking tagalog! i love you all. (:
oh yeah, by the way, i got TRANSFERRED,,,, AGAIN! i really honestly thought me and sister altea would have another transfer together since we opened the area, but nope, the Lord had other plans. haha! sister altea got made a trainer, i am so happy for her! she is seriously the sweetest person on the planet, which is what will enable her to be such a good trainer. her anak (new companion) is so lucky.
i got transferred into the Tarlac Zone, so i am near President and Sister Martino now! (and the mission office, which means faster packages, yay!) i am in an area called Concepcion. my new companion is Sister Kaufusi, from New Zealand. and, she rocks. apparently, President Martino informed our ZL's and our DL that we were this zones new "power companionship and nothing will stop us." ha! so we have alot of high expectations. my companion has only been in the mission a transfer longer than me, so we need some serious language study. hahaha she is awesome though. we clicked immediately. she knows all these really famous dancers from New Zealand, who are real popular in America, and she is hooking me up with them after the mish. like for real! i am dying. hahaha we have a lot of fun.
i am in an apartment for the first time, but it's not bad. but, i did have to say goodbye to my hot shower. that was really sad. i am back to ice cold showers every morning. but, at least there is no bucket. (: also, my lovely oven is gone. so no more cooking. waaaahhhhh. oh well. time to live like a real missionary. haha!
my ward seems awesome, i don't really know anyone yet, and there is a lot of work to do. once again, i am following in an area where there have been some serious issues with sister missionaries. like, an american sister dating some of the ward missionaries and stuff..... yeah. they just transferred both sisters out of this area and my companion and i are the replacements. we are supposed to "fix" things and gain the trust of the members. i feel like i keep getting put in these areas full of past scandals. haha kill me! but, the bishop and the ward leaders are really nice. this ward actually has a FUNCTIONING ward council meeting. i was shocked! haha i hope i can learn the area and get to know the people better quickly. i miss not feeling close to those i teach! i am going to miss angelie. she is still on track for baptism and still a strong investigator who reads and asks questions. i love her so much. she was our golden investigator and i know that the gospel is bringing so much happiness into her life. sister altea will take good care of her.
our topic for the mission this month is consecration. and becoming "consecrated missionaries." i have really taken it to heart, because i really want to consider myself a fully consecrated missionary. i didn't realize how hard it was going to be though. Satan has seriously spent SO much time on me out here. it amazes me how aware he is of us. i forget sometimes that he knows us just as well as our Savior does. he was there in heaven, he walked with us. and he never passed through the veil. he remembers us and our weaknesses, which is how he tempts us. anyways, he has really been trying to make me feel inadequate this last week. so much so, that on Saturday i honestly felt like i was not a perfect enough missionary and that i should just be sent home. i began to doubt if i was worthy enough or if my mistakes were holding me back and all of these memories and thoughts of me being inadequate and remembering everything i have ever done wrong flooded my mind and my heart. i began to wonder if i had really should be here. i had nightmares for days straight of coming home early, and it was horrible. i felt depressed and sick, and so full of doubt. i had no idea how all of this hit me so fast, but it did. so on saturday night, we were in Tarlac City for a broadcast and afterwards i went into President's office and just broke down in front of him. i told him everything. i came to the realization that i have spent all of my life being afraid to admit my imperfections. i have always felt this need to be perfect, and if people knew i wasn't, then i must be a failure. i laid everything on the table, and then President just said, "how do you feel now sister thomas?" i told him, "i am not sure yet, i need your reply."haha! he then gave me the most beautiful bit of advice ever. he said "sister thomas. you are being consecrated. God wants you to understand that none of us are perfect. he wants you to know that the reason we have been sent to earth is to learn and to strive to become like our Savior and to be tested and make mistakes. this is so that God can fully become united with you." he then said, "thank you for explaining your feelings. you are not going home, nor will you be leaving this misson until December." he reminded me that the feelings of hopelessness, inadequacy and doubt are not from God. that is Satan. he told me, "of course, we know that becoming consecrated is painful, it SHOULD hurt. until we climb those hurdles and let the Savior heal us, it will hurt. that is what keeps us from repeating our mistakes and helps us become perfected in Christ. don't let Satan be a part of this sacred process. don't do that. this is between you, your Savior, and your Heavenly Father." he said that "Heavenly Father doesn't expect me to be perfect, he expects me to serve with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength. He knows that i will make mistakes and that is okay. the key is to continue to learn and not repeat those mistakes." then he told me, "now sister thomas, go and get on your knees and ask for sincere forgiveness for allowing Satan to bring you down. plead to become stronger. and you will be." my heart had not felt so light and hopeful in days! i got up and started to leave, and he says, "oh by the way sister thomas, you need to learn your area, and you need to learn it fast. the Lord has plans for you here." he just smiled and i left. i was like WHAT?! hahaha my mission president is awesome. i am stronger. i am not going to allow Satan anymore wasted time in my thoughts or feelings.
i have really learned a lot out here in the mission field. not just about being a missionary, but also being a better person. my views and my perspectives have changed completely. and i feel like i now understand the meaning of having an "eternal perspective." i went home that night and prayed harder than ever before. my burden was lifted. my doubt and fears of going home faded. i know i need to be here. i know that i am not perfect, i have made mistakes. and i know i have a whole lot more to make in my future. but that night, i realized that he never asked me to be perfect. he asked me to serve. in D&C 31:5 it says, "thrust in your sickle with all your might, and your sins are forgiven you."i know that to be true. and while i still have times where Satan makes me doubt myself by saying things like "well they are all better missionaries than you because they don't make mistakes" or he will say "you really aren't worthy to be here and you aren't good enough, so go home." and it is hard to fight sometimes. but the second i throw myself into the work, he can't touch me. i know this work is true. and i know that i can change. i know there is hope for me. i just need to keep repenting every single day and realize i am not yet perfect.
this work is real! i can't wait to see where else the Lord takes me. i can't imagine being anywhere else.
i love you all!
mahal ko kayo.