Wanna know what's weird? Here in the Phillippines my birthday was yesterday. But, at home, in America it is still my birthday! WOW! The celebration never ends!
Thank you for all the sweet messages of love for my birthday, and don't worry, I have felt loved here too. Last week my anak planned a whole surprise dinner with cake and spaghetti (the traditional Filipino birthday meal) with the Manahon family. It was awesome! We were in the middle of teaching, and Ronnie, the father, (remember that miraculous less active return from awhile back?) just could not focus! He was antsy and kept asking if we were done. I was like "what the heck?" Hahaha...everyone was acting weird through the whole lesson. Including the members that had come with us to teach. I was getting annoyed so I finally just ended the lesson. Then sister Manahon jumped up and ran into the next room. Ronnie set a table right in the middle of the room. I was like, "what is going on?" Then they all came out with plates, forks, cake, and spaghetti! Everyone started singing "happy birthday!" and I was so surprised! My cute anak (companion) had planned the whole thing! I literally had tears come in my eyes. I felt so touched! It was great!
On Sunday the whole ward remembered my birthday and kept saying, "happy birthday!" Haha.....in Relief Society they sang to me and the filipinos love to sing....LOUD! Lolz. Awesome. I thought it was over, but our last appointment was at the Cumuyog house last night and there was more food and more treats! Then we went home to our apartment and there was MORE food and MORE treats. Oh my goodness...hahaha! This morning we had a zone meeting and the whole zone sang AGAIN! Don't worry mom, I have totally felt loved and special this year on my birthday.
This week has been somewhat normal. Really HOT and really quiet. Holy week is over so more people are spending their time inside or on vacation from school. It is hard to find new investigators, as usual. I have been praying really hard for some new people to come up and I can testify that the Lord answers our prayers. Yesterday, we had an appointment with an investigator we have been teaching, brother Reynold (he is still doing so awesome, by the way). He told us that he had invited some of his family members to come listen but they, are a part of the "Iglesia" sect of faith, so normally they don't want to listen to us and so we weren't expecting anyone extra for the lesson. We didn't really think too much about it before the lesson. But when we arrived there was a room full of people!!! I couldn't believe my eyes. Seriosly! They were all waiting for us and they were excited to hear our message! Brother Reynold had them prepared and full of anticipation. I was shocked. All of them wanted to know more about the Church. We sat down and sang "I am a child of God" with them and started with a prayer. The Spirit immediately filled the room and testified to me that these were some choice spirits and many had been prepared for the gospel. The lesson was amazing. We taught about the Restoration and they completely agreed with it. They said that they had always wondered why there were so many different sects or religions on the earth and we were the first that had the answer for them. They wanted to know about the Word of Wisdom and about where we are going after this life, and if they would be with their families forever (Brother Reynold had told them about eternal families). It was the most amazing lesson I have ever participated in, I think. They all had so many questions and the Spirit gave Sister Peralta and I all the answers. We were able to easily find scriptures for them to read that helped them understand. They were touched by the Spirit. They were begging us to come back. We have several appointments lined up to teach them beginning tomorrow. We went from having 3 new investigators this week, to having 10!!! It was the best birthday gift in the world. I could not have asked for anything better.
Thanks mom, all of us enjoyed the birthday package you sent! We played with the glow sticks all night while baking birthday "funfetti" cupcakes (my favorite)! Hahaha! The Filipino's had never seen a glow stick before and they thought they were so awesome!!!!! Hahaha it was hilarious to watch them play with them. We had a good time laughing and staying up WAY too late. Haha oh well...our motto here is "YOMO" (you only mission once!) pretty clever eh? (; And, after letter writing, me, Sister Peralta, and the two sisters who live with us and the four sisters in Sister Marcucci's house are going to Shakey's Pizza (does that sound familiar to you Courtney?) to celebrate my birthday again! HURRAH, REAL PIZZA! Hahaha (: so that will be fun. I'm telling you the fun is never ending! Turning 21 is quite the party! Mom, the "birthday party in a box" you sent turned into an unforgettable birthday bash! THANKS!
I am so happy to see everyone's pictures and hear stories! Everyone looks great. I loved the picture you sent of everyone holding signs for my birthday! Hahaha everyone looks so cute. (: I hope all is well at home. I pray for all of you, by name, daily. I love you all so much. The amount of love I feel as a missionary is really amazing to me. I never thought my heart could hold so much emotion. Some days it feels like it will burst! It is really amazing to me how the Lord will qualify us and raise us from our weaknessess. I know he is there for me, for all the missionaries, for all of you, and for everyone! He will bless us all with those tender mercies we need in our lives. I know this with all my heart.
I love you all so much! Can you believe it is already almost May? Here's to another month of work here in the Lord's vineyard!!
Mahal ko kayo.
|Surprise birthday cake for me!|
|Best surprise party ever! Love them!|
|Birthday party in a box! Thanks mom!|
|The glow sticks were a big hit!|
|We played and played with them!|
|Best birthday party ever!|
|I love you!|