So it happened! I was transferred! I will admit it was probably the hardest transfer I have had yet. I cried and cried and cried while saying goodbye and the people cried and cried and cried when I said goodbye! Ugh. This is one of the hard parts of the mission...saying goodbye. I miss Mabalacat so bad. I love those people with all of my heart, but I know it is time to move on. I will never forget any of them. They are special people. I cried while saying goodbye to Sister Laiti, man, she is amazing and I am going to miss her and her calm nature.
I have GREAT news. A miracle happened. Finally, after all the waiting and all the struggles, Catherine is getting married! Infact, the wedding should be happening right this very second! When I went to go say goodbye she had the biggest smile on her face and they were so excited to report what happened! She had a prompting to go to the Town Hall for some reason and so she did. She ran into the mayor and began to tell him her situation. He did some searching around and pulled some strings on her behalf, he said to her, "come back Monday and I will marry you!" WHAT?! I am SO happy for them. Of course, telling her that I wouldn't be able to be there was SOOOOOOOO hard. She wanted me to be her "maid of honor." She literally sobbed when I told her I couldn't be there, but all is well. She promised me she would be baptized in October and that she and her husband will be sealed in the temple in one year. She is going to try and get an e-mail soon so we can stay in contact. I can't believe the miracle.....I guess I will have to be satisfied with planting this one. I am just happy it is all finally happening for her and her family and the whole paperwork mess is over. Now they have a purpose and direction, together, as a family. I know they will be greatly blessed. Our prayers were heard and answered as now she can be legally married and become a member of the Church.
Anyway, I got transferred and you will never believe where I am.....
I am BACK in the CAMILING zone. Hahaha! My mission just came full circle. I am now going to finish where I started. I am not in the same branch or area, I am a little farther out in a branch called San Clemente. But I attend the same church building and I have already run into some familiar faces. Crazy?! It is definitely BUKID here (if you can't remember what that means, that the area is completely rice fields and farm land)! So it is beautiful, but a very very very poor area. I have been in the city for so long, I forgot what life was like out here.
I am back to living without flushing toilets and no running water for the bucket shower! We have to use the outdoor pump for water! Haha...life is rough in the bukid but at the same time full of some of the most humble and gentle people.
It was fun, we went to the district chapel on Saturday and I was able to see some members from my first area! I couldn't believe they all remembered me! They were so sweet. It was really fun to see them again. San Clemente is in that same district so I will be seeing them a lot, so that is kind of exciting and it will help with the hastening of the work. They were all like "wow Sister thomas, you can speak tagalog now!" Hahahaha! Why, yes, I can speak Tagalog now! So funny!
I am back in a branch and I forgot what that was like too. It definetely doesn't function the way the Mabalacat ward does, but the members are strong. they really are trying their best to make the branch run well. The branch president is really great. He is actually a police officer, so he got off duty yesterday and came to church in his uniform so he wouldn't be late. It was cool! He is hardworking and really wants to see his branch progress and grow. Hopefully we can help him with that!
My new companion is Sister Lamera. She is 25 years old (I know she doesn't look like it, she looks like she is 15, but its true!) and she is from Manila. She is a baby in the mission, she just finished her training. So I am her follow-up trainer. She is fresh, and it shows and I love it! All she wants to do is work, and work and work! hahaha! She is strictly obedient and a good example for me. She is kind and desires to serve with all of her heart and might! I am the oldest one in our house, I am 16 months old in the mission and the next oldest one is only 6 months in the mission. Gosh, I feel old. I feel this responsibility to be an example for all of them. They will probably watch me die in the mission, so I am doing my best to be an example to them all.
The people are really nice here and as always, adjusting is hard, especially after leaving a place like Mabalacat. But, I can feel the Lord pushing me to be optimistic and I feel energized. I know I have a work to do here and I want to go out with a bang!
So, here I go...working for a bang!
I love you all. I can't believe it is October this week. Oh, how time flies. I can't believe it was a whole year ago that I was here in Camiling. I have changed alot and learned alot. I am excited to see where the Lord takes me from here.
Keep being strong. I know that when we feel like we can't go any further, the blessings come. Push till you can't and then push a little more. The Lord is right there and He will lift you up. Don't get frustrated over the small things that in all reality don't really matter. Always seek for that which is eternal and love the Lord! The church is true. I love this work!
I love you!
|My new companion, Sister Lamera!|
|My return to rice fields and farmland!|