Hello everyone!! It's only been a couple of days since my last email, so not too much has happened. There was supposed to be a typhoon this past weekend, but so far we haven't even seen a hint of it. I was actually looking forward to experiencing my first one, but I guess that will just have to wait. They're a common occurrence here in the Philippines, so there will be plenty of opportunities.
I can tell the sun is starting to take it's effect on me. I noticed that I'm starting to get a line from my shirts, and when I saw her at the temple Sister Latham commented on how many more freckles I have lol. I'm honestly not sure if my shirt line is a sunburn or a tan, but being a redhead, I think it's more likely the first.
Well, I'm officially half Filipina!! Sister Latu made eggs for breakfast, so I had an egg and bread with peanut butter. Typical breakfast, no big deal, but I felt like something was missing. I realized that the meal didn't feel complete because there wasn't rice!! I guess that's one sign the culture is making me its own lol. I got to try Jollibee's for the first time too. Jollibee's to the Philippines is like McDonald's is to America--they're EVERYWHERE.
I also hand washed clothes for the first time this week. I had never done it before so Sister Alfoja helped me out. It wasn't too bad, but is definitely very time consuming.
Friday was a very hard day for me. I've been very homesick, and it all came out Friday morning. That was the first time Sister Arcangel has seen me cry, so I don't think she quite knew what to do to help. Let me give you a list of the stressors that contributed to my breakdown:
--I was so homesick that I couldn't even think about my family without wanting to bawl, and I hadn't looked at their pictures once since I got to the Philippines cause I knew I would cry
--I'm trying to learn how to be a missionary while learning a whitewashed area, and trying to be obedient
--I feel like I don't know any Tagalog, and I try to participate in lessons but it's hard for me to speak and hard for them to understand
--Despite the fact that I'm putting enough Deet on to probably give myself cancer, I still end up serving as a smorgasbord for mosquitoes
--I'm ALWAYS sweaty
--I'm always being watched, partly because I'm white and partly because I'm a missionary, so I'm trying to always smile and be friendly
--I'm trying to be strong and faithful while going through all this
--I miss the Utah mountains and clean air. There are mountains here, but I can't see them because of the buildings, and jeepneys and tricycles have the worst fumes ever
--I am completely inadequate of this calling, and I don't have the ability to do this on my own, and I don't feel like I'm measuring up
It's quite a list, right?? Well, following that list, is a list of miracles that have happened to me personally to make me feel just fine about everything.
--Friday night I got a letter from my mom that should have been waiting for me at the mission home but wasn't. The fact that it was late was a blessing from my Heavenly Father though, because getting it Friday evening after being so homesick was such a tender mercy, and made me feel so much better.
--Even though I still miss my family and friends horribly, I know that a mission is a good thing and that they're being blessed for it. And I went through and showed my pictures to Sister Arcangel, and was just happy to see the pictures.
--I am filled to the brim with excitement and gratitude to be here in the Philippines. It is hard and it is a very new experience, but it is an amazing opportunity and I love that I get to experience this.
--We have more ward members working with us, and we've been able to get more potential investigators and contacts to teach, and I can see how open they are to the message. It's amazing.
There have been a lot of ups and downs in just the past couple of days, but it has been amazing to learn the things I have. I titled this email what I did because I have realized how completely inadequate I am. BUT, I have also recognized that God knows my weaknesses and my faults, and when He issued this call He knew that it wouldn't be easy for me. But through Him, I'm enough for this work. With Him, I am enough to help people and to bring them the gospel. With Him, I have the strength and the courage to go out and open my mouth, even when I don't know the language. With Him, I can do all things.
John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you." God calls the weak, like me, but those He calls He qualifies. He makes up the difference, and enables us to be able to perform the labors He has called us to.
"Being worthy is not being perfect." Sister Michelle, the young women's president, said that in her testimony yesterday. I don't know if she was quoting someone else or if that was her own words, but it definitely hit me powerfully.
"He (Heavenly Father) is aware of you, right there where you are at the very moment you read this letter."--My wise momma. At the moment I read that sentence, I was in a packed jeepney, reading by a dim car light and shedding a couple of grateful tears.
I love and miss you all and I can't wait to see you. MAHAL KO KAYO!!!