Well, due to technological complications, I wasn't able to email last week (which was rather depressing). But I've really just been living life as a missionary, so not too much has happened :)
I have figured out though that one of my great blessings is that I have a written copy of my missionary setting apart blessing. Being able to read that has given me so much counsel and comfort!! One of the things I was told in that blessing is that I would have life changing experiences here. Well, one of those experiences happened last week, at our trainer/trainee meeting. The things that I'm learning are so amazing, and absolutely powerful. We watched a clip of Jeffrey R. Holland talking about missionary work, and he talked about how it's a lifelong thing. The things were learning and doing in the mission field aren't just for the 18 months or 2 years we serve, but they're for the rest of our lives. Powerful, huh?
I also had the opportunity to have my first interview with President Revillo, which was amazing. Being able to talk to him about my concerns and the things I was struggling with was amazing, and he gave me some really good advice and comfort. Mission presidents truly are inspired of God.
We got to have another zone activity this week, and play Filipino games. It was so much fun!! Everybody's in that picture except the two elders who were rotating everyone's camera and two sisters who couldn't make it. I'm the neon white one in the front. And despite what the camera shows, I actually do have a bit of a tan line!! I work hard for those tans, but for some reason my camera doesn't show it XD
I had a very tender mercy happen to me. This area has been very difficult, and it's been hard to feel like I'm doing any good here. But when we were in our combined School class, a younger woman scooted up next to me and asked me what I could tell her about faith. At first I was just like "What?" It was very random and unexpected (thank goodness her English was fantastic, so I didn't have a problem expressing myself). Well, long story/conversation short, she told me that she was about to take a very big step in her life, and that even though she knew it was a good step she was very nervous. I was able to share my thoughts about faith with her--that sometimes we don't actually start with faith, but we just start with desire. Then from that desire comes hope, and from that hope comes faith. I told her that sometimes, though, when we know a choice is right, that's all we have to base our faith on: the reassurance. It isn't until later, after we've taken that step of faith, that we can look back and understand why it was a good choice for us. I don't know what her big choice was, and I don't know why she came and talked to me. But whatever I said seemed to help her, and seemed to give her peace. And I've come to the realization that if she's the only person I've truly helped since I've been here, then I'm ok with that.
John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." I'm realizing that when you truly love someone--when you care about their needs and their concerns and their challenges--it's easy to serve them. Even though I still have a hard time communicating very well in Tagalog, and even though this area has been hard, when I truly love those people that I'm teaching, it makes everything else ok, and everything else worth it.
"Start fast, run hard. You can rest later."--Jeffrey R. Holland
Yep, love that man. Coming from a previous cross country runner (I miss it!!), that's so true. When you start good and you give it your all until the end, even if your visible results aren't as good as others', you can finish happy and content because you know you gave it your all.
Love from the Philippines!!
Sister Payton Pectol
The difference in 2 neighborhoods--one fairly wealthy, one not.