Monday, July 15, 2013

15 July 2013

Ok... here I go.
   So this week has been wonderful. People still think that I am Christina Aguilera... not sure how that works, but I guess its an improvement from being a man. On Tuesday we traveled again to Catbalogan for a mission tour with President Teh of the 70. Ok, I wish you could experience what it is like to travel here. I am on the verge of barfing the whole time because it's like a rollercoaster but with no seatbelts and kids and dogs inches away from the vans zooming 100 miles an hour through twisty roads hahah I love it, but we all get sick pretty bad.
   Anyway, so the zone conference was great. The focus was on having faith, especially faith to find (much needed). He did a great job in being direct with us. He said "Elder's and Sister's the Lord is embarrassed with our finding"... yeah... ouch! It's true though! So we are trying to refocus and work with members to get referrals and the goal here is to search among the middle class for professionals and their families who want to hear our message. Hopefully things will start changing around here and the work will move forward at a different pace than in the past. I appreciated his words and hope to apply them fully to our efforts. I am still trying to still get a hang of things: the area, the ward, meetings, members, the area book, PMG, the language etc... so line upon line haha.
   Ok, I love the bukid area I am in. Bukid means its out in the boonies or mountains. And I just love it! Its the most beautiful place ever! I love my area. I am at the point now where I just shower with the spiders and cockroaches. I killed 3 cockroaches last night haha I swear those things have like 30 lives haha. They never die! We were walking home last night late... oh I should explain something.. so here the sun comes up at 5 and goes down a little after 6 every day. So after about 7 we have to go home because there are no rides back and our area is 4 km from our home. Last night though it was late and we were waiting on the side of the road for a tricycle to take us home and we got chased by dogs and had like a twenty minute conversation with this crazy drunk man... I mostly laughed at Sister Sevilla as she kept trying to get him to go home. Oh good times.
Climbing the Coconut trees
   Sister Sevilla and I are doing great! I am soo so blessed and grateful my prayers and fasting have been answered. We talk and enjoy each other and she is teaching me how to cook and I am filling her head with my "experience" of ...many things haha. I am so grateful! Life really is so wonderful! I tried street BBQ for the first time.. Super good! And oh... the reason why I could not get online earlier today was because my zone was hiking today! CRAZY FUN! We got up at 4:30 and met up with the zone and just started hiking through the jungle. Straight up jungle! And we ran into this jungle man who climbs the trees for coconuts. He got us coconuts from the threes and is a super pro at cutting them with his knife just right so you got drink from them or eat the coconut. So this morning I was in the jungle being fed coconut straight from the tree from a jungle man. It actually was pretty good! Soo much fun! Then he offered to take us through the jungle a while... Bare feet and all. When we were done we ended up at a university. Can you imagine that? walking through the jungle and showing up at BYU campus? haha well that's how it is here. Then we went to the beautiful beach and built temples with the perfect sand, got super burnt and had pig cooked over coconut skins and fed to us on banana leaves. Its so incredible here!
   The biggest problem is helping our investigators keep their commitments! Ahh! Its super hard! We have a few new investigators and one of the investigators we taught a few times this week was baptized on Friday. That was such a blessing to see her make that covenant. She is 15 and very prepared for the gospel. This last Sunday 2 LA families that we taught came to church! So happy!!! The Bitang family came! They have 10 kids and Tay is a heavy smoker and drinker and does not like the Elders, but he came!! Oh man! I was so happy to see them!
   I am still trying so hard to recognize the spirit and teach with the spirit. The language... I don't know. I taught Gospel Essentials on Sunday hahaha. No one was assigned and everyone was just arguing about who would do it, so I just stood up and started teaching. I can understand if they speak hinay hinay (super slow) but normal speech... I still can't. I am still struggling very much, but I am more focused on just having faith still that my efforts will be enough and my progress is at the pace the Lord wants for me. Patience is still not my strong suit for sure.
   A few things that have helped me this week are quotes that all of you already know. "It's true isn't it? Then what else matters?"
   Thomas S Monson- "Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to love"
   I am learning the importance of prayer. For me, I just to take a moment before my prayer to think about who I am speaking to and what I really want to say, because the message that I am sharing with these people is really all centered around prayer. Prayer is the key. I go into people's houses and say, "If you pray, God will answer your question" or " you can pray to know the truth" ... do I treat prayer as a sacred act that it is? What a privilege we have to speak with our creator. For me.. this week I think its just been a continuation of last week. I no longer pray to know if He is there. I know now that He is. I have been reminded that if I feel like I am alone and He is not there... its not because he is not there... that is Satan. I am letting Satan into my head. I know that our Father in Heaven is always with us, always reaching out for us. I know that our experiences here in this life are for our good. I am so grateful to be where I am. I love this work. I love my Savior and Our Heavenly Father and am so excited that i get this opportunity to align my will with His. I love you all so very very much. You are such a strength and source of love and comfort for me. Please remember how much you are loved and continue to have Faith in Jesus Christ. Please Be Safe!
   With All My Love,
   Sister Sarah Ralph

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