Monday, September 23, 2013

22 September 2013

Dinner in the Philippines
   WOW!!! Samuel!!! CONGRATS on getting into Jazz band! That is fantastic! I can't wait to hear how good you are when I get back!
   I'm glad you are all staying busy. I really miss working out in the yard. Every time we get a chance to do CSP (community service project) outside I get super excited!
   OUCH!!! BYU Utah game... that sounds miserable... Oi! SO glad I am here, hahaha.
   So life is still wonderful! haha, I am still super happy! It's really because... or in large part because my companion and I just work sooo well together. I love her to death, she is so patient and humble and optimistic. I wish we were staying together our whole missions, but alas we know we only have a few weeks left together.

   OK, let me tell you what happened this week. First off we attended a fiesta for another Baragay (neighborhood) in our area and so we get fed a lot of food. This happened to be the WML's (ward mission leader) balay or house and after I was done eating I got up and did the dishes... no biggee right? I do the dishes all the time... ohhh myyy goodness.... It was like the end of the world or something that I was doing the dishes. They were taking pictures and videos of me while demanding that I stop even though it was obvious they were just getting a huge kick out of it. It was insane... but I just love doing dishes. It's my comfort zone and it was cool to see how appreciative the family was even days later. I got a text from one of the brothers that said I was the first missionary ever to do that and he kept thanking me. Simple but wow the response was a bit mind blowing.

    Ok I have a huge weakness for singing the songs that play everywhere. It's not allowed for missionaries but half the time I don't even realize I am singing... terrible! I really have to work on that haha. (Why are songs so catchy here?)
   Thank you all sooo much for your prayers especially regarding the language. We were teaching a LA (less active) this week and the first time she saw me was at the church and I was brand new and so when we came to her house a little while ago, we taught her and her mother. This week when we went back she told me how shocked she was at the last lesson to hear me speak. She thought because I was pretty silent the first time we met that I couldn't speak .But she said when you started talking it was so beautiful and she said she could really feel the spirit. So thank you all so much for your prayers- they make a huge difference. Haha. Now if you wouldn't mind praying to help me understand the people, haha, haha. I would appreciate that as well. Speaking is one thing, understanding is another, haha. You all are such a blessing to me, thank you so much! 
   For the first time I got to ride a bus like you see in movies when there is no room and so you stand holding on to the rail with a crying baby in your face and creepy men staring at you while standing right next to you, hahaha. I just laughed. It was amusing. I worked my "wanna be a mother"ing skills and was able to get the baby to stop crying... everyone on the whole bus watched as I worked the magic, haha.

High Tide on the coast
   We have 5 new investigators and BOY am I excited! It's weird because we have zero success at all with referrals. We ask and ask but nothing. All of our referrals are from tracting. So Abby and Mark and Marckira we met a few weeks ago and got their information and said we would return, but their area is kind of far so we have not made it back there. But when we came this time we walked in and their aunt was skyping and she is Mormon and in Canada and THEN we skyped their other aunt who is Mormon and in Japan, hahahah. Crazy huh? After our quick skype with them and them thanking us over and over for finding their family we taught a lesson. Abby said he has been waiting for us to return. They were so receptive and open and excited to learn and we of course (as always on the first visit) committed them to baptism and they seemed super willing. We are so excited to teach them! They are great!

   Leslie is another investigator... oh man! Let me tell you this was soo crazy! Ok, so we came to teach her on Tuesday and I was not sure what to expect. But she is super smart and really, really likes to think about what we tell her. She ponders everything and it's so great! She is a clear speaker too, so I can understand most of what she says. But after the lesson we were walking out and she starts licking her fingers. I was confused, haha. She was holding her baby and pointing to me... turns out she was asking me to bless her baby. I had a freak out moment and was like,... Uhhhhhh, probably not good. So I was super reluctant.
   She kept asking and asking and cge cge and so I just made sure that it was not anything religious- just Philippina tradition lang! And she said it was not religious. So what she had me do is lick my fingers and do this cross thing over her baby's belly button. I felt sooo stupid but she was sooo grateful. Apparantly it means that when her baby grows up he will be beautiful. (I think be blonde too.... but I don't know how that works out). Any way... just a once in a life time experience.
   OH YES!!! I GOT THE PACKAGE!!! From my family and from Sister Lisa Lewis! haha. Thank you sooo much! Sister Lewis I saw the package and just laughed. You are wonderful! I am so excited to use my new fancy umbrella. Its great quality! and thank you for writing me too.
   Family thank you sooo much for the package! The chocolates were a HUGE hit in my ward and I ate straight Nutella for dinner the other night, hahaha. And the shirt and pix!! It was absolutely perfect, just what I needed. I'm so, so sorry it costs so much, both my family and Lisa, but I really appreciate it. I love you so much! Thank you.

   Yellow stuff? haha I LOVED The shirt. I wore it today actually. I really needed t-shirts so thank you... it was perfect!! No we have not had a bagio (storm) here, that's just normal because its high tide close to the ocean.
   Oh and for the main event of the week!! We had a baptism!!!! WOOT WOOT! Sister Luzviminda! It went so well! AND to make it THAT much better 3 of our investigators came- Raul, Reynaldo and Lacion. Oh my goodness, I was sooo happy! We have really been focusing on Raul . I love, love, love, love teaching him. He is 49 years old and just the greatest. He asks such good questions. I'm actually at his computer shop right now and we just connect. We laugh so much and when I bear my testimony to him... I feel it. I feel it with all my soul the truth of what I am saying. The spirit is sooo apparent when we teach him. He is in 1 Nephi 14 and I just love him. I love him sooo, soo much. I want him to accept the gospel with all his heart... hinay hinay we will get there. I just love missionary work so much. I love being led by the spirit. I love being trusted by the Lord also to make decisions without being directly led or told where to go. I am so thankful for the atonement because I know I am FARRRRR from being a perfect... or even an effective teacher but the atonement makes up for my many mistakes as I try to do my best and rely on the Lord. I think that is one of the biggest lessons I have learned so far is just how happy I can be. I have the atonement of Jesus Christ! Its exhausting beating yourself up 24-7 for not being perfect (aka - not understanding how to use or apply the atonement). We are all here to progress and we are progressing... we just need to focus on the improvements as small as they may be while we move through this life.

Oh, how grateful I am. I love my family soo, soo very much! I love my Savior and am so grateful for prayer- I know our Father hears and answers us. Please be safe and know that I love you all!
Sister Ralph
Sister Sousa and children

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