This week was a productive one for Sister Abuel and I. We finally reached the 30 lesson goal we have been aiming for and we are happy that we were able to do so. We always have more improvements to make and more goals to reach, but reaching a goal like this motivates us to continue working hard.
It was Sister Abuel’s birthday this week and she turned 22! Because we were pretty much broke this week because it was the last week of the month, Sister Abuel (with help from me) convinced herself that she would not be getting much because we were poor. But being the amazing party planner that I am, I expertly planned marami suprises for lahat ng araw. We decorated her room, I gave her the oh so cutest framed picture of us, and we got her cake. Thanks to Sister Tantiado and Ieremia for all of the help in keeping the suprises on the DL all week! We also celebrated that night at a member’s home and had yummy food and yummy puto (a cake like thing made of lard…hahaha lard).
The funny moment of the week goes to our investigator Jennica Nicolas (she is 11 and completely innocent). After teaching a lesson to her, she asked if I was pregnant. Yeah, just so everyone knows- I AM NOT PREGNANT…and I am not fat either, despite what all of the people here say. It was really funny and now I am taking advantage of the fact that I have to eat for baby and me.
This week’s cultural lesson will be on animals. The Philippines is like a giant zoo where animals can be found everywhere. I like the chickens that are everywhere, personally, and there are more dogs in San Nicolas than the city of Las Vegas. People eat dog here, but missionaries are not allowed because it is super unsafe. I have not been offered dog yet, but I am sure someday I will. The cows here are hideous and have humps...I will try to send a picture of a cow next week. There are also lots of cats. We have like 5,000 living outside of our house since Sister Abuel and Tantiado decided to feed them one time. I hate cats.
I am getting excited for the 24th of this month. Three amazing investigators of ours will be baptized on this day: RJ Lagat, Benedict Berbano, and Girlie Fiesta. While teaching Benedict this week, Sister Abuel reminded me of a simple event of significance that I forgot about. Four weeks ago we had a package to deliver to a member’s home. I had been carrying around all day and although we did not have a lot of time, I insisted that we take a few minutes to just drop it of at the member’s home before our last appointment. We were not planning on teaching the first lesson to Benedict that night, but something told me that we had to go to the Tinde home. This week Benedict told us that he was also not planning to be at the Tinde home that night but he had felt like he should go there. We were all listening to the Spirit that night and the choice we made to heed to its direction changed all of our lives. This story is a simple one but it means a lot to me. If I was not listening to the Spirit, if Sister Abuel was not listening to the Spirit, or if Benedict was not listening to the Spirit, Benedict might have never heard the gospel, he may have never received Jesus Christ, and he may have never been baptized.
I am really loving the work here. Possibly the most rewarding part about being a missionary is hearing the first prayer of an individual. These people are seeking God and have never known where to find him; now they talk to him every day. I thought that I would inspire others by going on a mission; I thought that I would change lives on my mission. I have only been in the Philippines for five weeks, but it seems as though I am the one being inspired and I am the one being changed.