I have had another wonderful and busy week here in San Nicolas. The rains come down and floods come up here, and because most people have built their houses on the sand, it gets really muddy. The part I am trying to figure out is that when they say it is a typhoon, there is no rain, but when there is not a typhoon, oceans fall from the sky.
As a missionary, I have become accustomed to seeing miracles happen in the lives of Church members and investigators alike. It was great to see the Augustin family members return home this week after some rough days spent in the hospital and I am pleased to share that our four investigators who were interviewed for baptism this week are set and prepared, but events that took place in the lives of Zyra and Tessie were most inspiring to me.
Last week, Zyra’s mother returned home for a break from her work in Lebanon. We had been awaiting her arrival so that we could ask for her consent for Zyra’s baptism. She told Zrya to tell us that her mom would not allow the baptism. Sister Abuel and I were sad; Zyra’s 21-year-old brother would be baptized this month, but Zyra would not have the chance. Then early this week, Zrya told us that her mom had changed her mom. The official consent was given the next day and on Saturday Zyra proved herself worthy in her interview. The Lord softens the hearts of his people. Honest prayer and fasting will be rewarded with great blessings.
The other magnificent miracle concerns Tessie Tabios, a newer investigator who is suffering from Stage 1 cervical cancer. Tessie had become depressed and discouraged from the great physical pain she has been forced to endure. On Wednesday, two Priesthood holders were able to accompany us to her home to administer a blessing. When Sister Abuel and I arrived to church on Sunday, Tessie was already sitting in a pew; it was her first time at church. She excitedly thanked us for bringing the Priesthood brethren to her home because she now had no pain; we responded by telling her to thank Him above instead.
In other news, this week’s cultural lesson will be on the many expressions and mannerisms of the Filipino people.
1. 1. No need to answer “yes.” Here, we answer by lifting our eyebrows. Seemingly offensive in the US, yet completely acceptable here in the Philippines.
2. 2. Can you repeat that? If you do not understand, just open your mouth and leave it hanging. In the US, people would look at you as if you were crazy, but here it just means, “can you say that again?”
3. 3. When summoning someone, do not do so with your palm upwards. That is what Filipino prostitutes do. Make a brushing motion with your palm down if you want someone to come your way. I have made the prostitute mistake marami beces.
4. 4. Do not use your finger to point, instead use your lips. It seems like all of those “duck-face” pictures I took in my middle school years are paying off.
I love you all and I want to hear from you! Shoot me some good ol’ snail mail!
Philippines Laoag Mission
Brgy. 50 Buttong, Airport Avenue
Junction Tangid Road, Laoag City 2900
Ilocos Norte, Philippines
Missionary work is a divine work. I know that the Lord is present in my life and the lives of all those I work with. I have never made a more difficult decision to come out and serve the Lord, but I never had been so grateful for making a decision in my life. God blesses those who serve Him.
P.S. If anyone has the mission address for Ben Johns in Chile, could you please send it to me? I am dying to send that kid a letter!