A mission is a becoming experience. Missionaries across the world spend their days assessing themselves, measuring themselves against their pasts and futures, and enacting the necessary plans to reach their divine potentials. I have been very blessed serving my mission so far; Sister Abuel and I have accomplished a lot in only 10 weeks. But the truth is that my mission sent a little sour this week. Several events which have recently unfolded have led Sister Abuel and I to review our efforts as servants of the Lord. And we fell really short. But that is ok-lang dahil hindi expected na kami maging perpekto; what is expected of us is to always try our best.
We have spent the last days picking up the pieces: doing what we can to mend a relationship with an offended member, reestablishing an understanding of exact obedience to the mission rules, and recommitting ourselves fully to the service of the Lord. It has been hard, but a mission is a becoming experience. I am becoming who I need to be. Becoming is hard and long and arduous, but that is okay. I decided to serve a mission to become. Being a missionary is ang hirap talaga; we are expected to deliver miracles from heaven to the people we serve. But you cannot become a messenger of miracles, a devoted servant of the Lord, or a good person, without work and effort and recommitting yourself regularly. You do not become by falling short continually in the same areas; you become by fixing yourself and moving forward, changing yourself through the power of the Lord and his infinite grace. I am thankful for the experiences I have had on my mission. Each one, good and bad, has helped to refine me. Napapasalamat po ako talaga para sa support at mga prayers sa home. Yung mga misionero sa lahat ng mundo ay napapasalamat sa inyo. Kailanan po naming yung inyong tulong. I am becoming, but your support and prayers are what fuels my experience dito sa mission.
Speaking of support…I GOT MAIL THIS WEEK AND LOTS OF IT! Thank you all so much. Just one note- addressing my letters as “Little Cee” or any other ridiculous names will make it difficult for the mission to get the mail to me. Yes, the letter addressed to a “Little Cee” was opened by the mission home and read, so that they could know that “Little Cee” was in fact “Sister Copeland.” To answer some reoccurring questions from the letters:
1. No, I do not have the desire to swim in the puddles. We actually have had barely any rain in the past week plus, which means it has been hotter than Spirit Prison here.
2. Yes, my Tagalog is improving, slowly but surely. I am also picking up a bunch of random Ilocano words so my Tagalog is more like TAGILOCOLISH.
3. Please do send me a package. Preferred contents: American chocolate.
This week’s cultural lesson will be entitled “Crazy things pilipinos do.”
1. Sweep the streets. Everyone here is always sweeping the streets. Yes, the streets are dirty, they are full of leaves and rocks, but why in the world would you sweep the street? It is the most pointless use of time and has no effect. Sweeping the street in the Philippines is like sweeping a beach with a toothbrush. Really, people?
2. Because Pilipinos cannot pronounce “f”, words adopted from the English always sound hilarious. (Ex. One, two , tree, POUR, PIBE) But it is so strange here because when a Pilipino says the word “Pilipino” they pronounce it with a perfect “f” pronunciation. (Ex. FiliFino) I cannot understand it; they say “fish” like “pish” but “Pilipino” like “filifino.”
The work here is going great. We received a referral this week to teach a family and we have a baptism on this Saturday. Sister Abuel and I are praying for assistance and expecting miracles in the coming weeks as we strive to be the best missionaries that we can be.
I love you and always I would love to hear from you. Write me a letter and I can promise that I will send you one back.
Sister Leah Copeland
Philippines Laoag Mission
Brgy. 50 Buttong, Airport Avenue
Junction Tangid Road, Laoag City 2900
Ilocos Norte, Philippines
Super duper mahal sa lahat!