So, how is everyone doing out there? I know that my family is good because I skyped with them only a few days ago. It was great to hear them and see them. The best part of our conversation was when I bore my testimony in Tagalog. I really realized in that moment that I have been called to serve the people here in the Philippines, here in the Laoag Mission. Sometimes I think that everyone speaks Tagalog, but then I realize they do not. I love these people!
Christmas will be very different for me this year, thousands of miles away in the jungle, but I am thankful for the unique experience I will have. Missionaries work on Christmas. We go out like everyday to teach people about Jesus. In many ways it will be ordinary; yet more than ever I can feel the importance of the season, as I see the life of Christ mirrored in those around me. The traditions here are different and the feeling of the season is not the same, but I am excited for the many memories I will make this week. One of the cutest Christmas traditions I have noticed so far is the caroling. The children go caroling from house to house each night during the season. They do not stop singing unless you give them some change. It is cute and they sing a cute "thank you" song when you pay them.
Let's talk about the fun things that I have done this week.
1. I had the plague again and spent a day at home sleeping. I had the worst fever of my life this week and I am ever grateful for my companion who is also a nurse. I was shaking like a leaf for hours but she did everything she could to bring my body temperature down. The phrase of the week in the apartment has been "Kiwawa yung bata na yun (that poor child now)."
2. I discovered that my pillow was moldy (gross, I know), so I was bleaching it down. A fellow missionary (obviously Sister Storey) suggested that I cut off the pillow case and remake my pillow with her old pillow case. I did that but it basically turned into a mini disaster (exhibited in posted pictures) and now I have the worlds lumpiest pillow. The Filipinas in the apartment are convinced that the Americans are crazy. Too bad I live in the jungle where pillows are not available.
3. We borrowed the branch's very small and very not high tech keyboard to our apartment practice our musical number for the branch Christmas party. Yeah, it did not take me long to find the beats on that thing. Not only does it have some pretty fun techno rhythms, it has a preprogrammed orchestration of "America the Beautiful." It was a good night. Many more keyboard adventures to come.
Happy Pasuo to everyone. This is such a fabulous time of year in which we can contemplate the miraculous birth and life of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The greatest gift our Father in Heaven has given us is the life of His Son. Now, what gift can we give Him in return? This year I will give God my pure heart and my contrite spirit. I will give Him the promise that I will always try my best to live like Jesus. I do not have to perform miracles or change millions of lives, but maybe in the process of my mission I can touch just a couple. Let's pay it forward this year. Let's serve one another and spread the gospel of our Lord.
I know that we are very busy this week celebrating the birth of our Savior, but I would like to send out a quick reminder that we will also soon be celebrating my own birth. I love you all! Merry Christmas!