Magandang araw sa inyong lahat!
So.... I've made it almost 2 full weeks in the Philippines!
Not going to lie, the culture shock and the language were really rough this week. I felt like I couldn't express myself to anyone and I was the silent companion or I would resort to speaking English to my companion. It's hard to switch to completely different cultures and as an American, you stick out and everyone is staring at you all the time. Seriously I walk through the streets and all I hear is "Americana!!! Matangkad ka!" (You're so tall!).
Me and my companion don't have as high of key indicators as everyone else and that's kinda hard to. I really really want to share the gospel, but it seems like people are always busy and we don't get to everything we want to. It's been frustrating to me and there were a few times this week where I had to ask God "Why am I here if I'm not as productive as everyone else? There are so many people that need the gospel of Jesus Christ in their lives and I feel so hopeless and limited."
But, even though I feel like I can't do very much, I know that God loves me. Everyday He is cheering me on and has given me little things to make me happy. Yesterday at church one lady came up to me who spoke perfect English and told me her son was serving in California and emailed her and asked if there was a new sister in the ward and that if there was that she should invite her over and get to know her because she was probably feeling so new and discouraged like he was at first. God answers prayers! He feeds me everyday in miraculous ways. We get calls during the day for members willing to feed us. Our Bishop's family is so kind to us. God truly does provide for missionaries.
Sister Agner is a super super sweet companion and I know exactly why she is my companion. We both feel inadequate, self-conscious, and are hard on ourselves sometimes. She is literally like my Filipino twin. It's funny how alike we are. We decided that together we are going to lift each other up and do our best even if it doesn't seem like much. That's enough to God. God provides the rest.
A miracle that happened this week: Sister Agner had just barely started teaching a sweet lady named Sister Vanessa. She has a small family and hasn't had an easy life. But I got to teach her about how much God loves her and has a plan for her family to be together forever because of Jesus Christ in Tagalog. My Tagalog was rough, but after our closing prayer she cried and said she would get baptized. That was definitely the happiest I've been my whole mission so far. I turned to Sister Agner on the way walking home: "That is why I'm on a mission. Everyone deserves to hear that they can be together with their families forever because of Jesus Christ." She wasn't able to come to church because it is a huge sacrifice for people here to go because it is so far away, they don't have support from family members, or they don't have food or means to go. But I know that God will bless her and loves her so so much. You get a taste of that love for people during lessons.
2nd Nephi 26:24: "He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation."
I learned this week that truly I am so limited. I struggle with being the most effective with my time. Tagalog is really hard for me. It's hard to speak when you don't know the language. But God called me anyway. I may not be able to offer as much as I wish I could, but God loves me so much and loves everyone else and will not forget anyone. He can do His work. He will make up for what I can't do.
Culture Note of the Week:
If you want to give an elder a lot of respect, you give them a special handshake where you touch your forehead to their hand. It's called "Bless." Some little kids do it to me sometimes and it's adorable.
Love you all! I wouldn't be able to do this without you!
Mahal ko po tayo! Mahal na mahal tayo ng Dios! Ang ating Tagapagliktas si JesuChristo! Kaya natin 'yan! Nagiisip ko sa inyong lahat araw-araw! Naramdaman ko ang mga panalangin ninyo para sa akin!