Wow I really can't believe how fast the time keeps flying. Sister Sia and I have already been together for 6 weeks, one transfer down. It scares me how fast the time is going. I feel like I'm just going to blink and find myself on an airplane headed to the States.
This week we had a super high and super low moment with those we are teaching.
For the low, we don't know if Brother Pernia will be able to be baptized. There are just some underlying problems that we found out this week that are completely in his hands to fix and we don't know how or when that will be. We are going to keep praying for him and supporting him. He has made so much progress, especially with the Word of Wisdom so hopefully he will able to make the other necessary difficult changes and choices. One exciting moment this week with their family though was that Shina, their 15-year-old extremely sassy teenage, came to church early on her own and stayed after to participate with the young women. I really have seen changes in her. Also, their youngest son Abraham is 6-years-old but has just learned to walk and hasn't yet learned how to speak. I love that little boy so much and he honestly is such a light. We have been working so hard to teach him how to shake hands with us each time we come and he is starting to get it :)
For the high, Brother Ninoy came to church!!! Ah I can't even say how happy I was when I saw him walk in and basically ran straight to him. But man has he faced some struggles in the last week. He and his twin brother had to move and look for new work and then on top of all that stress he faced a far more difficult challenge. Ninoy is from Leyte, an area that was severely effected by typhoon Yolanda. He called his parents and younger brother the night before the storm and has since had no contact with them because there is still no cell phone signal there. He has no idea if they are alive or not or what their circumstances are. As we talked he began struggling not to cry and I could only image how difficult and scary waiting for ANY news would be. We were going to teach him after church so Sister Sia and I went to a room to pray for help in knowing what he needed and how to possibly comfort him. Before our lesson we had Ward Council and I suddenly found myself explaining his situation to Bishop Dela Cruz not sure why or how he could help. I love that man who then took Brother Ninoy aside in the best display of fellowshipping I have ever seen and brought him into his office where he got all the information he could from Ninoy. Bishop Dela Cruz said that we have a chapel in the exact town that Ninoy's family lives and the bishop and ward members will now be looking for Ninoy's family. I am so amazed by the way prayers are answered everyday. This storm really has had such an effect on people here. Twice now Sister Sia and I have talked to individuals on the jeepney who have began crying because of either coming from Taclooban witnessing the devastation or still having family and friends unaccounted for there. Keep praying for the people there and those with loved ones effected. Our mission this week had 18 missionaries from Taclooban mission reassigned here, which means that those missionaries supposed to go home in December (like Sister Yagemai) are going home immediately in order to accommodate the changes. So much change! Earlier this week we all had an opportunity as missionaries to go through our clothes and things and gather what we didn't need or were willing to give in order to help the missionaries coming from Taclooban because they came here with only the clothes on their backs.
I have just been reminded again and again how grateful I am for the hope and peace that comes through a knowledge of God and his plan for us. I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to share that message of peace with the people here in the Philippines who already have a deep love for God.
I love you all so much. You are always in my prayers.
Filipino Fun Fact:
Filipinos are very trusting people in so many ways but one of those ways is in their willingness to just give out their addresses. It makes life very easy as a missionary when street contacting because it is not weird or awkward in the least to just ask, "So what is your number and exact address?" Often times it is just a part of everyday normal conversation to just ask where someone lives to a complete stranger which freaked me out a bit at first but I love it!