I hope you all had a great New Year's Eve. Mine was insane. There is no possible way to describe New Year's Eve in the Philippines. They love it! The one word I would use to describe it is LOUD. We went out to teach a few lessons in the early afternoon because we had an early curfew for safety. The streets were filled with stands selling any kind of firework you can imagine, homemade and not, as well as every kind of noisemaker, also homemade and not. You could already hear fireworks going off and music blasting EVERYWHERE-- Filipinos love their karaoke. By aboutthe noise level went up a notch and the fireworks started even more. We went to Bishop Dela Cruz's for our last dinner before transfers and then rushed home before curfew. By about the noise level was intense and in America the police would have been called hours earlier. We cleaned the apartment, started packing for transfers and then I set-up the Porter family traditional fishpond for the other sisters. I gave them stickers, stamps, letters, candy, noisemakers, etc. Then they surprised me and said they had some for me ha then Sister Sia just started sending a bunch of Sister Jenkins things for the sheet ha and I could hear Sister Jenkins complaining in the backgroud haha so fun. Sister Domagas did give me a bamboo bank which I am super excited about! Then we all got ready for bed and had another sleep-over with Sister Jenkins telling us stories. Then came and World War III began outside our wind. There was SO MUCH NOISE. I can honestly say I know what it feels like to survive a bomb raid haha the sky was flashing and there was every kind of firework you can image going off. It was so much fun and definitely a night I will never forget.
To rewind a little bit, this past week Sister Sia and I saw so many answers to prayers in our area. We found the Turla family, former investigators, that are so prepared. I already love them so much and I am so excited for the happiness the gospel will bring them. Brother Dionisho and his son came to church again without his wife because she was sick. I am so excited for that family as well. We talk Brother Ninoy about baptism for the dead and temples. He is excited to prepare to go! He told us again that this is the truth he has been looking for. Brother and Sister Pernia came to church again. We aren't sure what will happen with Brother or if we will make it to baptism in the near future but Sister is attending church regularly and so involved in all the activities. We are excited for her! I have been so grateful for this area. I struggled a bit in the beginning to love it and adjust to the change of leaving my first area but I have absolutely fell in love with it. I have seen the miracles that can come as we patiently wait AND work for the Lord's timing. I am so grateful for all I have learned here and will never forget the Malanday ward. I am also so unbelievably grateful for Sister Sia and the opportunity I had to train her. I feel like I learned FAR more from her and the Lord as a trainer than I taught. I love her so much. I feel like I gained another little sister.
So, to begin 2014 I will be transfering to Malolos. I am so excited and of course sad to say goodbye to this area. My new companion will be Sister Ayub. She is from Pakistan-- I have mentioned her in emails before. I am so excited to work with her and love this sister so much already but I won't lie I am pretty nervous. She still struggles with both English and Tagalog and has faced some difficult challenges in the last few transfers. I am grateful for all I have to learn from her and the opportunity we have to grow together.
I am so grateful for the experiences and opportunities our Heavenly Father gives us in this life to change and grow. I am constantly being reminded of my weakness but also given courage to overcome them through my strengths. I am grateful for my Savior who makes all things possible and the hope we each receive through Him. I can wait to continue to grow and change in this next year and see what the Lord has in store!
I hope you all and hope you are all happy, healthy and safe!