Monday, September 26, 2016

Week 30: Kevyn's Baptism, Frogs, Shadows, and Teaching The Word!

Kevyn was baptized!!  This was in my last area, but I'm so excited to see the progress continue!


Where to even begin with this week… I've got everything from Japanese tourists, vicious  umbrella cats, tripping over frogs, a trycee roller coaster ride to cake. This last Monday we spent the day with our bishop's wife, playing mission appropriate games, and just enjoying each other’s company. In order to get to her house we rode a trycee for about 15 or 20 minutes up and down the mountain side. I kept saying "put your hands up! It’s more fun this way!!" and waiving my arms above my head as much as i could within the confines of the side car. When we arrived we were greeted by the Bishop's wife as Bishop was still at the Palenke (market) Sister Carpio mentioned that she wanted to bake a banana cake later, so then I told her about how I used to decorate cakes back home. Instantly we were best buddies discussing the differences between cupcakes and cakes and frosting techniques. Of course i have no idea how to say any of that in Tagalog so it was a little difficult as I tried to mime out what i was trying to say and speak my very limited taglish. Together we made her first ever batch of cupcakes, which she seemed just tickled pink to make.
    Then this Tuesday I worked with Sister Arcayan (who has been out in the field about 3 months now) so this is her first cycle not being a trainee) It was super fun working with her. She and Sister Aquino (the STL) work mostly in centro, the actual city part of the city and we got to meet with soo many people because we weren’t having to walk a mile or two between appointments and we could almost always grab a trycee. It helped me realize something. I've been getting a little down because of my inability to live up to the standard of excellence (number of lessons and such set by the mission president) but I realized it’s because we, Sister Gabut and I work mostly in the boondocks of Batac. However, that is where our investigators are. We are mostly just trying to find in the few central brgys (communities) we have and then work with the investigators we have in the further areas. This being the last week of the cycle and transfer week looming over our heads it’s a little discouraging that we don’t really have any investigators that are progressing. But it’s not about numbers; it’s about the souls the numbers represent and all that. It would really just be nice if people would realize how much we care for them and how much this gospel means to us and how much it can mean to them. Anyways, I’m going to get off my soap box now.
    During my personal studies I found this hecka awesome talk by Bishop Gerald Causse called "Ye are No More Strangers." In it he talks about reaching out to others and being kind. I’ve also been studying Charity a lot so this really struck a chord with me. My favorite bit is an excerpt from the book Les Miserables. Jean Valjean, recently released from prison is starving and trying to find a place to stay for the night. All other establishments had kicked him out and he couldn’t even sleep in a dog house as the dog wasn’t willing to share. This is the exchanges between him and The Bishop of the local church:
“‘This is not my house; it is the house of Jesus Christ. This door does not demand of him who enters whether he has a name, but whether he has a grief. You suffer, you are hungry and thirsty; you are welcome. … What need have I to know your name? Besides, before you told me [your name], you had one which I knew.’
“[Valjean] opened his eyes in astonishment.
“‘Really? You knew what I was called?’
“‘Yes,’ replied the Bishop, ‘you are called my brother.’”

    Can I just scream how much I love this quote? I want to paint it in the entryway of my first home, its so amazing. This is charity. This is the pure love of Christ. We dont need to know or care about someone’s past sins, we are all going through our own trials and have our own mistakes. If we wish people would forget about our mistakes we must do the same for others. Augh, man I love this quote.

This last wednesday night I got a text from our District leader Elder Koy asking if I could give a mini training the next morning. It's 9pm. I’m already in my pjs, I’m way behind in my journaling, I need to finish my laundry and take a shower. So obviously I said yes.  It was a little stressful and I might have had a dream about giving the training to a group of fruit bats that were more interested in learning how to swim, but I did it. I felt a little proud of myself for being able to not only complete the training but to see the missionaries in our district instantly apply the things I had talked about in our practice teaching. It was really great! Speaking of the district meeting, Elder Pace -w ho is once again my zone leader- has dyed his hair black. It looks awful, but I’m not his mother … some of the members of the district and the stake that we both serve in are now asking if I will also dye my hair black.  So of course I told them I will only dye my hair if a pig stands on its hind legs and prophesies that I must, an even then I may doubt. So in other words, to quote Shakespeare sonnet 45 line 6: “No.”  

Then we got to meet Disuke, the Japanese tourist.  He couldn’t speak a lick of Taolag but could speak a little English. We ran into him on our way back to Batac after the district meeting.  We chatted about where he had been and what he had seen during his tour of the Philippines. (he was traveling by himself) and gave him a pamphlet. He seemed thrilled to find another person with whom he could speak to, and after helping him find the bus station to Manila we said our farewells. It was super fun meeting him.

But the best part of the week came later that day. Sister Gabut and I had just finished teaching out in Palongapong so it was very dark (there are no street lamps out in the boondocks) and we were traveling by foot using a tiny flashlight on our phone as both our flashlights had broke earlier this week.  I had just finished telling Sister Gabut about how I remember my brother Joe being too scare to take the trash out at night when he was  a kid and how I’m not scared of the dark when something wet and slimy dropped onto my foot. I probably jumped about a foot in the air screaming.  Apparently a frog decided he wanted to get acquainted with my shoe so he hopped right onto my foot… I may or may not have kicked him and sent him flying into the bushes when I jumped…  So then we were laughing at my bad luck when a back blur raced towards us, its path directing it right at our feet. This time I didn’t screech. I screamed and jumped, not up, but onto sister Gabut. What I thought was a vicious rat or a cat turned out to just be the shadow of my umbrella handle in the light of our flashlight. So I got scared. Twice. Right after saying how I’m not scared of the dark.  So I have officially lost my cool.

That basically sums up my week.  We have a stake baptism this upcoming Saturday where Sister Arcaya and Sister Aquino’s investigator will be baptized so that is super awesome. We hope to be able to have Gwynneth and her brother Jimuel ready for baptism by October 22 (just a day before my birthday) so we will see how that goes!!

From the sister who no longer cares for frogs or ‘umbrella cats’

Sister Eldredge

"Let's play the game 'Find the Forigner!'"    "HEYYYY...!"

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