So this has been quite a week. You may have heard that we had a level 4 typhoon named ‘Lawin’ that went through our area (there are only 4 levels of typhoons, 4 being the strongest.) In all honesty the buildup before the storm was scarier than the actual storm. We were talking about evacuation routes and locations and filling up every single bucket and bowl and what not that we had with water and buying tons of drinking water, we were texting investigators and members to let them know the church was open for evacuation and that we were praying for them and then… THE STORM! But it was more like BUM BUM BUMMMMMM: the storm. It was about the strength of a level 1 hurricane with half the damage. Yes we were out of electricity until Sunday night, happy birthday present to me, and we didn’t work all day Thursday due to the storm but in all honesty it was fine. The only damage really that was done to the apartment was that water leaked through my window and got my luggage wet and ruined a blank sheet of paper (oh nooooooooooooooo) Everything else that got wet was the clothes at the bottom of the luggage and that is easily cleaned up, washed and dried by hand. (I cannot tell you how big of a deal it is to be able to know how to wash your clothes by hand, it would make long time camping and power outs soooooooooo much easier in the states.) Then by the time we were able to go out and work most of the cleanup had been finished. It made me think of after hurricane Ike how it took weeks for us to clear everything up, like trees that had fallen because people tied them together, and I came to some conclusions:
· These people are accustomed to big storms
· They have a superior drainage systems, canals along nearly every road that are strictly maintained by the owners of the homes they lay nearby
· An industrious people.
What does this have to the Gospel? Well, a lot actually.
· This is a common trial, and as they continue to go through these storms in their lives they become better acquainted how to prepare and repair. Yes they are still scared, but they knew what was coming and were prepared. (Are you listening with your spiritual ears?) They had been warned by the watchman and had heeded his warning (see Ezekiel 33.) They also had more knowledge on how to prepare, either from past experience or from the experience of others. (Where can we learn all about the experience of others throughout time that still relate to us? Here is a hint, it starts with ‘S’ and ends with ‘criptures’ it can also be pronounced ‘talk to your parents’ or ‘grandparents.’
· Because this is a common trial they are stronger and better prepared for it. Utah, with all its desert, would never be able to measure up to the preparedness of the Filipino people for flooding. Is that bad? Not necessarily, they have different trials in their lives (don’t compare your trials to the trials of others, or think anyone is better because they receive ‘harder’ or ‘easier’ trails)
· This is simply evident. God wants us to be an industrious people. He wants us to have self confidence in our accomplishments so long as it doesn’t lead to pride
I like to joke to my companion that I can relate the gospel to anything and I think this is an example of that. (Not to boast but I kinda am, sorry.) Anyways the biggest trip I’ve got for you is: “While the whole world is storming with evil, trials, and temptations of all kind take yourself and your family to the eye of the storm, where there is peace.” A brother in our ward said something along those lines during sacrament meeting and I think it applies to everyone.
Anyways on to the funny stories. So after the storm everyone was out cleaning up and we approached this sister who looked about 40+ and asked if she and her husband would like some help. She responded “Oh we are done!” but there was a large tree leaning against their house that her husband was chopping at… anyways it was kind of funny. Everywhere we weren’t they didn’t want our help so they kept saying ‘oh we are done’ and here are portions of the roof missing or a tree that had fallen… They however were happy to pray and thank God for the safety that they had enjoyed during the whole storm, so not that much CSP (community service project, it’s a wide known acronym here) but tons of new investigators which is always super fun.
Another funny story is while walking a fellowshipper home after our appointments she was complaining that she had a low bat (low battery) on her phone and then the next second a live bat ran right into her face! That in and of itself doesn’t seem too bad but the bats here are about the size of small cats (so about the size of Soren, my cat, if he wasn’t so fat) but it was quite funny.
Nothing else much to report besides that WE WILL HAVE ANOTHER BAPTISM THIS 29TH!!! As you can tell I’m not at all excited about this. Gwyneth is so amazing, and just in case I haven’t told you about her let me rehash it. She is 13 and the daughter of two less actives, we were originally teaching her and her 8 year old brother but her parents (who are working abroad) phoned and said that they had changed their minds that they did not want Jimuel to be baptized until he turns 10, as they think he is not prepared for baptism. She went to all 4 general conference sessions at the beginning of this month and is friends with all of the young women in the ward who all simply love her. We got a text from them this morning asking what they can do to participate in her baptism! She was rather bummed we couldn’t have her baptism this 22nd but this way everyone will be better prepared with talks and such. She just keeps repeating the date and time of her baptism and she is just the coolest. She just keeps repeating the time and date of her baptism to herself and to everyone else. It’s really just the coolest thing.
For my birthday I spent it how any other 21 year old would in a country where the drinking age is 18. I got up early and helped a 90 year old go to church for the first time in a decade, then after walking her home and helping her a bit going to the hospital to visit members who were sick. We ended the day teaching people about the Plan of Salvation (also known as the Plan of Happiness) and then going home to read some cards that were sent to me and eating spaghetti. Our electricity came back just in time for us to not have a candlelit dinner again, and to have the electric fans on while we slept so all in all it was a great day. I had so many members wish my happy birthday and Sister Cathy-who often works with us- even gave me a present! Since we are a little broke and had no electricity on Saturday we were content with our spaghetti and no cake. But we will think about getting a cake next month, so we will see.
Well my time is up, so Goodbye from the happy and safe birthday girl