|Jennifer & Mery-Jane at their Baptism|
On the First day of Christmas my true love gave to meeee…. Nothing, because I haven’t met him yetttt….
Yup, we’re in December y’all so it’s time for caroling and 25 days of service! (#Light the World ) The weeks and days are eternal yet over in a second. However, Mondays always go by too fast. This week has been interesting as we have been trying to find things to do to serve members, investigators, Less active members… everybody. Even if it’s just sitting with a lonely sister and chatting for a bit, we want to serve. This makes me think of Ammon in the Book of Mormon. He was there to serve, he wasn’t there to deceive or anything else. First and foremost he was a servant of God come to help others grow closer to their God- and in order to do that you’ve got to be their friend first! Haha.
I have found out that I have been saying the wrong thing my whole mission this week. So whenever we knock at a door and I think there are no people I say “Isip ko wala tao.” (isip= to think or brain ko= I wala= none tao= people) but apparently that is not how you say ‘I think there are no people.’ That is how you say “My brain, no people!” So I guess you are never too old in the mission to continue learning- the only problem is my companion thinks its cute that I say that so she won’t help me figure out how to say ‘I think’ so I’ve been researching and reading the Tagalog, English dictionary to try and figure it out but so far no luck. So I guess I’ll keep saying ‘my brain’ instead of ‘I think.’ But how many companions have I had and they didn’t correct me?!?! Auhg.
We both still felt exhausted from that morning but we went out with a smile on our face- as that afternoon was Mery-Jane and Jennifer’s baptism!! We showed up to the church a little early as Mery-Jane and Jennifer normally beat us there and we wanted to greet them. After 5 minutes sister Ganaden insisted I was hiding them from her again which only made me laugh which only made her more suspicious. Luckily they came and we got to take some pictures before the baptism.
The youth had planned to sing a musical number at the baptism called “I am His Daughter and had asked us to join them, so when the Elders arrived at the baptism we asked them if they had gotten the text that we were going to sing with the young women and they got all flustered and said they weren’t prepared to sing and then we told them what the song was and they were all “We are NOT singing that song!” It was hysterical I love teasing the elders. However, seminary ended late so they arrived at the baptism a little late! But that is alright as we sisters sang the song just us… which means I have sung at EVERY baptism I have attended so far on my mission! I love that. The baptisms were great, but poor Jennifer got dunked 3 times because the brother baptizing her kept stumbling on her name, or she would not go entirely under the water ect. Mery-Jane kept saying she was glad it only took her one time as the water was cold! Then the youth sang the song “Baptism” from the children’s hymn book so everybody got to sing!
The baptism was really amazing and Mery-Jane and Jennifer both felt the strong support from the ward and even a little surprised to see how many people came to support them. Their grandfather Ludivico came and although he is a soft spoken guy and didn't say much it was fun to see how he couldn't wipe the grin off his face!
This week’s highlights come from the Domingo Family. They celebrated their one year baptismal anniversary in November and will be getting sealed in the temple on the 6th of this month! This Tuesday we were working out in their barangay (community) and invited them to join us to go visit Mery-Jane and Jennifer. We taught them and we then taught their father- who Mery-Jane has been trying to get him to listen to us for several months and now that they are baptized he has begun to be interested too! So the lesson with him went well and while we were walking Hannah and Leslie (the two oldest Domingo girls who had joined us) could not contain how excited they were about the lesson, and asked if they could work with us more and what it's like to be a missionary. We talked about what our schedule is like and they were aaallll about that. Since they are of mature age we set up a 1 day mission with them. So they worked with us from 7am to 8pm and joined us at the church building for lunch, and study time. We went finding with them out in an area we had never been to before and found 8 people just within two or three hours!! Let me emphasize. Normally I feel very proud and successful if we find two or three people in a single morning, the fact that we found 8 people simply blows my mind. Not to mention Sister Ganaden is sick- she can barely speak- so It was myself and the two Domingo girls and Cathy doing the talking. (I’ve spent the week trying to get her to rest and she finally did rest on Friday and that is when she finally started to get better.) Basically the whole day was amazing and I especially enjoyed the companionship study and practicing doing lessons with the Domingo girls. It made me feel like I was training! They have such excitement for the gospel and are simply ecstatic to go to the temple.
We were having a lesson with a family who lives just two houses down from the chapel when their son came home and told us that all the 1 year members from Batac Stake were at the chapel, and were now loading up to drive down to Manila. [in our church you need to be a member for 1 year before you can enter the temple, this is to show your commitment to God and the gospel and your desire to continue to serve God throughout your life.] We also have another 1 year member who is not only going to the temple for the first time but is going to be married in the temple with her member fiancée! When we saw her (Angela) she looked simply petrified! I asked her if she was excited and she paused for a moment, hiding her face and smiling before saying “…yes.” She is so dang cute! It's so hard to meet with her since she works in Laoag and normally gets back to Batac late at night and is busy on Sundays but maybe once she is married we may be able to meet more with her! But we also got to see the whole Domingo Family and the three girls (Hannah, Leslie, and Sharmaine) were simply bouncing up and down! They were so excited to go! This morning we actually got a text from them saying “We survived the bus trip! We are in Manila now!” so they realized long bus trips are not as fun as you would think but it was quite funny.
Speaking of funny… so when I was in my first 6 weeks here in the Philippines I forgot my shoes at home, and was just wearing my house slippers. It was the first and I thought the last time that would happen. Apparently not. About three times this week I have made it out the door, down the stairs and at the road until I realize I’m still only wearing my house slippers. That being said there was one time I did not catch it in time. I had made it halfway to the church building when I realized. So I made sure that Sister Ganaden would NOT point it out. I forgot she is very bad at keeping secrets. We had headed to the church building to throw a surprise birthday party / surprise thank you party for all the fellowshippers who always work with us and the ward mission leaders. We had drawn out caricatures of all the fellowshippers (Angelo, Jared, Jennica, Cathy and Vera) and cooked a dinner for them. So we set up the party, hid it, and then texted them all that they needed to come to the church immediately for an emergency meeting. They all showed up (except Angelo who was still at work) looking frazzled. Once we had all sat down and they asked what the emergency was sister Ganaden pointed to my feet and said “Sister Eldredge forgot her shooooes again!!!!” they were a little confused until Sister Hermosa and Sister Pangilinan brought in the surprise party stuff and we all shouted surprise! I was poking sister Ganaden the rest of the night for pointing out my shoes- or lack thereof.
So this is the shoe-less wonder signing off!