Well, it's from Santo Domingo to Vigan! I'm a little worried about the travel as it's so far! Last time I was transferred it was a 3 hour bus ride alone and now it’s a 10 minute bus ride with my companion who is going to the same area I am. Yup, we got pulled out! Actually we are swapping with a sister in Vigan; she will get our old area… which means she gets our baptism this Saturday! Hopefully we will be able to come back up to Santo Domingo for the baptism but that is all on President Andrada.
Nothing much happened this week besides me giving a talk at a funeral, doing a CSP, and getting pulled out.
In Filipino culture they do funerals kind of like how Americans do weddings; way big and over the top with lots of unnecessary pomp and frill. But that’s the culture. The viewing is about a month or two weeks long at their home, and outside they burn a giant log constantly, and play poker. Inside they sit and stare at the casket and talk with each other and eat food. Normally the service is given at the home but this funeral was at the church… but the power was out! From Vigan to Sinait no power! So it was a little hot and it didn’t help that I had a cough and had lost my voice. Luckily though we got a car battery hooked up to an amp so I could use the microphone. Filipinos are ingenious! It was actually rather funny as I actually used more Tagalog than the Filipina who spoke before me. I started my talk out with a scripture from the Bible, which I read in English. The crowd looked a little bored like oh-boy-this-whole-talk-is-gonna-be-in-english-and-we-don’t-speak-english but then I started speaking in Tagalog about the Atonement of Christ and how we need to use our agency to be exalted. That is a novel thought for Catholics (they were 97% non-members) who believe you just have to be baptized as a baby to be saved. I had fun, and from their faces and how they talked to me afterwards I had an effect on them. We had a TON of return appointments and it was an incredible finding opportunity.
We also talked to a semi-drunk school teacher who thought it would be marvelous to have us teach a Gospel Doctrines class in the school (it would be non-denominational, so no talk of Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon) which was awesome. We wanted to try and find families by teaching the 9-16 year old kids… but we got transferred so that will be up to Sister Tomepeao and sister Pangilinan… the new sisters here. It was rather funny as this school teacher, who is on the board, had been taught by some elders in Manila a few years ago and is almost done with the book of Alma! But he was rather drunk and asked if I had a boyfriend so we left after we got the school appointment. I mean, he is probably older than my dad, and is trying to woo me with mangos. “I’ll bring you 6 mangos, girl!” that was random, but we know he will be sober at the school. We will talk to the new sisters about making sure they speak to the principal of the school about the class and just avoid the Mr. mango guy.
The CSP (Community Service Project) was great! We were about to meet basically all of the Gonda's neighbors as they worked in the field and we helped dry the corn. So what we ended up doing was taking the corn they picked and laying it out to dry. We thought we would also be helping around the house cooking and doing laundry with the girls but they were quite insistent that they could do it. I think we 'found' about the whole sito (a subdivision of the community group called a barangay.) We just forgot to count them in our weekly report! whoops! It was honestly so much fun and everyone was teasing me that i was going to get a tan (which i think would be fabulous) but no matter what I'm going to be white any way. Then we went out to our furthest area and worked hard the rest of the day! it was great! We were a little tired by the end of the day but it was a good tired, not the why-did-we-do-that-im-so-exhausted kind of tired.
It's such a bummer that we are leaving Santo Domingo as we were so sure we were going to have somewhere around 6 baptisms here! But it will be a blessing for the incoming sisters. At least I can say I left my area better than I found it! Now I just got to do that with my new area in Vigan!
From the sister who travels a lot,Sister Eldredge