Monday, April 17, 2017

Week 59 in the Philippines Laoag Mission - It's the hardest thing I've ever done.

“As often as occasion would permit Harry would lie beneath the window sill hiding beneath Aunt Petunia’s daffodils listening to the news and missing Hogwarts.”

Ok so that isn’t an actual quote but for right now I am Harry Potter- but my scar is acne scarring that comes with no fancy prophesy. Too bad. But why, do you ask, am I like Harry Potter? I'm excited for summer to be over? (You may all collectively gasp in shock.) Yeah, I am stoked for summer to be over and for school to start again as that means I will be home and able to skype with my family whenever I want… since I’ll be home a grand total of 5 or 6 days before going up to school.  Am I counting down my final 19 weeks?


But does that mean that I am not working?

Don’t count on it!!

I am trying to finish my final 3 cycles sprinting!! I like to think that I am a dedicated person and that I am not a quitter- so to put myself to the test we have the Lysol and aerosol anti-bacteria on hand to keep the trunky sickness away and I’m eating that apple a day as they say is so important.  I did write a poem though! Made me feel artsy:
When the body needs something
Food, water, light & air-
It has ways of telling;
But the brain is an organ more fair.
Stretching gasping and hungrily its yearning;
This is the state of a mind so rare.
Who knew you could hurt for desire to learn?

I also have been enthralled with Proverbs which is basically scripture poetry, as well as Psalms.  Anyways so on to this week!

It’s been a lot of ‘you already know this so start acting or you are never gonna get the seed to grow!’  If you want to grow a tomato plant you’re gonna have to water and give it sun and be patient. “Nothing worth having is ever gained without effort.” (Ben 10) but in the end it is their agency if they are going to water their gospel seed. It’s honestly so easy it’s silly how some struggle- but the thing is we all struggle. We all sometimes break down and listen to that voice saying we are too busy or too tired or too--- anything!! Sometimes we all fall but the trick is getting back up. Sometimes people fall in dry patches where it’s easy to ‘cover up their sin’ so they dust themselves off and crawl away thinking no one will notice. Well you are not standing until you admit that what you did was wrong and repent. Repentance is a gift that was bought with a great price- take it and be joyful.

I had the great opportunity to work in my old area for a day (perks of being a STL I guess) and it was fun to see the reaction of the members and investigators when they saw me again! Some fell out of their chairs in surprise and some were just like ‘how was your trip?’ thinking I was staying. Sadly I couldn’t but they were understanding and, honestly, I love it here in Vigan. The buildings are old and just as beautiful as I imagined and the people are very welcoming. You would think that because this is a city it would be gruff and scary- especially since there are a million Muslims and Indians, but, no. I’ve found a branch that wants to be a ward but just doesn’t know how! We are looking forward to our first baptism in the area since July last year and the members are getting excited again! We hope to have some fun ward activities and FHE (Family Home Evening- a spiritual thought followed by prayer and games) for the whole branch but we will just have to see!  

It’s still hard planning- we spend a half hour to an hour planning our lessons and then we get there and no one is home so we have to change our plans last minute and just follow the Spirit. At least we are trying to plan and we are acting instead of thinking ‘well we tried, let's go home.’ No! if we think we want to go home we say ‘one more.’ And we mean it! If it's late and we think ‘maybe we should go home’ we go one more lesson or one more find THEN we go home. Its brought us great success.

I had a member ask if a mission was hard this week and I cannot lie. (that’s a lie- I'm very good at lying I’m just trying to quit the habit- but lying is usually me making a story more interesting by elaborating a bit…) anyways I told the member. “It’s the hardest thing I have ever done.” And it is. Never before in my life have I ever been this tired or this far out of my comfort zone. Never before in my life have I felt like the world was crumbling down around me and I could not move for fear. Before my mission I never experienced rejection like I have here on the mission, and being exhausted physically, mentally and spiritually.

Yet I have never felt so loved, I have so many people who write me and message me and sending me words of comfort and prayers. You can feel them like a butterfly on your shoulder. (It tickles and you can’t help but smile.) I have never felt so strong in my life- I can feel my spirit expanding, my understanding broadening and I can flex now better than ever before. It’s still wimpy but it’s the best I’ve ever been. Yes, so far a mission is the hardest thing I have ever done, and I did a lot before my mission, but it is the most rewarding. It will be hard to leave yet “to die will be an awful big adventure.”

From the sister who is keepin' it real,
Sister Eldredge

A Very Special and Humbling Dinner Prepared Just for Us.

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