Kamusta wonderful people?! Another week has come and gone and IT IS JUNE! What?? This was a big week for my fabulous mother so since I couldn't be there in person (though I have heard I WAS there not in person...) I just wanna tell you and Mike congrats! I am sure you looked absolutely beautiful and I hope Mike knows just how lucky he is. I am excited to come home to a bigger family with lots of little nieces and nephews running around that I can cuddle! Speaking of babies, Happy Birthday to my littlest brother, Bodee! I can't believe you are already one and I can't wait to see you in just a few months!
So this week didn't involve any weddings or birthdays for me, but I did give an awesome workshop in district meeting, scoured the streets for Yema Cake since it was Elder Dela Rosa's last district meeting before he goes home, met up with the Quadrahan, met a general authority and got offered a lot of shots since it was the last week of summer here in the Philippines. It was a pretty good week!
When it comes to actual missionary work though, it was the kind of week where your investigators pray to Joseph Smith, get up to take a shot between scripture verses, members punt you, and no one comes to church. But hey, trial of your faith, di ba? Bishop kinda made up for it in missionary coordination meeting when he spent 20 minutes trying to decide what "regularly" meant and finally decided that it was like menstruation and continued to use that word to describe it throughout the meeting. I love the Philippines.
As I mentioned earlier, I met a general authority! President Craig C. Christensen, President of the Seventy. He gave a really good talk about prayer and receiving revelation. He also spent some time answering questions and one of them was "How can I keep the spirit that I feel in sacrament meeting with me throughout the rest of the meeting since sometimes it isn't really the best environment?" I've struggled with this. There is a culture in the Philippines where while the teacher is teaching everyone else is teaching their own lesson to their neighbor and sometimes members teach false doctrine and Relief Society turns into a debate. And I am sure my investigators will never come back. But he told us a story about his mission in Chile and how they would all get up and change seats half way through sacrament and he said "What are we going to do? This isn't the church I'm used to." And his companion proceeded to take him to different religions' churches over the next few weeks and finally told him this: Elder, you don't have to be in a perfect environment to feel that this is true. Even on our very worst day, we are still the only true church of Jesus Christ on the earth today." Yep.
Elder Christensen was great of course, but the thing that stuck out to me the very most was Sister Peterson's testimony. She talked about remembering. She said, "Remembering is the key. We must never forget our missions." This really struck me and since most of the mission was there, I got to talk to all of my past companions and housemates and hear about my old areas and kind of relive my mission. As I reminisced, a scripture I had read earlier that week came to mind, Alma 5:14.
A change of heart. As I remembered the way I felt my first few months in the Philippines; about the people, about the work, about my Savior, about everything, I was amazed to see that change in me. It was a seemingly gradual change, so gradual that I didn't even notice it. But my mission has changed me. My perspective has become eternal. My relationship with my Savior has gone from nearly nothing to one of my most cherished relationships. I never want to forget my mission and the things that I've learned here. I NEED to remember.
I am so thankful to be here serving in PSPM and I know that our Savior, Jesus Christ, knows and loves each and every one of these people. And the one He knows a nd loves you. Don't forget it.
Love you all to pieces!