Sunday, June 1, 2008

May 26th email

I would say seems slow in the sense that I can't think of any work (being busy) that we did particularly to report on but I think it's because the week happened so fast it feels like it's still last Monday and I can't think of anything particular to report. The relief society lesson on Sunday was about that same talk, except I didn't understand most of what they talked about, sigh :)

I remember something about that whole story, but sometimes I get all the different people from your different stories mixed together so you end up with one person who hit the girl, ran away, stabbed the car chair, ruined the business, never paid you back, had a heart attack, struggled with drugs, decided he was homosexual on and on and I think they're probably mostly all different people. Sister Mabalot and I have been talking about anger a lot lately also, but more like tempers etc. being hot headed or "init and ulo!" haha or matigas and ulo. I understand her a lot better after she expresses the changes the gospel brought to her life in the last four or so years since becoming a member. She said her family would call her the princess always ordering people around and they tell her now that they miss her loud voice yelling for things through the house :) haha... it makes her laugh and she said that her mission has been good for her because it taught her that she can be a nice person! Amazing :) It's funny how it's just the same for me. I was always very good at getting my way, very good at being angry and holding resentments etc. hard headed and even if I was right about a situation the right way to go about it would not be to be angry when others didn't agree or do thing my way. I definitely have/or had a very prideful disposition and that made it hard to change even when I wanted to. It's easy to continue being how you are even if you know it makes you unhappy and isn't who you should be when everyone seems to expect it of you and I didn't like attention it brought if I changed because in my mind it almost didn't count to be nice if you were acknowledged for it, so I just wallowed in my bad attitudes while everyone around me expected it to be that way. It got a lot easier for me once I moved away and could start over in a sense but even my roommates the very first year I lived completely alone in our apartment acknowledged a change between my first year living with them and my second. That second year of college was full of big changes and growing up. I was overwhelmed and unhappy with the lack of progress I felt in my life spiritually and even mentally... I was in a rut that required some big sacrifices, sacrificing my pride mostly and realizing like Sister Mabalot that I could be a nice person. Carin even said to me one morning the second year we lived together "Brit, you really have changed, you always smile at me in the morning now." Mornings may still not always be my favorite, I may have to force myself to smile but I woke up every morning and the first thing I thought was that I was grateful for another day to progress and become more like Christ and I would kneel down and tell my Heavenly Father that. My morning prayers became more focused rather than sleepy and hurried and the rest of the day was better for it. It's not just imagined that as our lives become more Christ focused they become better, happier, we change and sometimes that change is hard and scary even though we know it's what's best for us and it makes us an others happier. It's even funny to me that I still considered myself a very hot headed, quick tempered, somewhat mean person. I said something to one of my male friends who had met me well after a lot of my changes about how I kind of had a temper and he looked at me incredulously... just that look made me realize that I had changed it wasn't just that he had only seen my good side...he'd seen me in many situations etc. and I knew he knew me very well...the new me that I didn't even know yet because I was still figuring out who she was and holding on to who I had always been told I was before by Satan, by friends who had seen me that way, by family who expresses frustration at a difficult teenager and that that is 'just how they are', but it's not how we have to be ever. Oh, that doesn't mean I don't still lose my temper or get frustrated, but I feel like my spirit that wants to be good and patient and kind even in pain and frustration has far more control over my natural tendencies now and it's a beautiful and relieving feeling. I only hope it will continue to be better through the future challenges I will face in life. I like the confidence to know I can choose to do whatever I can to enjoy the company of anyone, any companion or roommate and even have a good relationship with them. Just after Sis. Mabalot and I had this discussion one of our investigators who has taken all of our commitments very seriously and is reading straight through the Book of Mormon, every day and whose prayers are really becoming more sincere and he now attends Church every week "nourished by the good word of God" basically and has given up word of wisdom problems etc. well in only the short month or so of doing this he told us he noticed that it's easier to not be angry, his desire to fight with those that hurt him has gone away. He has more patience and sees situations differently and he was thanking us for bringing that to him. We told him that when you fortify yourself with the gospel you become more like Christ and thus become like he is beginning to. All the things he is doing, following the commandments, reading the Book of Mormon which is all about Christ, attending Church where we share testimony and teachings about Christ etc can't help but change you if you open your heart to it and let it take over your life. It's too bad that so many hard headed people can't open their hearts to it. We can even go through the motions of it all like I did for a lot of my life, with moments of progression etc. and basically doing all I should having learned it since I was a child but until you really give yourself up to it you can't be truly happy and truly have control, the freedom to choose eternal life rather than eternal damnation. So, a really sad moment for me... but kind of happy in a way was when we were teaching in Sinisian, Br. Boyette's family. All of the children ages 9-17 go to Church every week and most of them have been baptized now so we're teaching new member lessons and preparing a couple for baptism still. Raymond who is 12 right now is next. Well, Minandro who was most recently baptized and is soon to be 10 is the one who asked the question. We had taught them, then they asked me to teach them how to make paper balloons so I did quickly and then they all practiced sharing their testimonies to all of us for next Sunday in Sacrament meeting. After our prayer Br. Boyette was talking to Sis. Mabalot about transfer date and when we could potentially be leaving. They are thinking of bringing Elders back into our area so we might both leave when we are transferred so that more Priesthood can be here...Minandro caught onto the conversation they were having and that we would be leaving, an idea that I think hadn't crossed his mind... he probably thought we would keep coming every Saturday, Wednesday and being there at Church on Sunday. He looked at me and asked, in Tagalog of course, "...but if you're not here who will teach us?" The part that is sad is... I don't know for sure! The missionaries can't keep coming as frequently as we do now... although hopefully they will continue to visit with them since they are such a large family of new members but who knows what the future missionaries will do that is out of my control. BenWoodgie (17) older cousin of MonSmith (9) who was recently baptized was excited to tell us that the other day Monsmith reminded him that they needed to pray before they ate because that's what the Sisters had taught! That's so great and Woodgie having not been very active before we started teaching them all is active again now and excited to have learned something from his young cousin that helped strengthen his testimony about prayer. I want to take all the children in the world and take care of them. Right now we have at least four little boys who want to serve missions and are excited about it but without strong examples I wonder what the next couple of difficult years will bring them when they are teenagers and faced with money issues, the hardships of life especially the life of the poor here in the Philippines... when the careless life of a child goes away will the teachings we gave them be something they can turn to even without anyone else continuing daily in their homes? It's good they have the habit to go to Church. Monsmith -- well he's my favorite I think even though he's kind of naughty and likes to throw the big bugs at me because I'm afraid of them -- the other day when it started to rain he ran outside where his nice clothes were hanging up and grabbed them saying "oh no my clothes" because they needed to stay nice for Sunday the next day. Okay so we've got them all wanting to serve missions and I want them to continue to want to and do what they need to do it but I know Satan will thwart it and we can't seem to get their families to help them and I can't stay here forever! Errgggg... anywayI will pray for them for the rest of my life I think, my prayers are awfully long just of people now to give them strength to overcome addictions (a major problem here) give them faith to come to Church instead of go to work, give them a desire to pray, give them the spirit to know the truth of what we teach help them understand the importance of preparing for temple marriage give them strength in pains of sickness and disease in the face of death ahhhhhhh on and on. If Leonard was taller I would pray fervently that he serves a mission stateside, learns English and would then marry Savanna...haha! He's just so great and sobraaaaa Magaling siya! Very talented. We gave him his baptism pictures and the next time we came back he showed us his little notebook where he has all of these drawings and then he had a couple pages of scrapbook he'd created with our pictures and little captions and drawings etc. all around them, it was really good. He also sang for us a song he'd looked up on the Internet. He's been searching for LDS religious music but most of it is in English so he wanted me to tell him what some of it meant. It was a song about the "Potters Hands" and uses the clay to let God mold us was the gist of it. He has a good voice, loves music, plays the guitar and piano and is excited to use all of his talents to help the Church -- what more could you ask for? Anyway -- Leonard's family is very poor and they work very hard. He also cleans their clothes in the river etc. and takes care of his sisters baby while she has to go to work. We love visiting with Marie and her baby and Leonard and his other sisters baby. The babies are so adorable. Right around when I'm going home Leonard will be old enough to go on a mission and Sis. Mabalot and I both want to make sure he gets to. Even help him in some way if we can. Sometimes I wonder about my faith a bit though, it's rather weak and that makes it hard to learn the language, it's coming so slow when I just want it to be easier. I feel sometimes like I would have been a better missionary and better able to offer my talents if I was sent English speaking, I feel so inhibited here-- and I have a hard time with our investigators. It's hard for me to really let myself be excited about them because the retention rate is so low here, so many people have gone inactive and I'm almost set up to expect it and don't want to deal with that disappointment after seeing the great progression in lives like Leonard's and the other children I was talking about earlier. Well, I'll press along like always, though, and try to learn from everything and do what it is I was meant to do. Maybe it's time for me to learn that I have different talents to develop that the people here need and to develop my faith mostly to learn the language like I wouldn't have had to if I was speaking English. I'm afraid of failure though, I can't envision the day where I can do it and I see myself being so sad and disappointing everyone by never having reached my potential for helping and speaking and teaching but I fight that also because fear is against faith. Fear has always been a big theme for me in my life. I've always loved all the scriptures about not being afraid and trusting God and I've seen in small ways how I've done that better all through my life and become less afraid of things that used to cause me great anxiety and waste my time with worry. Well, progression always isn't that nice? As for the package -- Wala Pa. Hmmm...some things are so much easier to say or come more naturally so say in Tagalog :) I may not be fluent by any means but it's true that some things just become natural and it's strange to try to say it in English now... Wala Pa basically means, none still? Haha, that sounds so strange in English though you just wouldn't say it that way I guess I would say, I still haven't received a package. Zone Conference is Jun 3 I think so maybe then if it has arrived, that's when I get mail :) I got letters last Wednesday though because President came to our District meeting, two from mom I think and Maddie and then one from Amanda, one from Andrea who is totally excited about her wedding and... that was all I think. Well, my time is up now. I love you all and hope you are making good choices :) teehee. I pray for you every day "Pakibasbasan po ang Pamilya Ko, lalong-lalona habang malayo mula sa kanila."