13 Months Down...Only 5 More to Go!

Here's my Christmas tree and presents. ;D
12-5-16 (Monday)
Today was a good enjoyable p-day for me. I have no idea why, but I was just happy all day. Yay! (: I’d say the only noteworthy thought I have today are about this trike driver I OYMd. After I found out he’s Iglesia ni Cristo I asked him what his beliefs are about Jesus Christ. It was a genuine question too. I’ve heard all kinds of things about Iglesias and I wanted to know what was true. He told me they believe that Christ is the son of God, but a normal person with no sins. And man.. That just hurt my soul. This man was a very friendly guy that truly believes he has found the truth and I instantly grew to love him. But that truly hurt my heart to know people don’t believe that Christ is also a God. I guess that just made me realize how much I truly love Jesus Christ. I know he is a God. He is my Savior and Redeemer. And I am nothing without Him. 

Mom and dad also got my package. (: They said they were 100% surprised and boy did that make me happy! :D SUCCESS! I just love surprises. (: Maybe I should go open my package now.. AHH! Okay.. Be right back! ;D 

They sent me a snow globe! Who successfully sends a snow globe halfway around the world!? ;D But boy is it sure pretty. (: AND Taco Bell queso sauce and corn chips! I might cry. I am SOOO excited to eat that.. Freeeak! :D And then a shirt and skirt from Santa. (: I honestly love them. The skirt is a perfect missionary skirt and the shirt is a super pretty color. Gosh, thank you so much mom and dad. (: It honestly means the world to me and I couldn’t stop smiling. But deep inside I couldn’t help but think.. “oh no, you should’ve saved your money.” I’m not sure if that’s because I’ve finally grown up or if it’s the culture shock I still live with. (; We’ll see when I go home. (;

12-6-16 (Tuesday)
Today Sister Reyes was sick so I ended up staying home with her after lunch while Sister Buna Cruz and Sister Alversado worked in both areas. Needless to say I was pretty lonely all day. Sister Reyes literally slept ALL day so I just hung out with myself all day. It was  fine, I mean boring but fine. (; I did some laundry, washed the dishes, cooked some awful experiment of mac ‘n cheese, prayed for hope and comfort, and watched lots of Mormon Messages. 

12-7-16 (Wednesday)
God truly loves me. Just wow. We met this lady today during our big zone Christmas initiative OYMing in Bayan that was taught by the missionaries before and straight up told us she wants to be baptized. “Uhh.. yes.. Thank you!” There can be miracles.. when you believe!” Dang! She was awesome! She was like.. “Can you come visit me tomorrow at 3:00?” Uhh.. not only yes, but heck yes! ;D Then she stayed the next hour watching all the Christmas videos/songs we were showing in the plaza. (: Long story short.. I KNOW God loves me. (:

12-8-16 (Thursday)
Today truly was awesome. Honestly.. The blessings and miracles are numberless. (: First! We left the house on time. So we started the day right. (: But the first thing we did today was look for Sister B, the lady we met yesterday. So as we walked around trying to find her we obviously OYMd people while asking for directions. We were able to meet and teach lots of people. But my favorite was the C couple. Brother C is actually a Methodist pastor so it was a nice change being able to explain the restoration in a more specific way. But man were they awesome! They sincerely listened to what we were teaching and he even told us we answered his question of why there’s lots of religions, better than any of “his people” [could explain].  He even told us he likes that we have Sacrament every week. I guess they only do it once a month and said he wished they did it every week, too. Hmm.. I think he secretly knows he’s missing something. (; 

But anyway my favorite part was the beginning when we sang our “opening hymn”. I asked them what some of their famous hymns are thinking maybe we sing some of them too. So the first three they said were Amazing Grace, Sweet Hour of Prayer, and How Great Thou Art. So Sweet! I was like let’s sing Sweet Hour of Prayer, then Brother was like “hey! Go grab my guitar.” So as we were talking some more he was just messing around with his guitar and was playing How Great Thou Art so I was like, well I want to sing that now. So. We did. Haha (; but let me tell you.. I felt the Spirit of God so strongly! Like.. I literally felt the love of God. It was just such a sweet beautiful experience for me to realize the four of us were 100% united through this beautiful song. There were no feelings of differences. It was as if we were all the same race, family, and religion. It was just an awesome experience for me. 

And then we were able to find Sister B and her daughter, A, who are just THE BEST! I’ve never met such accepting people before. They are so open to find the truth. Luckily for them they just did. (;
This was during our big OYM Christmas initiative. 

12-9-16 (Friday)
Today was a happy day. (: But the experience of the day that stood out the most was when I was talking to this Jehovah’s Witness from the UK. Whenever I see a white person I always go talk to them 1. Because I am a million times more confident talking to strangers in English and 2. Usually they’re just as excited as I am to talk to an actual English speaker. (;

But anyway.. He was nice and pretty friendly, but you could tell he was pretty hard headed and a bit prideful. When I first went to talk to him he read my name tag and right away told me he’s a Jehovah’s Witness. Uhh.. Cool. But what’s your name buddy? (; But as we were talking he told me he actually investigated our church for a while but things just didn’t add up for him. But the doors of heaven were opened when he found Jehovah’s Witness. Uhh.. okay.. Then he went off about Jehovah.. And he asked me if we believe in Jehovah. And I knew enough about their religion to answer yes, but that we believe Jehovah is Jesus Christ. Then he talked about how when Christ was in the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed to Jehovah. Then asked “so what.. was he praying to Himself?” I obviously said no, then he asks “Then what is God’s name?” in a smart alec type voice. And I honestly don’t know how I resolved that situation in a way we were able to walk away friends, but I couldn’t help but be reminded of when Christ was betrayed and brought to the High Priest. The High Priest Caiaphas (or something like that) essentially asks Christ what is the truth and Christ doesn’t really answer him. Because the High Priest didn’t really care to know the truth. So in my situation with that man, I didn’t want to tell him the truth because I knew he wouldn’t truly listen. So I just expressed I’m glad he listened to our message at one point in his life, and that I’m proud of him for trying to find the truth. I don’t know.. it was just an experience that really made me ponder. I guess I really am trying to be like Jesus. I’m following in HIS ways.. of teaching. (; Haha, but for real. I hope I handled that situation well. I think I did though because I opened my mouth to let this man know I, a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, testified of Christ, and left with a new friend even though I didn’t answer all of his questions.

12-10-16 (Saturday)
I don't know their names.. 
They're all from a different Branch. 
Today I just came home so happy. I just had a great time during our few lessons today. But the cherry on top of this wonderful day was witnessing the baptism of Nanay J, J2, and J3. (:

Of course the baptism started two hours late because not all priesthood leaders understand the importance and sacredness of baptism, but that’s okay. (; It was still a great thing to see 3 of my friends acting on their faith. (: Hopefully I’ll still be able to baptize a whole family, but if not.. I’m happy I was able to baptize  of a family. (;
Sister Buna Cruz, Josie, 
Justin, Juliana, Tatay Soltez

Anyway.. Sister Buna Cruz made me sing for the baptism.. Again. That’s 4 out of 5 baptismal services I had to sing at.. uhh.. when did my voice start sounding good? Why does everyone want me to sing? Haa! My mom’s going to be so proud of me. ;D So Alice, Vivian, and I all sang “Come Thou Fount” and I think we ended up doing pretty good. Especially for only practicing like 10 minutes right before. (; 

But on another note.. We were able to teach the whole M family together tonight! It wasn't the most spiritual lesson because they like to tease each other, but I'm totally fine with that. We’re one step closer to helping this family enter the temple. (; 

12-11-16 (Sunday)
13 Months down.. only 5 more to go.. Honestly.. I don’t know how I feel about that. I really don’t want to leave the Philippines. If I could stay here after my mission for a month or so, before I go home, I totally would. I want to be able to go do all the fun things I can’t do as a missionary with all my new friends. (:

But anyway.. J, J2, J3, AND R were all confirmed and given the gift of the Holy Ghost today. What an experience that was. There’s nothing better than seeing the fruit of your labor with such happy smiles. (: AND! J2 already has the Aaronic priesthood and will help pass the Sacrament next week! Man.. my heart is just so happy right now. I truly feel like I actually am a pretty good missionary. Hopefully this will help me stay confident enough to effectively find new investigators because we’ve now baptized most of our progressing investigators. (; But! Tatay A, Nanay B, AND A2 all came to church today! I’m honestly so happy about that. Especially because 2 of the 3 people I fasted for today was A and A2. Hmm.. Does prayer and fasting actually work? (:

How do you say Merry Christmas in Tagalog? Maligayang pasko! (: 

What are you doing with #LIGHTtheWORLD? We're using the pass along cards and the 25 Ways in 25 Days thing, but more simplified. We also carry around a portable DVD player sometimes and watch some of the videos for lessons. 

What are the Filipinos doing to get ready for Christmas? Nothing really.. I'm pretty sure Christmas here is mostly just a dinner with pasta instead of rice with their family. 

What does your mission have planned for Christmas? We actually have a Christmas party/conference tomorrow in Dagupan with half the mission. I'm pretty excited because I finally get to ride on a bus again. (; You know that's my favorite. (;