Wednesday, January 15, 2014

12/09/13 Trials

Mga kaibegan at pamilya ko! 

So this week wasn't the greatest, but it wasn't the worst either! We had MLC in Legazpi at the beginning of the week so we had to travel to the mainland and back and then I got sick, so I was just super exhausted this week and wishing I felt better. Pero, okay lang because there were for sure good things in the week too! It is hard to be away from home at Christmas time and sorta hard to feel the Christmas spirit on a hot island with no snow, but I did for the first time this week! First when we were sitting and eating dinner in Legazpi and "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was playing (my favorite Christmas song). Then, at the mission office it was all decorated, and then the Elders after MLC were singing Christmas hymns. I'm trying to feel the Christmas spirit! Maybe when I get to make that phone call home on Christmas day! I can hardly wait!! 

At MLC President Guanzon shared the scripture Ether 12:27. This as always been one of my favorite scriptures, but the things he said about it gave me a new perspective about it. It says that as we come unto Him, or as we draw closer to God he will show us our weaknesses. So as we become closer to out Heavenly Father we will have more trials and challenges because he will show us our weaknesses. Because he wants us to be stronger and more humble. So trails are a blessing. This is something I have been thinking a lot about this week. Trying to take trails in a positive way and use them to make myself more humble and align my will with God's will for me. 
We didn't get to teach as much this week since we had to travel, but we still saw many miracles! Marilyn our investigator has been reading the Book of Mormon morning and night! She knows it is true and when we invited her to be baptized she said "siyempre," which means "of course."  I also celebrated my 6 month mark this week! Which is a miracle, I never thought the day would come! It has been creepily fast, but at the same time I feel like I have been in the Philippines for a lifetime. I am thankful for the gift of tongues though. My only goal was to feel confident with the language by the time I reached 6 months and through a lot of prayer and study and headaches I finally feel confident with the language and not scared to open my mouth anymore. 

Our branch really struggles here in Masbate. The past two weeks have been a little bit of a disaster. Missionaries along with our 25 year old branch president basically do everything. We had a meeting last night with all the missionaries in our branch to try and come up with a plan to help out the branch. It needs a lot of help, and it for sure makes me thankful for my ward at home! I was frustrated with it and with the leaders, but then I was thinking about how these members are really pioneers for the church here and it is amazing that they have 4 branches here on this island! So even though it struggles, I am just thankful that the work is moving forward! 

This week me and my companion had a sad experience at Jolley Bee. Who would have thought? But we are sitting there eating our food and looking out the window and watching all these little kids begging for money. It was so sad. There are basically wearing rags and have dirt all over them. It was breaking my heart. Then later in the week we found out that they are orphans work for this man that send them out to beg for money and then they bring the money back to him. It broke my heart. They have no home, no family, and yet they were happy. They were all out front of Jolley Bee playing with each other and laughing. I just knew that no matter how hard they had it, God loves them and knows their potential. It just made me thankful for everything I have. I really can't complain. 

To end on a funny note, me and my companion are walking along and we see this lady sitting in her doorway reading the pamphlet we had given to her...and a big cigarette is hanging out of her mouth. It was so ironic and we were dying laughing. I will always regret not taking a picture. I tried, but then she saw us so I never got it. Oh the things you see in the Philippines. Gotta love it! 

I love you all and miss you! Enjoy the Christmas season! Especially the snow and lights! 

-Sister Gardner

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