Words cannot describe how incredibly grateful I am for this past week. It was the best! Everyday I just find another reason to be sooooo grateful and I am just so happy! This week was AWESOME because I actually got to work and teach! WHOOHOOO!!!! A full day. My first full day in 56 days... that's crazy. And we rode a motorcycle and discovered this little barangay (community thing?) that was absolutely beautiful! Right along the beach, so picturesque. We discovered missionaries haven't been there in a very very long time so lots of potentials. We even found someone with a TEXAS license plate on their gate! Who knows, we might come back and teach them. Then we taught a lesson to a lady at the back of her house, aka the beach. It was overcast and the sound of the waves, smell of the sea, and preaching the gospel in cebuano, does it get any better than that? Don't think so! Since we've been traveling a lot this week I have a new hobby of taking random pictures of scenery as we pass- especially from the motorcycles and I've caught some pretty priceless stuff. And then we went to this other far away place and hiked through the mud of the bukid(jungle) and went to the house of our investigator right on the beach. It had just rained and it was on a hill so it was pretty slippery! It's a blessing we made it unscathed but the nay that lived there came in just covered in mud cause she slipped. And their front porch area is just right on the shore. Can you imagine? I got plenty of pictures. We actually didn't get to teach very much this week with the various activities that need to be done as a missionary but that one day was so good. One day, we helped with a family history activity which was so cool! Didn't expect I would be doing that! The district (like the stake) planned the activities and set up 4 computers in the meetinghouse and we just helped people figure out familysearch.org which is the coolest thing ever by the way! The new website? So great! And everyone we helped were SO grateful, it was just a really cool experience and really helped me remember the importance of family history and temple work. It's harder here because there aren't too many records so it basically includes asking your grandma who she remembers, but the work is making great progress here mostly because it started with nothing not that long ago so they still have a long way to go!
Friday was apartment cleaning day. We thought for sure it wouldn't take all day, but it did! But it was so fun! Cleaning, fun? I sound like mom, huh? haha we waxed the floor (it's cement) and it's like a whole new apartment! And then we had one awesome lesson that night about the temple. The spirit was so strong and we didn't have much time to prepare that day, but a few days before, we had planned to teach that lesson so we did a role play and it made a huge difference! It's official, the temple is for sure my favorite lesson ever to teach because no matter who you are, what your circumstance, you want to go to the temple because it really is the greatest place on earth.
Saturday we went to Tacloban! And that just takes the whole day. But it was so good because my eye is 1,000,000X better! yay! The infection is gone and I'm continuing eye drops for a few more weeks to help it continue. Every time I see President Andaya, he says- No more contact lenses, ha? haha sempre! (of course!)
And Sunday was the most adventurous day of all and just the funniest. It was district conference in Biliran which is like 40 minutes away. It's hard enough for people to get to church, how are they going to travel all that way? Luckily, Pres. Ang (our Branch president) is just the greatest and we all met at the church and he pulled up in his truck he uses to hall all the pigs for his slaughterhouse and we put a bunch of chairs in and piled on the back. Sister Estes told me how she once described the van rides here in the Philippines as a roller coaster and as we were sitting on the back of that truck, there has never been a more accurate analogy. We were just flying and the roads are already crazy curvy anyway! and the scenery is just gorgeous... it was just the best! So much fun and it definitely helped our branch feel more united I think! we fit 35 of us in there! Only in the philippines and even for here, it doesn't happen super often. Seeing the looks of everyone's faces from their houses on the side of the road were just priceless. Imagine seeing a truck with 35 people in their sunday best sitting in the back of a truck flying down the highway! And then we got to listen to a bunch of awesome speakers. The saddest were to hear Elder and Sister Judd- a senior couple who are going home next week! They basically said a farewell and even sang a cute little song. I teared up just thinking about when I'll be going home. And then I learned that another sister that had a sickness similar to mine, except wayyy more extreme just went home early- it's so sad! especially cause we just talked about how much we just wanted to get back to work...I am just sooo soo soo grateful that I'm still here and doing so much better! I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers and even if I had gone home, I would still know that. I have learned sooo much all my trials and sicknesses and I'm just so happy to be here. In case you didn't know, I love the Philippines so much, two of my favorite quotes from yesterday were, " I think I was a Filipino in heaven." and "One thing I have learned in the Philippines is...'There's always room for one more" haha so true. And then Sister Estes said on the way here, "I think this is the funniest place in the world." And that's so true too! I just love everything about it! I hope I can accurately capture it all for you! Not only do I love it here, but I love the Lord and love this work. Just thinking of how much I have been helped while I've been here- with sickness, language, everything!- There is no doubt in my mind that it's true! And the holy ghost is so real and so present in everything that we do. Thank you all so much for everything! Now a quote from Pres. Hinckley's talk- "It's true isn't it? Then nothing else matters."