Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week 45 - 12/3/2013

Yay!!!! I'm finally in my real area and with my real companion and back to work! It's sooooo great. I'm in Dumaguete on Negros island aka I have lived on 6 islands in the Philippines! Do you know how many people can say that? But literally when it comes to areas/companions I'm the pinakablessed (most). Sister Mendoza is pinay and loves to cook and we're going home at the same time! July! And she's been training for basically her entire mission so she's so happy to have an experienced companion and I am too! She's just the sweetest. And my area just happens to be the area that everyone comes to for all zone activities not to mention being known as the best zone in the mission. That's exactly how Catarman and Biliran were and everyone always comes to me! I'm the luckiest. But this week was CRAZY as far as experiences with investigators and members. Some were so incredibly amazing, like the best of my mission! and some were the craziest of crazy and the saddest of sad. They weren't joking when they said the emotions of a mission are like your entire life wrapped into one! I'll start with the sad so I can end on a happy note.

On Sunday, the relief society president told us about a member who was 74 and becoming weaker and weaker by the day so we decided to visit her on Monday and when we did, it was probably the saddest thing I've ever seen. We came to her door and asked her daughter-in-law (whose family lives with her) where she was and she said she was upstairs and couldn't come down any more so we went up to meet her. We climbed up the ladder and saw the saddest thing ever. I tiny, frail, sick old woman lying on a dirty piece of cardboard surrounded by filth. Tons of dirty bowls, plates and cups full of uneaten food in this tiny little, hot room. She didn't have enough strength to sit up by herself and here she was suffering alone while her grand kids and daughter-in-law just sat downstairs watching tv pretending like nothing was happening. So of course we cleaned up, washed all the dishes in the bomba (water pump) next door, helped her move while we got a clean sheet and made a bed then made a little pillow by wrapping some folded clothes in a sheet. We fanned her and just talked to her but she was so weak she could hardly speak. She was nothing but a skeleton just so frail. She said, "Life is so bitter. I asked my son to get me some food last night but he said it was too late. Then she asked him to heat up some water for her and he got angry." It was heartbreaking! So we just tried to comfort her and love her so we fanned her and sang her some of her favorite hymns. We tried to get her to eat but she didn't want to back she just threw up everything. We offered her tons of food and finally got her to agree to eat a vanilla wafer. But when my companion was getting it from the bag brought by the relief society, we thought, "how is she going to eat this? She only has one little tooth!" but she did, oh so very slowly but only got through half of it with a little bit of water. But it wasn't long before she was throwing it back up. She actually didn't even have the strength to do that! She just spit it up, little by little. The whole time we were so afraid that she was going to die at any second. She asked for some warm water and some more food and she was able to eat it a little better and keep it down and was able to start falling asleep by the time we needed to leave. We finally got a hold of the Relief Society president to get some help, the next day she was taken to the hospital and just last night she texted us that she had died. I didn't even know her at all but everyone talks about her as being such a valiant faithful member who would always walk so far to come to church every week and never made any excuses. But I'm just happy her suffering is over and it just broke my heart that anyone could treat their mother, or grandmother in that way. 

And on a good note, we have the best investigator of all time!!!!! His name is Daniel (25+) and he's white and from Wisconsin. He was a good guy but while he was over here for work, he got heavily involved in drugs and drinking and basically everything terrible and he was sick of it. He was the lowest of low when some sisters who lived next door to him in Bacalod mission (where he was living at the time) talked to him, gave him a book of mormon, taught him a few discussions and took him to church. He was loving it so much and just eating it all up when he moved here to Dumaguete and found the church here and continued to go. Elder and Sister Anderson (a senior couple here) saw him at church and found out he was in our area! They took him out to lunch and basically have become his parents and support through everything. We met him on Saturday when he was waiting for them to come to go to the lunch and the moment I met him I knew he was soooo awesome and so ready. He already told us what he's been reading- the book about Lorenzo Snow and he's in Jacob in the Book of Mormon and that it's changing his life and he doesn't ever want to stop. So we set up a lesson with him after church in the Relief Society room with Elder and Sister Anderson and kid you not, it was the best lesson in the whole wide world. Literally should've been featured on the District (a training video for missionaries.) cause it was so perfect! This was the second day of our companionship, we were teaching in english -which is usually pretty hard cause we're not used to it at all- and we have zero plan for him. They told us about it just right before it happened. But he is such an honest seeker and the spirit was so strong that we never had a moment that we didn't know what to say. We had a real, honest, deep discussion about the atonement and all of us contributed and were uplifted and it was just the best! I'm so excited to see his progress! He's already crazy progressing but he still feels really guilty about his past and has a lot to overcome but I'm excited to see the gospel and the atonement change his life. Some crazy stuff. 

All in all, I love Cebu mission, I love my district which is HUGE! But there are 4 sisters from Tacloban so it's a good transition because I still get to see some familiar faces. I love my area, my branch... missions are just the best. So many opportunities to grow and change and meet new people and just love everyone! Also, it's been AMAZING to see the outpouring of love of the members here in Cebu mission for those suffering in Tacloban. Our branch went over there with a bunch of people to deliver supplies to some of the bukid areas that no one knows about and they're planning another one next week and they said they're going to Biliran!!!! That made me super happy. Every time I see it, it basically makes me start to cry, but in a good way I guess. I just feel so blessed. And word on the street is that President Andaya is back in our mission- set up in Maasin, southern leyte and they will be bringing back Catbalogan, Catarman (northern samar), and Maasin zones soon so that's exciting!!! And they are mostly going to be bringing the missionaries back to the areas they left with some exceptions that the missionaries went home. So who knows when I get to go back. I love it here, but I would love to go back. Whatever happens is what needs too. I have such a strong testimony of that. I love you all, thanks for all your support and love!

Love, Sister Pike 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Mary,
    My name is Sam Boyd, and I am a writer for the Hawk Eye newspaper at Hebron High School. We recently heard about your experience in the Philippines during Typhoon Haiyan, and we were wondering if we could cover it for our online newspaper.

    If you are interested please let me or my fellow staff writer Shivani Bhatnagar know. You can contact me at sboyd.hawkeyepaper@gmail.com or Shivani at sbhatnagar.hawkeyepaper@gmail.com.

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Thank you for your time,
    Sam Boyd