Well folks...no one said it was going to be easy did they. Haha I am finally here in the Philippines and I can't even put into words my feelings. It is so incredibly beautiful here and the people are as warm as the weather! I love it. My companion is Sister Manzon she is Native and has one month left on her mission and she gets to spend it with me poor thing :) So I've been assigned to the Bago area in the city of Valladolid its right on the coast and gorgeous! I can't wait to show you pictures. Funnily enough they just opened this area to sisters and I am the FIRST American sister to serve here....yup. You should see the reactions when they see me its priceless. Our first day Pres told us to start learning Ilongo because that's what they speak here...are ya kidding me? I just spent 2 months stressin and slavin over TAGALOG! HELP BRO LESLIE! I know you said to continue with Tagalog but Pres. said to learn Ilongo and my comp only speaks Ilongo to me...Its getting interesting to say the least ;) I feel so helpless at this time because I cant speak this language and I don't understand it when they speak but the lord is helping me and I pray literally every minute for strength and comfort. There is one thing I can do and that's attract people! HA every where we go there is at least 6 or 7 people following us just to see what we're doing and where we're going. This makes my comp very happy because it gives us a lot of teaching opportunities!
The people here are so kind and generous there is no where I would rather be, even though it is like 300 degrees and I have no idea how to communicate! On Saturday we did a service project outside and cleaned all around the church. We were picking weeds planting flowers and all that stuff for 4 hours. The chapel here is so beautiful. The Bishop is wonderful he asked me to speak in church when we were cleaning and I almost passed out...( pun absolutely intended) haha You talk about your tender mercy he asked me to speak to the congregation about FAITH. I gave my talk almost entirely in Tagalog and then a little in English with an Ilongo word in there every once in awhile. To a linguist ear it was probably a train wreck but the feeling in that little chapel is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. I may not be able to speak Ilongo and I may not have a clue what I'm doing yet but I know that the Lord will use me as a tool. After the service this tiny old lady came over to me and said in very broken English "we see your heart" and just walked away. I just sat down and cried. That's all I wanted, I know the Lord is guiding me in all that I do and I know that these wonderful people have been prepared and they will be taught by the spirit not by me. The opening hymn we sang in church was Hymn 85 (How Firm a Foundation) Bro Leslie, I knew I'd be ok ;)
We talk to everyone we see we have a lot of progressing investigators and it's exciting to see there desire and the beautiful families that are coming to Christ. My trainer is great she is such a hard worker and she really helps me try to understand and encourages me to teach all the time. I testify everywhere I go in Tagalog I love it! I taught a family how to pray yesterday in Tagalog and about the Plan of Salvation I love this work every house we go to is like another shot of energy and excitement about my purpose here. I'm so grateful for everything the Lord is allowing me to experience. I love you all so very much and I hope that all is going well. Alexa, Bailey I think about you often you would love the Bishops daughter she is your age I can't wait for you to meet her one day. How is the family? Dad how are your travels? OH i almost forgot the first night we got here guess who was at the mission home?!..Greg and Brooke Whimpey! haha random! it was good seeing a friendly face in a not so familiar place. I'm doing wonderful and my health is great mom so no worries. Bro Leslie Salamat po para sa sulat. Just what I needed. Again I love you all so much and I can't wait to hear from you. Mom keep visiting those temples because I'm gettin right back in the game when I get back and hopefully then I'll Cebu over you ;)