Wow where to start... This week was definitely both the most challenging and exciting week of my mission! It was so great. First of all I would like to thank you all for your emails. I am overwhelmed with joy to here how well you are doing and am so grateful for all the scriptures and quotes. They have strengthened me, you strengthen me. :) I love you all so much!
So on Wednesday we left the MTC early in the morning and traveled about 3 hours to Tarlac where the mission home is located. We did some training, met the Mission Pres and his wife and ate at the home. Then we went to the APs apartment to sleep. This is when I got a first glimpse missionary living conditions here... Well, lets just say it was kind of a surprise. :) Its not that bad its just really humble and pretty simple. The next day we met our new companions and were assigned to our areas. Me and my trainer were assigned to Cabiao, about three hours east of Tarlac. Cabiao is a small city that has some agricultural ties. It is pretty here, and the members are so amazing!! The first night we went to a recent convert home, The Navaro family. They are my favorite family so far. My companion asked me to give a spiritual thought and so I did my best, but they new a little English so it wasn't too bad. Sister Navaro fed us and it was pretty good. Sunday the bishop asked me to bear my testimony. It was so scary, but I trusted in the promise God has given us, that he will give us in the very moment what we should say. I bore my testimony- that I wouldn't be here today in the Philippines if I didn't know that the church was true. It was really powerful and you could feel the spirit. The Members are so genuine and humble. I early complained about my apartment, but after seeing their houses and their living conditions, I was humbled and prayed for forgiveness for my ungratefulness.
Sometimes when I get a little homesick or think of the uncomfortable parts of mission life, I remember my calling and remember how great a reason for me to rejoice that I have his opportunity to be the lord's servant. When I am on a trike (motorcycle taxi) going to my next appointment with the wind in my face. I think how cool is it that I get to ride one of these each day! What other American gets to do that? I have learned that Happiness is a choice. And that we can choice to be happy or we can choose to be miserable. President Hinkley said: "You can be smart and happy or stupid and miserable it is your choice!" I know that is so true! I am choosing to find Joy in the Journey! To find joy in my struggle with the language and find joy in my growth. I know that when we do that we are trusting in God that he will take care of us and give us strength.
I love you all so much and am so grateful for your prayers! I love the gospel and know that this purpose of spreading the gospel is worth the sacrifice!
God be with you!