Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Midst















Well hello all.  If you didn't celebrate extra hard this week for the Fourth of July, you are all in so much trouble.  And that's all I have to say on the matter!
Wednesday:  I really loved the temple.  I am so lucky to have a temple in my mission, it's pretty dang rare.  And I get to go to it every other month if I am on Cebu Island.  I just really love the temple here.  And I swear, it is one of the most beautiful temples in the world.  There's something so incredibly special about it.  And of course because we were in the city, how could we not go to Macdos.  I'm obsessed.  We went and emailed and I swear I have the best family and friends in the entire world.  I have such a great support system.  I love all of the emails I get every week.  Even if they are just short, it means the world to me.  It's so cool to have a worldwide support system.  Every week I get emails from family and friends and missionaries from all over the world.  All over the Philippines, Australia, Brazil, Columbia, Italy, and everywhere in America.  It's really such a cool thing.  We got back to Carcar that night and went out to work.  As we were walking down the street I saw this woman just sitting on some stairs on the side of the road.  I decided to sit down and talk to her.  I remember Sister Passey telling me about the day she realized how cool it is to be able to just stop and talk to someone about Jesus Christ, and how we'll never be able to do it again.  It really is so dang cool.  So I just go and sit down and start talking to this nanay.  Her name is Pinning.  She invites us to come to her house later that week to talk to her more.  One thing Brady said to me last week in his email was to love it every single day.  Love the small details, love everything about it because before I know it, it'll be over and I won't be able to do any of this ever again.  I'm working really hard on just loving the small details.  Good and bad, because this is such a cool experience, and I'll never have it again, you know?  
Thursday we were able to have our Zone Training Meeting.  I really love my Zone.  They are so solid.  I ADORE the sisters in our Zone.  It's really cool because we just get to learn from each other all the time.  It's just one of those things where we are all here together learning and striving for the same things.  We just feed off of each other and I love learning from all these great missionaries.  We start every meeting by having one missionary bear their testimony of Jesus Christ.  It is always really powerful, and you can really tell a lot about a missionary from their testimony of Jesus Christ.  Sister Robertson was asked to bear her testimony on Thursday.  It was absolutely beautiful.  One thing she said that really stuck out to me was "This life is a journey.  Step by step.  And our savior is there the whole way.  Patiently and unfailingly extending his arms."  And then with tears in her eyes she ended her testimony by saying "I'm so grateful to be His missionary".  It was so beautiful.  And it really got me thinking so much about my Savior this week.  Our ZTM was on temples and the importance of temples.  They shared a quote that i really really loved.  It says "We must come to the temple for light and safety.  In our temples we find quiet, sacred havens where the storm cannot penetrate to us".  I really loved that.  And I felt that last week when I was able to be in the temple.  We all went to lunch after that and I laughed so hard with Sister Littell and Sister Robertson I thought I was going to fall off of my chair.  We were just all telling crazy mission stories and I was in bliss.  That night Sister Mahoney and I taught a lesson and in the closing prayer this old nanay prayed and thanked God for the gwapa (beautiful) Americans sitting in her house.  So that was nice haha.  And then that night I played a very dangerous game.  During lunch Sister Littell and Robertson mentioned that they didn't fit into their jeans the same way they used to.  We were all talking about how we have gained weight here because we eat millions of pounds of rice.  So while my companion was in the shower, I worked up the courage and busted out my old jeans.  You know, the fab skinny jeans that Carlee used to wear before Sister Beyer ate millions of pounds of rice and bread and snacks.  It was horrifying, I was terrified, but I put them on and they fit like a dream!  I may have been a little excited, and I sprinted down the stairs whooping and hollering because my jeans sitll fit!  Are they a little more snug, yes.  I'm just going to justify it by saying that I may have a few more curves, but I'll try to claim that I look more like an adult now and not a sixteen year old.  Okay, I'm just trying to make myself feel better.  But the point is my jeans still fit like a dream!  
Friday:  I may have been a little annoying of Friday.  I woke up and promptly put on my America pants.  We ate pancakes.  I made us sing America the Beautiful to open our studies.  I was not about to waste my patriotism haha.  We found some really great people in a part of our area we hadn't explored before.  It's beautiful, and they seemed really great as we taught them.  That night I came home and made the closest thing to an American dinner that I could.  It was complete with hotdogs, lays potato chips, apples roasted over the fire on our stove (trish gave me the idea.  It is beyond delicious) rice crispie treats and tang.  It was actually really fun.  It wasn't quite the Fourth of July I would have liked, and no one quite appreciated it like you all would have, but I had a lot of fun haha.  
Saturdays are always really busy days.  It just feels like I have 8 million places we need to be and they are all really far and it's just a little stressfull.  We taught Clark and gang and his Aunt joined.  She is reading the Book of Mormon!  This is a miracle and an answer to some serious prayers.  We committed her to baptism.  She accepted.  I nearly cried.  We were given bananas straight off of a tree.  And then I went home and made Filipino spaghetti for everyone and Sister Ramos, a true pure bread Filipina told me it was delicious.  My life is complete.  
Sunday was fast sunday.  It was quite the day.  We went to pick up one of our investigators for church.  We get in a choppy and you will not believe who it is.  Yes my friends, it was the exact same choppy driver from the rice patties.  He got in and immediately started cracking jokes about if i had been back to the rice patties yet.  He just kept laughing about the time he had to help an american convered in mud wash herself off at the hospital.  Alright, salamat brother.  But we go to pick up Linda and few images have ever been more beautiful on my mission.  We pull up to the front of her house at 8:00 in the morning and she is blasting 50's music, sweeping her porch all dressed up and even wearing lipstick.  She loved church.  Clark and gang came to church again and sat by me.  Clark ran in and gave me a hug.  Man oh man I love that boy.  His aunt wasn't able to come because her son was sick, but she really wants to.  We got punted a lot of Sunday, it was fast sunday so of course we did haha.  But we found Pinning's house!  We started the lesson and Sister Mahoney just couldn't do it.  she had been kind of sick all day, and it was getting pretty late and she was just falling over.  So I ended up having to teach the tentire lesson by myself.  I taught the restoration, in straight visaya, for about 40 minutes by myself.  It was a miracle.  It was the gift of tongues.  But I just had this beautiful realization where I thought, holy cow.  I can do this.  I can really really do this.  It was realistically one of the best lessons I've ever taught.  I'm really a real life missionary.  I'm standing on my own two feet.  I'm doing it!  That night we went home and I decided to cook dinner for everyone.  It just feels better to eat Sunday dinner.  And although they aren't my family, they're the closest I've got right now.  So I'll cling to them like they are my family.  
Monday was district meeting.  I sat by Sister Rugg and we just talked all about Kamputaw and all the wonderful things that happened there.  I love that woman.  We had so much fun together.  We taught Clark and his family, he's amazing as per usual and his aunt is progressing!  And then we had some little kids make us little pea shooters out of bamboo.  Brayden and Greyson, we are going to have a battle when I get home!  We had an FHE at a members house and it was so great.  They fed us dinner and paid for our choppy ride home.  These people are just so great.  
Yesterday.  yesterday was ok lang.  We got punted a lot.  We walked a lot.  We taught a really great family last night, they're members.  They are the Repollo family.  I've been teaching them every week since coming here.  Sister Repollo figured out that yesterday was actually two months to the day that I've been in Carcar.  She said that when Mom comes to pick me up she wants to meet her.  And we taught Marivic too.  I was thinking a lot about all the memories I have here.  There is no where in the world more beautiful to me than Carcar.  This place really truly changed me.  It's so special to me.  Although it isn't quite the same without Sister Passey.  This was our baby!  I sure miss that tall curly haired American of mine.  
I'm so incredibly short on time, but I really want to talk about what i studied this week.  So as I've been reading in the Doctrine and Covenants, I just keep seeing time and time again "FEAR NOT"  it's a little bit of a theme in my life.  However, I've begun to notice something that follows it more times that not.  It says "Fear not, for I am in your midst".  I started really looking for it and really studying it.  Time and time again, we are told not to fear, and then promised that Jesus Christ is just right there.  I thought of the testimony of Sister Robertson this week.  I have this beautiful picture hanging on my desk that i look at every single day.  This picture sat on my mom's night stand my entire life.  It's a picture of a girl clinging to the Savior and him just holding her.  Underneath it says "I will not fail thee".  There are so many wonderful scriptures that state time and time again to fear not, for I am with thee.  Sing How Firm a Foundation!  That's straight out of Isaiah.  In D&C 38:7 it says "mine eyes are upon you.  I am in your midst and ye cannot see me".  Shoot, look at my mission scripture AGAIN it says "This is the promise...be of good chher and do not fear for I the lord am with you and will stand by you" (D&C 68:5-6)  D&C61:36 says "be of good cheer little children, for I am in your midst and I have not forsaken you".  And then D&C 84:88 says "And whoso recieveth you, there I will be also.  For I will go before your face.  i will be on your right hand and on your left.  And my spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you to bear you up."  D&C 24:8 Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many, but endure them, for lo, I am with thee.  Even unto the end of thy days."  And lastly, D&C6:20 "Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love".  I started really really thinking about this.  Why are we told time and time again not to fear?  Because He knows it's scary.  He knows it's hard.  Life is hard, missions are hard, there will be many trials, and He knows just how hard it is because He felt it first.  But he promises us that he will be right there.  Sometimes I get really overwhelmed and just feel really alone out here on my mission.  But I was thinking about the footprints in the sand, and the hardest times there are only one set of footprints, and that's not because we're alone.  That's because we are being carried.  The promises are real.  We are not alone, and He is right here in our midst.  I have really felt that this week.  I believe in Christ.  So come what may.  I love you all.  

Love, Carlee

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