Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Week 22: There was a sister missionary who swallowed a frog.... And her name was Sister Hess

The heading of this email is not a joke. I actually ate a frog this week. And surprisingly he wasn't that bad. 

This week has been very interesting and I've had a lot of learning experiences. 

Tuesday was Christmas Eve, and it was super fun. We had to go home at 6 pm and stay home. So we all went over to the other sisters' apartment, which is only two doors down, and we had a sleepover. It was a blast and now we're all so close because of it. It kind of felt like a bunch of normal teenage girls having a sleepover. So you can bet that there were a lot of crazy conversations :)

The next day, we had fun again. Christmas here in the Philippines is a pretty crazy thing. We got permission to cross areas from President Q, and then we basically went from members house to members house eating. We started at 12 and didn't stop until 5 that night. I have NEVER been that full in my life. And a Filippino tradition on Christmas and other big holidays is spaghetti. Filippino spaghetti is not like American spaghetti. I actually like it more. The sauce is sweet because they put sweetened condensed milk in it. It's soooooooooooo yummy. There's usually hot dogs in it too. And now I'm officially sick of it. 

On Thursday, it was so nice to get back to work and actually teach people. We went around San Pedro Palcarangan (one of our areas) teaching, teaching, teaching. I love being a missionary and teaching the people here. I actually missed teaching so much. What's it gonna be like when I get home and don't have anyone to speak to in Tagalog and no one to teach as well. I'll probably just go work with the missionaries for like a month :)

Friday was fun because I got to go on exchanges again. Sister B and I went around and taught our investigators in San Roque and San Pablo. This week we've taught a lot of new investigators that live in different cities and different missions as well--one from Baguio mission, one from Angeles mission and one from Olongapo city. They're all super awesome and so prepared. The exchanges went well I think. My favorite lesson that we taught was to Brother E. He's an investigator who was actually taught by missionaries ages ago. Just so you know how long ago it was, their favorite elder (Elder McDonald) that taught them, is now married and his kids are either in college or married too. So yeah. But he's awesome. He always asks SUPER awesome questions and we get to test our knowledge to see how much we actually know. I love teaching him. We're planning on extending a baptismal date to him sometime soon we we'll let you know how that goes. 

Saturday was possibly the most interesting day I've ever had on my mission. We were supposed to have a baptism but as you've noticed, there's a "supposed to" in that sentence. So here's the story. We all got to the church around 2:30. Brother R (our investigator that should have gotten baptized) was there with his girlfriend, who is a member. They were both super excited for today. Filippinos are always super super late. So we had to wait a long time until everyone got there for it to start. While we were waiting, our ZL's, Elder S and Elder H, showed up because they were supposed to have a meeting. They never received the text though that said that the meeting was canceled. They were a bit upset because it's really expensive to come all the way from their area. They felt like it was a waste. We later found out though that it wasn't a waste at all. When they met Brother R, Elder S was prompted to interview him again. We soon found out that Brother R still has some repenting to do. Let's just say that he can't be baptized for a month and leave it at that. We were all super super upset and he was too and still is. It just strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father is aware of all of us. He knows just what we need. Brother R has a strong testimony and his conviction is even stronger to be baptized than it was before. It also made us all realize that Satan is very very real. Brother R has the potential to be a great leader and a great missionary too (because he's only 21 and he could still go if he wanted to). Satan is after all of us and he knows just what our weaknesses are. We all need to strive to be strong enough to resist it so we don't have to deal with the nasty consequences that come… 

So yeah. We've taught Brother R two times after Saturday and let him know that we are not here to judge him, only to help him. And we are also his friends. It's pretty amazing the things you experience on missions… 

On Sunday, we had church and that was good. After church we went to teach Brother R (this was the second time) and we basically just had a testimony meeting. He was there and so was his girlfriend and so was Brother K and Brother L (our BML). It was a great thing and the Spirit was so strong. I really hope Brother R can make it through this and get everything figured out. 

So yeah. That was my week. I've had my testimony strengthened so much about the Atonement. I know that it is real and we need to use it every chance that we can. I know that Heavenly Father loves all of us and he weeps when we make the wrong choices but is so happy when we correct them and come back to him.
Thank you for all of your prayers and support. I love you all. I know that the gospel blesses lives. I know that Heavenly Father's plan isn't easy, but I know it's 100% worth it. We just need to continue being obedient and clinging to the rod. Don't let anything pull you away or make you do something bad that you know God wouldn't approve of. I'm so grateful for everything I've learned here on my mission and the chance that I had to serve. 

Mahal na mahal ko kayo. Keep working hard and keep smiling. 

-Sister Hess

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