On Christmas day, I got to skype three sixths of my family, since the time differences would have made it to hard for us all to get together. It was so much fun. We talked about adapters and whale sharks a lot of the time, but it was insanely beautiful. Everyone was telling me that skyping would just make me homesick, and it did, but not as much as I expected. If anything, it made me happy to quote movies and talk about old jokes with my family. Getting caught up was so much fun, and seeing their super blurry faces and hearing their cracked staticy voices was still such a filling experience. Best Christmas present ever. I can't wait for Mother's Day now!
We had a White Christmas - a baptismal service on Christmas Day! Five people were baptized. None of them were Sister Jaya and my investigators, but it was totally fine. It was a beautiful experience to watch these people take upon themselves the name of Christ on the day we celebrate His birth! A few days later, we got to see another baptism, a mother and daughter. There baptism was so special to me, though I didn't know them personally. They looked beyond happy to be there - Sister Jeanky looked so peaceful and little Mira had a huge smile on her face when she exited the font. At the baptism, I met a little ten year old named Jane, a member from the other ward. She immediately latched herself onto me, and said I looked like Barbie. Then she hung on and hugged me for twenty minutes after, complimenting me and calling me Barbie and Snow White (harhar). She was the sweetest, and she announced that she had adopted me. Haha.
We had a really good lesson with a less active named Brother Mirabona. We were teaching about Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, and he was telling us that he couldn't come to church because he didn't have good clothes, his wife didn't like the church, and because he has money problems. I felt like I should share 3 Nephi 13: 31-33, which is:
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.
I then explained in broken Tagalog that the Lord knows our problems, and if we put him first, we'll be blessed more than we can imagine. The spirit was so strong in the lesson, and Sister Jaya came in a a tearful testimony about no matter who we are or how much money we have, we are all children of God. It was a great lesson. Brother Mirabona felt the spirit and said he'd try to come to church. He didn't come yesterday, which was a let down, but I know that the spirit stirred in him.
Saturday was the day that they announce transfers. Walang transfers sa amin! We were so scared that Sister Donato, who has been here for four months now, would have to leave, but nope! We get her for one more transfer, hoorayyyyy!!! Saturday was also exchange day, so I got to hang out with Sister Donato. We finally got to contact the HUGE yellow house (the biggest one here), and even though the Matameronsa family was currently planning a wedding, they said they were available next week. FOR THE WIN. Hanging out with Sister Donato was so much fun. She's so loud and crazy and personable, and she says hi to EVERYONE. Such an example of the missionary charisma I want to achieve!
Funny moment; Sister Jaya and I were rushing out of LCC (the grocery store) on our way to the laundry shop before it closed, and while we were rushing down the ramp, a filipino teenager asked me in englsih, "Hey, what's up?" and in my hurry, I breezed past him and my mouth immediately said the programmed-American-response of "NOTHIN MUCH!" and then we just kept running. I went twenty more feet before I realized what I had done, and I laughed for the rest of the night. Yeah. Yelling "Nothin' much!" at a kid probably wasn't very missionary-like. Whoopsie.
I finished the Book of Mormon. I have been so blessed to have the opportunity to reread this book. I finished it in eleven weeks - time to start again and REALLY study. Write things down and journal and really just work to understand. Not to say that I didn't this time through. I feel like I understand the timeline so much more, having really worked to keep track of the constantly changing points of view and switching of stories. After really paying attention to what was happening, I can tell you that I have such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon. It's one of the few things that can make me feel better when I'm not doing so well, when I'm feeling down. I find so much comfort in it, and I know for a face that no matter the person, the Book of Mormon can and will change your life. The Book of Mormon literally holds all the answers. Not opinion, but fact. I know it.
I hope you're all doing well! I'm good - a little sticky, a little itchy, but so happy to be here. I finally feel like I'm settling in. Happy New Year! Let's make 2014 epic!
"Heaven's Light" - Hunchback of Notre Dame
"Chickitita" - ABBA (someone was blasting it outside my house. It sent me into a singing-ABBA-marathon while I cooked lunch)