The week started out very amazingly. I got to skype my brother and my mom for Mother's Day, which was oodles of fun and a much needed moment of home. This week though, all the missionaries were in some sort of haze - Mother's Day Aftermath, I suppose. Everyone was missing home so much. That and this week has been one of the hottest ever. My rubber shoes are melting to my feet and the pavement!
We had some discouragements this week in our work as well. We had a lesson with three people, two sixteen year olds and a twenty-one year old. They're all cousins so we teach them together. We had a great lesson with them, and they were really pondering and asking deep questions, which was a relief since the work so far that week had been a little bit of a flop. They all committed to a baptismal date in June, which was beyond wonderful to see their nods and smiles. Before we left though, a family member of theirs stormed up, pointed to the girl and yelled harshly, "Remember Ivy, you are a Catholic!" We walked out of there feeling chastised, but we were still happy about their progression. The next morning though, we received a text from them all saying that we're free to teach the 21 year old, but sadly all three of them were forbidden by their parents to be baptized or even attend church. We were majorly disheartened by that, since we had seen their commitment as a turn-around of the week. Hopefully one day their hearts will soften. We're pressing forward though, Sister Sanchez and I, no matter the heat and the hard walk...work. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger!
Speaking of, this week has been a whirlwind of humbling experiences and faith building moments. So, as some of you may know I had been experiencing a cough for a month now. Sister Guanzon, my mission mom, put me on an antibiotic that should kill pneumonia, since we figured that was probably the problem. But after five days and no improvement, and severe stomach pain when I was out working, I went to the hospital for a checkup. They did a urinalysis, blood test, and chest xray.
Anyway, continuing the tale. I had signs of pneumonia in my lungs, but that wasn't all my problems. Apparently I had something wrong with my kidneys.
That night I had the most intense physical pain in my life, feeling like a corkscrew was lodged in my side, I couldn't even lay down, I basically passed out with exhaustion on my desk and didn't really fall asleep until after. The next morning I wasn't in pain, but the Assistants to the President picked me and Sister Sanchez up and we went to Legazpi to meet up with Sister Guanzon and go to the nicer hospital there. So all the doctors were out, I took some meds, and stayed at the mission home for the night, which was like a mini-vakay so that was cool. This morning I had an ultrasound, and yep, you guessed it - I have kidney stones. It's only like .51 of a centimeter though, so yeah. That's all we know so far.
So I have some fancy new medicine, Sister Guanzon is watching me like a hawk, I have to drink like ten gallons of water, and I have a checkup in a month. But I'm going back to Malilipot to work because darn it that area needs us. I just have to be more careful about walking too much in the heat and drink tons of fluids.
So all is well, in short. I'll give you more updates as I have them. But as of now? Life continues. Mission continues. Putting my shoulder to the wheel, as they say. I know God's gonna take care of me, 'cause he always is. This is just another opportunity to build my faith and keep humble. What a blessing in disguise! I'm so happy that through my experiences here in the mission, I can become a stronger individual with stronger faith in Heavenly Father. I definitely don't see this as God abandoning me in the slightest or an indication that he's not watching out for us missionaries - on the contrary, He's with me now more than ever.
In the Bible the Israelites had been wandering the wilderness for 40 years. They were finally approaching the promised land. Israelite scouts were sent to check out the area. The people living in their beautiful, promised home were large, fierce and frightening. Many of the Israelites were scared of the challenges that lay ahead, all except for one man named Caleb. When he heard of the troubles that faced them, he said, “I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me…give me this mountain…the Lord will be with me.” President Kimball once said, “This is my feeling for the work at this moment. There are great challenges ahead of us, giant opportunities to be met. I welcome that exciting prospect and feel to say to the Lord, humbly, ‘Give me this mountain,’ give me these challenges.”
This is my feeling too. This week was tiring, draining, and I had a lot of moments when giving up was attractive. When I was curled up in pain, I cried out to Heavenly Father, asking for relief. Even though it may of not come all at once, it came, along with understanding of His timing and plan for me. I need these trails to become the person God wants me to be, and I am forever grateful that I am never alone in my physical or emotional pain. This is the refiner's fire. I'm being shaped into a better person, a better servant to God.
"Oh, Lord, I am yet strong. Give me one more mountain."
Have a great week!