Fasten your seatbelts, this may be a long email....
to start, you know that we had a big earthquake in my last zone. it was a 6.5, and completely shut down all power to all of region 8 (aka Tacloban mission). however, just earlier today, there was a second earthquake, from a different area. So, the whole mission is without power and many without running water. Most people can't afford generators, and this place is pitch dark by 6:30 or 7. so, we have modified our daily schedule a bit so we can be home before it gets too dark. No one has been hurt, but we are unsure when the power goes on. Rumors in the Philippines fly REALLY FAST, so we have heard it will be back in 3 days, or a month, or 3 months. We have no idea when. we are just enduring until the power returns. It is so hot in the apartment, and we tried sleeping on the balcony the first night. However, at about 3 AM, it started pouring rain, so we booked it back inside. that was pretty fun.
We have some very exciting news. I have mentioned Nanay A many times. she is the mother of A, our recent convert. She has decided that next week she wants to be baptized!! she will have her interview this week so we can announce it in church. I am so excited for her!!!!! she is the best. She reads every day, reminds her children to read everyday (something they sometimes need) and they all come to church. In addition, her 9 year old son J also wants to be baptized, and will be on the 29th of July. He asked me to baptize him, and I hope I don't transfer, so I can be there for that. Miracles are happening, and I believe that it is the faith and work that brings them. We have a saying here "obedience brings blessings, exact obedience brings miracles." I have seen some amazing miracles on my mission, and this is one of them. another is we had 11 investigators come to church. what an amazing thing that was! one long time investigator came as well, and it was so fun to have her there for church. more on them later as they progress....
It has been a very challenging week, because President Argana has been asking for daily updates on the missionaries in this status. We have to check up on them a lot. but, I have learned something from this experience. It is how to truly care for someone. There are people that it is easy to love and care for, like family. However, the Savior did not just love his immediate family. He loved complete strangers, his disciples, and even his enemies. I believe the Savior only made it through the atonement because His love for others is complete and unconditional. Yes, He expects things from us, He wants us to improve and work, He expects us to follow him. But, He still loves us, even when we are not obedient or true. It has been such a blessing to see the love of the Lord in my life and the life of others.
We had a bit of a funny p-day experience. We usually spend p-day with the assistants, because they are so close. So, they were asked by president Argana if they wanted to go get a haircut with him and his wife, since they were going to get one. We enter the mission home to wait, they welcome us in, they have some snacks for us, and they are wearing p-day clothes, something I never saw president Maurer do. then, still in my basketball shorts and a t-shirt over my jersey, We go with him into Robinsons and go get a haircut with him. It was such a normal experience, and President Argana even forgot his nametag!!! the Lord calls normal people to do amazing things. President and Sister Argana are just normal people like me, but they have a call from the Lord to serve. They still love to joke around with people, they still love to play sports and be with their family. they are so good at introducing the Lord into their daily life, and sometimes they mess up, just like me. But, we still love them and I am very thankful that I was able to spend a morning with them doing these things.
I personally am doing really good. Despite the challenges we have, I still really love the work and the Lord who allows me to serve Him and help His glorious work roll forward. It is a great blessing in my life. I love people and desire to help them because of my mission. Yeah, I hit my one year mark on the mission last week, and I really love my mission. I hope it stays with me for the rest of my life. *I am still safe, I am still well, and I enjoy the chance to serve and work with the best in the mission. This week, We have another MLC, so we can introduce President Argana to the zone leaders, the mission culture, and the specific rules that are in Tacloban mission. we also visit a different DTM this week, so we can see how they are doing and how to help them. the assistants are sleeping in our apartment tonight, so that should be fun. Party party.
I love you all, and 1 year more to go! I hope you all are learning new things about yourselves and your roles in the puzzle that Elder Anderson talked about. I know a little more about my role, and Cannot wait to continue to learn.
I miss you all so much, and hope that all is well.
until next week,