So this week was basically the best ever. Started with a wicked MLC with President, and then because we had the meeting in the morning we had p-day at night. So...for a whole night we all just walked around the city shopping and eating and checking out the sights. It felt like vacation. It felt like it shouldn't be allowed. I've never just wandered around for a night hanging out before, felt like normal life again. It was weird. But I loved it. But still not excited to go home and do it again. Then the next day was real p-day and that was even less real. All the leaders got in vans and we just took a wicked sightseeing trip up the coast. We all met for breakfast and the wicked adventure began.
It all started at the salt refining factory, which sounds like the least exciting thing in the world, and probably would be if I was a missionary, and we don't get out much, so it was pretty exciting. They ship that salt to Australia. It was pretty special...haha. Then we hiked up this wicked lighthouse on the edge of a cliff, went to some wicked rock formations, the windmills, a waterfall, and just chilled on the side of the road. Doesn't sound as cool as it was, but what was cool was that I was getting worried that its getting to the end and I haven't even seen any of the scenery of the Philippines yet outside of the regular little towns, so it was a blessing to go and see all the cool stuff along the way. The best part of the day, we went to this place called Hannah's Resort, which is this massive famous resort. They have a HUGE zipline over the ocean, which hurt me a little bit inside to not be allowed to go on it, and a huge swimming pool inside the worlds largest witch cauldron, I guess? Haha basta it was cool. We ate in a fancy restaurant and drank out of fancy glasses which was a blessing in itself, I can't remember the last time I drank out of a clean glass let alone a fancy one. Then we ran around like crazy, they had every cartoon character you can imagine and we took a million and one pictures and just played. President and Sister just watched us run around like we were in a candy store, they were loving it. We found a trampoline and all just piled on and did backflips. Then we all hit the beach and played beach volleyball, someone bought a huge cake and we just kicked back. It didn't feel real. But it was cool. Blessings for hard work for sure.
Then came the bad bits. After four 6 hour road trips, and 3 days of getting up at 4 something and a couple more days of 5 something, and then some exchanges, I am thrashed. My eyes can't open all the way. The blessing is I can still teach, my mind is in focus as ever but then as soon as I walk out I go back into zombie mode.
Speaking of, I have been ravaged by poison mosquitos, I don't have dengue thank goodness, but I do have what looks like leprosy. Whenever I walk into a room the first think people ask is what happened to my legs! I always say 'kinagat ng zombie' or 'I got bit by a zombie'. The older kids think its hilarious. The old people and children become alarmed because they don't know what a zombie is and get scared its going to get them too.
Other favourite memory of the week, the other night it was about 10.25 at night, we were having a sleepover with about 10 of us because we were staying down in Laoag, and we were all just about to hit the hay, when we see a SNAKE come slithering into the apartment! Everyone starts freaking out and screaming as its a room full of girls and nobody knows what to do. One of the sisters upstairs, Sister Rodelas, who is basically the chillest woman who ever lived, probably more chill then me, just takes a sneaky peek over the balcony, sees the commotion, comes downstairs with a massive bamboo pole I have no idea where she got, and starts bashing the snake to death. Then once his little snake corpse has lost all signs of life, she gets him on the end of the pole and flings it over the fence onto the road. What a woman.
So we've been tested hard here over the last two transfers, and since the Rocero family baptism we've had a lot of golden investigators come and go. It seems like every time we find a solid person, they come to church twice and then MOVE AWAY. Its happened more times than I can even believe. So its been hard, but were finally seeing the fruits of our labours, and in the next couple of weeks we will have a family of 5 baptised, a grandma and her granddaughter, and all going well the husband of a recent convert, and maybe a couple more. The sad part, transfer calls are in 6 days and I almost definitely won't be here. But even though its a little sad, its ok because I know I was here for the hard parts and they're gonna do it whether I'm here or not, and I can use that time to go help someone somewhere else. So, blessings still. Its always a good feeling to leave an area way better than you found it. I'm excited for the future.
In spiritual news, I gave a training about the Rescue, meaning the saving of souls who have gone less-active in the church. And nothing in this world makes me happier than bringing someone back who was lost, its even better than baptising sometimes. And on that topic, we had an awesome miracle this week. We've been working with a less-active family who used to be so strong, the dad even used to be the branch president. They've made a lot of progress lately but still just had a really hard time coming to church. Yesterday the whole family was there at branch conference, and the dad got a calling! It was awesome, and it was so good to see the whole branch rallying around them supporting them. I definitely wont say it was us that did it, because it wasn't, but every little part made a difference, which was the whole point of my training. I shared my favourite song from the hymn book, Brightly Beams Our Fathers Mercy. I talked about how our Father is in the lighthouse, and its His light that does all the work to bring home His children, "but to us He gives the keeping of the lights along the shore'. We are just those tiny lights to bring those people that last little part of the way to make sure they don't crash when they hit the harbour. Our role is small, but if its not done, they can't make it in. So if we're just willing to be that one little light, and do that one little part, 'some poor fainting, struggling seaman' we may rescue, we may save.
I love you all,