Sunday, August 3, 2014

A whole new world! 08/03/2014

Things are sure different in Malolos!
It's like a miniature of SJDM except cleaner and more trees... literally, mini jeeps, mini stores, mini malls, everything is smaller but it's really cute. People drive better in this area which is weird. I had to giggle when we pulled up to a curb and the first thing I see is "OBAMA NOT WELCOME HERE" sprayed on the walls. There's rice fields everywhere, and cows. Lots of cows. Tons of Catholic and Iglesia churches, including the oldest church in the Philippines with a gigantic bell tower that plays their hymns on Sunday morning. People flock there.
Week 1 in the new area was a great success. Sister Mabini and I are pratically opening this area. She's fantastic. She's diligent but she has fun doing it. She's the perfect balance. In our area, there are no recent converts, no progressing investigators, nothing. It was hard at first to leave everything I helped build up in La Mesa right before I got to see its fruits, but that just means it's time to do the same thing here. *Rolls up sleeves* Our investigator pool is very different from my last area. We're right next to Bulacan State University so most of them are 19-22. Basta, my house mates are Sister Flora and her trainee from Pakistan, Sister Kaifi. It's actually a house, not an apartment. My Tagalog and rice useage has increased exponentially, needless to say. I'm already improving because of it. No Americans around anymore. It's interesting that even though I'm in the Philippines, I've gotten to experience Korea, Australia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Japan.
So as it turns out, the ward I'm in is the same ward that Sister Surio's (my trainer) family is in! I was really excited to find out that I already knew lots of people through her. The ward is absolutely fantastic. The ward mission leader is probably the best you could ever imagine. The first time I met him, he hands us a calendar and says, "Sisters, this is the list of dinner appointments you have this week. If you give me your schedule after your weekly planning session, I will consult with members and get a schedule of workers for you." So the very next day after we give it to him he gives us a schedule of at least one worker for every day of the week! He just gets things done and it's so exciting!

Our WML gave us a talk last week that has completely changed my mission life. It's from Elder Gene R. Cook called "The 40-Day Fast." There was a missionary who was teaching a lesson and testified of Joseph Smith and the restoration. He kind of went through the motions as he taught, and then at the end when the member present bore his testimony, the investigator cried from how strong the spirit was. The missionary wondered what the difference was and why he was feeling spiritually dulled. He asked a church leader what he could do to be a more effective missionary. He said, "Elder, when these pretty ladies pass you by on the street, what do you think about? Do you ever speak sarcastically to your companion? Do you get up at 6:30 every morning? Do you keep every mission rule? These are the things that keep the holy ghost from being your companion. You must purify yourself... Go home and fast. Make a list of everything that pokes at your spirit. Covenant with the Lord that you will fast from the things on your list for 40 days." I've done the same thing and it has changed my desires and my way of thinking.
I had a cool experience in a lesson the other day that I think came because of this 40-day fast. We were starting a lesson and singing the opening hymn when the rain starts pounding on the house and I can't hear a thing. I get really apprehensive when I can't hear investigators during a lesson and this lesson was so important. So I prayed in my heart as we sang that the rain would stop so we would be able to communicate clearly and the very instant, the rain came to a dead stop. The lesson was beautiful and they accepted the invitation to be baptized. Talk about tender mercies.
Fun fact: yesterday while waiting for a jeepney, we were standing at a street corner, and across the street, a man with long hair and a beard started walking towards me with open arms like he was gonna come hug me. Then he stopped in the middle of the street staring straight into my eyes and starts dancing like a crazy person, gyrating hips and everything. Sister Mabini and I linked arms and ran for the nearest jeep. And that's only ONE of the crazy people I've seen this week...
But I'm staying safe nonetheless. Thanks for the birthday wishes, I really appreciate it. I love you all dearly!
Sister Wilson

Edited to add from a later email:

Wanna see what the most popular song in the Philippines is right now? XD It's called "Chinito" by Yeng Constantino. Go listen to it. It's so Filipino. It's about a Filipina's crush on a Chinese guy, that's what they call cute Chinese guy is "Chinito." Lauren I think you'll like it the most. Oh, and if you wanna see more Filipino, watch a movie called "Maybe This Time." It's a chick flick. It's brand new, actually pretty cute. They played it on the bus to Malolos so I got to watch it. It's mostly in English.

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