Sunday, September 21, 2014

Jessica's Forty Ninth Email! September 21st, 2014

OK! Wow! Do I have the best friends and family in the world or what?!?!? I am SO out of time because all of you are too kind and sent the nicest birthday emails! Don't have time even to finish seeing them all, so thank you and if I didn't reply, know I am looking forward to reading it next week! :) Okay! This week was SO GRAND! I cannot even tell you how many amazing things just filled the week. I'll start with some of our investigators... Marez, still SUCH a legend. She just keeps getting better and better. We taught her a lesson the other day at the church after she came to choir practice and we had 2 RS moms in there with us. The spirit was in abundance, let me tell ya! Even after one of the moms prayed that we would have the spirit to teach... (stalling...forgot her name... ang mataba) it means... the fat one! Oh my!!! I almost lost it hahah. But luckily that's just super normal here, hence why I'm told all the time that I am gaining weight. SALAMAT. But in that lesson, Marez was saying how all she's ever wanted was a family picture. Not gonna lie, for sure teared up on that one. Her desires are so pure and she just wants the joy that comes with an eternal family and I was just so overwhelmed with gratitude for my family. I love you all so much and I hope that hearing that will soften all of our hearts with mom's absurd love for pictures! haha I felt so bad after she said that for all the times I rolled my eyes or complained. We are so blessed. Thanks mom. Anyway, I know it might not be good to have favorite investigators, but ya, Marez is hands down my fave. Makes all the crazy stuff worth it. If we could just teach her all day every day, ahhh life would be a bliss.

K, so then there's Angela. 14, her dad is a member but has been less active for like, ever. She is so cute and should be baptized on October 4th! She is so willing to do all the things we teach her. Her prayers are so sweet and sincere and wow. We just keep waiting for a problem to come up and it just never does! She's great. Also, all her cousins are active and she loves going with them to all the activities and everything!

SO the choir practice I mentioned?! Hahaha. Improv at its finest. We were supposed to have an enrichment activity cooking or something. Well, none of the presidency showed up, but there were about 5 ladies ready to take up arms. SO mad and hahah kinda trash-talking. I was trying not to laugh, but a bunch of old Filipino ladies yelling in Bicol, the best. SO to calm the crowd me and my companion decided we would start a Camaligan Branch Choir! And that would be our first practice! So, that's what we did. And Marez and a Less active of ours were there so we stayed and Sister Deyro played the piano while I conducted. I know what you're thinking! I've never conducted a song in my life. WRONG! Ever since I got to this area they always make me conduct for like all the meetings except for sacrament meeting. Still really don't know how, but we have fun with it. So anyway, it ended up being such a success!!! We performed a musical number in sacrament meeting yesterday, it was lovely. And yes, Marez the investigator sang too :) Already so welcome in the branch!

Hey! I don't think I told you last week! But the last like 10 days has been the Pena Francia. Some huge Catholic fiesta where everyone in the whole of Bicol comes to Naga and touches a statue or something?? Idk but it has been a ghost town up in Camaligan. We had to go through Centro one day for my check-up at the doctor and wow. CRAZY. Made me so grateful for the true church of Jesus Christ. I just don't understand how out of the thousands and thousands of people at the fiesta, not one of them realized how ridiculous it is that they watch a statue parade around the city, in a boat and all, without a single mention of God or Jesus Christ. Anyway, I love all people and respect all religions, but I am counting my blessings over here for sure.

YESTERDAY! At church. The happiest 10 minutes of my life. Don't have time to go into detail.. but wow. I was just sitting there waiting for the sacrament meeting to start. I saw a member who I had talked to about helping our less active find work offering her a job. The dad of the family that the Zl's just baptized preparing, and later blessing, the sacrament. This old Lola being wheeled in by a youth in her wheelchair. Just so much pure and Christlike love. I felt like I wasn't even there, just an observer, and I just couldn't help getting a little emotional looking around thinking, yes! This is what it's all about. It was unreal.

This whole mission experience is unreal. Our membership in the church is unreal. The blessings we receive from faithful service is the greatest. I am so happy to be here. I am so grateful for all of you and the influences you have been in my life. I love you all so much. I love our older brother Jesus Christ so much and I am so grateful for what he did for me, for you, for all of us. Please continue to do great things. That is what makes him happiest, when we just do what is right!

Here in the Philippines, they celebrate Christmas all of the "ber" months. So since it's SeptemBER, things are really pickin up over here! MERRY CHRISTMAS! :) ALSO! General conference is in less than 3 weeks. I CANNOT WAIT. Now is the time for us to start praying to receive our personal revelation at conference weekend! SO PUMPED!!! Sorry this is so long, just want you all to know I am beyond happy. And I hope you all are too!

Have a splendid week :)
Love, Sister Richmond

Top 10
1. Helped a returning member find a job! Single mom, 3 kids. Had no job. So sad.
2. Stove-top smores
3. Taught 3 dads in 1 day, gotta strengthen that priesthood!
4. Already playing Christmas music (mixed emotions, I'm usually with dad on the whole wait till Dec thing!)
5. McDonalds b-day dinner
6. Mastering the adobo
7. Our investigator has been reading everyday! .... but it turns out they got confused and were reading some book the Jehovahs gave them, not the aklat ni Mormon :(
8. Emails from so many of my favorite people
9. Whitebean was unreal last week. Tweety and twinkle Lopez came too and brought me a cake!
10. This morning we played volleyball, then to kick off family week (Philippines thing) the branch had a helping hand trash pickup activity down the road!

 Pizza party before Elder Bansag went HOME

I have to show you how crazy this lingo can be. 
Had to remind myself at the bottom that I love it

 TWEETY is back from her short-term mission!!!! 
Andddd leaves tonight for the real thing :(

 The cookies we ordered!!!!

 Too excited!

 The ZL's investigator- left, and our RC (Alice) brought me over b-day gifts Sunday night

The bag is from Sister Taylor with a shirt, candy, and the cutest card! SO nice! 
And the greatest package from grandma with snacks and party supplies!

 Shirt from Sister Taylor! :)

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