Magandang Hapon po!
Kamusta at Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat!
Merry Christmas Eve! Pretty weird that I will get to talk to and see you in 2 days. It seems like I just barely skyped you like a month ago on Mothers Day! Somebody must have pushed fast forward on time. I don't like how fast time is going by. I can't believe Ben is already home. I still remember when he left just like it was yesterday. Make sure and give him an extra howdy from me.
The Christmas package still hasn't come, so I'm guessing it is just being really slow because it is Christmas. There are also several other missionaries in the same situation, so I don't feel too left out. And if it never does come, at least it will be a nice Christmas gift to a Filipino postal worker. Haha.
|Mission Christmas Party|
Last week was busy with ward and mission Christmas parties, and this week is also going to be busy with visiting a lot of people and their preparations for Christmas/New Years. Almost our whole day tomorrow consists of visiting people that invited us to eat. It should be interesting trying to work and share any messages because pretty much everybody is going to be busy with friend and family parties.
We also have plans to provide a miniature Christmas to a super poor family. In this family, the Tatay was baptized many years ago but has been inactive ever since the local branch was merged with Tuguegarao Ward 2 and can't/not willing to make the extra sacrifices with time and transportation to go all the way into the city (a common concern we come across). Over the last couple of years, he has been bedridden due to some sickness and infection in his hip and is very weak. They have wanted to take him to the doctor for a while now, but can't afford it. He relies on his children to take care of him and make food every day, because his wife is working abroad and won't be back for another couple years. They live in a very small, modest bamboo house with no electricity, only using a couple candles at night. The oldest child is 17, married, lives about 45 mins away in the mountains of Penablanca with her husband, and is the one paying for the schooling of her 3 sisters and food for the family. Every time we go there to visit, we want to share a message to bring them closer to God and feel more happiness in life but we never have anybody to work with us, and tatay is too weak to join any lesson. We asked them if any members have been by to visit them, and they said not for a couple years. We then asked them what their plans were for Christmas, and they said they don't have any money to prepare anything special, but that is okay because the only thing that matters is that they are together. With the support of some other missionaries in the zone, we are going to carol to them and take some small gifts and provide a decent lunch. It should be a memorable experience for all involved. It is very humbling to see how blessed I have been throughout my whole life.
Earlier today we went to Cabagan to do a baptismal interview, and when we got to the church I was surprised to see many members and people I knew because it also happened to be the ward Christmas party. It is always fun seeing people I worked with before. And now I can actually have good conversations with them because I can actually speak Tagalog now. Haha.
Well, I will see you all in a couple days. Don't forget to take time and remember the true meaning of Christmas-giving simple acts of service to others because that is what Jesus Christ would want us all to do. Just like President Uchtdorf said, we can't expect to feel the Christmas spirit if we don't have it in our own hearts.
Mahal ko kayo!