Magandang Hapon po!
Parang kailan lang nagkita tayo! Haha it was fun to see all of you and be able to have a miniature family reunion for a few minutes (or hours...). I still can't get over seeing Gracie and Jenna walking and talking. I leave for a couple months and see what happens! It will also be super weird to go home and see snow again. Hopefully that will make for some good New Years fun for all of you. It should be a fun New Years Eve here because we can't be outside after 6pm. To help time pass by, we have 2 other companionships coming over for a sleepover and going to watch a few Disney movies. And of course, there will be plenty of good food involved. At night, we are going to climb to the roof of our apartment and watch the fireworks. Hopefully we will have a decent view because our apartment is supposed to be a 3 story house, but it isn't finished yet so we have a 3rd floor cement platform as our roof. When we told President Carlos about our plans, he said it was a great idea. He truly is the best ever. The only hard part will be waking up early and going to District Meeting in the morning. Everybody here is already going party crazy for New Years, and random fireworks have been going off for a couple of days and it seems like everybody and their dog has some sort of annoying horn or noise maker. Just last night, our neighbor across the street threw an all day party with karaoke. We know it was an all day party because it was almost impossible to focus during our studies after lunch, and when we got back at night we could tell by the way they were singing that the booze had been brought out. At first it was funny to listen to them try to sing, but it got pretty old when it was about 1:30am and they were still blasting loud music and we couldn't sleep. We can only hope there will be more parties like that later tonight...
We had a great breakthrough experience with a less active last week. He served a mission over 20 years ago and is married to another RM and has a couple kids, but over the last couple months he has become inactive for an unknown reason. We went to visit him and his family that live in a very small cinder block home with no chairs, and didn't really do anything other than talk to him and build a relationship with him, partially because they only had one small light bulb and it was being used to help them prepare food and not in the room where we could sit on the concrete to share a lesson. After several minutes of talk, we asked him when he had time that he could work with us and he hesitated for a moment and said he wasn't sure if he was able to because he wasn't currently active in the church. He further said that when he went home teaching a few weeks ago, he felt really awkward and that the spirit couldn't work well with him as he was teaching because he wasn't active himself. (To ourselves we were thinking, "Duh! There is an easy solution to that problem..."). Knowing it would be a good experience for him and help re-kindle his testimony and memories of when he was a missionary, we encouraged him that it would be okay just as long as he was with us, and he scheduled a time with us. When we met him, Elder Lasay and I were surprised when he walked out of his home all dressed in a white shirt, tie, slacks, and even carrying his set of scriptures. Several times throughout the day while he was with us, he mentioned how good it felt to be a missionary again. We gave him a couple opportunities to take part in the lessons, and we could see that every time he bore testimony it was like he was teaching himself. Before he went home, he said, "I think I should go to church tomorrow". That is the power of bearing your own testimony-the more you share it, the more it grows. There is something ironic about having somebody inactive help us fellowship and teach to others, but it proved to be effective when he showed up at church with his family in his Sunday attire. We were also happy because for the first time ever, we were able to teach to some people we had been wanting to teach for months now but have not been able to do so due to nobody ever working with us.
I'm glad Bill enjoyed his Christmas pig, and I noticed lots of similarities between Bill and the pig based from the picture he sent:)
Thanks for everything you do, you are the best family ever!
Mahal ko kayo,