Sunday, November 3, 2013

WEEK 10: But at least I can love the people...:)

HELLO MY LOVELY FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!! It's been another great week here in the best place in the world. This week I think something changed. All the sudden all of this is becoming very real and NORMAL. Like when I wake up, I don't think anything is different. I don't wonder where I am or how I got here haha. This is becoming the normal, AND I LOVE IT. This place is so great. Seeing these people grow in the gospel is such a privilege that I already cherish so much. I can't wait for the day I can actually communicate everything I want to. Some days it's really frustrating, but I just have to remember that I'm here for a reason. Some how in some way I can help these people. For now, hopefully just loving them is enough. Ah I love these people so much already! They make my job as a missionary sobrang easy. I so so wish I could communicate better with them, but at least I can love them, and maybe, just maybe, that will be enough for now.
So this week was a rough one. It has been elections here, so a lot of people are constantly busy and so it was hard for us to teach them. Plus, we were given curfews on a few nights for our safety, which definitely ended up affecting the amount of teaching we could do. Elections here are crazy and seem like they last forever. They have campaigns around every corner of every village and it gets super intense. I don't even know if I can call it a campaign because it is like half campaign half huge dance party. But everything is a party in the Philippines so it's just totally normal. They LOVE karaoke here and so as we are walking down the street, usually we hear a few different people belting out their souls to their karaoke machines. And usually it is English music which it just makes it so much funnier to hear. This week, as I was walking down the street, a man (at least in his 60's) was singing karaoke in his front yard and then turned to me and pointed and just belted out "YOU ARE MY DESTINYYYYYYY!" Hahaha and another person sang to me this week "YEW ARE SO BOOOOTIFUL, TO ME!" They just spit out any English songs they know to me. Hahahahaha I AM SO OBSESSED WITH THESE PEOPLE!!!! Oh, and I forgot to mention the passion these people have for Christmas. They celebrate in all the "ber" months, so September, October, November, and December. Hahaha so often times we hear them singing Christmas karaoke. I LOVE IT HERE.
Also, this week was "All Saints Day" which is when everyone goes to the cemetery and visits their ancestors. They take it very seriously here and many people were gone with their families for the whole day, so it really affected our teaching as well. Pero, it was really cool to see how much they respect their ancestors. The culture here is very family oriented, and I love it. It is especially helpful as missionaries, because they second we mention that through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can live with our families forever, they are totally hooked. I absolutely love sharing the hope that this gospel can bring. And I LOVE that these people are so receptive! They are being so prepared. I LOVE IT.
Pero, even though a lot of people were busy, it was a really good week! We got to teach our lovely recent converts, Jorel who is 9 and Jovelyn who is 13. I love them so much!! Their faith and diligence to this gospel is such a good example to me. Jorel gave me this necklace this week with a heart on it hahahahah and his friends keep pointing to me and calling me "crushko" hahaha which means "my crush" so that's awesome. Haha we are also teaching the rest of their family, and just committed one of his brothers, Junel, to baptism. Jorel is the youngest but such a good example to them all! He has so much potential and I keep telling him he is going to be an amazing missionary one day! I will pray that he gets called to America so you all can meet him. :) We also taught some of my other favorites, the Nares family. Okay, they are so golden. They are getting baptized THIS SATURDAY!!! Ah I just can't wait. There are 5 kids in this family, and they are the grandchildren of Tattay Alfredo, who was just baptized about a month ago. He will be the one to baptize them. Alfredo is in his 60's I believe, and we are lucky to get to teach him every week as well since he is a recent convert. They all understand English so of course I love them already because of that hahaha. This week he told me I am looking more like a Filipino and my skin is getting darker AND he said my Tagalog is magaling, which means skilled, so aka basically the best compliment in the whole world! AH I am SO SO SO excited or this family. Great things are happening here in San Vicente.
So today, we had a zone activity! In our mission, every month, a zone gets to have a zone activity. President picks the key indicator, and then counts up for that month our numbers and the winner gets to have a zone activity! This month they key indicator was investigators attending sacrament meeting AND WE WON! Our zone is the smallest in the mission, so this was a big achievement for us! Super exciting. So, for the activity, we went to Bulusan Lake, right by the volcano in our area. Basically the prettiest lake I have ever seen! It was super awesome. We played some games as a zone and also had a devotional from President Guanzon. Super awesome and it was cool to be rewarded for our hard work!
Well everyone, it is amazing here. THE WORK IS WORKING! I witness miracles everyday. It is truly amazing to see how the gospel blesses us all. It is such a privilege to witness the Spirit working through people and really changing lives. The work is working. Missionary work is amazing and so so rewarding.

I hope you all are doing well!!! Please always remember I am praying for you all. And, almost everyone we teach prays for the missionaries and their families and friends all around the world. You are prayed for by many many people. Including me :) And my prayers are ALWAYS answered :) Hahaha I love you all!!!
Mahal kita,
Sister Reategui
PS: here are some pictures from the zone activity. Also, I would like to take this time to publicly wish my beautiful sister ADRIEN A HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!!! I love you so much and wish you the best!!! I will attach one of the pictures I took on here because it just explains the randomness of the Philippines. The little animal licking my shoe is not a dog. IT IS A PIG. Yes. A pig on the beach. I LOVE THE PHILIPPINES. That is all I have to say. HAPPY BIRTHDAY ADRIEN I LOVE YOU!!!

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