Sunday, November 10, 2013

WEEK 11: Noticing the miracles

KUMUSTA FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!! Yes. To answer you all yes, I am alive and I have survived the typhoon this week. Let me just start by saying a huge thank you for your prayers and your concerns. I have felt of your faith and your comfort!! Not once have I felt unsafe here, which is kind of crazy seeing the crazy things that have happened here. Miracle for sure. I am convinced it is because I have so much support from home and I am forever grateful for that! You do not go unnoticed.

So yes, typhoon Yolanda hit here this week on Friday. We were on lock down and not allowed to leave our apartment from Thursday night to Saturday morning. It was said to be a signal 4 and a very high tide, so we were advised to move everything in our apartment to the top of the bunk beds just in case the water got really high. It is a miracle that it wasn't as bad in our area as expected. But, we were prepared for the worst, which is a blessing. We prepared our 72 hour kits and had many extra buckets of water. For the next few days we stayed in the sister's apartment above us with all 6 sisters in our area. Have I told you all how amazing the members are here? Through and after the storm, our members and investigators were calling and texting us to make sure WE were okay. So SELFLESS. And then they were even asking specifically about me, since I had never been in a typhoon before. These people who literally had to rebuild their houses after the storm were concerned about ME and my safety. Ah. They are so amazing. I have so much to learn here!! Anyways, the worst we got of the storm was a "brown out" for about 4 days and no water. And I currently have 103 bug bites on my legs and arms from sleeping with the windows open. Haha but, we are definitely counting our blessings AND miracles. Many, many people were affected by this crazy storm so please keep them in your prayers. Some members of our branch have family in other areas of the Philippines and they haven't heard anything from them. Please PLEASE keep them in your prayers.

Amid the craziness, it was an incredible week. We had the baptisms of the Nares family!!! Ah. What an amazing baptism to witness. First let me just try to explain the miracle that we were even able to have this baptism this week. So we get to the church, and of course there is no power. No lights or fans or air conditioning. We look in the baptismal font and there was no water of course. Then, we try to find baptismal clothes and we can only find 3 jumpsuits. The rest had huge holes in them and weren't usable. But, somehow in jut less than an hour, we were able to get water into the font. I still don't even know how that happened. MIRACLE. And, we randomly found a bag of baptismal clothes in the library of the church. So many miracles to make this baptism happen through the craziness this storm brought!! So yes, five Nares children were all baptized on Saturday by their grandfather Alfredo. Like I have mentioned, Alfredo is a recent convert of just a few months. He is so so so amazing and progressing so much!! And he is such a good missionary. He gave us the referral of his grandchildren who were baptized. Words really cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity to be just a little part of these incredible people's lives. What a blessing they are to me!!! And what an incredible opportunity I had to witness them enter the waters of baptism. One of my favorite parts of baptisms are their testimonies they get to share right after. Okay the second the first one stood up I just started crying and crying. I'm such a cry baby here its slightly embarrassing but it's okay because I'm a sister missionary and I'm allowed to cry. So, the oldest Nares sibling got up. She is 18 and she has such a strong testimony already. She is such a good example to me!! So, she got up and shared her testimony and thanking the missionaries for teaching her. Then, IN ENGLISH, she looked at me and said "Sister Reategui, my family and I want to thank you because even though you can't speak fluent Tagalog yet, you are teaching us so much. We really so much appreciate you for coming all the way here to teach this gospel to us.You have been an important part of our baptism. I will mark this day as one of the greatest and best days of my life." ASK ME IF I WAS BALLING. Yes. Yes I was balling. And my tears were falling straight down because I was sweating so much. Hahaha AH. HOW GRATEFUL I AM TO BE A MISSIONARY!!!!

Well, crazy week. I am noticing the hand of The Lord in my life now more than ever. This is His work. His gospel I am so very blessed to share with these people. This gospel is a gospel of change. It gives us hope in something bigger than ourselves because we can't survive this on our own! This gospel gives us a hope that we can change each and every day. How amazing is it for me as a missionary to witness the change in these people. On Sunday, Tattay Alfredo blessed the sacrament. Can you say progressing? SO INCREDIBLE. Then, his 5 grandchildren were confirmed. The three Nares boys that were old enough, were given the Priesthood. This is huge for this branch!!! Lives are changing right before my eyes and it is so amazing!!

Well, I love you all so much and I am so grateful for your prayers and love to me!!! You guys are the best. Thanks for everything and I hope you all have a great week!

Mahal kita,
Sister Reategui

here is a picture from right before the worst of the storm hit, of course still working hahaha rain or shine!! and a picture from the baptism!

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