Well, another great week here in the Pines. I really really love it here. I am becoming more and more Filipino as the days pass. Especially since yesterday I got lice. Hahaha some might think of this as a horrible thing but I'm going to stay positive and think of it as just another way I am becoming more and more Filipino. Lice is super common here, especially with the little village kids that we teach so often. I guess it is probably my fault because I always play with the little kids haha but it's just another part of the adventure! People are starting to tell me I am looking more and more like a Filipino every day (maybe they saw the lice... hahaha jokelang) because I'm getting super tan and my speaking is getting...better haha so basically life is really REALLY good.
Sige let's see....this week was a really good one. Last week I talked about Jerome. Basically my little inspiration. We got to teach him 3 times this week in the Perez home :) Somehow he was there for every time! Every day when we walked in we were so surprised. He is the best ever. So this week we bought him a notebook and little school kit. Words can't even describe how happy this little boy was just to have his own notebook and pencils. So precious. So we first started with the Alphabet. Once he got the hang of the letters and sounds we started teaching him how to read. Then we showed him a picture of Jesus Christ and asked him who He was. Every time we show him a picture of Christ Jerome just smiles and smiles. Then he said "sobrang mabait" "so nice" and his eyes started getting watery. Seriously we teach him super basic little lessons but the Spirit is SO strong as we teach him. He just soaks everything up and loves it. The next two visits we taught him about Heavenly Father and about prophets. Still super basic. As we teach him, we have him practice spelling and reading. I am surprised every time we teach him because we ask him if he remembers what we had taught him before and he always remembers perfectly! His desire to learn is so so strong. Every time he prays, we are all in tears by the end. Simple prayers but so powerful. He prays for his family. He prays that they are safe. Seriously this little boy is such a good example to me. He is praying for these people that left him with NOTHING. And he is here praying that hopefully they are safe and that he can see them soon. He prays for me and Sister Alabanza and our safety, when he is the one without a home. In his prayers he constantly (by constantly I mean at least 6 times throughout the prayer :) expresses his thanks for the mabait (nice) missionaries that teach him. He is so so great!!! We want to extend baptism to him so badly, pero since he has no permanent home or guardian, we have no one to fill out the consent forms or the information for his church record. We are working with President though so I will keep you all informed :)
We have also been teaching our referrals from our little recent convert Jorel, JonJon and Jansen. They are 10 and 11 years old and seriously so prepared. Last week we gave them the Book of Mormon Tagalog picture books. They were so excited and ran home to read. Then, later that week, we saw them in a big group with their friends. We walked over to say hi and saw that all their friends were gathered around the Book of Mormon story book as Jansen was reading it to them! Hahaha such a good little investigator! This week one of the lessons we taught was about Joseph Smith. When I started the lesson and told them we would be talking about Joseph Smith, Jansen hurried and went to the page about Joseph Smith in his story book. He looked at me and just said "I am going to pray like Joseph Smith to know the true church." Okay like why am I even teaching him hahaha he knows everything already! Jansen has become my little buddy. We even have a secret handshake. Every time I see him, He grabs my hand and with a little puppy dog face, says "Sister Ratgee, I will pray all night that I see you tomorrow" HAHAHA seriously I laugh so hard every time. He is the sweetest.
We also have been teaching Alfred Nares this week. He is awesome and progressing so much! :) We are very excited for his baptism on the 21st. He is SO ready! And he will be baptized by his grandfather, Aflredo like his siblings were. It will be a very happy day!
Well missionary work is the greatest. It is hard but so rewarding. Still, one of my favorite things is standing at those church doors greeting our branch before church. This week we had 23 investigators and less actives attend sacrament meeting. Seriously I can't describe to you all how happy I get every time I see our investigators and less actives walk up to the chapel. We had 2 different inactives that we teach come to church this week that I hadn't seen come in my whole 9 weeks here. The work is working. How blessed I feel to be a missionary here in the Philippines! I love the people. I absolutely love EVERYTHING about it.
I hope you all are doing well!!
Here is a picture of me with some of my favorites: Jerome, Jorel (in a girl's Christmas costume...hahahah) and his brother Junel.