Hello hello hello to all my beloved family and friends all around the world!! How are all of you? I hope you are doing well!Another great week here in the Pines. I can't believe it's week 10 already. Time flies when you're having fun and working hard! :) Have I mentioned how much I love this place? Because I will continue to tell you how great it is. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE! And I absolutely LOVE being a missionary. How great is this calling!
Let's see.....of course I will update you all on Jerome. Pero I apologize ahead of time because I have sad news. Let me start at the beginning of the week with the good news though! We found out he has been staying with an older lady that lives near the beach. Some nights he stays there and she feeds him when he needs food. She doesn't have much money herself, so it is hard for her and he doesn't stay there every night. But when he has no where else, that's where he stays. As he told us about her his face lit up. How grateful he is for the little necessities in life we all take for granted! So, we had a family home evening with the Perez family this week which was super awesome because we had 2 investigators there, Jerome, and Queenie, who is related to the Perez family as well so we are in their home a lot. Jorel also came so it was a full house. Even Sister Perez's husband who is the only non member of the family came so it was good :) We taught about the importance of family unity. Before the lesson while we were waiting for everyone to get there, the kids were asking about my family. So of course, being the proud daughter and sister that I am, I hurried and pulled out a picture. I showed each person in my family. Then Jerome hurried and grabbed the picture. He just stared at it and then just said "wow." Most people are confused when they see my family picture because my mom is blonde and I'm not blonde. They are always confused because they think all Americans should be blonde hahaha. Anyways, Jerome was being super quiet with his head down staring at the picture so someone just asked him what was wrong, and then he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and said "your family is complete and happy." I think those were the saddest, most sincere words I had ever heard. I felt like a knife went straight into my heart. How selfish I was for bragging about my cute happy family that I am so blessed to have. How much he wished and hoped just to see his mom or siblings or dad again. The room was silent. No one talked for what felt like an hour. Jerome taught me so much in such a simple way. Something that I have always taken for granted and hoped would always be there. In that short moment I gained the most appreciation for my family that I have ever felt before. How lucky I am to have them. I will never take that for granted for another second of my life. So a few days after the family home evening, we found out that Jerome was kicked out of the house he had been staying at. The lady found out that missionaries had been teaching him about our church and told him he needed to stop listening to us. In the most proud voice I have ever heard, he said to us "I told her I want to learn more about Jesus Christ from you." Then he told us he doesn't stay at her house anymore. He chose the gospel, that he knows is true, over the basic necessities that he NEEDS. He is acting on his faith in the most bold way I can ever imagine. He is such a good example to me! He is again left without a home and food, but he knows the power of this gospel. He has such a strong testimony. Simple, but so powerful. This little boy has changed my life.
I LOVE THIS WORK. I LOVE being a missionary! Of course there are a lot of hard times. Satan likes to get at me and tries to make me realize all the hard things in life. But this work brings me too much happiness to let anything get me down! One thing I have learned here is that even though I can't pick and choose what trials I have or hard times I have, I can choose my ATTITUDE. And I shouldn't let anything, no matter how hard, get to that. Because I have learned that the mercy of God is enough. The hope of God's Son, Jesus Christ, is enough. When I give my absolute all, and then give more, He makes up for the rest. Part of this life is enduring the hard times with patience and a good attitude. The least I can do is show my happiness and gratitude for all He does for me. For the great calling I have to be a missionary. For the great opportunity I have to see my brothers and sisters here in the Philippines changing their lives. Right before my eyes. Gaining that real desire to learn more about the gospel. Because it is true. God's love is here for us no matter what. It is here when we are going through hard times, and it is here when we are going through the best of times. It is just always here. He is waiting for us to call upon Him. To fully rely and trust in Him with everything that we have. I have realized this more than ever. I have realized that I am nothing without Him. ESPECIALLY as a missionary. I am nothing without His Spirit to truly convert those I teach. That even though I can't speak the language as perfectly as I wish, these people will feel something different about the message I share. Because it is about Him. And His Son, Jesus Christ. And in this Christmas season, how important it is to remember that. The Spirit of Christ can bring hope. When all things are crazy and confusing in life, Christ's love is enough. That as we are striving to remember Him, and emulate His attributes, that is when we really discover our true selves. When we lose ourselves in the service of others, that is when we really find ourselves.
The Spirit of Christ is being selfless. It is giving without any intention or thought of receiving anything. It is relying on that peace that can only come through Him. It is learning more of Him and sharing it with those around us. It is really really striving our best to show charity to those around us. Christmas time is a time of charity. The PURE LOVE OF CHRIST. How great is His love and His mercy He shows to us always! May we always live in the Spirit of Christ, no matter what season it is.
I LOVE YOU ALL! I pray for you all. I really do hope you are doing well. Keep me updated with your lives :)