Monday - HE placed me here. So today was a really really good day. Today was P-day, but that ended a little early because President Guanzon came here to interview us. Okay I love our Mission President so much, and I really know he is inspired of God in all that he does. So in my interview with him he asked me something that I know was an inspired question and really made me think for the rest of the day. He asked me what are the differences in myself as a person since I started my mission. I had never really thought of it, usually I just think of the usual things like I eat fish now with my hands....hahaha but on a much more serious note, the question was so overwhelming and I really realized that this short 18 months of my life will really go on to affect every decision I make for the rest of my life. How grateful I am for this blessing I have to serve a mission. I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father that knows me better than I will ever know myself, and that He has a plan for me. I am grateful for His constant guidance in my life and His help in doing His work here in the Philippines. It has changed me forever as a person and has made me realize the important things in this life. Well, back to my story President went on to talk with me on how great Heavenly Father is. I shared with him some experiences from my mission so far and he just said to me "thank you Sister Reategui for completely losing yourself in the service of others." I may or may not have cried my eyes out just then. I realized that that is what it's really ALL about. This life is our test and a trial of our faith to really see how much we love our God, because if we love Him, we have to love His children here on earth. President also said "He placed YOU here." He talked about all the specific people that I get to meet and interact with every day. He said He placed me here in this time for these specific people. He really encouraged me to make the best of every single moment and that is just what I'll do :) I am grateful to him and the messages I received from him that I needed to hear from my Heavenly Father in that exact time. God is good.
Tuesday - Saving lives one prompting at a time. So this morning was a little weird. We had planned all week to visit a referral this day so that's where we left to. Well we got into the padyak and for some reason I said an area of a certain super old lady that we teach. We got there and I was so confused why we were there and not the other area that we were going to visit. Well we got out and we just decided that since we were there, we would go teach this old lady first and then go to our referral. Well turns out, the lady, who is like 90 years old, had fallen that morning and no one was in her house to help her. She had totally blacked out and her head was bleeding and everything. All her kids had left her alone!!! We were trying to help her up and really I thought she was going to die in my hands, it was so scary. We called the Relief Society President to get her help as well and they ended up going to the hospital. Well long story short, I really think she would have died that day if no one was there to help her. So I am grateful for the random prompting to go to her, because we probably wouldn't have visited her until the next day. We taught lots more lessons that afternoon, and also received many referrals! Last week our referrals were very few, so this week as a companionship we made a goal to get more referrals this week to reach the standard of excellence. And we totally did!!! If there is a will, there is a way :)
Wednesday - Ice Candy Heroes. Today was Hero day here in the Philippines! I don't really know what that means but it's some sort of holiday here, and on this day we did a service project at the Arabia's and made ICE CANDY!!! Aka the best service project I've ever done haha. Ice candy here is like popsicles made with real fruit and lots of sugar, so basically really masarap. So we made those and it was lots of fun. Taught more lessons that night and it was just a really good Heroes day :)
Thursday - ExChAnGeS. I had exchanges this day with our other Sister Training Leader, Sister Pareja. She lives in our apartment and we are really close so it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot from her and we worked hard.
Friday - It's more fun in the Philippines. Okay so my favorite lesson this day was with our little investigators that are 9 and 13. They are CRAZY and so much fun. They are relatives of a family in the branch so we teach them in their home. Well we get there and the little boy who is 9 is waiting for us with his guitar....and he tells us he's going to play while we sing the opening song. Hahaha I can't describe how funny he is seriously. Then we finish singing I am a Child of God and he says "okay I have another song for us to sing....puts on a white glove...and sings in his loudest, highest voice, "Billy Jean is not my lover...." HAHAHAHAAHAH I really could have exploded I laughed SO hard. So yes, it's more fun in the Philippines.
Saturday - This is the greatest blessing in my life. Okay I was touched yet again by these amazing people that I am so blessed to serve. This day we taught one of our investigators who is so so so awesome and SO prepared. So we have been teaching him for about 4 weeks. The Sunday after we invited him to come to church, he came!!! Let me just say he is 15 years old and his parents both died a few years ago. So, he's been coming to church consistently since then with his little brother. Well, we have really seen the impact this gospel has been on his life in this short amount of time.Before, he was so shy and I don't know if he had many friends. Now, we literally have to chase him down to be able to teach him because he's ALWAYS at the church hanging out with youth!!! Shout out to them for being awesome fellowshippers. He has found so much comfort and love in the church and it has done wonders for him as an investigator. This goes to show really how important members are in this work!!! So all of you at home:fellowship!!! You don't know the great help you can be to the missionaries. Anyways back to my story, we taught Joey and after the lesson he prayed, IN ENGLISH because he's awesome (and he attends our English class so obviously he's magaling sa English) and this is one of the simple, but precious lines he said...."Heavenly Father, this church is the greatest blessing of my life." OKAY YES I SHED A TEAR DURING HIS PRAYER AND HAD TO PRETEND I DIDN'T WHEN WE ALL OPENED OUR EYES. These precious words were so simple but so powerful to me and really struck me. How often to we take this gospel in our lives for granted?? He said this simple statement as if his life depended on it, the most sincere thing I had ever heard. This is really what it's all about. He will be baptized next week!!! :)
Sunday - Gratitude is a way of life. Conference weekend is always one of the best weekends, especially as a missionary. I never really appreciated it until I got on my mission, but I SO appreciate it now. I especially loved Elder Uchtdorf's talk about gratitude. Gratitude is really a way of life, it's a way of forgetting ourselves and being thankful for everything we are SO blessed to have!!! I love when he said something like "How much of life do we waste, not being grateful for what we have now, wishing for something better?" It really made me think. If we choose to be grateful for what we have, we literally choose happiness over sadness. Even in the hardest trials in our lives, we have things to be grateful for!!! Like he said, gratitude is an expression of our hope and testimonies. It is an expression of our trust in the Lord, that what He gives us is more than sufficient to what we NEED. I also loved how a lot of the talks were about keeping an eternal perspective. Too many things in this life are temporal, I challenge you all to recognize the blessings in your lives and focus on the eternal perspective. Focus on those eternal blessings from God, especially our families. Through our relationship with our Heavenly Father, we can better understand our purpose here on earth, and better prepare ourselves for the life to come, with an ETERNAL perspective.
Well everyone, my time is almost up. Missionary work is so great, I wish I had all day to tell you all the stories I wish I could, but this should do for now until I come home next year and we can all just tell stories all day long. I love you all so much and you all are in my prayers.
Mahal ko kayo,