Well, since it has only been a few days there is not too much that has happened except for a lot of teaching, with a lot of those being new investigators that we have found! The first family is the Ramos Family. We met them about a week ago! One day while we were walking to a really far area we saw this old lady sitting in a jeepney staying out of the heat. We started talking to her, getting to know her, and since it was loud and she has a hard time hearing we set up a return appointment to come back to her house. So the next day or so we went to their house which was really really nice and we met her daughter and grandson I believe, Lisa and Ferdie. They are so sweet to us, always go and buy us drinks and food and they are so involved in the lessons. When teaching the first lesson, they really understood why a restoration of the gospel was needed and they felt that our message was true. Sister Lisa also went on to say that she believed we were a sign from God because she was looking for hope in her life due to her sister having stage 4 cancer. She began to get emotional talking about it and knew that this gospel was an answer to her prayers. After the lesson we extended the baptismal invite and she was so excited. As for Ferdie, he said he needed to pray about it and we would check up with him at the next lesson. So yesterday we had our next lesson with them and he said he is so excited to get baptized and they both have set baptismal dates for. Sister Faasavalu and I are so happy for them and pray that they will continue to come unto Christ and learn of the truthfullness of this gospel! The work here is amazing!
The ward here is awesome as well, they are so involved in missionary work. For youth conference they had a mini MTC experience so President Trask from the Philippines MTC who I just love so much and is the best came and spent the day with them. I also got to see him and it was the best, he gave me a little booster talk and then a hug. He always hugs the missionaries haha We then split up in groups with all the youth in the stake and went out tracting in our areas. Just to make it short, our group got 53 referrals!! Let's just say we have a lot of work to do this upcoming week to contact all of them. We have already contacted a few and it went well. So the picture of all the kids is my group that I went tracting with and President Trask is standing by me.
This week has been a little different in the Philippines because it is holy week! The people here are really devoted Catholics. So to remember the sacrifice he went to, they themselves whip themselves on the back while going through the streets and their skin is all bloody. I did not actually see it in person, but I saw a video and it was painful to watch. In another city around here they actually drive nails through peoples hands and feet to a cross...I had no idea that anybody ever did this. And there were a lot of parades that we saw with statues of Mary, Jesus in a coffin, people are chanting and singing. It was something I had never seen before and I guess that is just a big thing they do in the Philippines.
This week I ate some pretty amazing food! We went to Frank and Charles one night which is a burger place, we took Bishops wife and their son. It was so yummy and really messy! We kept grabbing napkins and then one of the workers brought a bunch a gloves to us....it was weird and I didn't use them but we just laughed about it cause it was so weird! We have also had Pizza at Bishops, and a whole fish...like the WHOLE fish is placed on a plate. It was yummy :) and of course we had mangos :)))
As for the typhoon that everybody has been talking about, it didn't hit us at all, we had really light rain every once in a while and then about 15 minutes of heavy rain and during that time we were in a member's house so we were good! I wish it rained more, cause it's not as hot. The heat here is killer. I am surviving though :)
As I have been struggling a little with the language, culture, some food, weather and everything else, there have been times when I have been discouraged. As I read my Patriarchal blessing the other day, it brought so much comfort and hope. It says in there that I will have the opportunity to be a strong missionary. I noticed how it says the OPPORTUNITY. It does not say I will be a strong missionary, it simply says opportunity, meaning that I have the choice to be that. I then thought to myself, How can I do that when I don't even know the language. However the next 2 sentences talk about how I need to develop the ability to bear testimony with love and understanding. To be gentle and know that I can touch the hearts of those around me and lead them back to our Heavenly Father. There is my answer. I need to simply love the people I am around and I don't need to know the language to love them. This is my new focus that I am going to work on, I know and have faith that the language is going to come over time, but as for now and always, I need to just love the people with all my heart.
I love it here, I am having a blast! Yes it is hard, but I know that I can do all things through the Lord. I love you so so so much and pray for you everyday! Mahal ko Kayo!
xoxo Sister Latham