It has been a long (but really fast) past 6 weeks and 3 months here in Argao! As hinted, I will be transferring out of Argao tomorrow.
Two weeks ago, while in the temple in Cebu, I received a bit of revelation that this next assignment will be the hardest of my mission. I am assigned as a Jr. companion with Elder Beretara. He is an Islander from a very small island in the Pacific. We are assigned to the Pardo C area, and we will be OPENING this area. Opening - as in there hasn't been missionaries assigned there for several months to even a year. So neither of us knows anything about this place and we are now going to be the pioneer missionaries in this place! Looks like my tracting skills that I've honed here in Argao will be put to the real test! Pardo is in the Talisay zone which is the zone right above Carcar (in which I am at). So not too far of a travel and I get to see my old branch at the General Conference this April because we are all in the Talisay stake.
I’m gonna miss Argao. Things just got a little more fun as two families asked me to baptize their two little 8 year olds and one family asked me to bless their baby in Sacrament meeting. I wish I could have stayed for those but I guess maybe someone else needs the blessings of performing those sacred ordinances. I was just starting to get close to the peeps too:/ Oh well KITA TA SA LANGIT! (literal translation: See us (all of us) the, in, at heaven).
This week was an emotional roller coaster.....
Last Wednesday we went to this Mama Mary's Castle in Sibonga. It is this huge monastery built by the Catholic monks (I didn’t even know Catholicism had monks!). I will admit that I was a bit irreverent in my hushed words spoken. As we all left I realized just how stupid I was acting earlier. I had come to realize that those of other religions are doing what they think is the right thing just as we are and we all need to respect that. The castle was pretty cool. It was HUGE and looked like a gigantic fortress. I took pics but on my other SD card.
This past Sunday was probably the most spiritual Sunday I've probably ever had! As I was playing the prelude music sa piano (and yes I am doing that now) this little girl came up to me and I was like "PASTILAN! You and your family are here!" This little girl’s inactive family came to church for the first time in nearly a year! We also had our less active sister, Sister Sycon, come to church too! She came to have her new baby boy blessed but sadly they forgot that part in the program. At least she came! And has plans to come back next month to have her baby blessed then. We also had a third less active family come too! First time in 2 months they came. With these three inactive to very less active families coming to church on my last Sunday here, it made it very special to me and the spirit was very strong and abundant during the fast and testimony meeting as my member friends went up and bore their testimonies. This was the first Sunday I've had in Argao where the sacrament ATD didn’t fall lower but actually went up about 10 people! We started with about 50 ATD and each week we lose either one or two peeps until now, but last Sunday we had 45 so fantastic!
(This is my LA family who had their new baby. I am not quite sure what Jessymae is doing - the little girl to the left).
Last night, while at this inactive families house, the ones who came to church for the first time last Sunday, we all said goodbyes and such. The chillens were all hiding their tears as we all said bye and they gave me little good bye cards they had made earlier. AW I LOVE YOU GUYS! I am going to miss that family! The spirit wasn't there my first visit but slowly, slowly the family had a different light come to them until they are all bubbly with the missionaries and we are all good friends and they have come back to church.
(The pic is of me and the inactive family that came back to church last week. Love them! )
Last Sunday I had a huge scare. I reached into my bag to grab my camera and wala! It wasn’t there! My wallet also was not there and I panicked. After running back to a previous appointment and then to others we didn’t find it. I was like "dang, someone pick-pocketed me!" We got back to the house and yeah... found them there. I swear, though, that I had brought those things with me. I never forget those. I am just glad to have found my stuff and all my memories (in the form of pictures). In the midst of my frantic panic I remembered a story about the Lord. John the Baptist got beheaded and the apostles told Jesus. Now John and Jesus were probably very close being that they were family first and that one was the prophet and the other was the Savior of the world. Well in the midst of the pain of our Lord for His friend what does He do? He heals the peeps in the multitude that followed Him and then fed the 5000! When His friend was just killed He turned to others. I learned this lesson in the MTC but I cannot believe that I had forgotten it! In my small predicament I should have stayed and taught just like the Savior would have. All would have been fine in the end too. I guess lessons learned- hehe.
Good week I guess and I am excited for my new assignment! Got a lot of packing to do today as well... fun.
(I found a little friend who can do it too!!!! )
(It has a golden butt!)
(Cannot forget the Temple in Cebu!)