October 7, 2013
So this has been a really good week. Of course it had it's struggles but it also had lot's of little miracles! Like less actives coming to church for the first time in years after we visited them for the first time this week!
Cultural note: So the gas stations here have..what do you call those?...guys that pump the gas for you. So you don't pump your own gas, they pump it for you. Also, don't know if I had mentioned this but the jeepneys, trikes, and mini buses just fill up whenever they need to. Which means even if they are full of passengers headed somewhere they just pull up to the gas station and fill up while we all wait. So if your in a hurry you just have to hope you are "living right" and get lucky enough for them not to stop. But it's a quick process so it's not bad. The way of living and the culture here just makes everybody feel closer to each other. Like when the Jeepney driver stopped at a gas station to use the CR. haha. One of the passengers talked to the driver about it and the other people on the jeep. There just isn't a lot of privacy and it makes for a more family feeling. haha. :)
Also for culture-- Sister H. informed me that while they have stairs in Tonga they are rare. Most houses and buildings are 1 story only. So when she first got here she was taking our stairs so slow but she is practiced now. :)
Let's see... oh I got to see the Relief Society broadcast yesterday. :) yay. And I will see conference this weekend. So excited!!!! Conference here is in English but they have rooms set up with Tagalog for those who want it.
To answer a question:
Are you home for lunch most days? Yes. We are always home for lunch because study hours in the mornings are so long. :) (Which is good and bad) So we sometimes cook awesome Filipino dishes like adobo, chikcen curry (favorite), tinola etc. But lately we have been more lazy so we have egg sanwhiches (favorite), tuna fish, hot dogs (okay hot dogs here are different and I actually really like them... I think I might even miss them when I leave! Suprising I know.) Sometimes we take crackers or something with us for a snack as we walk but the cool thing here is there is food everywhere. I can buy a little bag of fresh boiled peanuts for 5 pesos. It's cheap, delicious (garlic flavor) and keeps you busog (full) for a while.
So story for this week. We were walking in this little "esquinita", ( I have no idea how you spell that. But that is the way it sounds if spelled in spanish... Tagalog has no 'q') which is a narrow cement side walk with houses or walls on both sides. So there are lots of holes in the cement. Some big some small. Sometimes they cover them with thin wood or cardboard but you just walk around that cause you never know if it will break through to a hole when you walk on it. So anyway... this day I was walking and avoiding the holes and suddenly there was a dust pan with a handle laying in the middle of the way. Which made it hard to step around or over it. But there was a spot and something in my brain said wet pile of cement but the thought came as I already was placing my foot in the pile... so My foot went through the big, thick pile of cement! Luckily it kept my foot from reaching the bottom of the hole and I didn't fall flat on my face. Miracle. Luckily I was wearing my plastic shoes so no real harm there and I luckily didn't get cut on the partially dried cement. BUT I was SOOOO embarrassed. I had just ruined someones work. :( I felt so bad. So I waited a minute and then someone realized so they called the man who had done it. He was muttering about how he had just finished it earlier and I apologized profusely. He was so kind about it. Saying it was fine and he could just fix it easy. But the worst part is we know lots of families and people in the area and news spreads like a wild fire through the esqunitas. haha. SO obviously everyone is gonna know that the American missionary stepped in brand new cement. haha! Oh well. Live and learn. Luckily on the streets here they have pumps. You can't drink the water but you can use it anytime for free. So I was able to wash the cement of nice and easy as I swallowed my pride. :)
So spiritual thought. This morning I was reading in Alma. Alma 25:15-16 talks about the Law of Moses. Now we know that in the bible people made the Law of Moses so strict and acted like it was the end all. But Jesus Christ explained that salvation cannot come through the law alone. In the Book of Mormon, here in Alma, it explains very clearly how the Law of Moses was a tool for them. It was commandments given to help them look forward to Christ. The Law of Moses was outward performances to help them always remember Jesus Christ and to strengthen their faith in Him. I feel like sometimes today I make the same mistake of those in Jerusalem. Thinking that the commandments we have been given (go to church every Sunday, read my scriptures everyday, pay tithing, give service) must be followed and that if we follow this commandments we will be saved. While this is true. I think sometimes I overlook the point of the commandments. It is so easy to just start to go through the motions. But the purpose of the commandments is to draw us closer to the Lord, become more like Him, and benefit us spiritually. If we just follow the commandments to follow them it is better than not following them at all. But if we remember that this is not a checklist but a process to become like Christ we will be so much more benefited from our obedience to His commandments. I know that as we obey with a willing heart and do this routine things with our heart and mind focused on God we will find more joy in living the commandments and see the blessings of God and feel His spirit in our lives. I love the Lord and His church that He has established on the earth to help us return to Him.
I love you all and hope you are having a great week. I pray for you often.