Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - December 4, 2013

Hello again!

So, this will be a short email, because I've used most of my time already. Sorry about that. One thing I want to share, first of all, though, is this video I just watched about the members in Tacloban:
If you haven't watched it yet (or recently), I invite you to watch it. It's so incredible what these faithful people are doing to rescue those who have been impacted by the typhoon. It's crazy, too, to see the destruction. I wish you could see what life is like for us here in Antipolo. It's so modern, so built up, much like you would expect from a city in the US. Seeing buildings left as just half-standing walls and trees leveled by the winds and the floods--that's not a normal thing. The more I'm seeing of the destruction in the south, the more I'm realizing how tragic it really is, and how incredible the service is that is being rendered by members and non-members alike.

Also, I just want to say thank you to everyone who emailed me this week! Even if I didn't get the chance to say thank you personally, I want you to know that your support and encouragement means a lot to me. Especially this week, which has been hard on me emotionally, for some reason. I really appreciate all your thoughts and prayers, though. Thank you so much!!

As you all know (or should), last week was THANKSGIVING!! An odd day for an American missionary serving in a foreign country. It was pretty much just a regular work day for us. But then when we got home (at 9), we had a mini Thanksgiving party with our fellow sisters (10 of us total: our neighboring sisters and our STLs). We had a baked chicken (a small one that we divided between the 10 of us, not exactly a feast, but yummy!!), and mashed potatoes. And rice (for irony's sake, and also for real because there wasn't a ton of the other food). It was pretty fun actually, but didn't feel like Thanksgiving really. But yeah. That was our holiday. :) The Filipinos apparently don't really eat turkey very much. I think they think it tastes weird. But our Filipino companions really like that Thanksgiving means FOOD (which they love!). Sister Garcia says she hopes she has an American companion next Thanksgiving too, just so she can celebrate again. :) She's so funny. I'm really amazed at how positive she is all the time, despite the fact that I know she's worried about her family and friends and misses them a lot.

Pretty much, I'm super blessed. I know it. I'm so humbled to see so many people with bigger problems than I have, or probably will ever have, and yet they are so positive. Our mission president's wife, in our zone conference last week, said the reason that there's so much destruction and natural disasters in the Philippines (even just this year!), is because they are an example to and warning for the world that the Second Coming is near, so we need to make sure we are ready (spiritually, more than physically), and because the Lord knows that the Filipinos can handle it. That even though life may be hard, and they may lose everything, they are still able to smile. They are still able to appreciate the little things in life. They are still able to keep the faith.

I know that is true. I have seen so much incredible faith here. I feel like I didn't really know what faith was until I got here and saw it in action. Faith really is more than just believing; it's believing so purely and sincerely that all your actions are based on your confidence in the Lord's love and promises.
I know that God loves us. I know that He knows us personally, and He cares about every single one of us, and every single detail of our lives. Though sometimes I'm frustrated to not be able to get a hug from Him when I really want one, I know that His love and His Atonement is exactly what we need to help us with whatever we are going through in our lives (good or bad).

I love you all so much!! I hope you have a great week!!

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

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