Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Sister Franks in the Philippines - December 22, 2013

Hello po everyone!!

So--surprise! P-day is actually today after all, not on Thursday. Exciting, no? There is so much to say about my life this past week, I'm not really sure where to start.
I guess I can start with Tuesday, after I found out I was transferring. Sister Garcia and I went shopping so she could have food for her new companion coming in. As we were walking about Shopwise though, I just kept seeing things and saying "maybe I should get this...just in case they don't have [whatever it was] in Morong." Haha it felt like I was preparing for a mission all over again--making sure you have everything you need before you head off into the wilderness with potentially no civilization around to provide you with things like shampoo or good-tasting milk. :P But actually, Morong is great. It's small, much smaller than Antipolo, but there is a grocery store and mini mall area so it turns out I didn't need to worry. They even have the good milk here. ;)
Coming to Morong has made me realize how luxurious my apartment in San Isidro was, though. The fact that we had two bathrooms is luxury in itself, let alone the fact that they both had showers! But I'm getting the hang of "bucket showers" now. As Sister Cutia said when she first got here: "it's actually kind of fun throwing buckets of water over yourself." :P And I got used to showering in cold water before, so that doesn't bother me anymore. The hardest part, I think, is that our neighbors are super loud and love to play music/sing karaoke at night, and the dogs that live next door/in front of our house like to fight, so I had a hard time sleeping the first couple of nights.
My companion is Sister Medina. We're still adjusting to each other. She has a strong personality and strong ideas of how things should be, so it's been a struggle for me to try to find my place. I feel like I should be offering more to try to help our area, but my suggestions don't really go anywhere, so we'll see. I'm definitely looking forward to everything I'm going to be learning this transfer---my prayer is that this is the Lord's way of finally helping me to really learn charity, humility, and patience. They are what I have been exercising every day. :) She is a good missionary though, and a good teacher, so we are actually fine mostly in our teaching, which I am grateful for. I've just been trying to focus on keeping the Spirit, because I know that is the most important thing and everything else can be worked out in the end.
For all that shocked me when I got here that might have made me homesick and want to go back to San Isidro, there is no way I could ever hope to be assigned anywhere else. I LOVE MORONG. WE HAVE THE GREATEST AREA EVER. For real, though. The people here are so incredible!!! The people we are teaching are some of the most prepared people I have ever met. Like, I honestly have a hard time believing they aren't members yet. They are so ready, so open, so faithful. And I've only met a handful of the families that they were teaching before I got here. The branch we are in has a lot of work to be done, but there is SO much potential, and I just really hope I can help in some way while I am here! I can't even express how much I love the people here...and I've only been here for 5 days!
I'll tell you more about the Andres family (and maybe others) next week, but this week I just want to share a great analogy that one of our investigators told us last night (translated to English, for your convenience :P).
There was a box of matches, and they were all sitting inside the match box. A man came and took one of the matches out and used it to clean his ears (like a Q-tip--don't worry too much about the weird uses they have for matches here in the Philippines). The match was so excited to be outside the match box. He said "wow! it's so light here!" and was happy with his use. The man came back later and took another match out to use as a toothpick. The match was happy: "there's so much light!" he said. He was glad to be outside the match box. Another match had fallen out of the match box onto the ground. "This is so much better than being in the box! There's so much light out here!" He too was happy with his new life. The man later came back and notice the match that had fallen on the ground. He picked it up, along with the match box. The match was worried--he didn't want to go back into the box where it was dark! But then the man struck the match on the side of the box and it caught fire. The match was astounded. He had been so content just sitting outside the box enjoying the light that was around him, never realizing that he himself had the potential to BECOME light the whole time.
We had been sharing about Christlike attributes, and in particular faith, hope, and charity (from the end of Moroni 7). Our investigator related this to the parable of the match. Each of us has the potential to become something great. We all have the potential to become like Christ--to become Light. When we live without the Gospel, without the truth, it's like living in darkness. When someone comes along and introduces truth into our lives, we start to see light in our lives and we are so grateful. Yet until we realize our own potential to become that light, we are still missing out. We have to embrace the truth for ourselves if we want to have the fullness of joy that is available to us.
She told the story better than I can, but I just really wanted to share it because I was so inspired. Hopefully the Spirit will help enlighten your minds so you can gain some insight from it as well. I know that this Gospel is true. I know that every thing we experience in our lives is specifically designed to help us learn and grow. Sometimes (most of the time) it comes through trials, but those trials are really a blessing and if we embrace them and approach them with an attitude of humility and a chance to become more like our Savior, they will refine us into something so much more than we imagined we were capable of becoming.

I am so grateful for this chance to be serving as a missionary and representative for Jesus Christ, especially now, during the Christmas season. I know that the message that we share as missionaries really is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ, the one and only way to eternal joy and salvation.

I love you all so much! I hope you have a fantastic Christmas!! :) You'll be in my thoughts and prayers!

Love always,
Sister Emma Franks

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