Well... My new area is pretty much fantastic!!!! As a whole, the people here are a lot better off than the people in my last area. I have more city-city in my area as well as more province (I've seen so many trees and even fields of green stuff here!). Our area is huge but a lot less crowded than my last area. I'm loving it here!! The work is amazing! We have so many investigators we are having a difficult time making time to visit recent converts and less actives. And... I have another baptism this Saturday. His name is Narciso and he is like 70-something years old. It's funny actually... all three of our people who attended the gospel principles class were 70-something year-old men... :)
My new companion, Sister Sanders, is absolutely wonderful and we got along really, really well. It's been a really difficult week for her though. When I met her last Wednesday, she told me that during her email time the day before she had just found out that her Grandpa had terminal cancer. Just last Saturday, President Revillo called her to inform her her Grandpa had just passed away. She's been so strong but the passing of her Grandpa has been really, really sudden and difficult for her. Please keep my companion and her family in your prayers!
The Tagalog is coming along. Sister Sanders is insanely good at Tagalog even though she's only a transfer ahead of me!!! Not going to lie, it's been a little bit discouraging in some ways, but everybody here keeps telling me I'm really good at Tagalog and Sister Sanders has been really grateful that I can speak and understand what people are saying :) Apparently I'm the first companion she's had who can speak Tagalog since she was trained. It's going to be a great transfer... just being with her has made me more motivated to get better faster. :)
Everything has just fallen into place. Yes, it was difficult to say good-bye to some of the people I taught in my last area, especially those who I had taught from the beginning as well as my sweet Angelica, but my new area, companion, and ward our great. :)
I had a really cool experience a few days before I left Pateros... Sister Doucette and I were eating at the Biluan's house and I was just sitting there soaking it all in. All last transfer, my companion often talked about how much she loves the Philippines and how she doesn't want her mission to end. I always kept my mouth shut, cause in my mind I was thinking, "Why? I love America, I love my home, and I can't wait to go back." It wasn't that I didn't love it here too... it's just that I love being at home with my family more. :) But as I was sitting there, I just suddenly got it... Everything I do here is for other people. It can be so overwhelming to have to constantly be worrying about other people's lives and how you can help them overcome challenges and stuff, but when I go home, everything I do will just be for me, and somehow that seems kind of pointless in a way. I'll go to work to earn money for myself, I'll go to school to earn my degree for myself, and yeah... everything will just be for myself. How boring. Here, I have the amazing opportunity to help so many people in so many different ways and I'm really going to miss that. Don't get me wrong... I'm still looking forward to going home in 11 months (not that I'm counting or anything), but in some ways I guess I'm kind of dreading it as well.
Missionary work is awesome. It's the toughest thing ever, but it's amazing as well. I'm so grateful that this was part of God's plan for me... every day I see more and more of why I'm needed here, and why I needed to be here to become a better person.
I love you all! Hope you are all doing well and have an awesome week!
Love, Sister Dickison