Monday, September 8, 2014

This Girl from Pateros Finally Cracked... and ate Balut‏

Magandang umaga sa lahat!!  Kamusta na kayo? 

This week was so great... and both Sister Alailima and I are so tired. :)  Phew... missionary work is exhausting and wonderful :)  We climbed some more mountains this week in our area and then ran a lot in our Mission Leadership Council (MLC) last Friday so yeah... my body's feeling kind of achy here, but that's alright... getting stronger, I think. 

My first full week as an STL was different and exciting.  At MLC on Friday we had a STL meeting with Sister Revillo and then after that had the actual MLC with the eight other STL's, twenty Zone Leaders, and the four A.P.'s... and of course President and Sister Revillo.  The Spirit was ssoooo strong there!!  It was so cool.  President talked about the organization of councils and how there's been councils since the very beginning, as we were all part of the great council in heaven.... it was really cool.  So... found out some amazing news.... in our mission last year we were averaging about 50 baptisms per month, President Revillo set a goal for 2014 that we would aim for 100 baptisms per month.  Almost every month for this year we've gotten a little bit closer, usually having between 70 something or 80 something baptisms a month, but.... we finally made it in August!!  In August our mission baptized 124 souls!  So many more than the average of 50 per month last year... So great!!  Ever since they arrived, President and Sister Revillo have been making lots of changes and our mission has grown so much.  I feel so blessed to have been part of this big transition... The Philippines Quezon City Mission really is so different than it was when I got here and although it's been hard at times with all of the change, it's so been worth it.  Anyways... we kind of had a little celebration for the occasion and after having the actual meeting in the morning, we were treated to lunch at a buffet and then went to the "Rainforest Park" in Pasig where we played games and such.  It was a blast and quite the way to start off my MLC experience :)  At the very end of the meeting, those missionaries who will be leaving this transfer bore their testimonies... Sister Doucette was one of them.  All of their testimonies were beautiful, but I felt the Spirit extra strong when my former companion bore hers.  I just love that girl!! 

Oh!  That reminds me... good news.... people she and I found in Pateros are actually still progressing, hallelujah!!  Sister Alailima went on exchanges last transfer with the sisters in Pateros and was able to work in my old area... she said Rebecca, one of the investigators Sister Doucette and I found and start teaching, is super close to baptism and attends church regularly now.... so great!!  I just remember Sister Doucette and I, especially me, struggling with feeling like nobody was progressing in our area... I especially felt discouraged since I had been there for six months.  Blessings. :)  Sometimes, you plant the seeds that other missionaries harvest :) 
Speaking of Pateros... it's the famous home of Balut... lovely partially cooked duck embryo... a favorite snack of the Filipinos.  So I absolutely have refused to try it for my whole mission.... mostly because, you know, I'm stubborn and just the fact that most of my companions and kabahays have wanted to force me to eat it has made me more determined to NOT eat it.... anywho... at the end of one of our lessons last week, our investigators gave us some balut, and I, having just informed Sister Alailima the day before that I was willing to finally try it with her since my mission is coming to a close (and she loves balut), was left amazed at Heavenly Father's knowledge of our goals and the desires of my companion's heart (and stomach).  So.... I ate it, stalling as much as possible, at guess what... it was pretty tasty.  Not a big fan of the rest of the egg, but the duck tasted great :)  Who knew?   I will send the pictures of my balut experiment.  :)
We went on our first exchanges of the transfer two days ago.  It was such a great experience for me!!  As soon as we walked inside the sisters' house, I instantly just felt this love for them... even thought I had never met them before.  So cool!!  I quickly learned that while the sister I work with may learn absolutely nothing from me, I'm going to be learning tons from them :)  I really learned so much!!  Also, I learned that it's a good thing the purpose of an STL is to love and support the other sisters because I can do those things :)  So much fun!  I do think it may have contributed to us being so tired though... we traveled early, worked with them all day, and then traveled back to our area... all after spending the previous day traveling and running around for MLC.  Welcome to the life of an STL... it's great, but tiring.  So glad I'm not one of the Training Assistants who don't even have an apartment... they just travel every day going on exchanges with other elders... kudos to Elder Hammond. 
Well... guess that's it for this week.  Love you all and hope you have a great week!! 
Love, Sister Dickison

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