Sunday, January 5, 2014

Fake Guns and Fireworks

So there's this thing in the Philippines where New Years is absolutely crazy! Literally. We had to be in our apartment by six because there's so many fireworks that it's dangerous for us. A lot of the members brought food to our apartment though and we even cooked a lot for ourselves! We watched some church movies and just kind of hung out at home... which was really weird. We went to bed at 10:30. But literally at midnight, it was so loud there is no way I could have slept through it. I kid you not, literally EVERYONE in the whole Philippines must have had fireworks because I have never seen so many in my life. And we had a good laugh at our neighbors dancing on the street outside.
There's this other thing where every single kid got a fake toy gun for Christmas. And sometimes it scares me a lot when they pretend to shoot me. Literally, I fear for my life. But the kids here.. super cute. In the Philippines, you bring the hand of an elderly person to your forehead to show respect. But in this area, kids will do that to anyone to show respect. The other day, there was this huge group of kids just hanging out and all of the sudden I hear "Americano, Americano!" We were just discussing with a member a referral she was going to give us and a group of about ten kids come and stand across from me and are literally just staring at me. One of the older ones called me Ate (said ah-tay), which means older sister as a sign of respect, and asked if it was okay if they could bless (the hand thing). Super funny. So they all just got in aline and brought my hand to their foreheads. Fun de ba?
Also, kids will mostly call American Elders, "Joe" because it's a common name. So I got that one for the first time this week.
Also Tatay, you'll be proud to know that I ate more fish this week. And yes, I liked it. FYI i won't be able to eat anything without rice when I get home. It's too strong without it. But this fish is literally like a whole fish and they just fry it and you eat the meat right off the bones. It's way awesome. It still has eyes and creepy little teeth and everything. There's nothing like having your food just stare at you. :)
Also, special shout out to my Rama/FlowerPro girls! Thank you thank you for your cute notes! Don't worry, I got them after Christmas, but it was at least before New Years ;) Seriously, I could not stop smiling. I'm pretty sure my companion thinks I'm crazy for how hard I was laughing.
And last, but not least. Our week was AMAZING. We found four new potential investigators and I'm so excited to teach them again this week. At first, my expectations of missionary work was so different from what it actually is. When you first think of missionaries, you think of them going door to door passing out Book of Mormons right? It is so much more than that. It literally is changing peoples' lives. I have seen the changes that people go through because they are bringing their lives in harmony with the principles of the Gospel. And it's hard, and it's a painful process, but they are so happy because of that. And sometimes I wonder how I can make a difference in the lives of these people because I'm just a little girl still. :) But I know that being set apart as a missionary, I have the authority and the spiritual power to be able to do this work. Without that, there's no way I could do more than half of the things I'm doing. Being a missionary is hard. But it's the most fulfilling and rewarding thing I have ever done.
Mahal na mahal ko kayo!
Sister Holmes

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