May 25, 2014
Wow, it sounds like you all had an extremely crazy week. Tell Kelsea I love her and hope she gets to feeling better. And tell her happy birthday as well! She has been such a great example of working hard to me. My head would explode with that many things going on. In fact, it did a few times. Haha. Just let her know I'm here for her!
Also, Kara, happy birthday to my twin! You have a husband now, and I am in the Philippines, so I divert my birthday present giving responsibilities to Michael. I'm sure he did well. Thank me.
So many people here have had birthdays this last week! Jethro and his little sister are both on the 23rd, and Sister Durwin is on the 21st... many many more I have forgotten. I actually didn't do much on my birthday other than watch Elder Bautista pack, and everyone say goodbye to him. We had dinner at Sister Corazon's house, but that's it. Nanay Violet has promised me a special cake, so I'll let you know how that goes. Elder Bautista was very reluctant to leave, but hey, it's still only his first area. He made a real impact there that I hope to keep up. He is now in the mountainous region of Benito Sulivan, which is near Ilagan City. Elder Cruz is transferred, and is now in Tuguegarao, which is probably the hottest place on the face of this planet. And it's in the middle of summer. And his companion is from the Marshall Islands and doesn't speak English or Tagalog. Elder Cruz is going to learn a lot this cycle. A LOT.
Something pretty funny happened on transfer day. I met up with Elder Peterson and Sister Murdock from my batch. Elder Peterson said that the whole time he was in the Jeepnee going to the mission home, he was talking about wanting to be transferred to Dupax, which is the furthest south area in our mission. Lo and behold, he was transferred to Dupax. Then Sister Murdock said before she got transferred, she really wanted to be able to go to Roxas zone. Lo and behold, she was transferred to Roxas zone. Then, all of the missionaries who would be training gathered to meet their new trainees. Immediately when I saw my trainees face, I knew I'd be training him. Lo and behold, they announced our names together.
Elder Espanto from Olongapo. He has a very friendly disposition. He also has a very quirky personality. He kind of has a speech problem, where he speaks quite a lot, and some of it doesn't make sense. I'm not quite sure yet whether that's fixable or not. Regardless, he has a very strong desire to serve, and whenever he bears witness, you can tell that he knows for himself. That is definitely his strength. He's really funny and people like to be around him, despite any of his imperfections. I suppose that's like all of us. Being now that I am his parent in the mission, and him my son, a lot of his quirks and weaknesses are going to come out on me. We've had a lot of meaningful experiences while doing companion study and training, in which many times I've almost come to tears realizing how many ways the Lord has formed me and braced me up to be an effective trainer for Elder Espanto. We didn't have a whole lot of lessons this week, but the ones we did have were so much better than they would have been if we had rushed the work and not trained or planned. Not to say lessons in the past haven't been about the investigators and their concerns, but this week I felt we really got the feel of teaching people, not lessons. It has been very great to learn from myself through the Spirit, and to learn from my son.
Email has run a little longer than I'd like it to this week, so I'll just leave my testimony once again that our Savior lives, and longs to give us more to our lives than maybe we're even able to comprehend. He runs this church, and His work moves forth as we move forth. We are the hands of God, and we are all His children. I hope we can all embrace each other one day, knowing we have done enough. I leave this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.